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New to the Internet?
If you are new to computers and the internet, there are a few things you should know in order to keep your family and personal information safe. While owning a computer and using the internet can be very helpful when it comes to research, homework or just having fun, there are dangers out there that may not be entirely obvious. In this section of our site, we will try to help cover some of those dangers as well as give you some useful tips to help avoid them while keeping your family and personal information safe.

What can I do to protect my computer? Is there software that I can get to help?
Yes there is, Inter Mountain Cable offers an Antivirus and Security Suite software solution called F-Secure. This software covers both your Firewall and Antivirus. This is one step to help make your family and personal information safer.

 

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The most common means by which sexual predators contact children over the Internet is through chat rooms, instant messages and email. In fact, 89% of sexual solicitations were made in either chat rooms or instant messages and 1 in 5 youth (ages 10-17 years) has been sexually solicited online (JAMA, 2001). Considering that 25% of kids online participate in real time chat and 13 million use instant messaging, the risks of such children, either knowingly or unknowingly, interacting with a predator is alarming.

Here are a few Rules to talk with your children about:
Implement both safety rules and software tools to protect your children online, one without the other is ineffective.

1. Teach your children to never give personal information over the Internet, such as name, address, telephone number, password, parents' names, the name of any club or team he/she is involved in, name of his/her school, or after school job.
• In a study of 4 million children between the ages of 7 and 17 who use the Internet, 29% indicated they would give out their home address and 14% would give out their email address if asked (NOP Research Group, 2002).
• 81% of parents of online teens say that teens aren’t careful enough when giving out information about themselves online and 79% of online teens agree with this (Pew Internet & American Life Project, March 17, 2005).

 
2. Disallow chat rooms / Recognize that chat rooms are the playground of today's sexual predator.
• Approximately 89% of sexual solicitations of youths were made in either chat rooms or through Instant Messaging (Pew Study reported in JAMA, 2001).
• 1 in 5 youth ages 10 to 17 received sexual solicitation or approach in last year (Online Victimization, NCMEC, June 2000).
• “30% of teenage girls polled by the Girl Scout Research Institute said they had been sexually harassed in a chatroom. Only 7% told their parent because they were worried that their parents would ban them from going online” (Girl Scout Research Institute, 2002).
• "86% of the girls polled said they could chat online without their parents’ knowledge, 57% could read their parents’ e-mail, and 54% could conduct a cyber relationship” (Girl Scout Research Institute, 2002).
• Law enforcement officials estimate that as many as 50,000 sexual predators are online at any given moment (Dateline, 2006).

 
3. Limit your child's Instant Messaging to a parental approved buddy list. Regularly check your child's buddy list to ensure that it has not been altered.
• 42% of parents do not review the content of what their teenager(s) read and/or type in chat rooms or via instant messaging (The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and NetSmartz, June 2005).
• 95% of parents didn’t recognize common chat room lingo that teenagers use to let people they’re chatting with know that their parents are watching. Those phrases are POS (parent over shoulder), P911 (parent alert), BRB (be right back), LOL (laughing out loud) and A/S/L (age/sex/location) (The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and NetSmartz, June 2005).
• Half of teens ages 13-18 often communicate through the Internet with someone they have not met in person (Polly Klaas Foundation, December 21, 2005).
• One-third of youth ages 8-18 have talked about meeting someone they have only met through the Internet (Polly Klaas Foundation, December 21, 2005).
• Almost one in eight youth ages 8-18 discovered that someone they were communicating with online was an adult pretending to be much younger (Polly Klaas Foundation, December 21, 2005).

 
4. Place your computer in an area of your home where you can easily supervise your child's Internet activity. If you allow your child to have a webcam, place it in a public area of your house.
• 30% of parents allow their teenagers to use the computer in private areas of the house such as a bedroom or a home office. Parents say they are more vigilant about where their teen(s) go online if the computer is in a public area of the household (NCMEC/ Cox5/24/05).
 
5. Know your kids’ online activities and friends. (Regularly ask your kids about their online friends and activities. Role play with your child various dangerous scenarios that they could encounter online.)
• Nearly three out of 10 (28%) of parents don't know or are not sure if their teens talk to strangers online (NCMEC/ Cox5/24/05).
• 65% of all parents and 64% of all teens say that teens do things online that they wouldn’t want their parents to know about (Pew Internet & American Life Project, March 17, 2005).
• The adult Internet porn industry estimates that some traffic on their sites is 20–30% children (NRC Report, 2002).

 
6. Use parental controls/filtering or monitoring technology which block access to dangerous sites and activities.
• Over half (51%) of parents either do not have or do not know if they have software on their computer(s) that monitors where their teenager(s) go online and with whom they interact (NCMEC/Cox 5/24/05).
• 70% of teens online have accidentally come across pornography on the Web (The Kaiser Family Foundation).
• Nine out of 10 children aged between eight and 16 have viewed pornography on the Internet. In most cases, the sex sites were accessed unintentionally when a child, often in the process of doing homework, used a seemingly innocent sounding word to search for information or pictures (London School of Economics January 2002).
• The largest group of viewers of Internet porn is children between ages 12 and 17 (Family Safe Media website, 2006).
• More than 11 million teens regularly view porn online (“Protecting Kids Online.” Editorial. The Washington Post, July 1, 2004).

 
7. Establish online rules and an agreement with your child about Internet use at home and outside of the home (i.e., at a friend's house, at school, at the library, etc).
• 77% of parents do not have rules about what their kids can do on the computer, such as restricting the amount of time their kids spend on the computer (Kaiser Family Foundation Study, March 2005).
 
