eCurrents | August 2011

 

 

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INSIDE THIS ISSUE

Malware Warning
Microsoft Reports On Fake Windows Support Calls

Save Rural Broadband!

This Month's FAQ
Do Mac Users Need To Worry About Viruses?

Sites Of The Month
Great Sites To Check Out In August

Short Tutorial
Creating An Account On Twitter

WEBSITE COMPASS ONLINE
Your Advanced Technology, Personal Touch Guide To Understanding The Internet
 

   


Welcome to eCurrents

Safety and security are always on our minds and the month of August is no exception. For example, you may be concerned with keeping kids safe at the pool now or while walking to school soon. As far as security goes, we share important information on two issues—a malware warning from Microsoft about fake Windows support calls as well as a malware threat to Mac users. And on the topic of safety, don't miss the beautiful seatbelt advocacy commercial in Two to View. Also in this issue, you'll find summer-savvy sites to help you make the most of August plus easy instructions on how to get started on Twitter.

The goal of each of our eNewsletters is to keep our subscribers informed regarding their Internet connection and to improve their Internet experience. We think you'll find this information interesting.

To see what's inside this issue, simply scroll down the eNewsletter or click on the links within the index to the left. Thanks for reading!

- The eCurrents Team
 
 

 

 

This Month's FAQ – Do Mac Users Need To Worry About Viruses?

 

Let's start with the big picture. Worldwide, about 90 percent of the computer market is comprised of PC users with about 10 percent being Mac users. Cybercriminals are well aware of these statistics and tend to focus their virus efforts on the "bigger slice of the pie." So traditionally, Macs have been known to experience fewer viruses.

However, Mac security has been in the news again lately due to the MacDefender malware and its variants. MacDefender masquerades as antivirus software, showing a webpage that looks like a virus detection screen, and then prompting the user to complete the install process. If completed, the malware will ask for credit card information to eliminate nonexistent viruses.

Do Mac users need to worry about viruses? The short answer is yes. No computer is completely immune from threats and Apple recommends that Mac users keep antivirus software updated and take precautions when downloading files, opening email attachments, etc. If you're in the 90 percent with a PC, you should be practicing these security measures as well.

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Sites Of The Month – Great Sites To Check Out In August

Travel Fare Tracking
yapta.com – If you're looking for the best prices on travel, visit this site to help you track them. You can enter information about the flight, hotel, or car you're looking for and then have the site send you email updates when the price goes down. You can also use the site to get a refund from the airline if a flight price drops after you book it.

Donate And Learn
freerice.com – This site allows you to use your smarts and help people at the same time. Answer quiz questions on a variety of topics and for every answer you get right, the site donates rice to those in need in places like Cambodia and Africa. This is a nonprofit organization, so you can also donate money or read their blog to find out more about how they're making a difference.

Summer Salad Recipes
momswhothink.com – Warm August weather is a great time for cool salads. Here you'll find recipes for all kinds of salads including classics like macaroni and potato; desserts like Jell-O and fruit; and hearty like shrimp, chicken, and taco. Explore the rest of the site to find useful articles on health, parenting, nutrition, and more topics of interest to moms and others who care for kids.

Video Education
khanacademy.org – Before they start the new school year, do your kids need a refresher on some of what they learned last year? This free and comprehensive e-learning site has videos on hundreds of topics to choose from. Subjects include math, science, history, and finance. Even if your kids are all caught up, you might consider using the site yourself.

Best Months To Buy
freeshipping.org –  From kitchen appliances to winter coats to champagne, you can spend less by knowing the right time to buy. For example, August is traditionally a great time to purchase things like computers, lawn mowers, and swimsuits. But every month has its bargains. Before your next major purchase, check this guide to figure out the best time to buy.

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Short Tutorial – Creating An Account On Twitter

According to Twitter, 200 million tweets are now posted daily, compared with 65 million a day just one year ago. If you aren't currently on Twitter but are ready to "test your wings," you'll be happy to know that it's easy to sign up and get started. Simply follow these instructions:

1.    Visit twitter.com, enter your full name, and click the yellow button on the right side of your screen. You can also simply navigate to twitter.com/signup.

2.    Fill in the first field with your full name.

3.    Select a username from one of the usernames suggested or create your own. Twitter will automatically suggest available usernames based on the real name and email address you've entered. Try to pick something that describes you—whether it's a nickname, an interest, or a hobby. (See below for more tips.)

4.    Enter a password. Be tricky! Make sure your password contains letters, numbers, and symbols.

5.    Enter your email address; it should be one that you actively use.

6.    Fill in the CAPTCHA to prove you're human, not a machine!

7.    Pick sources that interest you (more on this below).

8.    Search for Friends and follow them.

Here are some tips for choosing a username:

1.    Your username is the name your followers use when sending @replies, direct messages, or Retweets.

2.    Your username will also form the URL of your home timeline. Twitter will provide a few available suggestions but feel free to choose your own.

3.    You can change your username in your account settings at any time as long as the new username is not in use.

 

 

Malware Warning – Microsoft Reports On Fake Windows Support Calls

Beware! Computer scams don't just happen on computers. A recent study commissioned by Microsoft describes how scammers are now calling people on the phone and tricking them into installing computer software designed to steal money, identities, and passwords.

Here's how it works: The scammer calls and, after sharing their "credentials," tells the victim that his/her computer is at risk. The scammer directs the victim to view a harmless error report that the scammer claims shows how the victim's computer has been compromised. The scammer then asks for a credit card number for the victim to "purchase" software that will solve the "problem." Or they direct the victim to install software that places a virus on the victim's computer, enabling the scammer to gain access to critical information.

Microsoft recommends these do's and don'ts to help prevent becoming a victim:

DO

  • Be suspicious of unsolicited calls related to a security problem, even if the caller claims to represent a respected company.
  • Use up-to-date versions of operating system and application software.
  • Make sure security updates are installed regularly.
  • Use strong passwords and change them regularly.
  • Make sure your firewall is turned on and that antivirus software is installed and up to date.

DON'T

  • Provide personal information, such as credit card or bank details, to an unsolicited caller.
  • Go to a website, type anything into a computer, install software, or follow any other instruction from someone who calls out of the blue.

If you think you may already have been a victim of a phone scam, do the following:

  • Change the passwords for your computer, your main email account, and financial accounts.
  • Contact your bank and credit card companies to alert them to the potential breach.
  • Scan your computer with the Microsoft Safety Scanner (microsoft.com/security/scanner/en-us/default.aspx) to find out if you have malware (virus) installed on your computer.

Remember, there is no security software that can protect against this kind of threat so your best defense is to be informed and be prepared.

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Save Rural Broadband!

How important is your High Speed Internet to you, your family, your business, your community? Did you know that new government rules proposed by the FCC could impact your access to broadband Internet service in rural Montana? Please get involved and send a letter to your members of congress by visiting www.saveruralbroadband.org. Spread the word!

Save Rural Broadband Image

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Roger Ebert calls this "The Greatest Music Video Ever Made." It's also the largest and longest LipDub video to date. Filmed in downtown Grand Rapids, it involved 5,000 residents and was created in response to the Newsweek article calling Grand Rapids a "dying city." Even if you only watch part of it, you'll find it fun and inspiring.

 

You've never seen a seatbelt commercial quite like this one. It's been described as "the most beautiful seatbelt advocacy commercial ever" and for good reason; the unique imagery is both compelling and thought provoking. Take a minute to watch it and then share it with someone you care about.