My "Home Computer Security Baseline"
What on earth is a home computer security
Complex or difficult tasks are best completed with a
checklist or procedure of some sort. The children's riddle "how
do you eat an elephant" seems to fit here. The answer, of
course, is "one bite at a time". Computer Security is just such
I am not the first person to create a security
baseline to follow, but I think you will find mine to
be more extensive than most. And mine is tailored to the home
PC user - hence "Home Computer Security Baseline". Some of the
items in the baseline are hardware, some software, some
configuration directives and others guide user behavior. And,
believe it or not, the user component may just be the most
The Computer Security industry makes a lot of noise about
which product can clean up the most. I find that once a
computer has been thoroughly infected, cleanup is time
consuming and frustrating at best. At worst, a reinstall of the
operating system may be required - ugh!.
The whole point of the Home Computer Security
Baseline is to prevent infection in the first
place!The key here is that PC's (and users) adhering to my
Home Computer Security Baseline don't need cleaning up.
This is important because a computer that is massively
infected, even when cleaned professionally, still isn't what it
used to be. There is almost always garbage left behind that no
one or no program can really know for sure to find and delete.
The more that's laying around on your hard drive, or in the
Windows registry, the more drag on your system.
"Can't I just read PC-Whatever magazine to see
what to buy?"
Often I am asked about this product or that product because
someone saw a show on TV or read a review in a magazine. They
tell me that the product in question ranks #1, and want to know
why I'm not using it.
Products you see recommended on these pages don't always
rate #1 in all the reviews all of the time. No product does.
Sometimes competing products will continually be leapfrogging
There are products out there that always rate highly in
reviews but have a history of giving me problems. Those I avoid
no matter what some reviewer says about it. (Some reviewers
have conflicts of interest - surprise, surprise.)
In fact, years ago in the computer business, there was a
saying "no one ever got fired recommending IBM". That meant
that a corporate IT person who recommended something other than
IBM better be ready to defend his/her recommendation. IBM had
such a name and presence that they were assumed to be
the best choice, whether they actually were or not. IBM greatly
profited from that.
Many companies, however, bought a product that was not only
overpriced, but in some cases inferior to competing
This thinking unfortunately exists today with Home Computer
What's important to you is that the products I
choose to recommend have to meet my stringent criteria:
- consistently rank high in competent reviews (but not
- not hog too many system resources, bogging the machine
down - the sole purpose of the PC is for you to use
it, not the security product!
- must play well with others
- be relatively easy to install, configure and use
- be reasonably priced, including discounts for
- have a success rate in my consulting business
So let's look at the steps involved, in my
Home Computer Security Baseline:At first this list can
look rather daunting, I know. But just like eating an elephant,
take it one bite at a time. Remember, if this list looks long,
it's nothing compared to rebuilding your entire computer after
a hacker or some malware have had at it!
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