Spyware, Viruses, & Security forum

General discussion

Is my anti-virus security adequate for my computer needs?

by Geary / August 24, 2005 12:42 AM PDT

I have a Dell Dimension 3000 and use Netscape anti-virus e-mail protection and Macafee anti-virus and firewall protection. I use my virus scan when I log on in the a.m and before I shut down in the evening. I use my computer primarily for e-mail and browsing the internet. I seldom download anything and nothing that warns me there might be a suspected virus in the program I am downloading. I see advertisements for Anti-Spyware and computer protection but really don't know if my protection is enough or if I should add more protection. I am using a dial-up connection. Thanks for any recommendations. I am sure this question must have been asked before on the forum but I am new to what is absolutely necessary to maintain a reasonably safe computer. Gearyat

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Geary, Antivirus and Firewall Aren't Enough..
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / August 24, 2005 1:02 AM PDT

Although the McAfee antivirus and firewall should protect you against specific items, simply surfing the internet can cause spyware/adware etc. to infest the machine. You'll probably receive a number of good suggestions on which ones to use, but make sure that you have some antispyware programs on the machine. Keep them updated and scan with them regularly. Do the same with your McAfee antivirus. Do a full system scan at least once a week.

In addition, be careful about which browser you use while surfing the internet. It is possible to "harden" the security settings for Internet Explorer so it doesn't run ActiveX and Scripting from websites but the default "medium" setting can cause some security issues. Both ActiveX and Scripting are one of the causes of "drive by" spyware/virus attacks at dubious websites. You can also try some of the other browsers which don't run ActiveX and you might like them..In my case, I use one browser to surf with while saving Internet Explorer to visit Windows Updates sites and those few sites that required ActiveX and Scripting to run correctly.

Just as an example, here are links to the browser and antispyware tools I use. They are all free to download, install and use.:

Firefox Browser Download Location


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Thanks for the info on Spyware protection
by Geary / August 25, 2005 7:47 AM PDT

Grif, I downloaded Ad-Aware Personal SE and the Firefox Browser. Thanks to you and everyone who gave me suggestions my computer feels more secure already!! Gearyat

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(NT) (NT) Geary, Good Job & Glad We All Could Help
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / August 25, 2005 11:40 AM PDT
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antivirus recommendation
by ndhelp / August 26, 2005 12:25 AM PDT

Of the various free antivirus programs out there, which do you recommend? I'm running WIN 98SE.

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by Alan Copeland / August 26, 2005 2:03 AM PDT
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wrt AVG
by ndhelp / August 26, 2005 6:26 AM PDT
In reply to: AVG

thanks for your input

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Just Say No To AVG
by JWK / August 26, 2005 5:52 AM PDT

AVG basicly is junk. No script blocking...Try Avast http://www.avast.com Kaspersky http://www.kaspersky.com NOD32 http://www.nod32.com Also the ''big'' top two (norton and McAfee) offer script blocking if you want em. I have tried them all and purposly tried to infect myself.AVG Pro discovered it after i was infected so did Trend Micro and Zone Alarm Security Suite(the worst antivirus there is).Avast,Kaspersky,NOD32,Norton and McAfee all protected me and kept the infection from entering my system. Don't forget a firewall,zone alarm pro and Outpost are the best. Good Luck

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wrt AVG
by ndhelp / August 26, 2005 6:23 AM PDT
In reply to: Just Say No To AVG

thanks for your advice

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Anti-Virus is NOT for keeping stuff out..
by pc_tech_guy_2003 / August 26, 2005 8:44 AM PDT
In reply to: Just Say No To AVG

Anti Virus software isn't supposed to keep stuff out. It's supposed to get stuff out once it's in... though some AV's do 'keep' stuff out to a small degree.

Firewalls, however, keep stuff out.. but they can't do a thing to get stuff out once your machine is infected. That's why it's best to use a firewall AND anti-virus together..

