When it comes to computer security, many of us live in a bubble of blissful ignorance. We might be vigilant and never open email attachments from people we don’t know, we might take care to make sure an ecommerce site is secure before entering our credit card information, or we might even go so far as to install a standard firewall on our computers. Unfortunately, much of the common sense advice we follow when it comes to Internet security does little to combat the cyber-crime that is rampant.
Federal Trade Commission
Even the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, a governmental agency that is designed to help consumers, had to issue a press release stating that “consumers, including corporate and banking executives, appear to be targets of a bogus e-mail supposedly sent by the Federal Trade Commission but actually sent by third parties hoping to install spyware on computers.”
There’s little doubt that spyware, malware, and insidious virus attacks make any computer with Internet access vulnerable. But, because not all Internet security breaches are immediately apparent, people are often unaware that their seemingly hassle-free computing is anything but. The Federal Trade Commission offers seven guidelines to help consumer surf the Web safely:
1. Protect your personal information. For example, when shopping on an ecommerce site, make sure that the page where you enter your personal information is secure, as designated by “https” before the URL. It’s important to stop identity theft before it starts.
2. Know before you click. For instance, many cyber-criminals impersonate legitimate businesses, or send “phishing” email that asks you to click a hyperlink. Check out online merchants and never click on emailed hyperlinks unless you’re certain of the source.
3. Update anti-virus, anti-spyware, and firewall software often. Hackers and others who engage in cyber-crime seem to always be a step ahead of the good guys. If your computer protection is outdated, you’re vulnerable.
4. Use Web browser and operating system security features. Make sure your browser settings give you optimal privacy and security, and ensure that you update your operating system regularly to take advantage of security patches.
5. Safeguard your passwords. For example, create a unique password for each site you visit, and keep them in a secure place. Use letter, number and symbol combinations that can outsmart automated password detection programs.
6. Always do backups. If your computer does get a virus or a worm, your files may be goners. Make sure to regularly back up any important files and store them in a secure place.
7. Prepare for emergencies. If something does go wrong, such as your computer being hacked or infected, or if you accidentally divulge personal information, know what courses of action you should take to remedy the situation and prevent further problems.
A Hassle-Free Solution
Protecting your computer from all of the threats in cyberspace can seem like full-time job. Thankfully, there are companies who make it their business to offer individuals and businesses the most technologically advanced computer security solutions available. The best of these services offer PC maintenance, full system optimization, problem diagnosis and repair, installation assistance, and a full complement of professionally managed security services. Typically, you pay a small monthly subscription fee and in turn can surf the Web knowing that your computer is locked down and that you’ll never again have to stay abreast of the latest security software or lug your computer down to a high-priced repair center.
Continuing with our research into the CB craze of the mid 70s we’ll take a look at what were considered the elite antennas when it came to having a CB setup. While the truckers may have ruled the roads and channel 19, it was the everyday hobbyist who ruled the airwaves from his home, and rule they did.
If you were on CB and really wanted to impress people with your booming voice over the airwaves you had no choice but to set up a base unit. Not only were the units themselves powerful but the antennas that people put up on their roof tops could have given some rival TV stations a run for their money.
Choosing a CB antenna for your base station was not easy. There were plenty to choose from and they all had their pluses and minuses.
One of the most powerful, yet most frustrating was the ever popular Moon Raker. This was a beam antenna that looked very similar to TV antennas, most having 3 elements mounted on an 11 meter base. These were called regular Moon Rakers. However, there were beam antennas that had up to six elements on them. They were referred to as a Moon Raker 6. These things were huge. The problem with them was that they were directional antennas. What this means is that depending on what direction your antenna was pointing that was where you got your best reception and transmission. So if you were speaking to somebody who was south of you and your antenna was pointing north you had to turn the antenna 180 degrees in order to get a decent reception. This got to be a pain after a while. The plus side was that these antennas were so powerful they could cut through anything once you had your target zeroed in.
Another popular base antenna was what was called the “Big Stick”. This was really just a very long fiberglass antenna. They were usually about 10 to 15 feet long. They weren’t as powerful as the Moon Raker but they transmitted and received equally well in all directions and therefore were great all purpose base antennas especially if you were in a centrally located area where you had a number of people you could speak to in all directions. Also, Big Sticks were relatively cheap next to a Moon Raker that sold for a couple of hundred dollars. A Big Stick was about $70.
For people who didn’t have a very large budget, there were base station antennas made that quite honestly were not much more powerful than their mobile counterparts. When you take the lack of power of these antennas into account against their price tag of about $50, it made much more sense to go with a Big Stick.
The biggest problem with all of these antennas, especially in the old days, was that they were constantly interfering with TV receptions. Today with cable, things are not quite as bad.
Even though CB isn’t as popular with homeowners as it was 30 years ago, you can still see these bad boys on roof tops if you look close enough. Just make sure you stop the car first before taking a look.
A Child Is Calling For Help. Wireless AMBER Alerts Put Wireless Devices To Use
Statistics show that the first three hours after a child’s abduction are most critical to recovery efforts. By combining the efforts of the wireless industry with the U.S. Department of Justice, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) and law enforcement agencies, the Wireless AMBER Alerts™ initiative will be a catalyst for the more than 200 million wireless subscribers to aid in the search for and recovery of an abducted child.
