Is Windows Defender with system-wide smart screen enough?

Discussion in 'other anti-virus software' started by garrett76, Dec 2, 2014.

  1. Martin_C

    Martin_C Registered Member

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    I cannot believe the arrogance of some posters, one in particular, in this thread ??!!

    I have been reading along on Wilders for the last 7-8 years, often been about to register a user here to join in on some of the interesting threads here.
    However, the amount of fanboys that this site holds, has always kept me off joining. These fanboys can destroy any thread when they fill it up with posts that usually just says “product A is crap” or “product B is a miracle” repeatedly. The original subject of the thread drowns.
    This thread shows it perfectly.

    Nevertheless, I decided to join today, since the subject the OP posted also has had my attention for a long time.

    And to give “Garrett76” some constructive feedback, I will say that in my experience Windows Defender can keep you perfectly safe.

    I would also like to mention how I have come to this conclusion.

    A friend of mine and I have always had a strong interest in security. He even makes a living of it.

    For some time we had been talking about testing if we could keep a Windows installation safe with only using what is built into Windows.

    In February, we took a laptop of his, wiped it clean and did a clean installation of Windows 8.1 Pro x64.

    We set it up using only available options in Windows settings. No registry hacks or anything fancy added.

    Setting used are :

    - Windows Defender are of course enabled, and set to scan in archives, scan removable drives, automatically upload samples and MAPS membership set to advanced membership.
    - Windows Updates set to install automatic, plus also installing recommended updates.
    - We added an hourly check for updates to Defender signatures in Task Scheduler.

    - Network set to Public.
    - Windows Firewall set to block all incoming when on Public network.
    - File and Printersharing disabled.

    - SmartScreen enabled and set to require admin approval.
    - UAC set to maximum.

    - IE 11 has the following: all zones set to medium-high except Restricted zone which are of course set to high.
    All zones with Protected mode enabled.
    Cookie control set to Medium-High.
    Popup blocker set to block all.
    Enhanced Protection mode enabled and also 64-bit processes for Enhanced Protection Mode enabled.
    SSL2.0 and SSL3.0 disabled.
    TLS 1.0, TLS1.1 and TLS1.2 enabled.
    Block unsecured images with other mixed content set to enabled.
    All setting to check digital signatures/certificates enabled.
    And finally is IE11 set to always run as InPrivate.

    These are the Windows settings in use.

    Last thing was to add a Standard account that was to be used consistently (and of course have a password on the Admin account, that only my friend and I know)

    All of this takes 30 minutes to set up and it´s a one time job.

    Only Windows built-in tools and settings used – meaning there are zero problems and zero need for reconfiguring things afterwards.
    It just works.

    This was in February and the laptop has been passed around in both of our families. Myself, my girlfriend, the kids and their friends as well as other relatives of ours and my friend, his wife, their kids and the rest of their family. It has been brought on three vacations, hooked up to hotel WiFis and it has hooked up to countless hotspots in all kind of places.

    I will say it has seen a bit of everything.

    The laptop has been scanned with on-demand scanners regularly. Usually HitmanPro, but also with MBAM and EEK on occasion.
    These three on-demand scanners has NEVER in the 8 months and 1 week that we did this test, shown ANY infections !!

    At least to me, this shows that Windows Defender can keep you safe. More than 20 different people using a laptop for more than 8 months – and no infections that slipped into the system.

    I´m not saying it´s impossible to get infected. Any system or protection can have a thing slip through, no matter who programmed it and no matter how much money you paid for the protection.

    What I am saying is that when so many people over such a long time can´t seem to get infected during daily normal activity on that laptop, then I think it´s fair to conclude that the security in Windows 8.1 can keep you safe – if you actually use what is available in the OS.

    Now, three weeks ago, we wiped the drive again and installed the Windows 10 Preview. Plans are to do the same with Windows 10, once we are finished playing around with Windows 10 and testing it out for new fun stuff.

    I hope this gives you, “Garrett76”, an idea on how this can be done.
    You could for example, take a spare pc/laptop and try out the setup I described above for some time.

    I must say that it has changed a lot of my view on things and it´s very pleasant in use – light and trouble-free.
     
  2. xxJackxx

    xxJackxx Registered Member

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    First... Welcome to Wilders!
    To address the portion of your post I just quoted, unless Windows Defender blocked or prompted to stop something, all this says is that you never encountered an infection. It would be a testament to no product whatsoever, and I would say that regardless of what you are using. That said, I have not encountered an infection since about 2005 myself, so all things being equal, I could have used any product or none, it would have had the same end result. My recommendation is always to anyone, use what you like, it does not matter what anyone else thinks. If you are looking for advice, you will get plenty here, some biased, but usually that is what a recommendation is. Common sense is no longer a factor, because legitimate sites get hacked, but I think that point has already been made in this thread. I do believe that if you want to use a products that rates low in tests, you should enhance it with other products. Some are free, some are not. I highly recommend MBAM Pro in this situation. Not because I am a fan but because of instances like yesterday where it was the ONLY product to detect an infected email attachment I was forwarded (Norton, Kaspersky, and Trend Micro all missed it, at least until the next day.) I am glad to see that your setup works for you, and I hope it continues to do so. I hope you also enjoy your stay at Wilders, and can find many interesting subjects to discuss with others.
     
  3. DX2

    DX2 Guest

    Good post, thanks :)
     
  4. guest

    guest Guest

    No, it is Windows Defender, the AV built-in to Windows OS since Windows 8. It is MSE in a nutshell. Not to be confused with the anti-spyware only Windows Defender in Windows 7 (and maybe Vista as well).
     
