Posts filed under ‘Companion Guides’

Introducing ‘Screenshot Gallery’

I will be introducing a new category in Tech Help Videos called ‘Screenshot Gallery’. What it basically is a gallery of screenshots of a particular software or web service. Most likely, there will be a brief summary of the particular software and web service.

About one month ago, I introduced ‘Companion Guides’ which are aim to help you understand certain parts of technology and computing. I have had a huge success with that and have received many emails telling me how useful it was.

Here is a Companion Guide about Internet Security

Also, you may wish to email suggestions and topics on what I should written about.

November 1, 2007 at 10:25 am 8 comments

Extra Protection and Freebies

Security Guide Part 4Apart from the usual security suite that you install on your PC to prevent viruses and spys, there are also many other protections in which you can take. In fact, there is nearly infinite number of small little freebies and programs that will enhance your safety. If there are ‘infinite’ of those freebies and security enhancements, then choosing the right ones can be quite a confusing chore to do. Also, you need to consider if the program is worth installing. If it doesn’t do much, then do no install it because you should try and keep your PC as clean as possible.

Supervision and control – To be able to supervise and have control is very important. This is critical if your children own a computer or regularly surfs the web. For these kinds of purposes, I recommend Windows Live Family Safety. Here is what this service will do:
Ban certain websites and filter what they view.
Know who your child has been emailing to, IM and blogging.
Filter out their search results
Track their usage data plus more
Note: You and your children will need a Windows Live ID each. To sign up please click HERE.

Pop-up blocker and phishing filter – Both of these should come standard with your web browser. To be sure, you should use the latest version of any web browser. I recommend using Firefox or Internet Explorer. Both of these have a pop-up blocker and a phishing filter. In addition, some free toolbars offer a phishing filter.

Firewall – Having a strong firewall is essential. This will block unwanted installation of programs that might harm your computer. Basically, it will shield you against weird stuff and the world wide network.

Email Attachments and fake emails – Be careful when opening an email attachment from someone you do not know. You never know, one click on the attachment or link could lead you to serious trouble. In addition, learn to depict fake emails. If you are a little suspicious of an email, do not open it. For example, I recently received a fake PayPal email saying that I had to respond to them in 24 hours or my account would be canceled. Take a look at the email below:

Dear Member,
Your PayPal Account Information Have Problems.
If your problems could not be resolved your account will be closed for a period of 24 hours, after this period your account will be closed. Click on the link below. If nothing happens when you click on the link (or if you use AOL), copy and paste the link into the address bar of your web browser.
https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/=login-run=P1-789-019-853

Problem ID Number: PP-34-103-876

How I knew that it was fake? 1) PayPal would never email me address me as ‘Member’, they would use my name. 2)It is totally absurd that in 24 hours my account will be closed. 3)I have done nothing that will cause this problem. 4)The email was caught in the Spam folder. — And to the person who sent this fake email to me, I would like to say ‘good try but you were not good enough, think I am dumb enough to be tricked by your little tricks? Think again, we are not as dumb as you!’

Don’t go to bad sites – This is one of the most important rule. Just don’t visit a bad site!! Do you understand?

Backups – Having copies and backups of your data will prevent you from loosing your work and data. You can either do backups with a portable hard drive or use an online backup service. But remember, if you do not have a fast internet connection, then do not use online backups. However, if you plan to use a online backup service, try out Mozy, Carbonite or Box.net.

Updates – Remember to update your computer’s software also its operating system (Windows Update). Please note that updates are there for a reason, not just to eat up your internet usage data! To prevent forgetting to do Windows Updates, set it to auto mode. For other software that you have, the update option is usually in the ‘Help’ button in the main menu.

Personal note: I use and recommend Windows Vista. It by far the best Windows Operating system and safer. For a great Vista Security guide please click HERE

For a useful list of 100 network security tools click HERE

And this concludes the Security Guide series. I hope you learnt something from the guide. The next series will be about Using online services such as Backups, file storage and sharing. So stay tuned!

If there is anything that you think is worth mentioning or I have left out, please leave a comment or send me an email. I would really appreciate it.   

September 19, 2007 at 12:12 pm 1 comment

Security Suite Comparison

Choosing an Security Suite can be quite tricky due to the vast choice we have. Also, operating systems can largely affect which security suite you buy. I have finished evaluating and testing security suites, so here are my results for 2007.

