Skip to comments.Computer Technical Support Needed (Vanity)
Posted on 07/23/2006 4:40:15 PM PDT by Alberta's Child
I'm looking for some advice from someone who knows a bit more about personal computers than I do. I've just ordered a new computer for home/work, and I'm trying to figure out the best way to protect it from spyware, adware, viruses, etc. I've used ZoneAlarm Security Suite in the past, but the latest release of that software has been a total disaster and has left many users without any firewall protection at all.
My question is this . . . What is the difference between internet security software and something like a Netgear router when it comes to protection against unwanted intrusions? Would I be better off with the router or the software, or should I use them both in tandem to provide the best security?
Use a hardware firewall as your first line of defense. Any hardware router will do that trick. Some will interface with Zone Alarm for configuration. Change all the default passwords on new hardware.
Enable the software firewall on your computer. If you don't have one, you can buy one. You only need one software firewall. It would be redundant however, a backup to the hardware firewall.
Do not install software off of the internet, unless it is obtained directly from the publisher. Do not download music, porn, or unlicensed software. Set up a limited user account for general, non-work use. Log into that user account when you anticipate that you'll be accessing sites on the internet of dubious safety.
When done for the day, flip off the router. That is turn it off.
both in tandem..The firewall is going to stop intrusions into your PC (by keeping many ports shut down). The anti-viral software stops malicious code from running on your system.
Do you have any recommendation as far as a specific program? ZoneAlarm worked fine for 18 months, but after this last episode I'm not in a hurry to use it again.
Do not install software off of the internet, unless it is obtained directly from the publisher. Do not download music, porn, or unlicensed software.
I assume this would not apply to something like iTunes?
I think the new computer comes with anti-virus software package that can be upgraded for 12 months, but usually this is not a full-blown "firewall" program, is it?
iTunes is fine.
I don't think you need a fancy software firewall that generates detailed reports.
Do you use a Mac or Windows?
A router is better protection but not reqd.
I use Windows. Everything I use has to be compatible with my office server.
I'll just add, here's some reviews of the suites available:
And here's some others and some articles:
You're using XP Pro?
Rename the adminisrator account to something unguessable and give it a big password. Disable the guest account, in both places. Password generators are available at grc.com
Turn on the windows firewall, it works. Don't let ZA or McGagme or Symiantec turn it off.
Copy in a hosts file, a real one has at least 10,000 entries. Don't match to the loopback device, 127.0.0.1 . Match to the null device 0.0.0.0, or just plain 0 . komando.com will have a site, or you can google.
Run as a limited user, NOT admin or a power user.
Use FireFox with adblock + filter updater, noscript, user agent switcher, fasterfox, and scrapbook.
Do this, and be free.
You can add ZoneAlarm or Spybot Search and Destroy or Adaware if they don't drive you nuts.
And don't run as admin! And when you shut down, WinXP will ask if you want to install updates, never do so. Even though you've done all this, it's downloaded all sorts of spyware without installing. This is where you're pwnd.
Or you could have bought a refurb Mac Powerbook G4 15 inch like I did. Happy computing.
The hardware firewalls will let you put time restrictions and URL restrictions on your kids surfing. Not a bad idea if you have kids.
Caution with too much protective software, as it can bog the system down.
I use Ad-aware for periodic scans, AVG free version for virus & email scanning, and Zonealarm free for firewall.
I used to have McAfee Virus and it got to be glutware. I then tried Trend Micro and it got to be glutware.
Allot depends what kind of surfing and downloading you do.
An office server complicates things. I would suggest paying a local professional to set everything up. A real professional. You can then post questions about what you're being told by whoever you hire here.
If your office server is located elsewhere, you may need to interface with your work IT people. But if your office server is located at your home office, then whatever security profiles who enable for your machines need to be compatible with how you share devices and data on your local network.
If you're not a techie, and your time is valuable - then put out some dough for a pro. The installation should be fairly quick. Insist on the simplest, most robust set up for a non techie. If you have to fiddle with security settings daily, then the setup is wrong. It should be set and forget.
Also check out a little program called sandboxie (sandboxie.com). It creates a sandbox to contain your internet travels. If a problem occurs, etc., you just delete the sandbox. Be sure to move any keepable downloads outside the sandbox before deleting.
I might be in a good position to do this, too. I have a pretty large desk at home with plenty of space on it (I use a 7-foot buffet table, going back to my days in engineering school when I needed the room to unfold drawings). My new computer will be a laptop for portability (I'm on the road maybe once a week), but since I hate laptop screens and small keyboards I plan to use a docking station so I can connect my desktop keyboard and my desktop monitor. Is there any way to connect the two CPUs to a single router so I can transfer files between them if necessary?
For now, I really only need to connect to a web-based e-mail system. But I know there are some plans in the works to potentially give us access to the office server as remote clients.
If they go that route, I'll have the company's IT guy give me his recommendations for dealing with compatibility issues.
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