With a strong increase in PC sales predicted for the holiday season, many consumers will be encountering Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system, which first shipped in January 2007, for the first time. To provide these consumers with guidance on the simple, yet crucial ways they can ensure they are protected against threats to their new PC's security, BeyondTrust, a leading provider of enterprise security software for Windows, has created a list of five key steps new Vista users should take:
1. Do not log into Windows Vista as an administrator.
This is a critical step home users must take when they first start their new computers to protect their family from malware. Malicious software cannot install and users won't be able to install programs that might be unsavory.
2. Use separate accounts for all family members.
Using separate, non-administrator accounts for multiple users ensures that each person's data is better protected. Try to avoid giving family members the password for the administrator account. This will prevent them from installing whatever they choose, from who knows where that does who knows what.
3. Vista introduces a new security feature called User Account Control (UAC). Keep it turned on, even if you find it annoying.
A prominent new feature in Vista, UAC prompts users to enter a password whenever they encounter tasks that require full administrator privileges, such as installing software or running certain applications. Because most viruses and other malicious software require administrative rights to install and run, UAC will make it possible for you to view and stop them before they can harm your computer.
4. Set each family member's e-mail to read incoming e-mails as plain text only, not HTML.
While HTML may make for more desirable display capabilities for viewing e-mail, its benefits are far outweighed by its potential for security compromise. HTML is often used to carry out attacks on your computer, and you should avoid using it.
5. Be sure to log off of the computer when you are finished with your session.
This one step is simple but important. You want to keep your data protected and make sure that other users in the household don't have access to a privileged account.
Source: BeyondTrust CEO John Moyer
A more detailed list of tips is available for consumers and media at: http://www.beyondtrust.com/5_Security_Tips.aspx