8. Spend time online alongside your child and establish an atmosphere of trust regarding computer usage and online activities.
• Only 25% of children who received a sexual solicitation told a parent (NCMEC, 2000).
 

9. Monitor the amount of time your child spends on the Internet, and at what times of day. Excessive time online, especially at night, may indicate a problem. Remind your child that Internet use is a privilege, not a right.
• Watch for changes in your child's behavior (mention of adults you don't know, secretiveness, inappropriate sexual knowledge, sleeping problems, etc.).
• 23% of youth reported being “very” or “extremely upset” by exposures to sexual material (Victimization of Youths on the Internet, 2003).

 

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Parents use these tips to help protect your children while they are online:

Establish online rules and an agreement with your child about Internet use at home and outside of the home (i.e., at a friend's house, at school, at the library, etc.)
• Spend time online alongside your child and establish an atmosphere of trust regarding computer usage and online activities.
Place your computer in an area of your home where you can easily supervise your child's Internet activity.
Regularly ask your kids about their online friends and activities. Role play with your child various dangerous scenarios that they could encounter online.
Implement software tools to protect your family from the intrusion of inappropriate content and sexual predators.
• Recognize that chat rooms are the playground of today's sexual predator. Do not allow your children to into chatrooms.
Block instant/personal messages from people you and your child don't know. Regularly check your child's buddy list to ensure that it has not been altered.
Do not permit your child to have an online profile. With this restriction, he or she will not be listed in directories and is less likely to be approached in chat rooms where pedophiles often search for prey. (Some Online Service Providers such as America Online, offer subscribers online profiles.)
Check with your child's school to see if student projects, artwork, or photos (where material is identified by name) are being put on school home pages (websites). Schools often want to post school newsletters or sports scores, but every time a name or photo is displayed, there is vulnerability. Schools need to be reminded of that risk and encouraged to allow access to student activities posted on the school's website by password only.
Monitor the amount of time your child spends on the Internet, and at what times of day. Excessive time online, especially at night, may indicate a problem. Remind your child that Internet use is a privilege, not a right.
Watch for changes in your child's behavior (mention of adults you don't know, secretiveness, inappropriate sexual knowledge, sleeping problems, etc.).
Report any content or activity that you suspect as illegal or criminal to local law enforcement.

 

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Phishing,What is it?
Phishing is a type of deception designed to steal your valuable personal data, such as credit card numbers and other account data and passwords, or other information.

You might see a phishing scam:
• In e-mail messages, even if they appear to be from a coworker or someone you know.
• On your social networking Web site.
• On a fake Web site that accepts donations for charity.
• On Web sites that spoof your familiar sites using slightly different Web addresses, hoping you won't notice.
• In your instant message program.
• On your cell phone or other mobile device.

Often phishing scams rely on placing links in e-mail messages, on Web sites, or in instant messages that seem to come from a service that you trust, like your bank, credit card company, or social networking site. Here are a few phrases to look for if you think an e-mail message is a phishing scam.

"Verify your account."
Businesses should not ask you to send passwords, login names, Social Security numbers, or other personal information through e-mail.

If you receive an e-mail message from Inter Mountain Cable asking you to update your credit card information or account information, do not respond: this is a phishing scam. We will NEVER ask for your personal information over email. If we need to contact you, for any information like this, we'll call.

"You have won the lottery."
The lottery scam is a common phishing scam known as advanced fee fraud. One of the most common forms of advanced fee fraud is a message that claims that you have won a large sum of money, or that a person will pay you a large sum of money for little or no work on your part. The lottery scam often includes references to big companies, such as Microsoft.There is no lottery they just want your information to steal your money.

"If you don't respond within 48 hours, your account will be closed."
These messages convey a sense of urgency so that you'll respond immediately without thinking. A phishing e-mail message might even claim that your response is required because your account might have been compromised.

Spyware, What is it?
Spyware is a general term used to describe software that performs certain behaviors such as advertising, collecting personal information, or changing the configuration of your computer, generally without appropriately obtaining your consent first. Spyware is often associated with software that displays advertisements (called adware) or software that tracks personal or sensitive information. That does not mean all software that provides ads or tracks your online activities is bad. For example, you might sign up for a free music service, but you "pay" for the service by agreeing to receive targeted ads. If you understand the terms and agree to them, you may have decided that it is a fair tradeoff. You might also agree to let the company track your online activities to determine which ads to show you.

Other kinds of spyware make changes to your computer that can be annoying and can cause your computer slow down or crash. These programs can change your Web browser's home page or search page, or add additional components to your browser you don't need or want. These programs also make it very difficult for you to change your settings back to the way you originally had them.

The key in all cases is whether or not you (or someone who uses your computer) understand what the software will do and have agreed to install the software on your computer. There are a number of ways spyware or other unwanted software can get on your computer. To learn more about spyware, read How to help prevent spyware. A common trick is to covertly install the software during the installation of other software you want such as a music or video file sharing program.

Whenever you install something on your computer, make sure you carefully read all disclosures, including the license agreement and privacy statement. Sometimes the inclusion of unwanted software in a given software installation is documented, but it might appear at the end of a license agreement or privacy statement.

Windows Update:
To help protect your computer, run Windows Update at least once a week (recommended to set your computers "auto-update" feature up). Microsoft is constantly releasing updates for security loophole fixes and general updates almost on a daily basis. Usually, when a virus releases Microsoft has a fix out for it a day or so later, when you update, you are patching your computer preventing that virus from causing any harm to you.

 

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Our Helpdesk is here to help you. They are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. They can help with most of your computer/internet related needs. If you need to setup your internet connection, email or having a different problem or question, they may be able to help you. Contact them today to see what they can do for you.

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