Joined: 18 September 2004
Thu Jan 6,
Patrick Norton - ExtremeTech
You wouldn't leave your car out on a New York City street corner with the keys in the ignition, would you?
Connecting your new (or old) PC to the Internet without properly protecting it is guaranteed to be an even worse experience. If your car gets stolen, you call the insurance company or buy a new car. If your PC gets hammered by viruses, spyware or a hacker, at best you'll have nagging system problems with a slug-like system until you fix them.
At worst, if your PC gets seriously hammered, your system could crash or could be used to send spam or attack Web sites. Or, if you want to get really nasty, you could have your bank account or credit card info stolen, or even suffer from identity theft. In either case, you'll spend quite a bit of time rebuilding your PC ... or your credit rating.
Pile on the Protection
That's about the best advice we can give you. It comes from PC Magazine's "Your New PC: Protect", which walks you through everything you should do to secure your machine before you plug it into the Internet.
When we say pile on protection, we mean it. A good collection of security software is a must-have to safeguard you. To make things easier, we've listed PC Magazine's top choices for fighting spam, spyware and viruses, along with a firewall you can run on your system. You should be running one of each, or a security suite that covers all of the bases. And don't forget to regularly update these applications, along with your operating system, once you've installed them!
Stop Spam and Phishing Attacks:
If you don't use an online e-mail provider that offers a good anti-spam application, PC Magazine recommends Cloudmark SafetyBar 4.0Cloudmark SpamNet 3.0 does a terrific job of slicing and dicing spam without tossing out valid-email.
Both offer the ability to scan in real time, which means they can prevent spyware from being loaded onto your system, and not just detect it after it's been installed. (Don't confuse Ad-Aware SE Plus with the free version of Ad-Aware, which is an excellent free tool, but doesn't offer real-time protection.)
PC Magazine's Editors' Choice for keeping your system virus-free is Norton AntiVirus 2005. Along with excellent virus dectection, it packs a simple firewall and a preinstall scan for programs that try to prevent it from being installed. The update system has an excellent new feature: It can immediately run "a quick scan of newly vulnerable files immediately afterward."
Firewall and Security Suites
In giving ZoneAlarm's Security Suite 5.5 PC Magazine's Editors' Choice award, reviewers noted the firewall "sets the standard that others must match." This latest version adds a spam filter and easy-to-configure anti-virus, as well as instant messaging security and privacy protection. If you don't need a full suite, you could try Norton Personal Firewall 2005, which also won an Editors' Choice award.
ZoneLabs also offers a dedicated firewall that costs less, ZoneAlarm Pro, along with a basic free firewall, ZoneAlarm. For more on firewalls, read "Personal Firewall—Don't Surf Without It."
Joined: 06 November 2004
Joined: 01 November 2004
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