Announcement: Internet Safety is Not About Technology

Internet safety and security is an extremely important issue that should be addressed by every parent, and is rapidly becoming one of the toughest issues facing parents today. It is an important worldwide concern for children, teenagers, and adults. Governments are getting involved. (in my opinion that is not a good thing, but that is a different topic)

Internet safety is not about technology, it is about the safe and legal use of the internet. It’s about the people you meet, the places you go, and the things you see on the internet. It is important for kids to know who is out there on the internet, where they like to hide, and what they want from you. Many young people have experienced grooming by predator pedophiles, solicitation of personal information, cyber bullying by peers, or have been shocked by filthy online content that just a few years ago couldn’t be found in the sleaziest adult magazines.

Internet Filtering is like a Shark Cage

Internet safety is not a luxury! You wouldn’t let a child surf in shark infested waters and you shouldn’t let them surf the internet without a “Shark Cage”.

What kind of Shark Cages are available online? Some look to accountability software for the solution, also called Internet monitoring, and there certainly is a place and time for that, but that kind of solution is more like watching your child get eaten by a shark on the 10 o’clock news before trying to do something about it.

Internet filtering is a good solution, definitely more like a shark cage; but what is to stop your child from finding a way out of the cage?

The combination of both Internet filtering and Internet monitoring is the best solution. By preventing accidental viewing of filth, often caused by simple misspelling, and the intentional attempts to bypass the filter through monitoring, you can effectively illuminate most of the dangers of the internet. Any further dangers can and should be eliminated through open discussion and communication about what information is permissible to give out and what isn’t. The fact that the computer is being monitored should be fully disclosed to all users.  The benefit of monitoring is to improve behavior not catch something after the fact. Knowing that someone is looking over your shoulder is a great help when it comes to temptation to do something that is not within the guide lines established for your safety. This will improve both Internet Safety and Security.

Check out a product that can provide both monitoring and filtering at Clean Internet.

Technorati Tags: Bypass, Children, computer, danger, Filtering, help, Internet, Internet Filter, news, Online, parents, pedophiles, Safety

Safety Online: Avoiding Scams

At times it is hard to discern between legitimate opportunities and the “too good to be true” pitch of the scam artist.  In the electronic age, it is hard to know for sure who you are dealing with online. There are various scams designed to steal your information, your money, and your integrity. It isn’t surprising, with so many opportunities available, that thousands of innocent people are taken advantage of on a daily basis.  The shame of this industry is the disgusting manipulation of people by selling them a dream rather than providing a real opportunity. Many victims of these various schemes are often left embarrassed, despised by their friends and relatives, and missing several hundred dollars from their bank accounts.  In an effort to make sure that our faithful readers do not fall victim to such dastardly traps, we have compiled some basic rules that will help identify erroneous opportunities.

Legitimate Jobs Do Not Require Your Monetary Investment.  With the decrease in employment these days, it is not unusual for people to search online for job opportunities.  The number one thing you should watch for is the requirement of personal investment in order to acquire a position. No one that is offering you a job should need your money in order to hire you.  They will keep asking you for money even after you send the initial payment that they required. There will be no easy money made and you will be out the money that you handed over to the scam artists.  I have an example of ways they will try and lure you in.  You are looking at ads for jobs online and you see one that catches your eye.  You could be a ” Secret Shopper” and make tons of money only working for a few hours a week.  You need no experience or education.  Your reply to the e-mail listed on the add and ask for more information.  The “company” replies saying that you will be required to visit a local store each day and make a purchase and turn in a report about your experience.   In order to get started you need to send them $19.95 to the address listed below and they will certify you to become a “secret shopper.” Watch Out; this is a Scam!  There are secret shopper businesses out there, but it is unnecessary to pay money to anyone to get into the secret shopper business.  The Federal Trade Commission has a link on there site of legitimate places to apply to become a secret shopper, but you are not going to make the great amounts of money with little effort that you are promised with this scam.

Easy Money is Not Usually Legal or Profitable.  If someone is offering you money online or through an e-mail and it seems too good to be true, it is!  This may be posed as someone who lives in another country and needs help moving money to the United States.  All you need to do is deposit the money order they send you into your account and then return a small portion of the money to another address.  You are promised to get a percent of the large sum of money.  Someone could also send you an email that you have won millions of dollars worth in a foreign lottery. All you need to do is send a few hundred dollars to retrieve it or give them your bank account information so that they can deposit it into your account.  Similar scams can be targeted toward churches or religious organizations where a unknown person contacts them from far away claiming that they have a large sum of money that they want to leave to the church. They claim they need help in moving the “gift” and require that a small sum of money to be sent ahead to cover cost and fees.  All these different scams ask for your money in order to receive a large sum in the future.  They play on peoples greed and ignorance.  People get lost in the promise of wealth to such a degree that hundreds of dollars are sent based on a ridiculous promise of thousands.  If they are not asking for money, but are sending  a large amount of money to you, chances are that they are laundering money out of the country in your name.  This is illegal and you don’t want to get involved in it. There can be serious legal consequences.

