Secure Your Facebook Account

A year ago our good friend, Seth, circulated instructions on how to keep your Facebook (FB) account secure.  Since then FB has made many changes to their user interface and is continuously updating its information.

We re-tested some of these instructions and are passing them on to you.  If you are interested in securing your FB account and keeping some privacy, then follow these step-by-step instructions.

1.  YOUR FRIENDS LIST

You cannot prevent your friends from seeing your friends list, but you can prevent non-friends from seeing your friends list.

On the top right click on your name to go to your Wall page.  On your Wall page at the center left you will see a pencil icon next to Edit Profile, select this and you will see a list on the left side.  Select Friends and Family and select “Friends” from the drop-down menu.  Save Changes once done.

2.  YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION

In the same way you secured your Friends List, select Contact Information from Edit Profile.  I recommend you set all fields to “Only Friends” or “Only Me” depending on the information, unless you want some information to be open to “Public”.  Save Changes once done.

3.  REMOVE ANY BAD APPS AND ADJUST PRIVACY

If you have added some FB apps, you may want to undo that.  You may not have known this, but FB apps require access to all of your data and in some instances to your friends and family data.  You want to secure all data and apps-related activity from being publicly available.  You don’t know who wrote some of these apps or what they are doing with your information.  Some of the apps could actually be viruses.

To change this, on the top right select Account Settings from the drop-down menu next to Home.  On the list to the left, select Apps to see all applications authorized for your FB account.  First, if you see any apps you don’t want to have access to your profile, select X next to Edit in order to remove it.  Next go through each app one by one by selecting Edit next to each one and set App activity privacy to “Friends” or “Only Me.”  Under This app can, determine which ones you want to keep…for example, you may want to “Remove” ones that publish information as “You” directly to your wall, or access your data any time telling everyone each thing you are doing.  Can you believe it!!

4.  PASSWORDS

FB accounts get hacked into frequently.  One of the reasons any account gets hacked into is because weak passwords are used.  A secure password should be at least six digits long and composed of numbers and letters.  Read our Computer Tip on how to Secure Passwords for guidance, which includes two recommended password management tools.

FB changes their user interface often so don’t be surprised if these steps change over time.  I am available for any questions on Skype: patient.computer.tutor or Email.

David Goes has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services and computer industry.  He holds a Bachelors degree in MIS with cum laude designation.  His expertise is in providing computer solutions that deliver business value and personal efficiency through database management, computer optimization, website design, and internet marketing.

 

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Fixing the “XP Internet Security 2010″ Warning

There are many different types of malicious software that at first glance appear harmless. And it seems they appear at the same time that a problem is occurring on your PC. This is no coincidence, but a well-thought trick to get people to separate themselves from their money.

XP Internet Security 2010 is that type of situation and it is very tricky. Here’s what happens: A pop-up window shows up appearing to scan your computer and detecting viruses along the way. After the scan is complete it quotes a price to pay to rid yourself of all the viruses it discovered.

It is important to note XP Internet Security 2010 is a cover-up for many Trojan viruses in itself. It can make it impossible to work when having pop-ups show all over your monitor until you throw your hands in the air and begin to scream.

In trying to remove this malicious software it will sink its teeth into the desktop and not permit you to open up any program or file you have a link to.

This is not for the faint of heart. To fix this problem it is important to have more than one computer to crack this puzzle. Also, it helps to have someone that has some fair amount of computer debugging skills. If you feel you are able, then click here to try these steps and safely remove it.

The battle begins and we will always stand victorious when it comes to this nonsense. Do not fall for the “XP Internet Security 2010″ trickster.

Please call us if you are having this problem or something similar to it. I am available for any questions on Skype: patient.computer.tutor or email: [email protected]

David Goes has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services and computer industry. He holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Information Systems with cum laude designation. His expertise is in providing computer solutions that deliver business value and personal efficiency through database management, computer optimization, and online marketing.

