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Staying a step ahead of the computer hackers | News, Sports, Jobs | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker


NIAGARA, Wis. — Last week I described my own experiences with computer hackers: the near misses, the deceptions and the inconveniences created by having to take precautions after each incident occurred. I was lucky — all three times. I lost no money.

But there is no guarantee that any of you who use a computer will be safe just by reading about my experiences. I wanted to find someone who could give us all some good solid advice on how to avoid getting hacked. What better source than to ask someone who makes a living troubleshooting personal computers? And I found her right in my own backyard here in Niagara.

Juli Hulce owns Computer Service and Enhancement Inc. and has been in business since 1999. She became interested in computer programming while in high school and earned an associates degree in computer science from Bay College. She specializes in data backup and recovery, preventive maintenance, virus and spyware removal, and troubleshooting for errors and lock-ups; she will even come to your home and retrieve your computer for service at her site if you prefer. She also sells new computer systems and will do the setup in your home for you when your new computer arrives.

Hulce can set up both wireless and wired computer networks and provide system upgrades. And she will provide personal and business consultation, as well as instruction. Hers is a very comprehensive, much-needed service conveniently available locally on Roosevelt Road in Niagara. Hulce was very willing to offer information and advice for this column.

When home computers first became popular, we all heard a lot about viruses infecting our equipment. Today, the virus problem is well under control; she seldom sees viruses anymore. But acts of hacking are on the rise. Hacking apps include spyware, malware, adware and gray ware. They can be implanted into your home computer by career hackers trained to steal your personal information and your money.

They can also be implanted when you unwittingly visit a site by clicking on a link thinking you are going someplace else on the web. They can be implanted when you click on a pop-up ad or when you respond to fake Microsoft warnings that your computer has been hacked, and you call the toll-free number to get help.

When the internet first emerged into mainstream usage, we all viewed it as a wonderful place to learn. By simply entering a few key words, we could find a wealth of information about any topic. It was exciting and fun. We could all say goodbye to long hours in the library digging through the card catalogs to find research papers written by experts from which we took copious notes … and were careful to footnote properly if writing a paper or completing an assignment for school.

Today’s internet, while still full of true information, has also become a repository of much misinformation along with propaganda and advertising disguised as fact. It has become, first and foremost, a place to advertise and to sell you something. Today, when you enter a few key words pertaining to the topic of interest, you may or may not be brought to a legitimate site.

You will be brought first to those sites that have paid money to be there; they are selling you something, whether it be a product, a service or a point-of-view. Beware! Look for the tiny print that reads — ad — and ignore those entries. Scroll down the page until you see an actual piece of information that has a web address that pertains to your topic of interest.

So as you search for information, you must always be aware of your location within the internet; always look for the actual http address to be sure it pertains to your search.

Follow this list of precautions to take for the safe use of the internet and your computer:

1. No one legitimate will ever contact you about a problem in your computer. You will never receive messages from Dell, HP, Microsoft or any other computer manufacturer unless you have initiated a call to them first. Never respond to a phone call, an email message, or a pop-up screen message that tells you that your computer has been hacked. This is step one to accessing entrance into your computer so your information, and assets, can be stolen.

2. Never click on a pop-up ad or tempting piece of news. But if you do, be aware of the destination to which you have been sent. Be sure it matches what you had expected to find. If responding to an offer, always ask yourself, “Is this too good to be true?”

3. When you do purchase an item from the Internet, be sure it is a reputable site and never use a debit card. And never purchase gift cards to use as payment; this is a definite scam. Always use a credit card as they will insure you against unauthorized purchases and scams.

4. Passwords are very necessary for your protection and the security of your information. Do not minimize their importance. Do not use the same one for every site. Never store your passwords on your computer. There is a password manager software available now that can be installed on your computer and into which you can safely enter all of your passwords for the sites you regularly use. One password gives only you access to the master list.

