Aspiring Linux user

Q I've just got a Acer One. Should it have any security on it, such as AVG? Comet, where I bought it, said I have to have McAfee or one of the others. I do hope you can help me.

A You don't need antivirus, anti-spyware and anti-trojan software like you do on Windows, but there are some steps you should take to improve security. The most important is to make sure that your wireless connection is secure, so if you have your own wireless router at home, make sure you have enabled WPA encryption. The alternative is WEP, an older and easily cracked encryption protocol, but still better than running an open connection. Because Linux software is open source, there's no opportunity to hide malware within the code, since someone will always find it.

Stick to software installed through the Acer's own package manager, which will have been verified by Linpus Linux's own developers. Viruses are unheard of on Linux, so you don't need to worry on that front. The salesperson you spoke to obviously has no idea that the Aspire One is not running Windows, or they wouldn't have suggested McAfee, which isn't much use for systems running Linux. There's an anti-virus program for Linux; ClamAV (www.clamav.net) but it's most useful on computers that share files with Windows systems because it detects their viruses too. There is a good article on The Register about tweaking your Aspire One, which you may find helpful: www.reghardware.co.uk/2008/09/05/ten_aspire_one_tips.

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