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AFRICABIZ VOL 1 - ISSUE : 16
AUGUST 15 - SEPTEMBER 14, 2000
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Editor: Dr. Bienvenu-Magloire Quenum
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VIRUS SCANNING IS NOT ENOUGH

For better interactivity, particularly in the multimedia area - and even for simple surfing - it is a real pleasure to have broadband "permanent" connection. - ISDN, ADSL, CABLE and SATELLITE for the lucky ones.

Permanent connection means instant connection - without the shrieking noise of a simple modem - and fast download.

With such a permanent connection you can enjoy the speediness of downloading software; for instance - 20 Megabytes of file download in 2 to 3 minutes against 1 to 3 hours for a simple modem; it is a real joy to see the download meter running fast to the end of the scale, which means you can perform the task you are after quick and pronto; disconnect and work off-line if you wish.

However there is a drawback to this user friendly side of broadband connection: you are more exposed to hackers attacks and a virus scanning utility is not enough to protect you from the damage that may be done to your system if the "rogues" succeed in their destruction tasks. Your hard disk could be erased or your system used as a Trojan horse to perform attacks against other computers without you even noticing it...Remember the attacks few months ago against Ebay and AOL.

YOU NEED A PERSONNEL FIREWALL

It's better to take precaution in advance and avoid being burned!

In addition to your virus scanning and protection tool, you should opt for an utility which acts as "sentinel" against hackers; alerting you about attempts made to enter your system when you are online with broadband connection.

Believe me minutes after installing such a system, I was amazed to see the background activities occurring behind the screen of my monitor. Some group from Australia - 12,000 miles from my residence country - was probing my system to see if I have Symantec's PcAnyWhere insatlled on my system.

As you certainly know it, PcAnyWhere is an utility which allows movers to use their portable to reach their desktop computer or intranet when they are on the road. Hackers love PcAnyWhere, which is a perfect Trojan horse to performing their insidious attacks.

Within one hour I got many other probes to the ports on my system from all other the world.

WHAT TO DO TO AVOID SUCH ATTACKS

Fortunately, there are "sentinels", which help you control the mischievous attacks from villains who are glad and relish penetrating into your "house" unnoticed and play havoc.

There is "BlackIce Defender" from Network Ice Corporation. It combines both firewall and intrusion detection in a single easy-to-use package. As soon as an attack is launched against your system, BlackIce Defender system tray's tool flashes an alert and gives you details about the attacker and the seriousness of said attack. You have the following options:

1- trust the attacker - it may be your Internet Service Provider - probing / running stats for its subscribers online.

2- block the attacker for a day, a week or for ever.

Once you blocked an attack, the attacker had no clue that its attempts are blocked by BlackIce Defender; he cannot detect the "sentinel" and its attacks remained unsuccessful.

IS IT THE BEST PROTECTION?

However, the best protection, even if you have a "sentinel" installed with broadband and permanent connection is to never let your system unattended; disconnect when you are not physically present in front of your monitor.

 "BlackIce Defender" costs US $ 39,90.

Want the best? Choose ZoneAlarm Click here

- Before taking a final decision about which firewall is the best for your system / network / organization it is better to have a thorough opinion and information on how a firewall perfoms. There is an excellent White Paper on firewalls on the site of vicomsoft.com, which produces also InterGate firewall

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FREEBIE


MAIL SECURITY


I have many times exposed here the security / confidentiality problem links to the open mail system - Outlook, Outlook Express, Netscape Messenger, Eudora etc.

Sending mail through these systems is sending a postcard; anyone during the trip of the mail - through the computers maze - to the receiver desktop can read your message. In a previous issue I gave you a web based alternative to secure the confidentiality of your mail.

I discovered another desktop utility which performed a secured / encrypted mail dispatching when installed on your system. It's called ZixMail and is free up to January 1, 2000. Afterwards it will cost you US $ 24(twenty four) per month for one registered email address.

Click here to get ZixMail.

INSTALLATION TIP

You should install it online; with your normal mail system running. make sure also by clicking the options menu to configure the proxy setting if you are connected to the Internet through a proxy.

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