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Repa
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PostSubject: Computer Security   2/6/2009, 14:34

Here's a security overview that is somewhat outdated, but still completely relevant in today's world. It gives you a very good overview of the types of threats that can infect our computers, how to recognize them, how to avoid them, and some applications you can use to detect and remove them, or prevent them from being downloaded altogether. Use this information in conjunction with the tutorials in the Tutorial Forum to get a better understanding of the threats we face and how prevent them, and how to deal with them should our computers become infected:

http://www.schoolcounselor.com/resources/computer-security.htm

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PostSubject: Re: Computer Security   2/8/2009, 18:01

Thanks for the link Repa! Good information! I feel pretty confident in my computer security because I have or practice those already. I do have a question though. It says in the article this..."it doesn’t hurt to have a second firewall running at the same time." I'm confused because I thought a person was only supposed to run one because running more than one interferred with each other. Repa, will you please explain this to me?

Thank-you!
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PostSubject: Re: Computer Security   2/8/2009, 23:11

Sorry, Ruth, I didn't read that part of the article close enough. You are completely correct - you do not want 2 "software" firewalls running at the same time. Most of the major software firewall companies (ZA, McAfee, Norton) recommend not to run two software firewalls as they can conflict with each other and actually decrease the effectiveness of the firewall. If you have a 3rd party software firewall like ZoneAlarm or Comodo, or an Internet Security package like Norton or McAfee or AVG Internet Security, you want to turn Windows Firewall off. What you want to have running on your computer is one software firewall, one external hardware firewall, and one anti-virus application. There are many inexpensive routers (wireless included) available that have excellent hardware firewalls that not only mask any computers behind them but are also very customizable for your protection needs. You also want to have one or more anti-spyware applications running on your computer. Anti-spyware applications, in general, do not conflict with one another, and therefore more than one can be active at the same time. Several companies now package Anti-virus, anti-spyware and software firewall applications together into one Internet Security package, although most of them are resource hogs. Having a configuration like Avast, Windows Firewall, and an external hardware firewall/router combination (like Linksys) gives you the anti-virus/anti-spyware protection you need (in Avast), and the software and hardware firewall protection you need. The only cost involved is in the router, which can be obtained for between $40 and $99 (depending on brand name), with the average price being around $60 at places like Staples, Best Buy, etc. Adding free anti-spyware applications like Spybot and Spywareblaster give you extra layers of protection that, combined with Avast (also free) Windows Firewall and a router can more than compete - in terms of reliable computer safety and security - with any of the major (paid for) software Internet Security packages available from companies like Norton, McAfee, and Zonealarm, and without hogging your computer resources or affecting computer performance.

It should also be noted that no software firewall by itself will give you the same level of protection that you get from an external hardware firewall combined with a software firewall. You still need the combination of both a software and hardware firewall - the "two levels" of protection recommended by most computer security experts that should have been indicated in the article above, not 2 software firewalls. Windows firewall with an external firewall is sufficient. Windows Vista firewall is more advanced than Windows firewall supplied with Windows XP operating systems, having many of the same features and attributes as the more advanced software firewalls put out by companies like Norton, McAfee, Comodo, ZoneAlarm, and AVG.

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PostSubject: Re: Computer Security   2/9/2009, 00:18

Repa,

I have a router and have been using windows firewall. Tonight, before I read you above post I installed the free COMODO firewall. Don't know yet how it will work and how I will like it. As it was installing it asked for approval for several things - too many too really look up. Some of the names I recognized as having seen before. I went ahead and gave them the OK since I was pretty confident my computer was clean. You said above that if you had a router that windows firewall was sufficient. In you opinion, should I go back to windows firewall or keep comodo?

Comodo offered both a firewall and an antivirus. I have been using AVAST for my antivirus so I didn't get the COMODO antivirus - do you know anything bout it as compared to AVAST?

Thanks,
Fay



My neighbor uses Norton Internet Security. He doesn't have a router. I suggested he might get a router, but he has been told he doesn't need a router unless he has more that one computer. I tried to explain that the router did more than let you connect multiple computers, but I am not sure enough of myself to press the point. Do you think he should have one? Is there a good article I could point him to that might explain the need for the router?
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PostSubject: Re: Computer Security   2/9/2009, 03:12

fay47 wrote:
Repa,

I have a router and have been using windows firewall. Tonight, before I read you above post I installed the free COMODO firewall. Don't know yet how it will work and how I will like it. As it was installing it asked for approval for several things - too many too really look up. Some of the names I recognized as having seen before. I went ahead and gave them the OK since I was pretty confident my computer was clean. You said above that if you had a router that windows firewall was sufficient. In you opinion, should I go back to windows firewall or keep comodo?

