> I have just been informed that a person in our extended family, who
> recently asked me some rather odd questions about my IP address, trying to
> sound smart
> I thought at the time, that he is trying to link my PC with his to get
> information from my PC. what could he get if he did, and can he actually
> accomplish this? I am now aware that he has spiteful intentions. I hope
> someone can answer this question, I need help!
A lot depends on what you told him! Since you didn't give us that
information or tell us anything about your computer and how it connects to
the Internet, all I can do is give you some general advice.
Yes, an unprotected computer can certainly be compromised but I wouldn't get
crazy about this unless the bad family member really knows what he's doing.
You definitely should protect yourself, though. Here are a few suggestions:
1. If you connect to the Internet with broadband (DSL, cable) and you only
have the one computer, you're probably directly connected to the DSL/cable
modem. Purchase a router, which sits between the modem and your computer.
Set the router up securely by changing the default username/password, the
default SSID, and use at least WPA for wireless encryption (or disable the
wireless if not using it). If you don't have one, buying a router is fairly
inexpensive and should be your first step.
1a. If you already have a router, make sure you've changed the passwords,
etc. as described above.
2. In Windows Vista, work from a Standard user account rather than an
account with administrative privileges. Make at least one extra
administrative account. Assign strong passwords to all accounts and leave
the built-in Administrator account disabled (which it is by default).
3. Have a good antivirus installed and keep your subscription current. I
like NOD32 (commercial) or Avast (free). The Windows Firewall is adequate
for most people.
4. Here are some links that will help you learn about staying safe over the
- The Parasite Fight
Harry Waldron - The Family PC - How to stay safe on the Internet
If any (or all!) of the above is confusing, have a local computer
professional come to your house to look at your computer and your setup and
help you. Don't use someone from a BigComputerStore/GeekSquad type of
place. Get recommendations from friends and family - but not the Bad Family
Member! ;-) There is no shame in getting a professional to help you because
we all have our areas of expertise. I don't hesitate to call a plumber or
take my car to a mechanic.
If you need more help, please do post back. If you do, provide the missing
details which I had to guess about.
Elephant Boy Computers