Technology:Good Browsing and Email habits

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This page is a chapter in the book AusPhotography Guide to Safer Computing.
Don't use Microsoft Internet Explorer, or at least avoid it as much as possible. I use Firefox. Limit use of cookies and applets to those few sites that provide services you need. Set your browser to regularly delete cookies. Don't assume a Web site is what it claims to be, unless you've typed in the URL yourself. Make sure the address bar shows the exact address, not a near-miss.

Web sites
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption (https: sites) does not provide any assurance that the vendor is trustworthy or that its database of customer information is secure.

Think before you do business with a Web site. Limit the financial and personal data you send to Web sites--don't give out information unless you see a value to you. If you don't want to give out personal information, lie. Opt out of marketing notices. If the Web site gives you the option of not storing your information for later use, take it. Use a credit card for online purchases, not a debit card.

Turn off HTML e-mail. Don't automatically assume that any e-mail is from the "From" address.

Delete spam without reading it. Don't open messages with file attachments, unless you know what they contain; immediately delete them.
For best safety don't open cartoons, videos and similar "good for a laugh" files forwarded by your well-meaning friends; again, immediately delete them.

Never click links in e-mail unless you're sure about the e-mail; copy and paste the link into your browser instead.

Avoid Outlook or Outlook Express especially if you don't have email anti-virus capability (AVG and Avast do). A good email client is Thunderbird from the folks who gave us Firefox. Or if you want the Outlook experience Evolution maybe the answer.

If you must use Microsoft Office, enable macro virus protection; in Office 2000 and above, turn the security level to "high" and don't trust any received files unless you have to. If you're using Windows, turn off the "hide file extensions for known file types" option; it lets Trojan horses masquerade as other types of files. Uninstall the Windows Scripting Host if you can get along without it. If you can't, at least change your file associations, so that script files aren't automatically sent to the Scripting Host if you double-click them.

Online Identity
Not everyone is who they appear to be. Even on AP we get people trying to join who are not as they first appear. Due to good forum moderation these users are usually picked up and banned.

You do need to take care of your identity and think about the possibility of people not being who they say they are.

Instant messaging is another way a virus can be put on your system by a file transfer. Be sure (and careful) who you are interacting with in IM chats. Be very careful when sharing confidential or sensitive information.

Even using the Classified's section of this forum please confirm identities by telephone and other means before entering into a transaction. This is why we have the 30 day and 50 post rule to help protect members in that environment.
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