Best freeware setup for your Grandma

Discussion in 'other anti-malware software' started by kupton, Jun 3, 2009.

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  1. kupton

    kupton Registered Member

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    I'm trying to come up with a good freeware security solution to install on computers I support. The main objective is to provide decent security without too much input needed from the user. i.e. I don't want people calling me every five minutes. Right now I'm trying out Avira free, Spyware Terminator, and Windows firewall.

    I'm probably going to play with Comodo Internet Security next. Should I add something else to CIS? Any other suggestions?
     
  2. gery

    gery Registered Member

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    this is very noisy and silent setup
    PC TOOLS FIREWALL FREE
    AVAST OR AVIRA ANTIVIRUS FREE
    CCLEANER FREE
    FIREFOX
     
  3. Someone

    Someone Registered Member

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    First you should implement a backup strategy. Turn on Automatic Updates and switch to alternate apps (e.g. Firefox, Foxit, VLC)

    Windows firewall
    Avast free (automatically update and remove threats)
    ThreatFire (automatically quarantine)

    If they don't mind limited usability LUA and/or SRP is incredibly powerful. IMHO CIS isn't good for average users.
     
  4. jmonge

    jmonge Registered Member

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    just place appguard and she'll be safe:) for surfing;)
     
  5. LagerX

    LagerX Registered Member

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    IMO Avast! free version doesn't have this feature. It is only in Advanced User Interface which belongs to Avast! pro.
     
  6. cheater87

    cheater87 Registered Member

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    Get her a sandboxed IE and have replace the regular IE. :) Have it set to delete its contents when exiting and tighten the controls in the settings.
     
  7. Victek

    Victek Registered Member

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    Avira has the nag screen which I find pretty annoying. I'm using Avast Home Edition (free) at the moment and by default it updates signatures automatically. It can be set to update the program automatically as well. There are also a number of "confirmations" which can be unchecked to minimize pop-ups. It has been running very well in both Vista SP1 32 bit and Windows 7 RC1 32 bit.

    I've used Spyware Terminator up to version 2.3 - I liked it, but it was fairly chatty. If the latest version 2.5 can be configured to work silently then I think it's a good addition to AV.

    Regarding a firewall, I think an inexpensive router is worth it for NAT and SPI even if the user only has one PC. For silence on the PC just user the Windows firewall. I've also had good experiences with PC Tools Firewall and ZoneAlarm, but they ask questions.
     
  8. IceCube1010

    IceCube1010 Registered Member

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    Great idea and I would couple that with Avira Free or Avast Home.

    Ice
     
  9. deanmartin

    deanmartin Registered Member

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    Avast free, with program update set to automatic and windows firewall.
     
  10. JediSB

    JediSB Registered Member

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  11. andyman35

    andyman35 Registered Member

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    Excellent suggestion that'd require no input from Grandma yet offers bulletproof protection.:thumb:
     
  12. optigrab

    optigrab Registered Member

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    Have done this for my mom's computer and just recently for my father in-law. First, understand what the most likely infection vectors are for "grandma". Your approach might be very different than for, say, a teenager who likes P2P but also doesn't know much about security. For folks like my mom and my father in-law, I figure phishing scams and emails they receive from friends containing malware are the most troublesome. If grandma is a relatively safe surfer, just a little training will be worth two or three layers of security applications: (1) Don't click on email attachments from anyone you don't know (2) don't allow anything to install or update anything as a result of opening an email or web page, and (3) Don't conduct ANY business through an unexpected email (no clicking on links to update your account, for instance). Maybe there should be a separate thread on what are the minimum safety rules to teach grandma; I'm sure we can come up with something great. This will only prevent the most obvious stuff, but it sure beats having grandma actively (though inadvertently) working against you.

    Short answer: Windows firewall (e.g. XP), a spare hard drive (cheap), Paragon Drive Backup Express or similar (free), Avast (free), Spyware Terminator (free), Spamhiliator (free), a backup program like Cobian, Syncback, (many free options here), plus a freeware AM like A-squared.

    Long Answer: First thing to do is install Paragon Drive Backup Express and create an image. Set windows updates to automatic. If possible, get grandma onto alternative apps (e.g. Firefox, opera, Thunderbird, etc.) FWIW, I just put everyone onto IE8 and I think it's pretty good.

    Avast free (I might have gone with Avira, but didn't want to muck around with disabling th nag screen like I did on my own computers). Had I wanted to put a little more time and effort into it, I would have opted for Avira simply because the interface is even more basic than Avast.

    Spyware Blaster.

    CCleaner.

    Spamhiliator, a great email filtering program, because my mom uses Outlook Express (I know, I know)

    Due to the increased possibility of FP's the free AM is employed only when I visit, once every few weeks. (On my mom's PC I had BoClean installed for at least a couple of years, because it too was very low maintenence. I removed it about two weeks ago.)

    Schedule a backup program to periodically copy the contents of the My Documents folder and desktop to another drive. If you ever have to revert to an earlier image, you can still save grandma's documents (assuming they're scanned and shown not to be malware).

    Finally, I create another image every time I visit, so I can always revert back to a clean state if an infection occurs when I'm not around.

    I don't agree with a sandboxed browser unless you can explain the concept to grandma.

