Monday, December 25, 2006

So, You Got a New Computer for Christmas

The boxes have all been opened, the torn wrappings tossed. Lucky you, you have a brand new computer! Now what do you do? Connect to the internet and surf? No, not yet. Before you can connect to the internet you need to make certain that your brand new computer is protected.
  • Click Start > Control Panel > Security Center
Follow the instructions there to make sure that your computer has a firewall and anti-virus software.

Now you can connect to the internet. But, no, you cannot "surf the 'net" yet. Remember, between the time that computer was shipped from production and the carton pulled out from under the Christmas tree, a fair amount of time has passed. You first need to check that your new computer has all the latest security updates. Click this link to go to Microsoft Update where you can get the latest updates for Microsoft Windows, Office and other Microsoft applications all in one place.

Now that Windows is updated, check that the other software on your computer is up-to-date. Read about Secunia Software Inspector.

An important thing to note is that most new computers come with trial versions of anti-virus software. You will need to obtain a permanent anti-virus software. Before the trial period expires, find a permanent anti-virus software. If funds are short after the Holidays, consider the following free anti-virus programs.
Other options to consider are a two-way firewall. There are several to select from:
Next, you need to take a couple preventative steps. Start with SpywareBlaster and SpyGuard to prevent the installation of spyware and other potentially unwanted software, including ActiveX-based spyware, browser hijacker's dialers, and more.

Of course no computer is complete without Scotty on Patrol with WinPatrol. Read about the great features of WinPatrol here.

Lastly, consider the recommendations by Nellie2 in "Christmas is Coming".

Happy Safe Computing!


The Urban Shinobi Warrior said...

I'd like to note another important set of tools that I use together.
* Webroot Spy Sweeper ($40 for 2 years)
* HijackThis - from Merjin, though it is fairly advanced.
* the now classic Spybot Search And Destroy (**FREE**)

these have saved my butt soo many times (Zlob, Prankcard, ClickSpring, etc.) and have made it soo much simpler and easier on my mind

and another thing, dont use Internet Exploder. use Firefox or Mozilla or Netscape or ANYTHING but IE.

Corrine said...

Thank you for your comments.

With regard to Webroot, I refer readers to

It is difficult to recommend a company that resorts to such tactics.

I would not recommend anyone inexperienced use HijackThis without guidance. Otherwise, they may end up with a rather large doorstop. Additionally note that Merijn sold HijackThis to Trend Micro. TM is working on a new version, incorporating the additional updates Merijn had been working on adding.