Link to Polar E-Connections

 

 


Inside This Issue

E-Mail Scam
New Phishing Attack Reported On Banking Customers

Protect Your Computer
From Spammers!

Ask The Help Desk
What Is A Buffer?

Sites Of The Month
Great Sites To Check Out In August!

Short Tutorial
Downloading Mozilla's Firefox Browser

 

 

Greetings from Polar's E-Connections Team

For some, August means school is just around the corner. But we all have opportunities to keep learning, as this eNewsletter illustrates. Included is a crash course on one of the latest e-mail scams targeting bank customers, a lesson on how buffering enables you to watch online videos faster, and a tutorial about downloading Mozilla's Firefox browser. This month's Great Sites section offers more places to gain knowledge — about typing, about relationships, about survival, and about business. Time to learn something new!

The goal of each of our monthly eNewsletters is to keep our subscribers informed regarding their Internet connection and to improve their Internet experience. To meet this goal, each monthly newsletter will usually contain information related to:

  1. Warnings on a recent virus, e-mail hoax or security issue that may affect you
  2. An update on new services and other local interests
  3. An answer to a frequently asked Internet related question
  4. Some fun, seasonal websites to check out
  5. A short, step-by-step tutorial on an e-mail or browser related task

We think you'll find the information contained in this newsletter to be a valuable tool for enhancing your Internet experience. If, however, you'd prefer not to receive these bulletins on a monthly basis, click HERE.

To see what's inside this issue, take a look at the index to the left and thanks for reading!

- The E-Connections Team

E-Mail Scam - New Phishing Attack Reported On Banking Customers

E-mail con artists have frequently masqueraded as banks in an effort to collect personal information such as account numbers. One of the latest such scams, first reported last month, takes a slightly different approach. These e-mail messages are being sent to customers of Bank of America and various other financial institutions, but claim to be promoting a new security program called SFN (Stop Fraud Now). That's right - they're committing fraud by pretending to be an organization that fights fraud.

The bogus SFN program offers to provide you with protection against cloning of credit cards and asks recipients to register by supplying their Social Security Number, credit card number, and ATM Personal Identification Number (PIN). Keep your eyes out for an e-mail resembling this one:

scam e-mail



Remember, you should always be suspicious of an e-mail requesting personal financial information, even if it appears to be from a financial institution with which you have a relationship. Legitimate banks will never send you an e-mail asking you to disclose your credit card number or online banking password. Do not reply to this type of e-mail or click on any link included in the message. Just hit "Delete."

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Protect Your Computer - From Spammers!

One of the ways that Spammers find to deliver their message around the world is through your computer with Trojans and zombie emailers. Yes, that's right, they want to use your computer for free to send thousands or millions of advertising messages to people who don't want them.

That is bad, it is unethical, and it is plain stealing resources you have paid hard earned money for. So why do they want to do it? The simple answer is money. If only one person in a million falls for their scam, and they send out five million advertisements, then they make money from those five people, and it didn't cost them anything because they did it with your computer.

Now the question is how do they get it on your computer? The most common way is to hide their program in something you want and let you come get it. Tricking you into installing bad programs or revealing information is called "Social Engineering". This is a tactic that has been around for centuries, in tales as old and popular as the "Trojan Horse". In fact that is where the Trojan viruses got their name, because the evildoer will hide his "zombie" program in a "Trojan" gift like a nifty game, toolbar, or program that will let you "download music for free". Then when you install what looks like and innocent program it actually sneaks a zombie program on your computer to send out Spam messages when your aren't looking. The spammer may even go so far as to display a huge user agreement when you install the Trojan. When you click to agree it makes the use of your computer "legal" because you agreed. They are betting that you either won't take the time to read the agreement, or won't understand the wording in the agreement.

A running email zombie will slow your computer, and make your web pages open a little slower and your games play badly. While the spamming program is running it can search your computer for passwords and financial information. By allowing (even unknowingly) the spammer to have access to your computer, they may be emailing themselves copies of financial & personal information you have on your computer. With this information they could be able to access your bank accounts. They could also use your computer to store and deliver things like child pornography, leaving their computers safe while letting law enforcement track you.

