Sunday, October 5, 2008

7 Stupid Online Security Mistakes You're Probably Making

A new study National Cyber Security Alliance says that you're probably making one of these 7 stupid mistakes when it comes to your own online security. The study shows that when Symantec, polled 3,000 online users and scanned the computers of 400 of them, 81 percent of respondents said they were using a firewall, but only 42 percent indeed had a firewall installed on their computer. Whoops.
Consumer Reports posted a list of 7 common online security mistakes that you might be making — and assuming you were protected was #1. Now, we know our readers aren't making these mistakes because they are so responsible and awesome, but maybe you have a family member who keeps sending money to Nigeria and wondering why Bank of America keeps emailing when they don't have an account. Maybe you could send this their way?
7. Shopping online like you do in stores.
Avoid using a debit card and always look for the "https" in the website's address. You can get a virtual account number from your credit-card company. It’s good for only one purchase from a specific vendor.
6. Clicking on a pop-up that tells you your PC is secure.
CR's survey showed "that 13 percent of respondents who saw such a pop-up tried to close it but launched it instead; 3 percent clicked on a pop-up and got a malware infection." Block pop-ups and/or be very careful to click the X, not the ad.
5. Thinking your Mac protects you from everything.
Mac users fall prey to phishing scams at about the same rate as Windows users, says CR.
4. Downloading Free Software.
"Fish-tank screen savers and smiley faces" are the enemy of everything good in the world. Download software from reputable sites (, and check out our sister site Lifehacker to see if they have any recommendations.
3. Using one password for everything.
Dumb! Here's some advice for creating and managing good passwords.
2. Accessing your account through email links.
Don't do this. Don't. Please stop. Stop! CR says: No matter how official an e-mail message looks, trying to access a financial account by clicking on embedded Web links is risky. If the e-mail message is fraudulent, a cybercriminal could use the account number and password you enter to steal your identity or empty your bank account.
1. Assuming your security software is working.
CR says: "Renew the subscription when the software prompts you. Make sure your security software is active when you’re online and that it has been updated within the past week or so."
Read the full article here. Consumer Reports

How Many?

Leave your answer in comments.

Couple was told they were too heavy for plane take off

A British couple who was told they were too heavy for their plane to take off have lost a collective 172 pounds since the embarrassing incident.
Alan Coupe, 54, and his wife Jan, 49, were seated in the back of the plane on an April, 2005, flight. A flight attendant asked one of them to move to even out the weight on the plane so that the aircraft could take off.
The stewardess asked one of us to get up and move to the front, so Alan volunteered to move which I was thankful about as I was so embarrassed I just couldn't look up. We couldn't believe that we were too heavy for the plane to take off."
"It was a decent-sized plane full of passengers so it was devastating to be told that even a big plane like that couldn't cope with all our weight being at the back," she said.
The plane fiasco sparked the couple’s motivation to lose weight. They said they joined a diet club soon after and Alan has since lost 83 pounds while Jan has lost 89 pounds.
"I don't feel embarrassed about getting on a plane anymore — we all feel so great we could fly around the world now without a hitch," Jan Coupe said.

Orphaned baby orangutans

The mode of transport could best be described as basic.
But these eight young orangutans can hardly complain - as the purpose of their trip is to secure their survival.
Orphaned by Man's folly, they are unable to rely on their parents to teach them the ways of the animal world. So every day at the rescue center which is their home, they are wheeled into the forest to learn.
Gilly Lloyd, who runs the project for Borneo Orangutan Survival International, said: 'We keep them for up to eight years.
Most of them are found as orphaned babies and have to be totally rehabilitated with 24-hour care. Every day they go into the forest to learn how to be orangutans.
Good Cause
To learn more about orangutans and how you can help protect them, please visit the Orangutan Outreach website. Orangutan Outreach is the official US-based frundraiser for the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation and Nyaru Menteng. The orangutans need your help!
Richard Zimmerman Director
Orangutan Outreach
Reach out and save the orangutans!

Siamese twin fish conjoined at the stomach

Believe it or not: These fish really are conjoined twins
It is so rare that you would think Siamese twin fish attached at the stomach would never survive.
But at eight months old, these two Nile Tilapia fish in Thailand have found the perfect way to cope with life upside down ... or the right way up if you're the lucky twin.
The Nile Tilapia fish is a common freshwater species found in tropical rivers, canals, lakes and ponds but these two were found in a Bangkok aquarium.
The fish can reaches a maximum of 2ft in length and can weigh up to 9lb.
Originally from waters stretching from Africa to the Cape Horn, the fish was introduced to freshwater irrigation systems so as to fight algae growth but has now become a pest.

A to Z

Ammon Shea left with onomatomania after reading Oxford dictionary from A to Z
By any sane reckoning Ammon Shea is a vocabularian – one who pays too much attention to words.
In a single, grueling year, the sometime furniture removal man, busker and gondolier from New York has read the entire 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary from cover to cover.
He has returned from his adventure in the far reaches of the English language with a rich harvest of obscure and forgotten words to share: indispensable gems such as "deipnophobia" (fear of dinner parties) or "apricity" (the warmth of the sun in winter). In return he suffered back pain, problems with his sight and constant headaches.