Hackers, viruses, worms, trojan horses, oh my! Computer monitoring sounds like you need a sword and shield to fight all these crazy virtual attackers! With the skill and ease that criminals seem to be able to infect your computer, it can be a daunting thing to even dare to use the Internet. Never fear. With computer monitoring you will be able to ensure that you keep track of any lurking background dangers and keep on top of your security ‘battlefield’. Get your computer monitoring in line and you can be confident you’ll always be one step ahead of those criminals.
Computer monitoring is essential to detect the presence of any malware on your hard drive. With all of this computer lingo its understandable if you are confused. So what exactly does it mean?
-Virus is a malicious code that attacks your programs. It can vary in severity anywhere from displaying an annoying pop up message on your screen to destroying all the data on your computer and stealing your personal information. Typically they are spread by human actions of opening a dangerous e-mail attachment.
-Worm is a type of malware designed to spread itself as far as possible in order to expand the damage, typically via e-mail. They infect your computer system and also spread themselves by targeting everyone in your e-mail address list.
-Trojan horse gets its name from its manner of operation acting as a seemingly innocuous program while stealing your personal information in the background.
The first step you need to take to protect your computer is to assess how safe your system currently is. If you visit Steve Gibson’s ShieldsUP! at http://www.grc.com/default.htm and scroll down to the “Hot Spots” area to reveal the ShieldsUP! link, you can run a benign probe of your computer’s ports to find out whether your computer is vulnerable. If you aren’t running some kind of firewall or connected to a router, your system is wide open and you need computer monitoring software.
At the very least you should have a firewall installed on your software to prevent hackers from installing software to take over your system or steal data.
On top of this, you obviously need to ensure you have antivirus software installed to constantly monitor the state of your hard drive in the background and prevent malware attacking your system. Two of the most well known include Norton AntiVirus and McAfee VirusScan.
However, don’t let an antivirus program lull you into a false sense of security. Malware can fool anti-virus programs in a number of ways. For one thing, there’s always a lag between the time a virus is set loose and when your antivirus vendor comes up with a fix, an average of around 10 to 12 hours. After that you still have to download the fix and install it, which can add several days – plenty of time to infect your computer.
Major antivirus packages like Norton AntiVirus and McAfee VirusScan let you schedule automatic updates, though after a certain period you will have to pay an annual fee. You should update your software at least once a week and whenever you hear of a big virus outbreak. Better yet, set your antivirus software to automatically update itself whenever new virus definitions are available.