Symantec's Norton Internet Security 2008
UK Shop
Symantec's Norton Internet Security 2008
US Shop

UK Shop

US Shop
Symantec's Norton AntiVirus 2008
UK Shop
Symantec's Norton AntiVirus 2008
US Shop

Stay safe on the Net

The Internet is amazing, but you've got to stay safe.

Razor Binaries recommends that you have all of the following installed on your machine while you surf:

  • A firewall which monitors both inbound and outbound traffic
  • An anti-spyware application with active monitoring switched on
  • An anti-virus application with active monitoring switched on
  • The latest patches from Microsoft® (if you're running a Windows® operating system)

The best way to protect your home network really depends on how good you are with computers. For advanced users a "best of breed" approach, where you combine individual anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall products according to your preference, gives you the highest level of control over your system. Make sure that you know what you are doing if you take this approach, since conflicts between the applications are bound to occur from time to time. You will also have up to three products running independent updates.

If you just want security that works and you don't care about being able to configure every last little detail, then an integrated solution from one vendor is a much better choice.

For the "best of breed" approach, we recommend Norton AntiVirus 2008 for virus protection, Sunbelt CounterSpy for protection against spyware and the excellent free Comodo Firewall Pro.

For an integrated solution, we recommend Norton Internet Security 2008. The 2007 version was already a huge improvement over previous versions: lighter on system resources and much better integration, while still offering excellent protection. The 2008 version has continued the trend. If you are looking for a slightly simpler to use package (with less configuration), which will also back up your files and perform system maintenance, then you could opt for Norton 360 instead. Both currently come with licenses for three machines (please check the Symantec store before ordering - this may be subject to change at any time), so you can protect your entire home network.

To purchase Symantec products, please follow the links to the left, selecting either UK or US Shop.


Now here are some answers to common questions about on-line safety:

Q: I’ve got an anti-virus program. Why would I need anything else?

A: Although some modern anti-virus programs do more than just virus protection and have anti-spyware features, they may not provide the safety of a dedicated anti-spyware application and they certainly don’t make up for the lack of a firewall.


Q: So what’s the deal with firewalls?

A: A firewall monitors network connections for suspicious activity. Firewalls may be placed at different positions in a network and may be hardware based. If you have an ADSL modem/router, it may also act as a firewall (don’t take this for granted). However, even if this is the case, it is recommended that you install a software firewall on your machine to protect it. Such a firewall can block intrusion attempts and some can also block attempts from malicious applications to make connections from your machine (see below). An anti-virus or anti-spyware application will not detect malicious connections. They may detect the activity of software, which is installed by an intruder, but you are obviously better off if you can keep the intruder out in the first place. A firewall is very important, even when you only have a dial-up connection, but if you have a broadband connection (always on) then it is absolutely essential.


Q: I have Windows® XP SP2 or WIndows® Vista and I am using the built in firewall. Surely I don’t need another firewall?

A: Although the Windows® firewall does protect against intrusion attempts (inbound connections), it does not currently protect against applications attempting to make connections from your machine to the outside World (outbound connections). Monitoring outbound connections allows you to put a stop to malicious software, which in one way or another has been installed on your machine and which may be trying to transmit personal information that it has collected. A good software firewall allows you to set permissions for specific applications with regards to how they may access your network and/or the Internet.


Q: How is spyware different from viruses?

A: The purpose of a virus is to do damage or in other ways upset the user and then to spread either by embedding itself in executable files or through e-mail (worms). Spyware on the other hand is designed to collect information about user behaviour and transmit it to a designated recipient. An example is a key-logger, which quietly records what you type on your keyboard. This could include your credit card or bank account details! Because these types of applications follow different patterns from viruses, dedicated software is required to accurately detect their activity or even prevent them from installing themselves.


Q: What are cookies and should I treat them as spyware?

A: A cookie is a small piece of data, which is typically used by Web sites to record and read information about a user. For example, a cookie can be used to store your preferences on a specific site, allowing them to be set automatically whenever you visit the site. They are also used to remember you for easier login when you return to a site and may be used to store information about what you have in your electronic shopping basket in an on-line shop. Most cookies are harmless and can actually make life easier for you. However some cookies are used to track user behaviour extensively and may be modified and read across a variety of sites without your knowledge. They can for example be used to target you with annoying advertising based on the sites that you have visited recently. A good anti-spyware application will allow you to include cookies in scans for malicious software and will show you the relative risk of each cookie. This allows you to get rid of cookies from vendors that are known to abuse the information that they collect and keep the “good cookies” for your convenience. If an anti-spyware application identifies hundreds of potentially malicious files on your PC, you will luckily in most cases find that most or all of them are actually cookies.


Q: I use a wireless network (WiFi). Are there any special precautions I should take?

A: Yes! You should run virus and spyware protection and a firewall on a machine connected through WiFi, just as you would with a wired network connection. Apart from that there are a number of things you can do just by changing the way your WiFi access point and the PC connecting to it is set up. Most WiFi access points come out of the box as unprotected, such that the default settings make it really easy for you to connect to them. Unfortunately that also makes it really easy for anyone else to connect. Here are some tips:

  1. Your wireless network has a name, known as the SSID. By default many access points broadcast the SSID, so any PC can search for it and connect. You may have the option of disabling the SSID broadcast on the access point. In this case you need to explicitly specify the SSID on any PC that wants to connect to it. Make sure that you choose a name for your network that is not obvious (similar to selecting a good password).
  2. Switch on encryption. It may slow down network traffic slightly, but this is normally negligible and certainly worth it in terms of the added safety.
  3. Use Access Control/MAC filtering. Every machine that is capable of accessing your wireless network has a network adapter ID called a MAC address. Set up a list of trusted MAC addresses, preventing any machine with an unknown address from connecting.
  4. Switch off the wireless network completely when you are not using it.

Q: I’m a beginner. Is there somewhere I can learn more about safety on-line?

A: Yes, there is in fact a campaign in the UK to educate people about security issues. It’s called GetSafeOnline and you can visit their site by clicking on the icon to the top right on this page.

 

Disclaimer: The statements above are recommendations only and should be adopted at users’ own risk. We regret that we cannot answer security related questions unless they relate specifically to one of our products.


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