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After installation of the software, security should be your priority.

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From time to time, software companies and independent programmers release new and improved versions to their software; these are known as updates. Updates usually install new features or fix problems. Usually, you should download the latest updates to improve system performance though it’s sometimes wise to wait a little while to be sure the update itself does not cause problems. Many programs update themselves and this process is know as an automatic update. If you have to manually update your software, do so through the software developer’s site, not through a secondary source. This approach will reduce the chance of contracting a virus or other piece of malicious software.

A newly installed Windows computer using a broadband connection can be attacked within moments of being connected to the Internet. In severe cases, the attacks can render a system unbootable or make a second reinstallation faster or easier than manually removing the malicious programs causing the problems. The SANS Institute provides a PDF guide called Windows XP: Surviving the First Day, which explains how to update a new Windows XP box without immediately becoming infected by viruses and worms. To avoid having your new computer attacked, install a firewall, or activate the one that came with your OS. Both Windows and GNU/Linux have in-built firewalls: In some GNU/Linux distributions, it is enabled by default; in Windows XP Service Pack 2, it can be found by going to the Start button and choosing “Control Panel” then double-clicking the “Windows Firewall” icon. Windows 8 includes antivirus however, but still it is recommended to use Windows Update.

As soon as you are on the Internet, run your operating system’s update facility to fix any security flaws that have been found since your CD was printed. To do this under Windows, simply click on your Start Menu, click on ‘All Programs’, and then click on Windows Update, and follow the instructions(Open Settings and click Update and Security in Windows 10). If you use other Microsoft products, such as Microsoft Office, then it can be valuable to use Microsoft Update, which covers updates for all Microsoft products , and can be done within Windows Update. For either of these, you can also switch on “Automatic Updates” from the Security Center program mentioned above.



The YaST (Yet another Setup Tool) Control Center

The method of updating your GNU/Linux system varies greatly from distribution to distribution.

For SuSE, there are two ways:

  1. YaST (Yet another Setup Tool), the default package manager/system management tool for SuSE
  2. ZENworks updater, a GUI-based updating service

For Fedora, type

yum update

as the root user inside a terminal window.

It is perhaps easiest to update the OS from Debian-based distributions such as Debian, Ubuntu and Linspire. For Debian and Linspire you type the following into a terminal window while running as the root user:

apt-get update
apt-get dist-upgrade

Ubuntu has you run sudo to switch run a program as root. Type the following into a terminal:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Most distros, including Ubuntu, also have a GUI-based updater program.

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Automatic Updates

If your computer will be running overnight (or if you’re just lazy), it may be good to have your computer update itself.

Debian-based (LINUX) – Debian-based operating systems (including Ubuntu, but Ubuntu already has a more simplified automatic updater) will typically use a cron script for receiving automatic updates by the console (although you can download some GUI-based updating tools – that is, if you’re working with a GUI).

Ubuntu (LINUX) – As Ubuntu is based on Debian, you can use a cron script, but an easier way of doing it (if you’re using GNOME) is to go to the “System” menu, then “Administration”, then “Software Sources”. Then open up the “Updates” tab and select “Automatic updates”, also select “Install security updates without confirmation”.

SuSE (LINUX) – SuSE uses YaST to manage updates, packages (applications), and system settings. YaST can be configured to use automatic updates in the YaST control centre.

Microsoft Windows – Microsoft has always used the Microsoft Update service (formerly called “Windows Update”) to manage updates both automatically and manually (although by default it usually is a automatic update). Windows XP and higher reminds you when the computer is needed to be restarted if an update requires one via a special icon in the notification area.

If you have Windows 10(Home) , updates are installed automatically , and they cannot be disabled.

Anti-virus, anti-spyware, and anti-spam programs (which generically are all called anti-malware programs) of commercial quality or better can be found for free online quite easily and can protect your computer from various nasties you might get while surfin’ on the Internet. Windows programs are listed in the software section below. (Usually these are not needed for non-Windows OSes). Third-party firewalls for Windows are recommended as the built-in default one Windows provides is not nearly powerful as, for example, ZoneAlarm, a third-party Firewall solution that not only monitors incoming traffic, but monitors outgoing traffic as well. Windows 8 and higher include antivirus(Windows Defender), though you can still use any antivirus you want if you want extra features or protection.Windows 7 and Vista, through they include Windows Defender, do not include antivirus protection(only spyware).

Security software is important and should be set up first. The best procedure is not to connect to the Internet at all until your choice of anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall software is installed and activated, then connect to the Internet and update each of these programs.

If you are using software that must be downloaded from the Internet for this purpose, you can use another computer to download and burn the installation files to a CD or thumb drive. If this is not possible, download, install and update your anti-virus solution of choice first, disconnect from the Internet and run a complete system scan. Then you can reconnect and install your other security software and be reasonably confident that you are not infected.

Once secured, your system should be safe for prudent Internet browsing, remember to schedule regular scans and keep your security software up to date.

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The text for this course is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.

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