The Internet is a powerful tool for home-based businesses.
If used effectively, it can be your best friend; but
if you donít secure your computer, it can be your
worst enemy. Iím sure youíve had your fill
of warnings about the latest killer computer virus.
So Iím 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: Iím no
tech-head Ė Iím an advertising copywriter
and website copywriter. So this article is certainly
not definitive or exhaustive. Itís 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 Ė with one
or two computers Ė 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 Ė 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
- Monitors network activity of your PC
- Protects your children from illegal, inappropriate
- Provides full access to a thorough history of your
- 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
You can also set the firewall to block active content
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 ďAdd
Web sites to the exclusions list on the first visitĒ).
Virus Protection Ė 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
- 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
- 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. Youíll be surprised what
youíll net Ė especially if you havenít
purchased a full firewall system and anti-virus system.
In my humble opinion, itís 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 donít quite measure up. And when it comes
down to it, theyíre so inexpensive Ė especially
in comparison to the cost of downtime and/or computer
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 arenít
the only ones available. Iím not even claiming
theyíre the best. But when used together diligently,
you should find you have a lot less trouble with your
computer, youíll have the peace-of-mind of enhanced
privacy, and youíll minimize the risk of lost income
due to downtime.
About the Author
* Glenn Murray is an advertising copywriter and heads copywriting studio Divine Write. He can be contacted on Sydney +612 4334 6222 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit http://www.divinewrite.com for further details or more FREE articles.