79% of Americans today use the internet for research, shopping, communicating, and business transactions. Internet users are growing rapidly, adding more than 2 million users per month. As the internet becomes popular, more and more intruders and hackers are making millions in getting into the computers to get personal information for their personal use.
Computer protection today is critical as protecting identity and investment. You use a WiFi card, but without protection, you are virtually exposing your assets and identity to the online world.
The following are an effective tool in computer and identity protection:
1. Virus Protection – Virus slows down computer by duplicating itself on systems, networks, and drives without user intervention. They are usually attached to disks and files often disguise as images or games. The most common virus is called Trojan Horse. It is designed to appear as a useful or desirable program in order to penetrate and destroy the computer’s operating system, software, and even the hard disk.
Virus protection is a software service designed to keep computers safe from virus outbreaks. It usually includes a comprehensive and automatic scanning feature that actively wipes out malicious applications.
2. Spyware Protection – Spyware is considered more destructive than viruses. It is used by hackers to steal identity or personal information to acquire unauthorized access. It has the capability to record passwords, history, and keystrokes using what is known as a tracking cookie. Spyware also slows down the computer and causes frequent disconnection. It is usually associated with adware, an application that interrupts that online activity through pop up usually advertising products and services.
Spyware protection is software that scans and eliminates adware and spyware. Like virus protection, it includes a comprehensive and automatic scanning feature to keep the hard drive and all the files safe. Users can also protect the computer from spyware and adware by not downloading e-mail attachments from unknown sender or software programs when surfing the net.
3. Firewall – Like spyware and virus protection, a firewall aims to keep your computer safe from hackers by preventing these people from accessing your PC from the internet or from your home network. The firewall may be a software program, hardware, or part of your computer’s operating system. There are 3 different kinds of firewall, these are following:
– Software firewall – this kind of firewall is being offered primarily by vendors. This software is available in retail stores and can be downloaded from the vendor’s website.
– Operating system firewall – this is included when you buy your operating system.
– Gateway-based firewall – is designed for broadband subscribers using a home network.
4. Phishing Protection – Defined as social engineering through email and sometimes Instant messages (IM). Social engineers used well-known personalities or establishments (ex. Financial institution) to lure internet users to give out their password and billing information. Anti-phishing software empowers internet users to successfully identify scam email and IM by displaying the real domain of the website while acting as a toolbar.
Aside from installing computer protection, a person can also protect the computer and his identity by following these tips:
1. Choose passwords that are hard to guess, preferably a combination of letters and numbers. Avoid using names, birthdays, school, or workplace.
2. If the computer is infected with a virus, unplug the phone line or broadband connection immediately and get help from your ISP or computer technician.
3. Do not open unsolicited email messages. Do not download attachments and be cautious when clicking on hyperlinks.