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How Did My Protected Pc Get Infected?

#1 User is offline   PCWorld 

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 06:41 AM

Post your comments for How Did My Protected PC Get Infected? here
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#2 User is offline   rixware 

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 08:40 AM

"It's an annoying product, constantly interrupting my work to ask if I should allow something or other to get through, but the security is worth it."

That's the craziest thing I've ever heard. No level of perceived protection is worth such constant interruption. And you've got much bigger problems if you have so many potentially dangerous things happening on your system all the time.

"And every week or so, scan your hard drive with an alternative anti-malware program to get a second opinion."

Equally crazy. I've got many more important things to do than double-check on any given program once a week.

But I certainly wouldn't spend that much time on my so-called "security" software. In fact, I don't have to do that because I don't use any. That's right, there's not a single piece of security software installed on my system. Not a virus scanner, not a software firewall, not a malware blocker -- nothing. And the reasons are simple:

1. No security program on the market offers better than about 75% protection against known malware. That is confirmed in survey after survey of security programs.

2. No security program on the market (not even those using "advanced heuristics") can protect against a well-crafted zero-day attack.

3. Every single security program on the market uses CPU cycles that I would rather have for my actual work.

For my security needs I use a hardware firewall and Great Caution.

And I always remember that I'm vulnerable. In fact, that's the primary difference between me and someone whose system is tricked out with one of the mainline security suites. They may think they are invulnerable, and therefore are more likely to engage in risky behavior on the web.

I can't count the number of times I've been called in to work on a system that has supposedly the best security suite, with up-to-date virus definitions, and also some sort of nasty browser hijacker, rootkit, or persistently regenerating trojan.

When I read articles like this one, I just laugh. The single most important thing to know about malware in any category is that nothing can protect you from yourself. 99 times out of 100, the user's own behavior turns out to be the source of the nastiness.

I've actually had people tell me that they thought they were safe because of the security suite. So they went ahead and clicked on something that they were suspicious about.

On my system, I'm no more vulnerable than they are (zero-day exploits being what they are), but I'm better protected by virtue of not relying on such a notoriously unreliable and high-maintenance tool as a security suite.

I may make a mistake -- check that, I WILL make a mistake -- but no security software will be able to save me when I do.

These vendors are selling air.
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#3 User is offline   ClaudeD 

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 11:43 AM

Good article, well written. Makes a lot of good points. All programs use cpu and memory time. Virus, spyware, office, itunes, games and plugins. A few people cry about their slow internet, some cry about their security progams while other cry about their game acting funny. I have yet to see anyone whine about their iTunes(another cpu intensive product. Protect your pc as in the article and you will be safer, not 100% safe but safer. Don't take any steps to protect yourself and some body will surely buy or steal your banking or credit information from some hacking operation on the internet. Personally, I"ll let my antivirus and other utilities do their job, assisting them when needed. The smartest thing any computer user cam do is adequately protect themselves. The dumbest well, they already know.
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#4 User is offline   dk3d 

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 12:48 PM

While the first person's comments tend to sound like someone saying, "I don't wear a seatbelt, I just drive carefully," I have to sort of agree to some extent.

I manage my wife's and my parents computer. And of course my bunch of computers (two laptops and a desktop).

I put the same A/V on them (and like this article says, do alternate scans with other software from time to time).

Same hardware firewall. Tell them all the same things I do and when to do it and when not to.

They are ALWAYS getting some sort of trojan or virus or some crap on their machine.

I've never gotten anything in 20+ years of using a computer. Yet I surf the web and visits thousands of more sites than they do and thousands more emails.

What's the main difference?

The user.
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#5 User is offline   peterblaise 

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 05:38 AM

How did my PC get infected? Easy, by tuning it on and connecting to any other computer (though Dell and others ship computer pre-infected nowadays!).

Even if you browse to a known reputable web site, they have advertisements hosted elsewhere, and any number of servers may be accidentally or intentionally infected. Heck, even Verizon hubs and switches have been infected, reinfecting anyone who merely connects to the Internet using them as an ISP.

The biggest problem with this story is the lack of specifics in the report that "SUPERAntiSpyware found three Trojans on Bill Artman's PC". Trojans? What Trojans -- be specific. Without specific names, and then auditing to their source and time of infection, this is meaningless.

