Trojan Man

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I was going to assume that everyone has computer protection, but unfortunately I ran across someone a few months ago that didn't... THEY DO NOW !!!! So this post goes out to those of you that don't or that may want to take a closer look at the one you do have.

Now, I'm not just talking anti-virus as surely we all have some form of that. But with popularity of the internet and the sadistic minds of people that have nothing better to than to ruin someone's machine OR their life, it is critical to be sure you have full protection in order to practice safe.... SURFING.

Online Security Suite - You want to make sure that you have installed some type of complete online security suite - or at least the various components that make one up. I'll plead ignorance about the different suites out there as I never had to research them. Comcast offers the McAfee Security Suite free to it's subscribers, so that's what I have. It keeps all the components easily accessible within a user-friendly main console.

As you can see in the screenshot of my security dashboard, Comcast breaks down McAfee's protection categories into 4 main modules:
  1. Computer and Files: Obviously it's critical to be sure you have virus protection to keep your computer from becoming infected or destroyed - and windows will warn you if you don't. Equally important is spyware (potentially unwanted programs) protection as more and more "friends" are incorporating "bots" into downloads and websites that when launched on your system can wreak havoc or possibly allow personal info leakage - and they can be harder to eliminate than viruses. This module also protects the computer from potentially unwanted changes being made to my system (registry), it scans scripts (used in building websites and programs) to protect against malicious content built into them, and helps prevent accidentally losing files and folders.
  2. Internet & Network: This module offers firewall and identity protection keeping intruders from accessing your machine and keeping personal information stored on your machine from being able to be transmitted over the internet
  3. Email & IM: In the age of electronic communications, this module is critical as it scans emails and Instant Messages for viruses and spyware to keep these threats from being transmitted that way.
  4. Parental Controls: Obviously this is a must for parents will children that access the internet as you can filter the content that is allowed to be displayed by either specific website addresses or by keywords. McAfee allows for different profiles to be created for each Windows User Account on your machine. So, if your child logs on to your computer under YOUR user account, you may want to create a separate account for them so that you can customize the protection to suit different user needs.
Now, realize that as with every program, security suites are built to install using default user settings. Unless your name is "default", it is highly recommended to go through the tutorials and help sections to be sure you understand what each and every component of the package does. The suite should be highly customizable with regard to the levels of security and the amount of user interactivity including which threats you want to be warned about before allowing or disallowing them. AND ABOVE ALL - BE SURE TO KEEP IT UP TO DATE !!!! Even you if select manual settings for every function of the suite, choosing "Automatic Updates" could save your computer's life !!! One missed update of virus definitions could cause a disaster.

Also keep in mind that in the day and age of more and more WiFi Hot Spots, you just may want to create a different security profile when using your computer abroad and tighten the reigns on your security level... or at least be sure your firewall is configured for HIGH security... just a thought.

Ok, so I know that email and instant messaging services, ISPs and browsers offer varying levels of security by scanning messages, offering parental controls and scanning downloads... the world has just come to that. And certainly there are alternatives with regard to spyware protection. So, isn't this over-kill?????

I'd like to think not as the basic protectors may only offer functionality and levels of security specific to their particular service. And, realize that hackers work 24/7 finding ways around these protection systems. Also, if you realize that no two programs are written the same, thus may detect different threats.... THE MORE THE MERRIER !!! I personally run the McAfee anti-spy module, Comcast Anti-spy AND Windows Defender... Ok, THAT may be overkill !!!! But no ONE is perfect and neither is any one program.

That brings me to another benefit of acquiring a complete protection suite. Along with computer protection, Comcast/McAfee also incorporate useful system utilities. If you look at the left hand menu in the screenshot above, also at your fingertips is a back-up utility, a system maintenance utility and a network manager, which allows additional security settings for your personal home network (a future post), to name a few.

Also look at this screen shot of the "Tools" menu to see additional utilities that are made readily available from this one main dashboard:

I won't go into specifics about the different utilities incorporated into my suite as I'm sure different security packages incorporate different utilities, needless to say some of these are very useful. The mindset is that online protection suites offer more than just security and there are definitely advantages to owning one.

So if for some unknown reason, you don't already own one, you may want to invest in one. If you already do own one, you may just want to familiarize yourself with what it actually does and decide if you need it to do more... and be sure to keep it updated !!!!!

The "Doctor" is.... OUT !!!!


kehart856 said...

no dedication??? Damn John, for once in my life I was someones inspiration....

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