Securing a new PC

Yesterday I had the pleasure of securing a brand new Dell PC that belonged to a work colleague.

The said PC came rather well protected, McAfee’s internet security suite was installed and appeared to be working. It would continue to work until July, when the 3 month trial expired. What then? Well, most users cringe when their PC asks them for money, so it’s very likely that the trial will be allowed to expire gracefully. The sudden appearance of spyware, etc. would be less than graceful.

So, amongst other things, I removed the McAfee trial software and replaced it with the free edition of ZoneAlarm and Grisoft’s AVG anti-virus.

I must say, it’s nice to see ZoneAlarm at work. I have a firewall in my Netgear router and find myself shielded from the automated attacks that are so popular. Over the course of the 30-minute securing exercise, we watched no less than 200 inbound intrusion attempts…all nicely blocked by ZoneAlarm.


Incidentally, when ZoneAlarm announces that an upgrade is available, my advice is this:

  1. download the update to the Desktop or other well-known location
  2. disconnect from the Internet, i.e. drop your Internet connection – if this means physically pulling a USB or network cable out of the back of the PC, do it
  3. install the upgrade from the well-known location – ZoneAlarm will turn itself off at this point, thus opening your PC up to the Internet’s nasties if you were still connected
  4. after the upgrade, re-establish your Internet connection

Watch out for a forthcoming article/post covering security software in more depth!