Self Defense against
If you have an emergency with your home computer, click here for a free and fast way that will usually solve your problem.
If you run a large network or ecommerce site, click
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of sites where you can get information or join email lists to
be alerted of the latest discoveries of ways to break into computers, click here. If you are a home
user, read on.
Securing Your Home Computer – The Basics
By Matt Smith, President of Litchfield County Computer
We're going to discuss a topic that is far more important than most people realize – securing your home computer. This is a very involved topic so we are going to deal with it in several articles. This first article is meant to give you a basic foundation.
Years ago, before the Internet was widely available to the public, probably 95% of the computers out there were stand alone computers, meaning they were not connected to any computer networks. The only means of sharing information that you had was through disks. While computer viruses (virii) existed, the amount of damage that they could do and how far they could spread was limited.
The advent of the Internet has changed all of this. Now millions of computers around the world can be hit by a virus in a matter of hours. The types of malware that are out there and the damage that can be done have greatly increased. If you connect a poorly protected computer to the Internet it can be infected in under 4 minutes and the infection can be severe enough to totally disable your computer.
I'm now going to explain two of the three main ways that computers get infected with malware.
Running malicious files – Computers can be infected when malicious files are run or viewed. These files can be received though removable media, such as floppy disks, CDs, DVDs or flash drives. Malicious files can also be received via Instant Messenger file transfers or files attached in an email.
Now, you may say to yourself “I only have to worry about executable programs – EXE files.” Years ago it used to be this way. However, this is no longer the case. There are many types of files to worry about and the list is growing every day.
Malicious Websites – This is the newest and most prevalent method of spreading malware. A website is altered to contain scripts – small programs, that are designed to force your computer to download and run malware. Often when this type of malware attack occurs the user does not realize it until the computer has been infected. It is also very common for malware that is spread in this manner to instantly cripple your computer.
In part two we will discuss the third method of infection and a few of the things that modern day malware can do to your computer.
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