    Whenever I visit, I spend 15 minutes or so updating the security setup and making sure everything is fine. This also serves to help me further avoid my relatives (just kidding) ;-)
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2009
  13. Sully

    Sully Registered Member

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    lol this is not an easy answer. IMO the first thing you have to know is does your granny understand what a folder and a file are? Does she know what an executable is?

    If they do, you can place fairly easy things in place like SB because they can understand it is a 'protected place seperate from the real place' and that when you save a file it must be 'restored' to the 'real place from the seperated place'.

    Programs like AppGuard will go a long way if they don't understand this, because you don't have to explain much.

    Using LUA and/or SRP can also be used to a very high degree if they understand directory and rights.

    I believe you have to have a different strategy for the true 'noobs' vs. those who know a little something.

    The important part, no matter how you choose to protect them, is that they understand (if possible) why a program is restricted, what the restrictions are, how it can be circumvented, and how it will affect the things they normally want to do. Of course you will probably explain this in very simplistic terms, but still it help a lot.

    Sul.
     
  14. jmonge

    jmonge Registered Member

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    i thing is that you never know is familly member been also compromise it is not about opening email from people you know(this is not enough)cause familly also can spell infections without their knowledgeo_O so prevention technique type of default denny is a better solution for them,you actually dont need bunch of security software in place just a solid quiet sandbox/hips(default denny configuration)(deny all type of executabl files)very safe and no pop ups;) defensewall/sandboxie or appguard is the way to go to stop malware attacks without pop ups or boring scaning:argh: that is my 2 bucks in place,also no need firewalls just windows and the mention above:thumb:
    "prevention is better than the cure"
     
  15. raven211

    raven211 Registered Member

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    avast! Home in Silent Mode does work automatic at all times I believe and very good against web-threats as it features two guards even in the free version. Pro also has a script guard, but Silent Mode is available in Home as well completely.

    I would probably skip TF in automatic quarantine as it naturally can have FPs, even if I don't expect any on a PC for your granny - atleast no serious ones. Mostly on weird files and new, rare software like OSSS (and then it was its "KernelChecker") and Spotify Upgrader (didn't even know it had one...).


    I wouldn't go with Windows Firewall as it can prompt. Even Norton wouldn't be as quiet as avast! :)
     
  16. Trespasser

    Trespasser Registered Member

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    Is your Granny on dial-up or dsl/cable? If dial-up then stick with IE (preferably version eight) because she may like that box that pops up offering to disconnect once you close the browser (that's what my Dad likes anyway) and go with Windows Firewall. If dsl then install Firefox (much safer in my opinion). Also, dsl offers the protect of the router's hardware firewall so turn off Windows Firewall. Next I would say Sandboxie but it does nag you after a certain amount of time. If you have a Sandboxie key then you're fine. AppGuard requires a key to function properly so that may be a problem. If no key for either of these then set up your Granny's computer just the way she likes it and then install Returnil (free version) and turn on System Protection (not Session Lock). Returnil will restore her computer to the state it was in prior to turning System Protection on. You can update her computer whenever you come to visit.

    Later....
     
  17. Victek

    Victek Registered Member

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    I should have explained that after Spyware Terminator does a full scan and identifies all software on the disk it does become very quiet. Note that software not in it's database is classified as "unknown". Those entries need to be classified "safe" or "unsafe" by the user. This is what I remember RE v2.3. Does the current v2.5 still work this way?
     
  18. Blackcat

    Blackcat Registered Member

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    Yes, but the flashing tray icon will give her a heart attack :blink: :gack:
     
  19. optigrab

    optigrab Registered Member

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    Apologies! I meant Spywareblaster - sometimes I'm an idiot. :oops:
     
  20. Woody777

    Woody777 Registered Member

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    Be Good to Grandma. Buy her NOD32 you pay for it. After all shes Grandma. Use Windows firewall no hips. NOD32 because she needs an Email scanner & wants this computer to run without any interaction on her part as far as security is concerned. Remember she will call you when some problem comes up.
     
  21. Someone

    Someone Registered Member

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    My bad, I stand corrected.
    Edit: It seems like AVG free is the only free AV that can automatically remove threats
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2009
  22. kupton

    kupton Registered Member

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    Thanks for all the suggestions. By the way I don't have a Grandma. The point is too find out what freeware others might put on their Grandma's or neighbor's computer. I'm looking to put together a decent freeware security setup that I can recommend and install on any machine without too many questions or complications for the user.

    I'm trying different setups on 3 computers right now. Maybe it was my machine but I found Spyware Terminator to cause system hangs on Vista Business 32 bit.

    I like the idea of sandboxed IE but try explaining to your pc challenged neighbor how to save a picture from his email. I agree that prevention by education is key but I'm gearing this towards someone who doesn't know or care how to use any of it.

    Right now I'm using Avira free and TF (not in auto quarantine). So far it doesn't seem to be too noisy. I need to get my kids on it and see how it goes.
     
  23. fce

    fce Registered Member

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    Windows XP Firewall (Free)
    Window Defender (Free)
    Returnill (Free)

    Tell your grandma to restart her PC everytime she's done browsing the internet.
     
  24. Someone

    Someone Registered Member

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    Well this wouldn't really work if they want to save data on their computer.
     
  25. raven211

    raven211 Registered Member

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    You should stand corrected again, as it does incl. Silent Mode in Home Edition as well working perfectly - I mentioned it in my own post. Just don't get why people go on with Windows Firewall... IT PROMPTS! Then you might as well go with Norton...
     
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