Do I really NEED an antivirus better than AVG Free?

Discussion in 'other anti-virus software' started by Matt_Smi, Dec 22, 2004.

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  1. Matt_Smi
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    Matt_Smi Registered Member

    Hey,

    Since sometime last summer after getting a few viruses (from an adult website) that eventually lead to me having to re-install windows I have become a very security conscious computer user. Here are my browsing/safety habits…

    - I always keep up on critical updates
    - Use Firefox
    - Run ad-aware, Spybot (they never find anything) and use Spyware blaster
    - Don’t use any type of P2P program
    - Don’t download anything unknown and research before I download anything
    - Barely use my e-mail and I never open ANY attachments
    - Never visit any adult or sketchy websites
    - Backup all my files to an external hard drive regularly
    - I am the only one who uses my computer so I don’t have to worry about someone else picking something up

    Now some have said that my habits are somewhat paranoid, that being said I have been using AVG 6.0 Free (and now 7.0 free) since I re-installed windows about 5 months ago. And my computer is virus free to the best of my knowledge (I keep tracking of which programs are running in the background and check for anything suspect as well as look out for abnormal signs). I was planning on getting an AV like NOD32 but do you think I really need it? I know that it would offer me better peace of mind but I am thinking that may be all. Thanks.
  2. nod32_9
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    nod32_9 Guest

    Looks like you're okay. I'd stick with AVG. No need to waste $ on a paid AV. I've been using Avast Home for 3 years. So far so good.
  3. Ianb
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    Ianb Registered Member

    I am not an AVG fan at all BUT ........ if you keep to the rules you defined you will PROBABLY be ok.

    For you I would also reccomend ....

    http://mvps.org/winhelp2002/security.htm Great security tips and ultimate settings for AVG.

    Get a firewall ......... Sygate Free http://smb.sygate.com/products/spf_standard.htm

    And lastly a back up ON DEMAND AV.
    Bitdefender Free www.bitdefender.com
    or
    Escan Free (last version that could clean - see this post - last post by Firefighter) http://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=58132
  4. BlueZannetti
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    BlueZannetti Administrator

    Matt,

    The short simple answer is that you're probably fine with AVG free based on the usage habits mentioned.

    You do have to remember that although you PC has been clean for the past few months, for the most part users are guarding against the very infrequent occurrance of an infection. That's one of the issues with AV protection. For most people it is probably the once every few years incident (if that) which they are protecting against. Depending upon what the PC is used for, it may be critical to guard against infection or it may be a bit of a wash. The other thing to consider is augmenting AVG with a good on-line scan solution. I happen to like mks_vir online scanner or look here. At some point in the future I assume it will be available at the NA-based brand site - ArcaVir - you do need to run it from Internet Explorer.

    As for better peace of mind, that is a lot of what is purchased. Peace of mind that you won't experience that reinstall again. I went through the same experience - had an AV, it bogged down my PC, I disabled it and a few months later I was zapped. That was a number of years ago. Is that worth $30-$40/year/PC? Since that incident, to me it is.

    If you go for a paid solution, NOD32 is an excellent choice.

    Blue
  5. RejZoR
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    RejZoR Polymorphic Sheep

    I have tested AVG7 Free recently and i was quiet impressed. Not by detection rates,but the improvement over AVG6.
    Interface is much more clean now,memory usage is below 10MB,updater is fast and its quiet simple to use. Generic detection seemed also fine,so if you're not a high risk user,you should be fine. Actually any of big 3 free AVs provide good protection if you don't click exactly everything that you get under your mouse cursor... Maybe avast! and AntiVir are a bit ahead in detection,but they have other cons. I belive there is no need for a change,but you can try if you want.
    I do this all the time :) (changing and testing AVs from user perspective).
  6. nod32_9
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    nod32_9 Guest

    Windows can and will go down, even if you don't have PC gremlins. That's the nature of PC computing. If you don't want to bother with reloading windows, then you should use a drive imaging program to back up your C partition. The created image file will allow you to restore the PC to the time when you created the image file.
  7. Jimbob1989
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    Jimbob1989 Registered Member

    Although there are a number of security threats out there. The truth is that many companies that sell security tools make out that security issues are alot more dangerous than they often actually are, as it increases their sales.

    Jimbob
  8. nod32_9
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    nod32_9 Guest

    Great point. I've only come across one bug over the last 4 years. The bug was detected by Avast when downloading emails from Outlook Express.
  9. Jimbob1989
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    Jimbob1989 Registered Member

    I've just realised that as a member of wilders and enjoy posting here, I am probably in the group of people who get something out of people thinking security risks are greater than the actually are :D

    Jimbob
  10. Blackspear
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    Blackspear Global Moderator

    I think you will be fine as well, just make sure you do regular scans with AVG.

    I would add a few things to your security though, a good Firewall for starters, Spyware Guard, a Hosts files... This is what works really well for me, very simple to use and maintain, and most importantly it is very secure.

    You may want to take a look here for further discussion on security and how to make your system that much stronger and here for more.

    Let us know how you go…

    Cheers :D
  11. TAP
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    TAP Registered Member

    I've been using AVG FE 7 on my laptop since its Beta version was released and have no any problems, AVG FE is good AV it runs very smooth, its real-time protection doesn't introducing noticeable slowdown at all.

    AVG FE catches all mass-mailing worms that come via e-mail by its mail scanner/attachment filter, I've noticed that AVG responses very quick as good as other vendors and quicker than some when major malware outbreak have come.

    I think that AVG mainly focuses to detect ITW viruses/worms, common trojans and other today's most damaging malware but it seems that AVG deliberately not detect Zoo malware and some kind of malware such as spyware/adware/toolbar/BHO/hijacker as Kaspersky, NOD32, Trend Micro, McAfee and Norton do.

