Security Help

The ways to secure your computer.

As we move from dial-up Internet connections to broadband connections security becomes extremely important. Broadband connections are always on. Your computer is exposed to Hackers Internet hackers and roving Internet Bots. These are software robots that search the Internet for unsecured computers. When it finds one it takes it over. It may erase your files or steal your information. Your computer is no longer under your control.

Dial-up Security

When you were running dial-up Internet connections security was only a minor concern. Your primary exposure was to viruses and adware. Hacking was simply not a problem because you were assigned a different IP address by your ISP every time you connected to the Internet.

To secure a dial up connection, you need two programs. An anti-virus program like Norton Anti-Virus or McAfee Anti-Virus. Either are available at $20-$70 per year. You probably got a free 3-6 month trial with a new computer.

An alternative is the AVG Anti-Virus program free from GriSoft for home use.

You also need an anti spyware program like SpyBot. Spybot is available free or you can purchase an Internet Security program from Norton or McAfee.

Broadband Security

With broadband connections like DSL or Cable Modem your IP address remains the same for many months and your computer is always connected to the Internet. As such you are exposed to hacking whenever your computer turned on.

You can find your IP address by going to What's My IP.

You still need an anti-virus program and an anti-spyware program like for dial-up connections but you also need a Firewall. Firewalls come in hardware or software implementations. If you have a router you have a Hardware Firewall. This is the best type of Firewall. Every copy of Windows XP has a Software Firewall. This is better than nothing, but not much.

See our Router Help page for a complete description of routers and how to determine if you already have one.

For a complete description of IP addresses see Wikipedia.

You should also assign a password to sign on to your computer, even if you are the only user. This will prevent Internet Bots from signing into your unsecured user account. Why make it easy for them. To create a password, go to Control Panel, User Accounts and create an Administrator account for the computer owner and give that account a password.

These simple, or not so simple steps will secure your computer.