Keep Your Friends Safe

By Neil J. Rubenking  |  Posted 2004-08-03 Print this article Print

If you've followed the steps outlined in this article, your computer is now a veritable Fort Knox.

If youve followed the steps outlined in this article, your computer is now a veritable Fort Knox. But yours isnt the only computer in the world. What can you do when a friend phones and says "You know, my computers been acting kind of slow and strange, with these weird pop-ups. Oh, and my Internet is broken."? If you want to help (or cant get out of helping) a security-challenged friend or relative, be prepared!

Before You Go...

Get a toolbox. The victim may no longer have Internet access or may have a painfully slow dial-up connection, so you need to bring your own tools. Get a pocket-size USB key and keep it on your keychain: 64MB is big enough for our suggested tools.

Fill your toolbox. The victim may not have installed any security products, so be ready to install and use antivirus, antispyware, and personal firewall software (for our recommendations, see below).

Keep your tools sharp. Be sure to keep the products on your USB key up to date. Download the latest signature files for antivirus and antispyware programs, if available separately, since it may not be possible to update automatically after installation.

Bring the paperwork. PC Magazine has created a special downloadable version of this article. Download it at, where youll also find installation files for our suggested toolkit apps, and copy it to your USB key.

Click here for the full story at
Neil J. Rubenking Neil Rubenking served as vice president and president of the San Francisco PC User Group for three years when the IBM PC was brand new. He was present at the formation of the Association of Shareware Professionals, and served on its board of directors. In 1986, PC Magazine brought Neil on board to handle the torrent of Turbo Pascal tips submitted by readers. By 1990 he had become PC Magazine's technical editor, and a coast-to-coast telecommuter. His 'User to User' column supplied readers with tips and solutions on using DOS and Windows, his technical columns clarified fine points in programming and operating systems, and his utility articles (over forty of them) provided both useful programs and examples of programming in Pascal, Visual Basic, and Delphi. Mr. Rubenking has also written seven books on DOS, Windows, and Pascal/Delphi programming, including PC Magazine DOS Batch File Lab Notes and the popular Delphi Programming for Dummies. In his current position as a PC Magazine Lead Analyst he evaluates and reports on client-side operating systems and security solutions such as firewalls, anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-spam and full security suites. He continues to answer questions for readers in the ongoing 'Solutions' column and in PC Magazine's discussion forums.

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