There are two problems with unspecified "security risk" reports such as this from ANY security software:

1 - they may be reporting harmless or intentional programs that are not malware, such as the FDisk or Format commands in my old DOS backup directory, or tracking cookies (OH MY GOD!) in my temporary files, or merely that a link wants to open in a new window, or a program wants to check for updates. This would be like a home security specialist warning that your kitchen is unsafe because it has forks and knives in it. Many people interpret these reports from security programs as evidence that they've been hacked and that the computer world is unsafe. Perhaps the security software should warn that the computer is at risk due to an uneducateable user?

2 - Not all infections are "bad" in that they may not have actually caused damage yet, or cannot cause damage, even though they are there. I liken this to the fact that a bullet or gun are not in themselves evidence of damage -- the bullet has to be put into the gun, and someone has to pull the trigger first, and then it has to hit something valuable. Same with many computer "infections". Malware, or spy-cookies merely sitting in temporary directory does not mean damage has occurred. Someone has to load those bullets into a program and pull the trigger. For instance, if you load an infected Word doc into an old, perfectly working version of WordPerfect, since Word Perfect has no "gun", the "bullet" cannot be fired -- only a Microsoft program can fire that bullet. Many security programs understand levels of risk and so they execute different levels of cleaning versus speed. A program that skips over unloaded bullets, so to speak, isn't bad, it's just probably fast, and it also probably would jump in to protect you if you tried to load that bullet into a gun, so to speak, at least preventing you from pulling the trigger. The next security program might identify that dormant bullet, give you a glorious panic-inducing warning, and slow your computer way down in the process. It's all a compromise either way.

I agree with rixware above, and my fastest computer has no security sniffer filtering every frickin' cpu cycle!

I tell my customers to act around a computer exactly as they would at home at the dinner table when the phone rings with an unsolicited sales call:

NEVER EXECUTE A TRANSACTION YOU DID NOT INITIATE.

In other words, when someone calls and asks to switch your credit card to a newer, better rate, hang up, because you did not initiate that transaction. If you want a better rate, hang up, and then later, initiate a new call yourself.

Same around a computer. When a window pops up and says "You're infected, click here to clean or update," close that window or turn the computer off, because you did not initiate that transaction. When you want to initiate a security and malware inspection sweep or an update, do that separately on your volition, never in an interactive response to an unsolicited message anywhere -- not on screen, not on a pop up, not in response to a web site's message. Never.

That simple rule has saved my otherwise non-technical clients over and over. They used to click in obedient response to anything their computers told them to do. Now they call me and say, "there's a pop up message that says blah blah blah, I rebooted and it's gone, but can you check it when you have a chance, thanks". And 100% of the time, when I do check, there's nothing -- it was an errant click or dancing baloney on a web advertisement.

So, bottom line, this article advises that unsavvy users trust the unknown (security software and it's gibberish) as a remedy to not trusting the unknown (malware and it's gibberish), yet the savvy responses here from personal and professional experience suggest instead to raise the user's sense of command and responsibility (my suggestion to just say "no" to any unsolicited request to take any action), security software be damned.

Provocative article. Thanks.

Click!
Love and hugs,
Peter Blaise dot com
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#6 User is offline   DaWolf 

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 08:11 AM

View Postrixware, on 16 August 2010 - 08:40 AM, said:

"It's an annoying product, constantly interrupting my work to ask if I should allow something or other to get through, but the security is worth it."

That's the craziest thing I've ever heard. No level of perceived protection is worth such constant interruption. And you've got much bigger problems if you have so many potentially dangerous things happening on your system all the time.

"And every week or so, scan your hard drive with an alternative anti-malware program to get a second opinion."

Equally crazy. I've got many more important things to do than double-check on any given program once a week.

But I certainly wouldn't spend that much time on my so-called "security" software. In fact, I don't have to do that because I don't use any. That's right, there's not a single piece of security software installed on my system. Not a virus scanner, not a software firewall, not a malware blocker -- nothing. And the reasons are simple:

1. No security program on the market offers better than about 75% protection against known malware. That is confirmed in survey after survey of security programs.

