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Remote Tech Support: Grandpa's New Computer
Safe Computer Set-up
It's a dangerous world out there, especially if you are a new computer. In fact, the SANS Institute reports that the average survival time for an unprotected networked computer is less than 20 minutes!
"The main issue here is of course that the time to download critical patches will exceed this survival time."
So what should you do to reduce your computer's risk of being infected before you even deliver it?
- Protect it before you go online. Only go online behind a hardware firewall, or after installing or enabling antivirus software and the Windows personal firewall.
- Update the antivirus software. Even if you just bought and installed a new copy, it will not protect you from the latest, nastiest viruses and worms out there. Note that you may need to manually repeat the update process several times, until no further updates are found.
- Update the operating system. Modern day operating systems are huge, complex pieces of software. Even though tested by their developers, problems and vulnerabilities are regularly discovered after they have been sold, necessitating the release of downloadable patches. Most of these are important to install.
- Antivirus subscription. Purchase a one year subscription to the antivirus program (beyond the typical 30-90 day trial included on many computers). Yes, you could ask your grandfather to do this when it expires -- but your odds of keeping the computer continuously protected are much greater if you take care of this task in advance.
- Automatic updates. Set for automatic updates of your antivirus software and Windows. Follow the prompts given during the initial machine setup, or by later turning on Automatic Updates. Note that these are constrained by the requirements that the computer be turned on and connected to the Internet, preferably by a broadband connection, at the time the computer is scheduled to look for updates.
For additional information:
Next, Usability enhancements.
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