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Internet Security and Other Settings

Information about viruses, spam, spyware and security. Also, FTP settings and local dial up numbers.

Download one of our  Volcano Internet Survival Guides (PDF) Or use our FAQ section below:

Internet Security

 

Keeping your computer and the information stored on it safe has become an important yet very confusing topic. After hearing about things like viruses, worms, spyware, and spam it's hard to know what to do and even where to start. Well, we are going to try to break all this down so you can have an idea of what this is about, and what you can do to keep your computer as safe as possible.

 

General Internet and Computer Security

There are simple steps that you can take that will greatly reduce your chances of being a victim of a computer scam, spyware, or a destructive virus. Whether you are a dialup user, or have a broadband connection, you should be aware of online risks and how to protect yourself against them.

Windows Update
Microsoft will frequently release security updates to patch any vulnerabilities that have been found in Windows. Although downloading and installing these updates can be time consuming and frustrating, it is very important that these critical security updates are installed. Without these security updates from Microsoft installed, your computer will be at risk.

You can schedule Windows to automatically download and install these updates. For Windows XP Service Pack 2, there is an Automatic Updates icon in the Control Panel where you can set how you want your computer to download and install updates. In Windows XP Service Pack 1, settings for Automatic Updates are in Control Panel->System->Automatic Updates tab.

Unless you keep up on downloading and installing these updates yourself on a very regular basis, you should set Windows to automatically download and install critical updates.

Back up important data
If you do get infected by a virus, worm or some other online pest, you may end up losing important data. By backing up important data like your Address Book, important email, tax documents and so on, you will prevent permanent loss of vital information.

Only download files from trusted sources
You should only download files from websites you trust. If you are unsure about a file's legitimacy, do not download it.

There are many free programs that are available online that may seem like they would be useful or entertaining. Many of these free programs have advertising software bundled with them. These advertising programs can produce pop-up ads, track your browsing habits and slow your computer's performance. Some types of free programs that can have adware and spyware include programs that claim to increase your Internet connection speed, file sharing programs, smiley and font packages, and browser toolbars to name a few. Most deceptive are programs that claim to be a spyware removal program or a program that will improve the performance of your computer, when what they really do is install spyware on your computer and slow down your computer.

Be cautious of these types of advertisements and of what types of free programs you chose to download. If there is a program that you are interested in installing, you should read the user agreement to find out if an advertising program is bundled with the program you want. If you are still unsure if it is a safe program, perform an online search with the title of the program in the search field. If the majority of the search results are websites giving frustrated users instructions on how to remove the program, it is probably not safe.

If you are still unsure about a program, then you should avoid downloading it to your computer. With Internet security, it's always better to err on the side of caution.

Use an Anti-Virus program and keep it updated
There are quite a few anti-virus programs that you can purchase and they should all do about the same thing for you, protect your computer from viruses. Whether you get Norton, McAfee, or another anti-virus program, the most important thing is to keep it updated. New viruses come out all the time, and after they do, the anti-virus companies will release new definitions for the new virus. If you do not download the new updates to your computer with these new definitions, you will be susceptible to new viruses. You should update your anti-virus program at least once a week.

Also either set your anti-virus program to do regular scans, or manually scan your computer for viruses frequently. If you download updates, you should scan after you get the updates.

Use a Firewall
A firewall is basically a gatekeeper that stands in between your computer and the wild wild Internet. Firewalls will block unwanted connections and traffic from coming into your computer and also control what programs on your computer have access to the Internet.

There are two different types of firewalls that you can have, either a program installed on your computer, or a piece of hardware called a router. If you get online using a dialup connection, a firewall program should provide sufficient protection. However if you have a high-speed, always on connection such as DSL or Cable Modem service, having a router will provide you with extra security and is recommend by most computer security professionals.

Common Sense
You wouldn't leave your front door wide open if you were concerned about someone breaking into your house and robbing you. Protect your computer by using a firewall and anti-virus program. You wouldn't accept free candy from a stranger. Be cautious, even suspicious of free software that you may come across online. The best protection you can provide yourself is to educate yourself about online dangers and use common sense when you are connected to the Internet.
 

