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Question

Best freeware antimalware for Online Armor

by robb7thurston / December 12, 2012 10:26 AM PST

I have this hardware: Dell Dimension 3000, running Win XP
SP3. At present I have Online Armor free firewall with hips, and am using MSSE antimalware. Reviews of MSSE suggest it is slipping. So I am thinking about using another freeware antimalware to replace MSSE. Please suggest a freeware antimalware to complement OA firewall. Lightness is not totally essential, my applications, which I use are pretty light, but I need excellent antimalware (prevention, removal, cure). I use MBAM, freeware, on demand scan fairly often, so the proffered antimalware must be compatible. Thanks!

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Clarification Request
Jimmy Greystone The First problem : AV for OA
by robb7thurston / December 13, 2012 2:39 AM PST

Thanks for your very kind time, Mr. Greystone, much appreciated. " Please suggest a freeware antimalware to complement OA firewall. " I am very familiar with safe hex and contingent prophylactic practices, and I appreciate your honorable efforts in that direction. Certainly, they are never to be neglected.
Last night I went into Youtube in the section where AVs are tested, and found a test for AVG which pitted about ten viruses against AVG. AVG got about 90% and the tester (ryansandbergfan if I recall right) said that was a fine score.
So I am thinking about AVG positively.
Two questions: (1) do you take problems with MSSE seriously, or is it pretty good from your angle; do you find any severe problems with AVG antivirus? Advise. I hope this doesn't seem cantankerous, but it was why I contacted CNet Forums.
Many thanks for your honorable time and intelligence, sir!
Robb Thurston

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Yes and No
by Jimmy Greystone / December 13, 2012 11:36 AM PST

Yes and No... Yes I take such things seriously, but at the same time, the AV program is just there as kind of a failsafe. To catch things that somehow manage to make it through my other system. We all tend to get careless once in a while, so it's good to have SOMETHING in place. If I already had MSSE installed, I probably wouldn't go to the bother of replacing it assuming I wasn't having any other issues with it. However, if for whatever reason I was looking for a new AV program, such things would definitely factor in. Again though, I spend the vast majority of my efforts on prevention rather than containment and cleanup.

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Jimmy Greystone : Yes &No.
by robb7thurston / December 13, 2012 1:03 PM PST
In reply to: Yes and No

I am obliged to you, Mr. Greystone, you are too kind. Your time is valuable, and your advise is worthy! I receive from your kind message that there is on your part a strong emphasis on , "prevention rather than containment and cleanup." You very kindly presented 11 Things you should NOT do ("Use Internet Explorer etc."), and 10 Things you SHOULD do ("Use FireFox et al, non- IE browsers, etc..).
I respectfully request: is this a good summary of your entire ideas ("prevention rather than containment and cleanup." ) or are you willing to impart further ideas? Advise.
Let me add to my comments, by your leave. Yes, prevention is very excellent. I keep a snapshot of my OS and data, and when I have a virus, malwares and so on, often I just reformat and download new applications as required, as well as updates. It is much easier than straining for gnats and finding where a devil is hiding in my system.
Respectfully
Robb Thurston

All Answers

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Answer
The first problem
by Jimmy Greystone / December 12, 2012 10:51 PM PST

The first problem you have is confusing malware with viruses. They're two different classes of threats. Technically so are worms and trojans, even though they tend to get lumped in under "antivirus". What you appear to be asking for is a replacement antivirus program, so of the free ones out there that aren't MSSE, there's Avast, AVG Free, and Avira that come to mind.

Second, the best protection against these kinds of issues is yourself. A relatively few and simple changes in programs you may use and computing habits, will have significantly more impact than any software could ever hope to. We have yet to come up with a program that can protect us from our own stupidity. You can have every single protection program available, but none of it will stop you from sending money to some 419 Nigerian scammer for example. Having too many security programs can actually cause one to develop a false sense of security, which is probably more dangerous than having no security programs installed at all.

TIPS FOR A PROBLEM FREE COMPUTING EXPERIENCE
============================================

The more of these suggestions you follow, the fewer problems you should have. They won't solve any existing problems you have, but if you follow them all you should be able to avoid virtually all problems in the future.

Things you should NOT do
--------------------------------
1: Use Internet Explorer (1)
2: Use any browser based on Internet Explorer (e.g. Maxathon and MSN Explorer)
3: Use Outlook or Outlook Express (2)
4: Open email attachments you haven't manually scanned with your virus scanner
5: Open email attachments you were not expecting, no matter who they appear to be from
6: Respond to spam messages, including using unsubscribe links
7: Visit questionable websites (e.g. porn, warez, hacking)
8: Poke unnecessary holes in your firewall by clicking "Allow" every time some program requests access to the Internet (3)
9: Click directly on links in email messages
10: Use file sharing or P2P programs
11: Use pirated programs