  BitDefender V.10 NO.1 MacAfee 2007
NO.2
Norton 2007
NO.3
NOD32 2007
NO.4
Overall Rating 8.5/10 8.3/10 8.1/10 8/10
Antivirus 9/10 9/10 8/10 8/10
Antispy 9/10 8/10 8.5/10 8/10
Firewall 8.5/10 8.5/10 8.5/10 8.5/10
Easy of use 8/10 8.5/10 8/10 8/10
Other Features 8/10 8.5/10 8/10 8/10
Price/Value 8/10 7.5/10 8/10 8/10
Use and integration with Vista 7.5/10 7/10 7/10 8.5/10
*Use and integration with XP* 8.5/10 8/10 8/10 8.5/10
  Kaspersky7NO. 5 CA 2007No.6 PandaNo.7 F- SecureNo. 8
Overall Rating 8/10 7.7/10 7.7/10 7.6/10
Antivirus 9.5/10 7.5/10 8/10 8/10
Antispy 7/10 8/10 8/10 7.5/10
Firewall 7/10 8/10 7.5/10 8/10
Easy of use 8.5/10 8/10 8/10 7.5/10
Other Features 8/10 7.5/10 7/10 7.5/10
Price/Value 7.5/10 7.5/10 8/10 7.5/10
Use and integration with Vista 8.5/10 7.5/10 8.5/10 7.5/10
*Use and integration with XP* 9/10 8/10 8.5/10 8/10

* Not included in Overall test result

BitDefender – Gold!

internet securityBitDefender offers the most comprehensive security in this comparison. It does extremely well in all areas especially when it comes to protecting your PC against viruses and spyware. The scan speed is quite fast and it does not eat up too much of your system’s memory. However, the user interface is not as good as some of the other available options. But again, that is not the most important issue here. Click HERE to go to BitDefender’s official site.

Mcafee – Silver
Internet Security Suite Box Shot

Mcafee comes second in this comparison. It too, has excellent anti-virus and spy protection. However, Mcafee does slow does your computer a lot (very Norton like) and it is among the most expensive suites here. But apart from those flaws, the suite is quite good. It has a better user interface than Bitdefender. Click HERE to go to the Mcafee official website.

Norton – Bronze
norton_security_2007.jpg

Norton takes the third place. Like Mcafee, it takes up a lot of your PC’s memory and slows your computer down. Another flaw is that Norton can be very annoying. For example, you uninstall the program, but some components of Norton suite can still be in your PC in the background. In addition, I find that it blocks numerous of programs and some features such as frequent pop-ups are very irritating. But apart from those flaws, Norton does achieve well in the basic virus and spy protection. Click HERE to go to Norton’s official site

NOD32

NOD 32As older readers may remember that I was a Kaspersky fan. But that may change. I have used NOD32 for nearly two years on one of my PCs and I like it very much. It does not take much PC memory and integrates well with both Windows Vista and XP. In addition, it is easy to use and does not interfere you a lot. In addition, it gives to high quality virus and spy protection which is very important. (Leo Laporte recommends NOD32!) Click HERE to go to the NOD32 official site.

KasperskyKaspersky Internet Security 6.0

Kaspersky is a security suite that I like a lot. It offers possibly the best anti virus protection and is very easy to use. However, it does not do a very good job in spyware and firewall. Another flaw is that it takes ages to scan my computer. Apart from from those two flaws, it is quite good. It automatically scans, do health checks and updates. In addition, it does not take very much of your memory. My suggestion is that you should run another free anti spyware program on your computer. Kaspersky is quite compatible and flexible with other softwares. Spyware Doctor starter edition and ad-ware free are good examples. For, I think it is the best combination of security. But again, I cannot judge Kaspersky with the additional help pf another program. That is why is ends up at 5th place. But with the help of any other spyware program, it would deserve at least 3rd place. Click HERE to go to the Kaspersky official site.

Panda

Panda Internet Security 2007

After rating it as number four in my previous security suite comparison, I thought that Panda was pretty good and was confused why other test comparisons gave it a low score. Still, I think it is a great solution. But this time, it has dropped a little bit, but not but far. Although it does not offer the super-strong and unbreakable anti-virus protection like Bitdefender does, it does offer quite a strong and flexible protection. Panda does not slow down your computer very much. After testing it more 30 days, I am very happy with it. For people who run Vista on their PC, Panda offers more than enough protection.

(F-secure and CA security suite reviews are currently not available, Sorry)

My final thoughts and suggestions.

Security Guide Part 3 logoGenerally, you should stick with the comparison list. But not all people need all that extensive protection. For a simple user who just reads emails, view photos and read some articles, a simple and light security suite will do. Another important point is that you should always consider which operating system you use. For any Window that is 2000 or older, you should get the top suites for good protection. Windows XP is quite safe but not as safe a Vista. For XP, I recommend using NOD32 or Kaspersky. However, in Widows Vista, you do not need all that extensive protection. All you need is something like Windows Live OneCare (Read my review of OneCare), or perhaps something even simpler such as the free edition of AVG anti virus with another free anti spyware program But that depends on what the user intends to do. (Windows Expert Paul Thurrott uses AVG Free)

In the next article, we will talk about enhanced security and extra programs and freebies that will help to secure your PC. So stay tuned!

