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Home Business PC Security for Dummies



The Internet is a powerful tool for home-based businesses. If used effectively, it can be your best friend; but if you dont secure your computer, it can be your worst enemy. Im sure youve had your fill of warnings about the latest killer computer virus. So Im not going to harp on about the latest threat, or the potential for damage. What I WILL do is provide some protection tips and links for the layperson.

And now for the obligatory disclaimer: Im no tech-head Im an advertising copywriter and website copywriter. So this article is certainly not definitive or exhaustive. Its simply an overview of some useful and easy to use solutions which should meet most of your requirements. I have no affiliation with the vendors or their distributors, and would encourage people to shop around before buying.)

When you run a home-based business with one or two computers the main things you need to protect against are malicious hackers, worms, viruses, hijackers, trojans, spyware, and adware. For most people, the following tools are all you need.

Firewall e.g. Outpost Firewall Pro

Basically, a firewall stops unwanted stuff getting in. Agnitum Outpost Firewall Pro is powerful and easy to use. You can get it from http://www.agnitum.com/products/outpost/ for USD$39.95. It claims to provide the following protection.

  • Detects and blocks all intrusions by hackers
  • Blocks data theft attempts
  • Operates your computer into stealth mode, making it invisible to intruders
  • Analyzes your inbox and Quarantines Internet worms and viruses
  • Monitors network activity of your PC
  • Protects your children from illegal, inappropriate web sites
  • Provides full access to a thorough history of your connections
  • Prevents data leak from your PC
  • Averts invasions of your privacy through the Internet
  • Conceals your surfing habits when browsing the Web

As a general note, your firewall will be the hardest security software to use because it'll ask you a lot of questions, such as:

  • Such and such program is trying to connect with such and such server on the internet.
  • Such and such server is trying to connect to your computer (these are the ones you have to be very careful of, as they may be people trying to hack your computer).
  • A particular application has changed in some way. Do you want to make changed components shared with all other applications which interact with it?
  • A program is attempting to change a registry value. Is that ok?

You'll also get a lot of these sorts of questions when you first install the firewall. Once you've set up a few rules, they'll go away because the rules will handle most things.

You can also set the firewall to block active content (javascript, activex, etc.) on websites you visit and emails you receive. If you normally visit only trusted websites and you don't get much spam, you don't really need this feature. But if anyone is visiting dubious sites, or if you get a lot of spam, or you're just very careful, it's a useful feature. TIP: If you do a lot of web surfing, configure Outpost so that whenever you visit a new site, it asks you if you want to allow or block active content (select Options | Plug-Ins Setup, then click Settings, then choose the Exclusions tab and check the box at the bottom of the screen Add Web sites to the exclusions list on the first visit).

Virus Protection e.g. BitDefender 8 (Standard)

Basically, virus protection identifies and quarantines known viruses on your computer. You can get BitDefender 8 (Standard) at http://www.bitdefender.com/bd/site/products.php?p_id=2# for USD$44.95. It claims to provide the following protection.

  • Scans and disinfect infected files on access, minimizing data loss
  • Allows you to recover infected documents
  • Filters against viruses that spread via instant messaging and file sharing software
  • Monitors your file system, registry and Internet activity
  • Blocks infected e-mail messages

TIP: Set your virus protection up to do a full system scan every night. (If you choose BitDefender, do this by clicking Antivirus from the left of the main window, then clicking on the Scheduler tab.)

Various Free Utilities

Basically, the following tools grab the things the virus and firewall software miss.

TIP: Update and run each of these utilities at least once a week. Youll be surprised what youll net especially if you havent purchased a full firewall system and anti-virus system.

Conclusion

In my humble opinion, its well worth your while to invest in a firewall application and an anti-virus application. There are a few freeware programs out there that claim to do the same job, but in my experience, they dont quite measure up. And when it comes down to it, theyre so inexpensive especially in comparison to the cost of downtime and/or computer repairs!

Outpost and BitDefender offer online purchases, and send you a license key in an email, which you then use to download the product. You can pay a little extra for them to send you a CD.

The applications listed above certainly arent the only ones available. Im not even claiming theyre the best. But when used together diligently, you should find you have a lot less trouble with your computer, youll have the peace-of-mind of enhanced privacy, and youll minimize the risk of lost income due to downtime.

Good luck!

* Glenn Murray is an SEO copywriter and advertising copywriter, and heads copywriting studio Divine Write. He can be contacted on Sydney +612 4334 6222 or at glenn@divinewrite.com. Visit http://www.divinewrite.com for further details, more FREE articles, or to download his FREE SEO e-book.


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