Your questions: thinking about computer security and your family PC

It’s Friday the 13th: what better day than today to think about computer security?

This week, SiValley mom and friend Beth posted that she was looking to get a new family computer, and she twittered her question asking the weberati whether she should purchase a new desktop or laptop. (She notes that she received "some interesting responses on Twitter and Facebook".) 

But truly, the question falls to security:

"… what type of online security controls should parents implement and how best to do that? What applications/automatic controls should be used? What are good suggestions for family rules?

"I would like to answer that – but I do need to start researching this on my own first. As part of my research, it would be great to hear what type of security other parents are implementing on their home PC’s or laptops? I read at post a Scobleizer ("Keeping Kids Safe Online") that started the same discussion and had some interesting comments.

"As always, I suggest that parents educate themselves first, then their children so they can be make good choices no matter what computer they are using. I tell parents that setting up home online security is the first step – but kids have access to computers at school and at their friends homes so education is key!"

All good points.  I’ve seen that many broadband ISPs (Comcast, for example) offer their subscribers "free" anti-virus and security utilities for your computer.  Our local provider gives customers a free license to McAfee’s Security Suite. 

Also of interest: PC Magazine just updated their annual review article with a list of The Best Security Suites for 2009.  Norton Internet Security 2009 comes out as their favourite and their new Editors’ Choice. (Also available via

More resources and suggestions here in my past post, also available at

As noted in my post on Cybersafety and staying safe online, I recall from this article in the Seattle Times on cybersafety which included six tips for staying safe online:

  1. Protect your privacy and personal information
  2. Be alert online
  3. Delete junk e-mail
  4. Use strong passwords
  5. Use antivirus software and a firewall
  6. Be smart about downloading

Additional information:

Some of my past security recommendations available at, and (added 11:00AM PAC) as ZDNetBlogs tweeted their 13 tips to help prevent Friday 13th PC disasters at

Oh, and avoid walking across the path of a black cat or underneath ladders. Just good, common sense.

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