When computer security isn't secure PDF Print E-mail
Written by weebit   
Sunday, 08 August 2010 18:09
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I always get the same question when it comes to security.  "How do I secure my computer to keep it from getting infected all the time?"

Your security may not be failing.  It could be the person handling the keyboard and mouse.  Some see the warnings, and just ignore them.  Others see the warnings, don't understand them, and install/view anyway.  Plus some others see the warnings, and could care less about them, because it is not their computer.  Many people are also overwhelmed because they have several computers in the home scattered from one end of the home to the other.  So it makes it hard for them to keep track of how the computer is doing if they can't keep track of the location.  Mainly this would be laptops/notebooks.  In other homes it is the number of people using just one laptop/notebook or desktop, and keeping track of them to make sure they are not defeating the security settings/software.  Oh and we must not forget the computers that are never updated through windows update, never scanned, and the security software is never updated. I guess they like the pretty icons sitting in their task bar or something?  Or maybe the lack of the icons sitting in the task bar?  Because a few have even disabled their security software.

Years ago a lady contacted me by email saying that her neighbors boy came over about once a week, and always when he left her computer was infected.  She asked me "what is a person to do?"  I said, "Plain and simple, he doesn't use your computer anymore."  She emailed me back stating... "I don't want to be rude."  I emailed her back and asked,  "And he is not being rude to you?"  I got a thank you back from her a month later.  She said it was the first month she had gone through without her computer being infected in the last eight months.  In the eight months this lady was not rude.  She did more cleaning of her computer, than she did actually using it.  She was more worried about being rude, than trying to protect her investment.   She had a great security setup, but the neighbors boy ignored her security even after she explained to him her rules. What was she thinking?

Another email I got was from a guy.  He said his son was the problem every security he put in place this kid broke.  He even caught the boy on the computer at like 2:30am in the morning.  He wanted to stop him.  When I found out it was a laptop.  I could not help but to laugh to myself.  I emailed him back and told him to put the computer in his bedroom, under the bed, or in the closet so his son would not have access to it.  Then ground the boy from using the computer for a while.  Clean the computer if it needs cleaned, update everything make sure the security software is always running, and if he brakes the rules about the security settings again then take the computer from him, and tell him he is not using it if he can't follow the rules.  The older the child, the longer the no access to computer. A few days later I got a email back thanking me.  He said it just didn't dawn on him to parent the child.  The boy was sixteen, and he just did not think to do this.

Another household both parents emailed me to inform me that they had a problem just keeping track, and keeping the computers clean.  I can't imagine what this household was like.  All I can tell you is their house was a revolving door.  Teens from everywhere.  Mainly because their four children were in sports.  So they had all of their desktops in a central location.  But anyone could use them.  All of the computers had XP and Vista.  They asked for suggestions.   My suggestions were for all of the computers to have passwords on the teen accounts, and parents accounts.  The guest account would be locked down.  They could not download anything etc.  They would have the most limits on this account on each of the computers.  No one (their teens or themselves) could give out the passwords to their own accounts to anyone.  The only password that was given out was to the limited account.  Just in case someone was able to guess or find out their account passwords, it would be a good idea to change the passwords every 60 days on the teen accounts and every 30 days on the parents accounts.  Someone from the home would be at or around the desktops when in use by someone outside the home.  All accounts used a different desktop background too.  You just about have to have this rule when there are so many using the computer.  if need be, change the passwords more often.   It puts a strain on the household. But it is necessary.   This is just in case one of the visitors knows how to go around your security.  So if that account's security does end up being breached, you can check the time and date of the breech, and have a general idea of who did it. It's not fool proof.  But most don't know how to change all of, or how to breech the settings on the computer.  So naturally you can find out.   As for the different desktop backgrounds for each account... This is done so you will know which account they are logged into.  You need only to glance at the screen to know.  This family took this one step further though.  They put a picture on the guest account that was only available to the guest account, and not to the others.  They were able to give privacy to the guest, and be assured they were logged into the right account.  This same account used a certain theme as well.  They could see from across the room, or at the door which account they were logged into.   They had emailed me later on and said they only had trouble with one guest because of this set up.  They did not tell me what the problem was.  They just said they had to stop this one guest from using their computers.  Other than that.  It has worked for them having this setup.  Their computers are more secure than they ever have been.  But it also put a strain on the family.  Because they only used their account, and no one else's...  They had to become more aware of what they themselves were doing on their account.  There was restrictions as to what they could download, because of size of the download, and where the download was located on line.  They followed my rules for downloading WOT and siteadvisor as well.  This made them more aware of the potential danger on line.  A lot of it they did not realize was on the websites they visited.  But they were thankful for the setup because it has saved them several times.  They were already avid users of security software like firewalls, and anti-virus programs. But they changed out their anti-virus software because it was not doing a good job.  They were now happy.

Which brings me to another example of another user that emailed me stating that her anti-virus software was just not catching the bad stuff.  Her computer was infected at least once every month or two months.  It is not important to tell you the name of the anti-virus software she was using, but just to inform you that you are not stuck with a anti-virus software if it is not working, then change to something else.  Many things can cause this.  It could be the what you have installed on your computer.  What browser you use.  What firewall you use.  Or the lack of steady updates from the anti-virus software vendor.  What ever the case you are not stuck to always use that anti-virus software.  Change to something else.  You can choose free, or pay.  But be sure that you give the software a free run before you buy first.  That includes firewalls.  If your computer slows down, crashes, or is not able to catch the bad stuff then move on to another security software.  Keep in mind also that certain security software does not play nice with other security software on certain Operating Systems all the time.  Sometimes security software will have glitches, that will just about ruin a computers performance, or ruin the security on your computer.   So if you have a new security software keep a eye out for glitches, rather if they are small or large.  There very well could be something going on in the back ground that you are not aware of.   Your computer should run better, or the same, not worse after installing security software.  Run a test to see how the software is performing too. Firewall test:  https://www.grc.com/x/ne.dll?bh0bkyd2 and anti-virus test: http://www.virusportal.com/com/downloads/down_run.shtml  This lady thought she had to use the software that was installed on her computer when she bought it.  This simply is not true.  The choice is yours, not the security vendor, nor the vendor you purchased your computer from.  The choice is always yours to change to a different vendor for ALL of your software that you need, or want.

Solving their problems was easy, some of them had a hard time accepting the truth.  Others, well let's just say they had a duh moment.   

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