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Restoring PC, need advice.....


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#1 VeshWolfe

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 12:25 PM

Okay so my PC just "died" in that it continues to reboot and will not go into safe mode. I dont need help with that problem as Ive had it hapen twice in the past and know that I need to restore to factory settings. However this is where my post comes into play.


Over the past 7 or so months Ive had to restore my PC to factory setting 6 times. Now I am not doing anything iffy or the like, all I mainly use my PC for is playing online games, using PS, and listening to music. The antivirus that Ive been using is McAfee Security Center provided by AT&T, and Im begging to think that it is to blame as it is not detecting these virueses that are getting into my PC.


So I want to change fom McAffee, but I need a free solution as I am a just a college student without the option to spend money each month on a subscription service.

Thus far Im planning on installing Comodo Firewall, Malwarebytes AntiMalware, and Spyware blaster, however I am getting mixed ideas about the free antivurs software out there. At one point I was going to go with Comodo AntiVirus, then Avast, then AVG, but they all have "con" reviews that are making me a bit nervous.


Any recommendations on the antivirus or any of the other software.

thanks.

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#2 quietman7

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 12:52 PM

Choosing a security toolkit with anti-virus, firewall and anti-malware programs is a matter of personal preference, your technical ability and experience, features offered, the amount of resources utilized, how it may affect system performance and what will work best for your system. A particular combination that works well for one person may not work as well for another. There is no universal "one size fits all" solution that works for everyone. You may need to experiment and find what is most suitable for your needs. Another factor to consider is whether you want to use paid for products or free alternatives.

No single product is 100% foolproof and can detect and remove all threats at any given time. The security community is in a constant state of change as new infections appear. Each vendor has its own definition of what constitutes malware and scanning your computer using different criteria will yield different results. The fact that each program has its own definition files means that some malware may be picked up by one that could be missed by another. Thus, a multi-layered defense using several anti-spyware products (including an effective firewall) to supplement your anti-virus combined with common sense and safe surfing habits provides the most complete protection.

As a general rule, using more than one anti-spyware program like Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware, SuperAntispyware, Spybot S&D, Ad-Aware, etc will not conflict with each other or your anti-virus if using them as stand-alone scanners. In fact, doing so increases your protection coverage without causing the same kind of conflicts or affecting the stability of your system that can occur when using more than one anti-virus. The overlap of protection from using different signature databases will aid in detection and removal of more threats when scanning your system for malware. However, if using any of their real-time resident shields (TeaTimer, Ad-Watch, MBAM Protection Module, Spyware Terminator Shields, etc) together at the same time, there can be conflicts when each application tries to compete for resources and exclusive rights to perform an action. Additionally, competing tools may even provide redundant alerts which can be annoying and/or confusing.

Independent comparatives of Anti-virus Software
click on the "Comparatives" link on the left
TopTen Review: AntiVirus Software Product Comparisons
AntiVirus Software Comparisons for 2009
Virus Bulletin <- requires registration

These types of comparative testing results will vary depending on who is doing the testing, what they are testing for, what versions of anti-virus software is being tested, etc. There are no universally predefined set of standards/criteria for testing and each test will yield different results. Thus, you need to look for detailed information about how the tests were conducted, the procedures used, and data results. Read Anti-virus Testing Websites: An overview of testing sites

all I mainly use my PC for is playing online games, using PS, and listening to music.

Gaming sites are a security risk which can make your computer susceptible to a smörgåsbord of malware infections, remote attacks, exposure of personal information, and identity theft. They can lead to other sites containing malware which you can inadvertently download without knowledge. Users visiting such sites may encounter innocuous-looking banner ads containing code which can trigger pop-up ads and malicious Flash ads that install viruses, Trojans and spyware. Ads are a target for hackers because they offer a stealthy way to distribute malware to a wide range of Internet users. For these reasons gaming sites can put you at risk to fraud, phishing and theft of personal data. Even if the gaming site is a clean site, there is always the potential of some type of malware making its way there and then onto your system. In some instances an infection may have caused so much damage to your system that it cannot be successfully cleaned or repaired. In those cases, recovery is not possible and the only option is to reformat/reinstall the OS.

Over the past 7 or so months Ive had to restore my PC to factory setting 6 times

Since you kept getting reinfected, please read How Malware Spreads - How did I get infected.

