By Dave Gerber ,
Bits & Bytes
A Periodic Newsletter for the Members
of the Sarasota PC User Group and the World!!
Sarasota PCUG, Florida www.spcug.org / http://www.davebytes.com
You've just come home with your new computer. How delightful!
Now you're ready to surf the Web and download some music – legally
of course -- and send out a few e-mails to family and friends.
As you're about to plug in the networking cable you remember something
the sales associate mentioned.
"Be sure and get some anti-spyware
and security stuff.”
"Bah," you figure. The guy
is just trying to sell you more that you don't want or need,
Onward you go, dismissing the comment and salivating as Google
pulls up page after page of amazing information about things you
never knew existed. Need to know about livestock birthing? No problem!
Have a hankering for finding just the right flap settings for your
Cessna? Piece of cake!
But wait, what's with these 'extra' windows that keep popping
up and obscuring your view? And why is it that your homepage is
now set at www.somePornSite.com ?
"Hmmmm," you wonder, thinking back to what the sales
Welcome to the Net! You have just been hijacked
and had your first "drive-by" install. No – not
the type of drive-by from the gang downtown, guns a' blazing, tires
screeching – it
appears to have come from that "friendly" Web site who
just happened to be pushing some 'extra' software onto unsuspecting
users such as yourself.
The scenario above is an all too common occurrence – though,
more than likely, excluding both of those searches via Google.
And if you did actually perform those searches, you are indeed
unique to say the least. Just don't write me if you're a farmer
transporting a pregnant cow in a Cessna. ;-)
And so, some basic security info is at hand. At least, enough
to get you down the road to securely surf the Web with confidence.
Here's a list of things you should do before plugging into the
1. Be sure you have both a firewall and anti-virus protection.
Without either, it could be literally only 10 or 15 minutes before
your system is compromised. Typically, free products give you bare
bones applications, which is fine if you're not going to do any
heavy surfing. Going to be online 3, 4, 5 hours a day? Make the
investment and get a few extra perks.
2. Now that you have a firewall and anti-virus installed, you
can go online. Make sure the operating system that came installed
by the reseller has all critical patches from Microsoft installed.
This single event, should it be skipped could be the most damaging.
You see, malware writers know all the exploits and vulnerabilities
in the OS, and write accordingly to take advantage of them to deliver
their bundles of joy.
3. Find a dependable source for anti-spyware. Many of the most
respected applications on this category are free, with some very
nice paid versions as well.
Now doing those three simple basic things will get you started.
You still need to read up about tweaking Internet Explorer, to
help tighten its out-of-the-box security (kind of like adding extra
stuff to a new car). Then deciding what kind of security settings
or software to use for e-mail.
Hopefully you're not overwhelmed just yet. My purpose is to inform
on a basic level for the new user. Once you're up and running,
other subjects delving deeper into technical issues can be addressed.
The Editorial Committee of the Association of Personal Computer
User Groups (APCUG), an international organization of which CFCS
is a member, brings this article to you.
Author: Dave Gerber
Central Florida Computer Society Newsletter
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