How good is my protection

Assuming you have checked your PC for protection from malware as described here, you should also ensure your PC is protected from hacking. This protection is called a "firewall".

 

A firewall checks information coming from the Internet or a network, and then either blocks it if its "unsafe" or allows it to pass through to your computer.

A firewall can help block hackers or malicious software (such as worms) from access to your computer through via your network or the Internet. If your computer is infected a firewall can also help stop it from spreading the malware to other computers.

Most domestic and small business PC's use a router to connect to the internet via their internet service provider. In this case the router’s network address translation (NAT) feature effectively acts as a firewall, preventing other computers on the Internet from gaining access. However routers can be hacked or their firewall protection can be turned off.

As a second line of defence, Windows includes its own software firewall - part of "windows defender". This can also be changed - or even turned off.

Preparation:

Before you do anything else you should:

  1. back up important files to CD or DVD. These will need to be scanned for viruses before reinstallation.
  2. Read the disclaimer.

Online vulnerability tests

To ensure that your computer’s software is protected from the Internet – either with a router or through a software firewall – you can visit the ShieldsUP! test website. It will perform a port scan of your IP address, recording whether ports are open or closed at your address. You want ports to be closed to protect potentially vulnerable services from the Internet.

For a wider range of more thorough tests you can visit the PCFlank website.

If these tests show vulnerabilities you may wish to call us for help. Once the problems have been resolved you should immediately change any passwords and access permissions where security might be an issue. Particularly Bank, Ebay, PAYPAL, EMail etc.

Disclaimer

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