Many of you undoubtedly read the virus
warning I posted on the web site back in
January, so here is some more on computer self defense for the 21st
Let me start by asking you a question:
If you lived in a neighborhood where shady people were constantly rattling at your doors and windows, looking for a way to break into your home, you'd move out of there in a heartbeat, right?
Now, what if moving wasn't an option. What would you do then?
You'd want to install the best home security you could, right? You'd want thick metal doors and metal grates over the windows so these bad people couldn't get in. (In many neighborhoods, this is the everyday reality.)
Now, what if I told you this wasn't a hypothetical situation for you...this is the reality of your computer the moment it is actively connected to the Internet.
(Just like you are right now, while reading this page)
Like the shady people checking your doors and windows in the example above, there are worms and Trojan horse programs out there constantly attacking machines, and looking for unblocked communications ports that will allow them access to your machine.
Once one of these gets into your machine, it can turn it into a SPAM-sending zombie, store illegal data on your machine (yes, sick illegal crap like kiddy porn, etc.), and so on. Just like someone breaking into your house and turning your basement into a crack den.
The solution is to get a good firewall program and use it! This should stop most worms and Trojan horses dead in their tracks.
Remember, however, that while a good firewall will stop these malicious invaders, often you have to change the default settings to insure your unused communications ports are being monitored and blocked. If in doubt, set your firewall to the HIGHEST LEVEL possible.
Also, just like you be wary of a stranger at your door who offered you some great product for free "if they could just come in for a moment", be vary wary of any free online software.
Many free programs that you can download install what is known as "spyware" on your machine. As the name suggests, this spies on your activities and reports information about you back to the company that gave you the program. Also, spyware installs its self in such a manner that normal antivirus and firewall programs will not pay any attention to it...
Don't take candy from strangers, and always look a horse in the mouth to make sure it's not a Trojan.
Note: When I went to first post this article, I hadn't even been online long enough to make the FTP connection, and sure enough my firewall started to blink...another trojan horse attack.
That makes 8 attempts in the last 3 days so far and 18 so far this year...
STILL think it can't happen to you?