Be careful with your PC

You could get worse than socks this holiday: security firm Sophos is warning those who receive new computers as presents to make sure they are secure before getting online.

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By  Peter Branton Published  December 14, 2004

You could get worse than socks this holiday: security firm Sophos is warning those who receive new computers as presents to make sure they are secure before getting online. With the number of new threats increasing month by month – there were more than 1,300 new viruses identified last month alone, Sophos claims - new users need to be cautious. PCs that have been sitting boxed for a few months won’t have the most up-to-date software. “The latest PC or snazzy laptop will top many people’s lists this year and there’s an assumption that an off-the-shelf computer is ready to plug and play,” said Carole Theriault, security consultant at Sophos. “Many people do not realise that the first task after unwrapping a PC should be to check that the system is properly protected against a whole host of threats: are the latest security patches installed? Is there a firewall in place? Is the computer running anti-virus software?” “I’ve seen cases where a whopping 38MB of security patches needs to be downloaded on to a brand new PC, a task that could take from dusk ‘til dawn for users with a dial-up connection,” Theriault continued. “But updating security is vital; a virus or successful phishing attack would be a very unwelcome present.”

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