Why You Need a Software Firewall, and Security at Wifi Hotspots

I’m get­ting tired of answer­ing ques­tions at Yed­da or Yahoo!Answers, then see­ing my answers scraped and used as con­tent on oth­er people’s blogs. I’m prob­a­bly going to keep answer­ing the ques­tions, but just answer­ing with a point­er to a post here or at one of my oth­er sites. Ordi­nar­i­ly, I’d put this par­tic­u­lar answer over at anoth­er site, but I’m rebuild­ing it right now.
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Malware Woes

A few weeks ago, my PC was some­how infect­ed with some nasty thing that tried to turn it in to a spam­bot via dri­ve­by down­load. I had the cur­rent ver­sion of Syman­tec AntiVirus run­ning, set to the absolute high­est para­noia lev­els and updat­ed dai­ly. I also had Spy­bot Search & Destroy run­ning, again, updat­ed dai­ly and care­ful­ly con­fig­ured. I had both do full sys­tem scans every day, as well as keep­ing them mem­o­ry-res­i­dent at all times.

Nei­ther pro­gram ever gave so much as a peep. In fact, when I found the orig­i­nal file that was to blame and checked it man­u­al­ly with Syman­tec AV, it passed as though it were as inno­cent as a babe. If I hadn’t had the antivirus soft­ware con­fig­ured to show me an icon in the systray when it was check­ing out­go­ing mail, who knows when I would have real­ized that the sys­tem was com­pro­mised? As it was, I knew with­in sec­onds. (Hey, I notice “out­go­ing mail” when my email pro­gram isn’t even open.) I end­ed up pulling out the eth­er­net cable to stop com­mu­ni­ca­tions ’til the sys­tem was clean.
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