My method is the use of a combination of the following programs all free, also exercise extreme caution with anythimg that seems a little bit suspicious.
!Avg antivirus free, this is the main antivirus on my machine
!malwarebytes scanner (free version), a second opinion on demand scanner for extra protection
!Eset online scanner (free), a third opinion scanner, to scan the whole system on demand when i am feeling really supicious
!Firefox (free), this is the browser i use, it is the most secur browser in general but alos allows the installation of some really helpful add-ons
!Noscript, blocks scripts on websites, helps act as a layer of defence against drivebys
!Adblock plus, blocks content from known advertising netwrosk from appearing on pages, this helps protect against "malvertising"
Other tips i would give are:
!Remove java immediately, it is a security risk and is almost nevr needed. If it is required for a desktop program you use then atleast disable it's online component so it can't run in the browser.
!Set all plugins as "click to play"/"ask to activate" this prevents plugins running without user consent, is an extra layer against drivebys, it also speeds up browsing as less data needs to be transferred from the site to your computer now that the plugins are gone.
!Make sure flash is up to date, you need it to watch (most) online videos through firefox. check for updates for it every week or so. Deactivate it fully except when you are deliberately going to a video site to watch a video.
!Fully deactivate every plugin except flash(decativate it at most times but not always), enable them temporarily only on sites you trust which require them to run.
!Keep windows up to date, set updates to check automatically but not download until you give approval. make sure to also manually check for updates every tuesday evening, and install the updates as soon after they are released as you can.
!Keep all other programs up to date, things like your media player
!Keep your antivirus up to date, set it to update automatically, but update it yourself manually every few days aswell.
!Anything you download, even images, should be scanned with your antivirus and on demand secondary scanner before opening.
!Windows should be set to "display extensions for known file types" so you can be aware of whether the file you are about to open is really what it claims to be.
!Never open an exe or scr file which you were not expecting, there are also other formats to avoid opening, i can't remember what thye all are but .exe is the main one.
!Never open an email attachment you didn't expect to receive.
!Never click on a pop-up online, though adblock plus and noscript should stop them ever appearing at all.
!Never click on an advert online,once again adblock plus and noscript should stop them ever appearing at all.
!Never believe online "messages" saying to update a plugin (or other piece of software), they are traps to get you to download viruses. Download your programs and plugins only from the proper source.
!When downloading files, be vary careful to avoid fake download buttons, these are often adverts which link to viruses and PuPs. Hover your mouse over the download link first to see where it goes, if it's not on the site you are trying to download the file from then it's probably a fake link to a third party ad network.
!Never follow a bit.ly or tinyurl link, they can go anywhere, including to viruses
!If you feel at all suspicious about a website then go to web of trust, type the url into their search bar and see how previous users have rated it.
!On the RARE occasion you need to download a program then first save the exe file into a folder on your computer, then scan it with your antivirus and second opinion scanner (in my case, an avg scan then an mbam scan), then scan it with the online service virustotal. This does not need to be done for other (zip archives and video, image or audio files)file types.
!If you are downloading something which should be a document, a media file or an image and it turns out to be an exe file treat it as an attempt to infect you. Assume anything that is an exe file but claims to be somethign else is automatically malicious. In the case of downloading a zip (or 7z or rar) archive then if it has an exe file inside when it should have had images, audio files, video files, documents, etc then assume it is a vrius and don't rust any of the files ontained within, even if they are images.
!When downloading files make sure to save them to a folder where they can be scanned before opening, don't choose the "open" option when downloading, choose the "save option".
!Use 2 step verification on your important online email and bank accounts, every time you login first you must input a password, then a text with a verification code is sent to your phone. This gives some protection incase you are being keylogged for example.
!From time to time look in task manager (ctrl+alt+delete) under the processes tab, if you start seeing things that you have not seen before then do a full scan with your antivirus and second opinion scanners. Also ask online about whether that process is normal and under what circumstances, only do this if you feel particularly worried about it.
!If using windows 8 make sure UAC is set to the highest security setting, it will give you 1 click of extra bother for every time you open certain programs but it will help boost your security immensely.
!If using a version of windows without UAC then don't login as the administrator account except when you need to make changes.
!If your system is set up so you can do it then make some system images. Windows 8 has a facility to do this built in. Make a system image when the machine is brand new befor eevn taling it online, then make several once you have your programs installed and running. these can be used to restore your system to these earlir states incase of :crashes, damages due to poorly coded updates, viruses, damage due to changing system settings, damage due to power loss when updating/system restoring, accidental uninstallation of an important program.
!Keep backups of the installer exe files for important programs, both those which are "mission critical" to your computer use, those you really like and alos some of the security programs. When you download the programs make sure to save their installer exe file in a folder you can easily find. After the program is installed and running then copy the instaler to a USB stick or CD-RW. These can be used to install programs onto a system without having to go online. If you copy the installer for your antivirus onto a USB stcik the when setting up new machines (or restoring old ones) you can copy the exe file from the stick onto the machine, run it to install the antivirus and then the second you connect to the internet you can update the definitions and be protected, rather than having to hunt around online for the installer to download. Only do this for exe files thhat you absolutely KNOW you can trust. make sure you have been runnng a programs for years and know it is trustworthy before doing this.
!Don't allow autorun of files on USB sticks, DVDs or CDs. Make sure autorun is disabled as historically it has been a very easy way for viruses to spread. in the past windows would, by default, execute instructions given to it on any removable media you inserted. Nowadays this is disabled by deafult but make sure of it. If when you insert a disc the video plays mmediately or the software installer opens just like that then you are doing this wrong, you should have to go into "my computer" and double clcik on the disc for it to start playing/installing.
!Backup all your personal files regularly, don't lave it to an automated system and don't use synced backups. Just dedicate five minutes at the end of each day to copying that days new or edited files onto a USB stick, and a few hourd each month to copying oldr files onto USB sticks, external hard drives, CD-RWs ,DVDs or cloud storage( this cold include emailing things to yourself as attachments).
!Backup all your personal files(documents, images, audio, video, zip archives, other) regularly, don't lave it to an automated system and don't use synced backups. Just dedicate five minutes at the end of each day to copying that days new or edited files onto a USB stick, and a few hourd each month to copying oldr files onto USB sticks, external hard drives, CD-RWs ,DVDs or cloud storage( this cold include emailing things to yourself as attachments). There ar reasons i said that twice, for a backup to be much good there must be atlest three separate and totally independent copies of any given file, for example one on your computer's hard drive, one on a CD-RW, and one in the cloud.
!Make sure everyone who uses your computer understands all these principles.
Edited by rp88, 05 December 2014 - 10:16 AM.
Back on this site, for a while anyway, been so busy the last year.
My systems:2 laptops, intel i3 processors, windows 8.1 installed on the hard-drive and linux mint 17.3 MATE installed to USB