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Dell is to pre-configure Windows 2000 installations on its desktop and notebook products in a bid to provide its customers with more secure systems, the company said today.

Dell says more than 50 Win2k security settings will be activated prior to shipment - essentially to save customers from having to do the work themselves - if the user ticks the relevant box when they buy their system. Since so few users activate these settings when their computer arrives, the company hopes its efforts mean there will be many more better protected systems out there.

Of course, you have to wonder why many of these settings aren't put in place by Microsoft. If it requires 50-odd settings to be correctly set to get the OS up to a decent level of security, you've got to wonder how vulnerable most systems are.

Dell said it is enabling security features to bring shipping systems into line with security benchmarks established by the Center for Internet Security (CIS), a non-profit body backed by IT companies, academia, audit agencies and the US government.

CIS provides free security benchmark suites for Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows 2000 Pro and Server, HP-UX, Solaris, and Linux, not to mention Cisco's IOS router operating system.

Dell will offer the same service for Windows XP customers later this year, when CIS delivers an XP-oriented benchmark. ®

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