Do Not Give Out Your Personal Information Online.  Legitimate companies will not request your information, especially in an e-mail with a link.  This is called a phishing scam.  People will imitate companies by sending an official looking e-mail with a stolen logo.  They will ask an unsuspecting user to divulge passwords, credit card numbers, PINs, etc.  They usually pose as a bank or financial institute that you trust.  Your personal information may be requested to clear up a problem affecting your account. You are to follow the link on the e-mail to a phony imitation website that wants you to login with your user name and password.  If anyone e-mails you requesting your information, don’t give in.  Call the real business and verify that they are the ones sending the e-mail and you will most likely find out it will not be them. This is also good because it allows that business to alert other customers of this phishing scam.

Hopefully, I have helped you in some way to stay safe online.  If you have any advice for others on scams, please leave a comment below; It will be appreciated. Thank you!

Helen Stockman

 

5 Ways to Protect your Facebook Account

1. Do not put your full birth date in your profile. Choose “show only month and day in my profile.”
2. Edit privacy settings so that not just anyone can access your information. You can choose to allow “friends only” or “friends of friends” to be able to view you on FB.
3. Be safe with photos. Avoid tagging children’s photos. Do not put time and date with photos. Predators use any information you give them to find or lure children.
4. You can stop your FB profile from being indexed in search engines. To do this go to Account >Privacy Settings >Search > “Public Search results” > Remove mark on box. This will protect you from strangers who want to access your profile and information.
5. Change your password if it is weak. Don’t use common words found in the dictionary. Combine numbers and letters for a good password. Try and remember to change your password every few months.

Technorati Tags: Children, Facebook, predators, privacy, security

Don’t forget an Antivirus!

computervirusAn antivirus is a very important part of computer safety.  Antivirus software is used to prevent, detect, and remove malware (malicious software), including computer viruses, computer worms, trojan horses, spyware, and adware. I know that many of the things listed are complicated and most people spend little time thinking about them…except when they have found their way onto your computer.  They can disrupt or deny you access to your computer, gather personal information, and can add unwanted programs to your computer. If you already have antivirus software and it seems to not work right, check and see if you have two antiviruses downloaded on your computer.  If this is the case they will interfere with each other and neither one will work properly.  Your antivirus will attack each other thinking that they are a virus, therefore only one antivirus is needed on a computer.  If you do not have an antivirus already or are not happy with the one you have (uninstall your old one first) we have a few suggestions of antivirus software that has worked well for us. We recommend three different antivirus software companies in the order given: Avast, Microsoft Security Essentials, and AGV.  All three of these programs are compatible with our Clean Internet filter.  As for ease of use, I would give it an A+. All you need to do is follow the easy steps on the links above and 1, 2, 3, you are ready. Just make sure you allow it to scan your computer and update when it needs to.  We have also found these three antivirus companies to be reliable.  A worry-free way to protect you computer, literally while you sleep.  The last and maybe the best reason to use these products is that they are FREE.  You are not putting out any money to try it out. If you don’t like it just uninstall it and try a different product.  There are antivirus companies that charge for there products because they usually offer a wider area of protection, but as a normal homeowner all the protection you need for your computer is offered through these free products. If you think that your computer is acting strange and might already have malware or spyware harming it, I would recommend that you download Super AntiSpyware along with your antivirus software. It, too, is free and will scan your computer to find and remove any unwanted programs on your computer. If you have any questions give us a call toll free at 1-866-752-5326 or post a comment and we will try and answer it. The software downloads I mentioned today, along with a few others, are found on our homepage, http://cleaninter.net/homepage.asp, under the “suggested downloads” category. We are dedicated to keeping you safe while online.

Dangers of Sexting

cell phoneMedia has made teenagers out to be innocently expressing themselves through sexting (sending nude photos of themselves to others through text messaging.)  How dare the courts prosecute the youth as child pornography producers, is often their cry.  I have read several articles about the dangers of sexting and how the image gets spread around, kinda like a sick joke; it is even posted online for the whole world to find.  The child is supposed to have suffered enough from ridicule to be punished any farther.  If this is true, then why does this kind of behavior continue rapidly throughout our high school aged children?  Wouldn’t they learn from others mistakes?  Or better yet, wouldn’t parents learn from all the sexting scandals and control their child’s phone usage?  I believe there should be a harsher punishment implemented when authorities are aware of such behavior.

