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Tech: Computer security - any advice?

I don't know 20 Sep 11 - 11:26 AM
DrugCrazed 20 Sep 11 - 11:28 AM
Bernard 20 Sep 11 - 11:34 AM
DrugCrazed 20 Sep 11 - 11:36 AM
Leadfingers 20 Sep 11 - 12:13 PM
GUEST,PeterC 20 Sep 11 - 02:47 PM
Jim Dixon 20 Sep 11 - 03:26 PM
JohnInKansas 20 Sep 11 - 03:34 PM
Acme 20 Sep 11 - 04:21 PM
Acme 20 Sep 11 - 04:25 PM
EBarnacle 20 Sep 11 - 05:04 PM
GUEST,SRD 20 Sep 11 - 05:05 PM
Acme 20 Sep 11 - 06:43 PM
michaelr 20 Sep 11 - 09:07 PM
GUEST,.guiseppi 20 Sep 11 - 09:23 PM
artbrooks 20 Sep 11 - 09:50 PM
Acme 20 Sep 11 - 10:32 PM
JohnInKansas 20 Sep 11 - 10:39 PM
Acme 21 Sep 11 - 11:43 AM
I don't know 22 Sep 11 - 03:42 AM
michaelr 22 Sep 11 - 09:31 PM
Acme 22 Sep 11 - 10:07 PM
JohnInKansas 22 Sep 11 - 11:47 PM
JohnInKansas 23 Sep 11 - 12:07 AM
Andrez 23 Sep 11 - 07:16 AM
McGrath of Harlow 24 Sep 11 - 07:05 AM
EBarnacle 24 Sep 11 - 11:21 PM
JohnInKansas 25 Sep 11 - 01:10 AM
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Subject: Tech: Computer security any advice?
From: I don't know
Date: 20 Sep 11 - 11:26 AM

A friend has just purchased her first ever compter & brought a broadband package with Talk-Talk which can include Mcafee security if she wishes but she has decided to go with a neighbours suggestion & use a Free Microsoft downloadable one.
I have Plusnet with my own security provided by Mcaffe, not happy as it froze my husbands computer up when doing updates the other day & so would like to know any thoughts from you all as to what you use or suggest as I good product.
My friend only has the 1 computer, I have 3 to protect.
Thank you for any help
Cathy


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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer sercurity any advice?
From: DrugCrazed
Date: 20 Sep 11 - 11:28 AM

I use MSE (Microsoft Security Essentials) on my PC and run Linux on my netbook so they're welcome to try and get me on that.

If you want the best of the best, NOD32 is supposed to be that.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer sercurity any advice?
From: Bernard
Date: 20 Sep 11 - 11:34 AM

My vote is for Microsoft Security Essentials... just make sure it's the genuine Microsoft download site, though!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer sercurity any advice?
From: DrugCrazed
Date: 20 Sep 11 - 11:36 AM

Also, if someone rings you up and says "Your computer is sending us a message saying blah blah blah", make sure you have a spare laptop running Linux and do everything they tell you to. The hilarity is worth it.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer sercurity any advice?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 20 Sep 11 - 12:13 PM

My Laptop was running slow so I waved it at my tame geek , who reckons the Microsoft Security Essentials is all you need unless you are going to be looking at some of the 'Weirder' sites on the net !
Apparently , IF you have more tan one security prog running they CAN interact and cause problems


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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer sercurity any advice?
From: GUEST,PeterC
Date: 20 Sep 11 - 02:47 PM

The only fully effective security - stay off the internet


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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer security - any advice?
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 20 Sep 11 - 03:26 PM

I used to have AVG but I got rid of it and I now use Microsoft Security Essentials.

I like the fact that it runs smoothly in the background with almost no attention from me, and Microsoft isn't continually trying to sell me an upgrade to a version with more bells and whistles.

The only time it needs attention is when my computer has been shut down for several days. Then, when I first turn it on, it gives me a message saying my computer may not be properly protected because it hasn't been receiving updates or doing scans for a while. So I make it a priority to download the latest update and do a scan before I start surfing.

