posted on May, 29 2010 @ 03:09 AM
You may call me Theorist. I'm 23 years old, happily married, and am a gypsy by nature. Oh yeah, I'm also a computer software engineer. This post
isn't about me, though. It's about you. Your computer. And how to protect yourself, your identity, and even your life in today's hostile
Sure, you may be sitting there thinking '...I run an anti-virus software, and a firewall. I'm protected...' but trust me, you're not.
We'll start off easy and with the basics. Microsoft Windows. One of the most popular operating systems, and also the most targeted. To Microsoft's
credit, they respond to security threats very aggressively and employ some of the most talented software engineers anywhere in the world. Yes,
Microsoft Windows 7 is the most secure operating system available. More so than Linux and more so than OSX.
The only reason you don't see many viruses, trojans, and exploited security vulnerabilities in these two operating systems is because, simply put,
they're not worth the time. Users of these OS's be warned though, as OSX and Linux become more popular, this will change. And may I say, boy, are
the users of these OS's in for a rude awakening. When I hear someone say '...I use Linux so I'm not worried...', I laugh and die a little on the
Anyhow, let's redirect to the topic. Microsoft Windows. The only way to keep Microsoft Windows secure is to make sure that the security updates
Microsoft releases are installed. Therefore, despite what some say, I recommend setting your 'Automatic Updates' to automatically download and
install. There are some cases where this may be problematic for users but for the average computer user, it won't be. I strongly recommend that you
Let's talk about anti-virus software, now. Firstly and foremost, Microsoft has it's own anti-virus solution known as 'Microsoft Security
Essentials'. It's lightweight, user friendly, and free. In terms of free anti-virus software, it is one of the best options available. However when
concerned about your computer's security, there are significantly better options available.
Stay away from McAfee and Symantec products. I cannot stress this enough. I'll say it one more time so there is an understanding here. Stay away from
McAfee and Symantec products. The corporations behind these two products work closely with law enforcement and government agencies from around the
world and have 'white-listed' various law enforcement and government spyware such as, but not limited to, Magic Lantern. Their software will not
detect it. Period. I do not promote illegal activity. However I do not like 'white-listed' spyware and believe it to be an affront to basic computer
security. And with what I believe to be a 'police state' becoming reality, I grow even more paranoid. The absolute best anti-virus software I have
ever used, and continue to use, is Kaspersky. It's code is clean, it's scanner is very effective, and the software isn't a complete resource hog.
Like always, make sure you keep your anti-virus updated.
Now, let's talk about a personal firewall. The Windows Firewall is trash. Complete and utter garbage. Am I making myself clear? A lot of 'security
suite' products today contain the full package. A fully featured anti-virus, and firewall protection. It is my position that you should never use any
security suite. Your anti-virus and firewall software should come from separate vendors. If you use a security suite, you risk a single exploit
bringing down your entire security grid. This risk is minimized by using separate vendors for your anti-virus and firewall needs. At the time of
writing this, I strongly recommend the ZoneAlarm PRO firewall. It is feature rich, highly configurable, and an excellent choice. Remember, keep it