Jim’s WebLetter for 1/16/10

Hi-ya Webfriends!

This week, the news was filled with stories of internet theft. When a company the size of Google with it’s international reach calls for changes, it’s time to stop and listen.

As many know by now, I am not a fan of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser. While there are a number of nice features in the newer version, the fact remains, it’s also vulnerable to attacks by people who know how to use it to enter credit card and bank accounts and steal millions of dollars. China, we have now learned, has such people who are using their country’s laws of security against American businesses like Google and have been stealing important material and information to use to their own advantage.

In stories published this week across the Web, Google is taking matters at hand and, with the help of the American government, has been shutting down their connections with the Chinese. Now they are threatening to pull out of the Asian country altogether unless something is done to crack down on the information piracy. Microsoft and Google have discovered that the entries into databases have been as a result of yet another “hole” in the security system of Internet Explorer. Microsoft has said it is working on a patch, but as it has always done in the past, it is not completely securing up it’s software before releasing it to the public.

I know what many of you are thinking … “an attack can’t happen to me”. Yet each year, thousands of people have their identity stolen and used to empty bank accounts and run up thousands of dollars in bills using credit card information. On the corporate level, Google announced this week that some 30 businesses in Silicon Valley had sensitive information stolen by the Chinese.

So, what is the answer? Microsoft has said that IE users need to change their security settings in the browser to “high” from the default setting. Meanwhile, they are working on a patch for the new entry. I say it’s time to change the browser we use to something more secure, and less likely to be hacked. It may mean millions of people will have to adjust their way of getting on the internet. But the question remains, “do you want to be safe while you are on the Web, or risk an attack that could cost you everything you own”?

In 2008, PhoneBusters reported 12,142 identity-theft complaints in Canada alone and losses amounting to $9,590,385.05. Here in America, the number of reported cases in that same time frame was more than double. While there are many things we can do to protect ourselves, the fact remains how we use the internet coupled with what we use to access the internet is the determining factor to our security.

Read the story from CNET here … http://news.cnet.com/8301-27080_3-10435232-245.html?tag=nl.e496

Bookmark the page from the Federal Trade Commission on what you need to do if your identity is stolen … http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/idtheft/idt07.shtm

Make sure your computer has a good anti virus program installed. Download.com rates them by consumer reports and makes them available for download from their site … http://download.cnet.com/windows/antivirus-software/

Finally, consider trying out another browser to connect to the internet. Firefox and Google make excellent browsers that have a better security measure built in. http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/ http://www.google.com/chrome

This is the year for many new and wonderful innovations that attach themselves to the Web. It is also the year for better security as criminals are finding ways of stealing without ever having to leave their home. Be smart. Get protected.

I had been thinking about coloring my hair. One day while going through a magazine, I came across an ad for a hair-coloring product featuring a beautiful young model with hair a shade that I liked. Wanting a second opinion, I asked my husband, “How do you think this color would look on a face with a few wrinkles?” He looked at the picture, crumpled it up, straightened it out and studied it again. “Just great, Honey.”
(thanks, Betty)
My wife and I were visiting her 95-year-old grandfather when he asked us to take him to buy a new hat. My wife took me aside. “I’m worried that he doesn’t have enough money, and he’ll be very embarrassed,” she said.
So I asked the salesperson to tell my wife’s grandfather that whichever hat he chose cost $15. I would pay the difference. Grandpa picked out a hat and was charged $15.
After he left, I paid the other $45 of the price. Later Grandpa said, “What a bargain! The last one I bought there cost me $60.”
(thanks, Ken)
A wife went to the police station with her next-door neighbor to report that her husband was missing. The policeman asked for a description.
She said, “He’s 35 years old, 6 foot 4, had dark eyes, dark wavy hair, an athletic build, weighs 185 pounds, is soft-spoken, and is good to the children.”
The next-door neighbor protested, “Your husband is 5 foot 4 inches, chubby, bald, has a big mouth, and is mean to your children.”
The wife replied, “Yes, but who wants HIM back?”
(thanks, Tony)
About a month or so ago, after much deliberation, I bought a magnolia tree from our local nursery. After only a few weeks I noticed that the leaves had started to shrivel and the tree appeared to be on its last legs in spite of my tender care.
So I took some leaf samples and marched back to the nursery to demand an explanation or get my money back.
“I know exactly what’s wrong with your magnolia,” said the manager.
“Good!” I exclaimed. “What’s it suffering from?”
You can imagine how stupid I felt when he simply said, “Autumn.”
(thanks for sharing, Karen)
And that’s this week’s look through the computer screen, Webfolks. Thanks for your time. Have a great weekend, and as always, may God bless you and keep you safe.

Jim’s WebLetter
Discover the best of the Web
C-my-site at http://www.jimonline.com


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