The Stuff that keeps You
Safe and in Control
Malware, which is the collective term for all malicious software, can be controlled by the average computer user with the following tools.
FirewallsA Firewall is a tool that acts as a barrier between a computer or a network of computers and the outside world. While most private users will use software firewalls many corporate computer networks will utilize a combination of software and hardware firewalls. Any information that passes through the firewall is analysed against a defined set of rules and anything that does not measure up is rejected.
|Protection-||Effective against external attacks, and viruses and worms, but as trojans are hidden within other software they are usually not detected by a firewall.
A firewall is unable to protect you against viruses or malware located on CDs you run on your computer. That's what your anti-virus software is for.
Process MonitorsProcess monitors allow you to see all the programs and processes that are currently running. They are similar to but more user friendly and detailed than the Windows Task Manager built into the Windows operating system, and usually allows more functionality in diagnosing whether the file is part of something that is legitimate and useful, or not.
|Protection-||This is very useful for detecting anything that is operating in the background without your knowledge or permission, such as backdoor trojans or spyware.|
Start up ManagerStart Up Managers will identify anything that is programmed to open at startup. This will allow you to choose what programs you want to run when Windows starts, and you are able to deselect any programs you would prefer not open automatically. It will also allow you to detect any suspicious applications which can be further investigated. Preventing unnecessary programs from auto-starting will speed up your start up process.
|Protection-||A good start up manager is a handy tool that can be used to detect and stop trojans and auto dialers from running at startup.|
Spyware/Trojan ScannersTrojan scanners have two levels of protection. Most good scanners will scan your system (scan on demand), to identify any malware that is already present, and will also live-scan any newly received emails and internet downloads to catch and remove any harmful attachments before they can become domiciled on your computer. They detect intruders in one of two ways.
The most common method compares the received file against a database of signatures or fingerprints of known trojan viruses and spyware. The other method for detecting infections is by monitoring the behavior of any installed programmes or parts of programmes.
If they display malware characteristics, they will be quarantined for review and removal.
|Protection-||This is a must-have. A good scanner is an essential part of your internet security toolbox.|
Password ManagerThese are simple utility programs that protect your passwords, PIN codes and other sensitive information using encryption to protect the information from being stolen. Some have the ability to assist in strong password generation and insertion of commonly used personal details for completing online forms.
Password managers can be programmes domiciled on your computer or there are third-party web based password management services available.
|Protection-||Keeps critical data such as passwords and PIN numbers safe from hackers.|
Patches and UpdatesMicrosoft regularly send out security patches, for new releases of their software and vulnerabilities that have been identified since the previous update.
(See Microsoft Security Patches instructions.)
Likewise, makers of internet security software (scanners, firewalls, etc) also issue regular updates signatures of recently detected malware so that your system is immunized against any new threats. Particularly if you are running free versions of security software that do not update automatically, you will need to set reminders to download updates regularly.
|Protection-||Keeps your security software and Microsoft operating system current.|
Rogue SoftwareSome software is the wolf posing in shepherds clothing - instead of being a helper they are actually part of the problem. The advertising for these programs entices the buyer to run a scan of their system which will identify bogus problems that need to be fixed. The software programs will either fix something that was never a problem, or actually become the problem that needs to be removed.
The appearance and apparent functioning of these programs can be very deceiving and look similar to real security software. If you purchase one of these programs you are paying for protection that you are not getting and may be opening yourself up to potential attack. To protect yourself from these scum-bags, check further information on Beware of Rogue Software
|Protection-||ABSOLUTELY NONE. (Strong Potential Threat.)|
Hoaxes and ScamsHoaxes are email warnings about threats that do not actually exist. They are propagated by well meaning but misinformed individuals for the same reason as virusesmerely to create panic and havoc as are forwarded on . Sometimes they will advise the user to delete necessary parts of the operating system. There is a distinct pattern to hoax emails and once a user is aware of them, they can usually be easily identified. If you are the recipient of such an email and you want to check its validity, there are a number of sites that specialize in debunking these urban myths. Check them out under Hoaxes.
|Protection-||Nil threat=Nil protection, but take care not to delete anything essential off your system before checking it out thoroughly.|
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