Become a limited user

tsj column writers - identity theftBy Jim Eastin

If I told you that I knew a way to prevent 92% of computer malware from infecting your system by making one change would you do it? How about if I told you that doing just two things could raise that number to 98%? Today is your lucky day.

Microsoft has reported that in 2013, 92% of the malware that infected Windows operating systems would have been blocked if the computer user had not been running his or her machine as the administrator. Simply changing one’s title from “administrator” to “standard” user is the only change that would have been necessary.

If this is a new concept to you, don’t feel bad. Most people have no idea how their computer understands who the operator is. When most people buy their computer they simply turn it on and begin using it. They do not realize that they are acting as the administrator by default. The easiest way to think of it is to imagine two of you in the house and both of you wanted to have your own computer desktop, programs and privacy. Well, your system is able to accommodate you. You would go into the control panel, find “users” and create a limited user as “Fred” and another limited user as “Mary.” This tells the computer who you are when log in. Mary would have her privacy and not be able to change Fred’s system. And Fred would have his privacy and not be able to change Mary’s system.

When this has not been done the administrator account is the only user and acts as the computer’s god. That account makes any and all changes to the computer. When malware gets into a computer from the administrator’s account it can also make any changes. 92% of the malware in 2013 would have been blocked if it had come in through a standard user account.

If you want to do this, make sure you Google the steps for your Microsoft operating system, whether it is XP, 7 or 8. It is important to follow the steps in the correct order, but you can be done in 10 minutes.

How do you get the other six percent protection? Do as I have suggested in the past and stop using Internet Explorer as your Internet browser. The other 6 percent of malware came in through Internet Explorer. Chrome and FireFox users were not susceptible.

Suggestion for the week: look into creating a limited user account on your computer and substitute Chrome for browsing the Internet.

If you have any feedback about this column, suggestions about a topic you would like me to discuss, or want me to come do a free identity theft seminar at your church or social club you can contact me at

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