Having an E-mail address is important for a number of reasons, and many of the things you do online will require one. Get connected with your free E-mail account today!(more…)
Once you’ve gotten the hang of emailing, you’ll find that it’s a great way to send attachments of photos, documents, etc. to friends, family, and others. But attachments can also be an easy way for someone to send you a virus. Any time you open an e-mail attachment, there is a risk. Knowing how to recognize safe attachments and which precautions to take can help you protect your computer and most personal information.
Here are a few tips that will help keep you and your computer safe.
1. Check the sender.
Whether there’s an attachment in the email or not, messages from unknown senders can be risky. Often scammers will use safe-looking links or attachments in emails (See: How to Recognize Phishing) to steal your information. Your safest bet is to not open emails from those you don’t know. Now, if you know your daughter Linda is firstname.lastname@example.org and you’ve been expecting pictures from her, the attachment is probably safe. However, a word of caution: Even emails from people you recognize can contain viruses. If it looks suspicious at all (Is the subject line empty? Does the person’s name and email address appear as it normally does?), contact the person and ask them about the message before you open it. (See: Ways to Spot a Virus)
2. Check the file type.
Knowing which files are safe and which may be questionable can also help you when opening an attachment. The file type is at the end of the attachment name. For example, “thebeach.jpeg” is a .jpeg file, or a photo. In most cases, attached photos will have one of the following: .jpeg, .jpg, .bmp, .gif while documents generally have: .txt, .doc or .pdf. The files to watch out for include: .Exe, .Com, .Vbs. These are executable files, which means they run a program. As attachments, they are generally a risk and can cause problems. You can always search for a file type to learn more about it if you’re not sure what it is.
3. Keep updated antivirus protection on your computer.
While your family and friends won’t send you a virus on purpose, it does happen. In those cases, antivirus software can help you before there’s a major problem. Most email providers (Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, etc.) have safety features that scan your e-mail attachments for viruses before you open them. But having antivirus software on your computer can also help you scan for problems and risks. Click here to learn how to set up antivirus protection.
Phishing scams are an attempt to steal your personal and financial information. These scams typically involve email, fake web sites or pop-up messages that are used to trick you into handing over personal information such as bank account or credit card information, Social Security numbers, passwords, etc. Knowing how to recognize and avoid phishing can help you protect your information on the web. (more…)
Your computer can act funny or slow down for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s something simple like a problem with a program. But other times it may be a virus. Viruses can damage your computer and let other harmful programs into your system that steal important information. Knowing how to recognize a virus can help you protect your computer and personal information.
If you think you have a virus or want to prevent yourself from getting one, click here to learn how to install antivirus software on your computer.
Here are 10 ways to spot a virus:
1. Computer speed
This is often your first clue that something is not right. While certain programs may slow your computer down, if you notice that web pages are slow to load and programs respond slowly, you may have a virus.
If you’ve just opened an attachment, a web site or installed a program and your system crashes or stops acting in a normal fashion, you may have a virus.
3. Lots of errors
Error messages on occasion are normal. But frequent errors that close programs or require you to restart your computer are often a sign of a virus.
4. Program or file issues
Programs and/or files opening slowly, not at all, or disappearing from your computer can be signs of a virus.
5. Disk drives stop working
Pay attention when disk, CD or DVR drives stop working or you can’t access a disk in the drive.
6. Sites don’t open
Certain web sites won’t open or you’re redirected to another site. You may also notice that you can’t download updates for your antivirus software.
7. Lots of spyware pop-ups
Pop ups on your computer that say, “Your computer is infected” or “Warning: Spyware detected” are often bait, avoid clicking these pop-ups except to close them. If your computer isn’t already infected, these pop-ups can be a way for a virus to get in. Only pay attention to messages from your antivirus program.
8. Changes to your computer
If icons show up on your desktop or programs that you never installed appear, this is a sign you may have a virus. Often a virus will install other programs that will cause problems. Click on “Computer>Control Panel>Add/Remove Programs” to see if there are any programs that you didn’t install.
9. Strange noises
When you aren’t using it, your computer should be pretty quiet. If your computer begins making a lot of noises when you aren’t doing anything, then a virus may be controlling it.
