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The Lazy Man's Way to System Security - Ask the Geek Ask the Geek

The Lazy Man’s Way to System Security

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A good many people have responed to my various articles on system security (see Eight Steps to System Security — How to Protect Your Computer from Digital Diseases on the World Wide Web for the latest installment). Most of the feedback has been positive, but many of you wondered if there might be a simpler approach, some basic things you can do to protect yourself without too much hard work.

You’re in luck. Call it the lazy man’s way to system security; if you install protection against the the three biggest threats to your online security–infections by viruses, worms and Trojans, malicious software (spyware, adware, browser hijackers) and crackers who wish to secretly access and control your PC–you’ll be protected from the worst of security problems. These are the bare security necessities: a good antivirus program; a good anti-malware program; and, a good software firewall. Simple, and highly effective for most users, as long as you stay away from questionable web sites. (You know the ones I mean!)

Before you ask, the answer is yes, you still need a software firewall, even if you already have a hardware firewall. Most hardware firewalls are configured to keep bad traffic from getting in, but will let most traffic from your network out. So, they don’t keep those sneaky tracking programs from phoning home. A software firewall will at least give you some warning when a program is trying to access the Internet and you can decide whether to allow it. Besides, it gives you an extra layer of protection, just in case.

I still highly recommend you read and apply my Eight Steps, but if you’re feeling a bit lazy today, the three necessities will get you by.

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