Keeping YOU and Your Computer Safe
a seminar April 19 2010 by HPKCC Safety Committee
and Older Women's League & 6 presenters

This page is brought to you by Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference, its Community Safety and WhistleStop Committee, and HPKCC's website,
Join the Conference! Support our work,

WhistleStop and Safety Committee. HPKCC's Community Safety focus. Public and Personal Safety contacts and information. Safety news and alerts. University students and safety. CAPS News. Police district merger.


This seminar was organized by and featured a panel from five locally-operating businesses:

Featured also was Germaine Strong, Chicago Police Department

Under auspices of Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference Safety and WhistleStop Committee, Camille Hamilton-Doyle Chair.
Co-sponsored by OWL Illinois.
In Kenwood Academy Little Theater. Our appreciation to Kenwood Academy esp. Ms. Knox.

About the presenters. Hyde Park Systems specializes in Windows and Web based systems and is geared toward software and databases development, integration, workflow.
Computer Resource teaches program and computer use.
Wooded Isle Computer Consultants specializes in Apple-MAC-based systems, their management and security concerns.
The Tektite Group concentrates on social media as business and personal tools.
Teffecx Design works with web design, security, and photography.

Germaine Strong, Chicago Police Department Community Policing, spoke and answered questions on dangers to youth on the internet.

She stressed the importance of a basic compact in which parents are in control and can monitor what kids do on their computer.

This includes keeping the computer in a common area, having specified and limited hours for its use, and making sure the "don'ts" are observed--
don't share any personal or school information/ID, addresses or logos, be very careful about or don't post pictures of oneself, don't set up appointments to "meet" or agree to send money or items, and let the parents know at once if anything seems uncomfortable to them including a request to send a picture--then call police (call 311 and ask for the internet investigative unit-- staff is small). Be aware that kids are sometimes snookered into things because they don't want to appear "unsophisticated." Create an atmosphere in which the child feels comfortable about coming to you with their questions--a parent has to be more than a "friend"- a protector and enforcer and that you will take away the computer or phone or go to police if necessary.
Make sure the parental controls and pop-up blockers allow you to look at them-- you need to know what was blocked.
You and they should know that you can be charged for posing a picture of yourself-- even possession is a serious offense.
You need to tell kids that there are consequences. Police do come out and talk to schools and other groups. Consequences include for future colleges and employers.
Note that students over 14 have access to the unprotected computers in libraries.

Some danger signs: predators especially love instant messaging and will ask you call them, meet you at school or in the park-- as much fishing for who and where you are as for an immediate meeting. One they get an opening and something from you, they will bribe, threaten, blackmail or hurt you to get more.

Some computer lingo-- but it changes all the time, and the kids will change it to keep parents in the dark. Police have a list of it for parents, mostly it's use of first letters. Abbreviations starting with P usually mean parents are listening or to private message.

Police have a brochure, Online Safety Tips for Safe Surfing on the Information Highway.

PARENTS: NEVER allow your child to arrange a face-to-face meeting with another computer user,
Set internet usage guidelines with your child,
Instruct your child to NEVER give out any identifying information- name, home address, school name, or telephone number,
Educate yourself about the internet and how it works, monitor the web sites your child is using,
Check out blocking, filtering, and web rating sites to assist you in protecting your child,
Be aware of sites such as and which operate as a type of online diary for EVERYONE to see.

TEENS: Keep your identity private,
NEVER give out your name, home address, school name, or telephone number,
NEVER agree to get together with someone that you meet online,
NEVER respond to email, chat comments or bulletin board messages that are hostile, belligerent, inappropriate, or in any way make you feel uncomfortable,
People who you meet online might not always be who they say they are,
DO NOT pick a screen name that gives away personal information (for example, Stephanieillinois1994),
NEVER send pictures of yourself over the internet.



National Missing and Exploited Children: 1-800-843-5678,,

Illinois Attorney General:


Is it possible for the child's computer to be accessed for a record of all received and sends? No. Can contact service provider, but may have to sue to get it.


Panel of experts on guarding your Internet and Computer Safety

Charlie Havens-- While Apple computers are much safer, they can be hacked and get viruses because Macs don't have blockers so the viruses don't get weeded out-- Macs are vulnerable to a few very old viruses, which you can pass along unknowingly. You have to pay to get protection.

Jean Pickering- in social media you do have to think about security, legal protocols (for example, you can't put something from UTube or things you don't own on your computer). In social media nothing you put up ever goes away, even if you shut down all your accounts-- people can and will find it-- social media is intended to be an online open diary. Job seekers had better be on facebook or they may not be hired-- and there is no legal protection from being rejected on that ground "condition of work-work related skill."
Be careful what goes up-- never any personal information or contacts on your business account, but your face is expected. And some of the games like Four-Square-- be cautious about saying where you have been or are going, or indicating you are not home or out of the country. More below.

On email scams. It's sickening how many fall for "please transfer $$" or "I'm in trouble" or "we need you to verify your accounts." (Even if you think this could be legit, call the bank or first-- most never ask for account and other information online.
Always check the extensions (by pausing the mouse over the address)-- it may be a fake for a common name or business- or government.

Remember that a company's computer, software, and accounts belong to them--anything you put there belongs to them and needs permission to be there. Also, your time belongs to them.
KEYSTROKES CAN BE TRACKED, and your keywords-- BY YOUR EMPLOYER OR BY A VIRAL PLANT including for commercial espionage. And the Library of Congress is storing all tweets.
Off the screen does not necessarily mean "gone." But DO LOG OUT.
Don't open an attachment you don't know.
Viruses can travel in pdfs, even though its' rare.
Ignore that pop-up or email from what purports to be a friend or relative saying "we found viruses" or "here's how not to get this virus."

Passwords-- don't make it an easy one-- not less than 9 characters, even 12 if banking on line. Most ask you to change it periodically-- a good idea generally. Have different passwords for business and personal. Be careful where your password is stored (like not written out on your desk). If you make a list of them in a Word file/flash drive, have it encrypted.
Never accept "remember this password."

Is online banking and payment safe? Safer than sending a check! But beware doing it at a library computer, for example. Auto withdrawal of payments may be a better choice. Only use one credit card for online activity and keep tabs of transactions- AND TO SECURE SITES ONLY- will say "https:" not "http:" and will have a lock icon.

Never download your address book- or put it in social media, which asks to let them invite all your contacts to be friends (that's a no-no anyway-- everyone will get every send. And what happens when you stop being friends or lovers-- it's still all there forever and they are your "friends" forever).
And don't trust "we will not share."

Internet Explorer 8 is safe.

Using anti-virals including to stop installation of robots. Install a good one and follow instructions. Those that come with the computer work, but may not be the best-- do use Windows Updates-- take them, they are installing protections. Good commercial anti-viral's include Norton, McAfee, Trend, and Copersig (?). Don't buy one from a pop-up.
Have the firewall's turned "on" and always log off when leaving.

If you think there is a problem, robot or virus, take your computer to Staples or Office Depot for a checkup.

In short, be aware, take steps, use your best practices, but don't be frightened away.


Social media and security based on handout by Jean Pickering of the Tektite Group at the seminar

Know that virus writers are targeting these sites- social, Web 2.0 (Twitter, instant messaging), Google, AOL.
They love to create fake profiles from which they insert software and send spam, phish, and inappropriate matter.

What should businesses do?

What should individuals do? Here a major concern is identity theft.