DB's guide to antivirus and internet security

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  • Dirtbox 17 Dec 2009 04:58:07 78,854 posts
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    *Updated December 2nd 2010*

    These threads keep popping up, so it's time to revise a snippet of my old software guide and cover the basics of keeping your PC safe, secure and shit free.

    Antivirus: MS Security Essentials is the best of the lot right now with the best detection rate out of all the freebies in a recent batch of independent tests. Good use of resources, although not as light as Nod32 or Avira.

    Fair alternatives include Avira (daily nag hack), Avast, BitDefender, Kapersky, Panda and Nod32.

    Things to avoid would be Norton, McAfee, AVG and Sophos. You might as well uninstall them right now for all the good they'll do you.

    Especially Norton, which is so dire that they have to resort to having their staff plant glowing reviews all over the internet to garner interest for this frankly terrible excuse for an AV, including in this thread. ALiasEX and malexous being two such plants. Uninstall it immediately and go for a superior free option.

    Note: Unlike anti spyware software, it's definitely not advisable to try installing more than one AV at any time. They'll battle and you'll lose.


    Spyware: SUPERAntiSpyware sounds frankly dreadful but it's by far the best, picking up things that none of the others notice and even weeds out trojans that nothing else seems to see. It has the option to run constantly in the background, but you really don't need that. Personally I just run a scan from time to time.

    Alternatives such as Malwarebytes, Hitman Pro, Ad-Aware and Spybot are all fine but they all seem to miss some small slice of the immense catalogue of crap that is out there. If you're having a lot of problems then I'd suggest running superanti as well as one of these. Malwarebytes easily being the top of the alternative crop.


    Firewall: Tough one these days, you will be fine with the OS's built in firewall and your router's firewall. Most third party software firewalls at the moment are almost pure bloat.

    Things to avoid would have to be nVidia's firewall that is offered as part of the nForce motherboard software suite. Comodo, which was once great has turned into a monster and ZoneAlarm can be more trouble than it's worth.

    Note: You really don't need 2 firewalls running, so you're free to disable Windows firewall should you opt for Comodo or something.

    Other stuff: Peerblock takes over from where PeerGuardian left off. It's a tiny little client that periodically updates a list of undesirable IPs. Perfect for filthy pirates or simply people who enjoy their privacy.

    Sandboxie is great for those little programs of questionable parentage that you might not want to let loose on your system. Comodo also has a sandbox function.

    Enjoy!

    Edited by Dirtbox at 14:09:04 22-01-2012

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  • Deleted user 17 December 2009 06:26:01
    Thanks DB. I use more or less the same as you, but have been using PG for the blacklists. I'll give the hosts file thing a try.
  • Dirtbox 17 Dec 2009 06:35:46 78,854 posts
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    Peer Guardian's main job is to block anti p2p IPs, it's not a lot of use against ads or malware. It does factor them, but it's update list is flakey and both the ad and spyware lists are defunct with no update lists behind them (this might be editable, but I haven't seen any alternative download locations). Also it doesn't play well with Windows 7.

    Not good enough imho, and is starting to show all the signs of a dead project.

    Far better is Blocklist Manager which has all sorts of blocking options, but I personally find it to be a little too aggressive. It is customisable, but there are far too many things to change so you're at the point where neither your browsing or relative security is impacted.

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  • Tabasco 17 Dec 2009 07:29:03 5,780 posts
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    Hey DB, good work :o)

    I've been using the Virgin Media suite that you get free with them. What are your thoughts on this? As I understand it, PC Guard is a VM themed Kaspersky package.
  • Dirtbox 17 Dec 2009 07:36:20 78,854 posts
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    I believe in using the right tool for the job. Kapersky is a great antivirus, one of the best even, but it's a bit of a resource hog. I'd say the package was a bit bloated in general, but I'm certain it does a fine job.

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  • nickthegun 17 Dec 2009 07:36:43 61,116 posts
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    Only old people and downers need av.

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    My man gives real loving that's why I call him Killer
    He's not a wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am, he's a thriller

  • Dirtbox 17 Dec 2009 07:39:38 78,854 posts
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    And prolific porn dogs.

    ...

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  • Tabasco 17 Dec 2009 07:39:49 5,780 posts
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    Cheers DB. To be honest it does seem to take a while to get started at boot up but I don't seem to have have any bad stuff happening...
  • Dirtbox 17 Dec 2009 08:19:46 78,854 posts
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    More to stop unwanted outgoings than incomings, but yeah I'd say so.

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  • President_Weasel 17 Dec 2009 08:33:04 9,607 posts
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    bah, I just bought nod32 for another 2 years and now I feel slightly less secure.
  • Blerk Moderator 17 Dec 2009 08:33:41 48,225 posts
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    Comodo's firewall uses fewer resources than Windows own? Really? How surprising!