    If you're low/medium risk user AVG FE would good to you but if you're advanced/high risk/curious user or people who use AV for fun or want super AV that can detect almost everything in the world so AVG FE may not good for you.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2004
  12. bigbuck
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    bigbuck Registered Member

    These practices will be just as important as your chosen AV.....
    That backup HDD will become invaluable in time, not just incase of viruses but Software/hardware probs, glitches etc. And....as nod32_9 suggests a backup image would be much better than simply backing up files. I use my Ext HDD image in preference to doing a system restore!
  13. TopperID
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    TopperID Registered Member

    You say you went to an 'adult' site and got nailed - but what AV were you using then? If you weren't using an AV at all it is not surprising you were infected. I would like to think you could go back to that site (not that you'd want to risk it!) and be safe with AVG together with tight browser settings. I certainly think you'd be safe if you really were able to stick to your resolution as outlined.

    If however you wanted to make a habit of going round dodgy sites, you would probably want a stronger AV to feel safer. But I still think that browser settings and patching actually offer a greater increase in protection than the increase you would get from a top paid for AV instead of a free one.
  14. mercurie
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    mercurie A Friendly Creature

    As to Matt's habits I agree this statement applies. Jimbob you are no fool. A man who is likely to spend wisely. Not fall prey to hype.
    ;) Only one bug for me too since July 2001.
  15. Matt_Smi
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    Matt_Smi Registered Member

    Thanks for all the opinions! And thanks for those links Ianb and Blacksphere, looks like there is some more stuff I could do to be even more protected. A firewall is a good idea, although I do have the one on my Linksys router turned on, but I am not sure how good that is or if it is enough. It seems that I will be fine with AVG since I am not a “high risk” user, I still may consider getting a paid AV, but I think it would be more for peace of mind than anything. TopperID, at the time I had McAfee, what happened was my browser got hijacked and I got 2 or 3 viruses as well, McAfee would detect them but could not clean or delete them. The reason I had to re-install windows was actually my fault, I knew where the virus was and could find the file but I could not delete it because it had given itself special access rights. So I tried to remove the access rights using the command prompt but accidentally removed my access rights to the whole system 32 folder, so you can image what problems that caused.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2004
  16. mercurie
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    mercurie A Friendly Creature

    All my fellow Creatures,
    The number one malware prevention tool is: education in such matters, keeping up with current events in Computer/Network security and the lastest malware attacks. Among other places it's called THE WILDERS.ORG FORUMS.

    I would never have known what was needed to prevent PC damage had I not done my research first. ;) I was prompted to post this due to Jimbob's post #9. :)
  17. TopperID
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    TopperID Registered Member

    To be honest with you, if it can happen with McAfee it can certainly happen with AVG, and probably anything else! So obviously it is necessary to concentrate on other aspects of your defence - which your resolution does. :D
    I am concerned about your ambivalence over a bi-directional FW though. Good free ones are available, but you leave yourself badly exposed without one. :doubt:
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2004
  18. nod32_9
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    nod32_9 Guest

    To kill most bugs, you need to disable System Restore, boot to safe mode, and run the AV scanner.
  19. Notok
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    Notok Registered Member

    A couple of things that haven't been mentioned yet

    1) HTML email - you should have your email client (if you use one) set to show all email as plain text only, otherwise it may just open an attachment for you. Also, how much spam do you get?

    2) System settings - as with a lot of other things security related, Windows is pretty vulnerable "out of the box", but there are some things you can change to reduce those vulnerabilities and speed up your system at the same time. If you don't know what to change, the easiest way to do this is get some utilities like SafeXP, BufOff, WWDC, XP Anti-Spy, and Pivx' neutershellexplorer registry patch, and visit http://www.blackviper.com These will not install or run resident, you can just run them once and file them away in case you need to make changes again.

    Whether you should get another scanner (or other security software) is really up to you. If you keep using your computer the way you do, you may not need another one.. but if you'd like to be able to occassionally venture off into the unknown once in a while, it would probably be a good idea. Something like NOD32 with the HTTP scanner enabled will also detect things as they're being downloaded, so detected malware won't have a chance to infect your system. There's also the issue of support.. a paid AV will USUALLY have better support if you end up needing it (entirely depends on the vendor, though, free or paid.)

    There are also plenty of other approaches you can take besides just scanners, behavior blockers, filters, etc., as suggested by Blackspear. I would expect more 0-day attacks involving backdoors to come in the future, you can approach that in a lot of different ways. If you treat your computer as though it were a public terminal (never ever entering anything you don't want anyone else to see) then imaging software may fit the bill perfectly, but if your computer is a little more integrated with your lifestyle then paying a little money, or adding some additional layers, would probably be worth it.

    Personally, I can't imagine having a computer and not wanting to exploit it's potential.. if I wanted to keep things highly restricted and 'safe', then I would probably run an old (cheap) system with Knoppix. :D
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2004
  20. Blackspear
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    Blackspear Global Moderator

    It's not enough, great for inbound, though it will NOT tell you what's trying to access the internet FROM your computer, this is where a VISUAL software firewall comes into play.

    Hope this helps...

    Cheers :D
  21. richrf
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    richrf Registered Member

    If you are concerned, then for peace of mind, it is worth it. I have had small attacks from unknown sources. Anyone, given today's environment, can stumble into a nasty. It is like a lock on the door. How much more peace of mind is it worth to have a deadbolt rather than a springbolt installed. If there is any concern, then just go ahead and get the deadbolt. If there is no concern, then enjoy the springbolt. Each person is different. Me ... I have two deadbolts- but I live in the Chicago. ;)

    Rich
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