TechSpot

Virus Protection Novice Needs help

By delorpompomGD
Jul 20, 2008
  1. Hi, I'm new to the forum and was wondering if some of you might want to help me decide on how to protect the new laptop I want to purchase.

    I'm not really sure what makes a good virus protection or even what that means. Basically I want my computer to be fully protected from everything and anything that could hurt it.

    My new laptop will have Vista on it and I don't think the security that Vista employs is good enough.

    I will be using the notebook wirelessly and I want to protect it from all of the evil internet things that ould touch it, too.

    What's some advice on Computer protection from viruses, spy-ware, ad-aware, Trojans, etc. and any good programs that will work with Vista and really protect my computer.

    If anyone wants to explain how virus/ad-aware/spy-ware/trojan protection works, I'd be greatly appreciative.

    I'm looking into Norton, Bit-Defender, and McCaffee. If anyone wants to weigh in on the pros and cons of those, feel free.

    Thanks to any who help me out.
     
  2. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    Firstly Norton: No!
    Norton Antivirus works well, but when (and I say when!) it corrupts it usually takes Windows with it!

    Antivirus software is used to defend your computer from Virus, only. But many AntiVius softwares are extending their protection to Spyware/Trojans and more protection options.
    The new AVG Free Antivirus is an excellent example of this

    Basically not possible

    Yes you can get the Best AntiVirus product, and have it fully updated and running resident protection (live protection on Saving, Moving files; Email etc) But this is how it actually works (Note many users find this next part hard to understand)

    -> A user, fully protected with the best most up to date Antivirus (or Spyware/Trojan/Malware/Rootkit and more) is Not protected from any new Virus (or malware) that has just been released.
    When a new virus is found by any user (and then reported) all Antivirus companies, firstly confirm it is a Virus. And then update all their definitions (new virus alert protection) And then release the new protection definition (as an automatic download to all users) And this happens daily!

    Therefore, anyone can still get a Virus, whilst having the best updated AntiVirus protection in the world.

    To avoid this issue, most users employ a good Firewall
    Firewall programs can either be bundled in a new Internet Security software, or they can be bought (there are many excellent free ones too) seperately.
    Firewalls inform the user that either a new file is being installed in your computer, externally, or basically anything externally (including hacking from external users) to your computer. Also they protect your computer from sending anything out as well, from your computer (ie private files, credit card info etc)
    Note: Your firewall will popup and inform you of this activity, but you alone must decide if you want to accept any of this internal/external communication.

    So now you require a good AntiVirus product and a good firewall.

    But the Spyware (and all other Malware) programs (including the ones inside Internet Security software) Do Not protect you from all of these nasties.
    I know, I know!
    Presently not one Spyware product anywhere, does not protect any user from every issue.
    Why? Mainly because each of these Spyware programs are individualized (or specialized) to certain types of Spyware (ie Trojans, and lots more)

    So now what do you use? - Many Spyware programs all running at the same time! and a good firewall, that you have to decide on what's ok! And an AntiVirus software that doesn't pick up the absolute latest virus! ?

    Here's what you do:

    Get a good free Antivirus and Firewall and a few different Spyware programs (why pay?) and run scans regularly (especially after new updates are released - Note: this regularly can be once a month, corporates usually do this at least once a week, and most do it never!)

    Or do as most do, and worry only when a Virus or Spyware is found (of course make regular backups of your important data)

    You are not protected
     
  3. delorpompomGD

    delorpompomGD TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for your feedback. Those explanations really helped me understand what I need on my computer and why. So thank you!

    I know Vista has employed a Firewall within it and I ownder what your thoughts are on that.

    Also, I'd like to hear your thoughts on McAffee. My mom swears by it and she hasn't had nearly as many problems with her really crappy computers by using it.
     
  4. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    Windows firewall, although very good (yes that's right, good, contrary to other support members thoughts) does not protect your system sending data out.
    It was also designed (originally) not to safe gaurd your personal programs and Data, it was mainly designed to keep Windows safe.

    Many users elect just to have Windows Firewall on (and updated through all the Windows Security Updates of course)
    This is quite reasonable, and under normal situations quite safe.

    Mind you if you intend on doing online banking so forth, you might want a personal firewall, that can be used to protect your information many times better than Windows Firewall.

