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Ways to protect your computer


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18 replies to this topic

#1 YesImOtto

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 08:18 AM

Hi

I am not sure where to post this, bu I think this place would be suitable.

Other than antivirus programs like MBAM, Superantispyware, what else can one do to protect the computer?

I ran antivirus like AVG and then its clean. I run online scanner too. But surely there must be other ways to look after your computer? What can I do to make it "clean"?

Also, What harm is there in not removing internet temporary files, history, etc.?

Thank you!

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#2 Required Field

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 09:11 AM

To be honest with you, I think the average end user really only needs some very basic protection. A decent AV product and MBAM plus firewall. Most infections are, it's my experience, user-initiated. In otherwords, it's something you clicked on. The best defense for the average person is to simply be careful what you do and where you go. Anything else, like adding ZoneAlarm or using the Spybot Tea Timer, tends to be more than the average user needs or wants. Now if you're securing your business, or something like that, there are LOTS of things you could/should do. But that's just my opinion.

Edited by Required Field, 04 August 2011 - 09:12 AM.

"Most quotes attributed to famous people on the internet are fake." -Abraham Lincoln

#3 Artrooks

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 11:25 AM

Hello sumosalad,

Other than antivirus programs like MBAM, Superantispyware, what else can one do to protect the computer?


  • A solid antivirus program that updates multiple times daily in the background. I like Avast Free or Avira Free.
  • If you are not running a security suite that includes a special firewall, then make sure that the Windows Firewall is active by going to "Control Panel," Windows Firewall," and making sure "ON (Recommended)" is selected.
  • Keep your version of Windows up to date by visiting Windows Update site frequently and installing all "Express" (recommended) updates. Malware regularly targets unpatched windows operating systems. You should have XP Service Pack 3 installed; otherwise, Microsoft has not been releasing security updates to your computer since July 2010.
  • A More Secure Browser: If you are using Internet Explorer version 6.0 or 7.0, update to version 8.0 for increased security. Remember, Internet Explorer is the number one browser targeted by malware.
    Why not try an alternative browser like FireFox or Google's Chrome. I would also recommend two Firefox Addons: No Script and Web of Trust (WOT). WOT color codes your search web links with green (safe), yellow, or red (unsafe) circles. It has a plugin available for all major browsers.
  • Keeping other software up to date is becoming increasingly more important as malware is targeting older versions of popular software. Stay protected by updating to the most current version.

  • It is most important that you also uninstall older versions of Java.
  • Click Start, Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs.
  • Delete all Java updates except Java 6_ Update 26

  • I highly recommend Secunia's free Personal Software Inspector (PSI), here. It scans your computer weekly in the background and notifies if windows updates or other software is outdated.
  • The free versions of Malwarebytes and superantispyware are excellent "on demand" scanners and worth updating and running once weekly.
  • Avoid P2P or File Sharing software. While there are certainly legitimate uses for these programs, there are major pitfalls. First, there's the potential for the inadvertant sharing of copyrighted material and second, malware writers heavily target P2P downloads, making them a major vector for malware infection (see Risks of File-Sharing Technology).
    One study demonstrated that almost 38% of downloaded files using a major P2P program contained malware (ref). P2P software accounts for a significant number of infected computers seen in Malware Forums.
  • Last but NOT least (in agreement with Required Field) the "users" behavior is usually the number one reason for infection. Think before you click.

Regards,
Artrooks

Regards,
Brooks



 


#4 Required Field

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 11:46 AM

Artook's suggestions are all solid. I should have also added that any website that says you have to download a new video program or codec should also be condisered a threat. When id doubt, Google it, or just check BC! :)
"Most quotes attributed to famous people on the internet are fake." -Abraham Lincoln

#5 quietman7

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 01:35 PM

Common sense, safe computing and safe surfing habits is essential to protecting yourself from malware infection. No amount of security software is going to defend against today's sophisticated malware writers for those who do not practice these principles and stay informed. Knowledge and the ability to use it is the best defensive tool anyone could have. This includes educating yourself as to the most common ways malware is contracted and spread as well as prevention.


If your computer has been infected before and you're not sure how that occurred, please read How Malware Spreads - How did I get infected which explains the most common ways malware is contracted and spread.

Edited by quietman7, 04 August 2011 - 01:36 PM.

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#6 Didier Stevens

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 02:23 PM

Using a Least privilege User Account (LUA) is very important to protect your machine.

If you still use Windows XP, don't use the administrative account, but create a non-admin account (i.e. LUA) and use that.
If you use Vista or 7, be sure you didn't disable UAC.

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#7 YesImOtto

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 08:28 PM

Thanks for great responses people.

Other than internet-based security, what can I do? Like defragment, etc.? Im not that good at computers by the way.

Also, what harm is there in not removing internet history, temporary files etc? Is it only making my computer slow, nothing else?

#8 Didier Stevens

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 03:27 AM

Other than internet-based security, what can I do? Like defragment, etc.? Im not that good at computers by the way.


No, I don't do that kind of stuff with my computers, I leave it all over to the automated processes (like automatic defragmentation).

What's really important is to keep your OS and installed programs up-do-date. That's not only applying Microsoft patches, but also keeping all your other programs up-to-date, like Adobe Reader.
And making backups of your OS and data regularly, so that you can restore the files in case of a disaster. A disaster might be a virus infection, but also a natural disaster or a house fire. For those cases, you should store your backups in a secure, off-site location.

That's about all the maintenance that I do with my computers: patch and backup.


Also, what harm is there in not removing internet history, temporary files etc? Is it only making my computer slow, nothing else?

There's no harm, unless you need to hide something for somebody. And I don't mean something illegal, could be as simple as preventing your SO to find out what you ordered online for her birthday.

Temporary internet files don't make your computer slower, quite the contrary. IE uses a cache to store all web content you view. If you view it a second time (say the day after), IE will check with the webserver if the content has not changed, and if it hasn't, it will not download the content but render it immediately from the cache (those temporary internet files). This makes that you view the website faster, because it doesn't have to be redownloaded.

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#9 YesImOtto

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 04:43 AM

Alright.

So aside from internet security, I do not need to defrag my computer?

Just want to know what people do to look after their computers lol, other than interenet based security like antivirus, updating windows adobe etc.

#10 Didier Stevens

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 05:30 AM

I do not need to defrag my computer?


Not manually, but use the scheduled defrag.

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#11 YesImOtto

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 08:10 AM


I do not need to defrag my computer?


Not manually, but use the scheduled defrag.

How do you do that? :o

And why not manually if I mat ask?

#12 Didier Stevens

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 08:33 AM

How do you do that? :o

And why not manually if I mat ask?


On Windows 7, you can schedule defragmentation. Open the Disk Defragmenter application and you'll find a Configure schedule button.

I do it automatically just for convenience, so that I don't have to remember it.
Manually works as well, but you can forget to do it.

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#13 YesImOtto

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 07:53 PM


How do you do that? :o

And why not manually if I mat ask?


On Windows 7, you can schedule defragmentation. Open the Disk Defragmenter application and you'll find a Configure schedule button.

I do it automatically just for convenience, so that I don't have to remember it.
Manually works as well, but you can forget to do it.


It says it is scheduled to run at 1:00 AM every Wednesday. That time I would be sleeping and my laptop would be off lol. SO I have to change to a better time yes?

Will it slow it down etc when its running the defrag?

#14 boopme

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 09:11 PM

By the way the latest version of Java Runtime Environment (JRE) is now Version 7 .
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#15 Animal

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 09:26 PM

Will it slow it down etc when its running the defrag?

Yes it will. To properly defrag you should not be using the computer.

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