Thursday, July 24, 2008

Mobility Tip: Just Be Smart

Ah, computer virii (though some prefer "viruses").  Trojans.  Spyware.  A whole industry spawned as a result with anti-virus companies valuing in the billions.  

I love computers.  Not a geek.  They wouldn't have me.  Just a geek-wannabe.  But I've learned to be smart.

To protect myself, these are the programs I've got in my PC and habits I've developed over the years that has helped me over the years.  It's helped me and I hope it'll help you as well.

  • Ad-Aware 2008:  It's one of the most robust spyware software I've used.  And it's free.  And it does a good enough job where it doesn't interfere with the normal operation of your computer or mine.  Did I mention it's free?  It may also have background monitoring.  I'd have to check to be sure about that.

  • Spybot - Search and Destroy:  It offer what Ad-Aware does for the most part.  Added bonus is that it's got a function that lets the user go through the startup files and decide what gets loaded during startup.  I find this just as useful as it's background monitoring system.  

  • Zonealarm:  Best firewall software.  Everyone says that.  I don't trust the default one that comes with Windows.  It offers a two week trial with virus and other Internet protection.  While I suggest getting the subscription (I did for my mom's laptop), once the trial period is over, the firewall continues to work.  Great work over there at Zonealarm.  

  • AVG Anti-Virus:  Works well enough.  I don't have a problem with it.  Real-Time protection.  There is a professional version with more control if you like that sort of thing.  Also check out Avira too.  Like AVG Anti-Virus, it is also free.

  • Norton Anti-Virus:  You get this with your computer when you buy it from Dell or another top tier brand.  True to my word, I have this on my computer but once the 90-days protection was up, I switched over to AVG Anti-Virus and Avira.  It's not free.  Norton offers a two week trial period.  Also, there is an option for someone from Symantec to remotely fix your PC.  It'll cost you though.

I highly recommend these programs.  If not for yourself then for someone who is not as savy with the Wild Wild Web as you are.  I've done this for my family and I'm going to insist a concoction of the mentioned protections for work.  

However, nothing substitute using your head.  There's one rule:  don't venture anywhere on the Internet you're not familiar with.  Don't go down that dark alley.  Don't even look!  Eyes forward!

Sometimes, that's all it takes for bad elements of the digital society to find you.  The lure of naked pictures of Jessica Alba is powerful.  I get it!  I'm a guy too.  But when someone you don't know sends you an e-mail claiming to have them, it's spam.  Infested.  Delete it!

In life, when you see something on the ground, you don't go picking it up.  Same principle on the virtual mean streets of the Web.   Free iPhones!  Woohoo!  Where do I click and sign up?!  No! Nothing is free.  Just avoid it. No free computers, gas, or Vigra pills.  There are no hot girls waiting to chat with you online.

Just be smart.  As always, any tips you can share with everyone would be greatly appreciated.  Stories too :)  

Happy e-mailing, surfing, and chatting!

Note:  My fellow mobile warriors, I know you're very smart about such things already.  This is more of a rant of something that happened at work.  We have a very liberal Internet policy here; as a result, we got an outbreak.  It was bound to happen.  Always that the bad apple.  The one who doesn't listen.

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