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Advice Requested for Protecting Home Computers


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5 replies to this topic

#1 Torvald

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 03:11 PM

Hello,

I luckily discovered this forum recently when doing a Google search to find out how to remove the rogue program called "Antivirus Soft" from my wife's home desktop computer. The information posted here about how to remove that nasty program was very helpful, and my wife's main computer is now clean. (It did pop back up once, but after deleting all saved windows system restore points it finally went bye-bye.)

Well, since I am responsible for maintaining four desktop (Windows XP) and three laptop computers (Windows Vista and 7) used by my family, I decided to take some extra steps to clean and protect all of them by installing and running the free version of several antispyware programs. Our computers now all appear to be clean, but I am curious about how much active blocking the free programs are providing, plus whether or not these programs might conflict with each other.

All of our computers have just one antivirus program running on them. One computer has the paid version of AVG antivirus (not sure which version), and all the rest have the paid version of McAfee Antivirus v8.7i.

All seven desktops & laptops have the following free versions of antispyware installed:
SuperAntiSpyware v4.33.1000
Malwarebytes Antimalware v1.44
Adaware v8.02
Spybot Search & Destroy v1.6.2

Are any of these anti-spyware programs giving us any active blocking? If so, how much?
Will any of them interfere with the other anti-spyware programs?

We are also running Windows Defender on our three laptop computers. Does that provide any active blocking of spyware?

Thanks

Edited by Torvald, 05 March 2010 - 03:12 PM.

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#2 xblindx

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Posted 06 March 2010 - 10:56 AM

Hi, neither Adaware nor Spybot are recommended anymore due to poor detection rates. See here

Super and MBAM do not have real time protection unless you buy the paid version

I'm just going to give you a recommendation, AVG is a resource hog, with sub-par protection, and Mcaffee has very poor detection rates, I would personally recommend either Avira or avast. Both are completely free and offer amazing protection.

Windows Defender supposedly provides real time protection, but honestly, it sucks (pardon the language), but it really does. At least the one for XP. I know you have Vista/7 on the laptops, but I would honestly disable Windows Defender because all its going to be doing is hogging resources.

#3 Someones

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Posted 06 March 2010 - 09:36 PM

I suggest you follow the free security software and safe practises recommendations here.

#4 quietman7

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 08:26 AM

Tips to protect yourself against malware 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 security reading resources:Browser Security resources:• Finally, if you need to replace your anti-virus, firewall or need a reliable anti-malware scanner please refer to:
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#5 Torvald

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 12:52 PM

Thanks to everyone for your advice so far.

Based on your input (plus a little internet browsing over the weekend), it looks like McAfee and AVG antivirus are not the top recommendations right now for antivirus protection, with either Avira or Avast free versions being the recommended replacements.

I'm also wanting to have some reliable active spyware protection too, but the feedback seems to say that both Adaware & Spybot free versions offer only minimal active protection, SAS and MBAM free versions offer no active protection, and that Windows Defender is considered weak/lame.

There are two other possiblities that I'd like to ask your opinions on:

(1) Microsoft's free Windows Security Essentials appears to be a combo package offering both active antivirus and antispyware protection, plus seems to work on Windows XP, Vista & 7. However, there doesn't seem to be much info out yet about how well it works. Does anyone have a comment about how well MSE works versus other software?

(2) Also, I just found out that my company has a site license that lets us install McAfee Antispyware 8.7 on our home computers, in addition to being able to install McAfee VirusScan 8.7. Would this make using McAfee now be an acceptable choice due to the combination of software, or would it still be considered mediocre protection?

Thanks again.

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#6 quietman7

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 01:02 PM

Microsoft Security Essentials Overview is basically a stripped-down version of OneCare aimed at users who either can’t or don't want to pay for antivirus/anti-malware software.Microsoft Security Essentials auto-updates once every 24 hours and there is no setting within MSE to change the scheduled time or frequency. See the MSE Definitions/Signatures Update FAQ. However, you can always manually download the latest Microsoft Security Essentials updates from the Microsoft Malware Protection Center Portal.

No single product is 100% foolproof and can prevent, 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 only one of them for real time protection and others 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 all 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.

I recommend Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and taking advantage of the 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.

See Bleeping Computer's Freeware Replacements For Common Commercial Apps and List of Virus & Malware Resources.
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