QAfter installing Norton Internet Security 2003, I get a message every time I turn on my computer saying that "Netspy Trojan Horse" is attempting to connect. Is someone sitting out there waiting to attack me when I boot up the machine?

AIt's not personal; it's all a big misunderstanding. The fax program in Windows XP happens to use the same port that a trojan horse -- a malicious program designed to look like something else -- wants to exploit.

This port isn't a physical connection like a USB or parallel port; it's a networking port, used for communication with other things on the Internet.

In this case, Norton's Personal Firewall knows that a trojan called Netspy uses that port for its break-in attempts, but it's misinterpreting the way Microsoft's fax software uses a special "loopback" Internet address to communicate with the rest of Windows.

Symantec's recommended fix is disabling Personal Firewall's blocking of this port. Open the program, click the Configure button, click on the Advanced tab and, under "Trojan Horse Rules," uncheck the entry for "Default Block Netspy Trojan Horse." Symantec says this will not cause any security risks, since the program will still be able to detect and stop intrusion attempts through that now-open port.

I recently purchased a Philips HDTV, and I'd like connect it to my Windows XP computer.

Wow, a 60-inch television -- call me up for the Super Bowl! Unfortunately, it won't work so well as a computer monitor. Both of its video inputs are only designed for use with DVD players, set-top boxes and other home-video devices, not computers.

The best way to connect the TV to your computer will be to add a set of component-video output ports to that XP machine. A specialized graphics card like the ATI All-in-Wonder 9700 Pro ($450) should do the trick, allowing you to send the PC's video to the big screen.

-- John Gilroy

John Gilroy of Item Inc. is heard on WAMU's "The Computer Guys" at noon on the first Tuesday of the month. Send your questions to him in care of The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071 or via e-mail to jgilroy@iteminc.com.