So, congratulations on your new computer. I know you're excited, but if it's a Windows XP machine fresh from the manufacturer you shouldn't put that thing online - yet. It's likely that the computer has not been updated with the latest operating system patches and probably does not include an updated antivirus product or robust software firewall.
A recent study
found that it took less than 4 minutes
for an unprotected Windows XP machine to get infiltrated. Let me say that again, it took less than 4 minutes
for an unprotected Windows XP machine to get hacked into. That's pretty serious and underscores the need to make sure your new computer is ready for Internet exposure. The SANS Internet Storm Center
has an article that will walk you through implementing baseline security on your PC BEFORE connecting to the Internet.
- These suggestions will enable some basic security on your PC to significantly reduce the likelihood of infiltration during your first contact with the Internet. Remember there aren't any guarantees with computer security, only best practices. The more obstacles we can put between your computer and the Net, the safer your system will be.
- This information is intended to get you safely online to obtain operating system security updates and other security programs. It is not going to "lock down" or "harden" your machine. For more information on further securing your Windows computer, visit Microsoft's Security Page.
- While the context of this information is a new computer, it also applies to systems that have had a fresh install of Windows XP.
Once you've followed all the steps and gotten all the Windows Critical Updates, remember to install an antivirus product
and software firewall
to secure your machine. Optimum Online now provides FREE antivirus, firewall, and parental control software to help our customers keep their machines secure. Go to Security Center
and log in for additional information and download.