April 6, 2009

How do I make my computer safe (Part 1)?

Now that the Conficker work brouhaha has finally gotten people to sit up and think about security, its time for us to evaluate what we should be doing about making our computers (and home networks) secure.

There are several areas that need to be examined: Internet, Anti Virus, Firewall, Malware and Security Suites. I'll cover the last three in the next post.

This really applies only to those with high speed Internet (Cable, DSL, FIOS). With the advent of high speed Internet, your computer (or computers) are connected to the Internet all the time that it is powered on. This increases dramatically the risk of someone malicious accessing your computer and "doing you wrong". They can download a malicious program that could infect your machine, make it do things you don't want and steal personal information. The simplest thing to do is to install what is called a Router. This is a box that sits between the modem from the ISP and your computer. It is normally used to allow multiple computers in your house (your Network) to share the single Internet connection. However it does a lot of other things that work to protect you. Even if you have only 1 computer, you should have a router in place! Home routers run in the $30 - $50 range. Pick one up at any Best Buy, Staples, etc, store or on the Internet. I'll post in the future how to configure a router to improve security.

Anti Virus
If you don't have a good anti virus software installed, you are playing Russian Roulette with all all 6 chambers of the pistol loaded!! There are a number out there that are free and do an excellent job.

There are plenty more. Just use Google. These, though come highly recommended...


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