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Internet Security

Keeping yourself safe

The Internet can sometimes be a wild and dangerous place. With a few simple steps, you can protect yourself and your computer from viruses, worms, hack attempts and all sorts of other nasties. Now is a good time to check all the computers in the house for security updates, anti-virus updates, spyware infestation and other saftey issues.

  1. Windows Update - Should always be your first step. Remeber the Blaster Worm? The patch against it was released at Windows Update a full month before the Blaster Worm actually hit. If you have Windows XP, make sure Automatic Updates are enabled.
  2. Anti Virus - You should always be running an up-to-date anti virus program. If you are going to buy a retail product, we recommend Norton Anti Virus. If you would like to try a free anti virus program, we recommend AVG from Grisoft. Microsoft also offers a free Anti Virus security product.
  3. Spyware - Spyware is any program that runs in the background and tracks what you do on your computer for marketing or advertising purposes. Many spyware programs come as part of some other "free" program or utility you may have downloaded and installed on your computer. Some even hijack your Home Page and redirect your Internet searches without your permission. Here are two free programs that can scan your computer and remove many types of spyware. Also see Hevanet's Spyware page for more details.
  4. Firewalls - A firewall is a program that protects your computer from unauthorized or hostile intrusions over the Internet. Windows XP has a free, built in firewall. Click here to learn how to turn it on. If you are using Windows 98, there are several free firewalls you can download and run.
It's always a good idea to practice Safe Computing Habits. Check out this article from the Carnegie Mellon CERT Coordination Center on Home Network Security. Another excellent site is the Microsoft Security Info. Every question you could ever think of is answered.

Eric Howes maintains a very good site on Protecting your Privacy and Security on the Internet. Recommeded reading.