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Security Alert Blog
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.... Richard Rossbauer
March 20, 2005
Don't ignore your basic
because of spyware hysteria
yourself from the ravages of spyware is important, not keeping your
basic security programs up to date can increase the potential for
spyware instrusion into your computer.
Spyware and malware have
caused so much aggravation for me, I found that I was concentrating
on avoiding them so much that my firewall program settings became outdated.
Fortunately, the anti-virus programs I use have automatic update
features. My firewall program requires manual review. Easily done on
nearly all firewall programs.
Usually, the firewall default settings are sufficient to provide an
acceptable level of security. However, if you download music and
games, visit a lot of unfamiliar sites, subscribe to online
newsletters, receive unsolicited email from unknown sources, etc, it
would be a good idea to take another look at your firewall security
Normally, you can review and adjust the security level from allowing
complete access of outside events to a lock down condition
prohibiting all incoming attempts. I reset my security level to the
tightest possible without a complete lock down.
Available Settings often include adjustments to incoming events
logs, trusted and banned IP's, outbound events log settings,
recording Intrusion Detection events, and many more.
These settings are designed to
accommodate your personal use of the Internet.
If you have changed how you use it since your initial installation
of your firewall program, now is probably the best time to make sure
your firewall settings recognize possible new risks and match your
current security needs.
Are we being lulled into a false sense of security
by the Anti-Spyware software developers?
If you run two different
anti-spyware programs on your computer,
have you noticed that one often misses pests that the other program
Although I don't operate a
testing laboratory, I do check the latest releases of many updated
spy sweepers as well as new programs arriving on the scene.
Currently, I run three spy sweeper type programs in addition to two
anti-virus and one firewalls program.
There are thousands of malware and spyware pests, and it's
understandable that no one anti-spyware program can detect and
remove them all. That's why many of the experienced computer
security experts recommend at least doubling your protection with
more than one anti-spyware program.
But, the advertisements by the anti-spyware software developers do
not support this philosophy or even hint that single protection
isn't necessarily full protection. They promote only their own
products, of course.
So the Computer User who buys and installs a single anti-spyware
program will assume that they are fully protected. Not so.
I believe that they have been lulled into a false sense of security
by not having the full story. How do you feel about your
2005 Are the Anti-spyware
programs staying ahead
of the spys?
After reading the anti-spyware program review in the April 2005
issue of PC World,
it's rewarding to see so much good effort going into the battle
against the spyware sneaktheives.
Malicious spyware continues its virulent spread, forcing the anti-spyware
program creators to invest more heavily in time and other resources
up with the spys. (They may never actually get ahead).
This obviously costs a lot of money and can only be covered by
charging for their anti-spyware products; certainly justified.
The two top performers in the PC World
tests have reasonable annual fees ranging between $20.00 and $30.00
for updates and support.
'CounterSpy' and Webroot Software's 'Spysweeper
3.2' programs have high scanning efficiency, detect and remove spyware already in a computer and monitor for intruders on a real
Used with the free version of Lavasoft's 'AdAwareSE Personal',
either of these two programs will provide a formidable defense
against spyware intrusion and infection.
With a strong firewall and anti-virus programs, and the regular
updates from these anti-spyware providers, you stand a pretty good
chance of staying ahead of the spys.
Compare the low anti-spyware subscription cost against the $100 per
hour fees charged by some local computer shops to clean up a
compromised computer. It's cheap insurance.
March 6, 2005
of "Which Browser should you
It really had to happen!
Netscape 8 has just been made available
in a Beta version.
And it's probably a good thing
for the PC surfing public. At least, it could be a
real boon for all of us.
Consider who is in this race Microsoft with IE7 (beta), Netscape 8
(beta), and Mozilla FireFox1 (out of beta and currently being
cleaned up with a couple of vulnerabilities already being fixed).
Whatever the final resolution of this competition, I believe that
all three of these browsers will be much safer than anything we've
had so far.
Of course, the malware rogue writers, spammers, and virus purveyors
will have that many more targets, and it will be their wits pitted
against the expertise of the browser developers that will really
determine which browser will be the safest.
Ever wonder how this will end up? In my opinion, we'll always have
viruses, spam, malware, identity theft and all of the rest of the
The kind of people causing our grief have been around for centuries
displaying the worst sides of human nature. They aren't going to go
We'll just have to make the best of the situation and hope that the
good guys on our side can minimize our annoyance and pain.
* Read Parts 1 and 2 in the February