The #1 Issue In
(c) John H. Dow
The Internet is a great tool and can provide information on just about any
subject. That's a very good thing. But there are less than honorable folks
out there that will gladly take advantage of anyone. And many people don't
realize the threat.
Because the Internet can be a DANGEROUS place to be. In fact, YOU are at RISK
Computer security is rapidly becoming the most serious issue of on the Internet. Just consider the following statement -
pretty bold, but VERY true.
"If you are connected to the Internet and you don't have current anti-virus software, ALL security updates to your Operating system and browser, as well as a firewall properly configured, you
probably have a virus, adware, or both on your computer RIGHT NOW!"
That's what I tell my computer repair clients all the time. Some listen and
immediate action. Others don't and get to learn this important lesson the very hard way.
Let's look at the problem first, then I'm going to give you FIVE ways to
First: The Bad News.
Fact 1. There are three types of programs that are attacking your computer right now: Spyware, Malware, and Adware. All three are programs that get downloaded to your computer as part of a legitimate download, then hang around sending data like your credit card numbers to the
bad guys who write them.
While this article is too short to define each, all three types are a threat. For now let's call them all adware.
Fact 2. In the last 12-18 months I have not seen ONE unprotected computer that doesn't have a virus or adware.
Doing computer repair on a daily basis for a living I see a LOT of computers. Some units have OVER 50
installations of adware on them. Please understand; these people are just like you and me, not some 14 year old gamer who will download anything. They THOUGHT they were being careful enough, and were shocked when they discovered that they had a problem.
Some of these machines even had anti-virus software, but didn't have the latest security
patches or virus protection.
Fact 3. While most onsite or phone support service calls used to involve bad hard drives, equipment failure, or adding new devices, about 80% of all service calls now involve virus and adware removal.
Fact 4. It's getting worse. The adware and virus creators are getting smarter, and the software is getting much harder to remove. Add
in all the new public WiFi networks that people connect to on a regular
basis, and this increase the threat.
Here is what you can do TODAY to solve the problem, a problem you might not have even been aware existed, yet could cost you untold hours of frustration as well as put your financial life at risk.
Step 1. Be aware! Does your computer run slower now than when you bought it? Do some software programs no longer work or "hang up"? Does your browser go to some strange home page? If so, the odds are 99.9% that you ARE infected.
Step 2. Install anti-virus software that automatically updates. There are several good choices out there that fit that criteria, Norton, MacAfee, AVG, PC-cillin are the top brands. The important thing is to make sure that the software is setup to update the virus signatures automatically.
Step 3. Install all security patches for your operating system. Go to the Microsoft site and run a test of your computer and software. It will tell you what updates you need to install and even install them for you.
There is no cost and it is extremely effective against many of the virus and adware out there. Go here to check your system:
www.microsoft.com and look on the menu on the left for Windows Update and click on that. Depending on what operating system you have, it will take you to the appropriate update page. Also turn on auto-update if your operating system allows that feature.
Step 4. Install a firewall. A firewall looks at network traffic coming into or going out of your computer. Viruses or adware that may try and infect you is scrutinized and rejected. Windows XP has an included firewall (automatically turned on in the SP2 update) that can help but you may find a 3rd party program like Zone Alert (www.zonelabs.com) to be a better choice.
Step 5. Now that you know the danger, use a generous amount of common sense in reading email and surfing the web. If you get an email attachment from anyone you don't know, don't open it, ever! Pay
attention to any Wifi connection, make them manual connect instead of
automatic and turn off wireless connections when not using.
If you know the person sending the attachment but it looks questionable, don't open it. You may also want to set your email to open only in text mode, that keeps any html (that can run a program) from doing any harm.
Never, and I mean never, click on a hyperlink in an email to fill out any financial, password, or login data. No legitimate vendor will ever ask you to do this under any circumstances.
connect to an unsecured network of unknown origin. Make sure you are on a
network that is secured when ever possible. Turn off any share's (if you
have directories that are shared, put in a password requirement).
When you are surfing the web and a window pops up and asks you to install a program, just say no. If you don't recognize the company or publisher, don't do it. You can go into your browser security section and make changes so that no outside source can make any installations or changes with out prompting you to approve.
Keep current backups of all your important data. We all know to do this, but
few actually do it. No matter the method - just do it!!!! If disaster strikes, your critical data will be safe.
By following these five tips you will have peace of mind knowing that your online experiences, be they playing games or making money or something totally different, are safe as well as enjoyable.
Protect your data, and your peace of mind, by taking action on these five steps today.
since many people keep financial and personal information on their
computers, Identity Theft from accessing this information is possible. The
FTC provides several reports that cover Identity Theft prevention and
actions to take if you have already become a victim. You can find these
of the most important information and software subjects in our Power
Solutions CD is security. If your read and follow our
instructions you will greatly reduce if not eliminate your risk from
computer issues. You can also learn about many products that are being
sold to protect individuals, and if any are worthwhile and what you can do
Fix It Yourself!
Our Power Solutions CD has helped 1000s of customers protect their computer and data, by providing a collection of utilities and
how to articles to fix and repair ANY hard
drive or computer problem.
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