Handy Andy

On Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017 the nation and globe celebrated Safer Internet Day. This is a day where organizations from around the world work to make the internet a safer place for children and parents alike by raising awareness on certain issues. Twenty years ago, the family computer was in the living room for everyone to use, now in modern days’ kids carry their internet in their pockets via the iPhone and android mobile devices. As such, extra precautions are necessary for a #saferinternetday.

Parents, it is important to have frequent discussions on what is appropriate and what is safe. On the internet, anonymity is your ally and dearest friend. No one has any right to any details about you. While on Facebook and other sites a scary amount of data is collected, one must remember most things are added by individuals and if you type it, it is permanent. Be wise in what you put online because it may come back one day. Only share info on trusted verified sites, that you navigated to with a purpose.

One of the most frustrating scams I have come across is the more and more common threat of “scareware.” As people get more savvy to pop-ups and virus threats, malicious companies are pushing to make viruses more ‘legitimate’ looking I’ve even seen false software with Microsoft logos! You wouldn’t accept food from a stranger off the street without question, so why do we do this with software updates? Computers don’t diagnose themselves with problems and provide only one route to a solution. The FBI and FTC note that the scareware scam has many variations, there are some telling signs that what popped up isn’t legitimate. Keep an eye out for ads claiming, they will “delete viruses or spyware” or “Speed your computer up.” You may get “alerts” about “malicious software.” You can get pop ups that claim everything is ‘out of date’ and your computer is facing impending doom!

Just relax, realize that hackers want you to panic, they want you to call their phishing phone number, they want you to make quick decisions that will make your pc more vulnerable. Never click the x or close button on these popups. Instead press these keys in unison Ctrl + Alt + Delete open your task manager and end the task manually. If a popup is incessant than it might be wise to shut down your pc. Remember it is always wise to have a trusted virus protection software like “McAfee” or “Avast”. Also, it is a good idea to use a browser that lets you install an adblocker like, ‘adblock plus’ or ‘ublock origin’. Google chrome is my preferred internet browser.   

The internet is vast and full of bad users with malintent. That doesn’t mean that together we can’t practice safe ‘interneting’ and get as much value from it as possible without exposing ourselves to undue danger.

Any questions, feel free to email Andy Wilder at handyandywilder@gmail.com

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