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Anonymous Browsing

First, in the spirit of full disclosure, here is a small sample of what your computer just told us about you.

YOUR IP ADDRESS IS NOW LISTED AS: 3.239.129.91 (click here for details), the last page you visited was located at (should be blank), and you are using a browser which identifies itself as CCBot/2.0 (https://commoncrawl.org/faq/). If the idea of any website being able to gather that kind of information about you (and that is a very small part of what can be learned), then you may be concerned about your personal privacy. Click the link below to try this page in total anonymity. Once you get to that page, you might notice that your IP address (your virtual address on the Internet) will have changed. Your browser will have Java/ActiveX/etc. artificially disabled, so everything will look completely different. However, you will be invisible to us (and everyone else). You, in effect, will have vanished, as far as websites (servers) are concerned. You can continue to browse the Internet from there using the black top frame text box (provided by our trusted affiliate, Secure Tunnel). Use your browser's back button to return here.

Your Computer:

  • Use hard drive encryption software to keep your data completely secure.
    • Need some free encryption software? Visit our Downloads area.
  • When deleting any sensitive information from your computer, always use a third-party deletion program to ensure that the data is not recoverable. These programs write over data many times to ensure that once it is deleted, it cannot be recovered.
    • Need some free anti-spyware software? Visit our Downloads area.
  • Always use a shredder when disposing of any printed documents that contains any information about you. Hackers and identity thieves almost always begin with information they recovered from your garbage can.

The Internet:

  • It is fairly safe to browse online stores, make selections for your virtual shopping cart, create a username and password, and even share an email address with merchants. However, NEVER begin the check-out process (where you have to share real information about yourself, your home, your bank account, etc.), on any site that you have not investigated fully, nor one whose address does not begin with https: (rather than http:). The https: prefix indicates that it is a encrypted and secure website. An honest and legitimate online merchant or transaction server will also make their certifications and credentials available for you to check and validate at any point in the transaction.
  • If you use a wireless network in your home or business, make sure that it is encrypted by your router, and secured by password. Please follow this link for more information. Unsecured wireless access points can be discovered, and easily exploited, by just driving past your home in with a laptop. Thieves can rob you blind without ever entering your house. Get serious about securing your wireless networks; thieves are serious about exploiting them.
  • Do you like to use the free wireless access at your local coffee shop? Great. Just DO NOT send email, visit sites that require your username/password, or make financial transactions of any kind, while using a public access point. Please follow this link for more information. The reasons are the same as those above. You have been warned. That person sitting across the cafe isn't smiling at you because they like you.
  • Do you ever use public computers, like at a library or printing house? Fine. But it is very easy for someone to install a program called a keylogger, which records every keystroke made while it is on, and is totally invisible to the user. Criminals install them on every public computer they can, and then later return and harvest your information. Please follow this link for more information.
  • If you are a broadband or cable "always on" Internet user, always run a dedicated firewall program to prevent unauthorized access to your computer...

Viruses:

  • Never, never, browse the Internet, nor check your email, without first insuring that your anti-virus program is running properly, and that is was updated today.

Spyware:

  • Never browse the Internet, nor check your email, without first insuring that your anti-spyware software is running properly, and that it was updated within the last week.

Email:

  • If any company sends you an unsolicited e-mail with a link or form saying that your account has been compromised, that you have been suspended for suspicious activity, or asking to verify or update personal information (credit card, passwords, Social Security Number, etc.), never, NEVER use the link in the e-mail; instead manually go to the website. In almost all cases these are phishing scams that lure people to "clone websites" and steal your personal information. Financial institutions know, as you should, that sensitive data becomes very vulnerable when sent by email.
  • In addition, I have bad news for you. Despite what that email says, you did not win the Irish/Italian/etc. lottery today. Furthermore, that is not an incredibly hot stock tip that you just received, hot singles in your area are not looking for you (although sometimes third-world brides are), medications purchased on the Internet are generally useless fakes (and likely to be dangerous), and a true board-certified plastic surgeon does not need to use spam email to advertise to people like you and me to undergo an enhancement in the size of our various sexual parts.

Passwords:

  • Use a wide variety of different passwords that are alpha-numeric and have 10 or more characters.
  • Do not use personal information for passwords (like your birthday or children's names). This enables them to be guessed.
  • Keep a physical password "master list" so you can keep track all of them.

Java:

  • For maximum security when browsing, turn off Java (not JavaScript) in your web browser. Of course, this is not always desirable; Java applets and JavaScript code provides a rich and interactive Internet experience. However, be forewarned that Java applets can be used to circumvent secure proxy connections, and distribute your personal information to third parties.

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