Computer Security Resources

Hardware and Software
United Methodist TechShop offers computer software and hardware at discounted prices to local churches and United Methodist agencies. For a list of products or to make a purchase, visit This page may take some time to load. To place an order, you will need your church's GCFA (General Council on Finance and Administration) number. You can obtain that number from the Administrative Ministries Office.


Current Virus Information

The manufacturers of antivirus and security software post regular bulletins on security risks and viruses. You can find information about the latest threats at the links below:

Symmantec's security advisories

McAfee's security advisories

CERT Internet security website - has information about security threats and fixes. Sponsored by Carnegie-Mellon Software Engineering Institute

Microsoft security advisories


Social Media privacy
In a world where people post every detail of their lives online, and privacy settings on social networking sites change daily, it's hard to know how to set up your privacy settings and how to protect yourself. offers a primer on setting your privacy settings on the popular site, Facebook. Check them out here: The Always Up-To-Date Guide to Managing Your Facebook Privacy Settings.


Virus Prevention

The Internet is riddled with the risk of virus infection. It is almost easier to become infected with a computer-borne virus than it is to catch the common cold. Here are a few strategies for protecting yourself, your computer and everyone in your address book.

  1. Purchase a credible virus protection software with regular updates. Software packages that have a good reputation in the industry are Norton Anti-Virus and McAfee Anti-Virus. Both offer updates for a period of time following the purchase of their software. Additional subscriptions to updates are available for a price. It is well worth it to keep your computer protected.
  2. Beware of Internet hoaxes that ask you to delete important files on your computer because they are "virus" files. To see if a message you've received is a hoax, visit:;; or
  3. Run your virus protection diagnostics regularly, and do not postpone updating the virus definitions when your software prompts you to do so. This will keep your computer's "antibodies" strong and able to defend itself from attacks.
  4. Do not open e-mail messages with strange subject lines. They often contain viruses. If the subject line doesn't make any sense, it's best to delete the message if it's not from someone you know personally.
  5. Do not open attachments from unfamiliar e-mail sources. One file extension that is nearly always a virus is .pif. Also, be wary of opening any unsolicited .exe files, which are programs that then run on your computer. When in doubt, consult the websites listed above before opening an e-mail attachment.
  6. Change your e-mail preferences so you do not automatically open new messages. Changing this preference can defend you from viruses that activate when an e-mail message is opened. By opening each message manually, you choose which messages you open, and you can make sure that they come from people you know.
  7. If you become infected with a computer virus, contact your service provider or your local computer technical support company for the fix. You also may find fixes on the Norton Anti-Virus and McAfee Anti-Virus sites.

These steps should help you protect yourself and everyone in your address book from computer viruses. Remember, it's always better to err on the side of caution than to infect your computer with a virus, particularly if you live miles away from computer technical support.


CyberSafety Training Kit
The kit was developed for families and churches by the General Board of Discipleship and is designed to help churches and community groups protect children and youth from the perils of the digital world of cell phones and cyberspace.

The CyberSafety for Families Training Kit allows the church to be more directly involved in providing awareness and training around technology to help ensure children and youth are protected as they navigate the Internet world.

The training kit's CD includes a section on "what you need to know first," a planning guide, teaching plans with schedule options, handouts and a slide presentation. Subjects include safety in the high tech world of computers, cell phones, video games and social networking Web sites.

The kit is available for $35 plus shipping from The Upper Room ( and Cokesbury ( and also at Cokesbury bookstores nationwide. The kit also is available for check-out from the Great Plains Resource Center.