Monthly Archives: October 2008

Free Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware – Bites Back

Having tested virtually all of the major anti-malware applications over the last several years, I’m still comfortable using the free version of Spyware Terminator as my application of choice, for active real-time protection in the spyware wars that we, as computer users, are involved in any time we log onto the Internet.

There is no one anti-malware tool however, that is likely to identify and remove all of the millions of rogue malware that infest the cyber world. So to ensure maximum safety, it’s important to have layered defenses in the ongoing fight against malware.

Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware, which I have been testing for over 2 months, is an excellent choice, as a secondary line of defense. The free version of this speed demon (it’s faster at scanning than any anti-malware program I’ve tested in the last 2 years), with its easy to employ interface, is used by millions of people worldwide to protect their computers. I wasn’t surprised to see that this application has been downloaded over 2 million times from alone.

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It’s important to note that the real time protection module is disabled in the free version. Less critical, is the disabling of scheduled scanning, and scheduled updating in the free version.

Since real time protection is disabled, I would not recommend that you use this free version of Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware as a stand alone security application, since it simply will not offer you adequate protection. Instead, use it only as an on-demand scanner.

Despite this real-time protection limitation in the free version, Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware has an excellent reputation as a first class security application, for its ability to identify and remove adware, Trojans, key-loggers, home page hijackers and other malware threats.

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Numerous users of this Blog, have commented on Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware’s ability to deal with one of the real scourges currently making the rounds on the Internet; rogue security applications.

As a secondary line of defense, I highly recommend that you add this free version of Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware to your security toolbox.

As a full fledged security application, with all of its features unlocked; real-time protection, scheduled scanning, and scheduled updating, Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware is a terrific value at $24.95 US.

Fast facts:

Blazing speed on quick scanning

Full scans for all drives.

Daily database updates

Quarantine function

Additional utilities for manual malware removal

Multi-lingual support

Command line support for quick scanning

Context menu integration to scan files on demand

Systems Requirements: Windows 2000, XP, Vista.

Multi-lingual support: English, Albanian, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish.

Download at:

Spyware Doctor Starter Edition, from PC Tools, is another excellent free secondary line of defense against malware threats. You can read the review, and find the download link in my article “Spyware Doctor Starter Edition – The Best Secondary Malware Tool”, on this site.


Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Don't Get Hacked, Free Security Programs, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Internet Safety Tools, Manual Malware Removal, Rogue Software, Software, Spyware - Adware Protection, System Security, trojans, Viruses, Windows Tips and Tools, worms

The Best Free Spyware, Virus, and Browser Protection

Searching out, downloading, and installing free security programs from the Internet may appear to be a “no brainer”, given the vast quantity of such programs out there in the wild blue of the Internet.

The problem, as I see it, for the casual computer user, is not the availability of these programs, but which ones work; which ones have a deserved reputation for quality and functionality.

I’ve been involved in system and Internet security for many years (too many, it sometimes seems), and I have tested the following recommended applications and their updates over those years for reliability, functionality, and quality. These programs have a strong and loyal following that is well deserved.

Anti-virus software:

avast! 4 Home Edition

This anti virus app is a real fighter, scanning files on demand and on access, including email attachments. Let’s you know when it detects mal-ware through its shield function. An important feature is a boot-time scan option which removes mal-ware that can’t be remove any other way.

AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 8.0.1

AVG Anti-Virus Free 8.0 now incorporates protection against spyware through a new combined anti-virus and anti-spyware engine as well as a “safe-searching component” which has been incorporated into the new AVG Internet Security Toolbar. This program scans files on access, on demand, and on schedule and scans email incoming and outgoing. For those on Vista, you’re in luck, it’s Vista-ready.

Avira AntiVir PersonalEdition Classic

This anti-virus program offers comprehensive protection with an easy to use interface. In the eight months I have been testing Avira I have been impressed with its performance, and I have come to rely on it as my primary anti-virus program. I highly recommend this one.

Anti Spyware Software:

Spyware Doctor Starter Edition

Spyware Doctor Starter Edition from PC Tools is an excellent choice, as a secondary line of defense. This free version of the award winning program, with its easy to use interface, is used by millions of people worldwide to protect their computers; it’s reported there are a million+ additional downloads every week. Be aware however, there is no real-time protection offered with this version and this is the reason I recommend this application as a secondary scanner only.

