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6 Essential Steps to Protect Your Computer On the Internet For
By: Jerry Yu, Tue Nov 15th, 2005
Recently one of my friends asked me to check out if his
computer was infected by virus. He suspected because
occasionally the computer was shut down automatically when
connected to internet. My first thought was the Sasser worm 60
seconds auto count-down. As he uses Windows 98 second edition
with IE5, the virus must be a Sasser variant.
I'm not network security expert but I know some basic things he
must do to protect his home PC. It was a shock when he told me
that his 4 years old PC had no protection except McAfee
- Bought in 2000 and no Windows service packs had been applied
- McAfee anti-virus software came with the PC when bought and no
updates since then.
- No firewall installed.
- No anti spyware installed.
This is what I did to beef up his PC to the best of my
Step #1: Patch the operating system.
The first thing I did was update his Windows 98 to the latest
available Windows updates for Windows 98.
- Open Microsoft Windows Update page at
- Scan the PC to find out what critical updates and security
fixes are missing.
- Select, download, and install a selection of updates,
especially any Critical Updates.
- Restart the PC after finished.
When you open the Microsoft Windows Update page, click the "Scan
for updates" link. The page will suggest what updates are needed
based on your Windows version. You should install all Critical
Updates suggested by Microsoft.
It took me about one and half hour to complete the above steps.
Step #2: Download, install, and run Spybot to get rid of all
Spybot-S&D is a free anti-spyware software to detect any spyware
installed on your PC.
Spyware is any software that is installed on your PC and tracks
your online behavior without your knowledge or consent. Spyware
- Track what web pages you are visiting and send these
information to advertising companies. This kind of spyware is
commonly called adware.
- Track and record your computer activities such as what keys
you hit. This is generally called Trojans.
- Change your web browser's home page.
- And more...
After installed Spybot, I immediately scanned my friend's
computer and found 166 problems. The first run killed nearly all
of them except some memory residents that had to be killed after
Step #3: Download and install Kerio Personal Firewall (KPF).
Kerio Personal Firewall limited free edition is for home users.
After installation, KPF works as the full edition for 30 days,
after which it becomes the limited free edition.
You may also try the free ZoneAlarm firewall. Be aware that
ZoneAlarm free edition uses a lot of computer memory.
The following is the free ZoneAlarm firewall download link. You
hardly can find this download link on ZoneAlarm site because
they want you to buy the Pro version which is a much better
Step #4: Download AVG anti-virus software.
Because my friend has McAfee antivirus installed but has not
been updated for about 4 years. I downloaded AVG Free Edition
antivirus software and let him to consider if he wanted to pay
and update his McAfee or use the freebie. Running two antivirus
software on the same computer can cause conflicts.
Step #5: Install password management software - RoboForm free
RoboForm is a password management software with Artificial
Intelligence built in that can automatically fill online forms
for you. It has been featured on The Wall Street Journal, CNN,
The New York Times, Financial Times, PC Magazine, etc.
Nowadays we all have many usernames and passwords to use on the
internet. Some spywares record your keystrokes and send them to
the hackers. It has been reported many times that people lost
all their money in online bank account or internet payment
One of RoboForm key features is designed to combat this kind of
key logger hacking. RoboForm can
- AutoSave passwords in browser. - AutoFill passwords to login
form. - Click Login button for you. - Fill personal info into
online forms. - Save offline passwords & notes. - Generate
Secure Random Passwords. - Encrypt passwords and personal info
using 3-DES. - All personal info is stored on your computer
only. - Put passwords on USB KeyChain for extra security. - Sync
your passwords and safenotes to a Palm. - Backup & Restore,
Print your passwords. - More features: drill down for more.
RoboForm works best with IE 5.0 and above. IE6 is the
recommended browser to use with Artificial Intelligence
Note: free eidition comes with some limitations.
Step #6: Apply additional security measures.
More security measures and resources:
- Read Web Security tutorial from W3Schools, especially the
paragraphs for home users.
- Use Audit My PC to do three Penetration Testing.
- Use Gibson Research's ShiedsUP to do port scan and get useful
- Download Gibson Research's LeakTest and check if personal
firewall can be fooled. If the firewall is good, the LeadTest
will not be able to reach the internet.
- Browse Microsoft security home page to learn more about
Mission completed. It took me nearly 4 hours that night and the
result is so far so good.
About the author:
The author, Jerry Yu, is an experienced internet marketer and
web developer. Visit his site http://www.safer-networking.org/index.php?page=download2
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