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Safety Tips for Online Banking

A lot of people use online banking to save time, or for convenience. It is one less thing to do on the list. There are security precautions to take, however, if this is your permanent banking method. Try the following four (4) tips below to check the authenticity of the bank’s site.

1. Minimize the page with a virtual keyboard if your bank provides one.  If the virtual keyboard minimizes with the page, this is correct and the website is authentic. If the virtual keyboard does not minimize with the page, then the site has been pirated. This means that it is a bogus website. Do not attempt to click or enter any information on the site.  It is recommended that you report it to your banking representative.

2. Enter an incorrect password the first time.  In other words, do not enter your correct password at login. This is done to determine the authenticity of the website. If you see an error message after entering the incorrect password, then you can be sure the website is not a bogus one because most bank systems try to verify the password entered.  At this point, it is safe to enter your correct password. If you do not see an error message after entering the incorrect password, then this is a bad sign.  Pirated websites have no way of checking the information you enter, and their aim is only to capture the password.

3. Make sure the bottom of the page has a padlock icon if your bank provides one. Try to click twice on the icon.  A small message window with information about the authenticity of the site should appear.  In some pirate sites an image of a padlock icon may appear, but it is just an image and clicking twice on it does nothing.

4. The last tip is to check the bank’s site address in your internet browser.  The bank site should begin with “https” versus the normal “http”.  The “s” indicates that you are accessing a secure site. See my computer tip on HTTP.

These four small tips are simple steps to take, and can help to ensure that you do not fall victim to online banking fraud.

I am available for any questions on Skype: patient.computer.tutor or email: [email protected]

David Goes has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services and computer industry. He holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Information Systems with cum laude designation. His expertise is in providing computer solutions that deliver business value and personal efficiency through database management, computer optimization, and online marketing.

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Beware of Internet Security Essentials

Internet Security Essentials…sounds like a necessary thing to have for your computer.  It also sounds very familiar with another program called Microsoft Security Essentials which is a pretty good and free, legitimate anti-virus program.

However, Internet Security Essentials is quite different. Unlike Microsoft Security Essentials, it is a rouge program which you might notice at first as an annoying pop-up claiming to identify and clean your computer.  But what it really does is creep into your system to try and get you to purchase it by pretending to scan your system and identify different viruses.  Then it presents itself as the solution to all the problems it has identified.

This can be very convincing when you are trying to keep your records clean, and the small cost to purchase may seem logical.  However, since you did not permit this application to be loaded on your system, this should be the first sign that something doesn’t smell right.

If you try to ignore these pop-ups, chances are they will pop up again and again.  And with time it will prevent you from using the internet even though you have a good internet connection.  As time proceeds it will plant some real viruses in your system and make it harder to work with.  The quicker you deal with this pest, the better.

  1. Step one is to uninstall it from the Add/Remove Programs section in your Control Panel.
  2. Then go to Internet Explorer and choose Tools from menu, then Internet Options, then the Connections tab.
  3. From there click on the “LAN settings” button, then uncheck the box under “Proxy Server”, and make sure there is a check in the box above called “Automatically detect settings”.
  4. Click Ok to exit LAN settings, and Ok again to exit Internet Options.
  5. Restart your computer.  Things should work normal again.

MalwareBytes is a good scanner to run when this happens to clean out any other gremlins.  The quick scan in this program should do the trick.

As far as Microsoft Security Essentials, I recommend it for anyone with a faster and newer computer.

Hope this article was helpful.  I am available for any questions on Skype: patient.computer.tutor or email: [email protected]

Best of luck and good computing to all of you.

David Goes has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services and computer industry.  He holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Information Systems with cum laude designation.  His expertise is in providing computer solutions that deliver business value and personal efficiency through database management, computer optimization, and online marketing.

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HTTP versus HTTPS

In this world of uncertainty many times we are made to worry about so many things that we don’t know whether to turn right or left.  This is further compounded if we are new or in the process of learning how to use the personal computer and the internet.

Some tips were shared to me on how to keep your personal and financial information safe.  And avoid major problems.

