The 4 Steps to Windows Security
Every user has had problems with it in the past, one minute you are downloading a file, the next you locked out of many of the Windows functions. You decide to restart your computer in case it is a ‘one off' but now you can't log in! This is one of the many things a virus can do to your computer and is always unwelcome. Hopefully by reading this article you can prevent this from happening again in the future and keep your data safe.
Step 1 - Antivirus
This is probably the most important as it blocks the most common of problems. In general, a virus is a piece of software written to cause you problems ranging from disabling you from changing your background, to opening ports on your computer to allow hackers in. Viruses are all over the internet and ready to get you, but luckily many companies are prepared to protect you, some are even free! Here are a few suggestions...
AVG (Anti-Virus Guard)
AVG was created by Grisoft in 1991 and has since become one of the best AV's available. They offer a free Anti-Virus for home users which is easy to use and gives excellent protection against old and new threats. It also automatically updates itself when any new threats are discovered, keeping you even safer.
There is also a business version of AVG available with a 10% discount.
Symantec Norton Anti-Virus 2007
Symantec has established itself in the market as one of the larger companies and make lots of different kinds of security software. Its Anti-Virus is a favourite amongst businesses and home users alike. It immediately detects if any viruses or spyware (see below) have worked their way onto the computer and quarantines them, making them harmless. The only downfall to this is that it costs money and some users have reported that the software can make their PC significantly slower.
Want to know more? Then have a look here.
Sophos is a favourite for schools. It provides good protection and minimal system requirements. Like the others, it automatically updates to keep you protected. The difference between this AV and most is that it can be controlled from a server. E.g. you can manually tell the program to update itself from the other side of the building using the Enterprise Manager. It has won many awards for being as reliable as it is.
Interested? click here.
Of course this is only a few, there are many more! Some good, some bad, just make sure you find out which is the right one for you before making those impulse purchases.
Step 2 - Firewall
The firewall is an extra piece of security. It can either be a piece of software or build into a piece of hardware (E.g. Routers). Firewalls prevent unwanted information passing through the computers ports. First off let's explain ports. Ports are gateways between your computer and the internet/network. They act as little doorways, many doorways... in fact over 60,000 doorways! Many of these ports are not used at all and viruses and hackers attempt to open them so they can have access to your computer and all your precious documents. This is where the firewalls come in. They block all the ports that you don't use, and only allow the information you want. Internet Explorer uses port 80, firewalls let information in and out of the port while keeping the others blocked. They can be configured to let software through other ports as well. Let's looks at what's on the market.
The freebie! Windows firewall is bundled in with Windows XP and higher. It has a nice, easy to use interface but can sometimes cause problems. It is, however, evolving and the problems are dying out. When a new program attempts to open a port, this firewall ASKS you if you want to allow it or block it. Not bad at all for the price.
Symantec Norton Internet Security
Another one from Symantec. Norton Internet Security (NIS) works similarly to Windows Firewall but includes a bit extra, including ‘Root kit Protection' which finds hidden threats within the operating system, as well as blocking fraudulent websites.
Have a look here.
Most routers nowadays include a firewall in the unit. It mostly works in the same way as the software versions. To change any settings you are required to log into the router and access interfaces where you can choose the ports to open. The biggest difference is that this firewall only blocks the information coming into the computer, not the information you're giving out.
Once again this is only a small number of the available firewalls out there. There are many more for you to search through before choosing.
Step 3 - Spyware
Spyware could be classed as a virus, except it is less malicious, but that doesn't mean it isn't bad for you and your computer. Spyware is software which ‘watches' what you do. It looks at the websites you look at and usually throws lots of advertisements at you. In some cases it even reports what you do back to its creator. Let's look at what we can do to stop it.
Spybot - Search & Destroy
It's free and probably the best. Designed to protect your privacy, this software scans as deep as possible into the depths of your computer and finds all the nasty spyware hiding there. On some occasions removing the spyware will prevent a program from working correctly, but only the program the spyware was bundled with.
For more information have a look here.
Windows Defender is an alternative to Spybot S&D and pretty much does the same thing. It is also free and can be downloaded from the Microsoft Website. It partners up with Internet Explorer and protects you in real time, so as soon as there is a problem, Defender is ready to fix it.
Have a look here for more information.
Step 4 - Windows Updates
Last but not at all least. It is highly recommended that you keep your edition of Windows updated using Windows Update. These updates come directly from Microsoft and are vital to keep your PC safe.
The can be found here.
Using the tips given in this article, Resolve IT Solutions hopes you can keep yourself free of internet threats and browse safely.