Things you SHOULD do
-----------------------------
1: Use a non-IE or IE based browser (4)
2: Always have an up to date virus scanner running (5)
3: Always have a firewall running (6)
4: Install all the latest security updates (7)(8)(9)
5: Delete all unsolicited emails containing attachments without reading
6: Manually scan all email attachments with your virus scanner, regardless of whether it's supposed to be done automatically
7: Copy and paste URLs from email messages into your web browser
8: Inspect links copied and pasted into your web browser to ensure they don't seem to contain a second/different address
9: Establish a regular backup regimen (10)(11)
10: Make regular checks of your backup media to ensure it is still good (12)

Being a considerate Internet user & other online tips
----------------------------------------------------------------
1: Do not send attachments in emails (13)(14)
2: Do not use stationary or any other kind of special formatting in emails (13)
3: Do not TYPE IN ALL CAPS (15)
4: Avoid texting speak or "l33t speak" (16)
5: Do not poke sleeping bears (17)
6: Do not use registry cleaners/fixers/optimizers (18)(19)

Offline tips and suggestions
----------------------------------------------------------------
1: Avoid buying Acer, HP. Compaq, Gateway, and eMachines computers (20)(21)(22)(23)
2: Avoid sub-$500 systems that aren't netbooks or part of some limited time price promotion (24)

Notes
--------

(1) Sadly sometimes this is unavoidable, so only use IE when the site absolutely will not work with any other browser and you cannot get that information/service anywhere else, and only use IE for that one specific site.
(2) Outlook and Outlook Express are very insecure, and basically invite spam. The jury is still out on Vista's Windows Mail, but given Microsoft's history with email programs, extreme caution is advised. Possible replacements include Mozilla Thunderbird, Eudora, The Bat, and dozens of others.
(3) When it doubt over whether or not to allow some program, use Google to find out what it is and whether or not it needs access to the Internet. Otherwise, denying access is the safest course of action, since you can always change the rule later.
(4) On Windows your options include: Mozilla Firefox, Seamonkey, Opera, Flock, Chrome, and Safari. I would personally recommend Firefox with the NoScript extension for added security, but it the important thing is to pick one and use it instead of IE.
(5) AVG Free and Avast are available if you need a decent free virus scanner
(6) XP/Vista's firewall is probably good enough for 99% of all Windows users, but other options include ZoneAlarm, Outpost Firewall, and Comodo. If you have a router with a firewall built into it, there is no need for any of the aforementioned firewalls to be running.
(7) Microsoft's usual system is to release security updates every second Tuesday of the month.
(8) Use of Windows Update on Windows operating systems prior to Windows Vista requires Internet Explorer, and is thus a valid exception to the "No IE" rule.
(9) Service packs should ALWAYS be installed. They frequently contain security updates that will ONLY be found in that service pack.
(10) You can go with a full fledged backup program, or simply copying important files onto a CD/DVD/Flash drive.
(11) I'd recommend a tiered backup system. For example, you might have 5 rewritable DVDs, and every day you burn your backup onto a new disc. On the 6th day, you erase the disc for Day #1 for your backup, and so on so that you have multiple backups should one disc ever go bad.
(12) Replace rewritable CDs and DVDs approximately every 3-6 months.
(13) These dramatically increase the size of email messages (2-3X minimum) and clog up email servers already straining to cope with the flood of spam pouring in daily.
(14) If you want to share photos with friends/family, upload them to some photo sharing site like Flickr or Google's Picasa Web and then send people a link to that particular photo gallery.
(15) This is considered to be the same as SHOUTING and many people find it to be hard to read along with highly annoying.
(16) Unless the goal is to make yourself look like a pre-adolescent girl, or someone overcompensating for their gross inadequacies, and you don't want people to take you seriously.
(17) Most REAL hackers are quite content to leave you alone unless you make them take notice of you. No dinky little software firewall or consumer grade router is going to keep them out of your system. So do not go to some hacker website or chat room and start shooting your mouth off unless you're prepared to accept the consequences
(18) Most of these programs are scams, and sell you something you don't need. Most of them report non-issues in an attempt to boost the number of "issues". Sometimes using these programs can lead to a non-functioning computer.
(19) The Windows registry is not some mystical black box of untapped performance tweaks for Windows, that will lead to untold improvements in system performance. Most of the tweaks will lead to very modest performance gains of 1-2% tops, and probably less than 10% all combined. There is also a good chance that you will render your system unbootable if you make a mistake when editing. Registry default settings are set that way for a reason. Just do yourself a favor, and forget you ever heard of the Windows registry unless you are a computer programmer/debugger and your job requires knowledge of the registry.
(20) Acer now owns Gateway and eMachines
(21) HP owns Compaq
(22) Hardware failures seem far more common with these brands than can be considered normal
(23) These companies use cheap labor in Asian countries were working conditions are often what would be considered sweat shops, and are run by brutal dictatorships, which you are supporting by buying from these companies
(24) If you just do some simple math, and realize that the cost of individual components like the CPU are around 25-33% of the total retail cost of the system, and everyone involved in the making and selling of the system is looking to make a profit, how much money can they possibly be making on each system. And if you're only making a few pennies on every system, how much quality control do you really think is going to go into the manufacturing process?

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