Frequently Asked Computer Security
By Shelley Lowery
Working on the Internet provides Internet marketers
with the opportunity to make a living in the comfort
of their own home. However, as your business is completely
reliant upon your computer, you must take the necessary
steps to ensure your computer is safe.
Over the years, I have received many questions in
regard to computer security. Below, are some of the
most frequently asked questions:
Question:I'm new to the Internet and have been
hearing a lot about viruses. I'm not exactly sure
what they are. Can you help?
Answer: A virus is
a small piece of software that attaches itself to
'real' software programs (executable code). Each time
you launch the real program, the virus is also
launched. The virus may then spread and attach itself
to other programs and wreak havoc on your system.
The most widespread virus is an email virus. An email
virus spreads through email attachments. It usually
spreads by mailing itself to everyone within the email
address book. It tricks the email recipient into believing
the message was sent from someone they know.
Although this type of virus rapidly spreads, you can't
get it simply by reading a plain text email. However,
you can execute the virus by clicking on an encoded
within an HTML email message, or an executable file
Another type of program that is often thought of as
a virus is a 'Trojan horse' program. However, it is
not a virus. It is simply a computer program that
acts like it's something
it's not. For example, you may download a program
that you think is a computer game. However, when you
run the program, it may delete files on your hard
drive. Trojan horses cannot automatically replicate
Another widespread program is known as a worm. A worm
is actually a small piece of software that travels
through vulnerable computer networks with security
holes. The worm scans the network in search of other
computers with security holes. It copies itself to
each system it finds.
Although viruses can infect any type of executable
code such as EXE files or DOC files, most media files
such as GIF, JPG, BMP, MP3, WAV, AVI, MOV and TXT
files are generally
Although viruses can wreak havoc, computer virus hoaxes
can also be damaging. Virus hoaxes may cause Internet
users to begin to ignore all virus warnings. This
can be harmful, as they are then left vulnerable to
'real' virus warnings.
In addition, many virus hoaxes also include a 'fix'
that instructs the user to delete a certain file from
their system. However, the file the hoax says is a
virus is actually an important file needed by your
Never follow the advice within an email 'virus alert'
instructing you to remove a virus from your system
without first verifying its validity.
Visit Symantec to search their virus encyclopedia:
You can also search McAfee's virus database here:
You can protect your computer by taking a few precautionary
1) Purchase a quality virus protection software and
keep it updated.
Please note, the above programs (especially Norton)
have been known to cause problems with some operating
systems. Although there isn't any particular pattern,
caution should be exercised. I use McAfee online virus
scan and haven't had any problems.
2) If you're using Microsoft programs, make sure that
the "Macro Virus Protection" is enabled. Never run
a macro within a document unless you know exactly
what it does.
3) Never open an email attachment unless you're absolutely
sure where it came from and what it is.
4) Avoid downloading software programs from sources
you're not familiar with. If you do download a program,
make sure you scan the file with your anti-virus software
prior to installing.
Question: I've been hearing a lot about firewalls,
but I'm not sure what it is or if I need it. Can you
Answer: A firewall
is basically a software program that allows you full
access to the internet and/or your network, while
restricting access to your computer system from outside
Internet users are extremely vulnerable to hackers,
especially if you have cable or ADSL access to the
Internet. You definitely need to protect your computer
system. I recommend using a great program called Zone
Alarm Pro http://www.zonealarm.com
Once you install a firewall, you'll be amazed at how
many attempts to access your computer are blocked
by your firewall.
Hackers can directly access your computer system by
installing programs such as a key logger that can
read every keystroke you make. This information is
recorded and sent back to the hacker. Private information
such as passwords and credit card numbers can easily
A key logger is a small software program that quietly
runs in the background. As these programs quite often
run in DOS, you will most-likely never realize it's
running. However, you can see if a key logger is running
by pressing 'control' - 'alt' - 'delete' on your keyboard.
This will launch a window that contains a list of
all the programs currently running on your system.
Review the list and watch for programs you don't recognize.
As there are many small
programs such as adware (pop-windows) and spyware
cookies that can bypass your anti-virus and firewall
software, I recommend using a program called Pest
. This program will detect and remove non-viral malicious
Although you can purchase Pest Patrol at the above
site, you can receive a discount if you purchase it
with Zone Alarm Pro http://www.zonealarm.com
. I can't guarantee how long this special offer will
be available, so if you want it, now is a good time
to get it.
If you really want to keep your computer safe, I recommend
1) Purchase a good virus program and keep it updated
2) Purchase a good firewall program and keep it updated
3) Purchase a program like Pest Patrol and keep it
Taking the time to protect your computer is one of
the best business decisions you'll ever make. If you
don't protect it now, you'll definitely regret it
later. It's just a matter of time.
Copyright © Shelley
About the Author:
Shelley Lowery is the author of Web Design Mastery
- An in- depth guide to professional web design. And,
Ebook Starter - A complete ebook design kit. Visit
Web-Source.net to sign up for a free subscription
to Etips and receive a free copy of the highly acclaimed
ebook, "Killer Internet Marketing Strategies." http://www.web-source.net