Knowledge and resources for you to use keep your computer clean
There has been so many scares, both justified and not, of internet threats that will take you computer hostage and destroy your system, burn your dinner, and take your car out for a joyride, that I feel it's time to speak up and share some info that is scattered around the forum, in one single place. So here we go.
Is the internet scary? Yeah, it can be. Are there threats out there that can cause serious problems? Yes, there are. Are you hopelessly at the mercy of these internet terrorist? Hell no.
As I see it, these threats fall under three umbrella topics:
There are also three umbrella categories for ways to combat these threats:
OK, hooray, how does this info help me, and how much does it cost to protect myself? Well, let's take a look:
As stated above, firewalls are traffic monitors. Based on the type of traffic they see, which ports of your PC ("ports" are much like channels of a mixer, for example the internet is typically a port 80 service, incoming and outgoing mail are ports 25 and 110 typically), the firewall can block the traffic. It can also close ports from ALL traffic if need be.
Often with the newer routers for home networks with broadband connections, you get a hardware firewall built in to the router. These are very nice because they stop traffic before it even gets to the PC, rather than getting to the PC, then having a software firewall monitor it. However, most router firewalls only monitor incoming traffic, not outgoing.
Why monitor outgoing traffic? Well, this is how spyware often works, it sits on your PC and goes to the internet to get the popup add to toss up on your screen or other annoyances that they bring.
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We all know what viruses are. Most of us know how they spread, and we know that virus makers are getting more and more clever all the time.
There are a few simple rules that one can follow to minimize the risk of virus infections on your PC without spending a dime:
Simply following those rules will cut your likelihood of being infected by 99%. There are many anti-virus apps to choose from, way to many to mention here, but I will mention a couple common commercial AV apps, those being Norton and MacAfee. There is also a very good free app, AVG from Grisoft, which I have been using for about a year now and it is a great AV app, and much lighter on your system resources than Norton, MacAfee and many others.
When shopping for AV apps, be aware, no matter which you choose or look at, it is just like anything else, you will find people are very polarized in their preferences, and you will find somebody with a horror story about every one. So don't let one story about Norton turn you against them, cuz there will also be one with a story about MacAfee and one about AVG and every other maker out there.
Spyware and Malware
Quite possibly the most unethical, most annoying and biggest pain in the butt problem for a computer user is spyware and malware. The stupid little creatures that create and distribute this stuff are some of the lowest life forms that have access to the internet. One of the worst offenders being a group called Cool Web Search.
They have tools which install themselves in a number of ways, often over web sites and sometimes embedded in other software. many times it's fivilous little toy installs that appeal to kids such as smillies for IM's, font installs, screen saver and desktop theme installs and things of that nature. These apps or services then can do any number of things from watch what you do and where you go on the net, reporting back to their creator, then issuing popup ads to your PC for appropriate material, or just for anything.
A friend of mine runs the web site that is widely considered the number one resource for spyware info, anti-spyware tools and more. It is now his full-time job and mission to find and prosecute these losers. The web site is SpyWareInfo.com. At this web site you will find all the info you need to keep you PC clean, with a huge message forum, regular newsletters and updates about new threats.
I highly recommend everybody go there for their spyware info rather than spew the same info here.
Don't let the losers that do this stuff scare you into thinking you need two PC's, so your studio machine can not be on the internet. A cool head, and common sense preventative measures can make your internet safe and your studio can still function.
After getting these tools, the only thing left to do is make sure you keep their definitions up to date, which most apps do automatically.
Related Forum Topics:
Nov 03, 2004 08:29 pm
just a thought for all to consider... there are no viruses for OS 10.3.x (panther). yeah one company that sells antivirus created one for it but it never worked, and they quit trying due to the fact that it was too complicated to write something like that. Plus OS 10.3.x has a built in firewall... and spyware is not that popular for it either. a thought is all.... just cause i do all that you can on a mac and not have problems does not mean that you need to hate me, OK? jk, love you all like... well... like beer.
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