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Computer Security

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Computer and wireless security

It is said that 10-15 new viruses come out every day. How many types of viruses are out there? Some viruses are harmless just being a nuisance by using pop up ads or ads that tell you that your computer is infected with hundreds of viruses and you should click here and purchase this virus remove software. These ads are posted by hackers and when you submit a payment the hackers simply remove the virus after taking your money. Other viruses are more dangerous, they can steal your personal information such as passwords to your accounts, credit card information and some viruses can wipeout your computer information such as operating systems. This action usually results in completely reinstalling your operation system which wipes out all of your computer data. Other viruses can turn off your virus protection software so when you try to do a scan the software does not work and it allows other malicious software to enter your computer.

Email viruses are extremely dangerous because a virus can enter your computer and gather all the information in your contact list. Then the virus will send itself to every person in your contact list. This is bad because the person receiving the email will open it because it is from you, someone they know. Then the virus repeats itself by invading the contact list of all your friends, send the virus to all of their contacts and so on and so on. So you can see how fast it would spread across the internet causing congestion and network overload.

There are several types of viruses. What defines a virus? A virus is a program that can activate and reproduce itself. Worms are similar to viruses but do not attach themselves to files like viruses do. A virus will download and install a program into a file already on your computer and every time that files is opened the virus is activated. Worms do not attach to files like viruses. Worms simply just run once. Trojan horse viruses are programs that must be installed on your computer via another program such as an email attachment or a program you download from the internet. Downloading programs from the internet is the highest risk of getting infected. So make sure any program you download is one you are familiar with and also make sure your scan the program before installing it on your computer. Firefox is one of the browsers that will automatically scan a program before installing it on your computer.

Antivirus software does two things: one has a complete database with all known viruses stored in it. It compares files trying to access your computer with the viruses in the database. Second when a virus attaches itself to a file on your computer the files size will increase. Antivirus monitors files sizes and if it finds that a file has increased in size it will give a red flag and alert you.

Some simple ways to keep your computer safe is to make sure you have an antivirus and a firewall installed on your computer. MacAfee, Norton, AVG, Avast free antivirus, Microsoft Security Essentials, Comodo, Avira AnitVir Personal and PC Tools are just a few to help you get started. In addition you can download ZoomAlarm. ZoomAlarm is great because it monitors incoming and outgoing emails. As I mentioned before some viruses will attach themselves to your email contact list and send the virus to all your contacts. ZoomAlarm will recognize this and red flag it.

If you have a wireless router there are a few things you need to do the make it more secure. First you need to log into your account. I have Cisco net gear for a wireless router and on the bottom of the router you will find an ip address. An ip address will look like or it is 4 sets of numbers separated by a dot and each group of numbers can range from 0-255. To access my account I enter this ip address into my browser (Firefox, Internet Explorer or Chrome) just as you would enter a www.webpage. If it is your first time entering your account you will use the default username and password. For Net gear it is no username and admin for the password. I think from this you can figure out why it is important to change these settings. If you have any problems logging in enter into Google search what are the default settings for _______ (whatever your router brand is). Once you have entered your account create a new username and password (use a strong password: no words that are in the dictionary, no numbers that are in series 1,2,3 and no words that are associated with you). A strong password will look like this A23b/ti8 or 4ffa3_llc ect. Just random numbers and letters with one or two characters and use at least 8 spaces. Next locate your settings for SSID (Service Set Identifier) and change the setting to make it invisible. If you have ever used a wireless network you have searched for available networks and a list of networks come up. If you hide your SSID when someone is trying to get free internet and log onto someone else’s wireless internet your internet will not show up with your SSID hidden.

Last but not least hackers are smart they are aware the some browsers or operating systems will hide file extensions. A file extension is the last part of a file name like .jpg, .com, .bat, and .exe these extension are files that will activate on their own, meaning if you download one of these files or open one up in an email attachment the program will start loading on your computer and run itself. Be careful of files that end with these extensions. Hackers know that some programs will hide these files extension so they trick people into thinking the file is ok to open. They do this by creating a file named picture.jpg.exe. this is and executable file, but when the extension is hidden it will appear to you like picture.jpg and you will think it is a picture and open it and in reality it is a virus that is now running on your computer. Also one other thing on emails; when you open up an email and it says click the link below to view never click the link in the email it to can have a file extension that is hidden and it will take you some where you do not want to go. Copy and paste the portion of the link that is visible and paste it into your browser. If you do this and the webpage comes up not found or you get an error message it means that link in your email has hidden information and it is a virus of some kind. I hope this information was helpful.


For other articles also see previous tutorials.