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CNN Today

Internet Security: Safeguarding Home PCs From Hacker Attacks

Aired February 23, 2000 - 1:20 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Hacker attacks are forcing folks to think about Internet security, of course, just in the nick of time. With faster Internet connections available, your PC at home may not be protected.

CNN Internet correspondent Allison Tom joins us now for more about all of this -- Allison.

ALLISON TOM, CNN INTERNET CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Lou.

More than two million American right now have fast or high-speed Internet access at home. With that, they have DSL, which is digital subscriber lines, or cable modems which actually allow you to get onto the Internet as long as your computer is on. Now, with that, it gives you a lot of convenience, but a number of experts also say it opens up the number of vulnerabilities for hackers to get into your information on your computer.

There's a few things that you can do. The first thing is that if you have Windows 98 or 95 operating, you can go to your start menu right here, go to the setting bar, and then go to the control panel and click on network. It's going to take you right there. And you'll click on the File and Print Sharing. You want to make sure that these two boxes here, the ones that you're seeing right here on your screen, are not checked. So you want to make sure that that's unchecked, which we'll try to do. And, essentially, that will make sure that you don't have Internet access or that other people that are using the Internet do not have any access to your files or to your printer.

No, there's also a number of things that you can do -- let me just close these up really quick -- on the Web that will allow you a number of security options. One of them is, if you go to Zonelabs.com, this site will allow you to actually download a software program for free, and it acts as a different firewall, basically another door to the entrance of any of your information that people can get to on the Internet. And it will allow you to download this for free so that you can have a higher protection level when you're using the Internet and any of the information on your computer.

You can also go to Symantec.com which will also give you another option for Internet security. And what you do is you click on Norton Internet Security here, and it will allow you to do this. It will charge you. This is not free like the other one is. This will charge you $50 to $60 to use it and download, but you can actually use it for 30 days for free just to give it a trial to see if it works for you.

And last but not least, you should go to Gibson Web site right here, and they actually allow you to download for free as well, and give you a test to see how secure your particular computer is. We'll show you here, if you scroll down on this particular page, you click on Test My Shields, you'll get an idea as to how safe your computer is and how secure it is, and it's something you should always be careful about, just to realize how your computer works.

I'm Allison Tom in the CNN Interactive newsroom.

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