Internet Privacy and Security
(controls, tips, tricks and tools)



Report By Cemendtaur
November 2004


Santa Clara: The setting was Spartan--a classroom was created in one corner of the warehouse of a general contractor--but the subject matter of the lecture was high tech, and the program the class was kicking off was very ambitious. Koshish Foundation's first lecture under its Knowledge Exchange Program on "Internet privacy/security and parental control: Tips, tricks, tools and related information" was held on November 23, at the office of Dyna-Sel USA.


Koshish Foundation is a non-profit organization working on education related projects. Koshish describes its Knowledge Exchange Program to be a free community service. The intent of the program is to disseminate important information to professional and non-professional individuals. Through the Knowledge Exchange project Koshish plans to arrange regular lectures on topics interesting to a wide audience. Koshish believes the attendees of the Knowledge Exchange program will get the benefits of learning, networking, getting valuable advice and tips, generating new ideas together, and making friends.

The lecture arranged on November 23 was very timely as protecting yourself on the Internet is a growing concern shared by many. The information highway that at one time people aspired is now a reality and has made exits and on-ramps at each computer. Among the educated of the world the Internet's membership, in numbers, far surpasses any other form of membership, be it religion, language, or culture. The rate at which new information is added to the Internet on a daily basis is mind boggling. The Internet has everything: from the darkest aspects of our existence to the brightest and most promising dreams of the brilliant minds. And because this union of people transcends national boundaries and geographical limits the Internet has no rules. It is a jungle where predators roam free and look for easy preys. And this vulnerability dictates a need to prop up safeguards. The Internet Security class was taught by Mr. Asif Habib, owner of Hiregateway.com and the brain behind NetGenii software (available at NetGenii.net). Mr.Asif Habib who is leading Koshish's Knowledge Exchange Project has fourteen years of management and software engineering experience.


Mr. Habib started the lecture with a general overview of the Internet technology. He observed that parents are very protective of their children when the children are out of their homes, but when children sit in front of the computer parents believe their child is safe just because parents can see their child. Mr. Habib asked parents to be perceptive of the influences their child gets exposed to through the Internet.
"Everything is out there. Children are very vulnerable and parents must protect their children," Mr. Habib said. Mr. Habib then expanded the scope of the lecture by delineating on aspects of identity theft and protecting privacy when communicating through the Internet. Among a bunch of observations and remedies he talked about, this writer remembered the following:
* Don't store your personal documents on any computer that is shared.
* Do financial transactions only on secure servers (that start with https).
* Periodically delete temporary Internet files that are stored on your machine by the websites you visit.
* Use a firewall.
* Use an antivirus software.
* Use an anti spyware. [Spywares sit in your machine, monitor your activities, and send this information to their parent servers.]
* Encrypt e-mail messages that are classified in nature.
* Never open any attachment that comes from strangers--or even when it comes from someone you know but looks suspicious.

Whereas attendees are not required to pay, Koshish Foundation, through this program, hopes to create a continuous source of revenue for its ever-growing philanthropic activities. Koshish is asking community members to financially supporting the Knowledge Exchange program. Donators can become annual supporters of this program for a $300 donation. Quarterly and per lecture support packages at $100 and $25 are also available. This type of a long-term fundraising drive with obvious benefits to the community is a novel idea; it is a welcoming deviation from gaudy fundraisers frequently held in chic hotels.


 

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