Created on Friday, 12 March 2010 11:49
Written by Luke
Surfing the internet, opening emails and even just chatting via instant message have become hazardous tasks. Thanks to hackers, thieves, advertisers and people who have nothing better to do, our internet-attached computers these days have become breeding grounds for nasty, malicious - and sometimes just poorly-written - software. Even though some of these programs can be harmless, they can slow you down or even stop you from performing tasks on your computer that you would normally have no problem doing.
Most of these viruses, spyware and 'malware' come from the internet, and with the security provided in modern versions of the Windows operating system, the majority of the blame can be fairly placed on the user. Through 'social engineering', and other methods, the perpertrators can usually get the user to 'click on' or 'open' something which results in the beginning of multiple computer hassles. In some cases, keyloggers and other tools are installed, resulting in the potential theft of personal information, including logon usernames and passwords!
While you may be running the lastest anti-virus, which is automatically updated every day, and you regularly scan for spyware and other malware using other tools, you are still not 100% protected. These security programs are forever playing 'catch-up' with the malicious software writers - for in order for them to be effective against new (and modified) threats, that new threat has to be 'in the wild' first, meaning that it's possible you could get the infection before your anti-virus/spyware software vendor even knows about it!
THERE IS A BETTER WAY!!
If you have ever heard of a Mac user gloating about how their computer never gets infections, and wondered if you should follow that path yourself, forget it! We can show you how to get the best of both worlds. Keep your existing Windows operating system, and by running a 'virtual computer' (or sandbox) within it, you can also run another operating system which is much less-prone to virus and malware infections. Then by keeping most of your web browsing activity within the sandbox, you are automatically protected against just about every single malicious piece of software out there. You could even browse to a known malicious website in the sandbox, and be fairly confident that nothing bad will happen to your real computer. Even if the virtual comptuer were to become infected, it is not really aware of your real computer and so the infection cannot spread. You can then simply restore the virtual computer to its original state by replacing some files, and you're clean again.
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How Does It Work?
It works thanks to 'virtualisation'. By running a program on your desktop which essentially acts like a new, self-contained (but 100% virtual) computer, you can install another operating system and use it as a 'sandbox' (to play in!). Because the computer is virtual, it is made up only of files on your real computer system, so should anything happen to it, it can easily be restored by simply replacing the original files.
If you choose to run a Linux-based operating system within the sandbox, you are protected even more-so, due to the fact that most malicious software authors target the 'larger audience' (in order to be most effective), which is, of course, the Windows operating system. We can set you up with a very simple, and efficient, Linux operating system (which is free!) - one that boots quickly and allows you to perform almost all of your usual web browsing tasks.
You can feel safe again doing your web banking, and other sensitive transactions, in your sandbox! As long as your real computer is clean, you can feel safe doing your online banking in the virtual computer, as very few hackers target the Linux operating system. The sandbox behaves almost identical to any other 'window' on your desktop, so you are always still free to use your Windows operating system, when needed. It is a simple matter of swapping to the sandbox window whenever you need to do some safe web browsing.