Spyware, Viruses, & Security forum

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Security Set-Up Doubts: Firewall, AV, etc.

by geona / July 6, 2005 5:37 AM PDT

Hello and thanks for all help on this.

My situation: I?m trying to safeguard my computer as I use the Internet heavily. My new computer (AMD Athlon 3000+ 64 bit) came with XP and 3 months of Norton Internet Security. I also run Secretmaker, which does what it claims to do, but feels almost scarily powerful and capable.

Firewall: If I install an alternative firewall, such as Zone Alarm or Kerio, do I need to disable the firewall in Norton? (If so, how?) I have heard running two firewalls at once is not recommended. I already disabled the Windows firewall, as Norton nudged me to do.

Antivirus: I?ve heard the same about antiviruses -- running multiple ones can cause conflict on your system. I tried to download Antivir, but the estimated time kept ballooning, and when it had climbed to over an hour (my Internet connection is not bad at DSL 512), I aborted. Any suggestions on why, or how to correct this? And should I remove Norton if I install Antivir, Avast, or other?

Gratefully,
Geona

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This is one of of those
by roddy32 / July 6, 2005 7:12 AM PDT

opinion questions that will get you many opinions. These are mine. You should only run one firewall regardless of which one you decide on. You should only use one antivirus program. I happen you use Norton myself but the others that you mentioned are also good. I also do an occasional scan at Trend Micro's Housecall. You did not mention any anti-Spyware/Adware programs. These are just some of the ones we recommend here and they are all free.

Spybot S&D (download, check for updates, read the tutorial and scan often, it also does some blocking)
http://www.safer-networking.org/en/home/index.html

SpywareBlaster (a blocker only, download it, check for updates, enable it and leave it alone except for checking for updates occasionally)
http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/spywareblaster.html


SpywareGuard (similiar to SpywareBlaster but works in a different way and does not update as often for that reason.
http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/spywareguard.html

Ad-Aware SE (a scanner, download, check for updates, read the directions and scan.
http://www.lavasoftusa.com/

cwshredder (stand alone unit)(another small scanner for certain things, ALL other windows should be closed)
http://www.intermute.com/spysubtract/cwshredder_download.html

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I agree with roddy.
by Frank Swain / July 9, 2005 10:20 AM PDT

Only one of anything or you get conflicts that can freeze and crash your machine! I use AVG Antivirus, Adaware SE, Anti-Spyware Blocker and Spyware Blaster as they work fine together. They are all available on C-Net's own Download.com and are free! Just make sure you update these and the Operating System often and all should be well.

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differing slightly from Roddy
by dawillie / July 6, 2005 12:46 PM PDT

I have Windows Firewall enabled with all my applications allowed via the 'exceptions' tab in the Firewall.

I also have an older version of Kerio Personal Firewall v 2.1.5 which is a rule based firewall that is to say it will only allow in what you have permitted. Once installed it puts in some basic rules and you can add to them by accessing your various programs and 'permit', 'create rule'.

You will periodically get a request that 'someone is trying to access your Sys 32 or ALG.exe folders.

these you can 'deny/ create rule'.

after some time you will have a ruleset with all your trusted applications functioning normally and all the others blocked.

you will periodically get a message that some program has changed slightly due probably to an update or modification of the program. if this is a trusted program, simply 'allow'.

Finally you can, if you can afford it, install a router. This is a hardware firewall and works well in conjunction with both Kerio and Windows XP-SP-2 firewall.

In addition to all the above, Roddy has mentioned several anti spyware programs.

I support and use Ad-Aware, SpyBot Search and Destroy and Microsoft Anti Spyware Beta edition.

The first two are 'on demand' scanners and you should scan at least once a day preferrably just before you shut down for the night.

MSAS runs in the background and will alert you if there is an intrusion attempt in much the smae way as Kerio will.

Difference is one is someone trying to access your H/D and the other is Spyware.

In addition I periodically use another AV on line scanner in conjuntion with my normal AV which is AVG.

The on line scanners are 'just in case' AVG missed something.

