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Do you know who is snooping around your computer right now?

Written By: Joe Reinbold

How secure is your computer? Most of us have virus protection
and probably feel pretty safe. But how many know that there
can be many individuals out there who may be trying to snoop
(or actually snooping) around your hard disk all day long?
I would venture that there are not many sitting at their
computer right now who have even thought about it!

High speed access to the Internet, i.e. DSL, cable and a
couple of others have opened the doors to our work areas.
I had even recorded attacks on my computer when I was using
a local dial up service. The high speed access capability
is great, I know that from personal experience. But it does
open you up to extra risks since your Internet connection
is probably open all day, even when you are not using it.

Intrusions on the Internet are common because hackers do
frequent scans looking for systems they can break into. A
typical hacker may scan thousands. He or she isn’t targeting
you personally. In the hour preceding the writing of this article
I had three attacks on my computer through my cable hookup.
Two were hackers probing to see if they could get in and the
other was a hacker checking to see if I had a specific Trojan
program that might have compromised my system so that they
could get in. This is a regular daily occurrence. Luckily my
system has a software (firewall) program that detects and stops
any attacks. It also logs in the attacks so that I can see what
they were. The program is called Black Ice Defender,
http://www.networkice.com and cost me about $40. It was
well worth the price. There are a number of programs out there
and one that seems to be generally recommended along with
Black Ice Defender is ZoneAlarm http://www.zonelabs.com
which happens to be free (free for personal and non-profit use).

A while back I had read several articles in PC Magazine about
these risks and that was what made me get a copy of Black
Ice. By the way it is easy to install and use. I don’t know about
ZoneAlarm but from my readings it appears it is also fairly
simple. One of the ezines I subscribe to recently had a short
article about a site called “Shields UP!” where you could go
to check your computer security for free. If you are interested
go to: https://grc.com/x/ne.dll?bh0bkyd2

These tests are for Windows systems. There will be two
buttons, “Test My Shields” and Probe My Ports”. These tests
take a couple of minutes each and they will give you a full report.
When I was finished, I felt pretty good for the moment since
they couldn’t get into my machine. In fact they evaluated it as
“appearing that my computer didn’t even exist”.

You can sit there and say that you are only a little guy or gal,
who would even try? Well that may be so, but on the other hand,
do you know exactly what you have saved on your computer -
credit card numbers, account numbers, personal information…?
You would be amazed at the number of files that are saved on
your machine by windows and other programs that you aren’t
even aware of.

I have had to change credit card accounts twice in the last year
due to some large well known companies who’s systems were
attacked and credit card files were compromised. So it can
happen, even to the big guys. The software is out there to help
you, it can be free or relatively inexpensive. Why not feel a little
more secure?

About the Author

Joe Reinbold, Publisher of Home Income Quarterly
E-dition, a free weekly on line marketing newsletter. To
subscribe just mailto:subscribe@homebizlink.com Or visit
The Entrepreneur’s Home Business Link where you will find
the solutions to your home business needs at:
http://www.homebizlink.com

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