Keeping Safe Online

posted by on 30th June 2006, at 10:43pm

Seeing as this is the first month of RSBANDBInformer! I’ll take the time to explain what the “tech” section is all about. Basically what I’m going to try and do each month is give you guys a decent review of something or some useful tips that will help you with your computer. The goal here is not to make it sound so technical that you will not be able to understand half the things that I am saying. If anything does not seem clear to your feel free to send me a private message on the rsbandb forums. So with all that said I think it’s time to go into our first topic, which is How to Keep Yourself Safe Online.

Keeping safe online is not as easy as some may think it is. There are always threats online whether it is the latest virus or worm, the latest Windows XP exploit, or just spyware in general. So in this month’s issue I’ll be highlighting some anti-spyware programs that can help keep your computer clean also I will be giving some tips on safe Internet browsing. Please note if I was to go in-depth on each of the following products this article would be far too long to read.

So starting off with some programs:

Spybot – Search & Destroy: Spybot S&D is an anti-spyware program that is well known. The main feature of this one that I particularly like is its Immunization feature. This feature mainly consists of preventative measures for Internet Explorer. Basically what it does is if you go to a website that has a bad ad on it and try to install an ActiveX script it will block it. This is definitely one feature that is a highlight of this program. One downside of this one is that there is no automatic scan or automatic update. There are also something called the “Spybot SD Resident” this is something that monitors your system for processes that can cause harm. There is also a shredder which allows you to securely erase files. You can find Spybot Search and Destroy here.

Windows Defender – Defender is Microsoft’s solution to the spyware problem. Defender is a great program, although Microsoft didn’t actually make it themselves; they bought GIANT AntiSpyware. GIANT was previously a subscription program but Microsoft has made it free, one would hope that they will keep it free after it has left the beta period. Defender is still a beta program. Unlike Spybot, Defender has automatic updating and automatic scanning. You can schedule times for the update to occur as well as schedule when you want it to scan. Defender has some interesting features such as automatic monitoring, quarantine bin for storing items that have been found to contain spyware, and a software explorer this lets you see what exactly is running on your computer in many different categories. Defender is a great anti-spyware program from Microsoft. Defender is definitely worth getting.

Ad-Aware SE – Ad-Aware SE is the free version of the full Ad-Aware. There is no automatic updating and no scheduling of scans therefore you must do it yourself. Ad-Aware is good to have for an alternate spyware cleaner. There are different levels of scans in Ad-Aware such as a smart scan or a full scan. Some of the nicer features are in the full paid version. For the price of $Free there is really nothing else to this besides the spyware scanner, although it is good to have on hand.

Finally some general tips on safe Internet browsing. We all know we are attracted to those special cursors and smiley packs that we see on the ads online. Most of these though are infested with spyware, so the first tip is to stay away from these. Secondly if a website says it needs a special ActiveX script in order to run, be sure to examine the script before clicking that “Yes” button. Most times these ActiveX scripts are spyware/adware infected. These can infect your browser if it’s Internet Exploder and fill you will tool bars, hijack your homepage, and slow your connection down. So always be sure to check the ActiveX script before you say Yes. Finally the third and perhaps most beneficial and easiest tip, get a different browser besides Internet Explorer. Firefox and Opera are both great alternatives to Internet Explorer and are much safer. Almost all websites now work in these browsers so there’s really nothing to lose, you only gain the benefit of security. All of these tips cost nothing to implement.

Later on in later issues I’ll go into detail more on spyware programs, anti viruses, these browsers and much more.

Useful Links:

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