Computer Crime Research Center


Questions: online security

Date: November 27, 2007

Q. If my cable internet connection is on all the time, is my computer vulnerable to malicious interference from the internet while my computer is booting up and before my firewall software is loaded?
B. Player

A. There are no network drivers loaded while the computer is booting, so for most of the time your computer is not accessible from the internet even if a hacker was monitoring your IP address. Once the network drivers are loaded, within seconds the firewall and anti-virus will be loaded, giving you protection. Extra protection comes from a router that has an in-built firewall - and most do.

Q. Do you know of any firewall program (preferably a free one) that still supports Windows 98? I was using Zone Alarm.
J. Gapes

A. Just because there are no more Zone Alarms firewall upgrades does not mean that the existing firewall no longer works. I would suggest you test your existing firewall by visiting a reputable site that will probe your computer for weaknesses.

One such site is Click on the ShieldsUP! option and run both the File Sharing and Common Ports tests. If your computer passes then there is no need to take any additional action.

If you do wish to upgrade, some free firewall products still support Windows 98. One is Kerio Personal Firewall from:

Q. For some time I have been using your simple back-up formula to an external hard disk drive. Today I will need to reformat the C drive to recover. Can I simply copy all the files on the external drive back to the C drive?
D. Medlow

A. Assuming that you have used a BAT file and Xcopy to back-up your files then use Windows Explorer to restore them. I urge all users who perform regular back-up (and all should do this) to very occasionally test the back-up recovery. Create, say, a small Word file, and then run the back-up program. Delete or rename it and then restore it from back-up.

Q. I have had pps files sent to me. How can I get them to run?
L. Dickman

A. These are PowerPoint files. You must have a version of Microsoft Office installed that has PowerPoint. Alternatively, you can download a free PowerPoint viewer from .aspx. Or you could use the complete set of Office 2007 Converters at
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