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Do I need additional security software?


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#1 moonlighter

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Posted 10 May 2015 - 07:07 AM

Hi,

 

This is my first post asking for your assistance; I'm not sure if I posted the topic in the correct forum section.

 

Last month I bought a laptop, a Lenovo G50-70. It had McAfee security software pre-installed, to be used for 30 days. That trial period ends tomorrow. My finances at this time won't allow me to purchase commercial security software.

 

If this 30 day license to use the McAfee sofware expires, does that mean the software all of a sudden “stops working” i.e. does it leave my laptop completely unprotected.

I understand that it is possible to adequately protect one's computer using freely available programmes? What programmes do you suggest would be best suited for my laptop? Is it possible to use freeware that is ad-free? In what order should I install/activate and uninstall/remove programmes?

 

I've been reading up on the subject but the amount of information on this site is so overwhelming, and my knowledge of computers turns out to be so very limited that I don't trust myself to make the right choices. Could you help me? Suggest specific programmes to download maybe? Point me to the most relevant tutorials? Recommendations?...

 

Specifications laptop:

Lenovo G50-70

processor: intel®Core™i3-4030UCPU @ 1.9GHz

installed RAM: 4,00GB

system type: 64-bit operating system, x64-based processor

Windows 8,1

 

Security status, at this point,

McAfee firewall, McAfee anti-virus and anti-spyware is turned on

Windows smartscreen is on

Windows defender is off

Network access protection agent service is not running

 

Can it be as simple as: uninstall McAfee and turn on Windows Defender?

Does Windows Defender, together with Windows Smartscreen, provide adequate protection?

 

Thanks,

 

 



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#2 mrbluto

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Posted 10 May 2015 - 07:42 AM

I would dump Mcafee and install the free version of Avast. All you need to do in register (your e-mail address) and it is good for 1 year. I run the free version of that and I also have a paid subscription of Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit and Anti-Malware. I have yet to get into trouble with those programs.

 

You could also install the free versions of the Malwarebytes but they do not offer real time protection. Either way, these are the three that as far as I am concerned.


Edited by mrbluto, 10 May 2015 - 07:44 AM.


#3 quietman7

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Posted 10 May 2015 - 07:57 AM

Can it be as simple as: uninstall McAfee and turn on Windows Defender?
Does Windows Defender, together with Windows Smartscreen, provide adequate protection?

Yes...Windows Defender on Windows 8 integrates a more robust version of Windows Defender (and uses that name) for its anti-virus and anti-malware protection. Although it uses the same name, it is not the same as Defender in previous operating systems. Windows Defender 8 provides the same level of protection against malware as Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) provides on older operation systems and uses the same daily virus definition updates.

Since Windows 8 Defender includes anti-virus protection, it may be disabled by the installation of a third-party anti-virus program. If a trial anti-virus (i.e. McAfee, Norton, etc) came preinstalled on your computer or you installed one, it most likely turned Windows 8 Defender off (disabled) to avoid conflicts. Windows 8 Defender will remain disabled until that anti-virus software has been completely uninstalled and then Windows 8 Defender needs to be activated if you choose to use it. When uninstalling the third-party anti-virus you may receive a message indicated your system has no protection...click here to turn on Windows Defender. If not, you will need to manually turn it on.

If you want to use another anti-virus then you need to disable Windows 8 Defender before installing a different antivirus software.

If you have not done so already, you may want to read: Choosing an Anti-Virus Program

However, you need both an anti-virus and an anti-malware solution for maximum protection. Although Windows Defender 8 provides some anti-malware protection...it is not adequate.

An anti-virus program alone does not provide comprehensive protection and cannot prevent, detect and remove all threats at any given time. Anti-virus and anti-malware programs each perform different tasks as it relates to computer security and threat detection. Essentially, they look for and remove different types of malicious threats.

In simplistic terms, Anti-virus programs generally scan for infectious malware which includes viruses, worms, Trojans, rootkis and bots.
Anti-malware programs generally tend to focus more on adware, spyware, unwanted toolbars, browser hijackers, potentially unwanted programs and potentially unsafe applications.

Please read Supplementing your Anti-Virus Program with Anti-Malware Tools


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#4 Sintharius

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Posted 10 May 2015 - 10:27 AM

Hi there,

Security is best achieved when common sense and software work together... you will want to read the following:

Best Practices for Safe Computing - Prevention of Malware Infection
How Malware Spreads - How did I get infected
About those Toolbars and Add-ons - Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs)

Your browser is also an important factor. Which one do you use?

Regards,
Alex

#5 rp88

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Posted 10 May 2015 - 11:51 AM

My methods of protecting my computer are as follows, all are free.


Avast antivirus, as the main antivirus. (but you could use bitdefender free or avg free instead).

Malwarebytes free, as a second opinion scanner.

ESET online scanner, as a third opinion scanner.

Firefox, as my browser, deactivate all plugins unless you use them often, those you use often set to "ask to activate".

NoScript, a firefox browser add-ons to stop drivebys and exploits.

AdBlock Plus, a firefox browser add-on to stop malvertising.



Also make sure to:

Set UAC to it's highest setting.

Leave windows's firewall on it's default settings.

Never let plugins be automatic in browsers.

Set windows file explorer to"show full file extensions even fro knwon file types" (prevents "harmless_picture.jpg.exe" attacks).

Keep your antivirus up-to-date.

Keep the other scanners up-to-date.

Scan all downloaded files before opening.

If downloading an exe file upload it to virustotal and check if other scanners consider it dangerous.

Keep windows's security updates up-to-date, the other windows updates aren't so important but the security ones are vital.

Always check carefully when you are installing a program for tick boxes regarding bundled programs, refuse the bundled software.

Never open any file with two extensions where the second is exe or scr.

Be careful which sites you browse to.

Don't use a vulnerable browser.

Don't allow things through NoScript unless you realy need to and they are from trustworthy sources.

If a download should have been an image/video/zip file/audio file but is a .exe, do not open it.

Always check downloaded .exe files for digital signatures, although there are cases where safe programs might not have one.

Never run a registry cleaner.

Regularly check your startup entries for junk.

Uninstall all un-necessary bloatware from new machines, post lists of programs here and people will tell you what is bloat.

Regularly check task manager's processes tab for any new processes running which you don't recognise.

In the evening before you turn a computer off, backup any files you have been working on during any given day onto a USB stick, cd, dvd or into a cloud storage account.

Do not use "synced" or always-connected backups, backups must be disconnected at all times except when writing to them.

Keep really important files backed up in multiple places, exmaple: on your computer, on a USB in your house, in an encrypted 7z file on a DVD at a relative's house, on another USB elsewhere in your hosue and in your cloud based webmail account.

Make system images of your system when in a clean state with all your settings as you like them, all the programs you like installed, no problem updates installed, no junkware installed, if you ever have a disaster you can restore your computer back to a good old state from these. Make the on external drives, do not use them to back up personal files, use them to backup programs and system states.

Do all these things and getting a virus should be almost impossible, and if you do get one you will have a clean system state (the system image, you can use windows's internal tools or use macrium, or use both) to restore to which can be done in about 2 hours, and full backups (those USBs, DVDs, CD-RWS and cloud stored things) of every file except changes you have been working on in the last 24 hours.

Edited by rp88, 10 May 2015 - 11:52 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

#6 moonlighter

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Posted 10 May 2015 - 01:14 PM

Thank you all for responding so quickly :-) It will take me a bit to properly process the information you provided since in almost every sentence there are words and concepts I need to look up.

 

As to the browser, I'll try to explain. There are two user interfaces in Windows 8.1 (the startscreen and the desktop), correct?

I mostly use the desktop; the laptop came with Internet Explorer 11 and the box to automatically install new versions is ticked. However, I try not to use IE, as I understand it is one of the most vulnerable browsers out there? Instead, I have downloaded Firefox. Firefox is not set as my standard browser yet. Should I make it  so?

 

I'm still figuring out the start screen (the apps, the charms …) and I'm not quite comfortable with it yet. The start scree came with a preinstalled Internet Explorer app. I have added a tile for Firefox to the start screen, but when I click that tile it automatically directs me to Firefox on the desktop interface.