5. Purchase and use reputable, subscription-based, third-party security software on your personal computer, and understand how it works to keep your information safe. Today’s software is much more than just a virus detector; it is designed to block suspicious messages and hacking attempts as well. It should be upgraded every year so as not to expire. It is an affordable annual charge and will save you from an expensive experience with a hacker.

6. Just like you, your computer needs an annual check-up with a professional. Even security software may not have stopped everything. Bring it in the same month every year and have the security software updated at the same time. It costs far less than a hacking incident. Never simply wait until your computer is so full it begins to slow down and lock up. If maintained annually, computers can last 10 years or more as long as they have enough memory to run the programs you need to run.

7. Look into taking a class on the safe use of computers and the Internet. Some things are better to learn when taught by someone with experience. Learning by doing works if you take necessary precautions. But if mistakes are made, they can be expensive.

8. Your computer can always be shut down to prevent a scam from progressing even though it seems “frozen” or locked up. When standard shut down procedures do not work, simply depress the on-off button on your hard drive until the screen goes black and the hard drive shuts off. Upon restarting, if the screen still has a hacking warning on it, your computer has been infected and must be serviced before proceeding to any additional sites.

While those of us who are of a certain advanced age may feel vulnerable to hackers and their scams, everyone is susceptible. We all need to have more information and take more care. Since we did not grow up with computers, we may have more fear and feel less informed. We become prime targets for hackers because of our insecurity; we trust them because they sound so knowledgeable and kind in the moment. We may also become targets because, at this age, we have accumulated more financial assets that the hackers can steal. Youth, however, can be targeted as well. They may feel overconfident in their use of computers and in their exploration of the Internet so may believe themselves to be safe from hackers and their scams. They may not be as cautious as they should be.

With an annual trip to the “computer doctor” and a healthy dose of security software, we can relax and enjoy our computers. When care is taken, they can provide us with a lot of enjoyment and make our lives much easier. Happy surfing!

——

NURSING HOMES/SENIOR LIVING FACILITIES

Freeman Nursing and Rehabilitation Community

Kingsford

906-774-1530

Group activities are ongoing — they welcome anyone who would like to entertain residents.

Volunteers are also needed to help with crafts and other activities.

Sunday: Church on TV; resident choice, 2 p.m.; try out the new games in south lounge, 6 p.m.

Monday: Daily report, 10 a.m.; jam workout, 10:15; Uno, 10:30 a.m.; music, 11:45 a.m.; outside fun, 2 p.m., weather permitting.

Tuesday: Daily report, 10 a.m.; cold coffee,10:30 a.m.; trivia, 11:45 a.m.; horseshoes, 2 p.m.; ice cream, 7 p.m.

Wednesday: Daily report, 10 a.m.; devotions, 10:40 a.m.; room visits, 11:30 a.m.; music, 11:45 a.m.; take a walk, 2 p.m.

Thursday: Daily report, 10 a.m.; crafts, 10 a.m.; trivia, 11:45 a.m.; paper mache, 1:30 p.m.

Friday: Daily report, 10 a.m.; tap to the beat, 10:15 a.m.; blank slate, 11 a.m.; music, 11:45 a.m.; strawberry sundaes, 1:30 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Throw darts, 10 a.m.; resident choice, 1 p.m.; check out the game room, 6 p.m.

Iron County Medical Care Facility

Crystal Falls

906-874-1501

Sunday: Room visits, 9 a.m.; Scattegories, 10 a.m.; chair exercise, 11 a.m.; room visits, 12:30 p.m.; bingorama, 2 p.m.

Monday: Crafts, 9:15 a.m.; exercise, 10:45 a.m.; room visits, 1 p.m.; bingo, 2p.m.; sunshine club, 2:30 p.m.; bonfire, 5:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Coffee social, 9:30 a.m.; reminisce, 10 a.m.; travel film, 1:30 p.m.; penny ante, 2 p.m.; patriotic movie, 6 p.m.

Wednesday: Coffee social, 9:30 a.m.; Catholic Mass, 10 a.m.; western trivia, 10 a.m.; exercise, 10:45 a.m.; Dan’s songs for seniors, 2 p.m.; night bingo, 6 p.m.

