I'm trying to find, a 'Unified Theory' on desktop security. Over the last few years, I've run into a bunch of really common problems. My little sister's laptop got infected with malware. My e-mail account got hacked. My girlfriend lost some files when her hard-drive failed.
What I'm really hoping to find is a list or blog or a book that doesn't just say things like 'Use a unique password for every site and make sure it's complex!', but something that goes further and says, 'One great way to facilitate that is to use LastPass, or Dropbox and PasswordSafe. And here is how you set that up'.
A step-by-step guide that starts with install the OS, applying updates, installing drivers, configuring backups, malware/antivirus software, encryption tools, possibly cloud-synch services like dropbox or something similar, scheduling future updates, disabling potential security holes, creating user accounts, restricting everything as much as possible, and I don't want to limit it to the things I know of. Maybe there is some really cool setup where all your web-browsing is done in a virtual machine or some sandbox tool. Also, it'd be nice to know what not to install. As an example, (and maybe this isn't true) but I've heard Adobe Acrobat/Reader has often been a security problem. But there are plenty of other alternatives that are free, faster, smaller, and more secure. So, if it said, 'Use X instead of Y' to avoid some likely vulnerabilities. And setting up/securing the wireless router or other common network devices.
Basically, I want to setup my machine the same way I would if I were a really smart, IT security professional, and had spent a bunch of time getting my desktop/home network setup to be rock-solid, awesome, innovative, and hassle free.
If my hard-drive fails, I want to say, 'Oh well. All of my important files are backed up thanks to $software' If the PSN gets hacked (again), I want to say, 'Oh well. All my username and passwords are unique and effortlessly managed by $software.' If my girlfriend says, 'Ummm, my laptop isn't working right' I want to be able to say, 'Hold on, let me restore from the back up that was automatically created Tuesday night with $software'
Does such a guide exist? I feel like something like this has to already exist, but I really struggled to find it online. Like I said, I'm pretty clueless when it comes to this stuff; maybe I'm asking too much.
Currently, I run Windows7 but I'd be willing to switch to another OS.