Virus Protection

Written by Richard Lowe

One ofrepparttar saddest things inrepparttar 132098 entire world is hearingrepparttar 132099 words, "I think I've been hit by a virus" or "my computer was destroyed by a virus, can you help me please?"

Every time I hear these words I want to cry - well, actually I want to scream in frustration and a little bit of anger. You see, it's not hard to protect your system from destruction by any one ofrepparttar 132100 fifty thousand or more viruses out inrepparttar 132101 wild. In fact, it's so simple that it's pitiful that anyone gets caught "with their pants down" more than once in his or her lives.

By this time it's inconceivable that anyone with any contact with civilization is ignorant of viruses and their destructive potential. A few years ago you could claim ignorance (what's a virus?) but no longer. In these years after "I love you" and "Melissa", well, virus attacks appear onrepparttar 132102 6 o'clock news at least once a week and inrepparttar 132103 newspaper just as often.

That's one ofrepparttar 132104 reasons why I groan when I hear that someone has lost their system to a virus attack. They cannot claim that they didn't know or didn't understand. In addition, protection is so simple and cheap that no one can userepparttar 132105 excuse of "it's too expensive" or "it's too difficult". Sorry, that just does not hold water.

Look at it this way - if someone is surfingrepparttar 132106 internet they must be paying for a connection (say twenty dollars a month) and they have to have a computer (perhaps a thousand dollars). It's hard to accept that they cannot afford another thirty or fifty bucks for virus protection (in fact, many new computers come with an antivirus program pre-installed).

All right, preaching aside, what'srepparttar 132107 best way to protect your system from virus attacks? To begin with, assume that you or someone who uses your computer might make a mistake and plan forrepparttar 132108 worst. In other words, makerepparttar 132109 assumption that if a virus is received, it will be executed, so make surerepparttar 132110 things are removed or rendered harmless before you see them.

Define and follow a good backup plan - First and foremost, figure out how you are going to back up your data. Didn't expect me to say that, did you? You have to understand that no virus protection system is perfect. If a virus does get through somehow, then you must be prepared to restore your data and files from a backup.

It does not matter if you hand copy your critical files to a floppy disk every night or if you haverepparttar 132111 most advanced optical or tape backup system available. If nothing else, get a cheap ZIP drive plug it in and userepparttar 132112 backup software that comes with it (you can get this setup for around a hundred bucks).

Don't even think twice about this - if you don't have a backup solution then get one, now. If you are not keeping a backup then you are living on borrowed time (this also protects you from system failures, hackers and other dangers as well). ALL good security plans begin and end withrepparttar 132113 backup and restore strategy.

Choose, install and maintain an antivirus solution - Personally, I really likerepparttar 132114 Norton Antivirus program. I've installed it in our office and in my home, and I have not yet found a better program anywhere.

There is far more to an antivirus program than just checking for viruses. All of them do that. What Norton does that's different is very important - it also scans incoming emails for viruses so they are removed even before you openrepparttar 132115 message.

Schedule virus updates at least once a week - More importantly, you can schedule virus updates to occur at regular (weekly) intervals. This is extremely important. Your virus definitions MUST BE UPDATED AT LEAST ONCE A WEEK. Otherwise, your protection slowly loses it's power to protect your system. This is almost as bad as not having any protection at all - because you think you are protected and you are not.

Security: Firewalls

Written by Richard Lowe

If you spend a lot of time onrepparttar internet and you are not behind a firewall, then you are living on borrowed time. Putting some protection between you andrepparttar 132096 internet is probablyrepparttar 132097 third most important thing that you can do (after getting virus checking software and performing regular backups).

The diagram torepparttar 132098 left shows an unprotected system using a DSL modem. As you can see, someone onrepparttar 132099 internet can attachrepparttar 132100 computer system easily asrepparttar 132101 DSL modem provides no protection (some DSL modems have built-in firewalls). An attacker can get through any type of modem - DSL, cable, 56K, 28.8 or whatever. Ifrepparttar 132102 device gets you onrepparttar 132103 internet, you are vulnerable.

For those with a DSL, cable modem or other "always-on" connection, you MUST get a firewall. This is critical, as your machine is always live and it most likely has a fixed IP address. This makes it easier for your system to be "found" and attacked.

What a personal firewall does is isolate your computer fromrepparttar 132104 rest ofrepparttar 132105 internet. It does this by inspecting each packet of data to determine if it it should be allowed to get to (and in some cases from your machine.) The best protection completely hides your computer - this is called stealth mode.

You haverepparttar 132106 option of installing a software firewall or a hardware firewall.

Software Firewall - A software firewall runs on your computer system inrepparttar 132107 background. It intercepts each network request and determines ifrepparttar 132108 request is valid or not. Software firewalls offerrepparttar 132109 following advantages:

- They are generally very inexpensive

- They are very easy to configure

They haverepparttar 132110 following disadvantages:

- Since they run on your computer they require resources (CPU, memory and disk space) from your system.

- They can introduce incompatibilities into your operating system.

- You must install exactlyrepparttar 132111 correct version for your operating system.

- You must purchase one copy for each system on your home network.

Hardware Firewall - A hardware firewall is generally a small box which sits between your computer and your modem. In general, hardware firewalls haverepparttar 132112 following advantages:

- They tend to provide more complete protection than software firewalls

- A hardware firewall can protect more than one system at a time

- They do not effect system performance since they do not run on your system.

- They are independent of your operating system and applications.

They haverepparttar 132113 following disadvantages:

- They tend to be expensive, although if you have a number of machines to protect it can cost less to purchase one hardware firewall than a number of copies of a software product.

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