Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam

Written by computer-corner  |  17. May 2005

Welcome to the second installment of "Computer Corner". My purpose in writing this column is to help the average computer user keep their machines running smoothly. This month, I'd like to discuss "spam". No, not that infamous lunch meat, but rather unsolicited, bulk email. You know the emails I'm talking about. You look at them and say to yourself, "What the heck is that?" or "Who is that from?" If you use AOL, you can click the button that says, "Report as Spam". Other email providers have similar facilities for blocking such emails. You need to be careful, too, about viruses being transmitted via email. Any email that contains an attachment of any kind should be scrutinized. Even it if appears to be coming from one of your friends, relatives or acquaintances. Viruses are very clever, and emails can give the appearance that they are from a known user, when in reality, they are not. Make sure you have a good virus scanner running on your machine. If you use AOL, they offer free virus protection. Just go to keyword "virus" and follow the instruction to download McAfee Anti Virus software. A couple of other things to download, besides Ad-Aware (see last month's column), are Spybot and the Yahoo! Anti-Spy add-in to Internet Explorer. Visit http://www.safer-networking.org/en/download/ for the latest version of Spybot, and go to yahoo.com and follow the link at the upper right hand corner of the screen for their Anti-Spy program. Both are free and work very well. Run you anti-virus at least once a week and make sure you keep up with the updates. The same holds true for Ad-Aware, Spybot and Anti-Spy. New viruses are being created as we speak, and the software is only as good as the most recent virus definitions. Next time, we'll discuss a very specific type of spam know as "phishing" whereby a stranger will attempt to dupe you into giving them your personal information, such as account number, social security number, mother's maiden name, etc. In short, do not reply to any email that asks for personal information. If your bank or credit card company needs information from you, they will call you on the phone. Have a great month, and remember, if you've got some free time and enjoy word puzzles, check out my website, www.cryptoquote.com.

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