Linked by Howard Fosdick on Tue 25th Sep 2012 22:17 UTC
Bugs & Viruses You might assume your new PC is secure, but is it? In the U.S., the Federal Trade Commission just charged seven rent-to-own computer companies and a software design firm with computer spying. Some 420,000 rent-to-own computers allegedly secretly collected personal information, took pictures of users in their homes, and tracked their locations. Meanwhile Microsoft found that PCs from China had malware embedded before reaching consumers. The virus "could allow a hacker to switch on a microphone or Webcam, record keystrokes and access users' login credentials and online bank accounts." And, an FBI investigation found that counterfeit routers purchased by various US government agencies also were pre-loaded with malicious software. Do you assume your new PC is secure, or if not, what steps do you take to secure it?
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At the very least, I would wipe the stock installation of Windows with a fresh, clean version of the OS. Preferrably from a known-to-be-trusted copy of Windows... ie. the retail version, direct from Microsoft. Windows can't get any more "clean" and pure than that. Too bad those discs cost an arm and a leg, though. But more likely these days, I would just nuke it in favor of something else. Linux, BSD... whatever. And boom... no spyware or any other form of malware.

You can download the ISOs for Windows from DigitalRiver for free and use the product key on your machine if you want a clean install.

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