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PC Security for beginners
Years ago security remained mostly obsolete for most computers, networks, And the Internet. Most of the computers were stand alone that were used to Process information for basic needs. Most the networks were small and confined to small local areas because of lack of technology. The Internet was near to not existent.
Today, none of these ideas are true. Computers allow access to millions of bits of information along the main stream of the Internet. People have instant demand to this information. Along with the demand came high speed internet, or broadband. Broadband created an environment completely new to home users and work places alike. It allowed fast access to on-line databases and information that no one had seen before.
The Internet, though, has a darker side. Security measures help protect users against this side of the Net. The best security measure available today is PREVENTION. Prevention starts with the education of users about what they can do to keep the enemies out and off your computer. Understanding the basics of computer security is a must for any person that can access and use a computer. It does not stop just as a home personal computer (PC) but the practices can be used at work, at a friend's house, or at a public terminal.
The basics of security starts with the understanding of certain terminology used in the computer world. Not everyone in the world is a computer geek. A few of these terms are:
A utility that searches a hard disk for viruses and some Trojans and removes any that are found. Most anti virus programs include an auto-update feature that enables the program to download profiles of new viruses so that it can check for the new viruses as soon as they are discovered.
Spyware/Adware Removal Tool:
Operating System (OS):
Know what OS is running on a computer! This is important to determine what types of security measures to use on that computer. Windows 98/XP will be used through the rest of this article since most home users use Windows. Remember: there is always a non-windows solution to any application that windows provides. Some of theses non-windows applications are held in higher standards than Microsoft (MS) applications because of their functionality and security.
A majority of virus are spread by e-mail. Virus attempt to mask themselves in an e-mail that appears to come from a friend, a known business, or a person you don't know. Never open e-mails from people unheard of. Never open at attachment unless you know 100% it is safe. Best protection against virus in attachments is to download them and scan them with your AV software. One flaw of MS e-mail programs is the preview pane. The Preview pane opens the e-mail and displays it in a small window but can infact activate a virus in the e-mail. Preview Pane can be disabled. This is a must for windows users.
To protect you from viruses entering your computer, and to keep you from infecting other computers. No Anti Virus program is 100% effective. Be careful with emails (do plain text emails only: NO scripting NO html automatically delete unsolicited emails with attachments, Be wary of blank headers & downloads,and ones with the .exe extension on them. 'cause that's how the bad stuff usually gets in. This list could go on and on with don't. Make it a point not to open forwards. 90% of your viruses are in forwards. As nice of a friend you have to send you a so sweet of a e-mail. Don't open the attachment! This is especially true with webtv forwards. Webtv is not affected! But your PC is! SCAN! SCAN! SCAN! There are many different types of viruses. Some are popular at certain times of the year. Others pop up after being dormant for a spell. Then there are the new viruses that come along. Some viruses are around all the time. The number of viruses is in the thousands. Chances are you will get one. Make sure your A.V. has a website of instructions on how to get rid of them. Keep it in your favorites just incase. Because some viruses/Trojan make your virus program inoperable.
Since the creation of broadband internet, people have begin to build home networks to simplify internet access and to have the ability to transfer files in the home. The main piece of hardware needed is a broadband access router and switch combo. The routers can connect to most broadband types (commonly either DSL or cable). The router actually logs onto the ISP and allows access to the Net for all computer connected to switch part of the hardware. One major access issue with broadband routers is setting of the administrator password in the setup tool. Some of these routers have NO PASSWORD or use ADMIN as both password and user name which is unsecure. A hacker needs is the IP address of the router and can log on to it remotely. Some routers also have wireless access.
For wireless access point, it allows a computer to use a wireless network interface card (NIC) to connect to the router without any cables. Most of the home routers should never broadcast outside a person's house. Securing these access points are done in two ways. The first way is setting up a Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) password. This is done from the setup tool inside the router. Each computer requiring access to the router would need this code (which is an encrypted password) to access the router. The second thing is using Media Access control (MAC) address to restrict access to the router. Each NIC contains a unique MAC address that can be used in a access table inside the router.
Passwords remain the most used security for computers,
encrypted data, and access to websites across the internet. They should
be 6 to 8 characters long. A password should contain one capital letter
and one lower case letter but should also contain one number or symbol.
Do not use words in the dictionary in any language. The first thing
a hacker can do is try to match the password using a electronic dictionary
to guess it.
Children and the Internet
Security remains to be hard to accomplish from normal everyday users. It is not difficult. Most people see security in two ways: one part reminds almost blind and unknown to it and other part becomes overly paranoid. The first group of people are those that find themselves with viri on their computer or a Trojan that allows their computer to act like a gateway for other hackers. The second group of people have ever security measure around and keep themselves hidden on the Net. Neither of these groups a normal user should fall into. A user needs the basic understanding of security and know what can happen if the user does not follow those practices. Installing most AV and firewall software is easy and using these projects is just as easy. Remember, there are groups out there dedicated to over help to those who have questions about what is on their computer and how to secure it.
Over my lifetime on computer, I've managed to contract three virus all self inflicting. None of the viri were deadly. I now take extra care in what e-mails, programs I use, and where I go on the net. I only wish that others can also do this. I am not overly paranoid about virus or anything. I have nothing to hide from anyone. Besides, I am just a PC technician educating those that are willing to listen to always be cautious on the Net.
Have fun PCing and surfing the web!
--Written By: One of our members named Flamus Diu for Learningpc4beginners.com