Network Productivity Group

... a computer consultancy


The tip...

We have often strongly recommended that you take steps to protect yourself from viruses and even aired our bias for Norton over other products.  Whichever you chose we do hope that you have taken those steps.  Note that the latest versions of both Norton and McAfee automatically check to see if there are new "virus definitions" available and, if so configured, will automatically download those definitions and install them.  A very nice feature if you might be considering an upgrade.

 We have not, until now, recommended a "firewall" to any but our "always on" (DSL and cable modem) clients.  In the past we had recommended either the free Zone Alarms or for-fee Zone Alarms Pro.  After encountering various troubles with our local area network with the free Zone Alarms, we downloaded and installed Norton Personal Firewall.

 Its reporting feature has brought a major concern to our attention: port scanners.  These programs cycle through Internet Service Providers (Earthlink, AOL, etc.) looking for attached users and then probing these users machines looking for unprotected ports.  When one of these is found, the person on the other end can then browse your machine looking for anything that might be of interest or value (passwords, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, etc.).

 The net of it is: you do not have to be "always on" to be exposed.

 If you have a simple, one machine configuration with no local area network, Zone Alarms works fine and is free.  You can download that software from

 For those with local area networks I recommend Zone Labs Pro (, Norton Personal Firewall ( or the Network Associates (they make McAfee Virus Shield) product PGP (  You can download any of the three or purchase the CD for either of the latter two.


Contact us:

Telephone US (562) 930-1343- Fax (562) 439-7174