Be prudent with on-line holiday shopping!

With the holiday season fast upon us, we felt it timely to review on-line safety measures:

  • Install a firewall to protect your information.    A firewall can be thought of as a traffic cop: it blocks traffic or permits traffic.    A firewall, when used properly, can prevent access by unauthorized external attempts to connect to your computer.  Install a firewall and keep it ENABLED.
  • Install reputable anti-spam and anti-virus software.    Most reputable anti-spam software programs today are also programmed to identify known spyware, possible malware threats and viruses, which could contain Trojan horses as well.    Many threats are delivered by email, specifically spam.    A good anti-spam program will help reduce your risk of inadvertently opening an email that contains a threat.


  • Keep your anti-virus, firewall and operating systems updated.   Set your computer to update the Windows system automatically for critical updates.   


  • Be certain of BOTH the source AND content of each file you download! Don’t download an executable program just to “check it out.”   
  • Be cautious of dealing with pop-ups.   This is a perfect place to plant a virus or Trojan program.    You never know who wrote the program, or that person’s intent.    If you don’t know the supplier, do not allow it to run or install!
  • Backup your system!    One of the best ways to protect yourself in the result of a virus attack is to have a clean set of backup disks/tapes/CDs that will fully restore your system (without the virus) and the applications you are using
  • Turn off your computer when not in use.    If you are not connected to the Internet, because your computer is off, you cannot be infected, hacked or hijacked.
  • Use common sense.    When in doubt, assume the unknown attachment is a virus.    Pay attention to virus alerts.    Don’t even consider trying to outsmart those who have created these malicious programs.    Reconsider storing personal information in your computer.   Instead, transfer it to a CD and use the CD when you need the information.    This is especially true of passwords, Social Security Numbers, tax and financial records.

Identity thieves are on the prowl this holiday season.  For more information on how to protect your identity, please visit

by hvshred