This season, if you have receive a new computer or new software, check em for the gifts you might not know about. Many computers come with bundled software that includes Adware, Malware and even Spyware. You may not find it until you launch the software program. It may give you a message that says it needs to connect to a site to complete the registration. Make sure you read the entire license agreement.
I know of many stories about how a user had to do a complete restore on their new computer just days after getting it. These stories involve the user spending hours on the phone with customer support trying to resolve the problem. In previous years, Dells customer support has been swamped after the holidays with calls from new users asking for help. Before you get online with the new computer, insure the AntiVirus and Firewall is functioning. The computer will probably prompt you that it needs to get updates. Check what the update is before agreeing to the install. Make sure you get the MS updates needed too.
If after all this, you still don't know which updates or installs to agree to, there are help sites that provide assistance.
Check the products site first, they may have customer support or even a Forum.
Visit Spyware Warrior for a list of rogue/suspect Anti-Spyware products and web sites.
Test your Firewall at Hacker Watch to make sure you're able to block attacks.
If you're unsure of a process thats running, check it at UniBlues process library.
These are just a few of the help sites out there, there are many excellent sites that can help you.
If after all the searching, you still need help, I recommend the Major Geeks Help Forum.
It will involve you registering and downloading the Hijack This program, running it and then uploading the log results to the Malware Forum there. They are good people there and will help you get your computer happy.
Think you've got it covered? Do the "How safe are you" quiz at Stay Safe Online.
Also a point to ponder. If you're giving instead of receiving, make sure what you give is safe and reliable.
Don't forget to create a restore point and maintain backups of important data is my last bit of advice.
So after the gift giving, after the clean up, after the nap on the couch, check your computer to insure your online safety.
Happy Holidays to you and yours.
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