Archive for the ‘antispyware’ Category

9 ways to stay safe online this summer

July 17th, 2014 No comments

Summer is in full swing. Here are our best safety and security tips for the season.

  1. Don’t broadcast vacation plans on your social networking sites. If you’re leaving your home unoccupied and at risk for potential burglary, you might want to wait to post your vacation photographs until you return home. Get more tips for email and social networking safety.

  2. Limit who knows your location. Before you go on vacation, take a few minutes to adjust settings for sharing your location on your social networking sites and any apps on your smartphone. If you have kids who go online, make sure they know this, too. For more information, see Use location services more safely.

  3. Set computer and device rules for when you’re not around. If your kids are old enough to stay home alone when they’re not at school, make sure you talk to them about Internet safety. Download our tip sheet for pointers to jump-start—or continue—online safety conversations.

  4. Learn how to use parental controls. All Microsoft products include built-in privacy controls and safeguards that put you in charge of your children’s entertainment experiences and allow you to customize how personal information is, or is not, shared. Get step-by-step guidance on how to switch on safety settings across Microsoft technology and devices at home.

  5. Stay safe when playing games online. If your children’s summer sport of choice is the Xbox, Xbox One, Kinect, or other online or console game, learn about the core family safety features of Xbox One and find other ways to help kids play it safe.

  6. Update your software on your laptop or tablet. Before you go on vacation, make sure all your software is updated, to help prevent problems caused by hackers. If your laptop is still running Windows XP, read about the end of support for Windows XP.

  7. Check the security level of public Wi-Fi networks before you use them. Choose the most secure connection—even if that means you have to pay for access. A password-protected connection (ideally one that is unique for your use) is better than one without a password. Both Windows 7 and Windows 8 can help you evaluate and minimize network security risks.

  8. Avoid typing sensitive information on your laptop using an unsecured wireless connection. If possible, save your financial transactions for after your summer vacation on a secured home connection. For more information, see How to know if a financial transaction is secure.

  9. Watch out for suspicious messages from your friends on vacation asking for money. This is a common scam cybercriminals use when they’ve hacked into someone’s account. Find a different way to contact your friend. Learn more about scam email messages.

Guidance for Internet Explorer vulnerability

April 29th, 2014 No comments

On April 26, 2014, Microsoft notified customers of a vulnerability in Internet Explorer. To date, we are aware of limited, targeted attacks and are working on a fix.

UPDATE: Microsoft released a security update for this vulnerability on May 1. For more information, see Available now: Security update for Internet Explorer.

We encourage you to take steps that protect your PC such as enabling a firewall, applying all software updates, and installing antivirus and antispyware software.

In addition:

1. Exercise caution when visiting untrusted websites. Avoid clicking suspicious links or opening email messages from unfamiliar senders, which could send you to a malicious website that delivers malware to your computer.

2. Turn on “Enhanced Protected Mode” in Internet Explorer 10 and 11. Some versions of Internet Explorer have this setting on by default. To turn on Enhanced Protected Mode:

a. Click Tools in the Internet Explorer task bar and then Internet Options.

b. Click on the Advanced tab and then check the box next to Enhanced Protected Mode.

3. Download and install EMET 4.1, a Microsoft security tool, for an additional layer of protection.

As criminals become more sophisticated, it is important to keep current with software that has the latest security protections built in. Modern browsers and operating systems have greater security features than older operating systems.

Note: Microsoft no longer provides security updates for the Windows XP operating system and encourages upgrading to a modern operating system like Windows 8.

To learn more, visit How to boost your malware defense and protect your PC.

Safer is sweeter

Each fall when kids go “back to school,” parents and caregivers prepare their kids for homework, school programs, sports, even “trick-or-treating.” It’s also important that families have the same preparedness when using technology. We should encourage all children to enjoy the goodies the Internet provides, while helping them avoid the spookier things that can happen online. 

This collection of treats can help your little monsters avoid some of the digital “tricks” that can occur, supporting the notion that being safer online is sweeter for everyone!

Defend their devices & information from online creepers:

Help your goblins learn to use social networks safely:

  • Follow the age-usage guidelines set by social networking sites.
  • Work with kids to use Settings or Options in online services to manage who can see their profile or tagged photos, how people can search for them and make comments, and how to block people.
  • Ask kids to think about who they accept as friends and to reassess periodically.  
  • Empower kids to promote a positive image online, and be respectful with the comments and images they post.

Say “boo!” to online bullying:

  • Stay curious in kids’ lives online by asking them to show you their interests, what games they play, what they post and with whom they are talking online; lead with your own example; watch for signs of online cruelty, and ask kids to report any type of online drama.
  • Encourage empathy. Suggest kids put themselves in another’s shoes. With your support, they can stand up for someone being bullied online.
  • Promote compassion in the community by advocating for school trainings and kindness campaigns.

Participate in our #SaferIsSweeter Twitter contest for the chance to win a Surface RT!  Read the official rules for details. 

  • Follow us on Twitter and tweet to us the answers to seven daily questions about online safety & security.
    • You may answer each question at any time as long as you answer all of them by the end the day on October 31, 2013.
    • Your tweets entries must include the hashtag #SaferIsSweeter, corresponding question number (Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4, Q5, Q6, or Q7) so it is clear which you are answering, and be relevant to the discussion topic. 

Top 5 online safety tips for summer

June 4th, 2013 No comments

To help stay safe on your travels this summer, we recommend these Internet safety and privacy tips.

  1. Make sure your laptop or tablet has up-to-date antivirus and antispyware software installed. Windows 8 includes antivirus protection that’s turned on by default. If your computer isn’t running Windows 8, you can download Microsoft Security Essentials for free.
  2. Don’t broadcast vacation plans on your social networking site. If you’re leaving your house unoccupied and at risk for potential burglary, take a few minutes to adjust settings for sharing your location on your social networking site and any apps on your smart phone. If you have kids who go online, make sure they know this, too. For more information, see Use location services more safely.
  3. Lock your mobile phone. Use a four-digit PIN, or a password option, if you have it. Keep it secret. Use our password checker to test your password strength. Also, if you don’t need to store sensitive information on your phone, don’t. Learn more ways to secure your smartphone or learn about the Windows Phone privacy settings.
  4. Avoid typing sensitive information on your laptop using an unsecured wireless connection. If possible, save your financial transactions for a secured home connection. Passwords, credit card numbers, or other financial information are less secure on a public network. If you must enter credit card numbers while using a public network, make sure you see a locked padlock icon in the corner of the browser window and make sure the web address begins with HTTPS (the “S” stands for secure). Get more safety tips for using Wi-Fi.
  5. Your friend probably didn’t just get robbed in a foreign country. If you get an email from a friend who needs you to send him money while he’s on his vacation, be suspicious. A scammer can take over (or hijack) an email account and send an email to you that looks like it’s from someone on your contact list. Find a different way to try to contact your friend to find out if this email really came from him. With (formerly Hotmail), you can now report a friend who you think has been scammed, even if that friend doesn’t use For more information, see Security features in