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© 2002-07 AFHS
4 Jun 2007



Practicing Safe Computing


Computer SIG Meeting - 12 Jan 2002
by Charlie Hansen & Gordon Hulbert
See also Computer Special Interest Group

  1. Definition of offline "Safe Computing"
    1. Preventing loss of your data ---BACKUP BACKUP BACKUP
  2. Definition of "Safe Computing" for Internet Users
    1. Avoid virii, worms and trojans from e-mail or downloads which will cause damage to your programs or hardware. Use a good AntiVirus program and keep it updated. Make sure that it is properly configured for your computer system.
    2. Avoid spam (Unwanted or junk e-mail). Set up and use the filters provided by your e-mail program. Check your ISP's policy on reporting spam and take the time to report it to the appropriate ISP. You can use services like SpamCop to help you write your report. Use blind CC if e-mailing to multiple recipients. You can disguise your e-mail address which appears on mailing lists or web pages to prevent spam e-mail harvesters from obtaining your true e-mail address (e.g., You may wish to have more than one e-mail address.
    3. Avoid outsiders gaining access to your computer via your internet connection Use a Firewall program to prevent or alert you to requests for access to your computer . This should also alert or prevent unauthorized automatic updates to system or downloaded programs.
    4. Protect your privacy. Don't post information on living relatives to web sites or e-mail mailing lists. Don't give out credit card or personal information unless using encryption to a trusted recipient.
    5. Be knowledgeable. Check to information on the various URLs listed below.
  3. Presentation on backup and e-mail usage. (Gordon)
    1. regularly update your virus definitions (use your auto-updates, watch for update expirations)
    2. frequently update your virus definitions (several viruses or strains are released to the public daily)
    3. be suspicious, be cautious (if you didn't request it, don't open it)
    4. be curious (not all warnings are valid, to muddy waters, there are many hoaxes and urban legends out there, research before you attempt to alert "everybody"
    5. use your technical personnel's expertise - back up important work
    6. use un-virus-able formats to distribute documents (e.g. RTF & PDF)
  4. Presentation on Firewalls and Spam (Charlie)
    1. ZDNet review "Home Safety Nets"
    2. ZoneAlarm
    3. Tiny Personal Firewall
    4. Home PC Firewall Guide
    5. Sygate Firewall
    6. An Analysis of Mini Firewall Systems
    7. Information Security Magazine, July 2001 Cover Story
    8. Reporting Spam
    9. Spam filtering,
    10. e-mail address encoder for your web page
  5. An interesting story about the Nimda worm attack at the University of Calgary.