Tips to protect yourself against malware and reduce the potential for re-infection:

Keep Windows and Internet Explorer current with all critical updates from Microsoft which will patch many of the security holes through which attackers can gain access to your computer. If you're not sure how to do this, see Microsoft Update helps keep your computer current.

Avoid gaming sites, porn sites, pirated software, cracking tools, keygens, and peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing programs (i.e. Limewire, eMule, uTorrent). They are a security risk which can make your computer susceptible to a smörgåsbord of malware infections, remote attacks, exposure of personal information, and identity theft. Malicious worms, backdoor Trojans IRCBots, and rootkits spread across P2P file sharing networks, gaming, porn and underground sites. Users visiting such pages may see innocuous-looking banner ads containing code which can trigger pop-up ads and malicious Flash ads that install viruses, Trojans, and spyware. Ads are a target for hackers because they offer a stealthy way to distribute malware to a wide range of Internet users. Porn sites can lead to the Trojan.Mebroot MBR rootkit and other dangerous malware. The best way to reduce the risk of infection is to avoid these types of web sites and not use any P2P applications.Beware of Rogue Security software as they are one of the most common sources of malware infection. They infect machines by using social engineering and scams to trick a user into spending money to buy a an application which claims to remove malware. For more specific information on how these types of rogue programs and infections install themselves, read:Keeping Autorun enabled on USB (pen, thumb, jump) and other removable drives has become a significant security risk as they are one of the most common infection vectors for malware which can transfer the infection to your computer. To learn more about this risk, please read:Many security experts recommend you disable Autorun asap as a method of prevention. Microsoft recommends doing the same.

...Disabling Autorun functionality can help protect customers from attack vectors that involve the execution of arbitrary code by Autorun when inserting a CD-ROM device, USB device, network shares, or other media containing a file system with an Autorun.inf file...

Microsoft Security Advisory (967940): Update for Windows Autorun
How to Maximize the Malware Protection of Your Removable Drives

Other related reading sources:• Finally, if you need to replace your anti-virus, firewall or need a reliable anti-malware scanner please refer to:I recommend taking advantage of the Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Protection Module which uses advanced heuristic scanning technology to monitor your system and provide real-time protection to prevent the installation of most new malware. This technology monitors every process and stops malicious processes before they can infect your computer. Enabling the Protection Module feature requires reqistration and purchase of a license key that includes free lifetime upgrades and support. After activation, Malwarebytes can be set to update itself and schedule scans automatically on a daily basis. The Protection Module is not intrusive as it utilizes few system resources and should not conflict with other scanners or anti-virus programs.
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#3 VeshWolfe

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 01:31 PM

thanks for the wealth of info.


after reading the comparisons Ill be going with Avast for my antivirus.


as for being at risk gaming, im well aware of the risks but the games that i play are not a popular as WoW or FF Online thus the risk is lessened somewhat I would think.




if anyone else has views on this Im still open to hearing them.

#4 quietman7

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 01:41 PM

Ill be going with Avast for my antivirus.

That's a very good choice among the free alternatives.
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#5 VeshWolfe

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 01:51 PM

i forgot, i wanted to ask what the best web browser is in terms of security and ease of use. this last time ive been using Apple Safari but frankly I dont like it a lot as it doesnt load all the images on a webpage sometimes.


im planning to go back to google chrome, but then was thinking about Opera.


I know some people highly recommend Firefox but it just seems less secure to me, idk why, thus i shy away from using it and usually just install in as an "incase browser."



thanks again.

#6 quietman7

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 02:13 PM

Choosing a browser is like anything else, a matter of choice. Most the major browsers are constantly updated as vulnerabilities are identified. I prefer Firefox myself and use it on all my machines. Keep in mind, its not always the browser...its how you use it.
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#7 Animal

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 02:18 PM

If you want to try Opera, try it. It's free. Personally I use it. As far as security, thats a matter of personal use and debate. Data can be found/manipulated to prove anyones point. If you like it and it fits your needs use it, I say.

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#8 VeshWolfe

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 04:24 PM

thanks guys. you were a huge help. I hope to never have to see you all again ;)

#9 quietman7

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 10:26 PM

You're welcome on behalf of the Bleeping Computer community.
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