Baseball season is big business in the US. I don’t follow the game much, but I do know a little about it. There are two teams, an umpire, and one team plays the field while the other team goes up to bat. Three strikes and you’re out.
The computer world has two teams too. On one side there’s businessmen, gamers, casual surfers, and long distance friends and relatives. On the other side there are viruses, trojans, hackers, worms, spyware, adware, identity theives and more. I’m sure you can guess which side we call the good team and which side we call the bad team. But the bad guys don’t play fair. How are the good guys supposed to win when the bad guys are always sliding into base undetected, or in stealth mode, or pretending to be a good guy and even sitting on the same bench with you only to make your team lose the game?
Many articles have been written in detail about various ways you can protect your machine. Those of you that get PC World Magazine will have seen articles even recently, reviewing and testing the various methods out there for making sure that the good guys win the game.
There are three tools that I refer to as the “Three Strikes Your Out!” of the computer and Internet world.
Strike One! Regardless of your Internet connection these days, it’s imperative that you install a good firewall to protect against hackers, worms that travel through ports instead of emails(blaster, welchia) and trojans.
Two firewalls that are also available in free versions, are ZoneAlarm by Zonelabs, and Sygate Personal Firewall by Sygate.com. Both in their basic form do a good job keeping unwanted traffic out of your computer, leaving only your IP address available to surf the ‘net. UPDATE: Newer versions of Microsoft Windows don’t play well with third-party antivirus or firewall software. Newer choices may work better for your particular machine.
Side note: If anyone tries to tell you “Oh no! Your IP is showing!!! You need our protection services!”, don’t pay attention. Your computer’s IP address is like your phone number, and you WANT it seen on the ‘net so that you can communicate with others and others can communicate with you.
Strike Two! It’s like American Express, don’t leave home without a good antivirus program! With not a single spam program capable of leaving 100% of the email you want while filtering out 100% of the email you don’t want, with shareware and freeware programs downloading with spyware that drops viruses and trojans, with popups that sometimes come loaded with goodies as well, you need a good set of tools to regularly scan your system for unwanted stow-aways and get rid of them.
FCS has suggestions that can be used for this purpose right here onsite in our Downloads area. Check them out or give FCS a call for more assistance.
Strike Three! There might be a really cool program that you want to try the demo for, or a free program that does exactly what you want it to do. But those programs might come with hitchhikers that you really don’t want running around your system.
When you’ve downloaded that really cool demo or freeware program, be sure to use one of the recommended tools to check if its ad-supported or carries an unwanted hitchhiker.
In some cases, removing the spyware will disable the program you wanted to test out. These programs are usually referred to as Adware, because they feel that the advertising is paying for your license to use the program.
Conclusion: So what are the three strikes the good guys can use to win over the bad guys? A firewall, an antivirus program, and a really good set of anti-spyware utilities!
Give FACT a call to get this trio working on your computer, and join the winning team!