You don't need it with a router, but since you already have Comodo installed, try it for a while and see how you like it. Observe whether or not your performance seems affected - i.e., whether it is heavy on resources or not. It will take some time for you to allow or block all of the outgoing stuff that pops up. You should google each item when it asks whether you want to allow or block if you don't know what it is. Comodo is a good firewall from all the reviews I've read. But if you are running Windows Vista Firewall, it will have most of the same features as Comodo or ZoneAlarm. Reports of problems using 3rd party firewalls (notably ZoneAlarm) on Vista machines have been reported, so I don't recommend 3rd party firewalls on Vista machines.

Comodo offered both a firewall and an antivirus. I have been using AVAST for my antivirus so I didn't get the COMODO antivirus - do you know anything bout it as compared to AVAST?

Haven't seen much in the way of comparison of the 2, and what I have seen depends on who the user is. They both seem to have similar features, although Avast seems to have more, and Comodo does allow you to automatically schedule scans. But I have used Avast for several years and I haven't had a single infection during that time, and it has blocked a couple of things in realtime - like once when I accidently clicked on Outlook instead of going to my ISP's email web page, and a couple of infected files were attached to some emails. Avast caught them!

Avast is light on system resources and an excellent anti-virus/anti-spyware application. I have no plans to change unless I find raving reviews for Comodo or another free software that prove to be significantly better than Avast in the future.



My neighbor uses Norton Internet Security. He doesn't have a router. I suggested he might get a router, but he has been told he doesn't need a router unless he has more that one computer. I tried to explain that the router did more than let you connect multiple computers, but I am not sure enough of myself to press the point. Do you think he should have one? Is there a good article I could point him to that might explain the need for the router?

Routers are a must in today's hostile Internet environment; no system should be without this protection! Anyone who doesn't have one is begging to be hacked sooner or later. The software firewall doesn't stop everything and is much easier to be hacked than an external firewall. A router will only pass incoming traffic that the computer(s) connected to it has requested in an outgoing message. Anything unsolicited is discarded. The combination of a router and the software firewall makes it extremely difficult for anything inbound that has not been requested by the computer(s) on the network to get through because of the "double layer" of protection. Here's a good article on why everyone should have a router:

http://www.grc.com/nat/nat.htm

BTW, www.grc.com is a very reputable and reliable site for computer security. I have been using this site for 8 years and highly recommend it as a "must read" for everyone concerned about computer security.


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Last edited by Repa on 2/9/2009, 11:13; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Computer Security   2/9/2009, 03:51

Fay, give Comodo a chance! I've been using it for a couple of years now and I really like it. It might drive you a bit crazy at the beginning but after it gets to know your computer it will settle down. Comodo's Anti-Virus application is not quite up to par from what I've read, so I'm using Avast, like Repa. But Comodo has some other neat things, like BoClean and Verification Engine which I use both. I'm a big Comodo fan - I also use their fax program since I have no phone hook-up.

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PostSubject: Re: Computer Security   2/10/2009, 23:42

Repa,

Thanks for the article. Sorry I just now got around to looking at it. I haven't read it all yet, but it looks really good. I saved it in my favorites and am going back to read the whole thing later. Not sure my neighbor would read it all, but maybe I can get some points from it to share with him.

Thanks again.

Fay
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PostSubject: Re: Computer Security   2/10/2009, 23:44

Rike,

Due to some other problems I had, I did a system restore and don't have COMODO now. I may go back and get it later but am going to forget it for now. Work has me pretty tied up and I just don't feel up to messing with it.

Thanks,
Fay
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PostSubject: Re: Computer Security   2/11/2009, 21:46

Thanks for explaining, Repa! I thought I was correct about not running 2 software firewalls. On my laptop, it came with the whole McAfee Internet Security, plus we DO have a router, so we have a hardware firewall also. On our desktop computer, we have Comodo (which I like a lot!). So when McAfee expires on my laptop with Vista, if I run the Windows firewall, plus the router (of course), that's sufficient protection?

Thank-you!! Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Computer Security   2/11/2009, 22:39

No, Ruth. If you let McAfee expire, you also lose your anti-virus application. You will need to replace it. Comodo now has Comodo Internet Security, which contains both the firewall and anti-virus applications that can be installed separately. Reviews of the Comodo firewall are very good, but reviews of the Comodo anti-virus are less than stellar, and I wouldn't use it. The best free anti-virus/anti-spyware application I know of is Avast. AVG Free 8.0 is good also, but more basic than Avast. I recommend replacing McAfee with Avast on your Vista laptop.

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PostSubject: Re: Computer Security   2/12/2009, 18:30

OK thanks Repa! I was thinking that I would install Avast on my laptop, but just forgot to mention it. Thanks for reminding me! Very Happy
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