to build a FREE Internet Security Suite. A Step by Step Guide to help
you protect your computer and your family while surfing the
Page 2 of 4.
we're going to do now is ADD
things to the bare bones connection shown in the FIRST sketch,
the top of
the last page. When we ADD each item, we'll tell you where
it goes, what it
does, and why you need it.
Much can be done using the FREE
software available on our Home
but, DSL and Cable Users, if they have a home or office network, will
already have one useful item.
If you're using a dial-up
you cannot use the NAT Router scheme detailed below. You must
software firewall. Most of these will provide both inbound and outbound
NAT Routers (An Inbound
If you're using DSL or Cable, you can buy or rent a Router,
where NAT stands for, in geek speak: "Network Address Translation."
This type of router
will function as an INBOUND
for your PC, and, allows you, (if you wish), to create a wireless (or
wired) home or office network. The router is placed between your DSL or
Cable modem, and your computer.
Besides translating addresses, a router shields your
PC by offering only one global I.P. address to
those on the internet, despite the fact that you may have several different
I.P. addresses for computers in use on your local
network. Such a router is a FIREWALL between YOU and the NET. It's like
a steel fire door between your house and an attached garage. Or, to
picture it another way, a very simplified
and non-technical way, think of it as a red brick wall
between YOU and THEM. Using this analogy, think of each brick in the
wall as a port in to your computer. If any port on your
computer is OPEN,
the bad guys
can sneak thru and hurt you!
guards each and every port
on your computer.
your router and see how well it works as an inbound firewall? Click this link.
A test of your incoming firewall should show that, (ideally), all of your ports
are in what's called stealth mode.
A characteristic of communication on the net is that outsiders query
your computer, and it is supposed to answer back
saying: "Yes, this port is open or No, this port is closed." What if
computer does nothing? This is what stealth mode is,
and, an INBOUND
FIREWALL, (the router in this case), is what makes
this happen. The outsider
in effect, that no such port exists. You are in stealth mode. Neat,
standard computers have 65,535
ports. The numbering goes from 1 thru 65,535.
The concept of Ports is a bit
confusing - they don't exist physically. They
are really just a part of the
address information in the data packages flying
around your network or the
Internet. Think of them as a "For the attention
of: ....." line at
the front of the address. When the packages
arrive at your computer it knows
that anything marked Port 139 means
attention of the TCP handler."
Why, you might say: "If I have a router, or a good software
why do I need anything else?" Well, the router blocks ports; it
renders, (if configured right), them invisible, but your
i.e., your browser or e-mail
ports, and viruses can then stream in thru them.
you're using DSL or Cable, along with a router, you already have a solid INBOUND FIREWALL,
but you must
add, using software, an OUTBOUND
the router doesn't do
this. Note that, since most firewall software offers both in and out
protection, you will then have multiple
layers of inbound protection with a router.
now we have a FIREWALL,
whether you're using dial-up, with a software firewall, or DSL / Cable,
with a combination
of a router and software,
what's next? In order of importance, (for a
complete protection package), it's ANTIVIRUS
SOFTWARE. This software works in such a way that it can be
as sitting between
your router, (or incoming firewall software), and your computer.
There is a WIDE variety of antivirus software, both free,
commercial, listed on our Home
Pick one we recommend, or another
that seems better to you, or a friend, a wizened netizen,
may suggest. Our personal choice is AVG Free. Above all,
pick one that up-dates its virus signatures frequently, at a minimum once per
week, but preferably, every day like AVG does.
Good antivirus software should also
provide inbound and outbound E-Mail
protection, and a "storage vault," as some call it, where viruses can
be quarantined. Some Users turn OFF
E-Mail test; the logic is: "If nothing bad can come in, how can it go
out?" Some turn outbound mail checking OFF as they feel it
slows down the system and is unnecessary. You must make your own
decision on this.
O.K., now we have a BASIC
Internet Security Suite. A basic suite consists of:
is what this basic Level
1 Internet Security Suite looks
/ Outbound E-Mail protection.
/ Outbound Firewall.
Dial-Up, DSL, or Cable Modem.
is for DSL or Cable Modem Users ONLY.
Users don't have
a Router so a single
firewall handles inbound & outbound.|
A simplistic view of
along with a connection to the internet, that's protected by
in/out firewall and antivirus software.
What we now
have is pretty good,
but its not enough. Why? Because you're depending too much on your
antivirus software, Remember the phrase: "Jack of all
trades and Master of None?" Well, it works here too! The very
antivirus software, even AVG Free, that we recommend, can't
AVG pays us nothing
to say good things about them; we're saying it
because we use AVG ourselves.
You're thinking: "Well, what do I do now?" Please read
on; it'll get better.
to read on.