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How to build a FREE Internet Security Suite. A Step by Step Guide to help you protect your computer and your family while surfing the net.   Page 2 of 4.

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O.K., what we're going to do now is ADD things to the bare bones connection shown in the FIRST sketch, up at the top of the last page. When we ADD each item, we'll tell you where it goes, what it does, and why you need it.

Much can be done using the FREE software available on our Home Page, but, DSL and Cable Users, if they have a home or office network, will already have one useful item.

If you're using a dial-up connection, you cannot use the NAT Router scheme detailed below. You must use a software firewall. Most of these will provide both inbound and outbound protection.


NAT Routers (An Inbound Firewall)

If you're using DSL or Cable, you can buy or rent a Router, a NAT Router, where NAT stands for, in geek speak: "Network Address Translation." This type of router will function as an INBOUND FIREWALL for your PC, and, allows you, (if you wish), to create a wireless (or wired) home or office network. The router is placed between your DSL or Cable modem, and your computer.
NAT Router

Besides translating addresses, a router shields your PC by offering only one global I.P. address to those on the internet, despite the fact that you may have several different I.P. addresses for computers in use on your local network. Such a router is a FIREWALL between YOU and the NET. It's like a steel fire door between your house and an attached garage. Or, to picture it another way, a very simplified and non-technical way, think of it as a red brick wall between YOU and THEM. Using this analogy, think of each brick in the wall as a port in to your computer. If any port on your computer is OPEN, the bad guys can sneak thru and hurt you!

An INCOMING FIREWALL guards each and every port on your computer.

Simplified treatise on Ports:
All standard computers have 65,535 ports. The numbering goes from 1 thru 65,535.
The concept of Ports is a bit confusing - they don't exist physically. They are really just a part of the address information in the data packages flying around your network or the Internet. Think of them as a "For the attention of: ....." line at the front of the address. When the packages arrive at your computer it  knows that anything marked Port 139 means "For the attention of the TCP handler."

Want to TEST your router and see how well it works as an inbound firewall? Click this link. A test of your incoming firewall should show that, (ideally), all of your ports are in what's called stealth mode. A characteristic of communication on the net is that outsiders query your computer, and it is supposed to answer back saying: "Yes, this port is open or No, this port is closed." What if the computer does nothing? This is what stealth mode is, and, an INBOUND FIREWALL, (the router in this case),  is what makes this happen. The outsider is told, in effect, that no such port exists. You are in stealth mode. Neat, huh?

Why, you might say: "If I have a router, or a good software firewall, why do I need anything else?" Well, the router blocks ports; it renders, (if configured right), them invisible, but your software, i.e., your browser or e-mail client opens ports, and viruses can then stream in thru them.


Outbound Firewall
Outbound Firewall
If you're using DSL or Cable, along with a router, you already have a solid INBOUND FIREWALL, but you must add, using software, an OUTBOUND FIREWALL; the router doesn't do this. Note that, since most firewall software offers both in and out protection, you will then have multiple layers of inbound protection with a router.


Antivirus Software
  Antivirus Software
So, now we have a FIREWALL, whether you're using dial-up, with a software firewall, or DSL / Cable, with a combination of a router and software, what's next? In order of importance, (for a complete protection package), it's ANTIVIRUS SOFTWARE. This software works in such a way that it can be thought of as sitting between your router, (or incoming firewall software), and your computer.

There is a WIDE variety of antivirus software, both free, share, and commercial, listed on our Home Page. Pick one we recommend, or another that seems better to you, or a friend, a wizened netizen, may suggest. Our personal choice is AVG Free. Above all, pick one that up-dates its virus signatures frequently, at a minimum once per week, but preferably, every day like AVG does.

Good antivirus software should also provide inbound and outbound E-Mail protection, and a "storage vault," as some call it, where viruses can be quarantined. Some Users turn OFF the outbound E-Mail test; the logic is: "If nothing bad can come in, how can it go out?" Some turn outbound mail checking OFF as they feel it slows down the system and is unnecessary. You must make your own decision on this.

O.K., now we have a BASIC Internet Security Suite.  A basic suite consists of:

Here is what this basic Level 1 Internet Security Suite looks like:

The Internet
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Your Dial-Up, DSL, or Cable Modem.
PC Modem
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Below is for DSL or Cable Modem Users ONLY.
NAT Router
Outbound Firewall
Dial-Up Users don't have a Router so a single firewall handles inbound & outbound.
|
Antivirus Software
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A Simplified View Of Your PC.
A simplistic view of your computer, along with a connection to the internet, that's protected by an in/out firewall and antivirus software.

What we now have is pretty good, but its not enough. Why? Because you're depending too much on your antivirus software, Remember the phrase: "Jack of all trades and Master of None?" Well, it works here too! The very best freebie antivirus software, even AVG Free, that we recommend, can't do everything. AVG pays us nothing to say good things about them; we're saying it because we use AVG ourselves.

You're thinking: "Well, what do I do now?" Please read on; it'll get better.

Please click below to read on.

Go on to Page 3 of this article

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