Spyware Terminator

Having tested virtually all of the major anti-spyware applications over the past year or more, I’ve settled, for now, on Spyware Terminator primarily due to its strong real-time protection against spyware, adware, Trojans, key-loggers, home page hijackers and other malware threats. Spyware Terminator excels in strong active protection against know and unknown threats. If anything, I find it perhaps a little overly aggressive. On the other hand, better this than the alternative.

Internet Browser Protection:


SpywareBlaster prevents ActiveX-based spyware, adware, dialers, and browser hijackers from installing on your system by disabling the CLSIDs (a system used by software applications to identify a file or other item), of spyware ActiveX controls. A secondary but equally important function offered by SpywareBlaster, is its ability to block spyware/tracking cookies and restrict the actions of spyware/adware/tracking sites in Internet Explorer, Mozilla FireFox, Netscape, Seamonkey, Flock and other browsers.

Since SpywareBlaster doesn’t scan for or clean spyware, but as stated earlier, prevents installation only, you should use it in combination with Spybot Search & Destroy and/or Ad-Aware, in addition to your normal anti-malware security applications to gain the maximum amount of protection.

Web of Trust (WOT)

WOT is a free Internet Browser add-on (my personal favorite), that has established an impressive 4.5/5.0 star user rating on CNET. WOT tests web sites you are visiting for spyware, spam, viruses, browser exploits, unreliable online shops, phishing, and online scams, helping you avoid unsafe web sites.

Adware Protection Software:

Ad-Aware 2008

In my view, Ad-Aware 2008 Free is the best free adware remover available. It does a good job of protecting against known data-mining, Trojans, dialers, malware, browser hijackers and tracking components. The only downside with the free version; real-time protection is not included.


Comodo Firewall Pro

The definitive free firewall, Comodo Firewall protects your system by defeating hackers and restricting unauthorized programs from accessing the Internet. I have been using this application for 10 months and I continue to feel very secure. It resists being forcibly terminated and it works as well, or better, than any firewall I’ve paid for. This is one I highly recommend. Amazing that it’s free!


The free version of ZoneAlarm lacks the features of ZoneAlarm Pro’s firewall. Its program control asks you regularly whether to allow programs; for some this can be intrusive and annoying. But it’s been around forever it seems, and it can’t be shut down, or out, by mal-ware.

Additional System Protection:


Do you want to get a better understanding of what programs are being added to your computer? Then WinPatrol is the program for you. With WinPatrol, in your system tray, you can monitor system areas that are often changed by malicious programs. You can monitor your startup programs and services, cookies and current tasks. Should you need to, WinPatrol allows you to terminate processes and enable, or disable, startup programs. There are additional features that make WinPatrol a very powerful addition to your security applications.


If you are an experienced/advanced computer user and you’re looking for a program to strengthen your anti-malware resources, then HiJackFree is one that’s worth taking a look at. This free application, from EMSI Software, offers a potent layer of additional protection to add to your major anti-malware programs. The program operates as a detailed system analysis tool that can help you in the detection and removal of Hijackers, Spyware, Adware, Trojans, Worms, and other malware. It doesn’t offer live protection but instead, it examines your system, determines if it’s been infected, and then allows you to eradicate the malware.


HijackThis is a free utility by Trend Micro which heuristically scans your computer to find settings that may have been changed by homepage hijackers, spyware, other malware, or even unwanted programs.

This application has a well deserved reputation for being aggressive in tracking down unauthorized changes that have been made to your system/applications.

The program doesn’t target specific programs, but instead it analyses registry and file settings, and then targets the methods used by cyber-crooks. After you scan your computer, HijackThis creates a report, or log file, with the results of the scan.

Because of the heuristic methods (behavior analysis), used by HijackThis, the results of the scan can be confusing/intimidating to those who are not advanced users. On the other hand, the strength of this program lies in the large community of users who participate in online forums, where experts (voluntarily and for free), will interpret HijackThis scan results for you, and then provide you with the information you need to clean any infection.

Despite the fact that you may only need this small application infrequently, it deserves a place in your anti-malware toolbox.

ThreatFire 3

ThreatFire 3 blocks mal-ware, including zero-day threats, by analyzing program behavior and it does a stellar job. Again, this is one of the security applications that forms part of my front line defenses. I have found it to have high success rate at blocking mal-ware based on analysis of behavior. Highly recommend this one!