I actually think all these packages probably do an equally good job of protecting your computer—at least, they can if they are properly installed, updated, and run—and the major difference between them is how easy they are to use.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer sercurity any advice?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 20 Sep 11 - 03:34 PM

Microsoft Security Essentials is much improved over what Mickey provided not too long ago and is considered an adequate protection suite for the majority of users.

McAfee is probably the "protection" most frequently provided with new machines, usually with a year of "free" protection. A problem with the free subscription is that about 40% of new users "neglect" to renew it and their infection rate jumps from around 5% infected during the first year to close to 40% infected during the second year when they have no protection against malware that has appeared since their subscription expired.

For optimal safety, a "full suite" setup is recommended, and a good one should of course detect and remove viruses and trojans, but you also should have a pop-up blocker, site validation (that tells you if a site you're about to click on has suspicious content before you click). Anti-Phishing features can be helpful, but can't protect against stupidity"operator error."

Recommendations of the "best" program change at least monthly, and no program set stays in first place consistently for long, so the recommendation is to choose one that stays very near the top of the review lists consistently rather than trying to jump from one to another as the reviewers change their minds.

Regardless of what protections you choose, it is critically important that you get frequent and consistent updates, since the specific threats from which you want to be protected change almost hourly.

When looking at reviews of the various programs, it is sometimes difficult to notice that many AV makers have both free and paid versions, and the reviews often fail to make it clear that the "rating" applies only to the paid version. Better reviews will indicate how much - and how - the free/paid versions differ. (One "first place" free version 6 months ago was rated "Unacceptable" last month by two separate reviews, although the paid version stayed near the top in both reviews.)

If you choose to purchase (actually you rent it) a program suite, with three computers it might be worth noting that Norton (Symantec) offers a "3-machine package" for about the same price as the single machine one. So far as I've seen the 3-fer package is only available as a "shrink-wrap" (retail store) purchase, and both single machine and 3 machine packages are available at most stores, so you would need to read the fine print when purchasing to make sure you get the right one. You may be able to buy the 3-machine package directly on the Norton website, but I haven't looked for it recently.

Free or paid - KEEP THE SUBSCRIPTION UP TO DATE.
and - KEEP THE SIGNATURE FILES UPDATED at least weekly.

AND - most importantly, DON'T CLICK ANYTHING that you're not sure comes from a reliable source.

The most frequent source of infections now are the popups that warn you "Your Machine May Be Infected" and offer to scan it for you.

THE SCAN INSTALLS MALWARE. THE SCAN INSTALLS MALWARE. THE SCAN INSTALLS MALWARE.

DON'T EVER CLICK ONE. (and tell all your friends, because the second most common source of infection is from a friend who clicked one.)

All AV makers offer free scans at their websites. Go to Norton, McAfee, AVG, or any other known AV maker's site and get a scan there, if you're really worried.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer security - any advice?
From: Acme
Date: 20 Sep 11 - 04:21 PM

I use several things, one of them a Microsoft Enterprise version of their Internet Security program (called Forefront). I have the Microsoft Firewall running (it comes with Windows) - the separate security program is something you need to download.

I have Malwarebytes (free version) loaded and run it every day or two. Be sure to run the update every time you open it.

I use Spybot Search&Destroy (choose the country that works for you). If you're running Win7 or XP it may tell you that you need to run it as an administrator to do the immunization part of the process. To run it as an administrator, when you mouse over the icon on your desktop, right click and in that dialog box scroll down to "Run as Administrator."

I have Spyware Blaster running in the background (free also - if you buy a subscription the thing will NEVER LEAVE YOU ALONE once it expires, and there really isn't much difference, except that the paid version updates itself.) Here is how it works.

