Most people are not aware that they are subject to malicious probing when on-line. There is a simple way for everyone to see this in action, open up your firewall program and look at the firewall’s logs. There you will see a list of the attempts the firewall has blocked. Of course I am assuming you have a firewall. If you haven’t presumably you will now be off to get one?!
However, not all firewalls are created equal. A recent test of the effectiveness of free and commercial products, run by a well-known website, revealed that only one of the firewalls was blocking their attempt to gain access. Surprisingly it was one of the free firewalls; proving that spending lots of money is not necessarily the way to effectively protect your PC.
In fact personal computing can be a very expensive past time, but it need not be as there are a lot of free products available. However, finding out which products are the best and deciding which to use can be a very time-consuming and confusing exercise, especially because the competition wants to confuse you.
My own experience of firewalls has shown time and again that many are resource hogs and have a huge impact on PC efficiency, which is of course pointless. One of the aims of viruses is to compromise the efficient running of a computer, surely the point of a firewall should be to prevent that and maintain peak PC performance? Thankfully there are products available to us that have very little impact on computer resources and provide very good protection.
If you want to worry yourself and find out exactly what the dangers are with surfing the Internet without sufficient protection just search the net for current malware threats, most are trojans apparently. Trojans can delete, block, modify or copy data and disrupt the performance of computers or computer networks. Trojans are named after the Trojan Horse (apparently used by the Greeks to gain access to Troy after a ten-year siege). Like the horse, trojans gain access by invite. We inadvertently invite them in by downloading what appeared to be a legitimate program. The rule of thumb is always to save downloaded programs for a virus check before opening them. However, the latest threat comes from potentially unwanted programs, which in effect can act like malware but are not classed as such by our antivirus products. It’s an area that needs to be addressed very quickly by the manufacturers of our protection.