Which websites are safe and which are not?

  1. HTTP stands for Hypertext Transport Protocol, which is just a fancy way of saying it’s a protocol (a language, in a manner of speaking) for information to be passed back and forth between web servers and clients.  The important thing is the letter S which makes the difference between HTTP and HTTPS.  The S (big surprise) stands for “Secure”.
  2. If you visit a site, look at the address in the web browser.  It will likely begin with the following: http://.  This means that the website is talking to your browser using the regular ‘unsecured’ language.  In other words, it is possible for someone to “eavesdrop” on your computer’s conversation with the website.
  3. Without an S at the end, any information you provide when filling out forms online may be seen by someone else. This is why you never, ever enter your credit card number in an http website!
  4. But if the web address begins with https://, that basically means your computer is talking to the website in a secure code that no one can eavesdrop on. This is so important when a website asks to enter your credit card information.
  5. Make it a practice to automatically see if the web address begins with https://.

Feel free to share this with others to help all of us feel a little more at ease.  I am always available on Skype: patient.computer.tutor for any questions.  Or you can email me directly at: [email protected].  

David Goes has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services and computer industry.  He holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Information Systems with cum laude designation.  His expertise is in providing computer solutions that deliver business value and personal efficiency through database management, computer optimization, and online marketing.

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Secure Online Passwords

Most hackers can break into your computer without using any impressive programming skills.  A lot of people use their name, pet name, home phone number, or simple words like “password.”

If you have a very simple password, then a hacker can hack your computer very easily by trying to guess your password.  To safe guard your personal computer from these guys there is a very simple way to create a tricky password.

Below are some steps to make your passwords difficult to guess:

  • Try to use the max number of characters allowed in your password

This is the simplest method because the longer the password the more difficult it is to guess.  Or make an effort to exceed the minimum required.

  • Combine lower-case and upper-case letters in your password

Most PC users apply only lower-case letters to their passwords, but it is best to use the combination of both upper and lower-case.  Doing so will make it much more difficult to crack.

  • Combine letters and numbers in your password

When you mix both letters and numbers it makes your password incomprehensible, and places the odds in your favor because most just use letters or just numbers.

  • Try not to use the name of any family member in your password

The name of your child, spouse, pet, city, or country are easy to guess if anybody knows you and your family.

  • Password management and encrypting software

If coming up with your own password is too time-consuming, there are many software tools that help you generate and manage your passwords.  Some of them are free and most are inexpensive for the security and peace of mind they provide.

  1. PC Tools Password Generator is a password generator that you can download for free.
  2. Roboform is an inexpensive way to manage and/or encrypt your passwords, with excellent features such as the ability to automatically fill forms for you when you apply to a certain membership website or online purchases.  It is a great time saver.  Look for programs such as these to rid yourself of the headache of remembering and maintaining passwords.

If you would like more information on how to secure your passwords, I am always available on skype for any questions or technical assistance.  My skype name is: patient.computer.tutor

David Goes has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services and computer industry.  He holds a Bachelors degree in computer information systems with cum laude designation.  His expertise is in providing computer solutions that deliver business value and personal efficiency through database management, computer optimization, and online marketing.

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Computer Tip – IE or Mozilla?

I have been advising my clients to do this for years, and now on ABC News they announced that your passwords may not be safe using Internet Explorer (IE).

IE has been the main highway for internet traffic for years.  Since it is well-traveled by the majority of people, hackers, spammers, and malicious software developers have found it a great place to fish for personal and financial information which they in turn can sell or wreak havoc on your privacy.

It is prudent to take the road less traveled in this case.  Mozilla offers the most advanced online protection.

To install Mozilla Firefox click on Free Download and follow the instructions.  It takes only a minute!

I am available for any questions or if you need technical help, feel free to contact me.

David Goes has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services and computer industry.  He holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Information Systems with cum laude designation.  His expertise is in providing computer solutions that deliver business value and personal efficiency through database management, computer optimization, and online marketing.

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