Q

Why don't companies provide security direction?

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Why is it that the "Big Boys" (Dell, HP, Gateway, etc.) ship new computers to both home and business users, without the latest OS, IE and security patches? As a computer repair shop owner, I get to see a lot of new or recently purchased computers that have the latest viruses and tons of adware and spyware on them. Some of these bugs cause down time and many headaches for the uneducated users, yet they could be prevented if the manufacturers installed the latest patches before shipping the machine. Most small businesses don't have an IT staff and may not be aware of the danger. There is no mention of the necessity for patches anywhere in the box or in the form of a pop-up screen once the computer is turned on, while the number of new computers sold is on the rise.
I don't know because I don't work for them. However, you have a good point. Even a flyer in the box with instructions on how to update and why it's important would help. Dell, HP, Gateway -- are you listening? I recently bought a Sony VAIO though, and though they did not post a warning to turn on XP's firewall before connecting to the Internet. After the initial set up, they encouraged running the setup for the provided Symantec firewall and anti-virus products including updates, pointed out the Windows update site and explained how important it was to keep updated. They also explained how to set up automatic updates. While I don't need all these reminders, it was nice to see a company providing security direction. Sure, it would have been nice if it was fully patched out of the box, or that it came with a free update disk, but in reality, I wonder how many consumers actually follow the steps.
This was first published in August 2004

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