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Friday, October 15, 2004

"Shields Up!"

It is an unfortunate fact that a base installation of any Windows
version is riddled with security holes and while the fine folks at
Microsoft work day and night to patch various problems, it is seldom
enough to keep your computer protected from the dangers that lurk
online. The following are some additions that can be installed on your
computer in order to offer some extra defence.

Javacool Software's ( ) "Spyware
Blaster" may have a slightly goofy named, but it has proven to be one of
my newest favourite system additions. Once installed, Spyware Blaster
patches over 3,000 known security holes in both Internet Explorer and
Mozilla/Firefox web browsers. Javacool is also continually updating
their database of known exploits, the free version of Spyware Blaster
requires manual updating, but for a small donation the program will
automatically update itself on a regular basis.

A common, but often misunderstood, security term heard on the Internet
today is "Firewall". This is due to the fact that Firewalls can take
many forms, including hardware and software, both of which serve the
same function of existing between your computer and the Internet in
order to protect your system against intrusion.

Hardware firewalls afford the best protection, but can also be expensive
and difficult to configure. Software firewalls are much more common, in
fact, Microsoft has included a firewall with Windows XP since Service
Pack 1, which has gone through a major upgrade with Service Pack 2.
However, as with many Microsoft products, the XP Firewall suffers from
an overabundance of user friendless of the sort that can render Internet
connections non-functional with no apparent cause.

It's also apparent that most of the energy directed against breaching
computer security will always be focused at the company that occupies
the largest consumer base, which is, of course, Microsoft. This is why
it is sometimes considered preferable to use software from smaller
computer security firms, which makes Sygate's "Personal Firewall Pro" ( )
a perfect firewall choice. PFP does require a
bit of configuring when first installed, as it has to learn which
programs are allowed Internet access. This configuration is very
straightforward, as PFP will ask you if individual programs are allowed
access as they try to connect to the Internet. If you just launched or
are familiar with the program that is trying to connect, you answer yes,
if an unfamiliar program attempts to connect, then you can block its
access, until it can be confirmed as valid or as a malady.

posted by Kusari 11:25 AM

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