Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Technology Tuesday

As a new feature here we will be rolling out daily "topical" posts. Tuesday's we'll try and bring a new technology article or subject to Mile High Delphi.

As Technology Tuesday makes its maiden voyage, lets look at an article from last week's Wall Street Journal.

Walter S. Mossberg, who does a weekly "Personal Technology" article wrote a piece on Thursday last week on "how to protect yourself from vandals, viruses. If you use windows".

In short Mr. Mossberg has eight suggestions.

Firstly, you can opt out of using a windows PC. This post comes to you via an iMac. Newer Macs can operate MS Office, and the files that it produces are compatable with MS Office for Windows.

If your turned off by Macs, you can always follow option two, Halting Hackers with software. Mr. Mossberg recommends that the first thing you do is buy a software firewall. Hopefully one that doesn't just stop hackers from getting in but that stops suspicious programs already on your PC from sending out info. Zone Labs offers a free firewall available here. Use the Zone Labs firewall instead of the wimpy one you probably have on your PC.

If you have a broadband connection or a home network, Mr. Mossberg recommends that you make sure that your modem or router has a NAT. A NAT, or Network Address Translation makes it harder for hackers to even find your PC on the internet. Even with a NAT make sure you have a firewall, it won't protect you from all attacks and the firewall is your second line of defense.

Thirdly you need a strong antivirus program. Try Norton AntiVirus ($50), not the lame security suite but the stand alone progam.

Fourth, stop that spyware. Antivirus programs don't stop spyware. Try Spy Sweeper($30) from Webroot software. It not only will stop all spyware you encounter in the future, but it will clean out the stuff that is already infesting you PC now.

Fifth, stop spam. No anti-spam program is perfect, but MailFrontier Desktop($30) is the best. If you are sick and tired of spam then turn on the "challenge" feature. It forces unknown senders to pass a simple test that baffles spammers.

Sixth, browse safely. Dump MS Internet Explorer web browser. Try Mozilla Firefox(free). More secure, more modern, more advanced, ie. tabbed browsing and a better pop up blocker than MS IE.

Seventh, be careful. Never download software unless you are sure of the source. If a website requires a special plug in, be careful. Common viewer software, like those from Real Networks, Apple or Macromedia should only be downloaded from those companies' offical sites.

Lastly, stay current. Install MS's new SP2 update. and install all the "critical updates" MS issues for Windows.

I highly recommend the Wall Street Journal. I started reading my bosses copy during lunch when I was 18. The editorial page changed my life and made my professors miserable.

If you want, you can contact Mr. Mossberg at mossberg@wsj.com.

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