Safe Practices Reading

Lesson 11
Safe Practices
Stranger accesses home computer, spies on Utah County family
October 27, 2014
ELK RIDGE, Utah County—If you have a computer with a camera on it, it could
happen to you. Before you know what’s going on, a stranger is peering inside
your home.
It happened to Jennifer Bylund, a mother of two who lives in Elk Ridge. With a
sparse population and wide open spaces, it’s not exactly a crime-ridden
But Bylund discovered criminals don’t always knock down doors to infiltrate our
“I didn’t know he could get in that easily. It’s scary,” she said.
As she sat in front of her computer monitor, with her children nearby, she
watched in horror as a stranger turned on the camera and spied on her from her
“He saw my kids, he saw my home,” she said. “Yeah, I was shocked, I was
shocked that somebody could actually do that.”
“It’s a blatant invasion of privacy is what that is. They’re looking into your home,”
said FBI special agent James Lamadrid.
The FBI says there are thousands of similar complaints across the country.
“It’s very simple, it’s very straightforward; they want your money,” he said.
Bylund was victimized by a tech support scam. She’d responded to a pop-up ad
that warned about problems with her computer.
“Because I was paying my bills, it made me worried, so I gave them a call,” she
told KSL Investigator Debbie Dujanovic.
Besides sending phony pop-ups, scammers call potential victims and pretend
they’ve detected suspicious activity that must be addressed immediately.
Concerned computer owners then often grant a scammer remote access to their
computer, believing there is a problem that needs to be fixed.
“I allowed him to get on. All he needed was my email address, my birthday and
my first and last name,” said Bylund.
As victims watch the monitor, the FBI says scammers remotely access the
computer and may do things that convince the victim there’s a problem.
“They change the font from white to red, which is very simple to do, and
everyone thinks red is bad so when you get that on a computer you think, ‘Oh my
goodness, something is wrong with my laptop,’” Lamadrid said.
The scammer will turn on the camera as a way to scare a victim to purchase
bogus security software.
Bylund didn’t fall for it, and after the man asked her for her credit card number to
cover his $200 repair fee, she hung up. But by then the scammer had full access
to her computer, including personal information, family photos, and the camera
that was still on.
She turned off the computer and took it to a real computer expert to make sure it
was safe to turn back on.
She doesn’t know whether the scammer downloaded her personal information for
later use, but she does have her family’s privacy back.
“What world do we live in where people can actually look into our houses and
see our families without our permission. It’s really sad,” she said.
Contacted by computer? File a complaint at
Contacted by phone? File a complaint at
Protecting your family
Don’t click on suspicious links. This could download malware or lead to
phony pop-up warnings of suspicious activity.
Don’t share personal information, passwords or grant remote access to
someone who contacts you out of the blue.
If you’re concerned about someone gaining remote access to the camera
on your computer, place a sticky note over the lens.
Keep anti-virus software updated.
Scan your computer for viruses.
Learning Outcomes
Safe practices when online. Keep your guard up.
Understand personal responsibilities. Define and describe phishing, spamming,
flaming, cyber-bullying, libel, and slander.
Understand global responsibilities. Define and describe censorship, filtering,
intellectual property, piracy, copyright, licensing, and creative commons.
11.1: Safe Practices
Keep your guard up.
So far, you have learned about the different ways that harm can come to your
documents and your hardware through the sharing of files, e-mail, and various
resources on the Internet. You learned that your computer hardware and software are
not safe unless you take steps to protect them. What about your own personal safety?
The Internet was designed to allow for free exchange of information and ideas. Along
with this free exchange of information and ideas there are safety issues that you must
be aware of when using the Internet.
The Internet is a great place if used wisely. Unfortunately, there is also much that is
harmful to children and people in general. A great website
for kids to learn how to stay safe is
When shopping online, look for the padlock. This
represents a secure web site and it is safe to enter your
credit card information. Also, look for the https://. The s in
the URL means that the web site has taken measures to
encrypt your information to keep it safe from theft.
Don’t share your e-mail with just anyone! Companies collect and sell e-mail addresses
to other companies for the purpose of sending spam.
Also, it is not wise to share your email address with people you have met online through
chat or games. People you meet online may not be who they say they are. Finally, if
you receive an inappropriate email from anyone, please let your parents know. Cyber
bullying is becoming a big issue for people. If you are being bullied, don’t suffer in
silence! Tell someone, tell a trusted adult such as a parent, a teacher, a school
counselor, etc.
Check out these websites for more information:
The FTC, or Federal Trade Commission, is a government website with great
A couple of years ago, I received a phone call from someone claiming to be from
Microsoft. He said I had a serious issue with my computer and he was calling to fix it. It
turned out that he planted something on my computer that stole my personal
information. Here is information on what to do if someone calls you claiming to be from
Microsoft Tech Support:
Chat Rooms
In chat rooms, messages are keyed in using the keyboard in real time. This means that
you are talking to someone who is on the Internet at the same time you are. Some chat
rooms may show information about a person, or a profile of each person, currently in
the chat room with you. But profiles can be falsified. Do not assume that what you see
and read in someone’s profile is true. The person may tell you he or she is sixteen years
old when he or she may actually be sixty-six years old. If you chat with someone you
met online, do not assume they are telling you the truth. A chat room is a perfect place
to exaggerate or to be someone else for a while. Anyone can fake it in a chat room.
Along with being wary of talking with unknown people, be aware that some people hang
out in chat rooms, but rarely join the conversation. These people can read what is
written and may be looking for opportunities to take advantage of others. But there are
ways to safeguard yourself. One important thing to remember is to never tell people
your personal information (address, phone number, last name, school you attend). Be
cautious of those attempting to get such information from you.
Another way to remain anonymous is by choosing a chat name that does not reveal too
much. When selecting a name, think about what your login name says about you. For
example, “Tinkerbell 16” could tell a criminal that you are a girl and that you are
probably a teenager. Protect yourself by knowing your friends’ usernames. Anytime you
are having a conversation that makes you feel uncomfortable, leave the conversation.
And do not hesitate to involve adults for help, like a parent or a teacher. It is much safer
to set up a private room where you invite only your friends. Always check the username
before inviting that person in. When in doubt, refuse entry to the person.
Proper netiquette rules apply in all chat rooms. Netiquette is a combination of net
(meaning Internet) and etiquette (meaning proper behavior). Be courteous; watch your
language and the tone of voice in your writing. Sarcasm is particularly hard to recognize
online, so be careful not to write something sarcastically if you think it might be taken
seriously. Most importantly, do not write anything that is offensive or degrading.
Online Dating
Like chat rooms, online dating services can also be very dangerous because it is easy
for people to exaggerate the truth or mislead and take advantage of others. Generally,
these sites only allow people who are over the age of eighteen to join. Never agree to
meet someone alone whom you have only met online and make certain your parents or
guardians know about any relationship that develops online.
The Internet has made it so people can bet on just about anything and everything, from
cockroach races to whether your first baby will be a boy or a girl. Many states have
outlawed any sort of gambling, including online gambling, altogether. In states where
gambling is legal, most have made it illegal for anyone under eighteen years old.
All too often, people who do gamble become addicted, and the effects can be
devastating. I watched a very close family member get drawn into a gambling addiction
over several years that eventually became one cause of his divorce. He reached a point
where he could not think clearly and chose gambling over providing food for his family.
Unfortunately, it was common for him to drop $1,000 on gambling while his wife and
children were going without food, warm clothing, or a working car.
A study published in Psychology of Addictive Behaviors reports that people who use the
Internet to gamble are more likely to have “problematic” or “pathological” gambling
problems compared to those who gamble in casinos (Ladd & Petry, 2002, 76–79).
While the Internet has made available all sorts of great information, it has also brought
some harmful things as well. Unfortunately, pornography has become a very real
danger on the Internet.
Viewing pornography will lead to horrible consequences. A few years ago, I worked with
a young man who had a wife and two very young children at home. He used company
equipment to download pornographic material. His work suffered, his attitude toward his
coworkers changed, and his overall attitude toward life changed, making him a difficult
person to work with. After several warnings and being sent to counseling, he would not
quit viewing pornography. He ended up being fired. Like gambling, pornography can
become an addiction. This addiction can destroy careers, families, and self-esteem.
Addictions can be overcome, but it may take years of hard work and at great cost.
The Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996 has strict penalties for people who
create, store, or distribute pornography that involves minors. Remember that a minor is
anyone under the age of eighteen. Even if minors agree to being photographed or if the
picture was taken by another minor, it is still a violation of the law. Forwarding obscene
pictures or even having them on a computer or cellphone can also result in legal
trouble. If a school finds out that some of its students are involved in pornography, those
involved will likely face harsh penalties that may include suspension or expulsion. In
addition, the problem is not just a school problem; the law requires that the school hand
the students involved over to police.
Although it is illegal to market pornographic materials to minors, these materials are so
prevalent online that you will still need to take some steps to avoid them. The first and
most important step is to involve your parents or guardians. They should know what
sites you are visiting and what other people are sending to you. Most search engines
have a preference setting which can be set to filter out a good portion of inappropriate
materials. There are also online filtering programs available (click the link below for a
free filtering program) that will block sites with improper content. If you receive
inappropriate material through your e-mail or on a cellphone, you should immediately
speak with a parent, guardian, or school official.
11.2: Personal Responsibilities
Define and describe vocabulary.
So, just what is your personal responsibility? The online community created a new word
for this called netiquette. At no point is it ever appropriate to spam, flame, cyberbully,
libel, or slander another individual or company! Understand the vocabulary words below
and don’t do them!
Phishing says: “Phishing is the attempt to acquire
sensitive information such as usernames, passwords,
and credit card details (and sometimes, indirectly,
money) by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an
electronic communication.”
In other words, the e-mail or pop-up ad is asking for your information. A couple of years
ago, a pop-up ad appeared on my students’ computers in my classroom. The ad said
“Congratulations, you won!” When a student clicked on the button, a screen appeared
that asked for his name, address, and phone number.
Since then, phishing scams have gotten more and more sophisticated. Always be more
cautious about everything online until you learn more.
