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Setting up security


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#1 Shivers

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 01:56 PM

This is a post for preventative advice... I couldn't find an up to date topic covering it but will gladly take a link to one if it exists.

Recently had to replace my computer (the reason for this is mentioned in a post in the game section). I had had 2 security issues over the life of my last computer... the first caused me to flatten the hdd and reinstall windows. The second was my WoW account being hacked. Followed advice to clean my system and had my mbam and hijackthis logs checked to be sure it worked. I am a bit paranoid now.

I cant afford to take security risks with my new computer so I am looking for advice on how to best secure it. I know that there is no such thing as 100% security and that there isn't a clear cut best AV package.

My computer is running on windows 7 64bit. It is used for gaming and multimedia but is also used for 3d modeling, animation, rendering, video editing and basic vfx. It isn't the most powerful computer ever (i5 280m (2.66 Ghz), 6Gb Ram, geforce 330m) so I'd like to use programs that arent too resource hungry as long as doing so doesn't mean I have poor security.

I use Autodesk 3ds Max but it has had some issues with virus scanners (mcafee and avg free... not at the same time :P). Mcafee (which i used on my second install) for example would get stuck on component files and never actually finish scanning my system. This was so problamatic that I uninstalled the program and put it onto an external drive so that I could at least scan everything else. Didn't have this problem with 3ds max 2009 (which i had on disk) only with the downloaded versions from the autodesk website. I never used pirated software.

I currently have Norton Internet Security on 60 day trial installed along with Mbam, Spybot s&d, SUPERantispyware free, CCleaner and I'm using firefox with noscript. Bullguard came with my computer but I don't know how effective it is(but arrived seperately, thus why I'm using Norton [I wasn't going to go online without something and Samsung provided it on the computer]). MS Security Essentials has been recomended to me... but... it is MS... :s

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#2 quietman7

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 02:23 PM

Choosing a security toolkit with anti-virus, firewall and anti-malware programs is a matter of personal preference, your needs, your technical ability and experience, features offered, user friendliness, ease of updating (and upgrading to new program release), ease of installation/removal, available technical support from the vendor and price. Other factors to consider include detection rates and methods, scanning engine effectiveness, how often virus definitions are updated, the amount of resources the program utilizes, how it may affect system performance and what will work best for your system. A particular anti-virus that works well for one person may not work as well for another. You may need to experiment and find the one most suitable for your use and your system. There is no universal "one size fits all" solution that works for everyone and there is no best anti-virus. For more specific information to consider, please read Choosing Your Anti-virus Software and How to choose a firewall.

My personal choice is NOD32 Anti-Virus if choosing a paid for program as it leaves a small footprint or one of the following if choosing a free alternative.
I'm not an advocate of suites. All-in-one tools and suites generally use more system resources than separate programs that do the same task. They tend to have varying degrees of strengths and weaknesses for each feature. In contrast, separate tools are designed, built and maintained with a greater focus in a specific area so they are generally of better quality. This means the program's performance for that particular feature is usually superior than their all-in-one counterpart. Further, all-in-one tools generally do not allow the user as much flexibility in tailoring default settings and usage.

I recommend taking advantage of the Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (Pro) Protection Module in the full version 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 runs at startup where it monitors every process and helps stop malicious processes before they can infect your computer. The database that defines the heuristics is updated as often as there is something to add to it. Keep in mind that Malwarebytes does not act as a real-time protection scanner for every file like an anti-virus program so it is intended to be a supplement, not a substitute. Enabling the Protection Module feature requires registration 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 the program utilizes few system resources and should not conflict with other scanners or anti-virus programs.

If any conflicts between Malwarebytes' and another security program are reported, suggested solutions are usually provided in the Common Issues, Questions, and their Solutions, FAQs thread. I know and have worked with some members of the research team so I can attest that they make every effort to resolve issues as quickly as possible.

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, safe computing and safe surfing habits provides the most complete protection.



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

Keep Windows and Internet Explorer current with all security updates from Microsoft which will patch many of the security holes through which attackers can gain access to your computer. When necessary, Microsoft releases security updates on the second Tuesday of each month and publishes Security update bulletins to announce and describe the update. If you're not sure how to install updates, please refer to Updating your computer. Microsoft also recommends Internet 6 and 7 users to upgrade their browsers due to security vulnerabilities which can be exploited by hackers.

Avoid gaming sites, porn sites, pirated software (warez), cracking tools, and keygens. 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. In some instances an infection may cause so much damage to your system that recovery is not possible and the only option is to wipe your drive, reformat and reinstall the OS.

Avoid peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing programs (i.e. Limewire, eMule, Kontiki, BitTorrent, BitComet, uTorrent, BitLord, BearShare). They too are a security risk which can make your computer susceptible to malware infections. File sharing networks are thoroughly infected and infested with malware according to Senior Virus Analyst, Norman ASA. 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. 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 install themselves and spread infections, read How Malware Spreads - How did I get infected.

Keeping Autorun enabled on flash 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. One in every eight malware attacks occurs via a USB device. Many security experts recommend you disable Autorun as a method of prevention. Microsoft recommends doing the same.Note: If using Windows 7, be aware that in order to help prevent malware from spreading, the Windows 7 engineering team made important changes and improvements to AutoPlay so that it will no longer support the AutoRun functionality for non-optical removable media.

Always update vulnerable software like browsers, Adobe Reader and Java Runtime Environment (JRE) with the latest security patches. Older versions of these programs have vulnerabilities that malicious sites can use to exploit and infect your system.
Change all passwords: Anytime you encounter a malware infection on your computer, especially if that computer was used for online banking, has credit card information or other sensitive data on it, all passwords should be changed immediately to include those used for banking, email, eBay, paypal and any online activities which require a username and password. You should consider them to be compromised and change passwords as a precaution in case an attacker was able to steal your information when the computer was infected. If using a router, you need to reset it with a strong logon/password so the malware cannot gain control before connecting again.

Security Resources from Microsoft:Other Security Resources:Browser Security Resources:
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