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Article - Internet Security

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2005 12:15 am    Post subject: Article - Internet Security Reply with quote

Internet Security
by Sid

Many people have never learned about the many factors that could impact the state of their computers security while surfing the Internet. Most people believe that because they have a brand name anti-virus system installed, that they are protected from all possible infections on their computer. In reality they are not. For example, in June of 2001, the FBI accidentally infected its own computers with the SirCam worm. This self inflicted infection then allowed e-mails to be sent to the “outside world”, which in turn contained confidential information. The total cost of the Sir Cam worm’s damage was estimated at 1.035 billion dollars, and infected over 2,300,000 computers. This goes to show that even the U.S government needs help protecting their computers. You can imagine what it might be like then for the average home computer user.

There are many different types of programs that you may use to protect your computer. Some of them are commercial, and some are freeware, or simply put, free. During the course of a user’s normal internet surfing there are certain files that are put on your computer. More often then not you may not even know about the presence of these files. One of the problems with surfing the internet without some form of protection is the possibility of it being infected with malware. Malware is any software designed specifically to damage, or disrupt a system, such as a virus or Trojan horse. Spyware, which is a component of malware, is any software that gathers information from a user through an internet connection without their knowledge. Once you are infected, ads in the form of pop-ups and targeted banners will suddenly appear. Call it targeted marketing!

After being infected by malware a computer user now has to clean their computer, and thankfully they have a large variety of free tools to choose from. Tools such as Ad-Aware SE, and Spybot Search and Destroy, which can be downloaded for free, will scan your computer and will remove any malicious files that are found. However, for more severe infections, you can go to online forums where there are professionals to help you remove any infections found on your computer. Infections that are cleaned online will take about two days, but it is cheaper than taking your computer in to a local repair center where you will pay anywhere from $100 to $150 to have the offending malware removed. Often times though, the repair centers will merely backup data and reformat your hard drive. While this is simple for the company, it causes problems for the user. This is because they then have to reinstall all of the programs that they had previously put on their computer.

(Editor’s Note: Typically repair shops won’t format the PC, and normally will charge about two hours labor. That normally works out to about $80.00. The author is apparently alluding to the habits of large retail companies, and their tech support.)

Once the infected files are removed from your computer, you will be able to take steps to protect it from further infestation. Following a few simple steps can save you time and money in the long run, by keeping you protected from malware. Your first step of protection should be a software firewall, which monitors all incoming and outgoing Internet traffic. The next important step you should take is installing an anti-virus program on your computer. This can often be downloaded from the internet for free, and will work just as well, as one purchased from a store. Another program which you may wish to install is called Active Ports. This program is freeware, and will help you monitor your active sockets. That could help you in tracking down anything on your computer which may be communicating without your knowledge ie: malware. All of these programs generally have one thing in common.

Malware will “dial” home at one point or another in an effort to exfiltrate data from your computer. Having the aforementioned software programs in place will help you detect and stop these attempts. One last program that would aid in protecting your computer is WinPatrol. This is a program that monitors your system and alerts you when a new program tries to startup. Finally, all of these programs will be worthless if you fail to check for updates regularly, as new infections come out everyday. Updates must be downloaded to keep software programs running at peak efficiency. These are just a few of the ways that you can protect your computer from the many dangers of being on the Internet. Should you have any further questions based on this articles content please feel free to pm me.

This review is copyright 2005 by the author, and Security-Forums Dot Com, and may not be reproduced in any form in any media without the express permission of the author, or Security-Forums Dot Com.
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