    /makes notes
  • Deleted user 17 December 2009 08:50:15
    Is it worth going through this TrialPay promotion thing to get Avira Premium/Pro for free? It wants you to sign up for various other services, like LoveFilm, eMusic etc. I think I can cancel eMusic before the trial ends, but it specifically states you can't cancel the free Lovefilm trial before paid subscription begins.

    Thanks for the tips DB, I'd just installed a new trial of ESET Nod32 aswell! D'oh.
  • Dirtbox 17 Dec 2009 08:53:25 78,854 posts
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    No idea, I've become completely blind to "offers" as most want credit card details and some sort of purchase somewhere down the line.

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  • nickthegun 17 Dec 2009 09:04:04 61,116 posts
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    I think you might have scared a few people here, DB.

    Just to clarify, NoD32 is still a good program. Your computer wont explode or send your bank details to a chinese guy just because you resubbed. Its just that it isnt an industry leader anymore, but the chances are that will be addressed in a future revision.

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    My man gives real loving that's why I call him Killer
    He's not a wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am, he's a thriller

  • morriss 17 Dec 2009 09:06:33 71,283 posts
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    READ, morriss. READ!
  • Retroid Moderator 17 Dec 2009 09:07:35 45,283 posts
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    :D
  • Kill_Crazy 17 Dec 2009 09:08:01 2,367 posts
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    Norton IS is fine IMO. Have used it for years. What makes it bad in your book, Dirtbox? Resources?
  • Deleted user 17 December 2009 09:08:51
    But Avira "basic" does the job?
  • morriss 17 Dec 2009 09:09:04 71,283 posts
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    I will add my voice to the NoD32 love, however. 'Tus very good.

    Good work though, deebs.
  • Dirtbox 17 Dec 2009 09:09:18 78,854 posts
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    nickthegun wrote:
    I think you might have scared a few people here, DB.

    Just to clarify, NoD32 is still a good program. Your computer wont explode or send your bank details to a chinese guy just because you resubbed. Its just that it isnt an industry leader anymore, but the chances are that will be addressed in a future revision.
    Well, yes and no. It's still a good program, yes and it will catch most of what's out there, but after having used it for years I wasn't happy to find that it let at least 3 separate viruses go. As it went, they weren't bad infections, they were fairly benign but I'd rather not take the risk with it in the future.

    Versions 2, 3 and 4 missed the problems, so I can't see any future revisions nailing it any time soon.

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  • Blerk Moderator 17 Dec 2009 09:09:36 48,225 posts
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    I've lost count of the number of machines I've had to clean of horrible nasties which were supposedly 'protected' by Norton or McAfee.
  • Dirtbox 17 Dec 2009 09:11:40 78,854 posts
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    Kill_Crazy wrote:
    Norton IS is fine IMO. Have used it for years. What makes it bad in your book, Dirtbox? Resources?
    Resources, false positives, most of the bloat being there to protect the program rather than your computer, intrusive, scaremongering, PC World bundling stinking sack of dog shit. It's probably worse than anything you can be infected with.

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  • Kill_Crazy 17 Dec 2009 09:11:45 2,367 posts
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    ecosse_011172 wrote:
    Norton is the worst software ever written, avoid it.

    Just not true.
  • nickthegun 17 Dec 2009 09:14:37 61,116 posts
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    The fact is that no software is infallible and to really protect yourself you need to use a few programs in conjunction with each other, which can lead to its own problems.

    The other week, for example, I looked at a machine that kept crashing because AVG and Trend kept bumming each other.

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    My man gives real loving that's why I call him Killer
    He's not a wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am, he's a thriller

  • PearOfAnguish 17 Dec 2009 09:16:24 7,464 posts
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    Kill_Crazy wrote:
    ecosse_011172 wrote:
    Norton is the worst software ever written, avoid it.

    Just not true.

    Actually quite accurate. It's fucking horrible. You'd get more protection from viruses by shoving Lemsip in the DVD drive.
  • Kill_Crazy 17 Dec 2009 09:17:45 2,367 posts
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    Dirtbox wrote:
    Kill_Crazy wrote:
    Norton IS is fine IMO. Have used it for years. What makes it bad in your book, Dirtbox? Resources?
    Resources, false positives, most of the bloat being there to protect the program rather than your computer, intrusive, scaremongering, PC World bundling stinking sack of dog shit.

    Quite a dislike then! I kind of agree on resources (last few additions being much better) but i'm not plagued by false positives, find it quite customisable but also good for new pc users once setup correctly. I used to hate it years back when it would cripple your resources and generally screw up your system but after using it again have not had any problems in the last 4 years
  • Dirtbox 17 Dec 2009 09:18:04 78,854 posts
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    nickthegun wrote:
    The fact is that no software is infallible and to really protect yourself you need to use a few programs in conjunction with each other, which can lead to its own problems.

    The other week, for example, I looked at a machine that kept crashing because AVG and Trend kept bumming each other.
    Well yeah, running 2 AVs on one PC is asking for trouble because both are rummaging about looking for things that are rummaging about.

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