Win XP Firewall

Win XP Firewall – protect your PC from attack

It’s a heck of a statement about our society when you have to even read an article about protecting your PC from attack. Unfortunately, virtually every new PC is vulnerable to a plethora of threats the moment that you plug it in to the Internet!

I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore

Dorothy knew that she was in trouble the moment that she saw the feet of the wicked witch of the east’s toes sticking out from under her house. Your PC gets the same feeling when you plug it into the Internet.

While Dorothy had her ruby slippers to protect her, your PC only has you. So,if you don’t want to end up somewhere over the rainbow, then you’d better follow my yellow brick road with Win XP Firewall

Firewall threats – Recognizing Them

Here, in very condensed form, is a partial list of the perils that await the unprotected computers and what you can do to neutralize that threat. This is a basic overview with good suggestions, useful links and Win XP Firewall information.

White Zombies

Much worse than lion and tigers and bears. Oh my, a White Zombie is the term that’s applied to any PC which has been hijacked by a hacker and used to send SPAM or perpetrate other types of attacks such as spreading viruses, trojan horses, etc.

Spy Ware

The dark forces of computer evil are all too happy to push a program (spy ware)down to your PC which will log every keystroke and send all of your private and financial information back to them so they can steal your identity and clean out your bank account.

Viruses

If you have unprotected surfing your computer can catch a disease that could kill it or, at the least, make it mentally incompetent. It’s commonly assumed that it takes less than 20 minutes before an unprotected computer is infected with a virus (assuming that you don’t have Win XP Firewall).

AdWare

Unscrupulous advertisers ram ad-spawning software down your browser’s throat making your Internet adventures seem like one big infomercial. I should say that some ad ware is not as bad as others and sometimes helps motivate programmers to offer free software.

File Sharing

Hackers turn your PC into an unwitting file server so other hackers can use it to store and share pirated software, games, videos and music files. This not only eats your disk storage space and slows down your Internet connection, but it could earn you a visit from the FBI if some big music company thinks that you’re the next Blackbeard the Pirate.

Treking off to the city of OZ isn’t going to help you. The only wizard you need is the XP Firewall wizard which ships with every new version of Windows XP starting with Windows XP Service Pack 2.

Click Start
Click Control Panel
Click on the “Windows Firewall” icon. If you don’t see one then click on the “Security Settings” icon and then click on “Firewall”.

Follow the instructions:

The included firewall is good enough for most home PC networks. If you’re running a business, however, you might want to install an industrial-strength one. Check with your PC consultant for recommendations.

Stop File Sharing

If you don’t allow file sharing then hackers can’t hack.

Click Start
Click My Computer
Click Tools
Click Folder Options
Click the View tab

Scroll to the bottom of the Advanced Setting window uncheck the box which is to the left of the statement which says: “Use simple file sharing (recommended)”.
Click Apply
Click OK

Free Antivirus Software – Get Thee Some

Your new PC probably shipped with a trial version of somebody’s anti virus software. Find out and make sure it’s enabled. Find out when the trial expires and make sure that you subscribe to the upgrade.

If you didn’t get any then go buy a package. Use the one that your brother-in-law uses if you want, but use something. You can leave your American Express card at home for all I care, but don’t ever go on the Internet without antivirus software.

Modify your HOSTS file.

Tucked away on your hard drive is a HOSTS file. You don’t need to understand how it works but you do need to make some changes to it so you can automatically block tons of web sites that are known to have evil intent. I’ll save a whole lot of typing by recommending that you go to www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm and follow the instructions there.

WARNING: DO NOT GO TO THAT SITE, OR ANY SITE. UNTIL YOU HAVE INSTALLED ANTI-VIRUS SOFTWARE! You could get hijacked along the way and not even know it.

Windows Security Update

Even if your computer is right out of the box brand spanking new there is a good chance that a Windows update has been released and you don’t have it.

Click Start
Click All Programs
Click Windows Update

Follow the instructions from there and perform a Firewall Test.

Blow the whistle on spy ware

Install an anti-spyware program. Yes, your brother-in-law’s is OK.

Ok, now click your heels together three times and repeat after me: “I’ll do everything that this article said. I’ll do everything that this article said. I’ll do everything that this article said.”

Great. Now get busy!