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Too Many Security Programs


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#1 Groffeaston

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 03:44 PM

Hello everyone,

I know I have too many "Security Programs". What do I call "Security Programs"? Well, Anti-Malware, Anti-Spyware and other programs that can tell me it there are any problems with my computer.

Here are all the programs that I have and I will list them by category:


A)Anti-Virus, Anti-Spyware, Anti-Malware and other Security Programs

1) Microsoft Security Essentials - my main security program.

2) Emsisoft Anti-Malware (Free)

3) Emsisoft Hijack Free

4) Malwarebyte's Anti-Malware (Free)

5) Spybot Search & Destroy (Free)

6) SUPERAntiSpyware (Free)

7) ATF-Cleaner

8) rkill


B)Security Scanners/System Scanners

1) Norton Security Scan

2) AOL Computer Check-Up

3) X-Ray My PC System Scanner

4) Pareto Logic FileCure

5) Iolo System Checkup

6) Threat Expert Memory Scanner


C)Program Updates

1) CNET Tech Tracker


The ones that I use most often are:

A) 1, 2, 3 - 6

B) 2,4

C) 1

I have just recently used the other programs, because I forgot what the others were for. Also I forget if the Microsoft Security Essentials has a Fire-Wall or not, and if not, if the Vista Fire-wall is turned on or not.

Now my questions are:

1) Which programs do you recommend I totally get rid of?

2) Which programs do you recommend I should keep, but only use once in a while to keep an eye on things?

3) Which Programs do you recommend I keep?

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#2 frankp316

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 07:06 PM

A. Ditch Spybot. You have enough other stuff. You don't need it. It's a product that was effective several years ago but it isn't any good any more. Why do you need rkill? I don't have Emsisoft anything and I use Ccleaner to do what ATF is supposed to do.



B. I don't have any of this stuff. It just seems like overkill to me.



C. I don't know what this is but considering the recent changes at CNet, I wouldn't bother with any of their products. If it's a product that informs you about program updates, I use Secunia PSI and others use File Hippo's Update Checker.

#3 Stang777

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 09:31 PM

Hi,

I agree with Frank (hi Frank, ltns) about ditching Spybot, but only to a point so I thought I would jump in on that point. If you are using Spybot just to find and remove malware, ditch it.

However, if like me, you use it for other reasons, there is no reason to ditch it. As long as you don't use the TeaTimer function, and I highly recommend that you don't, it isn't running unless you open it so it isn't conflicting with anything.

The main thing I use Spybot for is to manage startups. I realize there are other programs to do that which many people like better, but I don't really care for them and Spybot works for me for that quite well.

Even though I know rkill should be downloaded fresh when and if it's needed, I keep a copy of it on my system just in case I need it and can't download it fresh. I figure and outdated version might still work and it will certainly work better than no version at all.

I do agree with Frank that all that stuff seems like overkill.

All I use in real time is ZoneAlarm antivirus and firewall. I use Malwarebytes on occasion and have used SpywareBlaster and Spybot to immunize. I use to use SuperAntiSpyware on occasion but their latest version caused problems on my system and I am not too worried about being infected so until I am, I don't see me putting it back on.

Edited by Stang777, 04 November 2011 - 09:33 PM.


#4 Queen-Evie

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 09:38 PM

I have just recently used the other programs, because I forgot what the others were for. Also I forget if the Microsoft Security Essentials has a Fire-Wall or not, and if not, if the Vista Fire-wall is turned on or not.


No, MSE does not have a firewall. It is antivirus only.

What you need to do is check to see if Windows firewall is enabled and if it is not enable it.

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-vista/Turn-Windows-Firewall-on-or-off

Edited by Queen-Evie, 04 November 2011 - 09:39 PM.


