How to keep your computer secure

Discussion in 'PCMech Articles and Discussion' started by Brad.w, Feb 17, 2017.

  1. Brad.w

    Brad.w Editor-in-Chief Staff Member

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  2. reggie14

    reggie14

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    The number one item should have been keeping operating systems and applications up-to-date. Microsoft is enforcing this pretty well now for OS updates, but many people forget about patches to other programs. Adobe Acrobat, Flash, and Java are major sources of vulnerabilities. Web browsers too, of course, although Chrome updates on its own, and Firefox typically does as well.

    Flexera's Personal Software Inspector (previously known as Secunia) can help users identify software that should be updated.

    As for passwords, I would have mentioned the use of password managers like LastPass/KeePass/1Password/etc. The use of those tools definitely encourages better password hygiene. And, along with good password hygiene, people should really be turning on two-factor authentication everywhere they can.

    I'm skeptical that there's really an advantage to using a third-party antivirus product over Defender. I think the AV software, practically speaking, is mostly equivalent for real-world purposes, and I worry about the "extras" that some of the AV vendors install. For instance, AVG has a pretty bad track record with their Chrome extension. Given that is installed with AVG Antivirus, and AVG's pretty poor response, I generally recommend against AVG.

    Your note about firewalls isn't quite accurate, or at least potentially misleading. Most free AV packages do not include a firewall. Some of the paid security suites do include a firewall, and I'm pretty sure installing them will disable the Windows Firewall (which is a good thing). I think the Windows Firewall is fine on its own. It's main limitation is that it doesn't block outgoing traffic by default, but I think that's of limited practical value unless you really know what you're doing. And if you're behind a NAT router, as 99% of us are, then that functions as a sort of firewall on its own, too.
     
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  3. Petef56

    Petef56

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    I agree. The virus threats are way down in recent months, but I will say that Eset's NOD32 does offer a slight advantage because it will sometimes give warning if you are about to land on a known dangerous website. NOD32's scans will also detect any "potentially unwanted programs" if the user gets tricked into installing them. But Malwarebytes is still better for the detecting all kinds of malware that the AV programs don't normally detect.

    For an experienced user who knows how to surf safely, I'd normally say go with MSE or DEFENDER and Malwarebytes. For the novice user I'd normally say go with NOD32 and Malwarebytes.

    I say "normally" because Malwarebytes recently released V3 which I believe is a full AV and Malware program, so there might be conflicts with other AV software that have not surfaced yet. I did see 1 computer so far that slowed down to a crawl due to Malwarebytes v3 conflicting with Mcafee. So just be aware and cautious with MB v3 or stick with the older 2/x versions.

    --pete--
     
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