SnoopFree Privacy Shield

SnoopFree Privacy Shield is a powerful application that guards your keyboard, screen and open windows from all spy software. I have been using this application for quite some time, and I have been amazed at the number of programs that have requested access to my keyboard and screen. In particular, programs that I am in the process of installing. If you’re serious about privacy, this is a must have addition to your security toolbox.


Surfing the Internet without using Sandboxie is, to me, like jumping out of an airplane without a parachute. Deadly! This application creates a “Sandboxed” protected environment on your machine within which you browse the net. Data that is written to your hard drive is simply eliminated, (or not, your choice), when the sandbox is closed.

Utilizing this application allows you to surf the web without the risk of infecting your system with mal-ware or other nasties. This is another security application I have been using for over a year and it has yet to let me down.

KeyScrambler Personal

KeyScrambler Personal is a free plug-in for FireFox, Internet Explorer, and Flock web browsers which protects all input you type into the browser from Keyloggers. This free version of KeyScrambler encrypts your keystrokes at the kernel driver level.

By encrypting your keystrokes at the keyboard driver level, deep within the operating system, a Keylogger is beaten since it can only record the encrypted keys which are indecipherable.

Unlike AntiVirus and AntiSpyware programs that depend on recognition to remove Keyloggers that they know about, KeyScrambler will protect you from both known and unknown Keyloggers.

Good luck and safe surfing.


Filed under Anti-Keyloggers, Anti-Malware Tools, Browser add-ons, Don't Get Hacked, Firefox Add-ons, Free Security Programs, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Internet Explorer Add-ons, Safe Surfing, Spyware - Adware Protection, System Security, System Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Catch the Bad Bots with Free RUBotted from Trend Micro

Bots, an abbreviation of “robots”, are good. Then again, Bots are bad. So which one of those statements is correct? In fact, both are correct – there are good Bots, and there are bad Bots.

Technology, in most cases, is neutral – it’s how we implement technology that establishes its value, and impacts any ethical questions that surrounds its use.

Good Bots include special software such as search engine spiders used by companies like Google, Yahoo and others to find links and content on the Internet. The Internet would not be, and could not be, the Internet we have come to know, and depend on, without these specialized Bots.

Bad or malicious Bots, in contrast, are designed to infiltrate computer systems with the objective of “herding”, or consolidating, systems into so called “Botnets”, whose primary aim is to create a network of compromised computers such as the infamous Storm Botnet (a P2P network), which according to many experts had the power of a supercomputer.

The power of the Storm Botnet was such, that it was responsible for 20 per cent of all spam email sent in the first quarter of 2008.

Many security experts believe that Botnets are responsible for approximately 75 per cent of all spam currently in circulation. Heavily promoted products on all of these Botnets tend to be male enlargement drugs, replica watches and sexually explicit material.

The strategy employed by the owners of these Botnets is particular ingenious, since there’s a strategic crossover with the products being promoted by all five of these Botnets.

Frighteningly it is accurate to say that these Botnets are getting increasingly larger every day. According to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, there are at least 1 million Botnetted computers in the U.S.

Worse, some security firms estimate that currently there are as many as 10 million Botnetted machines worldwide. In fact, some researchers believe that this may just be the part of the iceberg we can see above the waterline.

Not surprisingly such large numbers of infected machines have produced some of the most powerful networked computer systems in the world. It seems sensible to predict, that malware and phishing attacks from these Botnets can be expected to increase in frequency.

For your own benefit, it’s obviously important to keep your computer from becoming infected and becoming a part of this problem. Perhaps it’s less obvious that we all share a responsibly to help protect other computer users on the Internet from becoming infected.

The way to do that is to ensure that you are part of the solution; not part of the problem created by running an unsecured machine, (which means installing as many levels of protection as possible), or by engaging in unsafe surfing practices.

To help you keep your computer from being herded into a Botnet, Trend Micro has released a beta of RUBotted, a small program that watches for incoming Bot related traffic, which is worth considering adding to your security toolbox.

Fast facts:

Trend Micro RUBotted (Beta) is a small program that runs on your computer, watching for Bot related activities. RUBotted intelligently monitors your computer’s system behavior for activities that are potentially harmful to both your computer and other people’s computers.

RUBotted monitors for remote command and control (C&C) commands sent from a Bot-herder to control your computer. Additionally, RUBotted watches for an array of potentially malicious Bot-related activities, including mass mailing – a common activity performed by a Bot-infected computer.

