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D e f e n s i v e C o m p u t i n g
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:
- Someone working at home, depending on their computer to generate income
- Someone who works in an office, but often has to take work home, especially work that has to be done on a deadline.
- Someone working in a small office without a computer expert on staff
- A computer neophyte depending on friends or relatives for technical support. This class can go a long way to
making you independent.
- Consider the theft of your computer(s). If it would only be an annoyance, this class is not for you. If it would be a
disaster, you are in the right place.
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.
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
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 Windows XP SP2 and IE
o Installing Windows XP SP2
- 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?
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 Burners
- Hard Disk Testing and SpinRite
- 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
o Multiple Backup versions
o Scheduling Replicator Backups
o Recovering old versions of files
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
About the class, Why Defensive Computing? - what is it about Windows and
personal computers that makes this class necessary?
- Defensively Installing Software
Nothing creates as many problems on a
computer as installing new software. This topic covers a number of actions that should be taken before and
after installing new software to protect you from potential
problems. Installing Service Pack 2 for Windows XP.
Keep the bad guys out. What is a firewall, why you need one (or two), recommendations on which one to use,
how to configure a firewall
Customizing Internet Explorer for maximum safety. An introduction to Firefox (a
- Bug Fixes
Applying bug fixes to Windows and other software.
Using Windows Update manually and automatically and Office Update.
Configuring an anti-virus program, Keeping virus protection current, What to do when a virus is found,
How to avoid viruses, Overview of anti-virus products, Testing your
anti-virus program, Free anti-virus programs
(on-line and off-line). Virus Links
- Monitoring Your Computer
Somewhat akin to the dashboard on a car,
the class covers two programs that can be used to monitor activity in your
computer. The programs are Task Manager, which is included in Windows, and
Process Explorer which is free, much more comprehensive and highly recommended.
- Controlling Programs That Run at Start-up Time
When Windows starts up, it automatically runs a whole host of programs, many of which
you donít want or need. This makes your computer start slower, run slower and be more likely to crash.
Most importantly, some of these programs might be Spyware or Adware or Malware.
- Spyware and Adware
Spyware and Adware programs are often installed on
your computer without your knowledge. They "phone home" and report
information about you and/or your computer to a mother ship (really a server
computer). Learn how to combat Spyware and Adware programs to protect both your
privacy and your computer.
- Defensive Email
How to avoid viruses, fraud and SPAM. Steps you can take to minimize Spam, a review of a number of anti-spam programs and
software recommendations. Time usually does not allow us to get to this topic.
An brief introduction to backing up the files on your computer. A review of my favorite, and free, backup program -
Replicator from Karen Kenworthy. For more on backing
up your computer, I teach a half
day class Backing Up Your Computer.
- Odds and Ends
Topics from this list are sometimes included too:
- Electricity: Surge Protectors and Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) battery backup
- RAM diagnostic programs
- Monitor testing and adjusting (both LCD and CRT)
- Hard disk diagnostic programs
- Questions to ask when upgrading to Broadband (cable or DSL)
- How fast is your Internet connection?
- Totally erasing a hard disk before getting rid of an old computer
- Defragmenting your hard disk
- File shredding programs - delete files so they can not be recovered
Free Sample TOP
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To help you get a feel for the class:
- Upgrading Windows is about four
approaches to upgrading from an old version of Windows to a new version on the
same computer. This topic used to be part of the class, but had to be removed
due to time constraints (12 hours is not enough). In a nutshell: don't do it, buy a new computer. This
was featured in Fred Langa's newsletter in April 2003.