Spam is unsolicited and unwanted e-mail
messages—lots and lots of junk e-mail.
Chances are that you get spam in your e-mail
all the time. Some spam can even be very filthy
messages. When you are on a network, your
network administrator will filter most of the
messages; however, some still make it through
to your Inbox.
On your home computer, all you can do is click the spam or junk mail button.
Unfortunately, you still see the subject line before deleting and can be left with an ugly
picture in your mind. You can also call your ISP and make a complaint. You will need to
keep the offending e-mail message so you can forward it on to your ISP. Then you can
permanently delete it.
Flaming says: “Flaming is a hostile and insulting interaction between Internet
users, often involving the use of profanity.” It is never appropriate to post insulting and
abusive comments about others online!
The anonymity of cyberspace sometimes makes people say hateful or hurtful things that
they normally would not say if the person were standing right in front of them.
Cyberbullying happens when people gossip, pass rumors, threaten, or harass using
technology. Through the use of computers, Internet, and cellphones, people sometimes
forget that they are talking to or about real people with feelings.
Cyberbullying is a huge issue
facing schools today. All
schools have a zero-tolerance
policy regarding it. If you are
being bullied by someone, be
sure to keep the texts, e-mails,
or messages and show them to
an adult. Many times bullies
are not punished because
victims do not tell on them. You
can stop being a victim. Tell
someone! Many kids think making fun of others or passing rumors online is not a big
deal. In some cases, this could be considered libel, which is against the law and can
carry stiff penalties.
If you are part of the problem, stop! Pretend that the person you are bullying is someone
in your family. How would you feel if your little sister were the victim?
Being a teenager is hard. Do not make it harder for someone else.
Check out this video: Cyberbullying: You Can’t Take It Back
Check out NetSmartz Workshop
Cyberbullying is using a computer and the Internet to harass, threaten, embarrass, or
humiliate another person. Most people are familiar with face-to-face bullying. At school
or work, people can get away from bullies by going home. Not so easy now with
cyberbullying. Every time someone turns on a computer on and enters the Internet,
there is the possibility of encountering a cyberbully. This is a growing problem
nationwide. If you are being bullied, tell a parent! Tell a teacher! Tell someone! You do
not have to live with it! Check out the website below for more information on
Written words or images which degrade or
injure another person’s reputation or good
name are called libel. You may have heard it
phrased as defamation of character. The law
says that it must have been published, false,
and injurious before you can sue another
Slander, on the other hand, is the oral or verbal defamation of someone’s reputation.
Telling one or more people an untruth about another person is slander, and it is morally
and legally wrong!
11.3: Global Responsibilities
Define and describe vocabulary
Censorship says: “Censorship is the
suppression of speech, public communication or
other information which may be considered
objectionable, harmful, sensitive, politically
incorrect or inconvenient as determined by
governments, media outlets, authorities or other
groups or institutions.”
A couple of years ago, I went to China. Whenever
something came on TV (we were watching CNN) that the government didn’t like, our TV
screen in the hotel would go black. A
few seconds later or when the story
was over, the picture would appear
again. This was censorship.
Filtering is allowing in only information or websites that are needed for the job and
excluding information and websites with questionable content. You may have
experienced this at school. For example, YouTube and Facebook may be unavailable
because your school district has filtered it out.
Intellectual property says: “Intellectual property is a
legal term that refers to creations of the mind.
Examples of intellectual property include music,
literature, and other artistic works; discoveries
and inventions; and words, phrases, symbols,
and designs. Under intellectual property laws,
owners of intellectual property are granted
certain exclusive rights. Some common types
of intellectual property rights are copyright, patents, and industrial design rights; and the
rights that protect trademarks, trade dress, and in some jurisdictions trade secrets.”
The illegal copying and use of computer
software and digital media such as music and
movies is called piracy. According to the
software license agreement, computer software
developers give you the right to make a backup
copy of the software CD in the event the
original CD is damaged. Where people get into
trouble is the illegal sharing of software,
games, music, and movies. Do not make a
copy and loan or give it to your friends! If they like the
game, music, or movie that much, they need to buy
their own copies!
Copyright says: “Copyright is a form of
intellectual property and is the legal right created by
law that grants the creator of an original work the
exclusive rights to its use and distribution with the intention of enabling the creator to
receive compensation for their intellectual effort.” For example: A photographer owns
the intellectual property rights of the pictures he took, even if the pictures were of you.
I purchased some computer software a few
months ago. Before I broke the seal that kept the
box closed, I noticed some writing that said, “By
opening this product I was agreeing to the terms of
the software license.” In other words, once the seal
was broken I was under contract with the company
to comply with their license agreement even if I
had not read the license agreement.
Most software license agreements will tell you that
you can install the software on computers that you personally own. That means that you
cannot install it on your friend’s computer even if you use his computer some of the
time. Read the license agreement even if you don’t understand all of it now.
Creative Commons
Creative commons are additions to copyright licenses that provide rules for the public
use of copyrighted intellectual property. It helps the copyrighted owner of the property
maintain control of the property while giving others license to use and develop his or her
own products.
Ask Ms. Revoir to play the video called CyberSafety by Films Media Group (19