Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Computer Security and You! Part I.

What? You don't need computer security, the codes to launch our missiles are not located on your PC?

Rubbish. You need security. What do you have on your PC? Passwords to all of your online accounts, some of them bank and credit card accounts? How about tax returns? How about pictures of your children? How about other sensitive personal information? How about disk space? CPU power? You bet you do!

The Michelle Malkin blog on P2P inspired this missive on computer security. She has been noting that P2P while making it easy to share files with others on the Internet also if improperly secured can allow others to snoop through your personal files, file you do not intend to share with others. There have been examples (real live ones) of people's tax returns being obtained via insecure P2P setups and published on the Internet.

The Basics of the Internet

When you make a connection to the Internet your PC is assigned what is called an IP address which is unique. All computers on the Internet have an IP address. A person rarely refers to these IP addresses instead we refer to other computers with the familiar domain name. Fro example, that address has its own unique IP address which is probably fixed and does not change.

Those who dial up get a new IP address each time the dial into the Internet (though they may get the same address by chance it is not guaranteed). How about cable modem users or DSL (both hereafter referred to as broadband)? Depends sometimes (if you pay enough) you get an IP address that is assigned specifically to you this is referred to as a static IP otherwise you get a dynamic IP. If you have broadband with a dynamic IP then there is the concept of the lease.

The lease is the amount of time you have a given IP address. Essentially you make a connection to the internet, your computer asks the ISP provider for an address and your computer gets it. You do your work and then you get up from the PC and go to bed. The lease is a term that our PC can have the IP address without it being used and varies from provider to provider. So you are not using your PC but your PC is connected to the Internet for a given period of time.

More to come!