[24hoursupport] Before You Connect a New Computer to the Internet

  • From: "Mike" <mikebike@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: 24hoursupport@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 08 Jan 2004 20:08:31 -0800

CERT=AE Coordination Center
Before You Connect a New Computer to the Internet
This Tech Tip provides guidance for users connecting a new (or newly
upgraded) computer to the Internet for the first time. It is intended for
home users, students, small businesses, or any site with broadband (cable
modem, DSL) or dial-up connectivity and limited Information Technology (IT)
support. Although the information in this document may be applicable to
users with formal IT support as well, organizational IT policies should be

The CERT/CC has composed this Tech Tip to address a growing risk to Internet
users without dedicated IT support. In recent months, we have observed a
trend toward exploitation of new or otherwise unprotected computers in
increasingly shorter periods of time. This problem is exacerbated by a
number of issues, including:

Many computers' default configurations are insecure. 
New security vulnerabilities may have been discovered between the time the
computer was built and configured by the manufacturer and the user setting
up the computer for the first time. 
When upgrading software from commercially packaged media (e.g., CD-ROM,
DVD-ROM), new vulnerabilities may have been discovered since the disc was
Attackers know the common broadband and dial-up IP address ranges, and scan
them regularly. 
Numerous worms are already circulating on the Internet continuously scanning
for new computers to exploit. 
As a result, the average time-to-exploitation on some networks for an
unprotected computer is measured in minutes. This is especially true in the
address ranges used by cable modem, DSL, and dial-up providers.

Standard advice to home users has been to download and install software
patches as soon as possible after connecting a new computer to the Internet.
However, since the background intruder scanning activity is pervasive, it
may not be possible for the user to complete the download and installation
of software patches before the vulnerabilities they are trying to fix are
exploited. This Tech Tip offers advice on how to protect computers before
connecting them to the Internet so that users can complete the patching
process without incident.
++ There is more on the web site.

Mike ~ It is a good day if I learned something new.
Editor MikesWhatsNews see a sample on my web page
A Technical Support Alliance & OWTA Charter Member 

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