ABC Tower   ABC Nightlife, 31 August 2007

Tips & Hints

The August Nightlife spot coincided with National Identity Fraud Awareness Week so we looked at how identity thieves and other fraudsters use computers. We looked at this works and how to protect yourself. We also looked at wireless networking and

National Identity Fraud Awareness Week.

The days of teenagers hacking your computer or writing viruses for fun are long gone. Today it’s serious criminals that are trying to get into your computers and bank accounts. National Identity Fraud awareness week was setup to make you aware of the ways the fraudsters can get your information.

While here at PC Rescue we look at the high tech computer ways to be ripped off, there are plenty of low tech ways; from your local takeaway keeping your card details to dumpster divers rummaging through your rubbish bins. The NIFAW website has a lot of information to protect yourself. We also covered some listener's questions on security topics.

Listeners questions

Websites storing passwords

William was concerned about webpages like PayPal saving passwords and credit card details. Websites save details like login passwords to make it more convenient for users. They usually use little files called cookies to store this information.

When online commerce first started, some websites stored credit card information in cookies. Very quickly they learned this was a mistake as viruses and hackers could easily raid the cookie folder. These days bank and credit card details are not saved by websites and it's a breach of their merchant agreement to do so.

Bank following up on Internet fraud

Gabrielle called about an encounter her daughter had with a bank. It seems the bank had detected small but unusual transactions taking place with her account. It turned out scammers taking small amounts so as not to attract attention.

While Gabrielle's daughter did the right thing in not trusting the initial phone call and calling them back, people should be aware that cheap voice over IP services allow scammers to use the phone more. If you are in doubt, contact the bank on their main listed phone number rather than ringing the number back.

Password Security

Like everyone Rick is struggling with the sheer number of passwords he needs to keep track of. He asked if there was a utility to store them. There are, ranging up from a simple document with them all listed to proper databases. The problem with these is they need to be kept well guarded as well.

Computer Bluescreens

Jenny has a computer that "bluescreens" every half hour “a problem has been detected” and sits there. To restart the computer, it's necessary to hold the power button in for ten seconds to shut the computer down.

This sounds like an overheating problem. The computer runs for a while, gets hot and crashes. A visit to the local computer tech is in order.

Youtube not working

Richard called to complain about Quicktime not running in YouTube Given YouTube uses Flash, we'd suspect this is the problem so downloading and reinstalling the Flash Player is the first thing to try. If the problem is Quick Time, Apple have the instructions to repair that on their website

Converting videos from MOV to MPG

Sam wanted to convert movies made on his phone from MOV format to MP4 to MPG. A quick search of finds this utility, Kate's Video Convertor. We haven't tried this program so it's at your own risk, make sure you make a copy of the original before working on it.

Wireless Internet security

Beverley called about wireless Internet and how secure it is. Wireless Internet uses the mobile phone network and mobile signals are scrambled to make them almost impossible to intercept. Wireless Internet is not the same as a local wireless network, there are serious problems with security on home and office wireless networks.

Upgrading to Vista

Greg asked about upgrading to Vista. We wouldn't recommend it until Service Pack 1 is released sometime next year. In the meantime, we'd strongly recommend you stick with Window XP.

Our next Nightlife spot will be on October 19 where we'll be looking at how well Microsoft Vista is doing six months after being released. If you have a suggestion for the show, please contact us. We hope you can tune in after 10.00pm or you can stream the broadcast though the Nightlife website.
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