#5 boopme

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 09:43 PM

My 2¢

A)Anti-Virus, Anti-Spyware, Anti-Malware and other Security Programs

1) Microsoft Security Essentials - my main security program. Is the only AV the list

2) Emsisoft Anti-Malware (Free)
3) Emsisoft Hijack Free
5) Spybot Search & Destroy (Free)

These are antimalwares and I use both on demand after updating
4) Malwarebyte's Anti-Malware (Free)
6) SUPERAntiSpyware (Free)

These are on demand and need to be installed new as they are updated often,so remove and bookmark tge download link when running.
7) ATF-Cleaner

8) rkill


B)Security Scanners/System Scanners

1) Norton Security Scan

2) AOL Computer Check-Up >> Contains a registry Cleaner,, These cause more harm than good

3) X-Ray My PC System Scanner ?? Have not used or any knowledge

4) Pareto Logic FileCure would replace with •Spywareblaster - prevents spyware from being installed on your PC.
5) Iolo System Checkup

6) Threat Expert Memory Scanner


C)Program Updates

1) CNET Tech Tracker
Have not used or any knowledge

Edited by boopme, 04 November 2011 - 09:44 PM.

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#6 Groffeaston

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 01:46 AM

Hello everyone,

I checked to see if window's Firewall is turned and Yes, it is turned on. Also I forgot to mention I do have Secunia PSI as well as a program updates checker. As for the Spybot S&D TeaTimer function it is checked as on.

The reasons I have all of those programs that are listed above in my original post: a couple of times I did have a virus, spyware or malware problems on my computer. It was recommended to me to install those programs in A) with the Exception of MSE. I added MSE after my Subscription to McAfee ran out and I uninstalled McAfee. As for the programs in B)Norton Security Scanner (Free version) was included with a download, AOL Computer Check-UP was included when I had AOL as my Dial up internet access provider liked the program so did not get rid of it and yes I know it is outdated, as for the rest of them; I kept forgetting what I got them for. As for CNET Tech Tracker and Secunia PSI I have not had any major problems with either of them. The only exception is some minor problems with the CNET Tech Tracker. But any time that it would keep saying that a program would be out of date and it was up to date, or a program was up to date and was out of date, a wrong version # was listed, or what ever the problem was, it was usually quickly corrected within a few days.

I have not had any major problems with any of the programs, that I know of. Just minor annoying things. For example: With Emsisoft formerly a squared; I get too many false positives. But I like the HiJack Free because it shows what is running on my computer and creates a log of it and in case of a bad program lets me kill the program.

So I think the recommendations are basically this:

A. Keep: Microsoft Security Essentials as the main Security program. And Keep: Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and SUPERAntiSpyware as on demand Anti-Malwares after Updating.

Rid: Emsisoft Anti-Malware free, ATF-Cleaner, rkill, Emsisoft HiJack Free?

B. Keep: Iolo System Checkup, Threat Expert Memory Scanner, and Norton Security Scan?

Rid: Pareto Logic FileCure, X-Ray My PC System SCanner, and AOL Computer Check-Up?

Add: Spywareblaster

C. Keep: Secunia PSI free

Rid: CNET Tech Tracker?

Am I correct? Did I miss anything?

#7 quietman7

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 08:02 AM

Emsisoft (a-squared) products are prone to "false positives" and they even acknowledge this.

...Sometimes security software falsely identifies important crucial system components as a threat (hence the term False Positives - FP).

Removing/deleting critical system files, even temporarily, can make a system crash. Sometimes the system will recover after a reboot, and sometimes it will not. Therefore, you may not be able to start your system. Special system restore measures may be needed, or even a full system re-installation...If detections are FP's, you run the risk of rendering your system inoperable...

a-squared HiJackFree: Using security Software to scan data
a-squared Anti-Malware: Using security Software to scan data
a-squared Free: Using security Software to scan data

...the Anti-Malware Scanner looks for files, folders, registry entries and Tracking Cookies that are typically created by Spyware programs. Traces are exactly these trails that Spyware leaves behind...This approach has both advantages and disadvantages for Malware recognition...The negative side is that it provides a relatively inexact, or insufficiently differentiated to be more precise, Malware recognition. Benign software can be falsely recognized, for example, if it uses the same file name or folder as a dangerous Spyware program.

Software discovered via Traces should therefore first be double-checked to see if it is actually Malware before it is finally deleted...

