Protect Yourself from Internet Threats [Detailed Instructions]
By on May 13th, 2008

Internet is a mine of information but with that information comes risks and vulnerabilities. Every time you connect to the Internet not only are you reading information but some small software may be stealthily sending information to hackers and spammers about your activities.

Well no famous person wrote that quote it was just me elaborating a point that every time you connect to the Internet you may be vulnerable even though you may be safely visiting your favorite email site or just browsing news from your favorite newspaper. It all boils down to who is watching you and how?

What are Spam Softwares and Trojan Horses?

Spam softwares and Trojan horses without Internet are useless (even some viruses that look to spread rather than destroy). The main aim of these softwares (they are softwares but malicious in nature because they do things which you never authorized them to do) is to collect personal information of any sort including surfing habits and going to the extremes of critical information like banking passwords and sending them to other servers so that they can send you ads or maybe loot your money.

How to Monitor these things?

To be quite frank it is quite hard to monitor what kind of Internet activity goes on in your PC. If you think that the only Internet activity that takes place on your PC is when you open a browser or a mail client then you are deeply wrong because softwares themselves can participate in several Internet activities without your knowledge.

If you really want to see the number of Internet connections made by various softwares simply follow these steps and you will be amazed at what goes on even when you are not actively using the Internet connection, of course the Internet connection has to be up and running.

  • Press the hotkey Windows Key + R
  • A new dialog will appear. In that type “cmd” without the quotes.
  • One a new command window opens type in the command “netstat -ab” without the quotes

After following these steps you may see a lot of amount of text being shown, it’s not the Matrix but these are the active connections made by various softwares from your PC to other servers.

These things may be not easy to devour or understand that is why we will help you find softwares and advice you some precautions that will help you thwart attacks without you ever having any knowledge about them.

How to Avoid and Safeguard Your PC Against these Softwares?

There are quite a few things that happen without you paying attention and which is what many writers of these softwares tend to exploit. Here are few things that you should either completely avoid or pay keen attention to;

Avoid Accepting Attachments or Visiting Sites from Unknown Persons

Many a times the subject of the email may be so enticing that you may download any given attachments or click on any links in the email. This should be avoided at any cost.

The attachment you may download may be quite vulnerable or the link you may have visit may install some malicious softwares on your PC. The best precaution is to completely avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments from strangers.

Keep Your Windows Updated

The most basic protection you can have is by keeping your Windows updated all the time. Microsoft time and again releases critical security patches to address exploits in the operating system. You should regularly apply these patches as and when they are available, or else your system will be open to critical exploits.

The best way to keep your operating system updated is by setting the Windows Update to automatically download and install critical updates for your system. You can do this by visiting the Security Center in Control Panel and setting Windows Update as on.

Have A Good Anti-Virus Software and Anti-spyware software running Continuously

They say “precaution is better than cure” and that saying applies to your computer too. If you are using the Internet on your computer you should definitely have a anti-virus and anti-spyware detecting software on your system.

You do not need to spend tons of money to get a good anti-virus and anti-spyware monitoring software, there are quite a few free alternatives you can get.

AVG Anti-Virus 8 is a very good Anti-Virus software and it comes built in with a anti-spyware monitor. It also comes with a Email scanner to scan incoming and outgoing emails of desktop softwares and also has a web shield to protect you from web threats online.

There are other alternatives available too like;

You can find many more such alternatives but the one’s listed here are the best of the lot.

Installing a good anti-virus and anti-spyware is not the only thing that will keep your PC protected, you will need to regularly keep the software updated to fight newer threats. Most of these softwares come with automatic update features which you should opt for.

Install a Good Firewall

A firewall is a dedicated appliance, or software running on a computer, which inspects network traffic passing through it, and denies or permits passage based on a set of rules.

Having a good firewall is equivalent to having a good secured door to your house.

The firewall software helps you monitor which processes are trying to connect to the Internet and lets you choose whether you should allow it to do so or not. Windows comes with a built in firewall which is good enough but quite basic in nature.

After installing a firewall you may see quite a few alerts asking for your permissions to allow access to a software, this may look annoying but once you have granted access to all the application you use to access the Internet you will not be asked again.

Again there are quite a few free firewall softwares which you can use to thwart unwanted Internet activities. My personal favorite is PC Tools Firewall Plus which is free and does the job better than the regular Windows firewall software.

You can also choose from other free firewall softwares;

Cleanup Your PC regularly

Most of the viruses or Trojans usually are downloaded to your temporary Internet folder. It is recommended that you clean up your PC regularly by deleting temporary Internet files and cookies.

To save yourself some time and work you can download and use CCleaner one of the best tools clean up your Internet and other files.

It supports a most of the popular browsers like Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, Safari.

Most Important Use a Safe Browser

Having a safe browser is one of the most important things you should take care of while surfing the Internet.

If your browser is not safe you are more vulnerable to being attacked by phising and harmful sites which are ever ready to steal your confidential data.

I highly recommend you download and use Firefox which is one of the most safe browsers available today. Download Firefox now.

Summarizing

Following the above tips will definitely help you stay more safer on the Internet. In addition to following the above tips you should also run regular scans for your PC so that you can be protected from any new files that may have been infected.

If you have any other better things to add to this list please feel free to add it in your comments. This will help the readers more to help protect their PC from threats and unwanted softwares.

If you liked the tips and tricks here don’t hesitate to tell me about them through your comments.

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Author: Keith Dsouza Google Profile for Keith Dsouza
I am the editor-in-chief and owner of Techie Buzz. I love coding and have contributed to several open source projects in the past. You can know more about me and my projects by visiting my Personal Website. I am also a social networking enthusiast and can be found active on twitter, you can follow Keith on twitter @keithdsouza. You can click on my name to visit my Google+ profile.

Keith Dsouza has written and can be contacted at keith@techie-buzz.com.
  • http://www.cypherhackz.net CypherHackz

    Good article buddy. But beside than using softwares and tools to protect our PC, the users who use the PC must have technical knowledge and good thinking. With that, they will know what are the things they can do and what they need to avoid when they online.

  • http://mp3crown.com Magie

    CypherHackz is right…Great tool without knowledge is nothing.

  • http://www.whoismadhur.com Madhur Kapoor

    Nice post. I like Zone Alarm and Avast

  • http://passpack.com Louise

    Great tips! They are very helpful.
    Another thing to keep in mind is checking out the security of online apps that you regularly use – especially if you are transferring sensitive info. You’d be surprised at the results!

    Louise

  • http://www.netage.co.za Goran Web Design

    Great post. It irritates me that we cannot just surf the web in peace.

 
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