RUBotted co-exists with your existing AV software, providing advanced Bot specific behavior monitoring. RUBotted does not rely on frequent, network intensive updates to ensure your computer’s continued protection.

Upon discovering a potential infection, RUBotted prompts you to scan and clean your computer.

Operating System requirements:

Windows 2000 Professional (Latest Service Pack Installed)

Windows XP Professional or Home Edition (Latest Service Pack Installed)

Windows 2003 Server (Latest Service Pack Installed)

Windows Vista (32 Bit with Latest Service Pack Installed)

Note from Trend Micro: RUBotted cannot protect computers running Panda Internet Security 2008.

Download at: Trend Micro


Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, bots, Don't Get Hacked, Free Security Programs, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Interconnectivity, Online Safety, Software, Spyware - Adware Protection, System File Protection, System Security, Windows Tips and Tools

Video Game Addiction – True or False?

Let’s cut to the chase immediately – video game addiction is a real addiction, just as Internet gambling is a real addiction; just as an addiction to Internet pornography is a real addiction.

The question that needs to be explored more thoroughly however is: is video game addiction the kind of serious problem that the media would have us believe?

Or, do the media, for the sake of sensationalism, take isolated instances of computer addiction and create a frenzy of concern that is unwarranted and not supported by the facts?

The media and the “facts” – an oxymoron if there ever was one!

This past week, in a small city just outside of Toronto, Canada (where I live), a fifteen year old boy, Brandon Crisp, disappeared following an argument with his parents over his access to his Xbox, and the video game Call of Duty 4.

According to the boy’s father, Brandon was exhibiting what some psychiatrists consider classical signs of addiction, since he reportedly began to skip school, stay up all night, and steal money.

This tragic case is still unresolved, and the boy remains missing as of today’s date – October 25, 2008, despite a massive effort by both Police, and hundreds of volunteer searchers.

According to the CBC (one of Canada’s national television networks), Microsoft (the developers of the Xbox), has now become involved, and has added $25,000 to an existing reward pool of $25,000 bringing the total to $50,000. In addition, reports indicate that Microsoft is cooperating with authorities in providing information regarding the 200 or so Xbox gaming site contacts, that may be relevant to the investigation of Brandon’s disappearance.

I have a problem however, with how this tragic story has been reported in the mainstream media. Uninformed news reporters, and editors (both print and T.V.), who have little experience with the Internet or technology, except perhaps as casual users, have used this story as an illustration of how video game addiction is a major hidden problem.

For example, according to news report in the Toronto Star, Bruce Ballon, a psychiatrist with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto, is quoted as stating “We’ve been receiving at least a couple of calls a week asking, ‘How do you deal with Internet addiction?’ Ballon goes on to say “(Society is) just starting to realize – oh my God, it’s so huge. This is why people have been afraid to open the doors.”

Sorry Dr. Ballon, but there seems to be a major disconnect here. Consider, “a couple of calls a week” versus “oh my God, it’s so huge.” I’m not a mathematician, but I do know this, the number “two” is hardly “huge”.

A more balance reporting of the facts surrounding Internet, computer, or gaming addiction, would have included those of Dr. Jerald J. Block, M.D., who, in an editorial published on The American Journal of Psychiatry website earlier this year, made the point that 86 per cent of “internet addicts”, including gaming addicts, also have some other form of a mental disorder.

Dr. Block goes on to say, in his editorial, that Internet addiction is an “increasingly commonplace compulsive-impulsive disorder” and should be included in psychiatry’s official guidebook of mental disorders, the DSM-V.

For those who are unfamiliar with DSM-V, it is an American psychiatric handbook that lists categories of mental disorders, and the criteria for diagnosing them.

Despite its controversy in certain quarters; controversy, in part, caused by a perceived need to add new mental illnesses, it is used worldwide by clinicians and researchers as well as insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and policy makers.

There is no doubt that mental illness is a complex and mystifying subject that includes a multitude of variables. My real problem is with those people (including the mainstream media), who use, or more properly misuse, isolated examples of tragic events to achieve their own ends. In this case, to generate additional readership in the guise of providing a public service i.e. computer gaming addiction is a major hidden problem.

We now live in a highly reactive society; one in which there are individuals, groups, and organizations waiting in the wings ready to pounce with great gusto on established, or emerging technologies.

