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Programs & tips protecting a kid's laptop


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#1 HelpAMomPlease

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Posted 24 January 2015 - 04:27 PM

My daughter killed our ancient HP with XP, it is very infected and hijacked despite antivirus/malware programs and the MANY hours I've spent learning about all this & trying to fix it over the past year.  A combo of them both being 10 years old I think!  For Christmas, our family gave her a HP TouchSmart Windows 8.1 64 bit with trial McAfee Live pre-installed and it's got to survive until high school.   This site has taught me a lot BUT I'm in over my head big time and at the point where the more I read, the more confused I get and the less I know- I surrender!  Could somebody please advise me:

 

  • The best anti-virus/malware/spyware for a kid who loves to go on minecraft servers (like minecats, mod sites, skin sites, regular minecraft), watch youtube videos and download art from deviant.

          I read all the top reviews on PCMag, and it is confusing as the best ranked poorly in areas like malicious URL blocking, and I *think that's a big weak spot for her use.  If I even knew what her "online weak spots" were, I could go back through for an informed choice.  I'm leaning toward Trend Micro, Norton or continuing McAfee.

 

  • How do I make security program(s) allow the minecraft back and forth, use of Skype but block peer to peer?  Or are these peer to peer?  I am confused on what is peer to peer, what/how to tell "good" remote access from bad, and how to make my software and firewall recognize what's ok and what is not.
  • Is one good security suite package enough, or do I need separate anti-virus, malware, spyware, firewall?
  • What do I not even know I have to know to protect her and the laptop?  I have coached her on safe AND smart internet use, but it's all the hidden, sneaky backdoor things out there, like random IP's trying to breach our firewall that McAfee keeps picking up.

Thank you very, very much!

 



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#2 Sintharius

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Posted 24 January 2015 - 04:47 PM

To answer your questions... (these are MY personal opinions only - I'm open to discussion)

1. There is no "best" AV software - Moderator quietman7 can give you more information.

Personally I recommend Emsisoft Anti-Malware, ESET NOD32 or Kaspersky Anti-Virus.

And yes, you do need additional AM protection. My personal choice is Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (MBAM). Emsisoft Anti-Malware is also a reliable AM software.

2.
- Peer-to-peer programs are like BitTorrent, uTorrent, LimeWire etc. Basically they allow you to download files by getting bits and pieces from other people downloading the same thing - and this makes P2P downloads one of the greatest source of malware infection.

- If you wish to allow some programs and block others, the answer is a firewall. You can use the Windows Firewall or a third-party firewall.

My recommendations for a third-party firewall are Comodo Firewall (remember to uncheck Install Comodo Antivirus) or ZoneAlarm (remember to uncheck the spyware blocker toolbar option).

- If you need help telling good software from bad, you can ask here in BC.

- To make your firewall recognize what's good and bad, you can add Exceptions to the good ones and let the firewall blocks the baddies.

3. To use one security suite or multiple software depends on what you use - generally I use one suite and fill in the suite's weakness with independent software. Personally I use Kaspersky Endpoint Security with MBAM.

4. Moderator quietman7 can give you some additional recommendations on this.

My notes to her:

- Install an ad blocker for her browser - it'll keep her safe from malicious ads in addition to keeping those annoying things out.

- Use Web of Trust. The add-on can give her a general idea of what's good to use and what's not.

- Grinler's tutorial on online safety can help her a lot.

Stay safe, surf safe!
Alex

Edited by Alexstrasza, 24 January 2015 - 05:02 PM.


#3 quietman7

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Posted 24 January 2015 - 05:34 PM

I recommend that you and your daughter both read these topics.
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#4 quietman7

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Posted 24 January 2015 - 07:16 PM

Prevention Tips to Avoid Malvertising exploits and ads:

:step1: Do not open email attachments from an unknown or unsolicited sources). Crypto malware can be disguised as fake PDF files in email attachments which appear to be legitimate correspondence from reputable companies such as banks and Internet providers or UPS or FedEx with tracking numbers. Attackers will use email addresses and subjects (purchase orders, bills, complaints, other business communications) that will entice a user to read the email and open the attachment...see here.

:step2: Do not open Office documents with embedded macro as they can be infected...see here.

:step3: Do not click links in an email message, an instant message or on a social networking site. If the link is malicious, you can be redirected to a compromised site and become infected by exploit kits that deliver drive-by downloads.

:step4: Turn on file extensions in windows so that you can see extensions. Ransomware disguises .exe files as fake PDF files with a PDF icon inside a .zip file attached to the email. Since Microsoft does not show extensions by default, they look like normal PDF files and people routinely open them. A common tactic of malware writers is to disguise malicious files by hiding the file extension or adding spaces to the existing extension as shown here (click Figure 1 to enlarge) so be sure you look closely at the full file name.