The email zombie programs act as their own email server, running without the computer owner being aware that they are there delivering email to other email servers. One of the things that Polarcomm has done to make it harder for the Spammer to do his job is block port 25 on outgoing connections from all of our customers with dynamic IP addresses. Blocking that port prevents the zombie from delivering Spam.

If a customer wants to run an e-mail server, this is perfectly fine, but you will need a static IP address from us. If this is something that you would like to do, contact Polar and we will be happy to help you.

If your computer is infected, the fact that we block port 25 means the zombie is unable to accomplish its intended task. The best way you can get rid of it is to have a good updated anti-virus and anti-spyware program running on your computer. These security programs will root out and destroy the Trojan programs. It is extremely important that you keep these programs updated weekly and run scans daily.

Polar's Internet and Helpdesk staff works each day to ensure that you receive the quality Internet services that you pay for. Because we know you value the safety and integrity of your computer, we recommend you invest in a program or security vendor to assure it remains virus free.

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Ask The Help Desk - What Is A Buffer?

Question: I've heard someone mention a "buffer" when referring to listening to music online. What is a buffer?

Answer: When you download an audio or video file from the Internet, your media player software, such as Windows Media Player, saves portions of the file in temporary memory during the process. This is called buffering.

The media player uses buffering technology to begin playing the clip before the entire file is downloaded. This means the clip will be played much sooner than if the entire file had to be completely downloaded before playback.

A buffer is also used to speed up a computer's performance by holding information in temporary memory (random-access memory [RAM]) until it's committed to a permanent location or task.

When you use a word processor, for example, your changes are held in temporary buffer memory until you save the document to your hard drive. Buffers also are used to transmit data between hardware devices, such as a computer and a printer. This buffer is needed when one device can transmit data much quicker than another can receive it.

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Great Sites To Check Out This Month

Survival Stories from the World Trade Center
http://wtcmovie.com -  Opening this month is World Trade Center, the poignant and powerful 9-11 movie from Oliver Stone. It tells the true story of two officers with the Port Authority Police Department, Will Jimeno and John McLoughlin, who were buried under 20 feet of rubble inside the WTC but were rescued 12 hours later. Their incredible tale of survival is brought to life by a cast including Nicolas Cage, Michael Peña, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Mario Bello. A highlight of this movie site is the "In Their Own Words" section featuring video interviews with Jimeno and McLoughlin themselves. Rated PG-13.

The Key to Free Typing Lessons
http://learn2type.com -  Do the e-mail messages you write contain a few too many typos? Or do your kids need better typing skills to master the homework ahead? This site offers free interactive typing exercises (including new Learn2Type for Kids) that automatically adjust to your skill level. Start by taking the short typing test to instantly assess your speed and accuracy. Then login whenever you like and complete the lessons at your own pace. Free, convenient, and effective - that's our type of typing tutor.

Home Business How-To's
http://entrepreneur.com -  August is officially "Home Business Month." If you'd like to start a home-based business or expand the one you already have, this site from Entrepreneur magazine is an excellent resource. It covers all the basics, from marketing and sales to money and finance. You'll also find low-cost startup ideas, stories from successful "mompreneurs," and guides to starting the most popular businesses around.

Listen to Your Elders
http://elderwisdomcircle.org -  When you need advice, there's nothing more valuable than the insights of someone older and wiser. This site provides free advice from volunteer "cyber grandparents" between the ages of 60 and 103. Elder Wisdom Circle is one of the largest providers of personal advice anywhere, and visitors to the site can get help with most any issue ranging from parenting problems to dating dilemmas. Read the responses to questions submitted by others, or send in one of your own for a fast, personalized reply.

