Easy and good security mix for muliple computers

Discussion in 'other security issues & news' started by darkroomdevil, Aug 7, 2005.

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  1. darkroomdevil

    darkroomdevil Registered Member

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    Hello everyone,

    I have been reading through posts here, off and on for abour a year. I have read through much discussion of late about the average user - well that would be me. I am not interested in adding security to my hobbies ;) , but I understand it's importance - I am posting this for a number of reasons ...

    1) To say thank you to everyone here that helps out!

    2) I bring a set of needs that I havn't seen addressed here much, so I thought any feedback might be helpful to others who read through these posts. I don't mind testing programs, and I think I have worked out what directions to head in, but would very much appreciate any opinions.

    My security history ... to give you a feel I purchased and used outpost for a while, but gave it up because I didn't want to invest the time to become a security expert so that I could use it ...

    McAfee AV has been on our computers and been doing a good job, but my wife's laptop did not like their latest upgrade to the program (I spent a day figuring out what the problem was), and there was no way to role it back through McAfee, in searching forums I discovered that others were having the same problems and in McAfee's not admitting the problem was in affect forcing the users to be their beta testers - I also received a virus which I did not keep on my machine (since I am not trying to be a security guru), but I emailed McAfee's virus submission site (the only place given for any communication about possible viruses) what had happened and the link to the virus source so they could make sure they had it in their database, I got back the generic "zip the virus and email it to us" email. Not the highest marks for customer sevice. So I have been lookin for a replacement AV.

    I also use Adaware Pro with AdWatch. Main computers are XP, SP2 with the XP firwalls turned on.

    The twist is that I am a professional photographer with a portrait studio, myself and one employee. We have 4 computers at the studio because of different workstations (Sales desk, Presentation, Production, Printing) only a couple of the computers see light internet use - employee checking email and such, the others as needed for updates only. We have three computers at home ... with lots of internet and downloading of programs. My laptop is the one that gets the greatest "at risk" use.

    I can see the value of AV/AT/AS/Firewall, etc., but with 7 computers (5 XP and 2 98SE) that could easily be $400 to $500 hundred a year with the different subscriptions. I can't justify that - if we had a lrger business with each employee having their own computer it would be fine - but what we have is mostly me floating between computers.

    So what I am looking for is the mix of
    -easy to use
    -reasonable price for multiple computers
    -minimum number of programs to keep it as simple as possible
    -99% safe between all programs used without overkill - since I am not tryng to add this as a hobby :) I will take the 1% chance of needing to reformat in trade for not making this a second career ... :)

    We could get by with 5 computers protected because of internet use. I looked at NOD32, but their 5 packs were 98Se or XP, not a mix - and it felt a little steep if I fortify with other programs. KAV also reasoble for one computer but steep for many. I tried F-Prot and it seemed pretty good - $50 something for all computers. But it seems to be a bare bones utility. So since it is available I will give Avast a try - I can use the free version for most and the paid where it is appropriate if I want to.

    As a back up to the AV I am looking in the Online Armour / Safe-n-Sec / PrevX1 direction, since I don't own a bunch of the other security programs already. I will probably pick the one that plays nice on all of the different computers, is the easiest to use AND has the most resonable quantity pricing. PrevX1 is $99 for 10 computers so that is what I thought I would try first.

    Sorry if this post is too long, but I felt like I might fit the profile of the customer that some of these software companies are aiming towards ...

    Thanks,
    Roger
     
  2. Rico

    Rico Registered Member

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    Hello Darkroomdevil, Try "TrendMicros" PC-cillin, they do a good job with, AV, AS, Firewall, etc. Free tech support. They will have a new version this October. Should you purchase now, you would get the new version free. PC World magazine gave them top honors, of all the suites they tested, likewise Consumers Reports.

    Good Luck
    Rico
     
  3. darkroomdevil

    darkroomdevil Registered Member

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    Thank you Rico,

    That was a great suggestion. I didn't look at suites because I thought they would be too expensive, but 5 computers at $150 is fine. I will give it a try!

    Are you suggesting that for my needs I could stick with pc-cillin and not use anything else?
     
  4. Notok

    Notok Registered Member

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    Since the machines are all pretty 'low risk', you could probably get away with just an AV & FW setup, maybe add one of the freebie AS scanners in, such as Microsoft's (disable the agents and just leave the process scanning going). For just about any AV I'd be willing to bet you could email them about your particular needs and get it straightened out. I'm sure Eset would let you mix the 9x & 2k/XP licenses. If you wanted to go with an AT you could try BOClean, I know they allow up to 5 machines with the home licenses, it may be the same for a situation like yours.