Spyware

 

Spyware and adware are programs that are installed on your computer, usually without your knowledge, that can make pop-up windows appear, track your web surfing habits, change your homepage, and the worst type of spyware will log what you type on your keyboard. Have you seen pop-ups come up without end, or has the homepage changed on its own to some search page? Has your computer's performance slowed to the point of almost being unusable? Are you not even able to get online anymore? These are all symptoms of spyware and if they sound familiar, you probably have spyware on your computer.

Spyware has become so common that it is safe to say that most computers connected to the internet have spyware on them. Some recent studies have found that over 90% of computers that are online have some type of spyware.

How did I get spyware?

There are a few different ways that spyware gets on your computer. Free programs often have advertising software that is installed when you install the free program that you wanted. Examples of these types of free programs are file sharing programs, Internet accelerator programs, and browser toolbars to name just a few. Also, through security vulnerabilities, webpages can install software on your computer without you being aware. These "drive by downloads" use a feature in Internet Explorer to download and install their software (more on this later). Some sneaky programs that claim to remove spyware, will actually install spyware on your computer. So if you have clicked on a pop-up ad from one of these types of programs, you may have spyware.

How do I get rid of spyware?

To remove spyware from your computer you will need a program that will scan for spyware on your computer and then let you remove what it finds. We have found running more than one spyware removal program is an effective way of getting rid of most if not all the spyware that may be on your computer. The following three programs seem to be the most recommended and are the programs that we use here.

Ad-Aware SE- Free to download and update
Spybot - Search and Destroy- Free to download and update
AVG Anti-Spy- Free version available

If you suspect that you may have spyware, download, install, update and run these three programs. You can download Ad-Adware and Spybot from theDownload.com Spyware Center. AVG Anti-Spy can be found atfree.grisoft.com. After downloading and installing the programs, you should update them before you scan your computer. Ad-Aware and Spybot will allow you to update during the installation of the programs. If you are not able to get online to update the programs, go ahead and run them as they are, and after you have scanned your computer with all three, give the update another try.

After scanning with these programs, most if not all the spyware is gone and most computers are able to get online without a problem. However there are some cases where spyware will remain even after scanning with these removal programs.

How do I keep from getting spyware?

Now that you have removed all the spyware from your computer, you will want to keep from getting it again. Taking some preventative steps can help you avoid spyware and the problems that come with it.

  • Use caution and common sense if you download free programs

    If there is a free program that you would like to download, make sure you read the license agreement to see if you would be agreeing to install an advertising program. If you are not sure if the program contains spyware, perform an online search on the name of the program. From the results you should be able to determine if the program is legitimate or not. While it may be appealing to download free software like games or file sharing programs, you should be aware that some free software will contain spyware. To help keep your computer free of spyware, you should only download software from trusted sources.
     
  • Do not click on links in pop-up windows

    Click on the "x" to close pop-up windows. Clicking on links within pop-up windows may install spyware on your computer. If you are unable to close a pop-up window by clicking on the "x", press the F4 key on your keyboard. This will close the active window on your screen.

    If a pop-up window appearing claiming to be a spyware removal program, do not click on any links in that window. Often these ads for spyware removal program will only install spyware on your system.
     
  • Adjust your Internet Explorer security settings

    If you use Internet Explorer as your browser, you should set the security settings to prompt if a web site is attempting to download a program to your computer, or if a website is trying to use ActiveX controls. ActiveX is a microsoft technology that allows interaction between websites and programs on your computer. For example, ActiveX can allow a Microsoft Word document to be viewed in a web browser window. While this is a useful function, it is very easily exploited. Further, ActiveX allows full access to the operating system which presents a more critical security concern. You should configure Internet Explorer to at least prompt you if a website is going to use ActiveX. If Internet Explorer is set to automatically download ActiveX controls, spyware could be downloaded to your computer without your knowledge.