  5. Macstorm

    Macstorm Registered Member

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    Another good post.
     
  6. garrett76

    garrett76 Registered Member

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    Welcome and thanks for your feedback! Right now I'm using your same setup and so far so good.
    Only difference is that I prefer using Chrome instead of IE 11, mostly because of some of its extension, like adblock plus, gmail notifier. Anyway, I found out that Chrome has a good malware download filter too. This way, I can have a multilayered and very light setup: Chrome malware filter, windows defender, windows 8.1 smartscreen filter and UAC.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2014
  7. TairikuOkami

    TairikuOkami Registered Member

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    Do you realize, that you did just that. You obviously favor WD, just based on your personal opinion with a pretty bold statement.
    I honestly do not care, which AV is "the best", since I do not use any, but saying, that some is better then other, just because it does not find anything is inaccurate, since AV with a low detection will not obviously find anything. If your computer is set up properly, it does not matter which AV you are using, you actually do not need any at all and you will be fine. WD's detection is bellow 90% for years, lately it reached 83%, while the most have +95%, so I always bash WD fanboys for it. :shifty:
     
  8. Osaban

    Osaban Registered Member

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    Ditto...
     
  9. Martin_C

    Martin_C Registered Member

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    First, thanks for the warm welcome everyone.

    Glad to hear that the setup is also working for you, Garrett76. :)

    And of course, if you prefer Chrome then that will work just as fine.

    You would still benefit from the settings mentioned under IE11 settings, since some of those settings are not specific to IE but system-wide network settings that will be invoked on the entire OS, as you properly already know.

    You would then just also have to set up Chrome to your desired security level as you have already done, I´m sure.

    After posting last night and turning off pc, I remembered that I had forgotten one setting that are also set in IE. And that is that ActiveX filter is enabled.

    That doesn’t matter when using Chrome as you do, but if others would like to try the setup then I thought that I better mention it.

    I think that you skipped most parts of my post, if you come to that conclusion.

    My post was not a praise of Windows Defender.

    My post was about, if it would be possible to keep Windows 8.1 secure with only using tools natively built into Windows.

    Yes, Windows Defender is PART of the built-in tools and it is used TOGETHER with the setting mentioned – UAC, SmartScreen, Limited (Standard) account, Network and Firewall settings and so on.

    And when using those tools, Windows Defender being ONE of them, then more than 20 people using this laptop for more than 8 months didn´t manage to infect this laptop in question.

    Nowhere in my post did I say that product A was better than product B.

    Nowhere in my post did I say that product A was worse than product B.

    Nowhere in my post did I say Windows Defender didn´t block anything. I said none of the third-party on-demand scanners ever found anything - meaning that Windows stood its ground with settings mentioned.

    The OP was simply wondering if he could keep a clean system with what Windows 8.1 offers him, and since my friend and I had been wondering about the same and had done this test – then I shared my experience with the OP.

    If you like to “bash people” as you say according to what setup they have on their pc, then you will have to walk down that cold, dark alley alone.

    I don´t care for marketing posters claiming this or that detection rate.

    Looking back at the last 20 years, there was a decade with one AV being more colorful then the next, and then a decade filled with HIPS, BB, two or three vendor scanners, Anti-this and Anti-that and the list is endless.

    We wanted to see if we could do without all that third-party security, and we could.

    The OP is now trying the same. Maybe others will join in and try it also.

    This is not about that pointless race of “what is the best”. This is about using what tools/settings are available, and if it works – then why add anything else ? :)
     
  10. Osaban

    Osaban Registered Member

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    Thanks, I've just watched it (alas 45 minutes!), and I must say it caught all 8 items which were 0 days and a couple of days old malware. And the best part is that HitmanPro, MBAM, and MBAR found no remnants after scanning for a second opinion. Yes I know the sample is too small, but even mrizos wasn't expecting these results from WD. Well something to keep in mind when renewing my subscription next time, quite frankly I have the feeling that WD with Sandboxie and Chrome could be just right.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2014
  11. TairikuOkami

    TairikuOkami Registered Member

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    I agree with your whole post completely, but I think, that AV with a good detection is essential to prove, that you are right, otherwise people might disregard you.
     
  12. charincol

    charincol Registered Member

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    Are you the same known very well somewhere else?

    If so, only fools dismiss your advice and reasoning given your background. I understand full well why you haven't registered in 7-8 years. I used to get my panties in a bind over security software and suites back then. I got tired of seemingly using my computer(s) to play catch up on the latest and greatest security software and not for anything else. The time consumed trying to find the panacea of computer security was asinine along with all the fanboy B.S. that runs rampant here. I scrapped it all and only use what comes with Windows plus Firefox /w NoScript. I haven't installed an A/V on my PC's in close to a decade. There are those here that claim it's a blasphemous practice because I don't know if I've got something if I have nothing to detect it. Screw them - I always know if something's changed on my computer(s).

    Cheers Martin_C
     
  13. bo elam

    bo elam Registered Member

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    Hi Osaban, I can tell you, combining Sandboxie with Windows defender works great. All my friends in life who are using Sandboxie are also using either Windows defender or MSE. And they don't get infected. I had the situation more than once were they received a free subscription for a paid antivirus as a gift for purchasing a new computer and I preferred them not to use it.

    Last time that I read about a problem or conflict between Sandboxie and MSE was 2010 (very early versions of MSE 1). MSE or WD is what I would be using if I was running an AV.:)

    Bo
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2014
  14. MrBrian

    MrBrian Registered Member

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