In Rhode Island, legislation has passed that makes sexting by minors illegal. “Sexting offenders can be charged with a “status” offense in Family Court; individuals adjudicated of the sexting offense cannot be prosecuted under the state’s child pornography statutes.  Those who possess, or forward, sexually explicit images of a minor other than themselves, however, can be prosecuted under the child pornography laws and, if convicted, may have to register as a sex offender.”  Other states that are known for prosecuting for sexting include Indiana, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wyoming.  I think if more states would pass a law to this affect then we would see sexting among minors drastically decreasing.  If the teens do not see the affects of being registered as a sex offender surely their parents will and hopefully will start acting like a responsible parent that is supposed to protect their child.  If we  keep treating sexting like it is no big deal and that it is just a part of growing up and learning lessons then we are teaching our children that it is okay to brake the law and we should not expect them to quit once they step into the real world as an adult. No wonder so many adults today think that they are invincible when it comes to keeping the law.

We not only need to  teach our children the importance of safety online on our computers but with the growing popularity of sexting we need to on their phone as well.

An Unconcerned World

II Timothy 3:1-7This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

I read this verse today and it reminded me of the perilous time to which we have come.  Our company, Clean Internet, seeks to keep people from the filth that is on the Internet, but it seems that so many out in the world don’t want to be kept from it. They are “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” and definitely “lovers of their own selves.”  It has been more and more prevalent that we as moral or religious families are being outnumbered or out-voted by those that are seeking their own pleasures. Have you ever reported something that you did not want your family to see or hear to the authorities or someone in charge and they looked at you like you were crazy for thinking that it was wrong or told you that there was nothing you can do about it.  It seems like society places more emphasis on the rights of those that are doing wrong and do not seem to mind that it may offend us as moral people. This is exactly the decline of society that Timothy is talking about in the last times.

The last part of this of this verse shows why we should guard our homes from these people.  “For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts.”  We do not want to be one of those “silly women” that is led away with the lusts of this world, or have someone in our family be classified in this way. The Bible tells us to turn away from people who are classified in these verses. Keep the sin of this unconcerned world out of our homes with a Christian Internet Filter.

Progression of Porn Addiction: How Did They Get That Far?

There are so many atrocious sex crimes reported that were done by people who everyone thought were respectable citizens or came from good, religious families.  I will spare you and not list the vast amount of ways these crimes are committed; you know what I am talking about if you read the news at all.  If not here are a few recent stories that will update you.

http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/police+chairman+appears+court/5056248/story.html

http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2011/jul/07/barber-imprisoned-for-child-porn-files/

http://www.fox2now.com/news/ktvi-man-gets-290-years-for-making-child-pornography-20110705,0,231033.story

http://www.jsonline.com/news/crime/124805259.html

This might be an assumption, but more than likely the fact that you are reading this article shows that you are anti-pornography.  Some may even say, I would never think of doing anything like this.  Stop and think; did anyone caught for these crimes think that they would ever get to this point? I would like to share some information about how they get to this point.  I found most of this information on sites that are trying to help those who are already addicted to pornography.  I hope to use this to warn of the danger and stop you from ever entering the progression of pornography at all.  The following includes Five Steps in the Progression of Pornography:

1. Early Exposure Pornography gets its foot in the door when curiosity is at its hight and the brain is very impressionable.

2. Addiction Their body becomes addicted to the neuro-chemical changes that are produced by the high of pornography.  At first they just keep coming back for more until it becomes a regular routine. Then they get hooked and can not quit coming back for more.

3. Escalation They no longer are gratified by the regular routine. They start looking at more and more graphic porn. Things that used to disgust them now excites them.

4. Desensitization They start becoming numb to anything they view. Even the most graphic, degrading porn doesn’t excite them anymore.  they become desperate to try anything that will bring back that same thrill again but can’t find anything.

5. Action Out They begin to leave the fantasy world to the real world.  It starts by fantasizing about raping actual woman or molesting a child.  Then they look for a scenario that fits what the porn showed. A good example of this is Ted Bundy who admitted to this process.

As you may have noticed, many porn addictions develop at an early age, usually during teen years.  Teens are easily addicted because it combines their natural curiosity, a new-found pleasurable feelings, and fear and shame. We as parents must stop our children from viewing such images and possibly acquiring a start of an addiction.  Please protect them and yourself with a Christian Internet Filter.