:step5: Turn Off Flash to Avoid 'Malvertising' Attacks and block advertisements in your browser with AdBlock.

I recommend changing Shockwave Flash to "Ask to Activate" or "Never Activate" as follows...
Open Firefox, go to > Tools > Add-ons > Plugins > Shockwave Flash > click the drop-down box and select "Never Activate" or "Ask to Activate". This way the plugin will stay disabled per default but can be activated on a per-site basis.

:step6: Don't disable UAC in Vista or Windows 7/8, Limit user privileges and use Limited User Accounts in Windows XP.

:step7: Follow Best Practices for Safe Computing when browsing the web. Important Fact: It has been proven time and again that the user is a more substantial factor (weakest link) in security than the architecture of the operating system or installed protection software.

:step8: Backing up your data and disk imaging are among the most important maintenance tasks users should perform on a regular basis, yet it's one of the most neglected areas.

Read the following for more prevention tips in regards to Ransomware/Crypto malware.


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#5 HelpAMomPlease

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Posted 24 January 2015 - 07:30 PM

Thank you both for replying.  I appreciate your time.  I tend to get bogged down and brain overload; there is just so, so much info out there.  I have read many of the great topics on BC and sometimes get stuck figuring out what applies to her/our use, and what's beyond the scope I have to worry about it.  i.e., I thought the mineraft skins and servers were P2P.  Sounds like we are safe there, at least.  :)  The safe add on WOT link is very helpful. 

 

The minecraft servers, skins & mod packs make me nervous.  I'm pretty sure that's what blew the old laptop.  Is it correct that these servers communicate through the firewall, and if trusted to enter the firewall also become trusted by antivirus/AM?  The IP's change frequently, and it seems like multiple player = multiple IP's to access her computer.  Or maybe I just don't get this concept and it's all cool, no worries, I can reasonably trust that good AV/AM will protect regardless?

 

I'm not sure why PC Mag said Kaspersky was poor at blocking malicious URL's yet overall it was an editor's choice with great ratings.  After more research into Kaspersky it sounds great.  Would Kaspersky Internet Security or Pure (vs. just anti-virus) eliminate the need for additional AM?  It claims to protect from viruses, spyware, malware and 2 way firewall protection, but it sounds too good to be true.  

 

Thank you again for earlier replies, and for anyone who may be able to clarify further!



#6 quietman7

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Posted 24 January 2015 - 07:36 PM

Many site rating vendors (i.e. McAfee SiteAdvisor, WOT) use a system of volunteer testers that continually patrol the Internet to browse sites, download files, and enter information on sign-up forms. All the results are documented and supplemented with feedback from users, Web site owners, and analysis from their own employees. The advising site vendor then summarizes the results sometimes into a color-coded red, yellow and green ratings scale to help inform Web users as to the safety of each tested site. While these tools are useful, they are not foolproof and sometimes may provide misleading ratings. Just because you visit a risky site does not automatically mean the site is bad or that your system has been infected by going there. Thus, the use of such rating sites does not always guarantee an accurate rating of the results they provide.
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#7 Sintharius

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Posted 25 January 2015 - 02:43 AM

The minecraft servers, skins & mod packs make me nervous.  I'm pretty sure that's what blew the old laptop.  Is it correct that these servers communicate through the firewall, and if trusted to enter the firewall also become trusted by antivirus/AM?  The IP's change frequently, and it seems like multiple player = multiple IP's to access her computer.  Or maybe I just don't get this concept and it's all cool, no worries, I can reasonably trust that good AV/AM will protect regardless?

As a long-time online gamer myself, I can assure you that legistimate game servers do not infect players.

The concept of online mass multiplayer games is players connecting to the same server - and the server in turn send data to the players. So other players do not actually *connect* directly to each other - they do it indirectly via the game server instead.

From what you said, I had a suspicion that she infected her old machine by downloading Minecraft skins and mod packs - as with all game contents, some are actually scams to lure people in and infect them.

I'm not sure why PC Mag said Kaspersky was poor at blocking malicious URL's yet overall it was an editor's choice with great ratings. After more research into Kaspersky it sounds great. Would Kaspersky Internet Security or Pure (vs. just anti-virus) eliminate the need for additional AM? It claims to protect from viruses, spyware, malware and 2 way firewall protection, but it sounds too good to be true.


Because there is no AV that is best at everything. AV software are most effective when combined with common sense and AM protection - since it's impossible for one AV software to catch everything.

I still prefer to use a supplementing AM solution - as they are more specialized to catch things ordinary AVs won't catch, like adware, browser hijackers and so on.

#8 quietman7

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Posted 25 January 2015 - 08:43 AM

See my comments in Supplementing your Anti-Virus Program with Anti-Malware Tools as to why I recommend Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Pro and Emsisoft Anti-Malware.
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