26 October 2006
Major upgrades to both Firefoxand Internet Explorer have been released in the last week. Since I am travelling, I am unable to do a thorough test of the new features in each; instead, I recommend reading Wired News’s review of the browsers:
The good news is that both browsers have seen some significant enhancements in three key areas: user experience, security and web standards. The bad news is that one browser still has better features and standards support than the other.
So, as far as security is concerned, it appears that the playing field has been levelled between Internet Explorer and Firefox. I am thrilled about this – as more internet users use secure browsers, the internet gets safer overall.
However, I’m sure there will be a lot of testing in the near future that will demonstrate weaknesses in both browsers, so stay tuned for more information on which will keep you safest. For now, if you’re wondering which browser to install, pick the one that you enjoy using – just stand ready to install the other one if new information comes into play.
9 October 2006
How do you use your virus scanner? Do you scan often? Just let the program sit idly and hope it proactively catches the bad stuff as it comes along?
Actually, it is important that you do more than either of the above to stay safe.
Treat your computer like a fortress
Imagine that your computer is a fortress, and your virus scanner is the guard at the gate. Everything that approaches the fortress must be strip searched before getting invited inside.
Similarly, before opening any file that arrives on your computer (for example, an email attachment or a downloaded movie or music file) you must first scan it. Saving it to your desktop, where it can sit harmlessly, is okay, but do not open it until you scan it.
Scanning a single file is really easy to do: Right click on the file and select “Scan with name of virus program“, and a scan of that one file will be swiftly carried out. It usually takes just a couple of seconds.
Using this method, you should find that you are able to drastically reduce the infections that successfully crash the gates of your fortress. In addition, removal is much easier when you find out that a file is a virus before opening it – you simply need to delete the file. In contrast, once you’ve allowed a virus onto your computer, it usually gets its hooks into obscure places, multiplies, and perhaps does some damage.