would like to give some hints on security and PCs. Since most problems
happen within the Microsoft Windows world, I'll mention the necessary tools
and actions for that platform. However, other platforms need similar
The Internet unfortunately has more and more become a play ground for
dubious people, who try to harm your PC, take it over for their benefits and
dirty deeds and other nasty things. Don't ask why, it's a fact they do it
and they do it 24/7 all over the world. They try to exploit known or
security leaks in the operating system or simply your good faith.
Short version for Microsoft Windows Users
Download and install the following free software:
What Can I Do to Protect Myself?
use another operating system
No, this is not a joke. Linux or
are usually more secure. However, not everyone has a free choice. May
it be lack of know how or important applications only available under
Microsoft Windows or protecting investment. Sometimes it has to be Microsoft Windows.
For this group the hints mentioned below are especially important.
apply all system updates regularly
Microsoft doesn't offer those updates
for fun. Most of them are essential since they are already a reaction
to existing (security) problems. If you wait too long, you may end up
being the victim of script kids who speculate that many people are not
keeping their machines up to date. Update both your operating
system and applications such as Microsoft
use Anti-Virus Software and keep it up to date
Anti-Virus software helps only if you keep it up to date. Anti-Virus Software
with antique data won't save you from
a more current threat. This is why you must keep Anti-Virus software up
to date. There are commercial products (e.g. from AntiVir,
but also free products (e.g. free-av).
Anyway, there is no valid excuse why not to protect your PC from viruses ("my
machine is too
slow" is not an excuse!). Anti-Virus software must scan your emails. Virus victims
become attackers since the infected PCs
distribute viruses hence if you don't protect your PC it's not very
social. If you don't lock your car, don't be surprised if it gets stolen
no matter what the law says.
keep your PC free from spyware and such
Unfortunately many Anti-Virus programs don't find threats such as
dialers, ad trackers and such. One solution is software such as
which can detect and remove such unwanted
software. This freeware is extremely helpful. Run updates and scan your
router or personal firewall
Attacks do not only come through email but also through direct attacks
using the Internet. If you keep your PC up to date you can be rather
safe but to be even more safe use a NAT router (e.g. DSL router, ISDN router,
etc.) between the Internet and your PCs. NAT routers handle attacks before they reach your PCs.
As an alternative you can use a "Personal
Firewall". They are partly integrated into operating systems
(depending on which one),
available as commercial products (e.g. from Symantec)
but also as freeware (e.g. ZoneAlarm).
If you use a router usually a "Personal Firewall" is not needed.
Why All This Hassle?
If your don't protect your PC there is not only a high risk people will
gather your personal information using "trojan horses", there is also a high risk
to opening the doors to misuse. Your
PC becomes a platform to infect even more PCs. This is harmful in many ways.
First every unprotected PC is potentially a platform for attacks, secondly it's possible that
such infected PCs send emails in a way that the owner looks like the sender and often
receives complaints. When
Viruses fake a different sender it becomes rather asocial. The person that
gets the heat then doesn't even deserve it. The more PCs are protected the
less fun it is for "the bad guys" to pest the Internet. Do your
part keeping your machine clean and safe..