Magazine Articles - 5 - Focus Magazines for Over Wyre and Garstang

As the name implies, this special software is all about trying to keep you safe and secure ...

Computer Safety no. 4: 01-April-2013

This month it's time for a quick look at some of the most important software on a PC or laptop – internet security packages. As the name implies, this special software is all about trying to keep you safe and secure. There are, as ever, three different parts to consider – firewall, anti-virus, and anti-spyware. You can choose to use separate pieces of software to cover each section or implement a single combined product to handle the whole thing.

firewallsA firewall is software designed to prevent unauthorised access to your computer over the internet. It acts as a shield around your machine which only allows ‘good’ traffic to come in, and should also alert you if there is any sign of ‘bad’ activity trying to send information out. Examples include the free Windows Firewall which is included on most machines using Windows, or paid-for packages such as Norton 360, Norton Internet Security, Kaspersky , McAfee, Panda , AVG Internet Security, all of which offer the full range of security measures in a single product.

virusesThe second element in the security bundle is anti-virus software. This aims to prevent your machine from being affected by various forms of malware (short for ‘malicious software’ - software used or created by hackers to disrupt computer operation, gather sensitive information, or gain access to systems – often referred to as viruses), both known ie. old threats and new ones which have not been previously identified. If a virus does make it through the defences, then a good package should still pick it up and clean it off later by running regular system scans. There are again several free options (including Microsoft’s Security Essentials, AVG Anti-Virus and Avast) as well as the paid-for combined packages already mentioned.

spywareThe final component is concerned with eliminating ‘spyware’ ie. a specific type of malware that secretly monitors your computer activity or scans for private information to send back to the hacker. Microsoft’s Windows Defender is a free spyware tool built-in to most versions of Windows, their Security Essentials package covers both spyware and viruses, and all the paid-for integrated security packages will also deal with spyware.

... ask ten experts for an opinion and you will probably get at least six different recommendations

There is no single ‘best’ product for security – ask ten experts for an opinion and you will probably get at least six different recommendations. Some packages perform better in independent tests one month, and then drop down the league table next time. There are two vitally important things to remember – the first is that you MUST make sure that you do something, even if it’s just a case of switching on the free Microsoft options (although these never really score the top marks in testing). And the second is that these products have got to be kept running and fully updated at all times. You should also make sure that the anti-virus software is set to perform regular scans of your machine.

Next month we will move on to the user side of the safety triangle.

I’ll finish with my standard reminders - there is plenty of advice available on the Get Safe Online website at, and if you have any questions or concerns about security, then please do give me a ring for a quick chat.

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Publication Details

  • Date: April 2013
  • Publication: Over Wyre Focus & Garstang Focus
  • Page: Over Wyre - 80 / Garstang - 8
  • Link: