I've noticed a trend happening where I'm from, Doaktown, New Brunswick, Canada. A lot of people, be they individuals or families, are moving out west for work. Can't blame them really, New Brunswicks' economy is pretty bad and jobs are scarce. But this is nothing new, this has been going on for years.
What is new is the fact that a lot of older people who've never used computers are now literately forced to buy themselves new computers (Pcs, laptops or tablets) if they wish to stay in touch with their loved ones. Facebook, Skype, emails, texts, whatever. Some do just fine and are comfortable from the get go while others take a little more time and face a bit of a struggle as this is fairly new and have not been introduced to these concepts before.
Unfortunately, this causes a problem for the latter group. Many of them unknowingly become exposed to all the well know badness of the Internet ( viruses, maleware, spyware, bloatware, PUP(potentialy unwanted programs)) and on and on. The sales persons selling the computer to this demographic, although not necessarily bad or uncaring people, don't think it's their responsibility to advise or educate these new buyers as to the potential perils they may be confronted with. They want a sale, period. So the new user goes home, plugs in, and starts surfing. Within a few minutes, BANG! Their infected with one thing or another. Computer seems to slow down to a crawl, numerous pop ups and inappropriate content starts to appear, it soon becomes overwhelming and frustrating to the point where the user no longer wants to use the computer and feels that they have wasted hundreds of dollars on this "piece of crap". So what just happened?
Depending on who you ask or what you Google, an unprotected computer will get infected within 8 seconds to 20 minutes. Not very long really.
Some new computers come loaded with anti-virus software pre-installed, some don't!
For those that don't, get something right away before you start exploring the big bad Internet. Download a free program if you must, I recommend Avast!, or a paid version is usually better, I recommend Kaspersky. Whatever you choose, make sure it's virus definitions are always up to date and learn how to use it properly.
For those that do, you, as the new user, must ask yourself a few important questions and check to see if some of these conditions apply to you and your new "piece of crap". For example, is the anti-virus program on and actually scanning real time threats? Does it need to be manually activated? Does it need to be registered before it will start to do it's job? Is a subscription required? Does it start up with windows? When does it expire? Is there a schedule set up to perform automated scans?
All of these questions can be answered relatively easily and quickly by having a look at the programs dashboard or welcome page. It will usually display the status and messages geared to draw your attention to overlooked issues. Also, if the program is not activated, Windows OS will usually pop up a warning window letting you know.
If your still not sure, get somebody you know that has experience with computers to have a look and verify your settings. Alternatively, take it to a professional IT technician, spend the $20 - $30 and be certain your investment is relatively safe or be prepared to call on the same IT professional weeks down the road and end up paying him $80 - $100 to clean it all up for you.
Don't get me wrong, I love making money and I'm in the business to make money but I'm not here to take advantage of people. Consider this your warning.