Finally, the one I use one that Bill D recommended years ago and I love it because it's good for several things. WinPatrol has a little blue circle and a scotty dog in the quick start tray, and if anything trys to write to the registry it pops up and asks you if you want to do that. If you're installing something, tell it yes. If malware is trying to install itself, say no and then go run all of your scans and filters to get rid of the baddie. I use the free version, but this is one I'll probably pay for one of these days. I use it also to go through and set the start menu so that things that load themselves (adobe is bad about this, and quicktime and realplayer and other programs) don't need to be pre-loaded when you boot up the computer. They can wait till you need them, you don't need those extra processes in the background. So every so often I go into WinPatrol and disable the programs in quick start that I don't need right away. Be careful - if you don't know what a program or process is, go to Bleeping Computer and in the top of the screen you'll see the "Startup List" tab. It helps you sort it, and this is also an excellent site to go ahead and set up a free account. Read the FAQs first, they don't like to have to answer things they've already answered previously. Learn how to search the site and you'll find lots of useful stuff there.

That should get your friend started. If she decides she doesn't want the Microsoft internet security, I used to use Avast. It's a good one, and AdAware helps block some of the ad nonsense. But that's not security so much as it is trying to filter out the crap that comes along for a ride with your browser window.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer security - any advice?
From: Acme
Date: 20 Sep 11 - 04:25 PM

An addendum to what John wrote - when you install the programs I suggest, they go through various download services. Don't click the first thing you see on the page, be sure you're selecting the item you're there for. MajorGeeks can have a lot of clutter, C|Net is better about being more straightforward, if you have a choice of download sites.

TuCows used to be an excellent site for finding shareware and freeware, but last time I visited it was an entirely different creature and searching for freeware came up with a jumble of not very helpful answers and blog posts.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer security - any advice?
From: EBarnacle
Date: 20 Sep 11 - 05:04 PM

Having spent time on CNet today, make sure you are only clicking in the download you want.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer security - any advice?
From: GUEST,SRD
Date: 20 Sep 11 - 05:05 PM

No single package can be completely trustworthy as they can only be as good as their own particular set of definitions but as far as these things go Kaspersky has the best reputation, but it's expensive. Being an absolute miser I only use free apps and currently run ZoneAlarm for my firewall, although it hasn't actually had a single incident since I started using a wireless router with it's own, built-in, firewall. I run Avast as my main anti-virus, although AVGfree is good as well but it needs extra work to run with the NET apps I like to use. I also run regular (at least once a week) scans with AdAware, SpybotS&D and Malwarebytes Anti-malware. These free apps can be scheduled to run on a regular basis but I find it annoying to be in the middle of doing something only to find everything slows to a crawl when a scan runs (my laptop is over 7 years old, I really ought to re-install Windows and my ISP is renowned for strangling bandwidth, but that's the curse of the miser) so I make sure I find time to run the scans when I'm away from the 'puter. The only serious infection ocurred when I clicked on a link in what looked like a perfectly innocent email, and that took a week to eradicate with the help of the techie at Karls Forums who is very good at dealing with these things.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer security - any advice?
From: Acme
Date: 20 Sep 11 - 06:43 PM

Kaspersky has had NO reputation for a long time, though the reviews make it look like it has been reworked. If you read the reviews every so often you'll regular turnover in the ranking of the programs.

In the PCMag.com site I see AVG is back up on top. Avast was the leader when I was last looking for a program, and earlier than that, Comodo. I stopped with Comodo because my computer was too tied up with its fussy updates and scans.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer security - any advice?
From: michaelr
Date: 20 Sep 11 - 09:07 PM

I just had to take my computer to a repair shop because it had slowed to a bare crawl. Turns out that WinPatrol in conjunction with AdAware and SpyBot Search and Destroy were using too many resources by running at startup.

For an anti-virus program, I've been using Panda for years, on the advice of a computer geek. I've had no problem with viruses.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer security - any advice?
From: GUEST,.guiseppi
Date: 20 Sep 11 - 09:23 PM

With an averaged 15 Mudcat logs per year....

And a span over the last ten years>

A Tuesday night....hellow Laf Kat.