2. No security program on the market (not even those using "advanced heuristics") can protect against a well-crafted zero-day attack.

3. Every single security program on the market uses CPU cycles that I would rather have for my actual work.

For my security needs I use a hardware firewall and Great Caution.

And I always remember that I'm vulnerable. In fact, that's the primary difference between me and someone whose system is tricked out with one of the mainline security suites. They may think they are invulnerable, and therefore are more likely to engage in risky behavior on the web.

I can't count the number of times I've been called in to work on a system that has supposedly the best security suite, with up-to-date virus definitions, and also some sort of nasty browser hijacker, rootkit, or persistently regenerating trojan.

When I read articles like this one, I just laugh. The single most important thing to know about malware in any category is that nothing can protect you from yourself. 99 times out of 100, the user's own behavior turns out to be the source of the nastiness.

I've actually had people tell me that they thought they were safe because of the security suite. So they went ahead and clicked on something that they were suspicious about.

On my system, I'm no more vulnerable than they are (zero-day exploits being what they are), but I'm better protected by virtue of not relying on such a notoriously unreliable and high-maintenance tool as a security suite.

I may make a mistake -- check that, I WILL make a mistake -- but no security software will be able to save me when I do.

These vendors are selling air.


So sad that there are people out there that actually think that way. I happen to know allot about these things and I also happen to know that yes RIX, you are right while there is no real defense against ZERO day attacks heuristics allow antivirus programs to "profile" potentially harmful actions on your PC. There is also a reason why there isn't too much defense against Zero Day Attacks ,,,,,,, NO ONE KNOWS HOW THEY WORK OR WHAT THEY DO UNTIL IT HAPPENS!!!!! (that would be like someone coming to your home through a window you had unlocked and stealing all of your stuff) and then saying to yourself "WOW I think I'll start locking that from now on" Good lord it seems to me like you can write a book on what you DONT know about security. How do you know you aren't infected if you DONT have anything to check it against? It would be like you having the first stage of cancer and NOT knowing because you failed to get a check up (if you did there would be a chance to stop it). Profiling allows "irregular actions" on a persons PC to be spotted before it can do things bad to a persons computer. The more we use heuristics the more intelligent the "actions" taken by viruses can be spotted and stopped. The Best way to protect yourself from anything is doing EVERYTHING you can. Just as you try to protect yourself through intelligent decisions and common sense you should mix that with some protection (IE - Anti Virus). For all you know, you may be acting as a "host" to a hacker and dont even know it. lmao ..... Everyone please ignore his input get an Antivirus solution. Its like a condom better to have one and not need it then need it and not have it. ^..^ DaWolf
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#7 User is offline   Karriek 

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 12:14 PM

View Postrixware, on 16 August 2010 - 08:40 AM, said:

"It's an annoying product, constantly interrupting my work to ask if I should allow something or other to get through, but the security is worth it."

That's the craziest thing I've ever heard. No level of perceived protection is worth such constant interruption. And you've got much bigger problems if you have so many potentially dangerous things happening on your system all the time.

"And every week or so, scan your hard drive with an alternative anti-malware program to get a second opinion."

Equally crazy. I've got many more important things to do than double-check on any given program once a week.

But I certainly wouldn't spend that much time on my so-called "security" software. In fact, I don't have to do that because I don't use any. That's right, there's not a single piece of security software installed on my system. Not a virus scanner, not a software firewall, not a malware blocker -- nothing. And the reasons are simple:

1. No security program on the market offers better than about 75% protection against known malware. That is confirmed in survey after survey of security programs.

2. No security program on the market (not even those using "advanced heuristics") can protect against a well-crafted zero-day attack.

3. Every single security program on the market uses CPU cycles that I would rather have for my actual work.

For my security needs I use a hardware firewall and Great Caution.

And I always remember that I'm vulnerable. In fact, that's the primary difference between me and someone whose system is tricked out with one of the mainline security suites. They may think they are invulnerable, and therefore are more likely to engage in risky behavior on the web.

I can't count the number of times I've been called in to work on a system that has supposedly the best security suite, with up-to-date virus definitions, and also some sort of nasty browser hijacker, rootkit, or persistently regenerating trojan.

When I read articles like this one, I just laugh. The single most important thing to know about malware in any category is that nothing can protect you from yourself. 99 times out of 100, the user's own behavior turns out to be the source of the nastiness.

I've actually had people tell me that they thought they were safe because of the security suite. So they went ahead and clicked on something that they were suspicious about.

On my system, I'm no more vulnerable than they are (zero-day exploits being what they are), but I'm better protected by virtue of not relying on such a notoriously unreliable and high-maintenance tool as a security suite.

I may make a mistake -- check that, I WILL make a mistake -- but no security software will be able to save me when I do.

These vendors are selling air.

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#8 User is offline   Karriek 

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 02:33 PM

Wow Mr Rixware, if I may call you that (just asking) please don't get mad at me. Reading your comments on the article, I just had to say I found you pretty crazy and funny myself. Probably not as entertaining as the people you're lucky enough to meet on your countless calls to work on a system and someone will actually tell you "They thought they were safe because of their security suite" (now that's funny stuff)! What a bunch of idiots, you must have a blast at your job.

I also had to say for someone like me, I was so impressed (maybe not quit as impressed as you are with yourself) you have absolutely NO security software on your computer. Not one single security product anywhere, within 100 miles of your computer. You're like a Computer Super Hero or something! If we ever become friends, do you think we can come up with a catchy Super Hero name, PLEASE! You can choose it of course, cause your so smart. Just an idea, I thought it might be fun.


Just one more chuckle I got from all your wit and wisdom. You say you have so many more impotant things to do on any given week then to run a secondary scan. But find the time to write 2000 words on "the craziest thing you've ever hear of". At least there are a ton of dumbass folks like me trying to learn about computers so that crazy author of the article is still in business for now, and will keep buying the useless security company product's. There's a sucker born every minute!

Your impressive--CHECK THAT--your very impressive!

This post has been edited by Karriek: 20 August 2010 - 02:35 PM

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#9 User is offline   fairlane32 

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 04:59 PM

I bet if Rix installed even a mediocre security tool like MSE I bet he'd be ultra infected. His statements of "I don't use any security at all" and I "rely on Big Cautious" begs the question: How would you know? How would you know if you're NOT infected? I thought his punchline was going to be "Because I use Linux" or something, but even linux users will tell you there exists malware, why else would someone offer (and free mind you)something like ClamAV?

Way to get infected Rix, and pass it all along to everyone else.
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#10 User is offline   peterblaise 

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 06:19 PM

Back off attacking "rixware" above and read on down -- I have the same experience, and I've been a professional building the PC marketplace from the beginning, a beta-tester for Central Point's PCTools Antivirus for DOS and a correspondent with Peter Norton helping debug his DOS utilities in the days when he only had a dot matrix printer before Symantec bought him and crammed an antivirus program under his name. Symantec bought Central Point, too.

Again, no matter how foolproof I try to make my customer's computers, no matter how many locks I put on them to make them almost inoperable, the end user invariably always unlocks and opens the door to willingly and unknowingly let in the enemy.

So much for automated smart protection software.

Yes, everyone's amazement at the wonders of modern security programs is understandable. However, even modest Threat Fire is more than most people need, and Secunia helps audit insecure programs.

The biggest risk?

Social engineering against the mind of the end user.

So, everyone, come up with a way to re-engineer the end user.

I have, and it's written above, and it works, on and off the computer, by the way.

Click!
Love and hugs,
Peter Blaise dot com
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#11 User is offline   Karriek 

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 11:08 PM

View Postpeterblaise, on 20 August 2010 - 06:19 PM, said:

Back off attacking "rixware" above and read on down -- I have the same experience, and I've been a professional building the PC marketplace from the beginning, a beta-tester for Central Point's PCTools Antivirus for DOS and a correspondent with Peter Norton helping debug his DOS utilities in the days when he only had a dot matrix printer before Symantec bought him and crammed an antivirus program under his name. Symantec bought Central Point, too.

Again, no matter how foolproof I try to make my customer's computers, no matter how many locks I put on them to make them almost inoperable, the end user invariably always unlocks and opens the door to willingly and unknowingly let in the enemy.

So much for automated smart protection software.

