Published on February 12, 2006 By averjoe In Personal Computing
On the heels of a slew of patches due for Microsoft operating systems I figured it is as good a time as any to write (again) about an aspect of my computing experience. There has been a lot of software needing security patches in the last few months and not only Windows, but also the Mac and Linux operating systems.

There have been security holes found in iTunes and Winamp software. There’s been holes found in firewalls and anti-virus products like Symantec’s Norton Anti-virus, and Zone Alarms firewall. Software like Adobe Reader and Sun’s Java has also been discovered to have security holes and I’m sure I haven’t mentioned all of the software with security holes.

One of the most important things to do is keep all software updated on one’s system, especially the operating system, firewall, and anti-virus programs. These programs can give one some protection against other less important programs that have security holes, but not always.

If it is a program that accesses the Internet for some reason and it has a security hole you are asking for problems, but if it is a program that does not need to access the Internet for any reason there is less of a problem.

Unfortunately, most software people have installed on their systems needs to access the Internet for some reason, so updating the software is important.

I use many ways to keep my Windows and Linux running PCs secure. I turn off all unnecessary services/processes and use various programs to further secure my computer.

I turn my computer off when not in use for any length of time because I have a DSL connection to the Internet. If you have DSL or cable access to the Internet you should turn your computer off when not in use. Idle computers are just nodes waiting to be hacked.

I must say that (so far) I have failed to keep my system totally free of spyware (sometime spyware gets on the system from visiting certain web sites) and rootkits (I have found the complete file system of my operating system altered in some instances).

And the security patches (Hotfixes they are called) from Microsoft are not closing all security holes. I found a security hole in my Internet Explorer that was supposed to be patched, but wasn’t.

I am glad there are entities banning together to take on spyware makers because these are the privacy invading pieces of software that do not seem to be being addressed by the anti-virus or firewall program makers and inadequately dealt with by the anti-spyware program makers.

To add insult to injury you had companies like Sony adding hidden rootkits to one’s system unbeknownst to the individual to make sure that only so many copies could be made of one of their CDs.

I think it is time for tough legislation dealing with companies or individuals who would secretly put spyware on some unsuspecting person’s computer.

I had noticed before Microsoft announced the need for their present set of patches that things were not completely secure (besides hotfixes or patches not installing or installing but not repairing the problem), but its nice to know that they’re thinking about me on Valentines Day. It makes ya feel warm and cuddly all over…not.

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