I read somewhere that an unprotected Windows machine on the internet takes about 20 minutes to get infected.
Last week my hard drive died. I got a new hard drive and ran IBM’s Rescue and Recovery on it, which basically restored it to factory defaults.
I figured the next Good Idea would be to run Windows Update, since it didn’t even have Service Pack 2 on it at this point. I had forgotten that the firewall wasn’t enabled by default prior to SP2. About 2 minutes after enabling the wireless connection, I started getting Messenger pop-ups. I disabled the Messenger Service. Fifteen minutes later it was infected with Blaster (the worm that reboots your computer every 60 seconds). Charming.
So the next morning I ran Rescue and Recovery again. Then I enabled the firewall. Then I installed Norton Anti-Virus. Then I connected to the internet and kept my fingers crossed while Norton updated its virus definitions from 2003. Then I installed Ad-Aware and Spybot S&D. Then I ran Windows Update.
It took most of the day to do all that (well, it was interleaved with about 5 loads of laundry). I don’t understand how non computer people manage.