Beef up your online Security
Three years back, I tried to condense Computer security into ten steps you might finish in about an hour.
After a false-positive on a pathogen scan, I returned to that recommendation and noticed that those tips are sorely superseded. I could re-examine the 1st 3 tips here and will cover the remainder in posts later this week. Then I wait 2 days before essentially trying the patches to see if there are any reports of problems related to the fix. If all is quiet on the update front, I install the patches. I haven’t got to fret about forgetting because Windows will keep a little update icon in my system tray. You can find more about XP’s automatic-update settings on Microsoft’s Help site. To access Vista’s update controls, press the Windows key, type windows update, and press Enter. Maybe a better destination for your first stop after an extended period offline is Secunia’s Online Software Inspector or free Personal Software Inspector. The client-based scan recognizes more programs than the Internet-based service. On the good side, the defenses built into Windows XP and Vista have improved significantly over the last 3 years. Unfortunately, they have not improved enough to trust the security of your system and personal info to Windows alone.
To my mind, you simply have to employ a security suite.
Lacking the presence of a commercial security suite, you must turn on the firewall and other security features in Windows Defender. There are lots of free antivirus programs, bidirectional firewalls, and anti-spyware programs. You may also find lots of security add-ons for the Firefox browser. The issue is in handling many different security programs, any of which could conflict with some other app on your Computer or with Windows itself. That is one of the principal blessings of a security suite : you may be pretty sure the varied elements will work fine together, and you are working with only 1 seller, for good or bad. You can compare the virus-detecting capability of assorted security programs by perusing AVTest’s latest results, which include tests of the 2009 editions of most big-name security apps. The second of my three-part update of the 10-Step Security story I wrote 3 years back shows that some tech recommendation stands the test of time. ( A post earlier on freshened up tips one, 2, and 3 from that story, which concentrate on Windows updates and security features.
). Step four : make sure that you can see file extensions and all Windows system files in Windows Explorer and folder windows. These days , you are not as likely to encounter a threatening executable file masquerading as a safe kind of file, but viewing file extensions and hidden files remains an excellent idea. The steps in the first article for making this change in XP are the same in Vista’s version of Windows Explorer, though you will have to press the Alt key to illustrate the Tools menu.
Step five : Set the safety level of Net Explorer’s Net section to High.
As the first article stated, this security level will generate pop-ups when you try and open a site that isn’t on your licensed list. Keep the option on the bottom to want server corroboration unbridled. Step six : Use the NoScript add-on to dam scripts in Firefox on a page-by-page and element-by-element basis. Naturally, the only way to boost your possibilities of staying safe on the Net is to employ a browser apart from IE. It is just that those programs are not focused by the bad fellows as regularly as IE is.
Giorgio Maone’s NoScript add-on for Firefox permits you to decide which scripts are able to run before the page loads. NoScript was comparatively new back in 2005 when that article was written, but the program has stood the test of time.
Note the program’s writer accepts donations to offset the price of maintaining and updating the application.
Another choice for obstructing Flash content in Firefox is by trying Nicolas Martin’s Flash Killer add-on. Except for making sure that no malware uncovers its way onto your Computer via a Flash file embedded on a Internet page, the program speeds up your browsing by obstructing Flash adverts from loading with the regular content of the page.
It is simple to spoof a link so that it appears to be like it leads somewhere apart from its real destination. Similarly , the advice in the eighth security step to scan attachments for viruses before opening them is as valid today as it was 3 years back.
The original article describes a way to close the preview pane in Outlook Express, Outlook 2003, and Mozilla Thunderbird.
The steps for doing so in Outlook 2007 are the same as in Outlook 2003. A last note on security software and wireless encryption.
2 sidebars to the first 10-Step Security list the top security programs in diverse classes and suggest use of Wi-Fi Protected Access ( WPA ) to guard wireless networks. Instead of using different programs for pathogen protection, spyware obstructing, and other malware defenses, I like the suite approach. Employing a combo security program decreases the chance of software conflicts, and if something goes pear shaped, you have only 1 seller to cope with, for better or worse. WPA provides adequate protection for most home and small-office wireless networks, though you will be safer if you upgrade to WPA2, if your network’s router and other apparatus support the later security standard. Using the older WEP security custom is no longer enough because WEP is comparatively simple to crack.
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