An Internet connection is a two-way street. Not only can you see any available page in the world but the world can also see you. Precautions must be taken to ensure a safe connection. Port scanning, spamming, and viruses are three main concerns aside from the content itself. Port scanning is the systematic scanning of the input/output ports on a computer. Network managers have a legitimate need to scan computers for open ports where information can go in and out of a computer on the network.
Scanning home computers for open ports over the Internet is generally with malicious intent to find a weakened access point to break into your computer.
A firewall would block those IP Addresses attempting to scan your network. You can protect yourself from these attacks with firewall software. Firewall software can be downloaded from the Internet or purchased at any software retailer.
Some companies may offer anti-spam or anti-virus filtering. When performed at the server level for all users connected at the same time this filtering significantly slows down the server. Server-level filtering also gives a false sense of protection. Your best defense to get the kind of spam and virus protection you need is to install protection software on your machine. If you have a home network, install it on your firewall or router. A hub is not a security device. Generally they are simple switching devices without the ability to protect against unwanted Internet traffic.
Another point to consider is that server-level anti-virus protection will not be able to detect viruses in other media you connect to your computer such as diskettes, CDs, DVDs, or portable hard drives.
How do I prevent hackers from getting into my computer?
The best way to prevent any unauthorized access into your home computer is to invest in a Firewall (either hardware or software versions). For more information on firewalls, go to any search engine on the Internet and search for firewall. Firewall software is inexpensive and recommended for your own network security.
How do I avoid getting viruses?
The best way to avoid viruses is to NEVER OPEN ATTACHMENTS in your e-mail. If you absolutely need to open attachments, only open those from people you are sure you know, and only when you know they are sending you one. For added protection, you should purchase a piece of anti-virus software, such as McAfee or Norton, both of which are readily available in most computer stores and over the Internet.