D e f e n s i v e   C o m p u t i n g

 The class was offered at Hunter College. It is not currently scheduled.
Topics below:    Essentials  Course Description  Handout Topics  Course Topics  Free Sample


This is a six week class offered as two 3-week courses.  Each half stands alone, it is not necessary to take Part 1 before taking Part 2.

Course Description TOP

Defensive Computing is for people to whom the health and well being of their computer and/or data is important.

Using a car analogy, this is not a learn to drive class. It assumes you know something about cars and teaches how to test the oil level, when to change the oil, the various types of oil, what the tire pressure should be, how often to test the tire pressure, etc., etc. It is, in effect, the owners manual for a personal computer. 

This is not a class on fixing problems with Windows. Instead, it is geared to preparation work you need to do so that problems can be avoided, minimized, worked around or bypassed. If you use a computer for something important and want to safeguard it, without becoming a computer expert, this is the class for you.

This class is for:

The class covers Windows XP, 2000, 98 and ME. There is a separate handout for each class (of at least 30 pages) so students can spend their time listening rather than writing. Most of the software covered in the class is free Ė the course might pay for itself.

Pre-requisite: The only prerequisite is some knowledge of how to use a PC. Again, if you want to learn how to use Windows, this is not the class for you. Terminology will not get in the way, the class is as devoid of computer lingo as possible.

Be sure to read Security on the cheap by Alex Eckelberry, President of Sunbelt Software. August 25, 2005

Handout Topics TOP

There are five handouts for the six classes. Each handout is 40 pages (or more).

Handout 1
  • Course Description
  • Why Defensive Computing
  • Introduction To The Different Windows Versions
  • First Defensive Computing Steps
  • Browser Helper Objects (BHO)
  • Defensively Installing Software
  • Firewalls
       o Ports
       o Outbound Control 
       o Clients and Servers 
       o Still More About Firewalls
       o Windows Firewall 
       o Which Firewall To Use? 
       o Configuring a Firewall
       o Configuring ZoneAlarm
       o Holes in Firewalls
       o Testing Your Firewall
  • Customizing Internet Explorer 
       o ActiveX
       o Windows XP SP2 and IE
  • Firefox
  • Cookies
  • Appendix
     o Installing Windows XP SP2
Handout 2
  • Extra Computer for Backup
  • Bug Fixes
       o Sorry Tales
       o Even More Problems With Patches
       o Service Packs
       o Using Windows Update Manually
       o Automatic Windows Update
       o Change to Windows Update with XP SP2
       o Problems with Windows Update
       o Office Update
       o What To Do About Bug Fixes
       o Can Microsoft Produce Fewer Bugs?
  • Backups 
       o What Files Have Changed?
       o More on Replication Backups
       o Windows Explorer and Zip programs
  • Boot Time Programs
  • Windows XP Security Hole
  • Good Sources of Computer Information
Handout 3
  • Controlling Boot Time Startup Programs 
    o Currently Running Programs
    o Automatically started Programs 
    o Automatically started Services
    o Good and Bad Programs and Services
  • Getting Familiar With Task Manager
  • Process Explorer 
  • Anti Virus Programs 
    o ISP Server Side Virus Scanning 
    o Email Messages You Never Sent 
    o Configuring an Anti-Virus program 
    o Living With an Anti-Virus program
    o Paying for Anti-Virus Software 
    o Free Online Virus Scans 
    o Testing Your Anti-Virus program 
    o Overview of some Anti-Virus programs 
    o Free Anti-Virus programs 
  • Backing up to CDs 
    o CD-R 
    o CD-RW
    o CD Burners 
  • Defragmentation
  • Hard Disk Testing and SpinRite 
Handout 4
  • Backing up to CDs Continued 
    o EasyWrite (a.k.a. Mt. Rainier)
    o CD Burning Problems
    o Care and Feeding of CDs
    o How Long Do CDs Last?
    o Unique Plextor Drives
  • Keychain Flash Ram Backup Devices
  • Keychain Thumb Drive vs. CDs
  • Flash Ram Floppy Disks
  • The Newest Flash Ram Format 
  • Flash Ram and . . . 
  • Very Small External hard disks
  • Small External hard disks
  • Big External hard disks
  • My Backup Script
  • Automatic Backups
  • Backing Up Email
  • Replicator
    o Requirements
    o Multiple Backup versions 
    o Scheduling Replicator Backups 
    o Recovering old versions of files
    o Downside
    o Synchronized backups
  • Advanced Backup Issues
Handout 5
  • Spyware and Adware
    • What is Spyware and Adware
    • How bad is Spyware?
    • How You Get Infected With Spyware or Adware
    • Symptoms of a Spyware or Adware Infection
    • How to Avoid Spyware
    • How to Remove Spyware and Adware
    • Hosts File and Pest Scan
    • Ad-aware and Spybot
    • Spy Sweeper and SpywareBlaster
    • Other Anti-Spyware Tools

Course TopicsTOP

Free Sample TOP

To help you get a feel for the class: