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Internet Security 101
Thursday, January 26, 2006


Captain's Log Stardate -317070.52

If not for Mike Abundo's post, I wouldn't have seen this n00bish stupidity.

A local freelance writer, Peachy Limpin, of Manila Bulletin has been beaten (virtually) by tech bloggers and readers for her tech article, Internet 101, on the local broadsheet. I am really surprised how her article passed the scrutiny of MB's tech news editor. Here's the complete article:

Internet Security 101

My PLDT’s DSL connection was installed just as I predicted in Monday’s column. Technicians from PLDT gave me a call first to confirm whether I already had a LAN card installed in my PC and when I said yes, they arrived within 30 minutes, and installed the splitter and the switch.

Installation of the hardware took no more than 15 minutes although one of the technicians had a hard time reaching for the socket. Seeing him all red in the face from exertion, I gave him a hand while kidding him that he should try to lose some inches off his waist.

When that was over, another technician turned on the switch and I was told to turn on the computer. A third technician guided me through the connection process and in less than five minutes I was already connected to the Internet. It was that easy and the connection speed was at 100Mbps! (I couldn’t contain my happiness because I got used to 54 kbps with dial up). And as if on cue, my hubby called while I was connected to Internet though he had no idea that installation was going on; proof of myDSL’s convenience - a single phone line for voice and data.

But as fast as the connection came a deluge of pop-ups opened one after another that left me overwhelmed. As soon as I got connected to the Internet no less than six browser windows opened and one file automatically downloaded.

I tried stopping the download but there was nothing I could do about it. After the download, a Windows Media Player Update screen appeared and prompted me to finish the update, which I did and was happy to get it over with.

However, I don’t remember closing the rest of the browsers it but they just simply disappeared from the screen.

And then the unexpected happened. I could no longer launch the browsers – both IE and Firefox. I tried Firefox first but the security prompt kept on appearing informing me there was an error in Firefox and that I had the option to send an error report to Mozilla to which I agreed. Another screen appeared displaying the progress of the report. Alarm bells rang when I saw the report Firefox generated: browser crash.

The same thing happened when I tried launching IE. An error prompt also appeared but I chose not to send it Microsoft. When I checked on the details of the error, it had something to do with an .exe file.

I couldn’t determine what was exactly wrong with the browsers but definitely it had nothing to do with the Internet connection because my Yahoo Messenger was connected the whole time. Come to think of it, I do not recall having the same problems when I was still using dial-up.

Anyway, my intuition was telling me that the crash must have been connected with the earlier pop-ups so I went to the Control Panel and surveyed all the programs available. And to my surprise, I saw several applications which I knew were not there before and I knew I did not download. I removed all the applications I did not need referring to the dates they were accessed, closed Windows Explorer and attempted to launch the browser again but to no avail.

After another failed browser launch, I scanned the hard drive for any viruses that could have caused the crash but it came out clean. I was already running out of options when I saw a short cut on the Desktop screen to an anti-spyware application. I got rid of the shortcut but as of this writing have not checked out where that particular program is stored.

I’m leaving the repair of IE to my husband because I have to admit fixing it is beyond my powers already. Besides my experience, here are some precautions I learned from this incident if you intend to sign up with an Internet service provider (not necessarily PLDT). Please bear in mind that the service provider PLDT is in no way responsible for the mess my computer is now in.

First, before initially launching the browser after the service provider has established a connection, disconnect from the Internet first and change your PCs Internet settings. While disconnected, launch the browser, click on Tools on the dropdown menu and select Options. Click on the Advanced tab and scroll down to the Security heading. Click on the box for “Check for Signatures on Downloaded Programs”. Then click on the Security tab and put the Security level to High. Be sure, too, that pop-up blocker is enabled. Then close the window and the browser. These restrictions would be enough to block unwanted software.

Next, make the Internet connection and once connected, launch the browser. Remember, when prompts appear asking you to confirm a download from a site you did not visit, read the contents carefully before clicking on any button.

If you’re reading this and already have broadband access at home, it would be wise to disconnect from the Internet and turn off the switch after use because even if the PC is off and the connection is not, malicious software can still creep into your PC’s system.

Better safe than sorry. And I’m starting to feel sorry.

(For feedback, comments, suggestions email me at openingpagemb@yahoo.com)

I've been a broadband subscriber for almost 6 years and telling readers that malicious softwares can still creep into your PC's even if it's turned off is just plain dumb. And a 100Mbps connection? Yeah right. That's faster than your ordinary LAN connection -_- If that's the case.. then I'll ditch my Cable Internet's 4Mbps connection on favor of PLDT DSL's 100Mbps! -_-

Ok, for broadband n00bs, here are the real-deal tips for Windows users:

1. Before anything else, install a software firewall. You can also use routers to serve as your firewall.
2. UPDATE. UPDATE your Windows Operating System. Make sure Automatic Updates are turned on.
3. Install an Anti-Virus and make it sure it's updated. Set the automatic update interval at 1 hr.
4. Install Microsoft Anti-Spyware and be sure to scan your PC at least once a week for spywares.
5. Stop visting pr0n sites. It's bad.

The longest time that I left my computer connected to the internet was 7 days straight. So what she said is just an urban legend. Maybe the title of entry should be INTERNET EDUCATION 101? Watyutink spageti?

*Computer end log*

Posted by Jepoy @ 1/26/2006 05:46:00 PM
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Posted by Blogger Siopao Master on Friday, January 27, 2006 at 12:06:00 AM GMT+8:  
What a Llama hahaha!

I've been online for the past 4 months without even disconnecting.

Ooohh look at my computer! An unseen virus is creeping all over the system! Geee, i shited on my pants!

Posted by Blogger Karlo on Friday, January 27, 2006 at 12:18:00 AM GMT+8:  
WTF?! wer did she got that info! I think she's overdose wid sci-fi horror movie flicks, Let's protest to der editor-in-chief!

Posted by Blogger VemSan on Friday, January 27, 2006 at 6:51:00 AM GMT+8:  
100Mbps yung connection speed nya? inggit ako! ahahahah

Posted by Blogger Mike Abundo on Friday, January 27, 2006 at 11:19:00 PM GMT+8:  
I could forgive this n00bishness if it didn't get into the infotech section of a major broadsheet.

Nah, on second thought, it's unforgivable either way.

Posted by Anonymous ejpadero on Saturday, January 28, 2006 at 1:49:00 AM GMT+8:  
obviously, she mistook her LAN connection (100.0 Mbps, PC to router or switch or DSL modem, etc.) as her connection speed.

the i.t. errors in the article are forgivable, because she's a writer and not a techie. what is unforgivable is that it was printed and every non-techie or n00b that read the article will not know about the errors.

Posted by Blogger Jepoy on Saturday, January 28, 2006 at 11:57:00 AM GMT+8:  
@mike - LOL

@ej - the IT editors of Manila Bulletin should have checked her article first before publishing it on the site/paper. /heh

Posted by Blogger Mon on Sunday, January 29, 2006 at 8:22:00 PM GMT+8:  
I posted my own reaction to this in http://www.technopinoy.com.

Lets just say that the writer has no business writing about technology. Unforgiveable. Further proof that MB is so old-school.

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