Welcome to The Blog Report

I'm so glad you stopped by and hope you find this blog an interesting read. I've been blogging since April of 2006, currently the author of six public and two private blogs. In the beginning I knew absolutely nothing about blogging. Over the years through trial and error, frustration and elation, and a few tears I've learned a lot. However, the learning process when it comes to blogging continues to evolve. Here you will find a hodge podge of my blogging experiences, useful codes and how-tos, sprinkled liberally with my opinions. Enjoy!

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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Internet Security

I originally started online activities with an old, custom built PC so at that time got to know a lot about internet security and safe browsing.  By the time I switched to Mac, I had AtGuard, Zone Alarm, Trauscan, the Windows firewall, McAfee and some other spyware program all running before I would go online.  Well, Mac made it easy so I didn't need all those programs.  Then I bought a new iMac partitioned for Windows and Mac with the Windows partition never allowed online.  The only reason I still needed Windows was for my genealogy software that I really like but they refuse to make a Mac version and so far I have found nothing that compares to the function of Legacy.  It was the best of two worlds and still is for the most part although according to Apple my iMac is getting a bit old at a ripe old age of 6.  Our cell phones and tablet are Mac as well which makes worrying about viruses minimal.  However, when we bought laptops we bought Toshibas (Windows).  The fact is, we bought my husband's 17" and my 15" laptops for a total cost less than what it would have cost for a new MacBook or iMac.  Mac is certainly an excellent product but along with that comes price.  We needed the laptops for the office and travel purposes.

About three years ago, I was using my husband's old Toshiba at our vacation home when suddenly things went to a very slow crawl.  I was doing my drops for Entrecard so thought it was just overtaxing the system.  I shut down and rebooted but for some reason something told me to run the virus scanner.  Well it was running all the time anyway so I thought why not.  I ran the virus scanner and sure enough had picked up a virus.  It was quickly cleaned and things returned to normal but still served as a firm reminder.  About a week later, reports of viruses coming through sites in the Entrecard system started emerging.  I was doing my drops and suddenly my AV went off.  That basically was the last straw for me in addition to the other on going issues so I quit.  At any rate, I'm back learning all about internet security once again.

Back when I was using all the security programs, I think all of them were free except Trauscan.  Of the top ones were AVG, Norton and McAfee.  There were free and paid versions.  Well, unless I'm looking in the wrong spot, all the AV are now free for a trial period of 30 days then you have to pay. Norton came with my laptop but I did try our McAfee and AVG before settling on Norton because that's what my husband uses at the office so I can go under his license.   I really liked AVG for being user friendly.  Both Norton and AVG offer safe surfing which is really a nice feature, something that wasn't there before and Norton makes it quite visible so you can easily tell what a site is doing by toggling the drop down menu.  They also offer antiphishing, another nice feature that reports any problems with phishing on a site.  Norton has a set-up vault and a login assistant to safely store your passwords online in a vault called Norton Identity Safe.

I really don't feel we need much more protection given the way we use the computers.  Gone are the days of dropping over 300 cards in a day and let's face it, that was risky at best to begin with.  True the sites had been checked by admin when they first entered the system but there was a lot of shady things going on by some members who were only out to make a buck.  In addition to using Norton, Google Chrome offers a heighten security through the settings but then most new browsers allow you to tweak the settings to ensure safe surfing.

If you want to test you computer, try Shield's Up by Gibson Research Corporation, the makers of Zone Alarm.  On my old PC, I had to manually close a few ports but this computer test results are full stealth mode meaning my computer gives no reply to pings or probes, remaining silent even when prodded so there is no sign my computer is even online!  There's no open ports or other security holes which is a really nice thing.  If you find an open port, the site will tell you how to deal with the problem.  There is a lot of good security information there as well including a password haystack to determine the strength of your desired password.

It is rather interesting to see how internet security has evolved in such a short period of time.  In many ways, online security is getting easier and more sophisticated.  That's likely a good thing given the ever growing need to be connected and the use of free Wi-Fi.  Still, it is a good idea to keep your computer and data protected!


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