 

The laptop has also a browser called Maxthon Cloud Browser preinstalled. I've as yet not had time to figure that one out.



#7 rp88

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Posted 11 May 2015 - 01:30 PM

"Firefox is not set as my standard browser yet. Should I make it so?"


Yes you should. You will need to change program defaults within windows control panel, this will require goijg into control panel-->Default programs and into (in turn) each of "Set Your default programs", "Associate a file type or protocol with a program" and "Set Program access and computer defaults" and change the settings so all the defaults that used to belong to internet explorer get given to firefox instead. Whilst you are at it you might want to change the defaults for pdf files to firefox (it has a pdf viewer built in since about a month ago) or chrome (if you have that as well) rather than what it will currently be (adobe reader, internet explorer or the built in pdf reading app "reader").

Don't bother to figure out the start screen, I for one NEVER use it. Personally I removed almost every app from it and made the few that remained display as tiny little tiles. The firefox tile redirects you to firefox's desktop interface because firefox only has a desktop interface, it doesn't exist as an app version, it's a proper program. Just pin programs you often use to the task bar (whilst a program is open right click on it on the taskbar and choose the option to pin it) and make desktop shortcuts for those you use less often. Also get familiar with the "windows key" + "R" run command to find and run programs you use even less often.

Windows 8.1 is better for avoiding the start screen than windows 8.0 is, the defaults for 8.1 are already set so as not to randomly open apps when programs could be used instead. On both types though, other than visiting the "pc settings" app when you first set the machine up you never need to use apps. And most settings for your computer are controlled from control panel, so you only use the c settings app for a tiny selection of the settings you might need to alter.

One more piece of advice: make sure to go into firefox's "Add-ons" settings and disbale plugins you don't use while setting those you do use to "ask to activate". Don't let any plugins be on automatic. Also consider installing the following extensions within firefox, though some will suggest other ad-blockers instead of the one I'm linking to. Noscript will be a bother(two or three extra clicks on sites you want to watch videos on) at first, but within a few days of selecting "Allow ..." (for sites you can trust only!) it shouldn't result in you needing any extra clicks on sites you regularly visit. If you use the "Allow ..." rather than the "Temporarily Allow ..." Noscript will record your allowing and blocking preferences and remember them.
https://noscript.net/getit
https://adblockplus.org/

I haven't heard of maxthon, wait for the advice of others on whether to leave it installed or uninstall it.

Edited by rp88, 11 May 2015 - 01:37 PM.

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

#8 quietman7

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Posted 11 May 2015 - 04:55 PM

The laptop has also a browser called Maxthon Cloud Browser preinstalled. I've as yet not had time to figure that one out.


Maxthon Cloud Browser Compared to Chrome, Firefox and Opera
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#9 moonlighter

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Posted 14 May 2015 - 06:15 AM

I'm working my way through the information and to my surprise I'm having fun: I'm getting to know my laptop better...

 

Amongst other things, I have uninstalled McAfee and enabled Windows defender. And to supplement the antivirus software I installed Emisoft Anti Malware, the free trial version with real time protection. EAM disabled Windows Defender once EAM was fully installed, something I didn't anticipate since I was under the impression that Windows Defender gets only disabled by anti-virus software, not by anti-malwaresoftware. The (security) Action Centrer does not detect an issues and also has EAM listed under the heading "Virus Protection". What do you recommed I do? Isn't Windows defender the better tool? Is EAMadequate protection?



#10 Sintharius

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Posted 14 May 2015 - 06:18 AM

Hi there,

Emsisoft Anti-Malware is both an antivirus and antimalware software. Combined with safe surfing and the Windows Firewall, it is adequate for your protection. However, EAM does not offer real time protection in its freeware mode - so if you want to continue using it as your main AV after the trial expires then you will have to pay for it.

Regards,
Alex

#11 quietman7

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Posted 14 May 2015 - 06:20 AM

EAM combines its technology with Bitdefender Anti-Virus utilizing live cloud-verification for superior detection and removal of malware infections effectively.
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