Both Trend Micro and Panda have on line scanning capability and even if they cannot remove or cleanse will provide you with a report indicating what was found and where it is located.

Hope this helps.

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Firewalls
by herbw2 / July 7, 2005 10:25 PM PDT

I had to disable my windows firewall, as it conflicted with my Linksys router firewall. I tried the mcafee firewall, and it knocked out my windows autocomplete feature. I wasted tons of time with mcafee before this was resolved.
HErb W

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Virus Scans and Firewalls
by baddog6915 / July 8, 2005 12:45 AM PDT
In reply to: Firewalls

I too recommend that you purchase a router and use both the router's hardware firewall and then a software firewall. Zone Alarm has a free firewall that is a great product and extremely simple to use. I use McAfee'f firewall only because I paid for the package it is harder to setup, but it can work if you have time to tinker with the settings. I recommend the same spyware programs except Spybot and Microsoft Beta can be configured to run automatically. It is imperative,( and should be illegal), to operate on the Internet witout a Virus Scan program. If you ever get all four products then you should browse the web site grc.com and take the tests for vulnerability. I recommend you to use the web site now to see how vulnerable your system is at the present time.

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2 Firewalls
by zole / July 8, 2005 5:39 AM PDT

I've been running 2 firewalls for well over a year, Norton Security and Zone Alarm. I also have run 2 antivirus for the same period, Norton and AVG. I have had no issues and have the same setup on 3 computers.

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2 firewalls question
by MichaelF / July 8, 2005 2:24 PM PDT
In reply to: 2 Firewalls

It seems a lot of people run 2 firewalls, I would like to pose the questions, Why?

I can vaguely understand having 2 antivirus as some catch what the others don't (but I believe this is a fairly minor issue these days) but only one should be on autprotect. But my understanding is that firewalls monitor incoming and outgoing packets to check if it was invited into your computer by a requesting program and that the program has permission to invite (ie a trusted program). Apart from that it should block the rest. Any decent firewall package (Zonealarm) will do that, so I see no practical purpose in having multiple ones running.

The problem with trying to super secure up your system with multiple everyhting is that your computer takes a performance hit, every program installed and every program running increases overhead and uses resources. This slows down your computer and also makes it less stable and less able to do what you want it to do.

I think people can overreact and panic about these things. Yes you need a good antivirus, yes you need a firewall, a hardware one is adequate and has the advantage of using no resources on your computer, yes you need to scan for adware/spyware with 2 products (as these are well known to only pick up half of whats available at best. I would add some spam blocking and preventative measures such as not using IE and I think you are well on track. My system has run fast and stable and safe for a long time and I also can't remember the last nasty I had to deal with.

A rider should be that if you download and install lots of shareware/freeware prettying up, gimmichy and game programs you will have problems as a lot of these will come with hidden software for hidden purposes (they have to make a living somehow). Do a search on any program your considering to see if anyone has had problems with it.

Commonsense is the best preventative.

Michael

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Reply to 2 Anti-virus programs
by johntilley2003 / July 7, 2005 10:35 PM PDT

I run Norton Anti-virus and AVG Free Edition. I do not get any problems. It seems one AV program does not pick up everything so two AV programs must be better than one. I used to use Zone Alarm but this appeared to cause problems with our networked accounts program so i got rid of it. My pc is the main pc holding all the data. I also use Spy-Dot and Adaware. I have a firewall in my router, and have been told i dont need more than one firewall. I was even told not to install SP2 because of this

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sp2
by MichaelF / July 7, 2005 10:59 PM PDT

I concur (see my post) with not needing windows firewall if you have a hardware one (also saves on resources), but I still installed SP2 as it tightens and fixes a lot more than just adding a firewall. You can turn that off but you should still keep your windows fully up to date, after all it is where most of the holes are.

Michael

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Running 2 AVs
by SgtRon / July 8, 2005 12:22 AM PDT

I run AVG and Avast with no conflicts. Haven't caught a virus yet. I also run Ad-Aware and Spybot together with no problems. Ditto on the firewalls; I have ZoneAlarm plus the hardware type in my Netgear router. However, this really doesn't count as 2 firewalls, since software and hardware firewalls are fulfilling different functions. I guess it boils down to: "try running 2 progams (AV or Anti-spyware) together and see if there are any conflicts. If there are, you can always close one down.

