Safety tips to avoid spams

Hi all,  lately, I’ve been getting so many spam e-mails …from my friends’ accounts.   Sad that their accounts have gotten hacked..   and it makes me protect my own accounts even more.

As they say..  your account getting hacked is not just a possibility..but a certainty.  It’s a matter of when!   (I got hacked a number of years ago..  PC was so corrupted..I lost 3-4 years of work..  Then started to back up everything…and also every year, invested in a proper firewall software!)

So here are some personal tips that I myself have thought about and think is valuable.   Ya know what..I have made these mistakes myself..and have learnt from them..  🙂

Be safe!

here are some steps I thought would be useful for us all:
(Not all these will be applicable to all).

1.  Keep your firewall & virus-protection softwares installed AND regularly (almost daily) updated. Hundreds of new trojan & viruses are created and released by hackers every day – for fun or to exploit or to make a statement.

2.  When using your own mobile devise (phones, ipads, e-book readers, blackberry etc)…and accessing the internet / e-mails/ social networks…from cafe’s, shops, global hot-spots, wi-fi etc in shopping centres etc… be very careful. Anyone with a half-decent scanning software can intercept and copy your codes/passwords.. !

3.  When actually using other computers – in shops, cafe’s, work-places… where you are using another computer on an open network, becareful. If you can, avoid using external computers to check your private e-mails.. and if you must, clear the browser of your browsing history/cookies/ passwords [some external networked computers don’t allow this…in which case you are bug***d!]

4. Always log in and LOG-OUT from any online e-mail and social network systems …after using them for the moment. [**even if it is your own home computer!**] This is where people go wrong more than half the time. Yahoo, hotmail, googlemail..etc and twitter/facebook are all online log-in sites that work on a browser software – such as internet explorer / netscape or Google chrome!
– The point is, longer you have your account logged in…more exposed your account is for hackers to have a go…and sooner or later ..they will crack it. (Applies when you log in to use it, then go off to watch tv, take a shower, cook, have long phone calls… or just leave it on and go out for the day..).
-It doesn’t matter if you have the best firewall… log-out when you have finished. Re-logging takes a few key-strokes and few seconds…but saves your account!!

5. Protect your self…and you are protecting your friends! Remember, in your address book, there may be many hundreds of e-mail lists. One vulnerable account can expose hundreds of other people’s accounts!

6. When sending mass e-mails to people, groups,….please `blind carbon copy’ (Bcc) all their e-mails.. so each person on that list knows it’s coming from you…but can not know who else you copied it to. And if their account gets hacked, they can’t expose all those other people.. (bit like witchcraft.. don’t expose your friends to the world).

7. Don’t buy cheap virus/firewall software… Get a decent one like..Norton or McAfey etc.. And regardless of what other `experts (?)’ say, don’t upload a free firewall..from the internet. Nothing in the world is truly free. Chances are those free softwares have some flaws, or don’t have support or daily updates. So they become out of date from the moment you start using them!!

8. If you see a strange e-mail, with no subject matter …or one that does not seem relevant, DON’T open it.. and if you have to open it… don’t click on any links!

9. Finally, Spammers are even setting up very clever paypal/bank/e-bay like domain names (with just one tiny spelling change…which on a quick look …seems like the genuine thing).
example:
http://www.e-bayi.com has an extra i at the end..which can seem like your eye is splaying tricks..so you ignore it. Those mails ask you to check your account…`because of a security issue’ etc (very clever in panicking you!). If you just HOVER over the link they show, you can see…on the bottom of the browser..what that link really is. This is because anyone can type a link address.. but put a real link to go somewhere else (often to a spam/harvest site).
Here’s an example
www.pflondon.org is a web address..but I have put a link in it to actually go to my blog (where this safety guide is also blogged). (just click it and you’ll see! 🙂
Spammers and hackers are 1000 times more clever than this!

Take care

-Mani

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