Yes, everyone's amazement at the wonders of modern security programs is understandable. However, even modest Threat Fire is more than most people need, and Secunia helps audit insecure programs.

The biggest risk?

Social engineering against the mind of the end user.

So, everyone, come up with a way to re-engineer the end user.

I have, and it's written above, and it works, on and off the computer, by the way.

Click!
Love and hugs,
Peter Blaise dot com

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#12 User is offline   Karriek 

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 11:13 PM

View PostKarriek, on 20 August 2010 - 11:08 PM, said:

View Postpeterblaise, on 20 August 2010 - 06:19 PM, said:

Back off attacking "rixware" above and read on down -- I have the same experience, and I've been a professional building the PC marketplace from the beginning, a beta-tester for Central Point's PCTools Antivirus for DOS and a correspondent with Peter Norton helping debug his DOS utilities in the days when he only had a dot matrix printer before Symantec bought him and crammed an antivirus program under his name. Symantec bought Central Point, too.

Again, no matter how foolproof I try to make my customer's computers, no matter how many locks I put on them to make them almost inoperable, the end user invariably always unlocks and opens the door to willingly and unknowingly let in the enemy.

So much for automated smart protection software.

Yes, everyone's amazement at the wonders of modern security programs is understandable. However, even modest Threat Fire is more than most people need, and Secunia helps audit insecure programs.

The biggest risk?

Social engineering against the mind of the end user.

So, everyone, come up with a way to re-engineer the end user.

I have, and it's written above, and it works, on and off the computer, by the way.

Click!
Love and hugs,
Peter Blaise dot com


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#13 User is offline   Karriek 

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 11:24 PM

View PostKarriek, on 20 August 2010 - 11:08 PM, said:

View Postpeterblaise, on 20 August 2010 - 06:19 PM, said:

Back off attacking "rixware" above and read on down -- I have the same experience, and I've been a professional building the PC marketplace from the beginning, a beta-tester for Central Point's PCTools Antivirus for DOS and a correspondent with Peter Norton helping debug his DOS utilities in the days when he only had a dot matrix printer before Symantec bought him and crammed an antivirus program under his name. Symantec bought Central Point, too.

Again, no matter how foolproof I try to make my customer's computers, no matter how many locks I put on them to make them almost inoperable, the end user invariably always unlocks and opens the door to willingly and unknowingly let in the enemy.

So much for automated smart protection software.

Yes, everyone's amazement at the wonders of modern security programs is understandable. However, even modest Threat Fire is more than most people need, and Secunia helps audit insecure programs.

The biggest risk?

Social engineering against the mind of the end user.

So, everyone, come up with a way to re-engineer the end user.

I have, and it's written above, and it works, on and off the computer, by the way.

Click!
Love and hugs,
Peter Blaise dot com


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#14 User is offline   JayLaflamme 

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Posted 21 August 2010 - 09:26 AM

I'd say someone forgot to take their chill pill. I use Comodo, and swear by it. Also, I have a number of different programs, most checking in real time. Others are set by me, and others just block out what I want them to, until I allow whatever it blocks to pass through, like NoScript. Other than that, I weed out what i believe to be dangerous, I use privacy control to the extreme, and pass virus checks during times I know I won't be using my computer. Zero-Day? I'm generally not at risk. Who would want anything in my computer thats not encrypted? And if an attack does neutralise my pc, thats what backups are for. Identity theft? Well, I take precautions for that also. All in all, the risk of your computer being infected sits between the monitor and the chair, and im not talking about the mouse and the keyboard.
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#15 User is offline   chevrolet1994 

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Posted 21 August 2010 - 11:23 AM

I agree with the author,no fire wall or anti-malware/antispyware program can get EVERY software virus on the Internet.

Keeping your anti virus program(s) updated goes a long way towards protecting your computer.

