New to Windows, need advice on 7x64 security

Discussion in 'other anti-malware software' started by justenough, May 13, 2010.

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  1. justenough

    justenough Registered Member

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    After almost 2 decades with Mac, Windows 7 x64 seemed like a good alternative to the ways things were headed there.

    So I jumped in with both feet, built my first computer a couple of months ago (Phenom II x 3 3200 hz, 4 gig ram), been learning how Windows works and reading here for a month trying to get a handle on what's the lightest setup needed and still survive what seems like an exponentially escallating cyberwar. I try not to get paranoid.

    How I use the computer: a lot of reading online and following green links, downloading security software to try, downloading files for SimCity and X-Plane at safe sites, the usual email and watching video (no, not xxx, more like Comedy Central political stuff and the occasional cute pet youtube).

    This is what I have after reading here and trying lots of security programs: OpenDNS, NAT router, UAC at max, IE8 with WOT (sticking to only green sites) and LastPass, ThreatFire, Avast 5, Secunia. On demand is MBAM, Hitman Pro, CCleaner, Revo, Sophos, and Macrium. Everything is set the way it installs, since I don't know enough to tweek anything.

    If you all see any holes or redundencies please let me know, I am pretty much as noob as it gets. Thanks.
     
  2. iravgupta

    iravgupta Registered Member

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    I am sure everyone here at Wilders has a ton of advice for you, may be overwhelming, and the sort of questions you have posed may just start a torrent of information with everyone chiming in with their preferred apps. At the end of the day, everyone prefers something over the other because it works for them, better than the other thing. In very general terms, use reputable apps and visit product forums to see what the trend of complaints is - for e.g in the MSE forum, more and more complaints will be regarding missed malware, in Antivir Personal forum regarding updates, in avast! forum regarding mail scan etc.
    Start with a few apps and try online scans periodically to see if something has been missed.
    Also, whats up with on-demand Sophos? Is it even configurable that way?
    BTW, visiting only and only 'green' WOT sites must be pretty boring, no?
     
  3. Sully

    Sully Registered Member

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    So how does the paranoid world of microsoft computing feel then? I can't blame you for wanting to get out of a mac, in terms of having more options on many things. Sure would seem like you are a glutton for punishment though ;)

    IMHO the first thing anyone needs to do is to really examine a few things. First, and foremost, how will you safeguard your data? Backup, backup, backup. If you have your data TRULY safe, then you are free to do as you please, because a reinstall is easy to do. I see you are using Macrium Reflect, so now you can have it easy. If your data is safe, and you get smitten by something of the not-so-nice nature, just put your good image back on.

    So assume that your data is safe, and you don't fear having to re-install/re-image. The next question is what might you do that is "sensitive", such as online transactions or banking. If you do much of this, in my mind there are a few things you can do to greatly reduce your chances of compromise. You could go the route of using a LiveCD (linux flavor of your choise), you could use a PE disc (bartPE, LiveXP, the newer ones for Vista/7 based on pe3). This certainly is a safe route. You could also use something like vmWare or vBox, and have linux inside that, or a windows install. You can set those boxes to be snapshots, so that they keep nothing from the session and always start clean and fresh. You could use SandboxIE, and constrict the box to force your browser into it, and to delete contents after shutdown. You can constrict the box to allow only specific executables rights to run and/or rights to internet access. I have a browser devoted to this use, in SBIE, and do nothing else with it but that.

    So, after you have the first two items, data and sensitive information handled, then what else? Now it depends on how much you want to "manage" your security. Running as a limited user (aka LUA) is one easy step, does not require much on your part. Using firewalls/hips, can certainly be robust, but must put time in to these efforst to some degree. Are you to use an AV? Anti-malware/Anti-spyware?

    Question these things. This is an industry. The people who make all these security programs are happy to see threats continue as it ensures them future revenue. New threats require new versions. You can certainly find a plethora of tools to use in your arsenal. Some are great freeware, some are truly worthy of purchasing. But, how many do you need for your own security? Do you really need to build an impenetrable wall? Do your habits require that? Do you want to spend more time managing your security, or doing what you enjoy, which may well be managing your security.

    I say these things because many people who are capable staying out of trouble invest a lot of time into staying out of trouble they never get into. Some people just don't get it, and no matter what you do, they will have problems. Some people just like to walk on the edge and actually use thier elaborate security schemes. But I have a feeling that most knowledgable people could use far less than they feel they must if they laid out a plan in lived by it.

    The question is, which type of person are you? And how will you implement your own plan for your own unique needs? Weigh out your real risks, then apply the amount of security you feel you need. Don't buy into the crazed hype that the security industry loves people to do. There are security holes, today, there will be tommorrow. Nothing you do will stop this. And likely you don't need to worry about every flaw, only the ones that pertain to you.

    Sul.
     
  4. iravgupta

    iravgupta Registered Member

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    @ Sully,

    It seems like he just entered hell and is being told the norms by devil associates.
     
  5. kjdemuth

    kjdemuth Registered Member

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    Justenough,
    Sounds like you have everything covered for the type of browsing you are going to be doing. If you have threatfire set to default you may want to go into the controls and increase the sensitivity to 4. Others may say that you don't have a firewall but you have openDNS, windows 7 firewall and your behind a NAT firewall. Avast 5 is a good choice and default settings are good. You're good to go. Sounds like you have alot of common sense which that alone will keep you out of trouble.
     
  6. justenough

    justenough Registered Member

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    I think I have used Sophos a couple of times to do a rootkit scan.