Spyware Traces in Detail

If you're going to use Emsisoft (a-squared) products, get a second opinion on suspicious or questionable file detections by submitting them to one of the following online services that analyzes suspicious files:In the "File to Scan" (Upload or Submit) box, browse to the location of the suspicious file and submit (upload) it for scanning/analysis. If you get a message saying "File has already been analyzed", click Reanalyze or Scan again.

If there are multiple file detections you're not sure about, then perform an Online Virus Scan.


X-RayPc is a tool that works like Hijackthis and creates a log with similar entries. Both tools only scan certain areas of a computer's system/registry to help diagnose the presence of undetected malware in known hiding places. Given the sophistication of malware hiding techniques used by attackers in today's environment, HijackThis (and X-RayPC) are limited in its ability to detect infection and generate a report outside these known hiding places. This limitation has made its usefulness nearly obsolete since their logs cannot reveal all the malware residing on a computer. As such, HijackThis has been replaced by other preferred tools like DDS, OTL and RSIT that provide comprehensive logs with specific details about more areas of a computer's system, files, folders and registry keys which may have been modified by malware infection.

Edited by quietman7, 05 November 2011 - 08:06 AM.

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#8 WallyWest

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 08:52 AM

Here's what I suggest:

Antivirus: Avast! free antivirus OR Avira Antivir

Anti-spyware: Super Antispyware and/or Malware Bytes

Firewall: Windows Firewall and/or Comodo Firewall

You can actually just ditch the firewall. If your router has a firewall, then just use that.

Here's another suggestion: Set up a virtual machine, install Linux on it and use that for browsing so you won't have to worry that much about getting viruses. Or instead of Linux, just setup Windows as the guest OS and take a snapshot. If the guest OS gets infected, just revert to the last snapshot and you're all right.

Why too many security programs? Do you browse high-risk sites a lot?

#9 boopme

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 09:34 AM

Firewall: Windows Firewall and/or Comodo Firewall

You can actually just ditch the firewall. If your router has a firewall, then just use that.


This is not accurate. You should run only ONE software firewall.. The optimum protection is One software and one Hardware wall (router).

Edited by boopme, 05 November 2011 - 09:35 AM.

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#10 Groffeaston

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 05:45 PM

Hello everyone,

Let me see if I have this correct now.

A. Keep: Microsoft Security Essentials, SUPERAntiSpyware and Malwarebytes Anti-Malware. :thumbup2:

Get Rid of: Emsisoft Anti-Malware (Free), Emsisoft Hijack Free, ATF-Cleaner and rkill. :thumbup2:

Add: ?

B. Keep: Iolo System Checkup, Threat Expert Memory Scanner and Norton Security Scan (Free, scan only)?

Get Rid of: X-Ray My PC System Scanner and Pareto Logic FileCure.

Add: DDS, OTL or RSIT.

Not Sure: AOL Computer Check-up.

C. Keep: Secunia PSI Free

Not sure: CNET Tech Tracker.

I do not know if the router has a firewall or not, I think it does but not 100% sure. I will check back later.

#11 boopme

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 08:38 PM

My update
Add: Spywareblaster

These like ATF and RKill (Add: DDS, OTL or RSIT)
You should just keep the download link bookmarked as when you need to use them you will want to get the newest version.
How do I get help? Who is helping me?For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear....Become a BleepingComputer fan: Facebook

#12 quietman7

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 11:08 PM

Unless you know how to read and analyze logs from DDS, OTL or RSIT there's no point on downloading and using them. As boopme says, just keep the download link bookmarked. Then if those tools are needed for a malware infection you should seek assistance from an expert who will advise you accordingly. Like HijackThis, these are powerful tools which rely on trained experts to interpret the log entries, determine what needs to be fixed and plan a strategy for disinfection. Using such tools requires advanced knowledge about the Windows Operating System and can cause system damage if used incorrectly. If you do not have advanced knowledge about computers or training in the use of these tools, you should NOT attempt to use them or fix anything without consulting a expert as to what to fix.


