What anti-virus/anti-malware/firewall do you use? Why do you like it?
Thread poster: Daina Jauntirans

Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:28
German to English
+ ...
Feb 22, 2010

Currently, I have Avast! and Windows Firewall running on a Windows XP desktop and occasionally scan with Spybot and Malwarebytes Anti-Malware. I have found a few viruses, including one nasty one which was only removed by installing MBAM in safe mode after changing the name of the file because the virus kept stopping the .exe file, etc., etc. (big hassle, but my computer was OK). I would have thought I could have avoided this by virtue of having the firewall and Avast! running in resident mode, plus running Spybot and MBAM occasionally.

I searched around the forums for some recommendations re: this type of software and found some interesting posts and opinions. Still, I have questions - Am I running too many programs? Different programs seem to catch different viruses or problems, so I occasionally rotate between manually running Spybot, Avast! and MBAM scans. Have I chosen the wrong ones?

I used to run Norton and never had a virus, but computer guy says that's a coincidence and that Norton is not a good program, which seems to be the opinion here as well. He set up Avast! for me, but now says I should switch to Microsoft Security Essentials. Not being a huge Microsoft fan (I use Office, but switched to Firefox and Thunderbird years ago), I am not sure if this will really be enough.

He also suggested I update my router security, which I will do. Until then, what makes the security combination you use effective? Maybe getting some more opinions here will help me decide.

Thanks!


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Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:28
French to English
+ ...
Try to find one good solution from latest reviews Feb 22, 2010

Daina Jauntirans wrote:
He also suggested I update my router security, which I will do. Until then, what makes the security combination you use effective? Maybe getting some more opinions here will help me decide.


Personally, I would suggest:

- make sure that your broadband router has a decent firewall and that you have it enabled
- read the latest magazine reviews to see which antivirus came out best in detection tests for the year in question, or which out of the top two or three is rated as being least annoying, and plump for that
- don't use too many "add on" bits of software off the web: most of them are really trying to make you panic over fairly low-level threats

Then, perhaps most importantly, don't use your antivirus as an excuse to abandon sensible security measures:

- keep your software and operating system up to date
- don't open spurious attachments sent to you or click on links inside e-mails from non-trusted sources
- use an e-mail system/e-mail reader that helps to implement security measures (e.g. gmail or Thunderbird)
- don't download spurious software from suspicious-looking web sites
- don't use "unofficial" software that you bought down the market/that your friend brought "from their office"
- don't let other people use your computer unsupervised
- if possible, minimise the number of random pensticks that pass through your machine

Remember, if a virus does infect your machine, the only *sure* way to remove it is to do a complete re-install.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:28
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
What I use Feb 22, 2010

Daina Jauntirans wrote:
Currently, I have Avast! and Windows Firewall running on a Windows XP desktop and occasionally scan with Spybot and Malwarebytes Anti-Malware.


I have Windows XP Pro, which means I can still use Kerio Personal Firewall. It is the best personal firewall I've ever had... and I tried a lot of them, believe me. It is abandonware, so if you want to google for it, google for the file name "kerio-pf-2.1.5-en-win.exe".

Unfortunately Kerio doesn't work on Windows Vista or Windows 7. The company that made Kerio makes Sunbelt Personal Firewall, which works on Vista and 7, but it isn't 100% leak-free: http://www.filehippo.com/download_sunbelt_personal_firewall/

That said, I have not yet found a free or cheap leak-free firewall that works on Vista or 7.

For anti-virus, I use AVG. It is not better than Avast or the other free programs, but I've used it since many years ago, and I'm used to it. The trick with viruses is to be careful with how you work, not with having this or that brand of anti-virus software. Any recent anti-virus program with regular updates is good enough.

Spybot catches too many things that it shouldn't catch, essentially crippling your computer in the name of security. I no longer use Ad-Aware (it is now gigantic and sluggish). I use Malwarebyte's program -- very good. Comodo also had an anti-malware product, but its updates were gigantic and I didn't really see the benefit of it.




[Edited at 2010-02-22 17:20 GMT]


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DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
another idea Feb 22, 2010

Hi Daina,

The best protection is hardware... plus brains)
So, the first option is to use only necessary apps and services, Group Policies and other restrictions to prevent possible rights escalation.

Also, if you don't have a properly configured hardware router then you might want to consider a software one at http://www.matousec.com/projects/proactive-security-challenge/results.php
Good freebies are Comodo and Agnitum OutPost Free. If you're quite good as Admin then build-in MS firewall might do.