    Enable scripting in Internet Explorer can also pose a security vulnerability. You can also set Internet Explorer to prompt when any scripts are downloaded to your computer.

    For more about setting up Internet Explorer securely, check out the links below. These links are provided as a resource to our users. Volcano Internet does not support any information or products contained in the following webpages.

    http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/using/howto/security/setup.mspx
    http://www.us-cert.gov/reading_room/securing_browser/

  • Use a firewall

    While most spyware is installed through programs and websites, having a firewall is still a good idea as it will protect you from unwanted connections from the Internet.
     
  • Keep Windows updated

    This is an important overall security step and should be done on a regular basis.
     
  • Use a different browser

    Instead of using Internet Explorer and the security vulnerabilities it has, you can use a completely different browser and minimize the chances of downloading spyware while you are browsing the Internet. Having a second browser is a good idea in general, even if you use Internet Explorer as your main browser. Also, some websites are written specifically for Internet Explorer and will not work correctly with other browsers, so you will probably not want to completely remove Internet Explorer. Who knows, you may find that you will like using another browser for your web surfing.

    Below is a list of alternative browsers.

    Mozilla Firefox
    Google Chrome
    Safari
    Opera

Spam and Virus Help

One of the major concerns about the Internet is Unsolicited Commercial Email or as it is more commonly referred to, spam. Whether you are starting new Volcano Internet service, or you have been a customer for years, we would like to give you a few tips and ideas to minimize the amount of junk email that you may receive at your Volcano.net email address.

Volcano email accounts are protected against spam with a spam filter on our server. The spam filter will block out most unwanted mail, however no filter is perfect and some spam may get through. You should still follow some basic guidelines to avoid getting spam sent to you.

What is Spam

Spam is unwanted email sent to your email account without your permission. These messages may be chain letters, get rich quick schemes, advertising for a dubious product, or contain objectionable material.

Why should I care?

  • Productivity - Having to take time to deal with unwanted email takes time away from what you really want or need to do on the Internet.
     
  • Objectionable Material - If you get spam, you may have to look at something that you probably did not want to see. If you have children who will use email, this can be especially concerning.
     
  • Privacy - Many people feel as if they have been violated and that their privacy has been invaded. Imagine a door-to-door salesman coming to your house 10 times a day trying to get you to buy something you didn't ask for in the first place.
     

What can I do?

Here is a list of helpful tips that will limit how much spam you may get.

  • Choose a unique email address - Spammers use automated programs that send email to common email address like This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . If you use your first or last name as your email address you may get a lot of spam right from the start.
     
  • Keep your Volcano email address private - Try to give out your Volcano email address to only trusted contacts. Many websites you may visit require an email address to use services they provide at their site. Avoid using your Volcano email address to register at websites unless you feel confident they will keep your address private. There are free email services like Hotmail, MSN, and Yahoo that you can use to register at websites that you are unsure about.
     
  • Never respond to spam or click on the "Remove Me" link - This will only confirm to the spammer that there is a live person at the end of the email address, and it will become more valuable to them and other spammers. You will get more spam.
     
  • Do not buy products advertised in spam - This probably goes without saying, but somehow the spammers are making money or they wouldn't be doing this. So the less people that buy what they are selling, the less money they will make and hopefully will find a new line of work.

Viruses

Viruses are an unfortunate reality of the Internet. There seem to be new viruses that come out all the time causing more and more problems for everybody. However, there are some things that you can do to protect yourself. By following good security practice and using common sense, you can minimize your risk of becoming a victim of the next virus. Please read through the following tips.

  • Do not open attachments unless you know someone was trying to send one to you

    Only open an attachment if you are expecting one. Even if the sender of the attachment is your friend or a relative, make sure you confirm that the attachment was meant to be sent to you. Viruses will use the email address of the infected user as the Sender, so that it appears legitimate. Or viruses will take email addresses from the address book and use that as the Sender.

    If you receive an email with an attachment from someone, email or call them to see if it was sent intentionally. If not, do not open the attachment.
     
