Zombie computers

Neil has a good breakdown on what needs to be done to stop a growing epidemic in the computer world: zombie computers. All of his suggestions are great, but I think he left out a few things:

I would these to his list:

  1. Improved education: Right now pretty much everything a person learns about computers is either through trial and error, learning from a slightly more savy friend or family member, or from a teacher of some kind. Trial and error stinks for a new computer user; it is great when you know enough to fix an issue that you created. Learning from a slightly savy friend or family member often spreads half truths and FUD, unless they are experienced in the field. Learning from a teacher can either be downright disasterous or excellent…there is usually very little middle ground. What we need is better education of computer users so they are more prepared to handle their computer’s security. You would be amazed how few people actually know they have to renew their antivirus software every year or go out to Windows Update to keep their computer patched.
  2. Require firewalls on all Internet connections: Even better, have the broadband companies offer a free router or at worst, charge a rental fee like the cable modem. All broadband internet connections should have a separate hardware firewall (like a wireless router) between their Internet connection and their home computer. This simple step, which costs about $50 at your local BestBuy, will protect computers from worms like Blaster and all but the most determined from breaking into your computer. It isn’t perfect, as it doesn’t stop viruses sent on web sites or by e-mail, but it closes down one major security hole in most homes. I still am shocked at how many people plug a computer that hasn’t had antivirus updates or Windows updates in years into their broadband connection.

Just these steps alone will cut down on a ton of the issues that broadband users have to face.

4 thoughts on “Zombie computers”

  1. The reason why I didn’t mention the first one is that the user shouldn’t need educating, in my opinion. The system should be able to decide what to do. If it does need to ask the user about something then it would need to offer the user enough information for them to make an informed decision about what to do. And if all computers came with firewalls, antivirus and antispyware tools installed and had critical updates enabled then most users should be fine, I think.

    Oh, and a big warning when the user tries to open unsafe attachments.

  2. I have a router with firewall and the Microsoft firewall, and the Norton firewall. I have four spyware programs and I still have four spyware programs that Ad-Aware displays but won’t remove and someone has zombied my computer as well.
    Often times when I try to sign off I get a message that other users are still using my computer. I even got the sign on name but can’t find it it registry, accounts, or a general search.
    Any suggestions how to get rid of these pests?
    Thanks!

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