    Yeah, seems like it would be boring, but I am mainly just using the web for gathering information on my current hobbies and interests, being a student by nature. And a couple of days ago I went to a well-known site I've visited a thousand times over the last few years and got what I think is called a phish, a fake security program with the loading bar and the alert saying I was infected. I managed to click out safely, I think.

    edit: After reading one of Snowdrift's links, I see that it was scareware, not phishing, that got onto that totally green site.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2010
  7. justenough

    justenough Registered Member

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    Thanks kj, I'll try the 4 setting on TF. Yes, I forgot to mention the Windows firewall.
     
  8. NoIos

    NoIos Registered Member

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    If you use the internet only the way you've described then you need only 4 things.

    1. Stay behind a firewalled router
    2. Install any of the security suites ( I suggest avast )
    3. Keep updated your OS and software. Mainly your security software, java, flash browser plugin and adobe reader.
    4. Backup often your boot partition creating an image and backup regularely your data with any method you like.

    There is no need for anything else.

    ps: If you want to add something extra, just use sandboxie while browsing.
     
  9. snowdrift

    snowdrift Registered Member

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  10. Sully

    Sully Registered Member

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    lol, sort of. With M$ being the most attacked OS because the payload is so high, there is no doubt leaving the semi-protected world of mac and entering into windows brings with it a exponentially larger chance of finding yourself becoming 'exposed'. Since the OS itself does not exactly ship 'secure', and being so targeted, one must either trust blindly that programs x,y & z will protect them, or they must learn. Learning is the better of the two options, as programs x,y & z could be any one of hundreds of different titles, with a huge difference between the offerings.

    It is how it is, but over-hyped by the powers that wish to capitalize on it. Learning about it and making wise decisions based on your own personal needs is the method I think works best, but not everyone stands and views things from the same place.

    Sul.
     
  11. justenough

    justenough Registered Member

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    Yeah that's what my Mac-using gf enjoys telling me when I am pulling my hair out trying to figure out the latest Windows puzzle.

    Thanks for the long reply, it's a lot to think about. I haven't come across LiveCD or PE Disc or vBox, I will look into them.
     
  12. justenough

    justenough Registered Member

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  13. Matthijs5nl

    Matthijs5nl Guest

  14. justenough

    justenough Registered Member

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    Snowdrift, I answered without realizing you'd added two links. Those I haven't seen, I'll read them later when I come back online tonight, thanks everyone for the good ideas.
     
  15. snowdrift

    snowdrift Registered Member

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    No problem... Macs are fine, but they are way overpriced and I think a Windows PC can be made *more secure* than an Apple-made one with just a little work.
     
  16. iravgupta

    iravgupta Registered Member

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    I wish I had one. But as of now I am too broke to afford either.
     
  17. kjdemuth

    kjdemuth Registered Member

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    I consider using windows for the sheer challenge. using ubuntu is too easy. who would attack me? :0
     
  18. Hugger

    Hugger Registered Member

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    My daughter called me the other night. She told me that she went out and bought a Dell Laptop w/Windows 7 and that she was going to call whenever she needed help.
    I said that's nice dear.
    Then I changed my phone number.
    Enjoy your new pc.
    Hugger
     
  19. arjunned

    arjunned Registered Member

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    :eek: :D :D
     
  20. justenough

    justenough Registered Member

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    I was hoping that was the case, NoIos, that with good internet practices I can keep the security software pretty much in the background. From trying different programs over the last month, since finding Wilders, I have noticed that some of them don't work well together or with my particular system.

    I've kept the ones that were quiet. I don't know if Threatfire is doing anything, cause it hasn't made a peep, but it gets good reviews, so there it sits. Same with Avast. On the other hand, Secunia gives frequent notifications that it is patching the programs coming and going. And it gives my security a 100% rating, a reassuring touch that might not really mean anything for all I know.

    Is there an easy way to keep track of updating java and flash? Avast updates itself, and I have PDF-XChange as a reader.
     
  21. justenough

    justenough Registered Member

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    Money can definately be an issue with getting a Mac, but getting a girl-friend? I don't think so. Some of my most romantic times were when we were both dirt-poor and struggling. Seize the day.;)
     
  22. justenough

    justenough Registered Member

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  23. doktornotor

    doktornotor Registered Member

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    Well, the only thing that rebels here w/ DEP is Slysoft AnyDVD, needs to be excluded. Kinda expected. :D
     
  24. justenough

    justenough Registered Member

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    Maybe I shouldn't have said 'pulling my hair out over the latest Windows puzzle'. I am in no way sorry for making the transition over from Mac. For one thing, a Mac equal to this one that I built would have cost me twice as much (not to mention the built-in restrictions, that seem to be getting worse). The frustration is just from having to learn a new OS from scratch. Actually I am very happy that the hardware and software are both working together as well as they are, considering this is my first home-built computer and my first Windows machine.

    Maybe you could just give your daughter a link to Wilders, and places like Gizmo's Freeware and Microsoft solutions site. They have helped me keep my computer up and running.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2010
  25. burebista

    burebista Registered Member

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    First of all: Common sense. From your posts I can say check.
    Then:
    Firewall: NAT router + Seven Firewall. Check
    HIPS: UAC+Threatfire. Check.
    Browsing: IE8 with WOT. I'd prefer Firefox+NoScript+AdBlock but let's say check here too.
    Backup: Macrium. Check. I'm also using Comodo Time Machine which is Windows Restore point with steroids.
    AV: IMO useless for a home user if you have all above but you have AVAST. Check.

    More than that and you'll get paranoid. :D
    But in the end it comes to a personal taste. As far I can see you've started on the right track in Windows world. :thumb:
     
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