Today we continue a review of PC World’s PC Resolutions for 2003, with #3 and #4:

  1. Protect your Network — this resolution really has two parts — the first part on wireless networks you’ll have to read about on the PC World site, ’cause I’m just not a networking kind of guy. The second part of this resolution I can discuss — firewalls. If you have a DSL or cable connection, you should have some type of firewall protection; for most of you a simple software solution should do the trick. I use Zone Alarm Pro, which will set you back $50 or so, Basic Zone Alarm is free, and without a doubt it’s the best free firewall product available. Norton Internet Security is also an excellent choice.    Many of you may ask, “why should I install a firewall on my computer? Who would possibly want the junk I keep there?” You may be right — no one wants your junk. But creative computer hackers want something else possessed by your PC — its power. In a distributed denial of service attack, the hacker uses your PC and thousands of other computers to flood a website with thousands of simultaneous requests, often crashing the website. A firewall can prevent these unwelcome intrustions.
  2. Give your PC a Flu Shot — keep up-to-date with the latest virus definitions. If you aren’t running programs like Norton Anti-Virus or McAfee VirusScan, you should be. Also make sure you run Microsoft Windows Update for the latest software security patches — and with all the flaws Microsoft finds in its software, the patches are released frequently. Remember, the older your software, the better the chance some hacker has found a way to exploit it to get access to your PC.