News on the Net - US Open Tennis Championships
http://www.usopen.org/home/default.sps -  The 2006 US Open is August 28 to September 10 in New York. If you've always dreamed of going, get on the ball and visit this site for tickets and visitor information. Last year's US Open set an all-time attendance record of 659,538 fans - evidence of the sport's growing popularity. Never played tennis but want to take a swing at it? You'll also find tips on getting started and information about tennis instruction including free Tennis Block Parties held across the U.S.

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Short Tutorial - Downloading Mozilla's Firefox Browser

Web analysis firm OneStat.com reports that global usage of the free Mozilla Firefox browser is growing. As of July 2006, total worldwide market share for Firefox is 12.93 percent, U.S. usage is 15.82 percent, and Canadian usage is 14.58 percent. Firefox is becoming a popular browser because it blocks viruses, spyware, and pop-up ads and isn't as vulnerable to attacks as Microsoft Internet Explorer. It also offers advanced features like tabbed browsing, which lets you open multiple web pages in a single window and quickly flip back and forth between them. To download Mozilla's free Firefox browser onto your computer, simply follow the steps below.

Downloading Mozilla's Firefox 1.5.0.4 When Using Windows XP SP2 Home Edition:

  1. With Internet Explorer open, type "www.Mozilla.com" into your browser's address bar and then hit "Enter" on your keyboard.
  2. Click your cursor arrow on the "Download Firefox" button.
  3. The file download security warning will open. Click the "Save" button.
  4. In the "Save As" dialog box, choose where you want to save the Firefox installer on your hard disk and click the "Save" button.
  5. Once the installer has finished downloading, double click on it.
  6. A security warning will ask if you want to run the installer. Click "Run."
  7. When the "Welcome to Mozilla Firefox" screen appears, click the "Next" button to start your Firefox installation.
  8. After reading and agreeing to the licensing terms, select the "I Accept the terms of..." radio button and then click the "Next" button.
  9. Choose what type of install you want to do (Standard or Custom) and click the "Next" button.
  10. Close all other open applications and click the "Next" button.
  11. Under the "Install Complete" section, check the "Launch Mozilla Firefox now" box and click the "Finish" button.
  12. The Import Wizard will open. Select whether you want to import your settings from Internet Explorer into Firefox and click the "Next" button.
  13. Click the "Finish" button to exit the Import Wizard.
  14. You will be asked whether you want to use Firefox as your default browser. It is recommended that you click “No” until you’ve decided whether you like it better than your existing browser of choice.
  15. Firefox will open and a shortcut will be placed on your desktop.

Downloading Mozilla's Firefox 1.5.0.4 When Using Macintosh OS X:

  1. With Safari open, type "www.Mozilla.com" into the address bar of your browser and then hit "Return" on your keyboard.
  2. Click your cursor arrow on the "Download Firefox" button.
  3. Once the installer has finished downloading, double click on it.
  4. The installer will launch and open to the license agreement. To accept the terms of the license, click on the "Accept" button.
  5. The Firefox disk image will mount on your desktop and open. You will see a Firefox icon with a graphic indicating that you should add Firefox to your Application folder.
  6. Drag the "Firefox" icon onto your Application folder icon. Firefox will be copied to that location.
  7. Close the "Firefox" disk image window and drag the disk image to the trash to unmount it. That's it. You can now run Firefox as your browser.

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We hope you found this newsletter to be informative. It's our way of keeping you posted on the happenings here. If, however, you'd prefer not to receive these bulletins on a monthly basis, click HERE.

Thanks for your business!

Best regards,

The E-Connections Team

Polar E-Connections



Polar Communications
110 4th St E
Park River, ND 58270

800-284-7222



(We have used our best efforts in collecting and preparing the information published herein. However, we do not assume, and hereby disclaim, any and all liability for any loss or damage caused by errors or omissions, whether such errors or omissions resulted from negligence, accident, or other causes.)

©2006 Cornerstone Publishing Group Inc.

Trademarks: All brand names and product names used in this eNewsletter are trade names, service marks, trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.