A Guide to PC Security
"HackerProof: Your Guide to PC Security" by Matt Smith is a wide ranging review of all areas of security for the personal computer. It is up to date as at February 2011 and is available to download as a PDF file free from MakeUseOf.com at:
This article is a brief summary, please see the 53 page guide for full details.
What are the risks?
PC Security covers various threats with different names.
Malware is mainly spread by user error - opening an email attachment that contains a hidden program which you unknowingly start running. You can try to be carefull but virus writers keep coming up with ingenious ways to trick you into clicking on something you will regret.
The classic example is an email from your bank with a link to a website (pharming) for you to enter some information they require. You find you need to log in with your current details (phishing) before you can enter the details requested.
You choose the level of attack
The major decision that determines the security risk to your PC is when you choose its operating system. In most cases viruses, trojans, rootkits and worms are programmed to take advantage of a particular weakness in a specific operating system.
What is the main current danger?
You run an up to date security suite, never click on email attachments that you are not expecting, and are deeply suspicious of emails from your bank, UPS and the tax authorities. What can go wrong?
What else should you do?
This summary skims through barely half the guide, It goes on to discuss antivirus (AV) suites, firewalls, rootkit killers, network monitoring and phishing protection. It reviews free versus paid AV protection and firewalls, and suggests three free programs that will protect your PC against a variety of threats.
Security Threats - Keeping up to date
If one of your computers hasn't been infected at some time by a worm, virus or other malware either you've been very careful or you are not connected to the rest of the world through the internet. Out there thousands of clever (and dumb) people from state sponsored agents to organised criminal gangs, from kids to disaffected misfits, are trying to mess with your machine. Knowing the enemy is vital so here are half a dozen of the top sites to keep you informed.
If you browsed some of those sites - when do you plan on going back and checking for new threats? If you are serious about protecting your computers you need to subscribe to the RSS feeds available on the sites.
You can read RSS feeds:
To learn more about news feeds try this comprehensive collection of links: RSS: What it is, Where to get it, How to make it, How to use it.
DISCLAIMER: The ICUFR has no control over the web sites referenced in this article and accepts no responsibility for their contents. We hope they are useful - but you must exercise your own judgement.