Lunar Discourse

"Catch Your Dreams Before They Slip Away"


Something about timing.

Sometimes I don't make daily entry. Sometimes I make more than one.

Internet security and privacy. Somewhere along the line I thought I'd write this really great piece on Internet security and privacy. But the truth is, I think it's all been written.

There are a couple programs I'm presently running.

A long long time ago, I dropped Norton Anti-Virus. For a while there, I was a total dare-devil and didn't run any anti-virus program. But now I'm running AVG 6.0 Anti-Virus System from Grisoft. This is something I can live with. And, it definitely doesn't feed into my paranoia. It's something I would highly recommend.

For a long long time I was running Black Ice, a product which I paid about $50.00 for, as a firewall. I know! I know! Before you go telling me Black Ice really isn't a firewall, I'm already aware of those claims. However, if you think you know so much, you should really read Bob Sundling's little piece entitled Why your firewall sucks :-) if you think you're firewall is really doing the job of a firewall. Good read, and it's true too. During the big Nimda scare last fall, I was on Within hours after the announcement of the worm's introduction onto the Net, my computer was getting hit after hit for Port 80 queries. Black Ice was constantly alerting me to this fact. I pleaded with famvid to filter these queries before they could hit the users. But they didn't know what I was talking about. It was shortly after that I switched ISP's.

And, it was shortly after that I switched from Black Ice to Zone Alarm from Zone Labs But, I didn't stay with them long. To put it mildly, it shattered my nerves. So, I went back to Black Ice. Zone Alarm and Black Ice are both moderately recommended.

Recently, I dropped Black Ice again and went with Tiny Personal Firewall 2.0 from Tiny Software. I've been running it for a couple days and I'm still figuring it out. Perhaps a little programming knowledge is in order to effectively use this product. For now, though, I'll keep using it.

There were a few anti-trojan programs I tried, but nothing I stuck with, and nothing I would recommend. For now, I'm just taking the common sense approach to anti-trojan management. Let's hope it works.

Other privacy and security programs I use. These are installed, but not running.

Spyware. Yeow! I bet most people don't realize how much spyware they actually have on their hard drives. Most spyware comes to you via on-line advertisers. I'm not saying all on-line advertisers install spyware on your computer. But, there's a bunch out there that do. Some spyware comes to your computer from so-called "free" programs that you can download. One such program is the ever popular Gozilla! downloading utility. Ya see, nothing is really free on the Internet. You either pay now or pay later. Yeah, I used to use it, too. With programs like Gozilla! you pay with the havoc it can wreak on your computer and your online experience. One thing I really wish is that places like ZDnet and Tucows would put a notice on the download pages of the products they offer if it contains spyware or not. I think I'll send that in as a suggestion.

There are two anti-spyware products I use.

The first is Ad-aware from Lavasoft It's a small, easy to use program that scans your registry, your hard drive, and your computer memory (as opposed to your own memory). It identifies spyware components and then safely allows you to eradicate them from your computer. Very good program. Highly recommended by me and others I know.

The second one isn't really a program. It's a list called IE-Spyad. Eric Howes at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana wrote this little program which contains a list of known spyware offenders. After you download it, add it to your registry keys, and walla! your Internet Explorer browser will refuse cookies, pop-ups, Active-X programs, etc., from attaching to your computer. Actually, it's a little more complicated than that, but Eric makes it easy. Very highly recommended, but only for IE 5.0 and above.

There are other little tips and tricks I employ, but, that's all for now. More later.


Signing off.

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Marie Carnes 2002.


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