security has become a major issue these days. The threat of viruses, spyware, adware,
security holes, and many other "bugs" have made a lot of people almost afrad to
do anything on the internet. People spend hundreds of dollars everyday on the latest
firewall software, hardware, anti-virus and spyware programs, and other programs
just so they have that peace of mind that they are safe. Yet, even though have the
"latest and greatest" in technology, you are still susceptable to security problems
which could very well cost you more than that $30.00 program you just bought
For those of you wondering how to secure yourself on the internet to prevent spam,
viruses, spyware, and any of the other security-related threats that internet users
face everyday, here is a list of the top 5 things that you can do to be safer on
1.) DON'T click on web page links in emails
- By clicking on a link, you might be taken to webpage that looks identical to the
one that you were expecting to go to. However, you have actually been taken to a
hackers website that was made to look exactly like a legitimate site. Good examples
of these sites include emails supposedly from eBay, Paypal, your bank or financial
or any other site asking for personal information. By entering your information
(i.e. login username/password, SSN#, bank account number, etc.), you are freely
and willingly giving your information to a hacker that will in turn steal your identity,
money, etc. If you receive an email that looks like it is from eBay, Paypal, your
bank, etc. DO NOT click on the link. Instead, open your internet browser, and manually
type in the website address that you would use to login. This eliminates the possibility
of you giving your information to someone who really shouldn't have it. How
many of you clicked on a link in an email to get to this webpage? Good thing
we're not hackers huh?
2.) DON'T open email attachments - Even if you know who is sending
you the attachment, this is still a big problem. In 1999 the famous
Melissa Virus was spread through emails that came from someone
the person knew, but that person never actually sent the email. If you receive an
attachment, contact the person that sent it and ask them if they sent you an attachment.
If you work in a office, and use email to send documents back and forth, contact
the sender and make sure that they actually sent the email. Viruses cause thousands
of dollars worth of damage every year, but can be prevented by taking the
3.) Update your computer regularly
- Every second Tuesday of each month, Microsoft releases security updates to the
Windows operating system. These updates are VERY important, and should NOT be skipped.
If there is an immediate security problem, Microsoft will release what's called
an "Out of Cycle" update. These updates are for immediate security holes that appear
throughout the remaining days in between updates. For Windows XP and Vista, you
should have your Automatic Update Settings set to download and
install the updates on a regular schedule. This will ensure that your computer is
constantly kept up-to-date if Microsoft should release an "Out of Cycle" update.
For those of you using the Mac operating system, your updates are just as important.
Use the Software Update feature to keep your system up-to-date.
4.) Use a hardware firewall
- Most users have broadband internet access available in their area. This type of
connection is "always on" and usually never protected. Regardless if you only have
one computer, or an entire network of computers, you need to have a hardware firewall
protecting you from outside attacks. These days, any router that you purchase has
a built-in firewall to prevent outside parties from accessing your internal network.
By properly installing a router, and configuring the security settings, you can
be assured that you are better protected. Wireless routers are ideal, and can be
WPA encryption to prevent unauthorized
access to your wireless network. This allows you to connect a laptop, portable game
system, or other game systems to your network, without having to run network cable
throughout your house.
5.) Download files from a known source
- Downloading files from the internet can also be potentially risky. However,
don't be discouraged from downloading a trial version of popular software titles,
providing the download is from a popular, well-known website. Sites such as
Tucows, and other
software search engines are usually safe, due to the rigorous test that the applications
go through before they are made available for download. These days, peer-to-peer
sharing sites are more popular than ever. There is a risk of downloading a virus,
spyware, adware, or other program when using these sites. We do not in any way condone
downloading illegal software, music, or otherwise copy-protected files. However,
if you choose to use these networks, be careful what files you choose to download.
Use common sense when looking at the file size. If that song that you've been waiting
to hear is only 197kb in size, it's definitely a virus, spyware, or other. Also
make sure that you anti-virus software is fully up-to-date before opening any file
that you download from anywhere.
people have asked us what security software we suggest to use to keep their computers
safe and secure while browsing the internet. The main thing to remember is that
no matter what software you buy, install, use, etc., your behavior on the internet
is the most important (see above). However, to answer these questions, we support
and recommend the following applications:
1.) Anti-Virus Software
Antivirus v10 - This anti-virus program is the best that we have found to-date.
It uses very little system resources, and safely monitors all files on your computer
on a continuous basis. When compared to Norton, McAfee, and other well-known anti-virus
solutions, BitDefender Antivirus v10 came out on top. Running a close second on
our personal list is Nod32 which also
displays the same protection characteristics, but has been proven to scan files
quicker than any other anti-virus we have tested. We highly recommend both
of the programs for your virus protection.
Ad-Aware SE - When it comes to spyware removal, no one
can compare to Ad-Aware SE. We have used this program for years, and have
been truly impressed with its ability to remove unwanted spyware and adware.
The free version is suitable for most applications, however for approximately $30
you can upgrade to Ad-Aware plus for real-time protection. Don't be fooled
by those internet ads that you see claiming to rid your system of adware and spyware.
Over 90% of those programs actually have their own spyware and adware that they
install. Only Ad-Aware has been proven to be 100% clean, and is the
ONLY program that we recommend and use.
3.) Spam Filtering
Spambayes - Of all of the spam
filters that we have used, Spambayes has clearly beaten all of them hands-down.
If you use Outlook or Outlook Express for your email, this is one program that you
definitely need to download. It is a free
Bayesian spam filter, meaning it learns as you use it. We have personally
used this program for the last 2 years, and would not consider using any other spam
filter. Though it initially took about 3 months of training emails as good or bad,
there are very few spam emails that get by, and into our inbox. But, we still
highly recommend this program to battle your spam problems.
4.) Registry Cleaners
NONE - In our professional experience for the last 15 years, we have
never found a registry program that we can honestly recommend. All of the
programs that we have tested (Registry Mechanic, Registry Doctor, Norton Utilities,
etc.) have actually caused more problems than they actually fix. The Windows
registry is a very sensitive area of the operating system. If your computer
has issues, and you suspect that the registry might be the problem, the best thing
to do is back up all of your important data, and reinstall Windows. We know
that this is a time-consuming, and often scary process, but it is honestly the best
solution to fix major computer problems. Don't be duped into paying $29.99
for a registry cleaner, when you are ultimately going to have more problems later
on than it's worth.
If you have any further questions about anything on this page, or question in general
about your computer system, please feel free to us the contact form on our site
and we will be more than happy to help you make the right decision.