Surprise!!… ummm wait, no… This article has come out while I’ve been in the midst of cleaning up a Windows ME pc that has been “0//ned” (owned/controlled…) by someone other than the owner for a bit over 15 months. The system had NO antivirus, no firewall (no antispyware) and used dialup for internet. (That much said, this is probably the most infected dialup system I’ve seen… 30-100 virii, 230+spyware remnants/etc.) Anyway…. the article from cnet news claims that a recent survey found 81% of home pc users lacked either
at least one of three types of critical security–a firewall, updated antivirus software or anti-spyware protection
Now, I’m assuming they screened out Mac and Linux users, because I don’t know many Mac/Linux users that run antispyware (is there such a thing for either mac or linux?) or antivirus… (there IS antivirus for mac/linux although it’s life is usually uneventful). With that caveat out of the way. I can’t say I’m a bit surprised, although (and their article seems to agree) usage of current antivirus IS improving.
What I’m really wondering is how many people that are at risk realize it. This system that I mentioned was “suspected” by the user to have a virus because of a spool32 error on boot. Somewhere along the way ONE of the many inhabitants of the machine had messed up the printing system. That was, it seems, the only thing that made the user suspicious.
If you don’t have antivirus software try Grisoft’s AVG Free edition, that’s a bare minimum. For the firewall, try the kerio free personal firewall (link subject to change SOON.) (Unless you have either a hardware firewall or another solution that you KNOW is an adequate protection.)
For antispyware, I’d use spybot search&destroy.
Yes there are other choices and in future articles I hope to get into some of the other options out there, but those will get you up to par the quickest. Anyone that doesn’t understand how to proceed with any of the above should talk to either a friend that is good with computers or call someone that works on pc’s for a living. If you EVER use your pc to do ANYTHING online (email/web) you NEED to look into protecting it (and the rest of us from things like junk mail/DoS attacks/etc.)
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