Saturday, May 27, 2006

Fighting or Financing Malicious Software?

Come on. Be realistic. How should I approach security for my computer in the same way as I would approach security for my car or home? The answer is simple, just apply the same principles, not the same mechanisms. Why do I want to protect my car and my home? It prevents people from invading my privacy. What else is it when someone breaks into your car? A thief has no respect for the private assets of someone else, he takes what he wants, and an arsonist has no respect for the private assets of someone, he burns what he wants. Squatters have no respect for any private property, they occupy whatever piece of land they want. That is why we have alarms, security systems and security guards to protect our assets and most important of all our privacy. We don't like strangers strolling round on our premises, we take the necessary precautions to keep them off our property by putting fences and walls around our houses.

Your computer is nothing other than your private electronic property. Why would you go to all the trouble to keep unwanted people away from your home if you don't mind it when unwanted software crawls through your PC? You make online purchases, do online banking transactions, log into your e-mail, enter several passwords to keep people from gaining unauthorised access your private and critical information. Sure, so why would you want a key-logger or password-grabber to infiltrate your computer and steal all your important and private information? You need an anti-virus program, a spyware and ad-ware scanner and some kind of resident shield to prevent all these malicious programs from accessing your PC. We are talking about millions of home users who don’t have the kind of budget to afford all these programs. That is why so many people ignore the threats of malicious software because it is just too expensive and not that important, to them, to battle them. It helps nothing to educate users against these threats if you can't empower them.

Many of the big anti-virus companies refuse to distribute free-ware versions of their software to help home users battle these threats. After all, it is home users that are the easiest targets for infections and they are the pawns for Denial Of Service attacks. This is where smaller anti-virus and -spyware companies made the difference when they introduced free, fully functional programs for home users. They even maintain these versions by updating them as new threats make an appearance. It clearly indicates that their main goal is to fight malicious software and not only profit. Companies like these make a positive contribution to the online community by empowering home users to battle the villains of the online world.

Home users no longer have an excuse for not protecting their computers. Not only companies, but also individuals have developed some useful tools to help their fellow man. The biggest problem users may face now is to make the right choice between all the free security software available today. That is why informed members of the online community have to share their knowledge with the uninformed to help them make the right choices and stay clear of fraudulent and malicious software.
Coenraad De Beer - EzineArticles Expert Author

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