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Links to help you protect your computer and data

A customer asked me once, "What's the best way to protect my computer from viruses and other types of attacks?" To which I responded, "Unplug it and hide it in the back of your closet!"

All computers are vulnerable to hacking, viruses, worms, spyware, and whatever yet may come. Every connection to the internet, from dial-up modems to T-3 lines, is constantly being scanned for vulnerabilities. Every time we open an E-mail or a webpage, we expose our computers to inadvertent installations and executions of spyware and viruses.

Attacks will continue to get more sophisticated and more difficult to defend against. To keep your system performance up and help keep it secure, Woodwyn Solutions recommends that you:

•  Schedule your antivirus software to update and scan regularly
•  Use spyware detection software at least once a month
•  Regularly install recommended security patches and other updates distributed by Microsoft and other vendors
•  Consider the pros and cons of a firewall and install one if you need to

Woodwyn Solutions is dedicated to helping you get the most out of your IT investments. Here are some links to some of the tools that can help you protect your system. You can always feel free to contact us with any questions or suggestions.

Check your computer's security

The following is a collection of basic on-line tools that will scan and report security vulnerabilities on your computer. 

Microsoft Security Baseline Analyzer Download this tool to perform a basic security assessment.
Symantec Security Check On-line assessment tool.  This tool requires using at least Internet Explorer 5.0, Netscape 4.5 or Safari 1.0.

Symantec also includes a virus detection tool.  This portion only works using at least Microsoft's Internet Explorer version 5.0. 

Shields Up! Shields Up! Online Testing by Gibson Research.  This is one of the first, fastest and simplest assessment tools to determine if your computer is open to an internet attack. 
pcFlank More advanced techniques to scan for openings on your computer.  More time consuming to test.  Less explanations to help with problems.
Broadband Reports Broadband reports has many tools to quickly test your system.  This link points to a quick scan.  This test will validate your system for up to one minute. 


If you’ve never had a virus infect your computer you can consider yourself an anomaly. Antivirus software is the single most powerful defense we have against attacks. Keep your virus definitions up to date and schedule your antivirus software to regularly scan your entire system for new installations of viruses and worms.

AVG Avg from Grisoft offers both a respectable freeware version and a more capable commercial version.
Norton Antivirus The popular Symantec's Norton Antivirus Software often comes with computers and is recommended as a powerful and easy to use choice.
McAFee VirusScan The McAFee VirusScan is a popular package that comes with many computers.
PC-cillin A very capable antivirus application by Trend Micro.
Nod32 The Eset Nod32 antivirus application has been consistently evaluated as one of the best professional tools available. It tends to identify many viruses, even before formal virus signatures are available.


Spyware takes over parts of your browser to track your internet activities. Some versions are harmless, but annoying and force unwanted advertising on you. Other versions attempt to capture your keyboard strokes, stealing personal information like user names, passwords, account numbers, etc., and report them back to their authors. Fortunately, there is help available.

Spybot Spybot is a powerful anti-spyware application. This will catch more problems than any other tool we are familiar with. Best of all, it’s free! Included in the latest release is a small tool that monitors your system for applications that may change settings without your knowledge.
Adaware Adaware is the originator of the anti-spyware application software.  There is both a free and a shareware version of the application.
Spyware Blaster helps to prevent access of spyware addresses.


A firewall can be either a hardware device or a software application designed to monitor and control incoming and outgoing traffic to and from you computer. If your system is vulnerable to an attack through one of its many ports you may benefit from installing either a hardware or a software firewall. You should be aware that firewalls can be difficult to install and confusing to work with. They are also likely to decrease browsing and network performance. Be sure to call if you need help.

Hardware Firewalls

WatchGuard Woodywn Solutions is a distributor of WatchGuard, allowing us to pass on savings to our customers. These hardware firewalls are considered to be the most advanced and capable in the industry.

Software Firewalls

Kerio Kerio Personal Firewalls have a free and a pro version. Both come with a very nice and easy to use control panel. The Pro versions offer advanced interfaces and more options.
Outpost Agnitum Outpost Firewall.  There is both a free and a more advanced 'pro' version.  This firewall provides a layered protection against many types of attacks.
Sygate Sygate also has a free and a pro version. There is little difference between both of these very capable versions.
Zonealarm Zone Labs started the personal firewall business. There is a free and multiple pay versions.

Internet Performance

Be sure that your connection's performance is what you expect that you are paying for. Periodically measure your performance to make sure that there is no degradation. A loss in performance indicates either your service provider is not allowing as much bandwidth capacity as promised, or an application was installed on your computer that is stealing some of your capacity. The following are some easy to use bandwidth meters:

McAFee Internet Connection Speedometer
2-wire Speed Meter
DSL Reports Speed Tests
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