Protecting Your Wireless Connection

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Our home is supposed to be a place where our family feels safe.  Recently I have read about unsuspected victims of internet hackers who prey on those who have not taken the time to properly secure their wireless network in their homes.  You may have thought the same way I used to think before I was informed: “Why in the world would anyone want to hack into my network.  I have nothing from which they could gain.”  Think again.  Is there anything you do online that you would consider private (online banking, purchasing online, or confidential passwords)? These matters can be seen by someone who is maliciously intercepting your internet connection. Do you really want someone to be able to spy on you?

Besides that, there is also the fact that neighbors might be using your internet connection for their own benefit.  The speed of your internet connection will be affected by the number of people who are using your router.  If your neighbors are using your wireless connection then you are not getting the full speed for which you are paying your internet provider.

The main reason for securing your wireless network is because there maybe someone using your network to conduct illegal activity that can be traced back to your address.  What happened to a Buffalo, N.Y., man should serve as a warning to all home Wi-Fi users: Protect your wireless connection! Before things were straightened out, this innocent man was surrounded in his home by federal agents, weapons pointed at him, and accused of being a pedophile. It turns out that a neighbor was using his unprotected Wi-Fi to access child pornography.

Many people simply plug in their wireless router and begin using Wi-Fi with no thought of security.  Here are some ways to protect your unsecure network.  If you do not know how to implement these steps, ask a tech-savvy friend that you trust to put these safeties in place.  Warning: this does not allow you to let your guard up while online.  Hackers are finding new ways every day to get what they are looking for.

1. Change your default Administrator Password and Username. The default name and password are well-known by hackers.

2. Turn on Encryption (WPA is best, but WEP works too if that is what is compatible with your all your computers) This scrambles messages sent over wireless networks so that they cannot be easily read. All your computers on the network must use the same type of encryption.

3. Change the Default SSID (Network name.) Make it unique but not personal.  Hackers that see a default SSID know that the network is poorly configured and is more than likely an easy target to break into.

4. Disable SSID Broadcast. SSID Broadcast allows the wireless access point or router to broadcast the network name (SSID) over the air at regular intervals. This feature is designed for businesses and mobile hotspots which need to let their uses know when they are in range. You do not want to send out a message that your internet connection is available.

5. Do not auto-connect to open Wi-Fi Networks. Connecting to an open Wi-Fi network such as a free wireless hotspot or your neighbor’s router exposes your computer to security risks. Although not normally enabled, most computers have a setting available allowing these connections to happen automatically without notifying you (the user). This setting should not be enabled except in temporary situations.

6. Assign Static IP Addresses to Devices. Most home networkers gravitate toward using dynamic IP addresses. This means that the IP Address, (the IP Address is needed to participate on a network.) is typically assigned automatically. A dynamic IP address on an unsecure system can also supply a hacker with an IP Address.

7. Use MAC filtering. Every device on your wireless network has a unique identifier called the MAC address.  Your router keeps track of the MAC addresses of all the devices that connect to it.  Your router may offer an option to key in the MAC addresses of your home equipment, which restricts the network to only allow connections from those devices.

8. Enable Firewalls on each computer and the router. Modern network routers contain built-in firewall capability, but the option also exists to disable them. Ensure that your router’s firewall is turned on. For extra protection, consider installing and running personal firewall software on each computer connected to the router.

9. Position the router or Access Point safely and reduce your WLAN transmitter power. Wi-Fi signals normally reach to the exterior of a home. A small amount of signal leakage outdoors is not a problem, but the further this signal reaches, the easier it is for others to detect and exploit. Wi-Fi signals often reach through neighboring homes and into streets, for example. When installing a wireless home network, the position of the access point or router determines its reach. Try to position these devices near the center of the home rather than near windows to minimize leakage.  Not all wireless routers will, but some allow you lower the power of your WLAN transmitter and thus reduce the range of the signal. Although it’s usually impossible to fine-tune a signal so precisely that it won’t leak outside your home or business, with some trial-and-error you can often limit how far outside your premises the signal reaches, minimizing the opportunity for outsiders to access your WLAN.

10. Turn off the network during extended periods of non-use.. The ultimate in wireless security measures, shutting down your network will most certainly prevent outside hackers from breaking in! While impractical to turn off and on the devices frequently, at least consider doing so during travel or extended periods offline.

Hopefully this information has helped you in some way.  At Clean Internet our goal is your safety online, first of all through our internet filter.  We also have customer service available that is only a phone call or e-mail away.  Let us help you with any of your internet or computer questions.

info@CleanInternet.com

866-752-5326