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The resources outlined on this page are for all persons and organizations working to improve life for persons with brain injury and their families. Look here for technical tips, tools, graphics and documents that can help us all accomplish our respective missions...

I n d e x

Critical Office Tools

PDF Creator - Free  Ever wanted to be able to easily turn your Word or Excel documents into easy-to-print PDF files for web distribution? Now you can with CutePDF Writer. Installation involves also adding a program called Ghostscript but the PDF Creator link has easy to follow instructions.

Spam Management Tool - Commercial  If you are plagued by Spam, Mailwasher Pro is a  program that can go a long way to making your life easier.

Software Firewall - FREE  If you are continually connected to the web with a DSL service and you do not have a hardware firewall, you should consider a software firewall like ZoneAlarm. It takes a couple of days to "train" it but you'll sleep better knowing your data and computer are invisible to hackers and general mayhem. Their basic version is free to non-commercial concerns.

Anti Virus - Commercial  In this day and age, if you don't have a continually updated anti-virus program running on all your computers, you are not just risking your own data but you are endangering others as well. Please acquire a good anti-virus package and make SURE it is self-updating. The link at the beginning of this paragraph leads to the purchasing page for Symantec's Norton security product(s). You may chose only the anti-virus program and use ZoneAlarm for your firewall, or buy a full package from Norton that includes a firewall and skip the ZoneAlarm.

Anti Virus - FREE   The very excellent Microsoft Security Essentials. As long as you are using Windows 7 and activates the Windows 7 firewall, MSE is all you need.

 Windows Updates If your Windows computer is not updating itself fairly regularly, you can get into trouble. Follow the Windows Updates link and let Microsoft scan your computer. You must, then, let them download and install at least the updates marked "Critical". Once this is done, you can then use your Windows Control Panel to set how your computer updates itself automatically.  To do this, go to Control Panel, then System, and then look for the phrase "Windows Update.

NEW>> Suggested technical volunteer positions.  Two positions that you should look for volunteers to fill are "Computer Guy" and "Web Site Monitor". The Computer Guy is someone willing to come in for an hour or 2 once a month just to answer questions, fix minor problems and to make SURE that your BIA office computers are updated and protected.  The Site Monitor is a volunteer who commits to going through your entire State Affiliate web site once a month looking for things that might need updating and send you suggestions. If you've never considered asking your community for volunteers, these positions would be a good place to start.  Don't be afraid to draw up a simple agreement and performance guidelines.

NEW>> A word to those who can afford a little extra "beef" when it comes time to order a new computer. Consider getting a "RAID" system. RAID stands for a Random Array of Internal Drives. Practically speaking, a RAID system has 2 hard drives and in the event that one of them totally crashes (it happens) then all you need to do is replace the bad drive and tell the software to tell the remaining good drive to copy itself onto the new drive. It's a robotic example of why 2 heads are better then one. And, yes, Dell builds Raid computers.

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Mission Pertinent Links

NASHIA - National Association of State Head Injury Administrators

Brain Injury Association of America - Includes links to all BIA State Affiliates at: http://www.biausa.org/stateoffices.htm

BIAA Legislative Action Center

Heads Up! - Brain Injury in Your Practice - CDC's Injury Center

TBINET - Mount Sinai School of Medicine

The Traumatic Brain Injury National Data Center

National Center for the Dissemination of Disability Research

OSERS National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research

NIDRR Brochure 2000

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Consensus Development Program: Rehabilitation of Persons with Traumatic Brain Injury
NIH Consensus Statement Overview Rehabilitation of Persons With TBI

American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine

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Is Your Own Computer Vulnerable?

One way to find out just how vulnerable you are and to learn more about computer security is to visit "Shields Up", a venerable online security testing site. My recommendations are to go to Shields Up and click on the links to test your File Sharing, Common Ports, and All Service Ports. If you are connected to the web in an "always on" mode via DSL or the like, you should definitely make the trip to "Shields Up" to find out if you need to beef up your firewall.

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Public Computers and Spyware
If you use public computers - like those at Kinkos, airports, hotels, etc., then you need to read this story...

There's a guy in New York who may have gotten into your personal business. If he did, he probably looted your online bank account.

Juju Jiang is serving time now after pleading guilty. But for a couple years, he bugged public computers at Kinko's with software that logged keystrokes. He used it to capture usernames and passwords. Some he used to steal money; others he sold on the Web.

He got caught when he manipulated a victim's home computer while she was present. She watched incredulously as he methodically searched her computer. He was using GoToMyPC, which allows travelers to manipulate their computers from afar. The victim had used GoToMyPC previously from a Kinko's machine. Jiang stole her username and password.