  • Use an Anti-Virus program and keep it updated

    There are quite a few anti-virus programs that you can purchase, and if they are updated, they should all do about the same thing for you, protect your computer from viruses. Whether you get Norton, McAfee, or another anti-virus program, the most important thing is to keep it updated. New viruses come out all the time, and after they do, the anti-virus companies will release new definitions for the new virus. If you do not download the new updates to your computer with these new definitions, you will be susceptible to new viruses. You should update your anti-virus program at least once a week.

    Also either set your anti-virus program to do regular scans, or manually scan your computer for viruses frequently. If you download updates, you should scan after you get the updates.
     
  • Keep Windows updated

    For your overall computer security, do not forget or neglect to keep Windows updated.
     
  • Back up important data

    If you do get infected by a virus or worm, you may end up either losing data, or the virus may effect the computer so much that you will have to reinstall Windows. By backing up important data like your Address Book, important email, tax documents and so on, you will prevent permanent loss of vital information.
  • Use a firewall program

    Not all viruses or worms are spread through email. A firewall can protect your computer from outside intrusions from the Internet, and also alert you if a program on your computer is trying to get online. Using a firewall is just a good overall security practice.
     
  • Consider a different operating system

    The overwhelming majority of viruses are written for Microsoft Windows and other Microsoft programs like Outlook. By switching to another operation system like Apple OS, or (for the more adventurous) Linux, you will avoid most of the viruses. This does not mean you will never get a virus, but your chances are greatly reduced.
     
  • Only download files from trusted sources

    You should only download files from websites you trust. If you are unsure about a file's legitimacy, do not download it.

File Transfer Protocol (FTP)

 

How to Publish a Web Page

Create it

The first step toward having your own web page is to write "or create" it. This article focuses on publishing, not writing, your web page, but if you're just starting this process, we can get you moving in the right direction.

There are many different programs a beginner can use to create a web site. For instance, some versions of Microsoft Word will save a Word document as an HTML file. More advanced users can create pages using HTML code (HTML is the programming language used to create web pages). If you do some research on the web you should be able to find a method that suits you.
 

Name your file

No matter how you decide to make your web pages, give your starting page the file name index.html. With this file name, this is the page that will come up when someone types in your web address. If the file has a name other than index.html, when someone wants to reach your site they would have to type in www.volcano.net/~username/filename instead of just www.volcano.net/~username.

Confusing? Once you get started doing this it will become clearer. For now just remember to give your starting web page the file name index.html when you save it.

 

Get an FTP Program

Now that you have created your web page and properly named it, it is ready to be put on the web for the world to see. To do this you will need to first, phone us so that we can activate your web space, and then you will need to get an FTP (file transfer protocol) program. An FTP program allows you to upload files from your computer to a remote computer, and download files from a remote computer to your computer.

There are many FTP programs available such as CuteFTP, WS-FTP, and Fetch (for Mac users), which you can download from this site.

 

Uploading Your Page

In your FTP program there are some settings that you need to know so that you can put your web page on the server. Here are the settings:

 

Host Name/Address:

ftp.volcano.net

Site Label/Address:

www.volcano.net/~username

User Name:

Your Volcano username

Password: Your Volcano password
Initial Remote Host Directory: public_html

After you have entered the settings, you should be able to connect to the FTP server and upload your files.

Viewing your Web Page

To view your page, open up your browser and in the address bar type in www.volcano.net/~username. Remember, this will automatically look for a file named "index.html". If you name your file something else, you'll need to append "/whatever-the-filename-is" to the above address.

Volcano DNS and Email Settings

DNS Addresses:
204.213.194.20

Incoming Mail Server:
pop.volcano.net
Port - 110
NO SSL
Username - entire email address including the "@volcano.net"

Outgoing Main Server:
mail.volcano.net
Port - 587
NO SSL
Username - entire email address including the "@volcano.net"
(if Microsoft email client, on “server” tab check the “use same settings…” button, NOT the “Login using…” button)

end faq