Also,not going to websites that are KNOWN to be infected with computer viruses helps a lot!!
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#16 User is offline   mjd420nova 

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Posted 21 August 2010 - 12:39 PM

One of the most nefarious things the hackers do is to pick apart all the newest virus checkers and figure out ways to get past them. They spent inordinate amounts of time digging through source codes to find things that will allow them to work around firewalls and virus detection programs. Simple detection and blocking is easy for them to get around and coming up with newer ways to subvert other programs and tagging them unto other programs is their forte'. Having your programs backed up is the only real foolproof way to protect yourself and your data.
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#17 User is offline   Karriek 

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Posted 22 August 2010 - 01:01 AM

View Postmjd420nova, on 21 August 2010 - 12:39 PM, said:

One of the most nefarious things the hackers do is to pick apart all the newest virus checkers and figure out ways to get past them. They spent inordinate amounts of time digging through source codes to find things that will allow them to work around firewalls and virus detection programs. Simple detection and blocking is easy for them to get around and coming up with newer ways to subvert other programs and tagging them unto other programs is their forte'. Having your programs backed up is the only real foolproof way to protect yourself and your data.

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#18 User is offline   fuzzsdad 

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Posted 22 August 2010 - 10:50 AM

Wow. That was a fantastic discussion.
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#19 User is offline   JanWheatley 

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 06:24 AM

I have Microsoft Bit Defender,Windows Firewall, Avast A/V, Spybot, Lavasoft (I make sure that every single one of them are up to date) and I go to Trend Micro once a week and run House Call....I run all checks every night. If I receive an e-mail or a pop up telling me to go to a web site, I open a new window in IE and type in the address myself.I also keep abreast of alerts of new viruses and Trojans. I belong to/own and am Moderator in numerous Yahoo groups and on the whole I have been safe.
Good Housekeeping is most important...Running regular checks, Keeping up to date on new viruses and Trojans, Making sure that all of your security programs are set to update automatically.
And yes all of my security does slow my Laptop and PC down SLIGHTLY, but I would rather a slightly slower machine than lose years of work and have to start all over again
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#20 User is offline   musicman195959 

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 05:02 AM

View Postrixware, on 16 August 2010 - 08:40 AM, said:

"It's an annoying product, constantly interrupting my work to ask if I should allow something or other to get through, but the security is worth it."

That's the craziest thing I've ever heard. No level of perceived protection is worth such constant interruption. And you've got much bigger problems if you have so many potentially dangerous things happening on your system all the time.

"And every week or so, scan your hard drive with an alternative anti-malware program to get a second opinion."

Equally crazy. I've got many more important things to do than double-check on any given program once a week.

But I certainly wouldn't spend that much time on my so-called "security" software. In fact, I don't have to do that because I don't use any. That's right, there's not a single piece of security software installed on my system. Not a virus scanner, not a software firewall, not a malware blocker -- nothing. And the reasons are simple:

1. No security program on the market offers better than about 75% protection against known malware. That is confirmed in survey after survey of security programs.

2. No security program on the market (not even those using "advanced heuristics") can protect against a well-crafted zero-day attack.

3. Every single security program on the market uses CPU cycles that I would rather have for my actual work.

For my security needs I use a hardware firewall and Great Caution.

And I always remember that I'm vulnerable. In fact, that's the primary difference between me and someone whose system is tricked out with one of the mainline security suites. They may think they are invulnerable, and therefore are more likely to engage in risky behavior on the web.

I can't count the number of times I've been called in to work on a system that has supposedly the best security suite, with up-to-date virus definitions, and also some sort of nasty browser hijacker, rootkit, or persistently regenerating trojan.

When I read articles like this one, I just laugh. The single most important thing to know about malware in any category is that nothing can protect you from yourself. 99 times out of 100, the user's own behavior turns out to be the source of the nastiness.

I've actually had people tell me that they thought they were safe because of the security suite. So they went ahead and clicked on something that they were suspicious about.

On my system, I'm no more vulnerable than they are (zero-day exploits being what they are), but I'm better protected by virtue of not relying on such a notoriously unreliable and high-maintenance tool as a security suite.

I may make a mistake -- check that, I WILL make a mistake -- but no security software will be able to save me when I do.

These vendors are selling air.@RIXWARE > I have had problems with my pc protection from day one of last summer when i bought my very first pc. But after a lengthy and costly search i have finally formed my very own security suite. PC Tools Spyware Doctor,Zone Alarm Security,and PC Tools Privacy Guardian are my weapons of choice. They are customizable and go about their job of protecting my pc without hardly any assistance from me. As for your comments. You sound very negative towards computers. Which makes me wonder why you even have one.

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