September 14, 2007 at 9:16 am 1 comment

Security Guide Series: How to protect your PC

Secuirty Guide part 2 logoProtecting your PC is very important especially in the modern days. Now, if you are a Mac user, you might laugh at Windows users about them having to worry about viruses and spys. But the truth is that you do not have to do a lot to secure your PC. Of course if you want extra protection or if you own a large business, you might want to look further.

So lets start with the basics. The operating system you are using may largely affect the security of your computer and also what steps you have to take. For example, if you compare Windows Vista with Windows 2000, the difference is huge. For users of Windows ME and 98, I really recommend you to upgrade. You do not have to have Vista but something like XP would be fine. Or even better, why not reward yourself with a new PC. You can get quite a good PC at a very cheap price these days. So as I said before, the operating system you are using greatly affects what you have to do to secure your PC.

The next thing you should care about if what Security Suite you are going to use. For XP, 2000 and 98 users, I recommend getting the top performance security suites. I recommend NOD32 and also Kaspersky. For a detailed security suite comparison, click visit Tech Centre or Top10 Reviews. They both do a great job and unlike Norton, they do not slow down your PC very much. If you are using Windows Vista, then you are rewarded for getting the newest and safest operating system. All you actually need for Vista a very light weight and average security suite. I currently use Windows Live One Care which is not highly rated but I find it just fine. Paul Thurrott who is a Windows expert uses the free edition of AVG anti virus combined with Windows Defender that comes standard on Vista. (You can also download Windows Defender for XP) In addition, AVG also have their own anti-spyware program which is free. In addition, PC Tools has got a great free Anti-Spyware Program that comes with Google Pack. I have been using it for nearly two years and so it is the best Anti-Spyware program I have ever used. As you can see that you do not have to do a lot in Vista.

The web browser you use to surf the web is very important too. I always recommend to use the latest version of a web browser. Firefox 2.0+ is a little safer than Internet Explorer 7 and you can even go further with Firefox by installing security add-ons. Both of them have a phishing filter which I think is a got to have feature) I mainly use Firefox and occasionally use Internet Explorer 7.

But probably the biggest factor that will affect your security is you. What you browser on the net and your behaviour is extremely important. Try to avoid going to bad sites and be suspicious when opening an email or attachment from a sender that you do not know.

Having a firewall is also a must. Both Windows XP and Vista have a standard Firewall when purchased (It is called Windows Firewall). Windows Firewall does a good job and is free. But nearly all Internet Security Suites have their own firewall to give you extra protection.

In addition, it is very important that you install the required Windows Updates for your PC. To ensure that you do not forget to keep up with updates, turn on ‘Automatic Updates’. This will automatically update your PC without you having to do anything. To find out how to turn on auto-updates or see if you have auto-updates on, please click HERE.
(This article maybe edited for improvements and updates) If you have any Security tips and recommendations, please leave a comment.

Security Guide part 1 logoSecuirty Guide part 2 logo

Stay tuned for the next article: Security Suite Comparison.

September 8, 2007 at 1:36 am 3 comments

Security Guide Series: Intro – The risks and dangers

Security Guide part 1 logoThe internet is a great thing and I am sure that nearly all people cannot live without it. But along with the advantages, it has also brought us that problem of Internet Security. Now days, you need that take extra precautions on the net. In addition, internet security does not only include the risks of getting viruses and spyware, it is also about your children exposing their personal information and identify on the web.

You can get internet virus in a numerous of ways. Some common ones are from downloading files, opening attachments, visiting bad websites, etc. Computer viruses can cause you to lose valuable data and cause your computer to not function properly. Although Spyware so not cause harm to your computer straight away, it can just sit in the background of your computer and track down all the activities happening on your computer and even steal your information such as password. In addition, these irritating virus and spyware have become very hard to entirely be cleaned these days. Although, your Security scanner said that the virus or spy has been deleted, you never know, it could still be sleeping in the background. So the best way to prevent this from happening is to not let the virus or spyware get into your computer in the first place.

Another bug concern about online safely is children exposing their personal information onto he web. In my opinion, you should never give out your real identity on the web unless that you absolutely sure that it is safe. Do not just assume that it will be OK, because it will not!

Online shopping is another concern. Number one is that you are exposing your personal information and number is that you are exposing your credit card number. However, it has now become much more safer. In addition, your could use extra safely tools and enhancements for better protection.

In the next article, I will be writing about ‘How to Protect your PC’. Stay tuned!

September 6, 2007 at 7:44 am 8 comments


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