Monday, May 02, 2005

Hackers Are A Pain In The Neck

I'm having all kinds of fun with the internet. Last night I was working on getting some stuff ready - 2 reports for work, my resume, email in general - you get the idea. I sent the reports out to my work account, and started to get ready to send out my updated resume. I started having problems accessing the web, and then found I couldn't access my email. Then the real fun started.
I started getting warnings from Zone Alarm that it was blocking port scans. This happened a few weeks ago also. This is somewhat disturbing. I have to go and research some of this because I have a router that acts as a firewall between me and my dsl modem. For Zone Alarm to be catching port scans means that the scans are getting past the router's firewall.

I became a lot more concerned with the security of my computers and email when I discovered that my STBX had installed a keystroke logger on my computer a few weeks before the ambush. There's more I want to do to shore my systems up on this front, but I haven't had the time to really dig into the subject and get it all organized. For instance, I need to do a very close visual inspection of my system because in looking up the keystroke logger I found that there are an amazing number of hardware and software products that can be used to spy on people. Once I get all my data better organized I'm planning to wipe the drives again completely and start from scratch. I want to look into a good encryption scheme so that if my drives "disappear" or are "borrowed" the data will be safe from prying eyes.

So, I'm not sure what the problem is exactly right now. I can't access my email or the web at home, my work account is accessed through the same connection so I can't do anything with that either. The reports I was supposed to get out are now late, which is really annoying since I worked hard in getting them ready on time. If not for this internet fun there would have been no problem.

Life is way too busy right now to deal with hackers on top of everything else. I don't even want to think where I'd be right now if I had not taken some steps to protect things. Running two firewalls seemed kind of excessive, but the fact that the second one is catching stuff has removed any doubt that it was the right thing to do.

How many of you are nervous about that broadband cable coming into your computer now? Want my advice? Go to Staples or something and look for an old version of Zone Alarm that they're selling at a discount. You get a year of protection and updates from the day you buy it, so once you do the installation it will update to the latest version. So for the discounted price you get the current version anyway. I got mine for less than $10 - not bad, eh?