Security-Guide – The Basics

This Guide is dedicated to all those who want to know more about easy handling of threats in the Internet. Furthermore it shows how to obtain useful software and which safety precautions are relevant or even a must.

The following topics are listed by priority. For an optimum security level all of them should be worked through step by step.

  1. Service Packs, Patches and Windows Update
    You can install as many security tools (such as anti virus, anti malware or firewall software), as you like, it won’t be a secure solution if the operating system itself has security flaws. Windows 95, 98 and ME for example are not designed for today’s security requirements. Windows NT, 2000 and XP are based on another, better system core. That’s why it’s recommendable to use Windows 7 (always the latest operating system with the most progressed technology).However no software is error free. If it is a Microsoft creation or comes from the open-source fraction does not matter, some software errors are based on problems in the software architecture. Most of the critical security holes result from inaccurate programming or too short tests during the developing phase. As soon a critical error is found, a patch, which is a tiny update eliminating the security hole, has to be made available by the software manufacturer.Microsoft offers patches and patch collections (service packs) for free. All you have to do is go to the Microsoft Windows Update Page and follow the installation instructions:Windows Update: http://www.windowsupdate.comThus the most important rule to make your system safe is: Always keep your System up to date with updates and patches!
  2. Anti-Malware Software
    Malware describes Viruses, Trojans, Dialers, Worms (worm-viruses) and Spyware (adware). These few are the most important threats in the internet.VirusesAlthough the classic ‘virus’ has been moved into the background lately, a good antivirus software is indispensable. When you chose the software, make sure that the program has a background guard that detects and blocks the spreading of viruses. Viruses affect programs or write into the boot sector of hard disks, some of them are not found in files on the disk but exist in the virtual memory space of the PC (the latter can be eliminated with a reboot). Good Antivirus Software can also find these viruses in the memory and remove them.TrojansTrojan Horses (Trojans) are programs that make you think they are something else than what they really are. In most cases they come via email or downloads to the computer. They mask themselves as programs, games or other media of interest. Trojans hold a wide choice of harmful features such as spying out credit card numbers and passwords up to destroying all data on your system. A special subgroup of Trojans are the backdoors, they open the computer from the inside and hold a port open for an outside attacker who can take over the pc. You can find more about Trojans in the article “Trojans – myths and facts“.

    Dialers

    Dialers are little programs that reconfigure your dial-in default number to an extra cost number if you have a computer dialup modem. This can result in many hundred dollars costs for each dial-in procedure. When a site popup asks you if it may install some software, even if it seems necessary to obtain more information on certain topics, be alarmed and if you don’t wish to install it, don’t let them coax you into saying “accept”.

    Worms

    Worm-Viruses are currently the biggest dangers in the Internet. These are emails with harmful attachments, which send themselves to as many other computers as possible and damage your system if they are opened. If you don’t open the attachments or, at best, delete them at once, you won’t be in danger.

    Spyware, Adware and Browser Hijackers

    Your personal data and your habits are gold for some advertising companies. So they try to infiltrate your computer with their software that can collect your information and spy on your privacy. The information it collects is then sold for advertising purposes or for companies to gather marketing data. Browser Hijackers can change your Internet Options settings to get you to visit certain websites or use certain search engines. They usually affect your Internet Explorer search settings and homepage, but can also change context menu items or add entries to your Registry and Hosts file to redirect you to the site of their choice (not yours). Advertising modules and Adware can also change your default home page settings in your browser.

    Emsisoft Anti-Malware removes also Spyware and other related Malware such as Hijackers and Adware from your computer. The background guard shouts an alarm if Malware is detected on your pc.

    Read more about Emsisoft Anti-Malware on the
    Anti-Malware product page
    .

  3. Firewall Software
    Here you must distinguish between two different types of firewalls:Desktop-FirewallsThey interpose into the operating system and catch unwanted data packages before they can reach the target program. They also catch data, which is sent from specific programs to the web. You can define rules which program is allowed to send or receive data via the network.A good Desktop Firewall is Online Armor Firewall.Hardware-Firewalls

    Firewalls that are not installed on the local computer are better in every way. They are located between your computer and the Internet. So they can hardly be bypassed. Hardware firewalls are special appliances or computers with special firewall software installed. For private use, they are too expensive in most cases. But several routers (DSL, Cable) can also be used as hardware firewalls.

    The best solution in any case is, if you don’t run software that tries to send or receive unwanted data. If a port is not opened, a firewall that tries to block the port is not necessary. Read more about ports in the articles “What is a port?” and “How can I close a port?“.

  4. Backups – Data Protection
    Actually this point should be the first point in the priority list. Because if you loose data despite all security arrangements you will need a copy of your data to restore them. There are a lot of backup solutions available. Also Windows is shipped with a tiny backup software that can be used to make daily backups of your important data.

Have a Great (Malware-Free) Day!