Microsoft to the rescue

So in my work-world of technology I come across a lot of information relating to Microsoft Windows. At work I focus on Windows Server technology so I generally discard anything relating to Windows XP.

However, after reading this article about a new virus/malware attack utilizing Windows BITs I had to make a blog entry.

You see, as a technologist my friends and family call me first when something goes goofy with their PC. I guess you could say I’m help desk for my inner circle. I realized a long time ago that most issues people have with their PC is due to the fact that they don’t pay attention to pop-up boxes asking them to do something or they browse to websites that shouldn’t be browsed to and most importantly they install non-trusted software.

The problem with PCs is that there are bad people in the world who want to use your computer as a bot-slave or to force you to see ads you don’t want to see because these bad people know .001 percent of the bazillion infected machines will eventually result in some income for them. So these bad people spend an incredible amount of time tying to get around Microsoft’s security measures with Windows.

To Microsoft’s credit they are trying to fix these security holes and make their product more secure. From what some of my friends have told me Vista is so much more cognizant about security that borders on being painful. I’ve yet to switch, so I can’t confirm, nor deny this. Anyway, Microsoft is trying to create tools to keep their customer’s machines safe.

One such free tool (one time scanner, you pay for a full version that runs all the time) is Windows Live “One-Care”, which will scan and remove malicious software from a PC. Do your friends and family a favor and send them the link.

Here’s my list of things to do to keep your machine feeling well.

  1. Install a virus protection software such as McAfee or Symantic and keep it up-to-date. Schedule weekly full scans.
  2. Turn on the Windows firewall and block everything inbound. Only open ports if your are 110% sure of the use of said port. Contact a geek friend before doing this!
  3. Turn on Window’s Automatic Update. Allow you desktop to update at 3:00am everyday. This way your machine gets the latest patch updates from Microsoft.
  4. Run your computers behind a router that has a built in firewall. This is a little more than what average computer owners do, but is another defensive wall against the virus raiders out there.
  5. Install a spy-ware detection and removal package such as the free Spybot Search and Destroy and scan for spyware weekly.
  6. STAY AWAY FROM THE PORN and SOFTWARE PIRATE SITES. Yes, I know you go there every now and then. But like a chance encounter with a stranger it only takes one visit to get something you can’t get rid of.
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