Note: This column represents the opinions
of the writer and as such, is not represented as fact|
Breaking news: New security hole discovered in [insert your favourite
the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook
are revealed for all to see!
Breaking News: New virus/trojan/worm spreads like wildfire across the Net.
Yes, it seems like every day a new threat to the security of your valuable
data is discovered and reported.
Not only is the stability and reliability of your PC compromised, but there's
a risk that your valuable passwords, commercial and private data may be
exposed to the scrutiny of crackers and other malevolent types.
Need Cutting-Edge Copy?|
As NZ's longest-running online commentator, I'm looking for
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to write casual or regular material specifically to order for print or
Net-based publications. If you're
interested, drop me a line
You may have the latest anti-virus software, personal firewall and security
updates for your OS and browser -- but there's no way you can guarantee
that the next hole isn't going to blow your system wide open.
Anti-virus software does its best to spot commonly exploited weaknesses but
it has to be acknowledged that much of the time the companies which write
this stuff are reactive rather than proactive. On many occasions their
software can't identify a virus until the signature for that virus has
been added to the program's database.
This means that the next virus, trojan or worm to hit your PC may go totally
undetected until others have reported it and the anti-virus software vendors
have released an update to allow their products to recognise it.
So how can you *really* protect yourself from all this online danger? How can
you keep your company and personal data safe from prying eyes?
What about using another PC solely for Email and web-surfing?
With the price of new (and second-hand) hardware forever falling, the option
of using an "Internet Only" PC is rapidly becoming the cheapest way to
provide protection for your most important data.
After all -- do you take your life savings with you every time you go down to
the corner store to buy the paper?
Of course not -- you only take as much money as you might need.
So why put all your valuable data on a machine that is going to be used to surf
How much would it cost you to sort out the problems that a major cracker or
virus strike might have on your primary PC? Most people significantly
underestimate the cost of cleaning a system (something that could require
a complete reformat and reinstall/restore operation) -- in a commercial environment
this can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars in lost time, "expert" consulting
Trawling through the printed edition of T&E
I see brand new PCs (900MHz Duron processor, 128MB RAM, 20GB HDD) being sold
for as little as $900 (sans monitor of course) and reasonably spec'd second-hand
units from $500.
Suddenly it starts to make sense to have a dedicated "Net-only" PC in the office
or home doesn't it?
Keep all those financial, personal and sensitive records safely out of harm's
way by storing them on a machine that will never be connected to the Net.
Once you've got your "Net-only" PC set up, just dump an image of the HDD onto CDR and then,
if you do get hit by a virus/trojan/worm/cracker, cleaning and restoring
becomes a very straightforward operation.
Who knows, given Microsoft's recently displayed contrition, perhaps they'd
even be prepared to let you install your existing copy of Windows onto this
second PC by way of recompense. Or maybe the smarter amongst us might even
take the chance to try out Linux as an alternative Net-surfing platform.
It's Still Free -- So Pay Up!
Every month, Aardvark scores over half a million hits, at least 150K page views and
delivers more than 6GB of data to visitors.
All this traffic has meant that I've had to shift the site to a new server
to ensure that your daily dose is always fresh and delivered to your
browser with minimal delays.
I also invest over 300 hours per year writing the daily column and compiling
the day's news index -- all for your illumination and entertainment.
If you haven't sent any money to help offset the costs of running this
ad-free, 100% Kiwi, always fresh, often controversial site then you can give
yourself the warm-fuzzies this Christmas by doing so now.
Just drop by, click on the Aardvark, and
hand over your loot.
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