Thanks for the info, hbyton. Even though I am new here, I have been in IT for 13 years, so I have some experience dealing with malware, obviously. One of the main reasons I posted this was in an effort to find out what technicians are doing to harden their customer's computers. Obviously, from the Cryptolocker topic, you can set up GPOs to protect computers on a network, but what about the average home (or small business) user?
What I am running into are antivirus/antimalware programs that bog machines down so much that they in and of themselves are about as bad as the infections! Nothing, and I do mean nothing, seems to work on a computer that is Vista or XP vintage, without seriously compromising bootup and shutdown speeds and/or general operation of said computer. I've tried Avast, Antivir, Panda Cloud, AVG, and Immunet Protect on various machines of various age (new to 5+ years old) and they all virtually double to TRIPLE boot times and shutdowns. Panda Cloud raised a Vista boot time to THREE MINUTES when I tested it recently! Yikes. The only program I've seen that doesn't bog machines terribly (although some older PCs it will) is MSE, and the protection it offers really isn't that great, IMO.
I would recommend Sandboxie or something similar to my customers, but it's been my experience they won't use it, even if you show them how. Sandboxie is ok for us techs, not so much for the average user. How would they know, if they're experiencing problems (not just malware-related) to "dump" the sandbox and start new? Further, they're likely not to know that software updates to any online programs should be done OUTSIDE of the sandbox, not in it, so that they "stick" if they empty the sandbox.
My thoughts currently are to install Chrome, install Adblock Plus (the new 1.5.5), disable all ads in ABP, and add the malware protection filters as well. Won't protect you from a bad email, but is better than nothing. I've also installed SpywareBlaster on several of my customer's computers; whether it helps or not, I don't know. I suspect it does, because as I think about it, I don't see those customers as often!
Look forward to everyone's thoughts.