It is a shame that security is after thought in many home computers.
People only feel the need for it once something has happened to them, such as a damaging virus.
There are some common ways to protect you against such things.
First of all what is out there that can hurt my computer and violate my privacy?
Viruses, these can come in many forms and may not even do any damage but just written to frustrate people.
People will often install themselves by simply not being careful. You should be aware of any e-mail attachments from people you know and people you don’t.
Some viruses will e-mail your colleagues by viewing your address book. They can come as an executable file that if you run will install a virus.
Some can come as a Trojan horse, which could be a game or some other kind of software.
Removing a virus can be easy in the way you can look it up and delete the relevant files from your computer.
This is not always the best choice as some viruses have a revenge mechanism, so when it is deleted another program opens that does more damage or annoys further while reinstalling the old virus.
The best method, in my opinion, is virus-removing software. Norton Anti-virus is one of the most well known and has many features.
But costly software is not always an option, some companies do software for free but with limited features. This will still recognize a large number of damaging viruses and remove them safely.
Having this software and scanning your computer regularly will protect you to an extent.
To maximize security a firewall is not optional but necessary. Windows XP has a built-in firewall, this is simple to enable.
Start / control panel / Network and Internet Connections / network connections
From here you will see a box with a number of ways your computer connects to the Internet and or other computers.
Right-click your connection to the Internet / properties/ advanced tab and click on the tick box to enable see easy )
For those of you who do use an earlier version of Microsoft Windows. There are many third-party alternatives that are more secure in my opinion. Windows 7 and above users can use many of these as well.
I found that the Zone alarm offers a free firewall that does offer adequate protection and the paid version is superb with constant updates.
Firewalls stop a number of attacks that hackers throw against your computer. Often you are not personally targeted but scanned with many thousands of other Internet users.
Those that give certain responses, such as not having a firewall are targeted for there own purposes.
This can be quite disconcerting, especially when lots of people buy items over the internet, which means your credit/debit card information passes through your computer as you fill in buy forms etc.
But it’s not all bad is it?
No, it is not, the internet has so many advantages. Protecting yourself with the methods above are not complicated, it’s just the same that we shut our front door to simply stop people wandering in.
There is more to be covered, however.
Adware also can be known as spyware, these themselves can be viruses but do not do damage. They just violate your privacy about what information you view online.
Also, they scan your e-mail address so relevant advertising can be sent to you.
Many including me, do not like this as it is often given away with software, or downloaded when you view a webpage this can be called malicious code.
There is no simple answer to this one as most good anti-virus and firewall software will try and stop this manipulative software coming to your computer in the first place.
Since it is not specifically damaging, it is not recognized by some anti-virus software. So the only real method is to use anti-adware.
One last point is to update your computer regularly at least weekly, even better set up auto-update.
For those using any version of windows go to windows update this will help seal cracks or gaps in the security you have.
The same goes for your anti-virus and firewall software, regular updates makes it much less likely for damage to your files, or your computer to be exploited.