CNET Tech Tracker is a program used to ensure your computer is running the latest versions of software. Older versions of some types of software can be exploited by attackers. When exploits are identified by vendors, they update the version or release patches to fix the vulnerability.


AOL Computer Checkup includes a registry cleaner.

Bleeping Computer DOES NOT recommend the use of registry cleaners/optimizers for several reasons:

:step1: Registry cleaners are extremely powerful applications that can damage the registry by using aggressive cleaning routines and cause your computer to become unbootable.

The Windows registry is a central repository (database) for storing configuration data, user settings and machine-dependent settings, and options for the operating system. It contains information and settings for all hardware, software, users, and preferences. Whenever a user makes changes to settings, file associations, system policies, or installed software, the changes are reflected and stored in this repository. The registry is a crucial component because it is where Windows "remembers" all this information, how it works together, how Windows boots the system and what files it uses when it does. The registry is also a vulnerable subsystem, in that relatively small changes done incorrectly can render the system inoperable. For a more detailed explanation, read Understanding The Registry.

:step2: Not all registry cleaners are created equal. There are a number of them available but they do not all work entirely the same way. Each vendor uses different criteria as to what constitutes a "bad entry". One cleaner may find entries on your system that will not cause problems when removed, another may not find the same entries, and still another may want to remove entries required for a program to work. Further, some vendors who offer registry cleaners use deceptive advertisements and claims which are borderline scams. They may alert you to finding thousands of registry errors which can only be fixed and improve performance if you use their product.

:step3: Not all registry cleaners create a backup of the registry before making changes. If the changes prevent the system from booting up, then there is no backup available to restore it in order to regain functionality. A backup of the registry is essential BEFORE making any changes to the registry.

:step4: Improperly removing registry entries can hamper malware disinfection and make the removal process more difficult if your computer becomes infected. For example, removing malware related registry entries before the infection is properly identified can contribute to system instability and even make the malware undetectable to removal tools.

:step5: The usefulness of cleaning the registry is highly overrated and can be dangerous. In most cases, using a cleaner to remove obsolete, invalid, and erroneous entries does not affect system performance but it can result in "unpredictable results".

Unless you have a particular problem that requires a registry edit to correct it, I would suggest you leave the registry alone. Using registry cleaning tools unnecessarily or incorrectly could lead to disastrous effects on your operating system such as preventing it from ever starting again. For routine use, the benefits to your computer are negligible while the potential risks are great.


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#13 Groffeaston

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Posted 06 November 2011 - 02:33 AM

Okay, I think I have it now. If I am correct this is the recommendation:

A. Keeping: Microsoft Security Essentials, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, and SUPERAntiSpyware.

Uninstall: Emsisoft Anti-Malware (free), Emsisoft Hijack free, ATF-Cleaner (Bookmark download link for future reference), rkill (Bookmark download link for future reference)

Add: Spywareblaster

Should I keep Spybot S&D, but make sure to Turn off The Tea Timer function? I use it to immunize.


B. Keeping: Iolo System Checkup and Threat Expert Memory Scanner.

Uninstall: AOL Computer Check-up, X-Ray My PC System Scanner, and Pareto Logic File Cure.

Should I still keep: Norton Security Scan (Free, Scan only)?


C. Keeping: Secunia PSI and CNET Tech Tracker.


Am I forgetting anything?

#14 Didier Stevens

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Posted 06 November 2011 - 05:23 AM

Am I forgetting anything?


Do you make regular backups of your machine? And if you do, have you ever tried to restore a backup?

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#15 Winterland

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Posted 06 November 2011 - 07:23 AM

Hey everyone, good morning and welcome to Sunday, hope you remembered to set your clocks back (if it applies.)


Thanks also for all the insights about which programs you recommend and also, why you recommend them.

Groffeaston, thanks for starting the conversation. One more reason to love the Forums.


boopme, thanks for the idea of bookmarking apps you might need in the event of an infection; hadn't even occurred to me, but I have done so now.


Didier, you mention regular backups, with regards to this what are some best practices/hardware/software that you recommend?

If you've posted this information in some other forum (or perhaps on your blog) would you mind sending me the link?


Updated and patched, I remain,

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