    Above all I would do some hardening. This will keep a lot of things from getting in the system in the first place, and can improve system performance at the same time. There are plenty of free tools avalable to do so, see the first link in my sig. If you must use IE rather than Firefox, it would also be worth getting Spyware Blaster and IE SpyAds. These do not run full time, are free, and are easy to maintain (update once a month, maybe).

    Online Armor and the new Prevx 1 would be a very good alternative. Online Armor will be including a firewall soon (along with some other great protection features), both offer signatures along with behavior blocking, and both are made to be very easy to use.
     
  5. Rico

    Rico Registered Member

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    Hi Darkroomdevil,

    I can't be sure what your internet needs are, or where they will take you. PC-cillin is a very good program, & should keep you safe. You should also consider MVP's hosts file, free. This will automatically keep you from, accidentially going, where you can get infected. Also IE-Spyad is a must, if your going to use IE. Alot folks around here, will advise using firefox browser. Also consider spending sometime at:

    http://www.dozleng.com/updates/index.php? Take the free classes!

    for Hosts file: http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm

    Also free & very very good, Javacool's SpywareBlaster & SpywareGuard.

    also Microsoft AntiSpyware:

    http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/...a2-6a57-4c57-a8bd-dbf62eda9671&displaylang=en

    with all 59 Realtime agents ON!

    for IE-Spyad http://www.spywarewarrior.com/uiuc/resource.htm

    1. PC-cillin
    2. MVP's hosts file
    3. IE-Spyad
    4. SpywareBlaster
    5. SpywareGuard
    6. Microsoft AntiSpyware
    7. Knowledge from dozeling

    I think you will be safe! I've left alot of worthy free programs out.

    Good Luck
    Rico
     
  6. darkroomdevil

    darkroomdevil Registered Member

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    Notok and Rico,

    Thanks to both of you for your input!

    @Rico

    I am an avid Firefox fan, so no worrys there. I also use and love MailWasher Pro so I am not downoading most suspect emails.

    @Notok

    I went to the hardening link - very interesting.
    I think you mean instead of AV/FW, not hardening - but I just thought I should check to be sure ...

    Thanks again
     
  7. Notok

    Notok Registered Member

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    Oops, lol, actually meant a good alternative to an AS, wouldn't consider it a replacment for an AV :) And actually, now that I think of it, I think they may both be including a firewall.. will have to see how it goes.
     
  8. darkroomdevil

    darkroomdevil Registered Member

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    Notok and Rico,

    I tried the TrendMicro Suite and then NOD32 - of the good AV programs it seems it is a little like discussing cars ... Some like Ford and some like Honda, etc ... ;)

    If I take what you both said and blend it into a soup, it comes out like this ...

    TrendMicro is a good product and for a medium risk person like myself is a 'suite';) way to go - with a simple consumer interface - do some hardening and a little free or cheap security back up and I am probably ok.

    If I like the idea of having a back up like PrevX1 or Online Armour then the non AV part of the Trend's suite might be redundent and then maybe, if I am the kind of person who goes with a HIPS program, maybe I am also the kind of person who would look at NOD, being the industrial AV that it appears to be (Trend = kind of the top-of-the-line consumer AV).

    I realize that I could take a good mix of any of the good programs and it would all be good. Part of the reason for these discussions is that there are good choices ... if there was one good and the rest bad there wouldn't be lot of need for much discussion ;)

    Thanks to you both for your input!
    Roger
     
  9. Notok

    Notok Registered Member

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    Well ultimately you get to choose your AV :) I don't have a lot of experience w/ Trend Micro, so I can't really speak much for it. I can tell you that the reason I chose NOD32 was because of it's unbeatable heuristics and doesn't slow down your machine. It doesn't come with a firewall as Trend Micro does, but there are plenty of good freebies out there.. Sygate is my personal favorite of the free firewalls (although it's not good if you use a web filtering proxy like Proxomitron or Web Washer as it doesn't check what's using them).

    The advantage of a behavior blocker is that it will pick up anything new that hasn't had a chance to have gone through the update process of your signature scanner. OA and Prevx1 both use a combination of both, with signatures focusing on spyware, which is why I say it could easily replace either. Both will go through changes in the coming months, but OA is pretty much final in it's current form, and offers more protection options than Prevx1 currently does. When it comes to behavior blockers, I think it's important that you trail each that you are considering, however, as they are much more dependant on your ability to make decisions. OA and Prevx1 are both geared towards making that much easier, which is why I bring them up.

    Anyway, hope that helps :) Ultimately it's all about what works best for you, it sounds like you've got some good direction to go on.
     
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