10. Email imposters
In an attempt to spread, a virus will send emails from your account to people in your contact list, often with a virus attached. Check your sent box for emails you know you didn’t send. In addition, if you see a suspicious email from a person you know, ask the person about it before opening it.
By now, you’ve heard of a little thing called Facebook. It is an excellent tool for connecting with old classmates and friends, so it’s no wonder why people of all ages love the social networking web site. Facebook allows you to share photos, update friends and family members about your life, and spend hours playing games and quizzes. Even if you only use it every once in a while, here is how to set up your account with no fuss.
Step 1: Type www.facebook.com into your browser.
This will take you to the sign-up screen where you will enter your name, e-mail address, birth date, gender, and password.
Step 2: Take the “human test.”
Just to make sure you aren’t a robot, Facebook will ask you to type two words that are in a box. Type them as you see them and include the space. If you have trouble seeing them clearly, you can use something called “Audio Captcha.” A voice will say words for you to type.
Step 3: Type in your e-mail and password.
Once you’ve made it past security, Facebook will make things easy for you by asking for your e-mail address and password so it can tell you if the people you e-mail are also on Facebook. It will then list all of those people. You can check the boxes next to the names of the people you would like to invite to be your friend. Don’t worry if you don’t see some of the people you’d like to add. You can search for more people later.
Step 4: Add a little personal information about you.
This is one more way Facebook will search for people you may know. If you want people from jobs or schools to find you, enter this information. It is optional, though, so you don’t need to if you’d rather not catch up with old friends.
Step 5: Upload a photo of you.
Now it’s time to add your profile picture. You get the option of using a picture you already love or take a new picture with your web cam. You can add more pictures later, and you can change your profile picture as often as you’d like.
Step 6: Learn about your privacy and security.
Once you’re in the first thing you should do is go to the account tab and click on “Privacy Settings.” That’s where you can decide who gets to see things on your profile, search for you online, or add you as a friend. This is all up to you and you can be as private or public as you like. Terms like “Wall” refer to the area of your profile where you and other people can post updates. “Tags” or “Tagging” means photos or other posts that people associate your name with. Facebook has a page dedicated to the safety of its members. Review it to learn how to keep yourself secure.
Step 7: Populate your profile!
Here’s where you get to say as little or as much as you want about your interests, likes, family, and life.
Step 8: Finish by finding friends.
You can find friends on Facebook in a few ways. One way is to type a person’s name into Facebook’s search engine. Or, you can log-on to your e-mail account(s) via Facebook, and the site will connect you with friends in your contact list. In order to be friends with people on Facebook, they need to accept your request or you need to accept their request. If ever you don’t want to be friends with someone, you can click a button to ignore them. If you don’t know who they are, you can send them a message asking them how they know you so you can decide if you want to add them.
Make a phone call over the Internet? Now you’ve heard everything, right? But it is indeed possible with a program called Skype. Skype is also popular for its additional features which include instant messaging, file transfer, and video conferencing. If you’re ready to add to your computer know-how, try it.
What you’ll need:• A webcam
That’s it! Follow these steps to get started.
Step 1: Find the Skype web site.
Open your Internet browser and type Skype.com into the address bar.
Step 2: Start the downloading process.
Once Skype loads in your web browser, click on “Get Skype” at the top of the window to download basic, free Skype-to-Skype calling. The download should begin automatically.
Step 3: Get ready to set up Skype.
Choose “save file” when Skype is done downloading, and double-click on Skypesetup.exe from your downloads window to begin installing. If you can’t find Skype in your downloads, open the file on your computer you saved it to.
Step 4: Install Skype to your computer.
The Skype setup wizard will help you through the installation process.
Step 5: Run the program.
When it has finished installing, double-click the Skype icon on your desktop to run the program.
Step 6: Have fun with Skype!
Congratulations, you’ve successfully turned your computer into an internet phone! Set up your account and enjoy making free calls to other Skype users and staying in touch with loved ones.
Step 7: Find Skype Friends
How do you find Skype members, right? You can try plugging names into Skype’s search engine to find people. Or, if you know a person’s Skype name, you can find him/or that way. You can also find Skype members by using your e-mail contact list. You simply type in your username and password of your email account, and Skype will show you who on your contact list is also a Skype member. Skype will give you instructions on how to add each person to your Skype contact list.