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How to Hook Up a New Computer

New computers are at risk online

Your new computer probably has not been connected to the Internet before and probably does not have the software updates needed to keep it secure.

Connecting your new PC to the Internet without using a firewall and anti-virus software is like leaving the keys in the ignition of your new, unlocked, sporty convertible—if you're lucky nothing will happen, but it's risky. McAfee Security

Most systems can be purchased from a major retailer (either offline or online) with anti-virus or firewall software installed. However, these are only as current as the date the product was manufactured; they may not have the latest patches and virus definitions.

There are steps you can take to ensure your new computer is as secure as possible when connecting to the Internet.

Make your new computer less vulnerable

Anti-Virus and Firewall

If your computer does not come with anti-virus and firewall software, it is highly recommended that you install it before you connect to the Internet for the first time.

There are a variety of sources of free anti-virus for home users including those provided by ALWIL Software and Grisoft. You can also download free firewalls from Zone Alarm or Comodo.

See more information about firewalls or anti-virus software.

Operating System Updates

Pre-installed software packages need to be updated as soon as you sign on to the Internet. In addition to updating anti-virus and firewall software, it is important to update your operating system using the automatic update features available with the software.

Find out more about updating operating system software.

Security Settings

Check your Internet browser settings and your e-mail client settings to ensure that you are not vulnerable to malicious browser and e-mail based attacks.

Find out about changing your browser settings.
Learn how to change your email settings.

Spam Filtering

You may also want to install additional spam filtering software. This software can help to filter out some of the unsolicited email that you receive.

Learn more about spam and ways to combat it.

Anti-Spyware

Install spyware detection software. Installing and using this software can help to protect your privacy on the Internet. Many effective spyware detection programs are available on the Internet free of charge.

Learn more about spyware and detection software.

There are several other ways to help secure your system. See our list of Best Practices for Internet Security.