Data Recovery Article
Data Protection and Security
If you use a computer, regardless of whether or not it is connected
to the internet, you are in danger. You've spent some money on a nice
system and it's proven to be very valuable. You've got lots of
financial data (at least your checkbook), your graphics, scanned
photos and lord knows what else stored safely on your hard drive.
You Think You Are Safe From Needing Data Recovery? Think Again.
Before you do anything else, make sure you have a backup and recovery
plan for your computer system. Invest in some kind of backup device
(a tape drive, zip drive or whatever) and a good backup program
(Backup Exec is good) and do regular backups. At the very least, back
up your critical data files. You MUST do backups if you want a secure
system ... if something gets through your defenses you can rebuild if
you have a backup. Otherwise, you are stuck ... system destroyed an
no backup means you lose all of your data.
Your first and most significant danger is from nasty little viruses.
Your system is in danger if it has any contact of any kind with an
outside computer. This includes an internet connection, a network
link or even a floppy disk. What do you do about it? Spend the money
and buy the best antivirus software that you can find ... I prefer
Norton Antivirus 2001 because of it's ease of use and automatic
updating features. There are plenty of products to choose from, but
be sure you can get regular, easily and automatically installed virus
updates. Norton is good because it also comes with an email module
which scans incoming messages and removes viruses automatically.
The next thing I would recommend is to check out your email program.
Microsoft's email programs are wonderful, but they are so powerful
that they allow a multitude of malicious programs to damage your
computer. If you are using Outlook Express, consider switching to
Eudora or a similar program. If you are using Outlook, I would
suggest you check out the security upgrade from Microsoft which
effectively disables many scripting features and the opening of
executable files. This will prevent email viruses, more properly
called Trojan Horses, from infecting your system.
Once you are protected from viruses and email Trojan Horses, it's
time to protect yourself from people attempting to break into your
system. Even if you are using a dialup connection, it is a good idea
to get yourself a firewall. If you can afford it, purchase a hardware
firewall such as the SonicWall. You can also get a nice software
firewall such as BlackIce, or you can even install a free version of
Zone Alarm. I believe the best of all possible worlds is to get both
a hardware and a software firewall and use both at the same time.
Now if you really want to be secure invest in Norton Internet
Security 2001. Install this program (which has a firewall built-in -
remember to turn off the firewall if you also install BlackIce or
ZoneAlarm) and configure the cookie and referrer protection. This
allows you to selectively enable or disable cookies and referrers
(and some other things) based upon web site address. It's very useful
and easy to configure.
Top this off with AdSubtract to remove advertisements and web bugs,
and you've got yourself a pretty secure system.
Now you want to stay secure ... you've got to understand that there
is a war going on right now as we speak. This is the war between
hackers and the rest of the world. Hackers are constantly testing the
limits of computer systems, and find new holes and vulnerabilities
all of the time. Thus, in order to keep your system really, really
safe, you need to sat on top of the most current security information.
A good place to start to become educated is the Microsoft Safe
Internet: Privacy and Security Fundamentals site. Another good site
is the ZDnet Security Resource Center. Read through both of these
(keeping in mind they are very technical sometimes) and review the
sites occasionally and you will be relatively up-to-date on security
Finally, be cautious about installing any new programs, spreadsheets
or documents (specifically Word documents). If you download a program
off the internet, make sure it is from a very trusted source.
Downloading that game from the cool site that you found last night is
probably not a good idea - no telling what is in the program, waiting
to cause havoc on your computer.
As you can see, keeping your system secure is a lot of work. But if
you do not do it, you will no be happy with the results. At the very
least, make sure you have a good backup. In fact, if you can only do
one thing, spend the time on your backups. That way you can always
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