The Basics of Securing Your PC

  • Comments: 3
  • Written on: November 9th, 2008

Remember the good old days when all you needed was antivirus software to secure your computer from the threats of the outside world?

Those days have been replaced with the need for antivirus software, antispyware software, firewalls, anti-phishing filters and popup blockers.

So exactly what do you need on your computer to keep you safe on the ever-increasingly dangerous wilds of the Internet?

Regardless of what you use your computer for, if you connect to the Internet at all you must have at a bare minimum:

  • Antivirus Software
  • Antispyware Software
  • A Firewall Application
  • A Popup Blocker
  • A Phishing Filter

Antivirus Software

Technically speaking, a virus is any computer program that is capable of replicating itself on other computers without the knowledge or permission of the computer’s user.

Antivirus software detects automated activity that is consistent with the spread of viruses, stops it, and then eliminates the source if possible.

Antispyware Software

Often confused with antivirus software, spyware does not spread its self from computer to computer. Instead it emits from a central source like a website or piggyback on a program that a user might install for a legitimate reason.

Typically, spyware is designed to track online activity and deliver advertisements that make money for the spyware maker. If you get enough spyware on your PC, it can become sluggish and the continual popup advertisements get to be very annoying.

Antispyware software removes these performance leeching spy programs from your computer.

A Firewall Application

A firewall is a barrier between your computer and the Internet. Depending on the firewall’s settings, certain communications are allowed and some are disallowed.

The idea is to allow the common communications like opening a web page or sending an email without opening up all other communication channels that can be used to stealthily install viruses or spyware on your computer.

A firewall is a preventative measure that acts as a first line of defense. While a firewall might seem redundant if you already have good antivirus and antispyware software, it often can prevent nasty infections from getting into your system before your other programs get necessary updates to handle the latest threats.

A Popup Blocker

Popup blockers became wildly popular as spyware infections spread across the Internet like wildfire in the early 2000’s. These programs suppressed the advertisements that were generated by spyware that had found its way onto a computer.

With the added security of Windows Vista as well as the wide assortment of free antispyware software in the marketplace today, popup blockers have taken on more of a security role.

Some threats are now delivered to your computer via a tiny, almost unnoticeable, window that pops open, infects your computer and then closes. Popup blockers eliminate this threat.

A Phishing Filter

When cyber crooks can’t get software on your computer to steal your information, they try the next best thing – they try to trick you into giving it to them.

Phishing is the practice of sending an email to a person and giving them a reason to click a link in the email and log into an account. The link takes the visitor to a page that looks just like the real thing, but is actually an imposter. When the login information is entered, it is recorded and then the user is forwarded to the real log in page as if they had typed their password wrong.

In 2007 TD Ameritrade, eTrade, and other online brokerages went into lockdown mode because Phishers had captured thousands of investors account logins and were using their funds to inflate the price of a particular stock.

Phishing filters act like a community alert system. These emails are sent out by the millions, so after a few people fall for the trap the entire community is alerted by a silent software update that informs you that the link you clicked on is a fake. This is a must have for online banking users.

What Software Does Schrock Innovations Recommend?

We recommend Norton 360 because they have the best protection in the industry and the 360 product covers all of the bases for you in one neat, easy package.

Schrock Innovations installs Norton 360 for you and stands behind it with a one-year warranty. If anything gets through it, you can call us free of charge to fix it. Give us a call when you are ready to have the best security software in the world installed on your computer.

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