This article got me thinking more about internet security. The Internet is anchary. Today it is impossible to enforce any laws or behavioral rules. It is, truely, a complete uncensored reflection of human culture. And wow, we're a universally greedy bunch. Riding the internet wave looks like it's going to get increasingly rough, so, strap on your virtual condom.

Here are the ways I protect my computers. I've never had a virus, and I've never been hacked. And I don't spend a ton of money on extra hardware:

Software

  • If you're running Windows 9x, throw it away. Buy XP. Don't bitch about corporate greed and monopolies, Just do it. Windows 9x was designed long before all this nasty shit was on the internet. It's ill equiped to handle it.
  • If you're running Linux or a Mac, Don't run as an administrator or root. That's nice and convienent because, after all, it's your computer, but just don't do it. That's my only advice on these systems because the hack attacks are just not as widespread.
  • On XP, the same thing applies: create an account of type "restricted user" and use it for your day to day stuff. You can't install software this way, but lump it. Lots of programs won't run in this mode: they're buggy and you should either demand a fix or a refund (even many Microsoft titles fail here. Shame on us).
  • On XP, enable the internet firewall. You won't be able to get to other computers on your home network by name, but if you're savvy enough to have a home network you can either lump it and use IP addresses or buy a hardware firewall. They're cheap.
  • On XP, enable the automatic updates to not just tell you you've got them, but to schedule time to actually install them. Why? 'Cause if you're not an admin you won't be prompted. And, you're not running as an admin, are you?

Hardware

  • Buy a hardware firewall. Home ones are very cheap. I use the Netgear FM114P because it rolls everything I need into one box. It's cheap -- less than $200 for a firewall, router, and wireless access point in one box.

If you don't take these precautions and you get hacked or get a virus, don't blame your software. Blame soceity for being too greedy, and blame yourself for being too lazy. Software will only be able to do so much.