As more and more people are adding high speed Internet to their computers, there are some pretty serious risks that you may not be aware of. I’ve read that a brand new computer running Windows can be compromised in 12 minutes when plugged in to their DSL or Cable Internet connection. I’m not here to discuss if this is true or not, but there are a few things you can do to make yourself, and the rest of us on the Internet, a little safer. I’m going to assume you are running a version of Microsoft Windows for the rest of this.
- Make sure you are running all the available patches from Microsoft by running Windows Update.
- Buy an anti virus program and keep it up to date. If you buy anti virus software but don’t update it regularly from their web site, it will become useless in a week or so against anything new that comes out. Buy something from McAfee or Symantec and set it to update itself automatically.
- Load and enable a firewall. If you are running WindowsXP, there is really no reason you shouldn’t be running Service Pack 2 (SP2). Enable the firewall in it immediately. If you aren’t running WindowsXP, download ZoneAlarm and use it. If nothing else, these will stop things from trying to get IN to your computer. The WindowsXP firewall doesn’t do anything about stopping what is trying to get OUT of your computer. Either way, we’re trying to stop bad things from getting in to your computer.
Once you’ve done these things go to this site, read the doc there and click on the Proceed button. Follow the instructions and see what the rest of the world can see on your computer.
So you should now be more secure than you originally were, but how does that make the rest of us any safer? Because we have disabled the ability for spammers on the Internet to use your PC to send spam out to the rest of us. It’s called being a Zombie. The firewall will stop that ability. The rest of us on the Internet will thank you.
This is just a few quick steps that I would recommend you follow to become more secure on the Internet. This isn’t meant to be the answer to every bad thing you will find there. The last thing I would recommend you do is to download the Firefox web browser, install it, and allow it to become your default web browser. It blocks popups, has tabbed browsing, and more importantly for 90%+ of the Internet, it does not run ActiveX, which is one of the things that makes Internet Explorer so popular, but it also makes it very unsecure. It’s also faster in my opinion, so you can thank me later.
Lastly, you can do like I did and just remove Windows from the equation. I took my family to Apple Macintoshes and I’ve never looked back.