A Cheaper but Safer eCommerce PC for Serious Online Users/ Online Buyers

By | October 22, 2010

In current day situation, PCs with non-genuine software and applications are not suitable for online users or online buyers. Usage of genuine versions can help online users stay immune to online threats and risks. However, many Internet users are still ignoring this at stake of their own online security.

Generally, people opt for pirated versions of software to avoid high expenses of purchasing its genuine versions. But there are indeed other options to build a safer PC for eCommerce with genuine versions of software at lower costs.

Option 1: Zero Budget for Software

Abandon Pirated Versions
Most of the pirated copies of software have malware already installed in them. According to a study by IDC, 29% of web sites and 61% of peer-to-peer sites offering pirated software actually tried to infect computers with Trojans, spyware, and other tools of identity theft. On the other side, non-genuine versions of software will not be able to receive updates which are crucial for fixing vulnerabilities in them. For example, Windows OS or Mac OS will release updates regularly to patch the software vulnerabilities. This option may not be available in a pirated version of OS leaving the system defenseless when the attack happens.

However, purchasing a genuine OS may not be affordable for everyone. There are still options through which you can accommodate genuine versions of an OS for the PC, a browser to surf Internet and an application for document and data processing – all of these at minimum or no costs.

  • Operating System: According to Microsoft, almost a third of the pirated copies of Windows 7 and the activation cracks for the operating system are infected with malicious code and will also make the PC vulnerable for cyber attacks. As an alternative, Ubuntu is a linux based Operating System distributed under a free software license. A person with small amount of technical knowledge can download the genuine version of the OS and install it. There are many forums and sites that guide on the installation. However, people without much technical knowledge or low bandwidth can purchase the genuine version of Ubuntu for as low as Rs. 250/- to Rs. 500/-

    Though Ubuntu has few differences compared to Windows, a person with basic knowledge of Windows will be able to handle Ubuntu, effortlessly.

  • Documents and Data processing: Most people use pirated version of MS Office for documents and data processing. However, this makes them prone to many vulnerabilities as it cannot receive patches released by Microsoft.

    Openoffice is an open-source application suite which has almost all the basic components of MS Office like word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, and databases. It can be simply downloaded from Internet for free and does not even require high bandwidth. Openoffice can open, modify, edit and save all formats of MS Office files, thus enabling the coordination with clients, partners, etc., who work on MS office.

    Openoffice has compatible versions for all the popular Operating Systems like Windows, Solaris or Ubuntu. Mac OS users have NeoOffice which is also a free software.

  • Email client: Most people use pirated version of MS Outlook which comes along with pirated version of MS Office, unaware of risks associated with it. After web sites, it is the malicious emails that are mostly used for identity theft by cyber criminals. A genuine version of email client, apart from being immune to malicious code in emails, also alerts users of spam messages.

    Mozilla Thunderbird is a good option for a standard email client. It has all the features of a genuine email client including email encryption, standard interface for message composition, etc. Even gmail, hotmail or yahoo mail accounts can be configured in Thunderbird; and once downloaded the user can access his mails even when offline.

    A separate version of Thunderbird is available for installation in a PC with Ubuntu OS.

  • Browser: Internet Explorer is not a solo option if you want to browse the Internet these days. Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome are free and standard options for browsing Internet. These web browsers are also standard in terms of security while browsing online.

    Mozilla Firefox comes along with Ubuntu OS and is its default web browser.

All the software and applications mentioned above are genuine versions and run or supported by international standard organizations. The updates for all these are released regularly for adding up new features or patching up security flaws and are available for free online.

Option 2: Genuine OS + Commercial Antivirus

Some people purchase a genuine version of Operating System for their PC to make it safe. But the most common mistake many of them do is installing a free antivirus, either because it is obtained effortlessly from a friend/acquaintance free of cost or not really knowing the importance of an antivirus for a PC. Internet today has become wild west with huge insecurity, where nobody or no website can be trusted. The computer viruses, worms and trojans have become outdated and the malware is operating on a new code everyday. In these situations, operating eCommerce relying on Windows PC equipped with a free local antivirus is similar to going into rain with a tattered umbrella.

A good antivirus with a commercial license is worth spending for and absolutely not negotiable. A commercial license of genuine antivirus like Kaspersky Internet Security for Windows OS is available at as low as Rs. 350/- per year.

Opting for pirated and non-genuine versions of software just to avoid high expenses might actually turn out to be even more expensive by making you a victim of online fraud. Building a safer PC need not be expensive always. Using the above options you can not only make your eCommerce experience a safer one at lesser costs, but also encourage eCommerce and enable it to provide you more and more benefits.