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A different view again :-)
by MichaelF / July 7, 2005 10:52 PM PDT

Hi

I run my security a little differently. One only use one antivirus and one firewall, anything else is overkill. I use AVG antivirus from grisoft, mainly because it is free and seems quite effective and updates itself often. I have it set to update itself at 2am and do a full scan at 3am so I am reasonably confident and never really look at it in a manual fashion.

I am not sure how your broadband is set up but I use a hardware router/ simple firewall setup. Because of this I do not run a firewall on my pc. This should have the same strength as Windows firewall as it is a one way, incoming type firewall as well. My only issue is if a nasty gets on my computer that I am unaware of then it will be allowed to establish a connection. Due to my other preventative measures I am confident that this does not occur.

My other main preventative measure is that I very rarely use Internet explorer. I use Mozilla Firefox as my browser and this has made a huge difference in the amount of nasties on my system. I also use adaware, spybot and ms antispyware but rather than scan nightly I find that I am down to monthly and I still normally only find a couple of cookies. This is on a computer that is on 24/7, broadband connected and is used extensively, especially for surfing. I would add though that I run a spyware scan after installing a new program to catch the ones that install spyware.

I also run mailwasher spam protector. It checks your email before it is downloaded so that you only download the emails you want and not ones that you don't want, including viruses. I have found that since using this program I have not gotten a virus, even though I still keep one and keep it up to date.

I find my system now is pretty much set and forget and I very rarely come across any nasties (in fact I can't remember the last nasty I have had to deal with).

Just a different emphasis, there are many ways a system can be secured, just don't lose sight of the fact that computing should be an enjoyable experience Happy

Michael

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I agree whole hearted Michael!
by funkid7 / July 8, 2005 6:44 PM PDT

I also believe many here are on overkill mode.
I run NO anti-virus utilities, just MSAS and firewall.
Anti-virus software should always be free, IMHO.
My machine has been pretty much a, "set and forget" computer, for at least a year now.
I haven't gotten a virus in 3 to 4 years and if I do; so what. I have nothing on My web computer, but my OS. No personal info or important stuff.
Of course many folks cannot afford such a luxury, as I have, 2 PC's and 5 MACS now, all running!

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Simple Computer security.
by mycalrp / July 8, 2005 12:45 AM PDT

1. Get a hardware router that has a built-in hardwire Firewall ( most do now)-- even if you only have 1 computer. This will stop 90% of all attacks. Then use the XP firewall or Zone Alarm behind that. (I bought a US Robotics 8200 on ebay for $10.)

2 . All the Norton products are big and heavy and expensive. I stopped using them. There are alternate, usually free, and better ways to do everything than Norton. For example, try the Grisoft free AVG 7 antivirus. Works great.

3. On the symantec site, there is a test for computer security: run it on your computer.

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poor winpatrol
by hothta / July 8, 2005 2:07 AM PDT

no one said anything about winpatrol it is a fine program that helps with startup and ie problems and handles cookies like a pro i recomend that it is used on all pc's and it is also a fun thing to have i love it

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WinPatrol
by larryg--2008 / July 8, 2005 6:21 AM PDT
In reply to: poor winpatrol

This is a much overlooked program. It is really great at letting you know what is being installed on your machine. When getting rid of spyware it alerts you to reinstalls. I used it so much awhile ago that I donated twice.

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Never heard of it
by funkid7 / July 8, 2005 6:35 PM PDT
In reply to: poor winpatrol

There are many fake anti-spyware utilities around. The reason it wasn't mentioned is; because, we know very little about winpatrol, most likely.a Needs to be tested first.
Me; I just wait until everybody else is done finding all the bug issues and then I might use it.

Spybot S&D was always my favorite, before MSAS.
MSAS takes very little resources and is WAAAAAAY more intelligent at doing it's job. MSAS also describes its actions, more clearly than any other utility I have used.

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