According to NCMEC, more than 260 children have been recovered since the AMBER Alert program began in 1997. The program-an early warning system to find abducted children-started as a local effort in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, area and became a national initiative in 2003. AMBER stands for “America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response.” The program is a legacy to Amber Hagerman, a 9-year-old girl who was kidnapped while riding her bicycle in Arlington, Texas, and was later found murdered.
An estimated 70 percent of Americans have wireless phones, and together they can serve as a national network that assists families and the authorities in searching for abducted children. By signing up to receive Wireless AMBER Alerts, subscribers receive information about local Alerts, as well as updates as the search progresses.
The Advertising Council, in partnership with NCMEC, The Wireless Foundation and the U.S Department of Justice, launched a multimedia public service advertising (PSA) campaign designed to raise awareness of Wireless AMBER Alerts and encourage all wireless subscribers to aid in the search for abducted children. It is the first nationwide PSA campaign to address this technology and the ads launched on National Missing Children’s Day (May 25th).
Wireless subscribers can now sign up to receive free AMBER Alerts via text messages.
If you have not decided already,you will soon want to network your two or more computers in your home. You want to be armed to the teach with knowledge of just what it takes to connect your computers to one another.
You first should decide which network is best your you. If your computers are in the same room,the Wireless network should not be considered.The wired by cable network should work just fine.
Computer that may be close to each other but cannot be seen may and have phone jacks close by can easily be networked with the HomePNA Network.While PCs that are far from each other can be connected with the powerline network,assuming wall outlets are nearby.
And when there are computers in different rooms and you want the convenience of moving the systems from room to room,the more expensive Wireless Network is the way to go.After you decide on the type of network that is best for you,knowing what components you’ll need to purchase will be a great help.Let’s take a look at each network and the components needed to get it up and running.
The WIRED ETHERNET NETWORK
If your computers are in the same room,the basic network kit can wire your systems together.Be sure to carefully open any kit or component you purchase and do not damage the box it came in.The purpose for this is to make it easy to return the component if needed.
Basic kits will have instructions and software for the network as seen as two NICs.Better known as Network Interface Cards,these NICs are installed in empty slots in the system unit.The PCI slot is where the card is installed and there are the USB adapters as well.The network will need cabling to connect the computers and the CAT 5 or Category 5 cable is the one to look for.
Ethernet networks come in two speeds,which are 10 and 100mbps or megabits per second.The wired network will also need a Hub or a Switch to direct traffic from each system.If you want fast traffic,and who don’t,you will want to connect a Switch instead of a Hub.If you want all PCs to connect to the Internet,most kits come with Special Bridging Software which links the systems together.
The WIRELESS HOME NETWORK
Wireless networks rely on radio frequency to transmit and receive data.Wireless network equipment will offer you the choice of both wired and wireless connections.
If your computers are in direct line of each other,the IR or Infrared frequency can be used.But most wireless networks now use the Radio Transceiver technology with computers being located just about anywhere.
You will need a Wireless Router to connect each PC to the network.Wireless NIC Cards must be installed in each computer in the network.When you purchase your wireless kit,take note of the indoor range.
As you can see when looking at the wireless Router,you have the option to wire your computers together should something go wrong with any wireless component.Take note of the difference between the wired nic and the wireless nic cards.
The POWERLINE NETWORK
The powerline network uses the electrical wiring in your home to transfer data to and from each computer.Present powerline networks run between 50kbps or Kilobits Per Second and 350kbps.
This network has a drawback in back it will have lots of electrical noise which will cause the network to lose speed.And other PC users can snoop in your computer if they know how.
This network will need a Router for data transfer and nic cards for each system.A Bridge will be needed for access to the internet.These Bridges can be used with your Router.
The PHONELINE NETWORK
The components you will need in the Home Network are close to that of the Wireless network.In most cases,the 10mbps speed network is fast enough for home users.
The computers are connected with a Switch,a gateway,or Router to share Internet access and to send data to each computer through the phone line network.This network is considered the easiest to setup.
Phoneline Network adapters are installed in each PC. The USB or Universal Seriel Bus port connection is the most commonly used adapter for Phoneline networks.To reduce line noise,a Phone Filter may be needed.If you plan to connect a phone and line in one phone jack.you will have to invest in a Line Splitter.Be sure each computer in the network are close to a phone jack.
The Phoneline Network is thought to be less expensive .more dependable and faster when compared with the Powerline network.
In a nutshell,all networks will need some type of adapter inserted in the computer.Each network will need a hub, switch,or router to transfer data.Windows 98,Me,and XP will have the needed software to make everything work together.Adapters and and other hardware will come with device driver software which enables the hardware to talk to the computer.
We have taken a brief look at the hardware needed to network two or more computers.Connecting the hardware was rather simple when we networked our computers using the wireless technology.Learn all you can about PC networking and you will be grateful in having this knowledge should you experience computer problems.
Since we have seen basic network components,its time to see how each component is installed and connected.Then we’re going to see how to move data from one machine to the other and share the internet using broadband with a DSL or a Cable modem.Remember to enjoy learning about your computer by performing as many tasks as you can without causing damage to your system.