Making Your PC Secure: A Responsibility

I am a “Technologist”, a Technology enthusiast that is usually the one that is called should a major catastrophe strike an end user. My saga of computer rescues becomes a plot that is ever so thickening, if not only for the fact that’s it’s becoming incredibly easy for hackers and malicious code writers these days to invade personal property to find, seek, and destroy. Each year, virus and hacker threats increase, and in addition the damage trail left behind is something of a problem. Not to forget, a majority of “PC Panic” cases I’ve come across are often times the same common, “major” problem.Educating the casual computer users is often the hardest. (Hopefully with this article, at least one person out there will take my advice seriously and avoid a major problem). Casual PC users often times see my views of the importance of anti-virus software and firewalls as being somewhat “paranoid”, but it’s often those same people who come to me weeks later wishing they had heed my words.

As I’m writing this, a new worm has been found, dubbed “MSBlast”. In just one short day, a vast majority of users at a message board I am a member of were inflicted with the virus almost instantaneously. For this, I cannot stress enough the absolute importance of Antivirus software. Sure, none of it is foolproof, but it’s an additional weapon that may protect you should a download be of the most unlikely. Even so, a great deal of cases that have been brought to me, were those of virus infected computers of those that did have antivirus software, yet had not updated the virus definitions.

Thankfully, there is a wide selection of software available to help in the fight for your data. Symantec, McAfee, and Trend Micro have packages available to help protect your PC. In some cases, even free software packages will suffice.

Each passing year, software which protects against viruses is becoming more and more crucial. If you’re reading this and you do not have virus protection, I’d advise you to get it as soon as you can. In the industry, I’ve watched viruses grow from a small unpopular sci-fi story arc, to a real life nightmare, and it’s only getting worse.

On the same subject as viruses, security is also something the majority of computer users these days don’t think about. Firewalls are a great choice; Firewalls are applications that attempt to block unauthorized access to your computer by mass marketers and even hackers. A PC without a Firewall is much like a diary without a lock; The data on a machine without proper security measures taken is considered fair game by many of the code warriors out there, and they do exist. Sygate, as well as McAfee and Symantec, produce acceptable Firewall packages to help protect your data. As with some Antivirus software, some are even free for a single user license.

How do viruses find their way to your hard drive? The most common response to this is downloading from an untrustworthy source, and even opening an email attachment from an unknown (or even known) individual. Indeed, this is often the case, but it seems these days hackers themselves can hack into your machine and place the virus in your computer without you having to download anything, which makes security even more important.

It has always been my belief that since we are all part of a global network, we are all equally responsible for the spread of viruses and malicious code, due to the fact that it is through unprotected machines that viruses spread, and I believe if more people took action, virus infections would decline, rather than spread at the rate they are now.

We should all take action now, and secure our own machines, not only for the sake of our own private data, but in addition to help stop the spread of hackers and viruses. The MSBlast worm, which has infected 12 more computers from the time I started this article to the point I’m at now, has further proven my fact.

Hopefully we can all work together and help stop the ease of spread this malicious code has.
To sum it up:

  • PC security is not just for the paranoid, it’s for every PC user
  • In this day and age, anti-virus software is imperative
  • Any PC connected directly to the Internet needs a firewall
  • Failure to heed these steps makes us part of the problem, as our PC could be used to spread the attack.

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