Friday, November 25, 2005

Other Options

There are a number of other free anti-virus resources, including firewalls and behavior-monitoring software, promise to enhance your computer’s ability to protect itself from harmful infections. Incorporating these tools into your anti-virus regimen lets you further minimize the likelihood of contracting contagious code.
A firewall, for instance, restricts unauthorized individuals from accessing your computer through its network connections. Although a firewall doesn’t target viruses, it can help prevent virus-laden files from infiltrating your system. We recommend that you install a firewall on your computer (especially if it’s connected to a DSL router or cable modem) as part of your overall strategy for fighting viruses. The best firewalls are those you pay for, but you can get adequate firewall protection for free if you know where to look.
If you use Windows XP, for instance, take advantage of the OS’ free Internet Connection Firewall. Open the Control Panel, choose the Network and Internet Connections category, and click the Network Connections option. A list of network and Internet connections will appear on-screen. Highlight the one you want to protect and click the Change Settings Of This Connection option, which you’ll find under the Network Tasks heading in the left pane. In the resulting dialog box, choose the Advanced tab and select the checkbox next to Protect My Computer And Network By Limiting Or Preventing Access To This Computer From The Internet. Click OK to save the change.
Users of other versions of Windows (which don’t have built-in firewalls) can download free third-party firewalls instead. Our personal favorite is Zone Labs’ ZoneAlarm. Others include Agnitum’s Outpost Personal Firewall FREE, Kerio Personal Firewall from Kerio Technologies28, and Look ‘n’ Stop Lite from Soft4Ever.
Behavior-monitoring software doesn’t prevent access to your PC, but it does help by monitoring your computer for suspicious activity. Behavior-monitoring software then isolates each suspicious file or program, which may be an unknown virus or Trojan horse (among other things), and generates an alert, accompanied with a recommendation about how to handle the situation. Free behavior-monitoring programs, such as Security Monitor from Zolt.org and SurfinGuard Pro from Finjan Software, help maintain a healthy computer system.

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