I use AVG free edition at my office, and it slams (and prevents) viruses from entering my system left and right. I also have a copy of MacFee PRO (yes... the expensive pro) antivirus.. and it STILL hasn't caught anything, even AFTER I allow AVG to let a trojan into my system, and do a system scan.

In my opinion, AVG FREE (pro isn't very good.. I don't know why) edition is the best anti-virus software, though I'm still looking for a decent firewall...

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AVAST and Kerio
by archer320 / August 27, 2005 1:02 AM PDT

I've had good success with Kerio personal firewall and Avast antivirus. They even cooperate (they being the companys) to make their products compatable. They are running on 5 different computers on my network. After you install them make sure they are set to auto update and go to display and chose avast as your screensaver; it runs a scan auto every time you stop using the computer. When you go to the download screen http://www.avast.com/eng/programs.html of avast chose "avast for kerio".
I also run SpyBotSearchDestroy and AdAwareSE every other day for spyware. goodluck

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by ndhelp / August 27, 2005 8:48 AM PDT

Thanks for your input on antivirus software. I use Zone Alarm (free) for my firewall.

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Just one more to add ...
by vince7 / August 28, 2005 1:09 PM PDT

The best spyware shield and removal program is Ewido. It can be found at www.ewido.net. It blows the others away!

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I agree with Grif

Antispyware is a one of the "must program"

If you download and view sites that has activex content, an antispyware should be in place to hopefully blocked installation of known parasites.

Spyware is mostly distributed in 2 ways - browser (while viewing a content with driveby download) and installing application that is maybe bundled with spyware. Not all antivirus can detect which program is bundled with spyware. Not all antivirus can detect whether a website that has activex has spyware. A firewall will help block IF spyware is already installed but firewall will NOT block installation of spyware.

Virus is mostly distributed in email and download. An antivirus can handle that most of the time.

In addition to your antivirus and firewall, install the following:
Microsoft Antispyware - http://www.microsoft.com/antispyware It is in beta but it is doing its job to stop installation of known spyware. Enable the real time protection.

SpywareGuard - http://www.javacoolsoftware.com
This will block installation of known spyware

SpywareBlaster - same link as spywareguard. This will block bad sites and also bad activex that is used by spyware makers/distributors.

Lock down your Internet Explorer or use Opera or Firefox browser.

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Viruses & security alerts
by jerryatric / August 25, 2005 11:49 PM PDT
In reply to: I agree with Grif

What do you mean by '' locking down'' Internet explorer?

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Locking down means adjust settings for greater protection
by Donna Buenaventura / August 26, 2005 3:12 AM PDT
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Locking down IE for better security
by Geary / August 26, 2005 10:13 AM PDT

Donna, I went to that web site and read and then followed the instructions they gave for locking down my IE browser. I got an alert from Dell Support saying "your computer could be compromised of viruses due to lowered security" Shall we Fix it?"I didn't click OK. It wanted me to return to Default Settings but I didn't. I will now use IE only for my main trusted sites as instructed. Thanks again Geary

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I just installed Norton Security System
by mustang3 / August 26, 2005 3:24 PM PDT

It has all the other things too, I am not crazy about trusting it yet. It said I needed to disconnect all my other anitvirus firewalls and all security for it to have complete control. I have found a few thing that are just not working the same. Like my kodak software that scans my computer at each startup for new pictures , that doesn't work anymore, my husbands shockwave daily jigsaw puzzel don't work and I am getting a who lot more spam into my inbox before I never had any. Does Norten take the blame or is it all just in my mind?

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Using sites that have adware and spyware
by alidickson / August 26, 2005 1:10 AM PDT
In reply to: I agree with Grif

Ok, I'm prepared to get yelled at. But I sometimes visit a P2P site, which everyone knows are loaded with spyware. Is it ok to continue visiting that site if I run my anti-spyware software after leaving the site?