Thursday: Puzzler, 9:30 a.m.; bowling, 10 a.m.; wildlife film, 1:30 p.m.; Bible study, 1 p.m.; happy hour with country karaoke, 2 p.m.

Friday: Crafts, 9:30 a.m.; exercise, 10:45 a.m.; room visits, 1 p.m.; Western hoedown with Appaloosa Sky, 2 p.m.; activity council, 3 p.m.; Western movie, 6 p.m.

Saturday: ICMCF word search/rodeo parade, 9:30 a.m.; room visits, 12:30 p.m.; social hour, 2 p.m.; Western movie, 6 p.m.

Optalis Healthcare

(formerly Manor Care/ProMedica)

Kingsford

906-774-4805

Sunday: Crown craft, 9 a.m.; devotional, 10:30 a.m.; po-ke-no, 1 p.m.

Monday: Wet your whistle, 9 a.m.; all about July, 9:30 a.m.; manicures, 10 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; summer bingo, 2 p.m.

Tuesday: Parade, 9 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; Fourth of July craft, 1:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, 10 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; shop hop, 1:30 p.m.

Thursday: Wet your whistle, 9 a.m.; daily scoop, 9:30 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; feed the birds, 1:30 p.m.

Friday: Chips and chatter, 9 a.m.; reminiscing, 9:30 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Men’s social, 9:30 a.m.; devotional, 10:30 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; sand art, 1 p.m.

Maryhill Manor Nursing Home

Niagara, Wis.

715-251-3172

Sunday: Coffee and news, 10 a.m.; delivery of communion, 12:30 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.

Monday: Rosary/communion, 9 a.m.; pamper and polish, 10 a.m.; joker-eno, 2 p.m.

Tuesday: Rosary/communion, 9 a.m.; yard Yahtzee, 10:15 a.m.; court yard cabana — strawberry ice cream, 2 p.m.

Wednesday: Rosary/communion, 9 a.m.; Bob Larson, 10:15 a.m.; court yard campfire — s’mores, 2 p.m.; evening prayer, 5 p.m.

Thursday: Rosary/communion, 9 a.m.; seated exercise, 10 a.m.; baking cupcakes, 2 p.m.; Chaplet of Divine Mercy, 3 p.m.

Friday: Monthly birthday coffee clutch (cupcakes), 10 a.m.; happy hour with Jim D., 2 p.m.

Saturday: Morning mingle/“Price Is Right,” 10 a.m.; Courtyard Cabana — lemonade, 2 p.m.

Florence Health Services

Florence, Wis.

715-528-4833

No group activities are being done at this time.

Victorian Pines

Iron Mountain

906-774-5158

Sunday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; Bible study, 1:30 p.m.

Monday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; bingo and refreshments, 1:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Juice time, 10 a.m.

Wednesday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; birthday party, 1:30 p.m.

Thursday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; Lutheran Bible study, 1 p.m.; “Wheel of Fortune,” 2 p.m.

Friday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; bingo and refreshments, 1:30 p.m.

Saturday: Juice time, 10 a.m.

Pinecrest Medical

Care Facility

Powers

906-497-5244

Sunday: Craft show in Escanaba, 9:30 a.m.

Monday: Catholic Mass, 10:30 a.m.; karaoke, 2 p.m.; social circle, 3:30 p.m.; crossword puzzles, 6 p.m.

Tuesday: Parade, 10 a.m.; bingo, 1:45 p.m.; social circle, 3:30 p.m.; Uno, 6 p.m.

Wednesday: Spa treatments and manicures, 10 a.m.; social circle, 2 p.m.; cards, 3:30 p.m.; one-to-one visits, 6 p.m.

Thursday: Exercise, 10:30 a.m.; bingo, 1:45 p.m.; cards, 3:30 p.m.; trivia, 6 p.m.

