News Articles
Written for the
Pride of Rochester

October 2002 Article

"Internet Security. Do You Need A PC Cop?"

Whether you use your computer for school, research, to connect with friends and families or for business reasons, just like security needs in our every day lives, we need to take precautionary steps to protect our computer from people who are trying to send information to our computer that could corrupt and damage our systems, or from those who try to obtain information we save to our computer for illegal and selfish gain.

There are many technical terms relating to the Internet and how to secure your system from those trying to get in. Viruses, Hackers, firewalls, pop up ads and cookies are just a few to know about.

Whether you use your computer for school, research, to connect with friends and families or for business reasons, just like security needs in our every day lives, we need to take precautionary steps to protect our computer from people who are trying to send information to our computer that could corrupt and damage our systems, or from those who try to obtain information we save to our computer for illegal and selfish gain.

There are many technical terms relating to the Internet and how to secure your system from those trying to get in. Viruses, Hackers, firewalls, pop up ads and cookies are just a few to know about.

Viruses: Just like the flu is a bug contracted by humans that make you sick, a computer virus does the same thing to your computer. A virus is a program created to cause some type of action with your computer. Viruses are usually programmed to attach themselves to your email and when the user views his or her email, the program becomes activated to cause some type of action. There are some viruses that are annoying and won't damage your system like when your friend send you a joke through an email and it does some annoying thing to your screen or monitor. And there are those viruses that a very harmful to your system. Remember the "I Love You" virus that destroyed and damaged many computers nation wide. Whereas it is difficult to prevent someone from sending a virus to you, you can take precautionary measures by obtaining some software to prevent the virus from executing. There are many software programs that are developed to protect your system from viruses: www.mcAfee.com for McAfee's virus software, www.symantec.com and choose the option for purchase to get information about Norton's Antivirus software, and www.grisoft.com for a free virus program called AVG. The great thing about the newest versions of these applications, they not only will scan your system hard drives, floppy drives or even cdroms for viruses, they will also check your incoming email for viruses, which is predominately how most viruses are distributed.

Sometimes people send emails to everyone in their address book alerting them to a file file or image that actually is on your system that they've been told is a virus which in fact is not. This is called a hoax and sometimes it's difficult to know if a file or image on your systems is really a virus or something your system needs. Before you follow their instructions to delete these files, from you r system, make sure you check out websites whose business is to inform us of true viruses and even hoaxes.  Symantec has a very good website that will inform you for free of all of these. Just go to www.symantec.com  and choose the link that says
virus encyclopedia. You can even search on the name of the virus to see if it's listed.

Hackers are people who try to access a computer without authorization. Some hackers like to do it for fun, to test their technical abilities or to interrupt the day-to-day operations of larger businesses and organizations. Other hackers like to steal confidential information and sell it to people who are interested in what they've obtained. Whether a hacker is having fun, or is involved in illegal activities, one way to protect your computer against their attempts is to purchase a device called a firewall. Firewalls make it difficult for hackers to identify your computers address on the Internet and without the address for your computer, they can't locate it to hack into it. You can purchase a firewall for as little as $99 or some Internet providers will provide you this protection. Either way, it's better safe than sorry.

Now if you've ever gone to a website and just as you entered your name and other pertinent information they requested, it automatically was entered into the text field. When you go to a website, there is some computer programming within the website that captures your information from the text fields and then store this information on your computer in a text file called a "Cookie". This allows the website to automatically retrieve this information at a later time.  Some cookies are okay like the ones that saves you time from typing by automatically filling in your name, address etc. Other cookies store information about another website which automatically opens. These are called "Pop Up Ads". Pop up ads allow companies the ability to advertise their product or information without you visiting their website. They're mini commercials and just like commercials, there's too many of them and we can do without them.

You can easily get rid of cookies but know that some websites like banks that allow you the ability to do online banking require your computer to have their cookie on your machine and if you delete them, you may find problems with accessing their website. Because most cookies are sent to your computer when you visit websites, you can easily delete them and once you go visit the website again, they will reissue another cookie. To find how you can get rid of cookies send me an email to mstech@detajenterprise.com
Because there is no pc cop whose job is to handle reports about hackers and people who create these viruses, protect your investment. For additional help regarding computers etc., feel free to check out my website www.detajenterprise.com