This raises an issue which many people haven't considered. Spying software can easily be placed on public computers, such as those not only at Kinko's stores, but in Internet cafés, airports, libraries and other public places.

With spying software, a criminal can grab your passwords and usernames. Ultimately, you could lose your money or have your identity stolen. That should tell you enough to be wary of public PC terminals.

Software is unobtrusive

Spies usually use software because it is invisible to the untutored eye. Hardware to do virtually the same thing also can be used, placing it between the keyboard and computer. But using it is too obvious in a public place.

The software programs, however, can unobtrusively make a record of a victim's every keystroke. The keystroke loggers can then e-mail the collected information on a set schedule. It also can be downloaded. Other software programs take screen shots of places you go. These, too, send their collected information via e-mail.

As I said, the spying programs are inconspicuous. Unless you know how to look for them, you'll never see them. It's a good idea to check the computer for spy software before you use it. I'll explain how to do that in a minute.

But keep in mind that there are other threats besides spy programs. Trust me, this can be worse than using a public toilet seat!

Here are five things to consider when you sit down in front of a strange computer:

1. What is Spyware?

Spyware is software that may have been slipped into your computer without your knowledge and through no fault of your own - but there is something you CAN do about. Educate yourself. Start here: http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/spyware/default.mspx and for anti-spyware product info and more on the subject, these guys have a lot of good advise: http://www.spywareinfo.com/

2. Erase your tracks.

When you use an Internet browser, it keeps records of where you went. When you finish surfing with Microsoft Internet Explorer, click Tools > Internet Options. On the General tab, click Delete Files and Delete Cookies. Then click Clear History.

If you're using Netscape Navigator, it's a little more complicated. Follow these steps.

  • Check the settings before going online. Click Edit and Preferences. Click the arrow next to Navigator and select History. On the right, find Browsing History. Change "Remember visited pages" to 0.
  • Click on the arrow next to Privacy and Security. Select Disable Cookies and Disable Cookies in Mail and Newsgroups.
  • When you finish surfing, click Edit and Preferences. Click the arrow next to Navigator. Click Clear History and Clear Location Bar. Go to Privacy and Security on the left side and click the arrow. Select Cookies. Click Manage Stored Cookies. On the Stored Cookies tab, click Remove All Cookies.
  • Now go to Advanced, in the left-hand panel. Click the Arrow and click Cache. Click Clear Memory Cache and Clear Disk Cache.

3. Protect your passwords.

Browsers also track passwords. Before going on the Web, if you're using Internet Explorer, click Tools > Internet Options. On the Content tab, click AutoComplete. Clear the four boxes.

When you finish surfing, again click Tools > Internet Options. Go to the Content tab and click AutoComplete. Click Clear Forms and Clear Passwords.

If you're using Netscape, click Edit and Preferences. Click the arrow next to Privacy and Security. Click Passwords. Clear the box next to Remember Passwords. When you finish browsing, click Passwords again, under Privacy and Security. Click Manage Stored Passwords. Select the Passwords Saved tab and click Remove All.

Netscape has a feature similar to AutoComplete. It saves data entered into forms. To disable that, under Privacy and Security, click Forms. Uncheck "Save form data from Web pages when completing forms." When you finish browsing, return to the Forms page. Click Manage Stored Form Data. Click Remove All Saved Data.

Cleaning out the browser will ensure that no one can track your surfing or grab your passwords with saved data. But a keystroke-logging program will still catch your passwords.

Some, but not all, key-logging programs can be defeated if you copy and paste in the letters or numbers of your password. For instance, say the page you have open in the browser has lots of type on it. And say your password is jim (let's hope it's not that simple!). Find a "j," an "i" and an "m" on the page. Copy and paste them into the password box.

Probably the best password protection is a temporary password. Use it while you're on the road, then discard it.

4. Don't rely on encryption.

There are a number of encryption packages on the market. They can be used to encrypt e-mail. However, they encrypt the mail when the Send button is clicked. That's too late if a key-logging program is on the computer. It will make a record of the password and message as it is being written.

5. Use some common sense.

Public computers may be secure. But you really have no way of being sure. You can secure your home or business computer, but you can't be certain of what has been done with a public machine.

Approach these machines with care. Don't do any banking or stock trading on them if you can avoid it. Avoid credit-card transactions. Use a temporary password if you must check your e-mail. And ask your system administrator how to "expire page views."

If you're just surfing, that should not be a problem. But avoid sensitive business if you can. There might be a Juju Jiang watching.

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Admissions Coordinator,
Delta Rehabilitation Center Snohomish Chalet
1705 Terrace Avenue
Snohomish, WA 98290
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 E-mail: delta@deltarehabsno.com

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