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Internet Predators: stopping ruthless proselytes who come to prey 16 February 2010

Posted by zioncomputer in Disaster Prevention, Free Software and Services, Internet Safety, Smart, Low-Cost Computer Stuff, Understandable Advice.
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Most of us are willing to do whatever it takes to protect our families and our livelihoods from assault, intrusion and theft. If you will, the front door to our lives is locked. But predators have found a entryway that in most cases doesn’t even have a door, let alone a lock.

That entrance is the Internet. All of us are connected by computers, cars, cell phones, iPods, and more. Through these open portals, dark proselytes freely come to prey.

Today is the day, now is the time, to put up doors, shut each one, and lock predators out. Beyond anti-virus, firewall and operating system updates—subjects for another day—here’s how.

Computer Doors

There are two kinds of Internet doors: content filters and accountability reports. Content filters are usually software programs installed on individual computers.

Most of these programs, like antivirus software, charge an annual fee. Among the best are SafeEyes, BSecure, and CovenantEyes. Each of these is excellent. Keep in mind, however, that many filter programs only work on computers using Microsoft Windows: XP, Vista or Windows 7. SafeEyes is nice because it works on PCs and Macs.

My personal favorite is K9 Web Protection. It has sophisticated control features, works on Macs and PCs—and it’s way more …free🙂

Accountability programs do not filter Internet content. Instead they generate reports to a third-party about dangerous sites or inappropriate dialogue that has been entered on your computer.

Fee-based filtering programs usually include a reporting feature. But if accountability is your primary need, try McGruff SafeGuard or X3 Watch.

McGruff SafeGuard is a service offered by the National Crime Prevention Council. Remember the Crime Dog? That’s McGruff. The variety of reports it generates is second to none. It enables you to directly report child predators to law enforcement. And… it’s free!

X3 Watch has a free version. However, its reports are only with respect to pornographic sites.

Internet Routers

Do you have a wireless network in your home or office? Then you have an Internet router.

Here’s the deal. If a friend or visitor is using your wireless network on their computer, they can visit any site and see anything. Unless you have a filter on your router, that is. If your router has a filter, then you never have to worry about how guests are using your Internet service.

My favorite router filter is OpenDNS. Its filtering options are sophisticated, and for home users it is free.

Cell Phones, iPods and more

If you have a choice of cell phone service companies, get Verizon. They stand head-and-shoulders among their competitors when it comes to Internet cell phone filtering. They also offer a tracking service so that you can always find your cell phone—or where your child is that has one.

The best third-party filtering service for iPhones and iPods is Mobicip. For $4.99 per device per year, Mobicip will filter Internet content and generate reports to your email address.

Adapting to a Door and Lock

If you put up a door where there wasn’t one before, it is an inconvenience. Not only must you turn the handle, open it and close it, if it has lock engaged, you’ve got to use a key. But all of us believe the hassle is worth it for our houses and our cars. Why not for our families, employees, colleagues, customers, and ourselves as well?

Ah, but then there is the matter of who holds the key. In this case, the password to your filtering program is the key that locks and unlocks it. If the holder of your password is tempted to go where no person should go on the Internet, they can unlock the program and go there anyway. Best solution: entrust the key—the password—to a friend or spouse who is trustworthy.

What Now?

Don’t delay; put filters in place today. If you would like help with installation (even the free programs and services are a challenge to set up), I am happy to help.

And… I am able to work on your computer(s) no matter where you are. Give me a call or shoot me a note.

And let me know what you think of this new website blog!

Your SOG—Smart Old Geek 

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