Features

Article Index

1. Introduction

2. Spamming and Hacking Defined

3. Defending Your Computer

4. Antivirus Programs

5. Firewall Programs

6. Avoiding Spammers and Hackers

7. Reporting Internet Crooks to Law Enforcement Agencies

8. Getting Illegal Spammers and Hackers Kicked Off the Internet

9. Finding a Spammer's ISP

10. Finding a Hacker's ISP

11. How to find the ISP for a specific IP address

12. Composing our Email Complaint

13. Article Conclusion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fighting Back Against Email Spammers, Internet Hackers, and other Web Thieves

Page 4

Actions You Can Take to Avoid Spammers and Hackers

In the case of those skilled in defense, their opponents do not know where to attack

-- Sun Tzu (Chapter 6): Emptiness and Fullness

Here are some very easy things you can do to avoid or slow down email spammers and Internet hackers.

Avoiding Spam

1. One of the easiest things you can do to avoid spam is to never give out your real email address. Your real email address should only be used with trusted friends and coworkers. For all other types of email, and for situations that require an email address from you, you should setup and use a junk email account. A junk email account is usually obtained from a free web based email provider like Hotmail or our InfoHQ.com free email.

A junk email account is used for all types of correspondence when the end-user can not be trusted with your real email address. So use your junk email account for entering contests, shopping, registering on web sites etc. When your junk email address becomes so full of spam that you get tired of managing it, you delete it and get a new email account. Spam problem solved, you start spam free with a new email address.

2. Don't open junk email. The safest thing to do with junk email is to delete it.

Bad things can happen by opening junk email such as; the impossible to close window scam, resetting of your homepage to the spam site, and loading of unwanted or hostile programs.

Note: Some experts are now claiming that you should not have your email "preview pane" open as hostile programs could be started just by the act of the email being previewed.
I have never seen a program load from the preview pane, however it is a good practice to close the preview pane when dealing with suspicious email.

You should not even consider opening junk email unless your computer is thoroughly protected and you want to take action against the sender of the spam.

3. Never open email attachments unless you trust the sender and you expected an attachment. Computer viruses and other hacker software is mainly transmitted through email attachments.

Opening email attachments is dangerous. When you open attachments you are putting your computer at risk.
Unless you are absolutely sure an email attachment is safe, you should delete the entire email. If it was something important, it can always be resent.

InfoHQ Comment on Email Attachments: The days of sending the latest cute web thing as an attachment to 100 of your friends should be long over.
This is a very risky behavior as you are not only risking your computer, you are endangering the 100 friends you send the attachment to. If you feel compelled to point out the latest cool web doodad to your friends, the safest way is to give them the Web address of the doodad.
If you are the receiver of such attachments, delete the email and politely inform the sender that you no longer want to receive their "enlightened" emails as they are very dangerous to open.

4. Don't click on "remove" from mailing lists. If its a mailing list you subscribed to, or a store you trust, then you should use the email's unsubscribe feature. For any other type of spam, you shouldn't unsubscribe from it as this just invites more spam, nor should you be reading it in the first place.

5. Use your email program's spam blocking features. All email programs have spam blocking features. Take some time to figure out how to block email from spammers. With many email programs it is possible to specify exactly who is allowed to send you email.
You can also download or buy programs that will block email spam, however these programs will take time to "train" on what is spam and what isn't.

Avoiding Hackers

1. Never post your IP address in a public place. This is like inviting a hacker to your door. Once they know your Internet Protocol address (four numbers divided by periods e.g. 168.320.001.01) they can begin hacking you.

2. Always run your Firewall and Antivirus programs first. Your firewall and antivirus programs should always be running before your computer connects to the Internet. If for some reason you want to turn these programs off, make sure you have first disconnected from the Internet. It is also a very good idea to enable automatic software updates in these programs so they stay up-to-date.

3. When you are not using your computer, disconnect it from the Internet. One of the worst things that can happen is when a hacker breaks into your computer and you don't even know it. To prevent unknown attacks, your computer should be disconnected from the Internet when not in use.

There are various ways to disconnect from the Internet, you could: turn off the computer, put your computer in Windows' Standby mode (Start/Shutdown/Standby), break the Windows' Internet connection, or power down your modem or unplug your LAN cable.

Remember that just because your computer screen has gone blank/dark doesn't mean that you have disconnected from the Internet. A blank or dark screen is an indication of power saving mode and does not mean your computer is disconnected from the Internet.

Also, it is not a good idea to pull cables from your modem with the power on, as this could short-out your modem or computer. If you have an external modem and want to turn it off, the best thing to do is to plug the modem into a switched surge protector, and then turn the surge protector off.