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Top 10 security utilities

PC World

May 22, 2000
Web posted at: 11:45 a.m. EDT (1545 GMT)

(IDG) -- The recent outbreak of the "ILOVE YOU" virus proved a painful reminder that you need to secure your PC from cyber attacks. Using antivirus software to protect your system is just one step in the process. Limiting your computer's vulnerability to outside threats includes monitoring your Internet connection, blocking access to your files, and protecting your passwords. In this list, we feature files that help you keep your data safe.

Prevent hackers from accessing your computer with ZoneAlarm, a firewall utility that helps thwart cyberattacks. Hide files and folders from unauthorized users with File Protector, a shareware utility that makes files unreadable by others. Whisper32, a free password protection program, stores and encrypts your passwords to protect them from prying eyes. To find more system security files, click "More security extras," link below.

Top 10 system safeguards

  1. NetWatcher 2000: This utility runs in the background while you're connected to the Internet and monitors information queries. When it detects a query, it alerts you and immediately closes the connection. It also logs the date and time, as well as the IP address, the port number, and the host used by anyone trying to access data on your system.


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  3. SurfSecret: Clean up after your Web browser and cover some of your Web surfing tracks. This program periodically deletes images and text placed on your hard drive, as well as cookie files. Version 3.0 offers a new "Keystroke Wakeup" feature that removes all visual evidence of SurfSecret on your desktop until a user-defined hotkey is pressed.


  4. Jammerr: This free software secures your Windows desktop, locking up your computer in three ways. Level 1 offers a password-protected lockup when you start up Windows, Level 2 hides and disables security-risk sections, and Level 3 prompts users for a password when they open any program.


  5. TDS-2: Trojan Defence Suite: Scan your PC for more than 520 Trojan horse viruses and worms, including Back Orifice 2000 and Sub Seven 2.1 Gold. Once detected, Trojan horses are displayed in your taskbar where they can be easily removed.


  6. ZoneAlarm: Keep your digital subscriber line or cable modem connection secure. This dynamic firewall helps keep your PC safe from hackers by providing total control over which applications can use the Internet. You can block uninitiated and unwanted traffic while your PC is unattended or while you're not using your connection. This update eliminates e-mail-borne Visual Basic Script worms, such as the "ILOVE YOU" virus. Note: This file is free for personal use; for business use, it costs $19.95.


  7. File Protector: Hide your files and folders, and control the ability of other users to open, delete, rename, and append them. This program also can protect all files with a specific extension, such as .exe or .dll.


  8. Info Keep: Keep track of your passwords, user names, and Internet log-ins with this password-management utility. This app encrypts your data for maximum security and also lets you create unlimited data files, schedule password expiration, and automatically back up your files.


  9. DUN 1.3 Performance and Security Update: This upgrade improves the performance, reliability and security of Windows-based communications with Windows 95 Dial-Up Networking. It enhances dial-up connections over standard telephone lines and Virtual Private Network connections over IP networks such as the Internet. Note: This link will take you directly to the Windows 95 Update page.


  10. Shredder 95: When you delete data, traces of potentially sensitive files, pictures, and documents can remain on your PC. This utility not only removes files from your system, it also overwrites them numerous times so they can't be accessed again with recovery software or physical magnetic sensors.


  11. Whisper 32: Log in to protected applications and Web sites more quickly with this free password manager. For added safety, Whisper 32 encrypts passwords before storing them. Features include a built-in password generator and user-scheduled password expiration.



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