If you think that statement is excessive, then consider this published comment (just one of many like it), I came upon recently, regarding computer gaming:

“I have a direct experience with the subject and can tell you that with this opponent you can not win. Online gaming industry is investing a lot of money to find the most addictive ways to hook their customers as addiction = profit.

It is even more problematic then other addictions as it is not recognized as a vice by the general public. Parents easily succumb to requests to allow it and peer pressure is enormous as it is not controlled in any way. I see only radical solutions to this, either tax it so it becomes uneconomical as a source of entertainment or ban it all together”.

Computers/connected devices will always be the target of modern day Luddites – a term used to describe those opposed, in some form, to technological progress and technological change.

Despite the possible negative psychological effects of video game playing for those who already struggle with some form of a mental disorder, overall there are many positive effects associated with video game playing, but that’s an issue for a future article.

If you’re a concerned parent, how do you determine if your child qualifies as an Internet, or computer gaming addict?

It is generally agreed that exhibiting any of the following symptoms while online, or offline; excessive gaming, sexual preoccupations or excessive email or text messaging, meets at least one, or more, of the criteria needed to establish Internet or gaming addiction.

However, the following symptoms must also be in evidence:

Withdrawal – including feelings of anger, tension, and/or depression when the computer is inaccessible.

Tolerance – including the need for better computer equipment, more software, or more hours of use.

Negative Repercussions – including arguments, lying, poor achievement, social isolation, and fatigue.

For another view on this topic check out “Is Your Inner Child Addicted to the Internet” by my good buddy, TechPaul.


Filed under Interconnectivity, Internet Safety for Children, Online Gaming, Parenting Help, Personal Perspective, Windows Tips and Tools

Emergency Patch for Windows Just Released – Update Now!

(From ZDNet) – “Microsoft has released an out-of-band patch to fix an extremely critical worm hole that exposes Windows users to remote code execution attacks.

The emergency update comes just one week after the regularly scheduled Patch Tuesday and follows the discovery of a targeted zero-day attack, Microsoft said in an advisory. The vulnerability is rated “critical” on Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.

On Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, the flaw carries an “important” rating.”

Read the rest of this important bulletin on ZDNet

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Filed under Application Vulnerabilities, Don't Get Hacked, Interconnectivity, Malware Advisories, Networking, Spyware - Adware Protection, System File Protection, System Security, Windows Tips and Tools, worms

Instant Messaging Safety Tips

I’m always amazed when I see my younger friends communicating with each other using instant messaging applications. Their use of instant messaging for rapid communication, as opposed to voice contact, is a phenomenon that I must admit has never appealed to me.

I excuse myself on this one by convincing myself that I’m an ancient fossil; after all my computing experience goes all the way back to the dark ages of MS-DOS 1. Not quite the days of the Dinosaurs; but close.

My comfort zone in communications is a telephone, used the old fashioned way for immediacy, or email where immediacy is not an issue. The reality is however, that programs such as MSN Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, AIM, and a basket full of other IM applications, are extremely popular with the younger generation, like my younger friends, who want real-time contact with each other.

Regrettably, from a security perspective these applications can present considerable security risks. Generally, security risks occur when these programs are used to share files, folders, or in some cases even entire drives. Instant messaging, unfortunately, is a primary channel used by cyber-criminals to distribute malware.

As Wikipedia explains it, hackers use two methods of delivering malicious code through IM: delivery of virus, Trojan, or spy ware within an infected file, and the use of “socially engineered” text with a web address that entices the recipient to click on a URL that connects him or her, to a website that then downloads malicious code. Viruses, worms, and Trojans typically propagate by sending themselves rapidly through the infected user’s buddy list.

Follow these tips to ensure you are protected when using instant messaging.

Don’t click on links, or download files from unknown sources. You need to be alert to the dangers in clicking on links, or downloading files from sources that are not known to you. Even if the files or links apparently come from someone you know, you have to be positive that it really was this person who has sent the message.

Check with your contact to be sure the files, or links are genuine. Remember, if you click on those links, or run those attachments without confirmation, you run the risk of letting malware into your computer.

Use only secure passwords, and be sure to change them regularly. The longer and more varied they are – using a variety of different characters and numbers – the more secure they will be.

Protect personal and confidential information when using IM. Revealing confidential or personal information in these types of conversations, can make you an easy target for Internet predators.

For added protection when using a public computer, ensure that you disable any features that retain login information to prevent other users from gaining access to your instant messaging once you leave.

