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Maintaining Security : Monitoring Your Security Settings, Configuring the Windows Firewall

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1/14/2013 11:45:21 AM

1. Monitoring Your Security Settings

Although there are many different high-security settings in Windows Vista, there are six big ones: Windows Firewall, Automatic Updating, Virus Protection, Spyware And Other Malware Protection, Internet Security Settings, and User Account Control. In the Windows Security Center, you can easily monitor your settings and can adjust them as needed. All the items shown in the Windows Security Center are part of Windows Vista except for Virus Protection, which you have to obtain separately.

Check Your Settings

1. Click the Start button, choose Control Panel from the Start menu, and, in the Security section, click Check This Computer’s Security Status to display the Windows Security Center window.

2. Check the status of the security features and settings.

3. Click the down arrow next to an active feature to see detailed information about the feature.

4. If you don’t have a virus-protection program, click the Find A Program button to go to a Microsoft Web site that features information and links to virus-protection software providers.

5. If any other item shown in the Windows Security Center is turned off or is not configured, click the appropriate link, and follow any instructions.

Tip

Windows Defender is a built-in spyware- and malware-protection program. It doesn’t, however, protect your computer from viruses.


2. Configuring the Windows Firewall

A firewall is a program that’s designed not only to prevent unauthorized and malicious access to your computer over the Internet, but also to prevent unauthorized communications from your computer to the Internet—for example, those that can be made by a spyware program. In other words, a firewall is your defense against hackers, viruses, Trojan horses, worms, and all the other horrors out there in cyberspace. Unfortunately, a firewall can also block legitimate traffic, so you might need to tweak your settings a bit.

Configure the Firewall

1. Click the Start button, choose Control Panel from the Start menu, click Security, and, under Windows Firewall, click Turn Windows Firewall On Or Off to display the Windows Firewall Settings dialog box.

2. On the General tab, verify that the Firewall option is set to On (Recommended). If you’re using a public network, select the Block All Incoming Connections check box to increase your security.

3. On the Exceptions tab, select those programs to which you want to grant full access to your network and/or the Internet through the firewall, and clear the check boxes for any programs whose access you want to prevent through the firewall.

4. If the check box for displaying a notice when a program is blocked isn’t selected, select it.

5.  Click OK.

Tip

The first time a program is blocked, a notification appears. You can select the option to allow the program, to always block the program, or to block it this time but to ask you the next time the program is blocked.


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