Are You Well Protected?Written by Roxie Hickman
Fall is synonymous with start of cold and flu season. Though technically speaking, things got started a little early. Close to a million computers, mostly home PC users, were infected by Blaster Worm virus and SoBig.F. Microsoft expects more to come with recent discovery of another flaw waiting to be exploited. For many of us our computers are our business. We keep in contact with customers and clients via email, do extensive internet research, and transmit important files electronically. We know what to do to protect our bodies from viruses. There are some simple strategies, and even free precautions we can take to protect our businesses by keeping our PCs virus free. Adopting following six checkpoints will help keep your computer healthy and your business uninterrupted. Use a Firewall At its most basic level a firewall is a software security system that acts as a barrier between your computer and outside world (the internet) by monitoring all incoming network traffic. A more advanced firewall will also monitor outgoing traffic. How you use your computer will determine whether basic or advanced firewall protection is needed. What a firewall does is make your computer invisible while on Internet. If hackers can't see you, they cannot attack you. Windows XP has this software installed; however, it may need to be enabled. If you have XP and would like to enable firewall, directions are on Microsoft website. For non XP users, firewall software can be purchased. McAfee and Zone Alarm are two very popular products. Zone Alarm has a free downloadable firewall, basic version, available on their website, www.zonealarm.com. Before installing a firewall, you may be interested in learning your computerís vulnerability. This is something that can be checked for free and in just a few minutes. Visit website of Gibson Research Corporation, grc.com (no need to type www), and under Hot Spots, click on Shields UP. It takes a little bit of scrolling to get to but is well worth extra seconds. In minutes your PC is scanned and its vulnerability rated. Antivirus Software Antivirus software is "shot" after epidemic. This software protects your computer from known threats. Many PCs come with antivirus software already installed. Some of more popular versions are Norton, PCCillin and McAfee. If you have it pre installed or have purchased it, great. Please be sure to keep it constantly updated with latest virus definitions. This is important because these definitions are formed in response to latest viruses. If you don't have this protection, please consider getting it. Once this software is installed on your computer, you will be automatically notified when new virus definitions are available. Then it is just a matter of a few clicks to download new definitions. Likewise you will be notified when your antivirus software is about to expire. The software needs to be updated annually. The initial purchase, renewal, updates and installation can all be done online. Spyware Eliminator Why am I getting all of these pop ups? Certain websites that you visit or free software (shareware) that you download, and, in some cases, hardware purchased from major manufacturers will also install tracking devices on your computer (spyware). Spyware is annoying but not illegal.
Cache in your chips and get a bus!Written by Seamus Dolly
Computer related terminology could sometimes be daunting to newcomers. These are relatively new words or hybrids of words, already in existence. Someone with a degree in English, for example, could not necessarily guess, function of a particular devise, by its name. This is because such a devise never existed in history or in history of English language. Tolerance and patience is required. If you work in field of computers, these "new" words must be learned. However, P.C.'s are designed for use by ordinary people, and gritty details regarding their construction, can be largely ignored. A journalist, typist, builder or bookkeeper doesn't need to know what an EIDE or SCSI is, or indeed isn't. Hard drive description is not relevant to majority, as long as devise is functional. A "BUS", though, could be guessed by some, as it carries something, not unlike a conventional bus. In this case, it carries current/electrons/data, and is simply a conductor. A bus conductor, if you like. For now, buses are made of copper with experiments underway to utilise other materials. I read recently that "prions", which are a type of protein, are been considered as conductors. Will some of our computers' components be organic? We shall have to see! Fibre optics, which are, basically speaking, glass pipes around four thousands of an inch (0.1 mms.), in diameter, employ speed of light, for signal/data transfer. A light (diode), is on or off, at one end, and a photo-resistor at other end registers its state. Now, wasn't that simply put! These glass pipes are coated to reflect light inwards, meaning that light can be "bent" around corners, while within its container/pipe. Heat generation is minimal and electrical resistance is redundant. It is heat generation and resistance that brings your "fan" into play, keeping everything cool, and electron transfer at a controlled level. Low resistance= high current. Your starter motor for your car has really thick cables allowing electrons from twelve volt power source (battery) to do their job in turning over you engine, which is a considerably difficult task. A smaller cable would have a higher electrical resistance, causing it to overheat, and eventually, melt. Keep listening for that "fan". It is your computers first line of defence. In fact, it is principle of electrical resistance that is employed by electrical heaters.