Internet Safety

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What Can I Do TODAY to Protect My Computer?

  1. Get an Anti-Virus Program
    • An anti-virus program protects your computer by scanning your computer and all in-coming traffic for viruses. If it detects a virus, it will either delete it, or quarantine it for you to review individually and determine what you want done with it. Make sure your program is turned on
    • Set to "auto-update" including the "virus definition file" so it stays current with downloads available from the web and knows what new viruses to look for
    • Set to "auto-scan" your whole system at least twice a month
  2. Get an Anti-Spyware Program
    • An anti-spyware program helps protect your computer from spyware that monitors your online activities and collects personal information while you surf the web. Make sure you set your program to "auto-update" including the "spyware definition file" so it stays current with downloads available from the web
    • Run your anti-spyware program at least once per week
  3. Set Up a Firewall
    • A firewall filters and blocks traffic coming into your computer according to the rules you set. Some folks use the one that comes with their Windows or MacIntosh operating systems, others download separate software. Whichever you prefer, make sure to use only one firewall, all others should be turned off for effective protection.
    • Review and modify the settings that determine what in-coming traffic is allowed onto your computer so they are set to your personal preferences.
    • When you are alerted about blocked traffic, most firewall software (although not Windows at this time) will give you a recommendation as to how to proceed with the blocked content.

Parental Internet Safety from the District Attorney

The DA's Office has a section on their website with very comprehensive and useful information regarding how to help keep your kids safe on the internet

Cyber Bullying

"Cyberbullying" is the use of the Internet and related technologies to harm other people, in a deliberate, repeated, and hostile manner.  Cyberbullying is when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones. It has to have a minor on both sides, or at least have been instigated by a minor against another minor. Once adults become involved, it is plain and simple cyber-harassment or cyberstalking. Adult cyber-harassment or cyberstalking is not called cyberbullying.

Our department understands and takes seriously the importance of recognizing, educating, and helping to prevent cyberbullying.  Our School Resource Officers (SROs) often provide presentations on cyberbullying to local Ventura Unified Schools. The presentation is presented at school in the form of a Power Point however, you can view the presentation below as a .pdf.  Additionally, if you or your child are interested in attending a presentation please contact a SRO for more information.

Ventura PD SRO Cyberbullying presentation

Here are some helpful cyberbullying websites:

 

Spotting Hoaxes and Urban Legends on E-Mail

This information comes from the National Cyber Alert System.

Identifying Hoaxes and Urban Legends

Chain letters are familiar to anyone with an email account, whether they are sent by strangers or well-intentioned friends or family members. Try to verify the information before following any instructions or passing the message along.

Why are chain letters a problem?

The most serious problem is from chain letters that mask viruses or other malicious activity. But even the ones that seem harmless may have negative repercussions if you forward them:

  • they consume bandwidth or space within the recipient's inbox
  • you force people you know to waste time sifting through the messages and possibly taking time to verify the information
  • you are spreading hype and, often, unnecessary fear and paranoia

What are some types of chain letters?

There are two main types of chain letters:

  1. Hoaxes - Hoaxes attempt to trick or defraud users. A hoax could be malicious, instructing users to delete a file necessary to the operating system by claiming it is a virus. It could also be a scam that convinces users to send money or personal information.
  2. Urban legends - Urban legends are designed to be redistributed and usually warn users of a threat or claim to be notifying them of important or urgent information.

How can you tell if the email is a hoax or urban legend?

Some messages are more suspicious than others, but be especially cautious if the message has any of the characteristics listed below. These characteristics are just guidelines--not every hoax or urban legend has these attributes, and some legitimate messages may have some of these characteristics:

  • it suggests tragic consequences for not performing some action
  • it promises money or gift certificates for performing some action
  • it offers instructions or attachments claiming to protect you from a virus that is undetected by anti-virus software
  • it claims it's not a hoax
  • there are multiple spelling or grammatical errors, or the logic is contradictory
  • there is a statement urging you to forward the message
  • it has already been forwarded multiple times (evident from the trail of email headers in the body of the message)

If you want to check the validity of an email, there are some web sites that provide information about hoaxes and urban legends:

Phishing = Phraud

PHISHING (fish´ing) (n.) The act of sending an e-mail to a user falsely claiming to be an established legitimate enterprise in an attempt to scam the user into surrendering private information that will be used for identity theft. The e-mail directs the user to visit a Web site where they are asked to update personal information, such as passwords and credit card, social security and bank account numbers, that the legitimate organization already has. The Web site, however, is bogus and set up only to steal the user’s information.

PHONE or VOICE PHISHING – also called “VISHING”, is similar to the above strategy. But since so many folks have become wary of clicking on the links included in these types of e-mails, the sender gives you a phone number to call.