7th District

United States Coast Guard Auxiliary
Flotilla 14-8
Seventh District
Serving Area North Florida and The St Johns River
From Downtown to the Shands Bridge

United States Coast Guard Auxiliary

Computer and Internet Security Tips

Useful information to help your computer run smoothly and safely

Computer Security Alert : Updated 5-25-2011
A new very damaging "Fake Computer Recovery" program seems to be circulating the Internet which can be very destructive to your computer files. Quite possibly one source is Google search results. (the infection does not come from Google itself, but from ads designed to pop up when popular search terms are entered into Google. For the time being, (May/June 2011) I am suggesting using Bing or Yahoo for Internet Searches.

The first indication of infection is a Windows error message concerning the Hard Drive.  This error looks surprisingly real. For the time being, I would not trust any message concerning a Hard Drive, SATA, or IDE problem.

The "Fake Anti-Virus" and now the Fake System or File Recovery  program is one of the most common malicious software infections the average computer user will be exposed to. This requires heightened awareness by all Internet users.

Click Here To Find Out How To Recognize This New Virus, and Protect Your Computer From Infection.

Protecting Yourself and Your Computer From Malicious or Unscrupulous Software Infections, Scams and Cyber-Crime

As our computers become more and more integrated into our daily lives, it is more important than ever to be aware of how to protect your computer, your personal information and your pocket book from those people who have found the computer a great tool for criminal and unscrupulous behavior. You can easily protect yourself from Cyber-Crime by being aware of how it occurs and the tools that you have at your disposal to protect your computer. The good news is these tools are free. You can easily keep your computer secure without spending additional money.

1. Software Updates:

It is very important that you allow new software updates to be installed as the software in your computer announces that an update is available. The manufacturers of the software in your computer regularly write updates to the programs to fix security problems and patch vulnerabilities in the software that the bad guys use to do bad things to your computer. The most important programs to keep up to date are:

- Microsoft Windows (your operating system). Regardless of which version of Windows you have,
  Windows comes with a feature called "Automatic Update". Microsoft issues updates almost weekly.
  you will often see a message pop up that "Updates are ready for your computer,  Click to install".
  You should have these updates added as often as Microsoft announces that they are available.
  To check if your Windows is up to date Click Here

- Internet Explorer or any other Internet Browser that you use. Microsoft makes major changes
  to Internet Explorer every couple of years. Installing this update is usually optional, but it is
  important that you don't let the version of Internet Explorer that you use get too old. Internet
  Explorer version 6 is no longer safe Internet Browsing. IE versions 7 and 8 have enhanced security
  features that protect your computer from malicious attacks and hackers.

- Adobe Reader. The bad guys have found ways to deliver malicious software by inserting the viruses
  into PDF files which many computer users use every day. Adobe frequently updates their program to
  guard against these types of infections.  Apply these updates as Adobe announces that they are
  available. At the time if this writing Adobe Reader version 9 is the latest. If you are using an earlier
  version click here to get the latest.

- JAVA is a common Internet language that makes websites work. Updates to JAVA are issued every
  couple of weeks. Let your computer install these updates as they come  available.

2. Anti-Virus Software: (the links below will allow you to review and download the described programs
                                              if you need Free Virus Protection)

The cost of anti-virus software is no excuse to go without protection because there are many free anti-virus programs available to you. Many new computers come with a trial version of popular anti-virus. Typically after 30 to 90 days the trial ends and the program requests a payment for the next 12 months of automatic protection. If this cost keeps you from having up to date virus protection, then you should un-install the trial software and download one of the many free anti-virus packages available.

 My favorite is  "Microsoft Security Essentials". This is program that I use myself. I've seen this program stop most virus infections dead in their tracks before they have an opportunity to infect the computer. It is the most effective virus prevention program that I have ever used.

AVAST is another good Free anti virus program. Avast only requires that you register the product with a valid email address in order to keep the program free.

"AVG Free Anti-Virus". AVG free automatically updates every day and automatically scans for viruses weekly. AVG does not slow down the computer as some of the more popular "paid total security" packages do. Click the link above to download this program, choose the "Basic Free Protection"

AVIRA offers a highly rated free antivirus program. Although highly rated and very effective, AVIRA's free protection includes up a pop up advertisement to purchase it's "Comprehensive Protection" once per day.