    McAffee, I think you mean McAfee, I feel is too large (just as all Internet Security packages are), it tends to slow down computers a bit. Mind you MS recommend it.

    What you do is download the trial software packages, if you intend on purchasing one, and test it yourself. ie Everyone's got their own favorite!
     
  5. delorpompomGD

    delorpompomGD TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Sorry about the typo. McAfee seems like something I might be willing to try, so do you get the full features and stuff if you use a trial package or is it sort of like a game demo where you only get certain features?

    Do you have to have a seperate type of software to remove viruses once they're detected?
     
  6. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    Trial= Full features, but on time delay (not sure howmay days, usually 30)

    That's what the AntiVirus programs do!
    But Norton sometimes doesn't, due to file in use. Which is rediculous of an Antivirus program.
     
  7. delorpompomGD

    delorpompomGD TS Rookie Topic Starter

    The only reason I ask about the anti-virus program detecting and removing the viruses was because I used Trend Micro-Virus (or something that sounds like that) on my desktop that was brand new and after three months my computer was infected with hundreds of viruses that the software never detected. When I took it in to be fixed, the person said all my software did was remove viruses and that in order to detect them I needed something else.

    Thanks for your input and willingness to explain this stuff to me! I appreciate it and so will my new computer! :)
     
  8. NetCablesPlus

    NetCablesPlus TS Maniac Posts: 228

    I use AVG Free, the Windows Firewall (either XP or Vista), the free version of SD Spybot and and a purchased copy of SpySweeper. I feel that this is pretty good protection, though nothing beats being smart about your web surfing and opening your emails carefully.
     
  9. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    Yes as NetCablesPlus stated you can use such programs as Spybots S&D; Ad-Aware; and my favorite MalwareBytes, all free! Instead of purchasing an Internet Security program to slow your computer down more.

    Just to simplify the above book by me

    Antivirus software remove all Virus (free or not, they all do the same thing)
    Spyware software remove specific spyware (Spybots does Spys; AdAware does Ads Malwarebytes does Malware; ... ) Except each program does a little bit of other programs. (The bought ones like SpySweeper seem to be better, and can offer resident (live) protection)
    Firewall software stop communication of data In and Out whilst on the Internet. (Some argue the free ones are just as good as the bought ones, which I agree)

    Just by demand, AVG Free Antivirus does Antivirus and live Spyware protection (it is the first Free Antivirus that has given more attention to live protecting from Spyware/Malware for free)
     
  10. delorpompomGD

    delorpompomGD TS Rookie Topic Starter

    AVG sounds like something I should look into, thanks for the tip.

    Can you get software that is combined spyware and ad-aware protection or is it best to get seperate protection for both?
     
  11. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    It is generally advised to have two or more spyware pograms

    Put it this way, when I scan user's computers for spyware I use 5 programs ! (it takes a while, but I must get them all.)

    These programs don't have to be all live (resident) protecting at the same time. Nor do they need to run as soon as Windows strarts up (now that would be slow!)

    They should be run periodically (depending on how often you use your computer, and which sites you attend, ie there are some less savoury sites that will give you spyware issues immediately upon opening them)

    Just do as most do, and scan for spyware when/if your computer becomes noticably slower, or when an infection is found. But continue with live protection of AntiVirus at all times.
     
  12. delorpompomGD

    delorpompomGD TS Rookie Topic Starter

    How can you tell what kind of sites are going to be bad for your computer. I mean my desktop basically crashed and I really only go on big name brand sites, like facebook, Cosmo, PostSecret, Perez Hilton, and my school's e-mail and my gmail account. Maybe myspace every now and then and a few news sites like yahoo and cnn. Those can't be that bad, can they? If they were people wouldn't go to them all the time, right?
     
  13. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    Once you install the new AVG Free, go to Google and do a search (for anything you like)
    A green tick will mean they are safe (a good feature that, slow but good)

    Anyway, install, update then have a look
     
  14. delorpompomGD

    delorpompomGD TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for all your help!

    If I go to download this with just the Vista security will I be okay for that small amount of time? Obviously I'll scan my computer immediately afterward.
     
  15. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    Yes

    If you only go to safe sites (ie MS; or the many AntiVirus companies; TechSpot...etc) You cannot get a Virus
     
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