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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Most americans have false sense of online security

Verizon study reveals huge gap in Americans sense of online security and reality

We continue to battle user ignorance about on-line safety and what that requires. Most of us find the whole topic daunting, troublesome and irritating.

Fortunately we have many free tools that work quite well, and I talk about the techniques required every week on ComputerTalk with Dave Mason. But I'll revisit this now, because the majority of 'Netters obviously still don't get it.

Software you MUST have installed AND updated:
Firewall sucha as ZoneAlarm, Comodo, or Kerio
Anti-virus like AVG or Avast
Ad and spyware scanners and removers. I recommend Ad Aware and Spybot.
Rootkit tool such as Panda Security's Pavark.
All of these tools are FREE!

  • Update your operating system consistently.
  • Keep all anti-virus and ad/spyware remover software updated as well.
  • Run manual scans for viruses and ad/spyware periodically.
  • Know what protection software is on your computer.
  • Use multiple tools and layers of protection
  • Utilize IDVault to protect your secure Internet access for things like Online banking and shopping.
  • Protect yourself with an umbrella service called Lifelock. If somehow you are compromised, it almost won't matter.

All of the best tools or protections can be compromised with careless behavior, so...
  • click on links included in emails. Manually type the correct URL in your browser yourself.
  • visit high risk sites like porn or warez (pirated software) sites.
  • ignore potential threats. If you think there might be a problem, check it out.
  • count on your children to do it.
  • count on your ISPs products or services to protect you.
  • assume the hardware or software vendors will accept any responsibility for any problem.

ISP services and software and built in Windows XP SP2 features are better than nothing, but I prefer the modular 3rd party software and services for the most robust efficient and nimble protection. You may also opt for comprehensive products like Windows OneCare or Norton 360, but these are often bulky, cranky and in the case of Microsofts product, just poor protection. If you insist on using one of these "all-in-one"products, select Kapersky's or ZoneAlarm's. Of course these are not free.

If you are unwilling or unable to stay on top of the details of your updates and protection, pay someone you trust to do it. Perhaps you could sign up for my new personal service, Dr Dave's Housecall, and you'll have the peace of mind knowing I'm doing it for you...

Dr Dave