Getting ready for the annual visit (i.e. setting up family pc's !)

Discussion in 'other security issues & news' started by Defcon, Dec 10, 2008.

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  1. Defcon

    Defcon Registered Member

    Jul 5, 2006
    I'm sure many others here help their family and friends with their pc and software issues. Its a full-time unpaid tech support job :) I get to do it on-site every time I go home for the holidays. Here is what I need to do this year.

    What they have:-

    - My dad uses a pc I built for him 2 years ago. Its an AMD desktop with 1GB Ram, running XP
    - Brother has an ancient laptop (old pentium with 256Mb). He's getting a new HP dv5t, 4GB Ram, 2Ghz C2D, Vista 64bit as a gift :)


    - upgrade dad's pc to XP SP3 with a clean install, and install the right programs on the new laptop
    - I'm buying for them - a) Router for its firewall and home networking, b) 500Gb external hard drive for backups
    - setup anti virus and security software
    - setup centralized, automated backup (files and maybe disk image)
    - provide easy ways for them to recover from errors (from image backups and recover old data)
    - lockdown the system so that they can't harm themselves but can still install software

    I'd like suggestions to do this, keeping in mind that they are both non-technical, and also don't have broadband, so its not feasible for me to do remote control. I can think of 2 approaches -

    1. go with a collection of programs - e.g. Avira, DriveImage XML, some backup program, and have scripts/scheduled tasks to run them regularly
    2. go with a suite like Live OneCare, Norton Systemworks etc which will integrate everything.

    I don't mind paying a little for the right solution. My feeling is that #1 is more powerful and flexible but this comes at the cost of complexity and is less user friendly. For this reason I am also very hesitant to use virtualization like Returnil/SandboxIE because they are hard concepts to grasp, and definitely no HIPS etc.

    I figured this would be the best forum to ask. Thanks for reading and any suggestions are welcome.
  2. andb

    andb Registered Member

    Aug 21, 2008
    I have the exact same thing i go through each year at christmas :) However i ended up installing Ubuntu for my parents, which saves me a lot of tech support.

    But if linux ain't an option i would definitely go with something like Norton Systemworks instead of separate applications.

    The downside is that it does seem a bit expensive if you want all features, which you do according to your description - $99.99
  3. BrendanK.

    BrendanK. Registered Member

    Jun 23, 2008
    Well...I would suggest an Internet Security Suite. Norton is very light weight (perfect for the performance user) and it hardly gives any pop ups with the default settings. However I would set it up with the advanced heuristics etc. Especially since NIS 2009 now has Norton Antibot installed into it so that's a useful little bonus, without the popups of a HIPS. Otherwise you could always try adding Sana Primary Response Safeconnect Beta. If you want the download link for that just ask :) Anyway, a silent behaviour blocker like Sana would go well protecting both computers from the unknown threats and the beta is free so I suggest go for it :)

    I suggest adding something like Spyware blaster to run every now and again to protect the computers from those nasty sites. Or any certified HOSTS file to protect your brother from venturing to those bad sites which are so easy to fall into.

    It's probably better to do backups with a separate program so your brother and father don't get confused between the constant need for security, and a backup every now and again.
  4. MrBrian

    MrBrian Registered Member

    Feb 24, 2008
    Perhaps have them use an alternative browser. I recommend Opera because it's less popular, which could reduce the chance of malware targeting it.
    Perhaps install ThreatFire.
    Perhaps install MozyHome for free online backup of user documents (up to 2 GB).
    Set Automatic Updates to on.
    If a limited or standard user account is not an option, then use 'Basic User' for programs that may be exposed to malicious content, such as web browsers, Adobe Reader, media players, etc.
    Some would recommend DefenseWall, not a free program.
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2008
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