I use Spybot S&D, AdAware SE, AVG anti-virus free edition, Microsoft anti-spyware beta, Spysweeper, AdSubtract and SpySubtract, Spyware Blaster, and Zone Alarm free firewall. Is that overkill? Am I safe to visit this P2P site if I "clean up" afterwards?

I also use IE 6.0 as my browser, and it sounds like from what you guys are saying that that's how most spyware gets on your PC. Is that right? Sometimes a site tells me it needs Active X to work, so I let it. Do the other browsers offer the option of allowing Active X or not? And should I EVER allow Active X to run?

Thanks for any opinions!


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by Donna Buenaventura / August 26, 2005 3:26 AM PDT

"Is it ok to continue visiting that site if I run my anti-spyware software after leaving the site?"
Of course it is not OK to continue visiting such site but it is all depend on the user. If you like to take the risk...
Depending your security to the tools is not advisable. Antivirus, firewall, antispyware, antitrojan, etc.. are TOOLS only. They will do their job to help protect the system for known malware but they cannot protect your system for unknown malware.
What if you are hit with unknown malware? Unknown means no antivirus, antispyware or antitrojan has the detection for it yet because they haven't got a report or sample.

"I use Spybot S&D, AdAware SE, AVG anti-virus free edition, Microsoft anti-spyware beta, Spysweeper, AdSubtract and SpySubtract, Spyware Blaster, and Zone Alarm free firewall. Is that overkill? Am I safe to visit this P2P site if I "clean up" afterwards?"

Some users are using less tools while others are using more than what you have. In my opinion, it does not matter how many security programs you have and enabled. If you are hit with unknown malware those tools are useless so NO, you are not safe in visiting P2P site.

"I also use IE 6.0 as my browser, and it sounds like from what you guys are saying that that's how most spyware gets on your PC. Is that right?"
That's one method IF the browser isn't locked. Even if you are using Firefox or Opera browsers and continue visiting P2P area, Firefox or Opera will not help because whatever you execute (malicious exe file for example) is not prevented by Firefox or Opera. It's the antivirus.
IE has activeX which a method used by spyware makers to distribute spyware but if your IE is locked down or you disable activex installation or prompt you before you allow, there is less chances of being infected. Again less chances only.

" Sometimes a site tells me it needs Active X to work, so I let it. Do the other browsers offer the option of allowing Active X or not? And should I EVER allow Active X to run?"
If you participate on those sites and/or using their service that requires ActiveX then you'll definitely need to allow it. That is if you trust the site.

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Ali.. In addition to Donna's excellent advice
by Carol~ Moderator / August 26, 2005 7:33 AM PDT
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Drive Shield Plus
by petershum / August 28, 2005 5:00 AM PDT

If you use P2P and other "questionable" sites a lot, you may want to consider getting a utility like DriveShieldPlus. This utility sets up a partition on your hard drive that "every" change - whether you make intentionally or someone made for you without you knowing - gets put onto the designated partition (and not on your Registry, etc). When you reboot, this partition gets wiped clean and your computer is return to its original configuration.

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A good start
by Alan Copeland / August 24, 2005 1:26 AM PDT
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A good start
by tester36 / August 24, 2005 5:13 AM PDT
In reply to: A good start

go to majorgeeks.com and register become familiar with read before you post and you won't be sorry.

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One more program...
by Selwyn / August 26, 2005 3:24 AM PDT
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Number One Way.....
by jmaximus9 / August 26, 2005 6:19 AM PDT
In reply to: One more program...

The number one way most people get viruses, spyware, and etc, is from file sharing programs like LimeWire or Kaaza. Don't use this crap or you will be sorry. Don't open attachments from unknown senders or in usergroups. Second if you have Windows 2k or XP, don't use your admin account for every day use. Look at your network settings, get rid file and print sharing, also disable Netbios. If you have Windows ME or 98 get rid of it.

