How effective are web/URL shields?

Discussion in 'other anti-malware software' started by peterk62, Feb 10, 2009.

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  1. peterk62

    peterk62 Registered Member

    Feb 10, 2009
    I am the de-facto support for our shared family PCs. I am looking for ways to secure these machines from the "click of oops", bearing in mind that my users are not technically inclined. What we have now:
    • Windows XP, patches kept up to date. One machine uses limited user accounts, the kids machine does not because some of the older games require admin privileges.
    • Avira Free
    • ThreatFire Free
    • Firefox with NoScript, and DropMyRights is used for non-limited user accounts.
    • ZoneAlarm Free for phone-home checks
    • Router with default firewall rules, no inbound allowed
    • DiscWizard images created periodically
    • MBAM & SpyBot S&D for immunization and on-demand checks.
    It is not entirely clear to me how vulnerable this might be to drive-by downloads, e.g. by visiting a dangerous web site from a Google search. I have been lurking in these forums for some time now, so I know that many people like sandboxes and/or HIPS, but I am not sure that those applications are suitable for my target audience (I'm sure they're great if you know what is going on, but for casual users I would be worried about the "hey where did my file go?" or "what does this pop-up mean?"), so I have been looking at web/url shield type apps.

    I did some testing in a VirtualBox VM using the "Virusremover2008" url that was refrenced in the "browser defender" thread. What I found was:
    • Brorwser Defender did not identify the site as being malicious, either in the search results or when I went to the page.
    • Finjan Securebrowsing - no reaction, same as above.
    • Haute Secure: I did not see any site ratings in my Google search, and HS did not complain when I visited the site. I like the idea behind HS, but I'm not sure if it is working as advertised...
    • Avast! blocked the URL from loading.
    • AVG Free 8 "safe search" did not flag the web site, but visiting the site generated a pop-up from the surf shield that a malicious script was found on the page.
    I am considering replacing Avira on the kids PC with either Avast or AVG8 to get that extra layer of URL scanning/blocking - is that a false sense of security, or is there real value in the web/surf shields?
  2. IceCube1010

    IceCube1010 Registered Member

    Apr 26, 2008
    All those you mentioned I tried at one time or another. I thought Haute Secure was not updated anymore. Avast Web shield is good. Personally, I would use Sandboxie on the browsers with either Avira Free or Avast Home. Browser Defender gives some nice info on bad sites but I don't think it covers everything. Finjan similar to BD. They have some checking in realtime but I don't think it catches everything. You can throw basically all of them in the same pot, SiteAdvisor, WOT etc etc.... Stick with Firefox (NoScript, Adblock Plus), Sandboxie and Avira Free or Avast. You should be fine with the least amount of headaches.

    Just my .02 cents.

  3. innerpeace

    innerpeace Registered Member

    Jan 15, 2007
    Mountaineer Country
    :thumb: That would work and does for me. Sandboxie does have a 5 second nag delay after 30 days of trial. Threatfire should also add to the protection and theoretically ZA should catch anything that would call home.

    A couple other sandbox apps you might investigate are DefenseWall (paid) and GESWall (free and paid).

    For those tricky apps that won't run under a limited account, this may help.

    PS: Welcome to Wilders :).
  4. progress

    progress Guest

    I agree, only Avira Premium (paid version) comes with a web/surf shield :ouch:
  5. dw2108

    dw2108 Registered Member

    Jan 24, 2006
    Whaaa? You don't trust SpywareTerminator's Web Security Shield? :D

  6. Makav3l1

    Makav3l1 Registered Member

    Nov 26, 2007
    avast! Home is pretty solid and offers a nice webshield.
  7. faterider

    faterider Registered Member

    Nov 6, 2004
    Firefox plus NoScript is enough for most of the time. The only risk is when trusted site is compromised. Other apps will cover these cases if used properly. So better try to convince your family members to take some interest in learning how to utilize them and generally PC security. Computers and internet are here to stay.
  8. dw426

    dw426 Registered Member

    Jan 3, 2007
    I agree. Whether or not you trust these shields, my experience with Avast shows they work. It's yet to fail me.
  9. aigle

    aigle Registered Member

    Dec 14, 2005
    Saudi Arabia/ Pakistan
    All these are blacklists. It doesn,t matter how many blacklists you combine, your defence is always incomplete.

    Add a sandbox to your set up. You can just cover your browsers with GesWall free.

    Out of URL filters, LinkScanner Pro is best IMO.
  10. m00nbl00d

    m00nbl00d Registered Member

    Jan 4, 2009
  11. progress

    progress Guest

    I think this is the best way too ... :blink:
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