You wouldn't give the keys of your house to a stranger, would you? Then
why do the same with your PC?
In today's connected environment, it's become increasingly important to
adopt safer computing practices than ever before. Sure, we all know the drill:
install an anti-virus software, update it regularly, avoid installing any suspicious
or unverified programs and shut down any open network shares on your PC.
But do you follow these basic guidelines as meticulously as you should? Or
to put it another way, what if these basic guidelines aren't enough anymore?
Consider the ramifications of leaving your computer unguarded for a
moment: unprotected PCs are easy targets for propagating and instigating attacks
such as the infamous DoS (Denial of Service) attacks and are responsible for the
spread of viruses and worms.
In most online attacks, the attacker generally exploits a handful of well-
known software vulnerabilities. Couple this with the plethora of hacking tools
available online and it would be possible for even a six-year-old to hack your
Okay, so you might be one of those who practise absolutely safe comput-
ing methods and avoid clicking or previewing any messages with suspicious
attachments. But these infected attachments still reside in some corner of your
hard diskthere might come a time when someone will figure out a way to
activate these dormant viruses when you visit a rogue Web site.
It's just not enough to update your anti-virus software's data definitions
anymore. You need even more comprehensive protection in the form of network
firewalls. You also need to make it a habit to install new security patches to
defend your PC against certain kinds of worms that exploit well-known weak-
nesses in Windows and other popular software.
So this will ensure a threat-free existence, right?
No. Even if you take all the appropriate safety precautions, there might be
others on your network, or your friends and colleagues who have you in their
address books, who aren't as well protected. You mi