If you are using a computer at work, or with the advent of cable modems at home, you might want to place your home computers behind
a router that uses NAT. NAT enables multiple computers to access to the Internet over a single high-speed link. NAT also typically
has the effect of preventing connections from being established inbound into your computer, whilst permitting connections out. Getting
a router in your home improves the security of a home LAN; some people consider that they don't need a firewall if they have a router.
A firewall is a possibly solution to someone with only one computer in their home, or someone with another need for it. What it can do
for you is block traffic to all except authorised ports on your computer, thus restricting access. A stateful firewall is even more
cautious about what it permits through, and the most cautious system administrators often combine a proxy firewall with a packet-filtering
firewall to create defense in depth. Most home users would use a software firewall, while some high risk servers and computers might need
a hardware firewall.
Crackers, (sometimes known incorrectly as hackers) sometimes write a program called a computer virus. Whatever the reason, these viruses
infect your computer, possibly damage your computer, and begin to infect other computers. Viruses can slow down system performance, cause
strange system behavior or simply reproduce. In order to detect a virus, you need antivirus software. Unlike firewalls, most antivirus
software is not free. This is mainly because it is a subscription based service. Once you have the antivirus software running on your
machine, updates are released for the software allowing it to better detect new viruses. When a virus is detected, the company who makes
the antivirus software creates rules on how to detect it based on behavior of the virus, and files that contain the virus. Then, once you
download the update, your antivirus software is prepared and able to detect that virus if it is on your computer. Because your antivirus
can only detect viruses that were known up to the date it was last updated, it must constantly be updated. Because of this ongoing support
required by the company to maintain the usefulness of the software, the software usually requires a subscription fee.
Internet Explorer is one of the most used web browsers in the world, but this has made it the prime target for phishing and many other
possible attacks. With all these problems, many are switching to different browsers, such as those offered by Netscape and Mozilla. Some
consider using IE is the prime mistake most users make about internet security.
Spyware consists of computer software that gathers information about a computer user and then transmits this information to an external
entity without the knowledge or informed consent of the user. Downloading programs that are known to have spyware in them, or having low
security settings in your web browser can cause you to have spyware, but, of course, these are not the only way. Spyware is best removed
with a spyware removal program such as one of those listed in the external links.
Internet Security Basics 101 Part I - AntiVirus Software
Internet Security Basics 101 Part II - PopUp Blocker
Keeping Passwords Secure
Adware, spyware and malware