Computer Help for Seniors and Other Newbies

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Antiphishing tips

Here are 10 antiphishing tips from Cloudmark, in association with Carnegie Mellon University:

1. Do not open e-mails from unknown senders. (Spam e-mails can contain reply scripts that inform spammers that your e-mail account is active and that you click links.) Instead, delete and expunge them from your inbox.
2. Do not assume the e-mail came from the person in the "from" field of the e-mail. E-mail addresses are often and easily spoofed.
3. Never open an unsolicited attachment or click a link without verifying the sender.
4. Do not enter personal information on Web pages unless you know the site and it is necessary. You should also avoid putting personal information (for instance, phone number, snail address, social security numbers, and so forth) on social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook. The more personal information you put on the Web, the easier it is to steal your identity.
5. Choose different passwords between school applications, social nets, banks, and so on. and change them every 6 to 12 months.
6. E-mail claiming that there is a problem with an account, that you owe money, or that you are owed money, should be validated with a phone call or an e-mail to the appropriate party. Never use the information in the e-mail for contacting the party, look it up yourself.
7. Use an alternate e-mail address for your banking information that you do not share elsewhere. This will help you to avoid confusion when receiving inbound e-mails regarding banking accounts and also better protect your personal information.
8. Set up a spam filter that will weed out e-mails with malicious coding (designed to infiltrate or damage your computer without your consent).
9. College students and faculty should install protection software before they get to campus. Students bring laptops infected with all sorts of contagions to the interior campus network, circumventing all firewalls and edge defenses.
10. Be proactive and stay aware of current e-mail scams. Many educational institutions and IT publications report on current trends and spreading e-mails scams.

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