“If You Had Problems in the Past with a Computer ... You'll Want to Know How Easy it is to Setup ... Steven ... know the basics of computer virus ... -- ...
“If You Had Problems in the Past with a Computer Virus, Then You'll Want to Know How Easy it is to Setup Firewall Protection”
By Steven Presar
You know the basics of computer virus protection -- don't open email attachments' from senders that you do not know. If you follow this simple rule, your computer will be safer than most.
But a few weeks ago, a computer worm called “sasser”, caused havoc with Microsoft Windows computers throughout the world.
This sasser worm spread in a completely different way, not bothering with email (the way most viruses spread) but instead exploited a security hole in Microsoft Windows.
This security hole allowed any computer connected to the internet to be infected. The worm spread and infected computers almost invisibly, thus many people were caught by surprise when their computer problems began.
A computer virus is a set of computer program instructions that attaches itself to programs in other computers. Viruses are often parts of documents that are transmitted as attachments to e-mail messages. A worm is similar to a virus but is a self-contained program that transports itself from one computer to another through networks.
The most obvious symptom of sasser worm was that the infected computer would automatically shut down – thus making troubleshooting this worm a challenge to those infected.
A Plan of Action for Small Business
One of the ways to prevent your computer from becoming infected by a virus or worm like sasser would be by installing a “firewall” on your computer system.
Any computer connected to the Internet, is vulnerable to electronic worm or virus attacks. You are protecting your computer system by setting a firewall between your computer or networked computers (LAN) and the Internet.
A firewall examines, filters, and reports on the appropriateness of all information that passes through your computer network. A firewall may ensure that information received from an outside source is as expected and does not contain computer a virus or worm.
This protective barrier between your computer and the Internet will monitor incoming and outgoing internet traffic and warned you of virus or worm before your computers became infected.
Microsoft Windows XP includes a firewall, but it may not be enabled on your machine because Microsoft turns it off by default.
If you have Microsoft Windows XP and would like to activate your software firewall, follow these steps:
~ Within Microsoft Windows XP ~ Click on the Start button and then choose Control Panel ~ Click the Network and Internet Connections category (If you do not see the Network and Internet Connections category, click Switch to Category View under Control Panel on the left side of the Control Panel window.) ~ Choose Network Connections. ~ Right-click the Dial-up, LAN or High-Speed Internet connection(s) that you use to connect to the Internet ~ Click Properties from the menu ~ On the Advanced tab, under Internet Connection Firewall, select "Protect my computer and network" ~ Then click OK.
You have now enabled your Windows XP firewall.
With your firewall now working, you will see a warning pop up on screen if a virus or worm is trying to infect your computer. You will be able to block them by denying them access.
You'll find your access to the internet a little more complicated now. The first time you run any internet related program after activating the Microsoft firewall, it will alert you again and ask you if it is OK for your Internet Browser to connect to the Internet.
There are some computer security experts have criticized the shortcomings of the Microsoft’s Windows XP firewall. Thus, there may be other software firewall packages that you may want to look at. Some of the other firewall software packages that you may want to look at are: Norton (www.symantec.com), McAfee (us.mcafee.com), and ZoneAlarm (www.zonelabs.com) software firewall packages.
What to look for in a Software Firewall
When choosing a firewall, consider such factors as:
Most firewall software packages can do the basic port blocking needed to protect against typical virus or worm that try to probe your system (like sasser). Other software firewalls do not have important features like, allowing you to control which websites that you will accept active content (like cookies and pop-ups).
A good firewall program will also alert you when a software application on your computer is trying to connect to the Internet. This may help you detect whether a virus has infected your system or whether spyware (software that arrive on your computer without your knowledge) is trying to report your personal profile details.
High Speed Internet Connections Firewall
If you are using a broadband Internet connection, such as cable or DSL, you should use a hardware-based firewall in addition to software firewall. Most of the router/hub combinations you can buy for your computer system offer a strong first line of defense against remote probes of your computer. Plus, they are inexpensive, often costing less than $20 after rebates.
Hardware based firewalls generally will not tell you when a program on your own computer system seeks to access the Internet. That is why, when you use a hardware firewall, you need a software firewall installed as well.
Which Firewall is Best for Your Office?
Because of the number of incoming security threats to your computer are so numerous and serious, the key point is that you do have a software firewall, and if you are using a high speed connection, a hardware firewall as well.
ZoneAlarm's firewall is a popular choice for personal use because it can be download and use it for free. That software firewall package may be a good starting point for individuals new to firewall technology.
After you have your computer system secure, you might like to check out some firewall options from, Nonags (www.nonags.com) and PricelessWare (www.pricelessware.org).
It's becoming a better idea to have a firewall, at home and business. It does require extra setup and is another layer of software and hardware to navigate through to connect to the Internet, but the piece of mind to keep your computer system secure may be worth the effort.
Steven Presar is a recognized small business technology coach, Internet publisher, author, speaker, and trainer. He provides personal, home, and computer security solutions at www.ProtectionConnect.com. He provides business software reviews at www.OnlineSoftwareGuide.com. In addition, he publishes articles for starting and running a small business at www.Agora-Business-Center.com. Be sure to sign-up for the SOHO newsletter at this site.