Monday, December 11

Setting Up a New Machine Against Malware

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Computer prices have steadily gone down through the years. What was once an expensive luxury item is now a mandatory appliance around the house? Modern day households would have a computer for each person in the family and a couple of extra ones for the guests. Some of the newer generation kids begin to pick up a computer even before they start the first grade.

And every time a new computer is acquired by the household, the family geek has to set it up for first time use for the future user. They tune up the computer and remove the unnecessary pre-loaded software as to optimize the computer for future use. They customize settings and change all the little things as to make sure the end user will get the best possible experience.

But consider the scenario in which there is no one in the house that is particularly technologically literate. The best case scenario would be to actually pay someone else to remove the pre-loaded programs and install the needed software. The worst case scenario would be to have a computer that is unprotected against the dangers of the Internet and have a traumatizing experience when dealing with computers. Here are a few things to remember when setting up a new machine for the first time.

First, it is highly ideal to put a user name and password, regardless of which operating system the end user will use. After all, people should not just protect their computer against online predators but they should also protect it against real-life criminals and thieves. Their data might be compromised and their personal files stolen if the computer gets stolen. Don’t choose a short password with no alphanumeric and special characters – and the word ‘password’ is about as unsecure a password there ever will be.

Second, the user should determine if he/she will use the preloaded antivirus software that is usually bundled with the computer maker. Most of these come with good intentions; however it is almost always sure to be a trial version. After the trial version has expired, the antivirus program will not function and not get updates from the Internet. It’s almost as if it was never there. If the user will use the preloaded antivirus software, then he/she should buy the needed software from the manufacturer. If not, one should remove it using the default uninstaller of the operating system that came with the computer, or one could also use a removal tool that is unique to each kind of antivirus. Then it is imperative to install a new antivirus program to maintain that level of protection from the Internet. Third, the user should invest in a firewall, either software or hardware. The user can call the Internet service provider for details on how to get a router that can block incoming and outgoing attacks. If not, the user could invest in a free or paid firewall. Some antivirus programs offer a combo deal which can be cost-effective.

To summarize, choose a decent password, determine if the default antivirus program will be used, and invest in a firewall.

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