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Monday, October 27, 2008

A Basic Tutorial on how to secure your computer from Internet threats for Beginners

Once you are connected to the Internet, there are many Internet threats such as viruses, Trojans, spy wares, hackers that may damage, slow down or steal information from your PC.

The following points will provide some insights on how you can better protect your computer against common Internet threats. It is written in simple non-technical terms so that beginners or non-technical personnel are able to understand. Every security safeguard a computer user takes will reduce the number of people skilled enough to break into their computer using various attack methods.

(1) One of the common Internet threats is virus attacks. What is a virus ?

Viruses are computer programs which has these characteristics:

1. The program is able to self-replicate.

2. The program is able to activate itself. In addition, viruses spread by infecting files.

Here is my encounter with viruses:

"Back when I was administering multiple office networks across the region, I have seen some viruses such as "Netsky" attacking the computer networks and they come in by the thousands (20,000 in a night to be precise !).

Fortunately, I had an anti-virus program that was blocking these virus onslaught from entering into the Computer Data Center which holds the company critical operations and data storage. The unsung hero (The anti-virus) did it's job well and not a single virus came through the company network. Unfortunately, the server that runs the anti-virus had a hardware failure due to the extremely high traffic of cleaning these viruses.

I had to immediately get ready a standby server to take over the anti-virus job and later installed a clustered anti-virus solution for high availability. This meant an anti-virus software is the absolutely the first protection that a computer cannot do without".

So how to get protection and are there FREE Anti-Virus ?

The ANSWER is yes. One of the popular Anti-Virus is AVG Free Edition Anti-Virus.

(2) Another form of Internet threat is Spyware.

Spy ware programs are able to retrieve various types of personal information and can also by itself install additional software, pointing your web to other web sites that may have viruses. Furthermore, multiple spy wares can cause your computer to slow down as it takes up your CPU, Memory and Disk space. Your network performance may also suffer as spyware redirect unwanted network traffic.

Traditionally an Anti-Virus is adequate to protect a PC but now it is essential to also include Anti-spyware program to counter this threat. Anti-spyware programs are to monitor your PC for spyware while giving you a peace of mind while going about your on-line activity.

There are also FREE and popular Anti-Spy ware programs such as Spybot Search and Destroy and Lava soft Ad ware Personal.

(3) Trojans

These are computer programs that can hide themselves behind an innocent looking e-mail attachment (e.g. a tempting computer game). Once the attachment is executed, the Trojan will install itself into the computer and it can now start doing damage to your computer.

Some Trojans has spy ware, which is software that keeps track of Internet usage statistics and it will send these information back to the creator.

Most anti-virus comes with Trojan removal. However, nowadays it is better to equip your PC with a personal firewall. It will help you to block unwanted applications/virus from trying to penetrate your PC.

This site is setup to provide information, recommendation on hacking prevention, controls to minimize security threats from viruses, Trojans, spy wares, hacking based real life experience while conducting security assessment and penetration tests. There is a beginner section that guides new Internet users step by step to install the security defenses.

The above represent the basic defense against Internet threats. Of course there many more measures to minimize these threats. If you require more information and step by step guide to install the above security software, please refer to the website listed above.

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