Friday: Catholic Mass, 10:30 a.m.; happy hour, 2 p.m.; social circle, 3:30 p.m.; one-to-one visits, 6 p.m.

Saturday: Reminiscing, 10:30 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.

SENIOR CENTERS

Alpha-Mastodon Center

906-875-3315

The center at 415 Main St. is open four days a week, serving soup and sandwich meal from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, fish fries from 4 to 7 p.m. Fridays, pizzas from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday and dinner from 2 to 3 p.m. Sundays.

Amasa Center

906-822-7284

The new cook prepares meals on site.

Closed for the week — Happy Fourth of July.

Breen Center

Kingsford

906-774-5110

Dine-in eating Monday through Thursday, serving at noon. Friday and night meals are on hold indefinitely. Carryout meals are available. Soup and salad bar are also available. Menu for the week —

Monday: Closed.

Tuesday: Closed – Happy Fourth of July.

Wednesday: Chili and grilled cheese sandwich.

Thursday: Open face hot beef sandwich, mashed potatoes and gravy and vegetable.

Note: All meals served with a choice of skim milk or juice and fruit.

Crystal Falls Center

Head Cook: Sterling Peryam

Assistant Cook: Bitsy Peryam

906-875-6709

The center serves meals for dine-in or takeout — call the center by 1 p.m. to make reservations or to place an order. All food is purchased from local vendors. All dinners include warm vegetables, salad bar, soup, homemade desserts, coffee, tea or milk. Salad bar begins at 4:30 p.m. and dinner is served at 5 p.m. Pickup for takeout meals is 4 p.m. — call ahead and leave a message with phone number. A volunteer will deliver meals to homebound citizens only. Menu for the week —

Monday: Closed for the week — Happy Fourth of July.

Home-delivered meals (prepared by DICSA — independent from above menu) —

Monday: Hamburger and gravy over potatoes, green beans and dinner roll.

Tuesday: Coney dog, corn-on-the-cob and baked beans.

Wednesday: Salisbury steak, stuffing and broccoli/cheese.

Thursday: Sweet and sour chicken, rice, Oriental vegetables and cranberry sauce.

Dickinson-Iron Community Services Agency

DICSA

Iron Mountain

906-774-2256, ext. 230 or 235

This is a Meals on Wheels program only. Home-delivered meals only — call to make arrangements. Menu for the week —

Monday: Hamburger and gravy over potatoes, green beans and dinner roll.

Tuesday: Coney dog, corn-on-the-cob and baked beans.

Wednesday: Salisbury steak, stuffing and broccoli/cheese.

Thursday: Sweet and sour chicken, rice, Oriental vegetables and cranberry sauce.

Friday: Ham omelet, seasoned potatoes and applesauce.

Note: All meals include a choice of skim milk, juice, or no beverage.

For more information, call Christine McMahon at 906-774-2256.

Crystal Lake Center

Iron Mountain

906-828-1776

Schedule for the week:

Monday: Les Artistes’ art club, noon to 4 p.m.; woodcarvers, starting at 9 a.m.

Tuesday: Cards — Pinochle and cribbage, noon to 4 p.m.

Wednesday: Bingo, 1 to 3 p.m., cards cost 25 cents with 10 games played; Happy Quilters, 1 to 3 p.m.

Thursday: Spinning Spools quilting, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.;

Friday: Cards — Smear, noon to 4 p.m.

Felch Center

906-246-3559

Open for dine-in eating — call for serving times. Carryout meals also available. Menu for the week —

Monday: Closed.

Tuesday: Closed – Happy Fourth of July.

Wednesday: Chef’s salad and breadsticks.

Note: All meals served with skim milk or juice.

Home-delivered meals —

Monday: Hamburger and gravy over potatoes, green beans and dinner roll.

Tuesday: Coney dog, corn-on-the-cob and baked beans.

Wednesday: Salisbury steak, stuffing and broccoli/cheese.

Aging and Disability Resource Center

Florence County, Wis.

