What you will find in this location is a subset of the many choices available to us in the realm of computer security - in particular, while connected to the Internet. I have chosen the products below based on their functionality, their cost-to-benefit ratio, and the integrity of the software developer. Ironically, many "security" applications available are preying upon the average user's lack of time or expertise and intentionally breaching the security of the computer that they are supposedly protecting! Of course, as with anything, you assume a certain amount of risk using ANY product; these I have presented are no exception to that rule. I have not created any of these tools. They are maintained by their respective developers which is why I have been careful to provide a ready means for you to research them on your own if you choose. For updates to this web page, go to www.MKnetworking.com/security where I will be adding information as the PC security landscape continues to evolve.

Happy computing and surfing!
-Matt Kunath


Description of why this is a good idea

Name of software AVG 6.0 Anti-Virus System
Home Page http://www.grisoft.com
Internet Download Site http://www.grisoft.com/html/us_downl.htm#FREE
Local copy of setup app. (on this disk) .\AVG 6.0 Free Edition (Anti Virus)\avg6456fu_free.exe


Spyware Blocker

Spyware is software or hardware installed on a computer without the user's knowledge which gathers information about that user for later retrieval by whomever controls the spyware. Spyware can be broken down into two different categories, surveillance spyware and advertising spyware. Spywareinfo.com now has a (free) online spyware scanner which will scan your system for known spyware and adware available at http://www.spywareinfo.com/xscan.php.

Name of software "Spybot - Search & Destroy 1.1"
Home Page http://spybot.safer-networking.de/
Internet Download Site http://shinobiresources.com/Downloads/spybot/spybotsd11.exe
Local "download" (on this disk) .\Spybot - Search & Destroy 1.1\spybotsd11.exe


Hosts File Manager

The Hosts file is used by your operating system as a quick way of resolving hostnames (www.example.com) into IP addresses ( Normally, when you type a hostname into your browser, your DNS server (usually specified by your ISP) is queried to obtain the IP address. Depending on the performance of your Internet connection and DNS server, this can take a considerable amount of time. By placing entries into your Hosts file, addresses can be resolved quickly without calls to your DNS server, speeding up the connection to sites you visit often. This is what the Hosts file was originally designed for.

By resolving the hostnames for sites that host advertisements to a non-existant IP address, you can speed up your browsing considerably by never downloading these bandwidth-hogging ads!

Name of software Hostess
Home Page http://www.smartin-designs.com/hostess.htm
Internet Download Site http://www.smartin-designs.com/downloads/hostess.zip
Local "download" (on this disk) .\Hostess - db for managing your HOSTS file\hostess.zip


Browser Helper Object Manager

A Browser Helper Object, or BHO, is just a small program that runs automatically every time you start your Internet browser. Usually, a BHO is installed on your system by another software program. For example, Go!Zilla, the downloading utility, installs a BHO created by Radiate (formerly Aureate Media); this BHO tracks which advertisements you see as you surf the Web. Some BHOs, however, are placed secretly on your system, and there is certainly no technical reason why they could not be programmed to send information about your system (or your web surfing habits) over the Internet without your knowledge.

Name of software BHODemon 1.0
Home Page http://www.definitivesolutions.com/bhodemon.htm
Internet Download Site http://www.definitivesolutions.com/files/bhodmon1.zip
Local "download" (on this disk) .\BHODemon - Tracks Browser Helper Objects (freeware)\bhodmon1.zip


Startup Monitor

Description of why this is such a good idea

Name of software Startup Control Panel by Michael Lin
Home Page http://www.mlin.net/StartupCPL.shtml
Internet Download Site http://www.mlin.net/files/StartupCPL.zip
Local "download" (on this disk) .\MLin's Startup Control Panel\StartupCPL_EXE.zip


Internet Explorer Security Zones

IE-SPYAD adds a long list of known advertisers, marketers, and spyware pushers to the Restricted Sites zone of Internet Explorer. Once IE-SPYAD is in place, most direct marketers and spyware pushers will not be able to resort to their usual "tricks" (e.g., cookies, scripts, popups, et al) in order to monitor and track your behavior while you surf the Net.

