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Am I protected enough? Total novice.

 
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xcbx
Newbie


Joined: 02 May 2009
Last Visit: 03 May 2009
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2009 9:12 am    Post subject: Am I protected enough? Total novice. Reply with quote

Okay - well I just got a new computer and installed a firewall and antivirus program. Then I decided to research if there were better options and ended up at this forum. Anyway, I downloaded some programs after reading some posts on here but I'm not sure how good my setup is and if I can improve it.

I'm an average user, do some online gaming (MMORPG, Flash games), email checking and the occasional download (Youtube) and I wanted to know if my setup is okay for the way I use the internet.

My OS is WinXP SP2, which is up-to-date. I only use Firefox as my browser, although I do have IE7 installed just in case. I've scanned my system with Secunia PSI and Secunia OSI and both have reported nothing.

I currently have:
Comodo 3 Firewall (no AV)
Avast AV Free
ClamWin Free AV
Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware
SUPERAntiSpyware Free Edition
Spybot S&D
WinPatrol Free
Secunia PSI (not sure if this matters)
NoScript

Okay, so questions are:
- Are these programs a good combo? I was thinking of adding SpywareBlaster and maybe MVPS HOSTS.
- Do I need a real-time anti-spyware program? - I don't have any money to spend so if you recommend some other programs please make sure they're free.
- Which programs should be set to start when I turn on my computer? Obviously Avast, WinPatrol and Comodo should be, but do I need all the others on startup?
- Also, how exactly does NoScript work? Do I have to do anything for it to protect me? And how do I know what scripts are benign/malicious?
- Do I have too many programs? @_@
- Should I update to WinXP SP3? I've heard that it sometimes causes critical problems. Not being tech-savvy, I'm wary about that.

Sorry if these questions are stupid but I'm really a novice to this. If you need anymore info I'll be happy to provide ^^
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Osage
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Joined: 19 Aug 2005
Last Visit: 07 Sep 2011
Posts: 227

PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2009 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I for one see one big problem xcbx, you are using two active anti-virus applications, and you are limited to one and only one.
Since avast is pretty good and clamwin is not very highly regarded,
the choice is easy, delete you clamwinAV.

And yes, secunia matters, it will warn you of obsolete software that has exploitable security holes. Once those holes are found, outfits like Adobe will update their software and patch the holes, and secunia will tell you when you need to do it. Yes SP3 matters, it patches other security holes.

Now do more of your web surfing with a limited account and you are in fairly good shape. Other may recommend other software, but its still a matter of individual choice. For a newbie, you are better protected than the complacent majority. But still, self educate yourself on the way the bad guys operate, computer security is mostly a way of life, the biggest security hole in any computer is the person sitting in the chair.
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aBenG
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Joined: 06 Apr 2006
Last Visit: 28 Feb 2012
Posts: 297
Location: Darkest UK

PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2009 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like Osage said, only one AV running realtime.
SpywareBlaster offers passive protection so once installed won't use up any more resources. You should be fine adding that.
NoScript allows you to block/allow Java, Flash etc. Here's a little 'how to' from youtube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKW5SMvMKtY
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Osage
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Joined: 19 Aug 2005
Last Visit: 07 Sep 2011
Posts: 227

PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2009 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to agree with the abenG take, as a novice you have made a lot of wise initial choices, but this forum is great for getting up to speed on various security issues. Lots of diverse ideas here by many posters, read the back posts to get up to speed on the various sets of opinions and issues, if you are not afraid to self educate yourself, its very likely that your future security set up will be both leaner and more effective.

Nor do I want to just tout spywarewarriors, lots of good computer security websites out there, but sad to say, its necessary to keep up to date and learn about new threats. The bad guys are getting smarter everyday, and at best we can only stay a half a step behind them.
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roger_m
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Joined: 24 Feb 2006
Last Visit: 16 Nov 2014
Posts: 605
Location: Blackwater, Australia

PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2009 5:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you can have Clam installed alongside another antivirus program without any issues - however you would want to disable real-time protection in ClamWin to avoid performance issues.

However it is several years since I've used it so can't really comment on weather i is worth keeping or not as a secondary scanner.
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xcbx
Newbie


Joined: 02 May 2009
Last Visit: 03 May 2009
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 12:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all the advice guys. I looked up clamwin reviews and most users seem happy with it. It's not set to real-time protection so I think I'll just have it as a secondary scanner. Any other ideas for a secondary scanner?

Since you said Secunia is important should I keep it running all the time or open it up when I want to scan my system? Also, should I have Spybot S&D T-timer running all the time?

@Osage: I've seen the advice about using a non-admin account but I'm always fiddling with my computer's settings (nothing major) or downloading files/images from the internet (nothing unreputable). I'd hate to keep switching accounts. How much more secure will using a non-admin account make my computer? I don't really have much to protect except my music and school work and I don't visit any unreputable sites, click on suspicious links etc. I try to practice common sense when browsing the web.

@aBenG: Thanks for the youtube video. It's simpler than I thought it was xD

Thanks for taking the time to answer my numerous questions (which probably have obvious answers, lol).
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aBenG
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Joined: 06 Apr 2006
Last Visit: 28 Feb 2012
Posts: 297
Location: Darkest UK

PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 4:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

xcbx, you've made much better choices than I did when I started online, and sensible browsing habits are a big part of keeping infections out.

TeaTimer should just sit in the background monitoring for any malicious processes it knows about. I don't use it as I prefer ProcessGuard (free version) - in fact that and a 2 way firewall are my main line of defence:

http://spywarewarrior.com/viewtopic.php?t=22016

A lot of people seem to think this is difficult to use but it's as easy as NoScript.

Stay safe. Wink
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Osage
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Joined: 19 Aug 2005
Last Visit: 07 Sep 2011
Posts: 227

PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To xcbx,

You somewhat asked three questions.

1. In terms of a better secondary virus scanner designed purely as that, bit defender would fit that bill better. And you can also go on line and find AV scanners from a wide variety of companies.

2. In terms of software products going obsolete, secunia is good at that, check once a week or so, and secunia will advise you on what to replace it with. Or updates you need.

3. In terms of a limited account, you can enable fast user switching which does not require a reboot to switch back and forth. Think only 15 seconds or so to switch from one account to the other. And the advantage of a limited account has to do with administrative powers, if some malware does sneak through your defenses while using a limited account, it will inherit the same powers as the guy sitting in the chair, and find that it can't infect if it can't install itself. Which is what a limited account prevents, namely software of any kind installing. Since malware is simply software you don't want, the non administrative account is a safety because a computer can't tell the difference between malware or desirable software. But once the software installs, the computer is a robot following the instructions of software.
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