Step 6. Change the name of the administrative
The Danger: Malicious users may
attempt to use the built-in 'administrator' user account to gain access to your
cause: As mentioned above, every Windows
2000 and XP installation includes an 'administrator' user account which has full
control over files and system settings. This account cannot be locked or
disabled and is thus the first target for anyone trying to hack into your
computer. While the account should already have a password, provided you
followed the procedure above, this does not protect it from attack.
The Cure: rename the administrator
Renaming the administrator account adds an extra
layer of security by removing the standard user name 'administrator' which any
malicious user will try first when attempting to gain access to your PC.
you are logged in as a user with administrative privileges -
the first user created during the XP install process has these,
as does the administrator. Right click on 'my computer' and select 'manage.' Expand
'local users and groups' then 'users.'
Highlight the 'administrator' account and right
click. Choose 'rename' and change the account to a name of
Step 7. Disable 'hidden' shares within XP
The Danger : malicious users can easily gain
access to every file and folder in your computer.
The Cause: Windows 2000 and XP both use a
system of hidden administrative shares. Every drive on your computer
system is shared under the name '(drive letter)$.' These shares exist to
allow users with the correct username and password to remotely administer files
on your computer. Of course, if a malicious user obtains a username and
password with administrative rights to your system, all your files and folders
are available to them over the Internet. They would be free to copy,
change or delete as much of your data as they saw fit.
The cure: Disable the hidden
Unless you are in a business environment, it is
unlikely you will have a need for the hidden shares. Disabling them will
considerably reduce the danger of your data being compromised remotely.
You will need to edit the Windows registry using
REGEDIT in order to carry out this step. Please ensure that you backup
your registry to a file before editing it.
disable the hidden shares first start REGEDIT ('start\run' and type 'regedit') and then
Add the Dword value 'AutoShareWks' with a value of '0' and restart your computer.
Step 8. Change Internet Explorer security
The Danger: Viruses and browser hijacking
programs can infect your system through the use of ActiveX code on certain
The Cause: By default, Internet Explorer will
run certain content, including small programs embedded in the code of a
website. An example of this sort of thing would be a pop-up ad asking you
whether you wish to install so-and-so's software. Say yes and you may
have just saddled yourself with a spyware problem. Certain malicious
software may not even have the courtesy to ask before it has its way with your