Sinerely,

G

Once again a single gypsey has invaded the palace and you ask for the labia lamba? I don't think so.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer security - any advice?
From: artbrooks
Date: 20 Sep 11 - 09:50 PM

I use Norton Internet Security. It cost about $60 for 3 licenses (1 user, 3 computers), which was what I needed. The license must be renewed annually; at Amazon.com prices, it is cheaper to buy the new version. Norton once had a reputation as a resource hog, but that is old news - this one works quietly in the background and never bugs me unless I've had the computer off for several days...then it reminds me of the need to refresh it. At the time I bought it, it was the highest rated of the "security suites" - I have no idea if that is still true.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer security - any advice?
From: Acme
Date: 20 Sep 11 - 10:32 PM

If you watch places like Fry's and NewEgg you'll find great rebate offers. Right now Fry's has the Norton AntiVirus for $9.99 after a $50 rebate (that link won't be good for long).

If you use a program like WinPatrol to keep track of the things that start up, and if you make sure that the stuff you're using isn't hogging the resources (I no longer run the "tea timer" in Spybot Search&Destroy - that was killing my processor speed) then you can have a secure computer and not too much inconvenience when it comes to the speed at which pages load.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer security - any advice?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 20 Sep 11 - 10:39 PM

Kaspersky has seldom appeared in reviews by the popular magazines, simply because it is fairly expensive and Kaspersky has not made a practice of sending "evaluation copies" to the mags to compete in the reviews. The name is familiar to many users, however, because they are very frequently the FIRST to detect, identify, and publish removal and/or fixes for new threats. As SRS notes, they've had little "rep" among casual users, but are exceedingly well respected in the "AV trades." I can't say whether their AntiMalware programs are exceptional; but I've been happy with my other protections so I may have missed recent reviews.

The proliferation of malware programs makes it impossible for any AV program to have a specific "signature" for each of them. Attempting to do it that way would mean that your computer spent all its resources looking for malware and you wouldn't be able to use it for much of anything else. Detection of malware is now as much by monitoring the behavior of suspect files as by just "looking at the bits."

It is very common now for even the best AV programs to be able to detect malware that they can't automatically remove**, or can't remove completely; but once you're notified that something is present, you can go to the AV makers' websites where you are likely to find detailed instructions specific to the particular infection. For a very few infections, removal can be complex enough to justify a special program to remove a single individual infection, and if possible you should get it from the maker of your AV program or from a site recommended by them.

When WinXP was the best thing running (from Microsoft) Spybot S&D and AdAware were useful because they did things that the simpler AV programs of that ancient era didn't bother to do. Full Suite Anti-Malware programs now do it all, and if you have one program that provides adequate protection it's probably best to get rid of them. Even for the specialized things they did, they have not shown up particularly impressively in reviewer ratings for at least a year or so, and "laying on layers" of protections can make the layers bunch up on each other and leave your a!! sticking out and exposed.

IF you're still running WinXP, Spybot and AdAware may still be of some use, but XP is, by current criteria, so full of holes you won't likely be able to tell what junk you've got onboard regardless of what programs you install on it.

Quite a lot of undesirable junk is more rude than dangerous, and the few patches Microsoft continues to provide for WinXP are largely confined to malware that 1) completely prevents your machine from operating or 2) is known to be used for specific criminal purposes or 3) makes your machine a source of infection for others. Clutterware that merely slows you down is not generally considered significant enough to patch for.

** A program that's running CANNOT BE DELETED OR MOVED, and most AntiMalware programs are not able to stop programs loaded at boot. Any removal or quarantine must be done after a Safe Boot that doesn't load the startup files.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer security - any advice?
From: Acme
Date: 21 Sep 11 - 11:43 AM

There are a number of programs that are no longer useful with Win7. The last free version of Kerio is obsolete, and I'm sure there are others. I've keep the "layers" because there are things that they can do individually that are still useful. Kaspersky is one of the programs that the malware folks mimic, they give their malware programs the look and feel of Kaspersky (they've also done AVG and other software) so if folks who are unaware of the spoof will download and infect their computers. I had to talk a friend down from the ledge last spring - we managed to get a version of Malwarbytes into his computer and then run it once he started the computer in safe mode. Ran a lot of checks to be sure we'd killed the nasty program.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer security - any advice?
From: I don't know
Date: 22 Sep 11 - 03:42 AM

