|Have you asked yourself whether the web-links you are
following are safe or do they contribute to the problems you are having
on your computer?
The answer is that some are fine, some sites contribute to your problems, and some are just plain nasty.
You have been directed to this page because I found that a link I wanted to recommend tried to install something on my computer that I didn't want.
|You have a choice. You can contribute to the problem by
naively ignoring it, or you address the issue by protecting yourself and
be a good on-line citizen.
This is not a technical issue. You don't have to know how to change the oil in your car. If you drive, you know that the oil has to be checked and changed regularly.
Similarly, you can purchase the recommended tools, install them, and maintain them.
|Currently, I break down the protection tools that
homeowners need into five categories:
Some Tools do more than one, but I recommend separate programs that specialize in one thing.
|These are not the only tools. They are simply ones I know
that can do the job. If you want to add any to this list, let me know
but I can't promise to do an in-depth evaluation.
Rather than say these are all your choices, links are provided for you to search out more information.
This is the cheapest tool today, and probably the most important. Most of you use Microsoft, so I'll focus on that. Other operating systems have the same problem, but because their use isn't as common, they aren't the focus for the hackers.
|Microsoft maintains a website that documents the problems
(called vulnerabilities) and solutions (called patches). To maintain
your operating system, simply go to http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com
where you should allow it to check your version and it will tell you
what patches if any are available. I recommend allowing them to
install the software to check which patches you have and the actual recommended security patches.
(Other updates are not necessary.)
The first time you go, it make take more than one visit since some patches require the computer to be rebooted before it completes. This is ok.
You can also allow them to install a program on your computer that will allow them to send you updates as you need them. I recommend this, if you use COMMON SENSE. See below.
Remember that Microsoft will not send you email that includes patches. See COMMON SENSE below.
These are the most common tools used today and many brands are available. I use Computer Associates' eTrust at home. The different sites I work at use different packages that are all effective. I just don't know how much effort it takes to maintain them.
|eTrust is available on-line from http://www.my-etrust.com/index.cfm. You can purchase it alone or as part of a package that includes a firewall. With the recent nasties and because I use a cable modem, I've set the update to every eight hours.|
Think of neighbor thieves who know on doors to see if anyone is home and then walk in if no one answers. What is a firewall? See here. Two types of firewalls are common. One is hardware and installs as a separate box between your modem and your computer. The other is software and installs on your computer. I use both. If you aren't connected to a full time connection such as a cable modem, I recommend one on your computer. Information on both is provided below. Here you get more than one recommendation, because I go back and forth between different ones.
|eTrust Firewall is a software package available on-line from http://www.my-etrust.com/index.cfm.
You can purchase it alone or as part of a package that includes an
Zone Alarm is a software package available on-line from http://www.zonealarm.com. You can use the freeware version or pay for the professional version. Check out their recommendations about how to set it up and why.
Many communication component companies have hardware firewalls. One advantage of the hardware version is that the knocking on the door is stopped before it affects your computer's performance. Check out these two sites if interested:
I didn't consider this type of tool necessary until my granddaughter downloaded Kazoo! and her computer telephoned out to a military installation in the Indian Ocean. It also installed software that tracked her internet use and downloads. Her complaints were that the computer was now too slow and every site she went to sent her a dozen popup ads. So I researched and found that PC Magazine recommended Spybot, a freeware tool. I couldn't find a better one, so I sent them a donation as thank you.
|Spybot-S&D is available on-line from http://www.safer-networking.org/ (If you go to spybot.com, it will hijack you to pcsecuritynews.com.) I recommend a donation so they will continue to do good work and support the package. Set it up for updates if you can, or once a month or however often you dust as part of your regular housekeeping, go out and check for updates.|
Ah, common sense. The hardest tool to apply and no one can provide it but you. Here are some pointers.
Judy Bramlage, ©2004
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Modified October 31, 2009