Overwhelmed. A little advice? Please.

Discussion in 'other security issues & news' started by BlackHawk66, Nov 10, 2003.

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  1. BlackHawk66

    BlackHawk66 Registered Member

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    Hi, everyone.

    My many thanks to the Wilder Security team for the excellent products.

    I am currently using Spybot S&D, Spyware Blaster, Zonealarm (basic), Norton Antivirus and Spyware Guard. Thought I was perfectly protected until I actually started looking through the Wilderssecurity website :eek: It seems I could spend 100% of my time updating/running security apps and 0% of my time doing other, necessary, stuff.

    Could anyone give me any ideas on which programs they would consider the "must haves" for the security of my system?

    Keep in mind, I don't mind purchasing programs to keep the code flowing. :D

    Thanks...

    Blackhawk
     
  2. AplusWebMaster

    AplusWebMaster Registered Member

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    ;) Good setup so far, but some would recommend adding an "Anti-Trojan" to your "layered defense".

    - You might want to poke around in here:
    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/index.php?board=5
    ...and here:
    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/index.php?board=25
    - Look for the 30-day trial downloads available in both sections ("Try before you buy").

    - You might also want to add "Ad-aware" which is along the same lines as SpybotS&D, but updated a bit more frequently:
    http://www.lavasoft.de/support/download/
     
  3. LowWaterMark

    LowWaterMark Administrator

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    Hi Blackhawk,

    What you posted is a common concern... People truly can end up spending all their available online time just working on their PC's security instead of doing whatever it was that they actually got their PC for in the first place. Now, this is fine if computer security is your hobby, but obviously this is not the case for most people.

    The core of computer security starts with the user learning a few things about how to safely use their computer so that they don't depend upon security products saving their systems on a daily basis.

    Much can be said as to what all the important things are and which are most important. Indeed, security forums like this are all about these things, but for the moment let me focus on just a few items that will give you the most bang for the buck (and not just meaning money here, but also effort).

    Start by making sure your computer is "up to date" with all security fixes. Visit Windows Update to ensure your copy of Windows is all up to date. Also, check that the products you do have installed are the current releases. (Virus definitions are very important here. An out of date AV is almost as bad as having no AV installed.)

    Next it is important to have just a few core security products and use them properly. Some people have anti-virus apps and firewalls installed but end up turning them off all the time because they can't do things with them enabled, or because they slow their systems down. If you find yourself frequently disabling your security tools to get things to work or run faster, then you aren't using the products right.

    You have a good anti-virus, provided your Norton is current and updated weekly (at a minimum) with new definitions, a good firewall and three good spyware protection products. This is a lot better than probably 98% of all people on the Internet.

    The two Javacool products will help with all kinds of nasty spyware items and a weekly scan with Spybot will alert you to any items that sneak through. A lot of people don't realize this point. A scan with Spybot isn't just to clean things up. It is also important because it alerts you that your security settings may not be all they should be. Stuff is getting on your system if Spybot is finding it. If that is the case, then adjustments should be made with a goal that your weekly scans will find nothing. (If Spybot does find things sneaking in then come here and ask about it and people will advise you how best to better secure your system.)

    Finally, though probably the most important thing though I chose to write this in the sequence I did for a reason... Using safe computing practices (sometimes called practicing safe hex ;) ) is really the key to staying safe online and protecting your system.

    The points that could be made here could take pages, so I'll only post a few important points to keep this post from getting way too long. First, be careful with downloads - from any source! Don't download those attachments that come in unsolicited emails, they are almost always viruses or trojans. Don't even open those types of emails at all as much of the spam and similar messages contain infectious materials. If you must download executable files from file sharing networks, expect to get hit by a virus or trojan and take steps to protect yourself. (There are many such steps, so start by reading this thread: Disaster Prevention 101.)

    Bad emails and infected downloads (any source) are the single biggest source of malware that systems usually get. Avoid them and keep your software up to date, and you have an excellent chance of keeping a clean system.

    I do not necessarily recommend getting more software at this point. Yes, there are other tools but we'd need to know more about your online habits to determine what else you might need and find useful. Otherwise, just saying to get more products isn't necessarily the best thing.
     
  4. BlackHawk66

    BlackHawk66 Registered Member

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    Thanks for the info, AplusWebMaster.

    Had "Ad-aware" until about a year, or less, ago. Had some problems with the new version at that time. That is when I switched to "Spybot S&D". Will have to give it a try, again.

    Again, thanks for the reading material.
     
  5. BlackHawk66

    BlackHawk66 Registered Member

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    Thank you, LowWaterMark, and I hear you. Got into computers relatively late and have made a lot of things, computer related, my hobby. So, along with learning a bit about security, I have spent a bit of time trying to secure my 'puter so that I might spend more time learning other things so that I can teach it to my kids. HTML, JAVA, graphics, Linux.....etc.

    Some of the first things I learned. The Norton is the 2001 version (bad?) with a new subscription every year and updated. As far as turning it, or any other security app, off to speed things up is concerned........Just doesn't happen. I spend the time to find out why it isn't working right. Pays off, too. Friends and family are always amazed, and a little ticked off :D at how fast my Win98se runs compared to their "latest, greatest thing". Also pays off when they need to have the latest virus removed from there box and I can save them a trip to the $hop.

    Been lucky(?) so far. Just did my first reformat yesterday (because of app bloat more than anything...still not comfortable with reg cleaners). Up to that point, it ran great without any problems besides some spyware, which I took care of upon finding Ad-aware and then Spybot, Spyware Blaster and Spyware Guard.

    My surfing is varied and wide ranging as I have an insatiable need to learn everything, not just computer related. Easier to tell you what I don't do.....file sharing and on-line gaming. Don't think a anti trojan might be in order, as AplusWebMaster suggested?
     
  6. JayK

    JayK Poster

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    Well done LWM. I wish everybody would answer posts like you did, instead of merely typing the words "layered defence" and start shoving software.
     
  7. JayK

    JayK Poster

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    Well it depends, if you want to be like us, then you might want to get a anti-trojan. The world of a "tester" , would go roughly like this

    1) Run around "testing" every conceivable security related software out there. You can indentify us, cos we are the ones who start and participate in threads that say " Anyone tried X before?" or " Is Y good?" despite having already a dozen software in the same class as X and Y.

    2)Because we don;t really understand the issues and lack the knowledge to really test, we rely heavily on "test/scan sites" to help us and we tend to treat their scans as gospel. This tends to lead to threads that go " Site X says I failed ! what do i do?"

    3) We also love to download and test the latest exploits ,leaktests just to boast that we are "immune" (though we often don't know why because the exploit is usually too technical) or if we are not immune we rush to look for a new software that allows us to "pass".

    4) After long hours of reading posts on Wilder's even though we don't really have much (knowledge (eg what a ping is, what the heck a buffer overun is), we have picked up a lot of the lingo through omosis, and we sound impressive to newbies, sprouting terms like "spoofing referrers", "layered defences" and "loopback exploits".

    5) A very few of us do go on to become real experts, but certainly not by just reading this board or "testing" (I mean running) software.

    6) In the end, we are no more secure (perhaps even less if we are tricked into running a malicious "test" exploit ) then a normal careful guy who learns a few essential security tips and a few well chosen software. But we sure sound more impressive!
     
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