Thank you everyone, plenty of ideas, Looks like Microsoft will be the one. If we buy one Kaspersky is on offer at the best price at the moment.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer security - any advice?
From: michaelr
Date: 22 Sep 11 - 09:31 PM

** A program that's running CANNOT BE DELETED OR MOVED, and most AntiMalware programs are not able to stop programs loaded at boot. Any removal or quarantine must be done after a Safe Boot that doesn't load the startup files.

John, would you mind reminding an idiot musician how to perform a Safe Boot? I know I've been told, but that sort of information just doesn't seem to get saved in my soft disk (read: cranium).

Thanks,
Michael


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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer security - any advice?
From: Acme
Date: 22 Sep 11 - 10:07 PM

Michael, what is your computer and operating system?

Win XP (F8)

Several older systems (various, but mostly F8. In Win95 it was F5)

Win 7 (F8)

When the computer starts up, just keep mashing the F8 key until the safe mode starts. You don't want to miss that moment when it decides to go to the regular OS or the safe mode, so keep pushing it. :)

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer security - any advice?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 22 Sep 11 - 11:47 PM

Although F8 is pretty much standard, the BIOS determines what key takes you to the startup menu, and since it runs before Windows (or any other OS) starts it should be independent of any OS you may install. In Windows, all versions so far as I've been able to tell, you can:

1. click START

2. click RUN

3. Type "msconfig" (without the quotes)

4. Select the options you want to run at the next boot

5. Click OK

Note that there will be several tabs on the menu, and you can change a number of things to happen or not to happen at the next boot.

Once the msconfig menu is set, your selections will apply the next time you restart the computer, without the need to guess what button to hold down.

When you've finished your repairs, you'll need to rerun msconfig to select normal startup, in order to boot with Windows.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer security - any advice?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 23 Sep 11 - 12:07 AM

To be perfectly clear, after you type msconfig you'll have an "OK" button to click. Add a step:

3a. click OK

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer security - any advice?
From: Andrez
Date: 23 Sep 11 - 07:16 AM

For what its worth Trend Micro do good security products as well. I once had to administer an older version across a regional health network and the product stood us in good stead and their support and knowledge base was really good.

The small desktop versions of their products usually carry three licences which can be moved from machine to machine if need be and the interface is reasonably friendly as well... something which cant be said for Kaspersky.

Cheers,

Andrez


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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer security - any advice?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 24 Sep 11 - 07:05 AM

I've found McAfee bundled in with new computers always seems to screw things up. I make a practice of removing it, and installing the free version of AVG, which seems to do the job perfectly well.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer security - any advice?
From: EBarnacle
Date: 24 Sep 11 - 11:21 PM

I have found that AVGH slows my machines [all 5 of them] down significantly. Avast [free] does the same job, operating in background. Lady Hillary and I also put Glary utilities in and use it about once a week. A clean machine is a happy machine.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer security - any advice?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 01:10 AM

The free AVG is one that dropped almost out of sight in reviews a few months ago, due to inadequate handling of a couple of "newer classes of malware," although it is again reported favorably in more recent reviews. It's not clear whether the return is because of release of a new version or just an update in existing ones. This fluctuation in ratings is characteristic of all but a few names in the business, (with reputable paid versions being much more "stable" than the free ones, although some lesser paid versions perform like yo-yos). There's nothing wrong with using free versions, but keeping them current may require a little closer management than for ones that automate it all.

On the other front:

Another OS X Trojan paves way for Mac zombie army

"The growing market penetration of Macs in the worldwide PC market, coupled with the general cluelessness of Mac owners ... has created a ripe field of millions of powerful, unprotected machines ready for exploitation by cyber criminals.

"And for a cyber criminal, the best kind of botnet to run would be one comprised of machines whose owners think they'll never be infected."

John


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