Keep Your PC Safe

Here's how to bring the full force of your firewall, antivirus, and anti-spyware down on intruders.

No matter where you really live, when you connect your computer to the Internet, youre in the big city. So you outfit your PC with the virtual locks that PC Magazine has been recommending for years: antivirus protection, a software firewall, a router with a hardware firewall, and a shiny new antispyware utility. Your PC is now impenetrable, right? Well, maybe not.

Just having locks on your door isnt enough. Youve actually got to lock them, too, and let only the right people in. If your security apps arent configured correctly, your computer isnt locked down, and anyone could get in.

In the following pages, well show you how to set up for appropriate protection. No matter which brands or versions youve chosen—whether you find menus called Options, Settings, or Preferences—youll benefit from this universal advice.

Be warned, though: Once youve become your own security expert, friends and family will come crawling out of the woodwork. "My computers acting funny—there are weird links on my desktop, and my home page has a naked lady on it. And I got a cable modem, but my connection is so slow. And I get all these pop-ups that know my name. And, and, and...."

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