What is a Firewall?
Itís not easy to explain what a firewall is, but the best explanation is a firewall is something that sits in between the internet and your pc, as the internet is a road of information with things constantly bouncing back and forth all over these roads, some of this information could cause damage to your pc, your firewall stops any of this information, you firewall also controls what you allow to access the internet also as sometimes when you start a program you will notice your firewall ask if you want this program to pass thru your firewall and access the internet.
Do I need a firewall?
YES Make sure you have a firewall, if you use windows Xp or above then you will have one already you need to make sure this is turned ON, the windows firewall is perfectly adequate, but if you really want to be secure you need to install something more comprehensive like Zone alarm which is a very good firewall. There is also a free version, if you do change to another firewall make sure you disable your windows firewall as you shouldn't run 2 firewalls, this will cause you problems.
2) Viruses + Trojans
What Are They?
I'm sure most people know what a virus is nowadays as they are so common a virus is a program that spreads from one pc to another and generally interferes with your computer, depending on which virus you get will depend on the amount of disruption you will get.
Trojans are very similar in some ways, they are also programs, but generally they are programs sent via messenger or email to try to get the user to run them, once these programs are active they pass information to the person who sent the Trojan.
How to avoid Getting infected
There are a few simple ways to not get infected, firstly don't download or click anything youíre not sure about; generally viruses are downloaded when people are searching for software to download or music. Watch out for people trying to send you files via messenger programs also.
Know Your Extensions
When you see a file there is always an extension at the end of the file for example mypic.jpg, the jpg at the end of the filename is called an extension so how can this help me your asking yourself, well if you know the extensions of the files then it will give you a clue what your are downloading.
If someone sends you a photo then the extensions youíre looking for are .jpg or bmp so if someone sends you a file called mypic.exe, you know this isn't a picture as the extension is not jpg or bmp you should be suspicious.
If you were downloading music then the extension should be mysong.mp3 or mysong.wav, if you get the file mysong.csv, you should be suspicious and think twice about downloading this file.
Generally most programs will be myprogram.exe, so if you are going to run a program that ends in exe, make sure you have downloaded it from a safe source, being a little more aware of what you are downloading can help you.
Getting Rid Of Viruses
Generally there are a few ways to get rid of viruses, if you have virus software make sure itís up to date, even if you have clicked the update button and your pc has updated your virus software and restarted, click the update button again, as there may well be even more updates !!!
Once youíre confident your virus software is up today then scan your machine, once your virus software finds the virus it should give you some options, always try to disinfect files if you can, before deleting them.
If you do not have any virus software then run one of the online virus scanners, just type free online virus scan into your search engine, the free ones are ok for getting rid of viruses but they are not comprehensive there are some pay sites that do an online virus scan very well !!!
What is spyware?
spyware is a name given to various bits of software that are on the internet, its true name is adware, as it is normally picked up via advertising on websites, as your surfing the net innocently every page you visit on the internet has to download onto your pc before you can read it, during this process spyware is downloaded, the problem with spyware is it can change some of the settings on your pc without you knowing and can often cause your pc to go slow or crash.
Is all spyware Harmful?
The answer to this is yes and no, most spyware is harmless, in fact a lot of spyware that is picked up by spyware cleaners isn't spyware at all, but some spyware might cause your pc to slow down, you might also get excessive pop ups.
What to do about spyware?
It is a good idea to scan your machine for spyware once in a while there are many programs out there that will deal with this problem, Spybot is one and Ccleaner is another download and scan your machine with these and spyware will no longer be a problem for you.
If you follow all these points then you should be able to stay safe in chat rooms and chat the nights away happily.