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unecessary software protection?


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#1 sniper8752

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 11:33 AM

i have several programs on my computer (such as spybot and threatfire) that never seem to find anything when I scan. is it worth keeping, even if it never finds anything? how do i know if it really is protecting me, or just slowing me down?

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#2 FlannelBack

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 04:18 PM

Threatfire, I would definitely keep installed. It's primary function is to run in the background guarding against any type of malicious activity, not as an on demand scanner. If you don't have PC Tools AntiVirus installed then Threatfire's on demand scan will only search for rootkits.

Where Threatfire really comes into play is guarding against zero day threats or possible threats that your other resident security may not detect. So it is quite normal to not see any kind of notification from Threatfire. You can configure it to pop up a "security status report" every two weeks, which I believe it is set to do by default.

I've had Threatfire installed for quite some time(years) and no slow down attributable to it.

As for Spybot Search and Destroy, it's probably better not to use it's resident protection "TeaTimer". If you use Opera then the immunization feature, similar to that of SpywareBlaster, includes immunization for the Opera browser. For on demand scans, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and or SUPERAntiSpyware would be good alternatives to Spybot.

#3 quietman7

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 07:30 AM

mvps.org is no longer recommending Spybot S&D or Ad-Aware due to poor testing results. See here - (scroll down and read under Freeware Antispyware Products). Further, most people don't understand how to use Spybot's TeaTimer and that feature can cause more problems than it's worth. TeaTimer monitors changes to certain critical keys in Windows registry but does not indicate if the change is normal or a modification made by a malware infection. The user must have an understanding of the registry and how TeaTimer works in order to make informed decisions to allow or deny the detected changes. If you don't have understanding how a particular security tool works, then you probably should not be using it. Additionally, TeaTimer may conflict with other security tools which do a much better job of protecting your computer and in some cases it will even prevent disinfection of malware by those tools.

As for Ad-Aware, it has even been placed into the Installers Hall of Shame for bundling and pre-checking Google Chrome during the installation. Also read Lavasoft Turning to the Dark Side? written by a former volunteer (now a MVP) who provided support for Ad-Aware but no longer uses the program.

As FlannelBack notes, more effective alternatives are Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and SUPERAntiSpyware Free.

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. Keep in mind that this feature does not guarantee something will not slip through as no product can detect and prevent every type of malware. The database that defines the heuristics is updated as often as there is something to add to it. Also 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.

IP Protection (malicious website blocking) is part of the Protection Module and works after it is enabled. When attempting to go to a potential malicious website, Malwarebytes will block the attempt and provide an alert. IP Protection is also designed to block incoming connections it determines to be malicious.

Enabling the Protection Module feature 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.
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