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How To Protect Your Home Computer
 

The purpose of this page is to help our customers get their home computers set up with maximum security and "trouble free" operation.

And of course, if you have any questions or concerns about anything you are invited to submit a ticket into our 24x7 online helpdesk system for assistance. We love to help!

OK, let's tackle each topic one by one.

I GET SO MUCH SPAM!

If you have an email address, then you are certainly aware of spam. Spam is a huge problem.

So how do you stop spam from cluttering up your inbox?

First, it's important to understand that no spam fighting system can ever truly block or prevent 100% of your spam. This is because it's impossible for a machine to decide with 100% accuracy if your email is legitimate or if it is spam. For example, if you are having a discussion about the stock market with a friend, would you want your spam software to automatically delete the emails simply because they contain the phrase "stock market" or a stock symbol?

The best you can do is use an intelligent spam "identification" system, and then take certain actions on the email depending on the identification results or "score" given to the email by the spam system.

For example, our internal email statistics show that even with the generic "out of the box" setup of the spam fighting software included with all our web hosting accounts, we are able to accurately identify about 80% to 90% of all spam. With a little bit of extra configuration it is possible for our spam software to identify about 90% and 95% of spam before it arrives in your inbox.

Once the spam is identified by the spam software, then you can set up your account to "take action" on it. This might mean automatically deleting the emails marked as spam, or possibly moving just moving them to a different email account where you can download and look at them later. The choice is yours. The point is that with a properly configured spam identification system, you should be able to automatically detect and remove about 90% to 95% of all spam before it arrives in your inbox.

You can find more information about how to properly set up and configure the spam fighting software included with all our web hosting accounts here.

I ALREADY HAVE NORTON OR MCAFEE.

Uninstall it. The truth is that the big "popular" programs like Norton and McAfee are big and popular because they have good advertising -- not because they have good products that actually work. In fact, these two programs are often the direct cause of poor computer performance, crashes, and other problems with your computer.

Go ahead and uninstall Norton or McAfee right now if you have them on your computer. The rest of this article will show you what software we use ourselves and recommend to completely protect your computer.

DO I NEED A FIREWALL?

Yes. If your computer is connected to the internet then it needs a firewall. (A firewall is a little piece of software that automatically stops other computers from connecting to your computer without your permission.)

Surprisingly, the firewall software that is included in Windows XP is actually very good, and is sufficient for the vast majority of personal computer users. [More info from the Microsoft website]

To verify that Windows Firewall is protecting your computer:

  1. Click Start, and then click Control Panel.
  2. From the Control Panel, click Security Center.
  3. If Windows Firewall shows ON, you are protected.
  4. If Windows Firewall shows OFF, it has been disabled and you should re-enable it now.
  5. Click the Recommendations button.
  6. Click the Enable Now button.
  7. Click the Close button.
  8. Click the OK button to close down the Security Center.

WHAT ABOUT ALL THOSE NASTY VIRUSES?

We've been using the AVG Anti-virus software for about 4 years now, and none of our computers have ever been infected with a virus. The company offers a free version of their product that is perfect for personal computer use.

To get the software:

  1. Go to the AVG Anti-virus website.
  2. Look for the link to download the "Anti-Virus Free" version. You do not need the "Internet Security" or "Pro" version unless you need it for commercial reasons. The free version is just as good and is all you need for personal computer use.

Important: When you install the software, be sure to allow the Automatic Updates feature to be configured. This way, the software will automatically stay up-to-date with the latest "virus definitions" and your computer will always be protected with the latest version of the program.

GET THAT SPYWARE AND ADWARE OUT!

If you're like me, you probably hate those company's that try and install "spyware" or "adware" software onto your computer. Fortunately, there are two fantastic programs that can not only detect and remove spyware and adware on your computer, but they will actually help to protect you from accidentally allowing adware or spyware to be installed ever again.

Spybot Search & Destroy
Click the download link, then scroll down a bit on the next page to the download area and choose to download and install the latest version.

Lavasoft Ad-Aware
Just click the download button and install the program.

For both of these programs, be sure to just get the free version. You don't need to buy any upgrades or anything else. The free version will work just fine for personal computer use.

Important: You should run these two programs at least once a month. Be sure to click the "Check For Updates" option when starting them, so that you are always using the most up-to-date version of the programs.

 

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