Recently Kaspersky Lab patented a hardware AV card, but at the moment you might want to consider HIPS (preferably with a sandbox/virtualization). As I mentioned before a pro-active protection (before running) is much better than standard re-active (after reaction) AV scanners.
A good free one is ThreatFire with any trusted AV.


NB: All software required proper configuration/ tunning.
Hope it helps a little)
Cheers


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Pablo Bouvier  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:28
German to Spanish
+ ...
What anti-virus/anti-malware/firewall do you use? Why do you like it? Feb 22, 2010

Daina Jauntirans wrote:

Currently, I have Avast! and Windows Firewall running on a Windows XP desktop and occasionally scan with Spybot and Malwarebytes Anti-Malware. I have found a few viruses, including one nasty one which was only removed by installing MBAM in safe mode after changing the name of the file because the virus kept stopping the .exe file, etc., etc. (big hassle, but my computer was OK). I would have thought I could have avoided this by virtue of having the firewall and Avast! running in resident mode, plus running Spybot and MBAM occasionally.

I searched around the forums for some recommendations re: this type of software and found some interesting posts and opinions. Still, I have questions - Am I running too many programs? Different programs seem to catch different viruses or problems, so I occasionally rotate between manually running Spybot, Avast! and MBAM scans. Have I chosen the wrong ones?

I used to run Norton and never had a virus, but computer guy says that's a coincidence and that Norton is not a good program, which seems to be the opinion here as well. He set up Avast! for me, but now says I should switch to Microsoft Security Essentials. Not being a huge Microsoft fan (I use Office, but switched to Firefox and Thunderbird years ago), I am not sure if this will really be enough.

He also suggested I update my router security, which I will do. Until then, what makes the security combination you use effective? Maybe getting some more opinions here will help me decide.

Thanks!


My security scheme is as follow many years ago (and it works very well, at least to me):

AV: Avast Home
FW: Sygate Personal Firewall + D-Link router firewall
To improve PC performance I use Uniblue PowerSuite.

If I install new programms, I always do it before in Virtualbox and "freeze" my computer.

[Editado a las 2010-02-22 22:23 GMT]


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Eduardo García Soñanes
Mexico
Local time: 04:28
English to Spanish
ZoneAlarm Suite Feb 23, 2010

I have been using ZoneAlarm Suite for some years. I haven't had any problems with it. The free version only includes firewall. The Suite version includes Firewall, Antivirus and Antispyware (the one I use). There is a more complete package though.

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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 12:28
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Vista and AVG free Feb 23, 2010

My router is protected and I have Vista Firewall active and AVG Antivirus free edition. I stopped using Kaspersky or F-Secure though my license was still valid, because they slow down things. AVG doesn't make a fuss about itself.
I don't say go for it, but that's what I use since more than a year with good results.

regards
Heinrich


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DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
human factor Feb 23, 2010

When you're NOT connected to the Inet your PC should NOT be listening to any port ideally - just try something 'netstat -a -b'. If something is listening then you should make sure that they are legitimate and required for you (check autorun apps/ services).

The main problem with 'standard' AVs comes when you work as Admin (most users are and 1/4 even don't know their account type) or when a malware escalates to the Admin rights. Actually it is the OS flaw, but MS specialists call it a 'feature' - a hi-priority process can modify all the others (including its 'equal') or just shut them down, even protection. So, when a malware runs as Admin and wants to kill an AV run as Admin too they have to interact as equals and depending on the self-protection - AV rather often loses... There're even special AV-killers malware types there.
Also very often a standard AV simply can't find what it doesn't know. It's obvious, but many people do forget and rely on it...

With a HIPS you are asked about the new process/ action right before malware even can runand the only option to succeed for it is a HF - when the user deliberately or by mistake says to it 'OK'! That's why I prefer to monitor the system with a HIPS.
Another problem with AVs is there're even fake ones, so beware.

As for the Inet-browsing and trying-out a new/ unknown software I prefer a SandBoxIE - works as a charm for me.

Cheers)


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Elina Andriamananahasinoro  Identity Verified
Madagascar
Local time: 13:28
English to French
ESET NOD32 Feb 23, 2010

Hello,

I am using ESET NOD32 antivirus with Vista Firewall activated. I find NOD32 very light.

And I second the points above: the best protection is...your brain. If you need to download a software, go to the editor's website. Be careful with email attachment even if it comes from people you know: check extension before opening attachment.

regards,
Elina


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