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Try dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hda bs=1M
by teckk / August 26, 2005 8:58 AM PDT

If you using a windoze machine then get a live CD.
Boot The machine and run as root
dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hda bs=1M

Then Install FreeBSD and eliminate spyware, virii, loggers etc. And go on with life.

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Hi Geary, just to let you know what I use....
by mandyrchtr / August 26, 2005 5:55 PM PDT

I have Windows 98SE and I do download sometimes and am on the computer almost daily at home.Have had battles previously with Spyware/Adware and cnet saved me first time round...unfortunately, being a novice had major troubles second time and repairman had to help as I could not even open My Computer.
Now I am smooth running, safe and happy...still cautious though.
On my desktop I have a folder named downloads...for downloading any programs/applications to.When downloaded into this folder I then scan with
AVG free edition (right click-scan with AVG)
This also scans during boot for viruses.
AVG updates automatically regularly almost everytime I turn on the computer(not quite).
I have also on my desktop:
Ad-Aware SE Personal (freeware)
Spybot Search and Destroy (freeware)
Both these applications run well together....my opinion is if you have one you need the other as well!
Obviously they are for adware and spyware.
I check for updates for these everytime I click them on.
I scan with Ad-Aware first,Spybot then AVG - and I do this weekly...sometimes more often.
Also running in the background,all the time is SpywareBlaster and SpywareGuard - both of which help prevent nasties getting into the computer in the first place.Once installed there is nothing else to be done to these.You can forget they are even there.
These I just check for updates maybe monthly...only updated once or twice a year.
One final thing....I have Zone Alarm (freeware again) for protecting myself on the internet whilst surfing -or not...if properly installed I think this is the best.
It may seem like a lot - but as I said earlier better to err on the side of caution....than to crash down in a blaze of glory!!
This is all one persons opinion....but a lot of my research for these boils down to what others say and talk about here in Cnet forums.
I must admit I did not read others replies to you yet...will do now...but I answered immediately as I feel total confidence in these applications.
Good Luck - with whatever you choose!
p.s. If you want any of these just type in the name in your browser...not hard to find...or look at other threads.:)

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Thanks Mandy
by Geary / August 27, 2005 12:54 AM PDT

Mandy thanks for your info sounds good to me I will be checking those sites out today. Have you found that there is a wealth of info about everything regarding computers on the forums that it makes your head swim, knowing just what is the best way to deal with some problems. I guess the viruses, spyware, worms etc and how they are constanly changing cause us to be aware and changing along with the idiots who create these annoying and harmful infections for our computers. All the advice I have received on CNET forums has helped to make my computer usage a pleasant experience. Like you I will fatefully keep it updated with security. Geary

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Me again Geary...
by mandyrchtr / August 27, 2005 10:09 PM PDT
In reply to: Thanks Mandy

You're right about all the info making your head spin....I have been reading and posting often in this forum to get to the point I'm at now.
I've only been on the net since Xmas last year.
One point I should say is many computers are different...different programs,usage,configurations, etc., and if there are problems with anything many times it is due to the people themselves not installing correctly or things not being configured right or programs simply not liking each other:).
Note I mention many - certainly not all!!
If you haven't checked out the web for the sites yet...read R.Proffit's(M) "Anti Parasite Suite" -it is still on the first page of this forum and the links are there.
One more thing, I have used Housecall...also listed in the above thread.It is an online scanner which is pretty thorough...but slow.I have used this 4 times since being on the net.
Happy computering

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where can I find Zone Alarm?
by Geary / August 28, 2005 1:23 AM PDT
In reply to: Me again Geary...

Mandy, I installed Spydot S&D and Spyware Doctor to go along with my Ad-Aware Se, I have all the Macafee Virus protection and Firewall protection. With the FireFox Browser working around the internet and my new locked down IE Browser the computer is cooking. I scan every day without fail and now use good cautious computer sense although I am still learning more each day.I hope these are enough protections for now (things change so quickly). So if you can let me know where Zone Alarm is I will be set for now. Thanks Geary)

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