Weekly Security Tip: Windows Internet Security Center
Microsoft is really trying to make its presence known in the computer security market with the release of yet another set of security services. In the past year Microsoft has bought up anti-virus and spyware removal companies, using them as building blocks to produce security software products. Now Microsoft has introduced a set of online services (still in beta testing) designed to clean, maintain, protect, and inform all end users by means of the mothership, Microsoft.com. I’m sure in the future we’ll have to pay for them.
These services are bundled together to make up the Windows Internet Security Center (WISC) which is broken up into three different parts to help you perform various cleaning and security operations. The three different areas of the WISC are:
1. Protection: The protection portion of the WISC is responsible for the Virus Scanning. This is quick online scan could be a great resource if you feel like you may be infected and you’re already running anti-virus software. In the protection portion of the WISC. You’ll also find the Microsoft Port Scanner that will actively scan your Internet Connection looking for any areas that may be left “‘open” inadvertently by a program or even malware.
Note: This article on “‘How a Firewall Works” may help describe the concept of ports.
2. Cleanup: This is where you can clean out all the temp files and other things that are not necessary for your system. Windows calls them “Junk Files”, and the Cleanup service will clean them off of any drive listed on your system, and it will do it quickly. After the cleaner’s initial scan is complete, the service will present you with a rudimentary list of files to keep and files to remove from your system. This cleanup can improve system performance, decrease hard drive fragmentation, and regain usable hard drive space. This is something that you should run every couple of weeks or so, depending on your operation habits. This used to be a little time consuming, but the Cleanup section of the WISC makes it incredibly fast and with only one click.
3. Tune-Up: Finally a good defrag. I absolutely loathe Window’s internal defrag service that Windows. It takes too long and it hardly has any options. With the WISC’s Tune-Up service, you can analyze all of your partitions at once and quickly. When the initial analysis is finished, WISC will present you with not only percentages of fragmentation but also its recommendation on whether or not to defrag the partition.
The WISC site has guides focusing on different aspects of maintaining and protecting your PC. The community’s resources include articles on current virus threats, complete with descriptions of any actions to take before or even after becoming infected.
Microsoft is really trying to make up for their past lack of security support, which will probably lead to a whole line of consumer-based security software. Until then, enjoy it while it’s free. Send Microsoft your input and let ‘em know what improvements they could make. I always think that competition is good for the consumer. For now, I have another free weapon against malware threats and attacks, and that’s always good.
Until next week, stay safe out there.