On the internet there are many dangers. Hackers, viruses, trojans, spyware, etc. If you don't your computer is not configured correctly or you lack necessary programs you put yourself in danger. Whether it be your computer crashing all the time or your UO account information being stolen. Completing each of these steps will help maximize protection against internet dangers.
Hardware - Router
There isn't much of anything to be done here. But there is one very good way to protect yourself and that is with a router. Even if you have only one computer, a network router is still a vital defense. Routers act as a sort of mailing system. Your computer sends information to the router, which in turn sends it out on the internet. When data comes back to you, it first goes through the router. Now any computer you contacted knows how to send data back, they have you address. Your router will only let data that knows your address from reaching your computer, all other data is denied entry into your network. This will greatly reduce the chances of random hackings and even some amateur attempts. The best part about this is you can pick up a cheap router for less than $30, sometimes free after rebates. Don't bother with a wireless router unless you plan on using WIFI sometime in the future.
Two more important notes. Make sure you change the default administration password on the router to something secure. The second, disable remote router connectivity if yours has it. This will only allow computers in your network to connect to the router, not hackers coming from the internet.
Every version of Windows has a way to update itself. You can access this function via the control panel. Look for something that says "Security Center" (Windows XP) or similar. There will be several options for updating, I recommend turning on Notify of Updates. Having it run automatically can put you in a bad position if you are in the middle of a game. When an update becomes available a shield icon will appear in the system tray. Double-click it when you are ready to update. It is generally a good idea to update right before you are shutting down the computer.
To be added: Disable Remote Desktop, Disable guest account, disable file sharing if not used
Internet Browser - Use Firefox
If you surf the internet using Internet Explorer, you are just asking for trouble. Virtually every website based attack tries to exploit weaknesses in IE. I am not saying that IE is insecure, or that Firefox can't be hacked, but why use it when something just as good is out there and not being targetted? Firefox will run 99% of all websites flawlessly and you can always open that one site in IE if needed. Click the image below to download or learn more about Firefox.
You already have your hardware firewall, the router. A (software) firewall monitors all network traffic coming into the computer. Some firewalls also monitor traffic leaving the computer. You want one that does both. If you get infected with a trojan, then a firewall only looking out won't stop your account password from being sent back to the hacker. I don't have a firewall recommendation at this time because the one I use has been discontinued. [to be completed]
All of them are basically the same. If you have the money use Norton. If you don't use AVG. [to be completed]
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Ultima Online - Specific Tips
- Use a Yahoo or Gmail email for your UO accounts. If someone gets your personal information, they can use it to try and trick ISP email providers into giving them your password. This is simply not possible if you setup an email at a free email provider with dummy information. Just don't lose your password to that email account! Don't use that email for any other purpose and a hacker will never find it.
- Don't share your account information unless you are willing to lose it. Everyone has heard that story of the guy who spent 6 months befriending someone. Then they were supposed to meet in real life and when one was driving to the coffee shop, the other was cleaning out the account. So not only did they get stood up they lost everything. If you didn't hear that story you just did. Handing over your account name to someone should not be done unless absolutely necessary. If you do change the password right after that person no longer needs access. Account sharing is the #1 way people get "hacked" in any online game.
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You can use the following links to learn more details about each of the above topics.
- In depth explanation of a hardware router