Name of software IE-SPYAD: Restricted Sites List for Internet Explorer
Home Page http://www.staff.uiuc.edu/~ehowes/resource.htm
Internet Download Site http://www.staff.uiuc.edu/~ehowes/res/ie-spyad.exe
Local "download" (on this disk) .\IE-SPYAD IE-ADS.REG - - -\ie-spyad.zip


Download Manager

Description of why this is such a good idea

Name of software AppName-----XXXXX
Home Page http://www.--------.com
Internet Download Site http://www.--------.com
Local "download" (on this disk) http://www.--------.com


Pop-up Ad Blocker

Most people are familiar with freeware, shareware, cookies, media players, interactive content, and file sharing. What they may not realize is that some of the aforementioned may contain code or components that allow the developers of these applications and tools to actually collect and disseminate information about those using them.

They can track your surfing habits, abuse your Internet connection by sending this data to a third party, profile your shopping preferences, hijack your browser start page or pages, alter important system files, and can do this without your knowledge or permission. The security and privacy implications of these exploits should be quite obvious and undesirable on any system or network!

Name of software Ad-aware 6.0 Build 0162 (Standard Edition)
Home Page http://www.lavasoftusa.com
Internet Download Site http://www.majorgeeks.com/getfile.php?file=506&site=2
Local "download" (on this disk) .\AdAware


Other reputible sources for security information

.   .   .   .   .   .

SpywareInfo:    http://www.spywareinfo.com
Your central location for everything you need to know to protect your privacy on the internet. If you need information on how to protect your privacy, remove an annoying piece of adware, restore a hijacked browser, or want to know whether that free software you just downloaded might have an adware module hidden inside, you've come to the right place.

Scot’s Newsletter:    http://www.scotsnewsletter.com
Covers Windows, broadband, do-it-yourself networking, Microsoft, and the Internet. You'll get insights, analysis, hardware and software reviews, explanations, tips, and straight-shooting advice about desktop computing issues today, and tomorrow. It's information about Windows and broadband you can really use. Scot also offers an excellent, free newsletter & he doesn't sell your email address to spammers.

PestPatrol:    http://www.pestpatrol.com
"PestPatrol fills an important gap in computer security. Whole new breeds of malicious software are being developed that are more harmful than viruses and are not detected by commercially available products. Hacker tools, spyware, and trojan horses can slip past traditional firewalls to cause great damage to corporate networks. PestPatrol complements existing security technologies by finding malicious software that anti-virus products miss, and removing source applications that evade firewalls."

Gibson Research Corporation:    http://grc.com/default.htm
A site that has abeen a driving force in the campaign to increase awareness of "spyware", especially concering advertisment-supported "free" software (also known as "AdWare").

Denial-Of-Service attack - A Case History:    http://grc.com/dos/grcdos.htm
A Denial-Of-Service (DOS) attack is simply sending so many requests or "hits" to a web site that they can not respond to the legitimate requests. That is, just flood a web site with traffic. This is a chilling, detailed description of a real (and severe) Denial-Of-Service attack against grc.com by a 13 year old. The article is rather long winded and technical, but just skimming it will give you a sense of how easy it is for practically anyone to mount such an attack.

PC Firewall Guide:    http://www.firewallguide.com
Despite its name, The PC Firewall Guide provides a wide variety of Internet Security information -- not just firewall info -- to end users (such as you and me). focuses on tracking security articles and product reviews published online. They also make available a very good list of links to additional security resources & info here.

Privacy & Security Page from the University of Illinois:    http://www.staff.uiuc.edu/~ehowes/main-nf.htm
This web site was originally designed to assist students who took classes in Professional Writing at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In all of these classes the students wrote a "how to" guide for home users of "Wintel" PC's who want to take basic steps to protect their privacy and security while using the Internet covering five topic areas:
        - Mal-ware Control
        - Email Privacy & Security
        - WWW Privacy & Security
        - Networking Privacy & Security
        - Desktop Privacy & Security
I think the information provided here is indispensible for ANYONE who uses the Internet.

Guide to Computer Security - Non-Technical Guide:    http://www.cites.uiuc.edu/security/index.html
It's very common for people to ignore computing security, usually because they think it will take too much time or be too difficult. The fact is, securing your computer now and keeping your system up to date will save you enormous amounts of time and stress by preventing problems in the first place. Go to this web site to the "Non-Technical Guide" section and follow the links to "What you need to accomplish", "Basics", and "Common indications that you have a problem". The information is intended for college students but really applies to anyone.