It’s virtually impossible to avoid publishing your email address on the Internet, however do so only when absolutely necessary. Cyber criminals are always on the lookout for accounts to target.

Above all, if you are a parent, take exceptional care with the access that your children have to these programs.

The risk here goes beyond malware, as sadly, they could come into contact with undesirable or even dangerous individuals.

Elsewhere in this Blog, you can read an article on protecting your children on the Internet and download free software to help you do this.

Click here: Parental Control Bar


Filed under Don't Get Hacked, Interconnectivity, Internet Safety, Internet Safety for Children, Malware Advisories, Mobile Applications, Online Safety, Parenting Help, Spyware - Adware Protection, System Security, Windows Tips and Tools

Monitoring Your Teenager’s Internet Usage – Should You?

McAfee, Inc., a well known and respected provider of antivirus software and intrusion prevention solutions, has just released new research which indicates that most American mothers rate their teenagers’ online safety, their exposure to drugs and drunk driving, as essentially equal anxiety producing agents.

So, are these mothers concerns justified?

You bet! While it’s true that the Internet can provide a rich educational and cultural experience for children, and teenagers, it is virtually impossible for them not to be exposed to, as my Internet friend Rick Robinette; a recently retired Law Enforcement specialist puts it, “the underbelly of the internet”.

The sad reality is, contrary to the myth that we have raised, or are raising a “tech savvy” generation – the majority of children, and teenagers, are undereducated when it comes to recognizing the dangers, and threats, that the Internet poses to their personal privacy and safety.

Consider this – would you drop off your child, or teenager, in a neighborhood where more than half of the buildings were adult stores, and which was potentially full of predators? In my view, if you allow your child, or younger teenager, to interact with the Internet unsupervised, or without having communicated to your child information concerning potential on-line dangers, this is what you may be doing.

Additional McAfee study statistics:

Providing personal information to online strangers – 52 per cent of teens in the study reported having done so

Providing a photograph, or a physical description, to online strangers – 34 per cent of teenage girls in the study, reported having done so

Clearing the browser cache so that their Internet history cannot be tracked – 32 per cent of the teenagers in the study, reported having done so

I found the most surprising and troubling statistic to be; 16 per cent of the teenagers involved in the McAfee study, indicated they had developed social networking profiles and e-mail addresses, which they had hidden from their parents

So what’s a concerned parent to do? Well, According to the FBI in the United States, the following are some of the most important positive actions, you as a parent, can take to reduce your child’s possible victimization on the Internet.

  • Communicate, and talk to your child about potential on-line dangers
  • Spend time with your children on-line. Have them teach you about their favorite on-line destinations
  • Keep the computer in a common room in the house, not in your child’s bedroom
  • Utilize parental controls provided by your service provider and/or blocking software

Since computer-sex offenders are a very real danger on the Internet, the FBI suggests that you instruct your children to:

  • Never arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone they met on- line
  • Never upload (post) pictures of themselves onto the Internet or an on-line service to people they do not personally know
  • Never give out identifying information such as their name, home address, school name, or telephone number
  • Never download pictures from an unknown source; there is a good chance there could be sexually explicit images
  • Never respond to messages or bulletin board postings that are suggestive, obscene, belligerent, or harassing

(Click pic for larger)

An important aspect of ensuring that your child is safe while using the Internet, (recommended by child safety experts/organizations), is the installation of parental control software.

  • Parental controls will provide you with the advantage of being able to:
  • Block access to materials (text and pictures) identified as inappropriate for kids
  • Permit access only to materials specifically approved as safe for kids
  • Specify what types of materials are appropriate for your child
  • Monitor your child’s activity on the Internet by storing names of sites and/or snapshots of material seen by your child on the computer for you to view later
  • Set different restrictions for each family member
  • Limit results of an Internet search to content appropriate for kids
  • Enforce time limits set by parents

ParentalControl Bar, a browser toolbar, is a free solution is provided free of charge, to the public, by, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing free, effective internet control tools.

Check out my review of this free application on this site “Free Internet Child Protection – Parental Control Bar”.

For additional information on monitoring your child’s cell phone usage (most cell phones today are really Internet connected devices), see “Parental Monitoring And Cellular Phones” by my tech wizard friend Techpaul.


Filed under Interconnectivity, Internet Safety for Children, Internet Safety Tools, Online Safety, Parenting Help, Privacy, Windows Tips and Tools