Class Notes: Surf safe – Cultivating your net sense

Class: Lab and field experience

Exercise: Student survey (visit online survey to assess current skill set)

Field Experience: Security Fair visitation

Learning Objectives: Students should be able to:

  • Explain the technology that allows us to view web pages
  • Explain how email is created, delivered and read
  • Explain how the Internet impacts one’s privacy
  • Identify and explain the impact of:
  • spyware
  • adware
  • viruses
  • worms
  • phishing
  • Define and explain “cookies”

Internet Basics

Please visit the Learn The Net website and explore the links that discuss the following:

  • Connecting to the Internet (this animation deals with dial-up accounts, please be able to explain how your on-campus or apartment account differs)
  • How the web works(please be able to discuss what hardware and software is required to be able to access the Internet)
  • How e-mail works (Please be able to explain how you access your email here on campus and what is required in order to be able to send and/or receive email)

This online quiz will help you assess your knowledge of the Internet.

Privacy and security on the Internet

Phishing IQ test: This is an excellent test as it shows how difficult it is to distinguish legitimate emails from phishing attempts. Particularly informative are the explanations located on the solution page.

There is also a PDF advising how to evaluate possible phishing attempts called: Top Ten Tips for Finding a Phish

Here is a recent article from Slashdot that discusses the more sophisticated vectors of attack that hackers are employing in their efforts to elicit your personal and account information.

UPDATE: After our discussion of phishing what should arrive in our University HelpDesk email but the following (note the link address):


Wikipedia has an excellent article on cookies.

As does the following Cookie Central website.

This article provides quick and easy tips on how to view the cookies that reside on your computer and provide information about your Internet habits. Make a note to explore the links on the side that explain about the darker side of cookies. They also have an FAQ page that will tell you everything you never wanted to know about cookies.

These are questions you should be able to answer once you have explored these cookie resources.

  • How could cookies divulge private information about you?
  • What other dangers exist using cookies?
  • What advantages exist to using cookies?

Now let’s examine the cookies that exist on your M: drive.
You can find them here: C:Documents and SettingsusernameCookies

  • What do you think?
  • Will you delete your cookies?
  • Do you think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?

Now that you know where they are, here is how you can delete your cookies:

IE: Tools -> Internet Options -> Delete Cookies and then click “OK”

FireFox: Tools -> Clear Private Data -> Check the Cookies box and click “Clear Private Data Now”


Again, wikipedia has a terrific definition on what spyware is.

Compare this to how they define viruses, or more properly virii.

See if you can answer the following questions:

  • What characteristics distinguish spyware from other forms of malicious software?
  • How is spyware similar to viruses?
  • How does spyware get installed on your computer?
  • What can you do to avoid/remove spyware?

Look at a few instances of spyware and describe their effects.

Provide an example of spyware masquerading as a spyware removal tool.

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