715-528-4890

Director: Tiffany White

Menu for the week —

Monday: Chicken patty on a bun, potato salad, three-bean salad and fruit.

Tuesday: Closed – Happy Fourth of July.

Wednesday through Friday: All dining centers closed due to staffing issues.

Fence Center/Town Hall

715-336-2980

Florence Community Center/Town Hall

RSVP for meal at 715-528-4261

Tipler Town Hall

RSVP for meals at 715-674-2320

Hillcrest Senior Dining Center, Aurora

RSVP for meals at 715-589-4491

Hermansville Center

Coordinator: Barb Peters

906-498-7735

Center is open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Meals are served through the Menominee-Delta-Schoolcraft Community Action Agency in Escanaba. Meals On Wheels program is available for those who are homebound.

Monday: Pork cutlet, sour cream and chive potatoes, mixed vegetable blend, Mandarin oranges and whole wheat bread

Tuesday: Closed – Happy Fourth of July.

Wednesday: Chicken parmesan over pasta, Italian vegetable blend, side salad and fresh fruit.

Thursday: Beef stew with a biscuit, sweet potato wedges and escalloped apples.

Friday: Taco casserole, Spanish rice, Mexicali corn and pineapple.

Iron River Center

906-265-6134

Open for dine-in eating, serving at 11 a.m. Salad bar is available. No night meals. Carryout meals also are available. Menu for the week —

Monday: Chicken salad sandwich, pasta salad, cottage cheese and banana.

Tuesday: Deluxe bologna and cheese sandwich, chips and yogurt.

Wednesday: Italian bake, breadstick and mixed vegetables.

Thursday: Fish, roasted potatoes, zucchini bake and dessert.

Niagara Senior Center/Cafe

715-251-1603

The center is open, and dinner is served at noon on Monday through Thursday. Reservations are required one day in advance. Suggested donation is $5 for those older than 60 and $7 for 60 and younger. Bingo played on most Wednesdays. Transportation is available.

Monday: Open faced turkey sandwich, mashed potatoes, gravy, peas and cookie.

Tuesday: Closed – Happy Fourth of July.

Wednesday: Egg salad sandwich, creamy pasta salad, chips and scotcharoo.

Thursday: Beef stew, hot applesauce, dinner roll and chocolate pudding cake.

Join us for Bingo on Wednesday this week.

Norway Center

Director: Joyce Olesky

Head Cook:  Brian Gutkowski. 

906-563-8716

Open for dine-in eating beginning at 11:15 a.m. Salad bar available from 10:30 to 11 a.m. Takeout meals will remain available for pick-up from 11 to 11:30 a.m. — let staff know if planning to dine in or pick up. Menu for the week —

Monday: Chicken bacon Alfredo, garlic bread and vegetable.

Tuesday: Closed – Happy Fourth of July.

Wednesday: Chef salad with vegetables, meat and egg and breadstick.

Thursday: Chicken cordon bleu, baked potato and vegetable.

All meals include milk, juice, fruit, bread and dessert.

Center activity schedule:

Mondays and Thursdays — Exercise at 10 a.m. and card bingo after the meal

Monday through Thursday — Card game 101 from noon to 3 p.m. — call Joe at 563-5587 for information

Tuesdays — Quilting and sewing.

Wednesdays — Ceramics and crocheting.

Last Monday of each month — Book club at 9 a.m.

Second Thursday of each month — Birthdays and bingo.

Sagola Center

906-542-3273

Open for dine-in eating — call for serving times. Carryout meals also available. Menu for the week —

Tuesday: Closed – Happy Fourth of July.

Wednesday: Cheese ravioli, meat sauce, garlic bread and chef choice vegetable.

Thursday: Pork roast, mashed potatoes and corn.

All meals served with an option of milk, juice or no beverage.

Home delivered meals —

Monday: Hamburger and gravy over potatoes, green beans and dinner roll.

Tuesday: Coney dog, corn-on-the-cob and baked beans.

Wednesday: Salisbury steak, stuffing and broccoli/cheese.

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