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OPLIN 4Cast #146: Your security is our security.

Posted in 4cast

security graphicYou have heard it before, you will hear it again…security, security, security.

Day after day we warn users that without good security, 1.) their e-mail accounts are dangerously exposed to hackers, 2.) their networks are vulnerable to outside attacks and 3.) the OPLIN network can be compromised.

All three of these instances happened this week, causing OPLIN staff to scramble to reduce the amount of damage.  This is a big deal.

Historically, when someone gets hacked on the OPLIN network, the reason for the compromise isn’t to steal your identity or use your computer to tap into some top-secret government agency.   We get hacked because someone wants to steal an e-mail account for sending out spam.

Thousands of people are impacted when one user e-mail ID is compromised or one library server isn’t protected.  OPLIN IPs get blocked by folks like Google, Yahoo! and Time-Warner, and it takes time to get removed from their blocked lists.  In the mean time, all OPLIN mail is backlogged and we block your offending IP as per the OPLIN Good Neighbor policy.

This week, the security breeches could have been easily averted.  Do not assume that someone else is taking care of your computer and e-mail security.  Ask!  Make sure you are receiving at least weekly Microsoft updates and daily anti-virus updates. Use a strong password on your e-mail account.  Be proactive and when possible, take personal responsibility for your machine.

Here are some articles about the severity of malware and ways to protect your account and the OPLIN network.