Albert’s Cubicle, continued
The Ugly. As I've already stated, free quality programs are available to protect a PC as it travels the Internet. However, for a PC to be both buffed and armed on this journey, consider investing in an ISS suites that includes an anti-SPAM program with full featured FW and AV programs. There is, of course, a catch, which is that understanding must accompany functionality to achieve benefit. While an experienced embroidery digitizer might talk circles around a novice about the appropriate application of stitch length and density or the merits of various underlay stitch patterns with specific fabrics, the language of computers describes an equally rich and complex landscape at which the average computer user might blanch. So, why do it? Why pay for that functionality?
If you never type into a PC a password, a bank account number, or your social security number, then you may be okay. If you never enter in your name and address, never use your credit card on line, and never expect to receive any email that you'll ever want to read, then you have nothing to worry about. If your happy surfing the Internet at a small fraction of the speed for which your paying each month, because you computer's engaged in activities for other people that you don't know, never met, and don't care about, then security is not an issue for you. However, as a former colleague liked to tell me frequently, “The Internet is the future, prepare for assimilation, and woe be she who does so blithely.”
If an upgrade in PC security with a commercial ISS suite is in the future, consider engaging a local computer expert versed in computer security and able to put in the time to do it right. Do the mechanically challenged take on the task of servicing their car’s brakes? Should people whose daily language excludes terms like Phishing, Spoofing, and IP aliasing be expected to inoculate their PCs against the exotic, digital diseases from the far corners of the world? Sometimes hiring an expert up front is cheaper than dealing with the consquences later. Don’t know or can’t find a local expert, then call the Geek Squad. They do make house calls.
Regardless of whether you opt to use free security software or buff up your computer into a hard target, the time to install Internet Security Software is before the computer ever accesses the Internet. If the computer's been running unprotected or under protected for awhile, you may have a problem. Perhaps it no longer runs very fast. Maybe the web browser goes to wildly unexpected places or personal files begin disappearing without explanation. Installing an ISS may not be good enough. If a PC has a particularly virulent infection, even the best AV software may only be able to identify the problem, requiring a real person to perform the equivalent of brain surgery on the PC to restore its health.
Each year, I encounter customers, friends, and family asking me to explain why their computers don't work anymore. Almost without fail, they've fallen victim to a virus attack. Some have AV, FW or an ISS installed, but only after they're infected. Others have allow their subscriptions to lapse and have fallen victim to a new, unrecognized virus. Still, others do everything by the book and still fall victim, because a new and previously unidentified virus infiltrates the PC's defenses before it can be properly inoculated. On occasion, even I fall victim to the newest, the most exotic, or most persistent of virus attacks. However, my edge is that I recognize these attacks early and address them immediately by using my expertise and the added functionality of my security software. - AW