Question Security paranoia, advice please

Aug 13, 2019
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Hi there

I am new to here (I was recommended by my cousin) and am not massively confident with computer security, especially after a recent incident...

Basically, I just started a small business and for it I bought a desktop pc (dell optiplex) from a certified computer refurbisher. Anyway, I'm fairly certain that I got a virus or spyware on it somehow. They got access to my personal email which I found more upsetting that I would have thought.

After doing some research, including reading on here, I did a clean install of windows (thanks to a tutorial somebody linked on this forum). I thought it would be hard to do but managed it.

Anyway, I also purchased Bitdefender 2020 (and paid extra to include the VPN) and installed Malwarebytes free (I may upgrade it).

However, despite this, I am in constant fear of this happening again and it has really affected my confidence with computers badly. I am nervous to do anything in case I am hacked. I feel like I am being a bit paranoid but wanted to get some advice please as how to handle this?

Thank you.

Lily
 
What many people call 'getting hacked' is quite often (normally) in fact them willfully installing something from a questionable source, downloading something from a questionable source or 'irresistible' e-mail link/offer, FB add/link, and/or installing bundled junk, browser extensions, etc...

Malwarebytes (even just the free 2nd opinion scanner) is one of the top scanners on the planet. If Malwarebytes Antimalware, an MS Defender scan, and your BitDefender all say your computer is clear, 99% chance it probably is....

Problem with a refurbished computer from some sources, is you don't know what for certain what might have been on it....

If you nuked and paved (deleted partitions/reinstalled from a good OS source from scratch), you are reasonably assured of starting from a good spot. Keep the OS patched, applications up to date, and, scan at least weekly, or, whenever you feel something might have gone wrong...

I'd recommend a super-secure complex password used with a good free password manager, such as LastPass, although there are many that integrate such services with the AV/Internet security package these days...

Is your computer behind a router? If connected wirelessly, is it a secure connection? (If within 5 meters of a router, go wired, if at all possible....that's always a better option than spewing wireless bits/bytes in all directions within a 30 meter radius to every 13-16 yr old wannabe hacker looking to bust into your system or router...)
 
Aug 13, 2019
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Thank you so much, yes it is connected to the router via a 'TP-Link 5 port switch' thing.

On the 'nuked' thing, when I followed the windows 10 install instructions there was a step where it said to do a custom install (I pressed delete on the things there and pressed format where possible) until there was just one listed. I hope that is right.

One thing that worries me a bit (and I may be being paranoid) is that it came with a code for MS Office Pro 2019. Which I installed using the MS site 'ODT' - which was quite complicated if I am honest, it took me ages!

I didn't realise that this isn't usually a consumer product? I am worried that there is an administrator somewhere who can install things on my PC?

Thank you again for taking the time to help me!

Lily
 
Aug 13, 2019
23
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10
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What many people call 'getting hacked' is quite often (normally) in fact them willfully installing something from a questionable source, downloading something from a questionable source or 'irresistible' e-mail link/offer, FB add/link, and/or installing bundled junk, browser extensions, etc...

Malwarebytes (even just the free 2nd opinion scanner) is one of the top scanners on the planet. If Malwarebytes Antimalware, an MS Defender scan, and your BitDefender all say your computer is clear, 99% chance it probably is....

Problem with a refurbished computer from some sources, is you don't know what for certain what might have been on it....

If you nuked and paved (deleted partitions/reinstalled from a good OS source from scratch), you are reasonably assured of starting from a good spot. Keep the OS patched, applications up to date, and, scan at least weekly, or, whenever you feel something might have gone wrong...

I'd recommend a super-secure complex password used with a good free password manager, such as LastPass, although there are many that integrate such services with the AV/Internet security package these days...

Is your computer behind a router? If connected wirelessly, is it a secure connection? (If within 5 meters of a router, go wired, if at all possible....that's always a better option than spewing wireless bits/bytes in all directions within a 30 meter radius to every 13-16 yr old wannabe hacker looking to bust into your system or router...)
Sorry, I just realised I just posted rather than replying to you. My reply is above. Thank you.
 
Aug 13, 2019
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your deleting existing install until one thing remained, then installing to that is correct.

Installing Office 365 via the ODT method/website is common, and not a cause for concern...
Thank you so much, that makes me feel better.

Do you mind me asking if I should be worried about someone having access to my office professional? I just guessed that, if it has been 'resold' or recommissioned that the original owner might have access to it as an admin?

Thank you.
 

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