What type of protection can a person put on their home computer to prevent uninvited malware, postings, phishing, etc.?
I'm looking to get, from Comcast or another provider, something to download that will protect my computer from downloading unwanted junk, emails, background files that prevent and slow down my computer while on the web. Is there a software or service that can alert me to something that is only interesting in getting on my computer to sell me something every time I click
There is no software that will magically fix everything. But here are some suggestions.
1. Run an anti-virus program constantly. You indicated you were "downloading your email" so I'm assuming that means you're accessing your email via Outlook. Make sure your anti-virus scanner has the option to check Outlook, many do, use it. Suggestions are AVG, Norton, McAfee, Malware Bytes. Remember not to open email and attachments from people you don't know.
2. Use the built in firewall that comes with most routers. Your Internet connection at home should be secure with a very strong password; You don't need to be giving your neighbors free Internet.
3. If you're getting a lot of junk, spend some time unsubscribing from all those mailing lists. It's a pain, but it's a good way to reduce the amount of junk coming into your inbox. Then once you're back to a comfortable level again, create a second free email (hotmail, gmail, etc) that you don't run through Outlook and use it for those mailing lists. That will also help protect your computer.
4. If you're busy downloading free software (I love to do this too) do the advanced installation, read the screens, and un-check all that extra free software. You don't need it.
5. Uninstall tool bars. Those are spyware. Assuming you're using Windows, go into your Control Panel, into Programs and uninstall all the junk you don't need.
6. Do a thorough clean of your computer. Use the Disk Cleanup Utility in the Start Menu to get rid of temp files and other things you don't need.
That's a start!
I built and sold computers for 2 years (including providing technical support). While that's not my profession now and I don't hold myself out as an expert in that industry anymore, I will tell you that computer safety comes down entirely to the user and, depending on if you have a mac or windows device, there are only a handful of reliable software solutions. For Windows devices I recommend Windows Defender: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/products/features/windows-defender
It's free to download and use.
For Mac I recommend sticking their their default settings. Most macs running OS X Mavericks have a lot of built in safety features that prevent a user from destroying their computer by accidentally clicking on/downloading a mischievous file.
Hope this helps!
I like Laura's answer the best so far. Cyril also makes a good point when he says: "The best protection is the user himself knowing when an email, link or URL is bad. Even if you have the best protection, your computer can still be vulnerable." Over 90% of all viruses come from browsing to an infected website, not from an email attachment.
My #1 protection choice is the always-on version of Malwarebytes. It costs under $30 and (as of now) there are no annual renewal fees. On Windows 7 PCs I also load the free Microsoft Security Essentials.
Even if you run another always-on protection suite, download a free copy of Malwarebytes and perform a scan... I bet your protection has not caught everything. Two other free programs can help you clean the worse virus infections: RKill & ComboFix. Message my Facebook business page if you need additional help in this matter. Steve
I use avast!. To amplify Laura's answer, a lot of Freeware has turned to disguised installs to get unwanted stuff on your HD to keep it free. I just spent a week cleaning a computer, not because the user was doing anything particularly risky, but because they weren't vigilant when doing installs. Whether it is changing your search engine to Bing, installing a browser extension, or actually installing software, a lot of primary installers do not play nice. So, heed Laura's #4 and #5.
The only thing I would add is make sure you are starting clean. My dad used to say that there was no use closing the barn door after the horse was gone. If it isn't a clean install, get it as close to being clean before you install anti-virals. Many viruses and PUPs actually prevent things on your computer from updating (like Windows or Chrome) or prevent anti-virus from installing properly to protect themselves. So even if you install an anti-virus program like AVG or Avast!, don't expect it to fix the damage already done. Sometimes they can, sometimes the system is just too far gone.
- Keep your OS updated
- Install a reliable antivirus. Norton is good. So some free AVs too. Better programs are that come with firewall and antivirus in one package as a good threat protection needs to work at both firewall and scan level
- Do not subscribe to junkware from internet. Use email addressees which you can discard
- Before clicking on url, check where it is actually pointing to
- See it carefully before you click on a webpage. Norton websense is a great software that runs with the browser and tells you if you are venturing into a dodgy website
- Scan your PC once in a month and check the quarantine area
- Keep AV signature up to date
- Clear internet browsing history
- Run Disk Clean and Defrag
- Last but not least, best protection for your PC is your habits. If something is too good to be true, click on it with care.
I am not a Apple fan boy but Mac will keep you much safer than Windows. That is true and I have both.
All the best!
The best protection is the user himself knowing when an email, link or URL is bad. Even if you have the best protection, your computer can still be vulnerable. There is a popular browser add-on that tells you if the site is bad or not and that add-on steals the names and emails from page forms the user submits to send him later on personalized SPAM via many domain names and no anti-virus or security could catch it.
I personally run Microsoft Security Essentials on Windows and happy with its performance.
For the most part the Windows Shield that comes with Windows 8 is good enough. Free AVG has worked very well for me although with an older computer I've bought their PC Tuneup to supplement it, and AVG's internet Security (also paid) does a good job of alerting you to typical phishing mail and known bad-actor websites.
But for the most part all that extra stuff is self-inflicted - quit clicking on all that rubbish. As you say, the only reason they want you to click on it is to sell you something or drop something on your computer. So don't.
One area to be aware of is ALWAYS check the "advanced" or "custom" setup for anything you install as the latest thing is to hide a bunch of annoying ride-along software (like the ASK toolbar) in the "Standard Install" option.
See also my tweet (@dbrownpm) about getting rid of a spyware hiding on your Google search page.
A "real" not enterprise firewall with enterprise features can help. We sell one that is fantastic for $475. But if you don't want to spend that much I agree with Laura windows firewall can help but be careful you could block ports you want open. Toolbar downloads are a great way for malware to hitch a ride.
There is also zonealarm from the makers of checkpoint an enterprise firewall vendor.http://www.zonealarm.com/security/en-us/zonealarm-pc-security-free-firewall.htm Its a software firewall.
Malwarebytes is another one.
There are some really great software services out there that are free which have options to buy. I personally recommend these; www.piriform.com which has a free software that will do what you want but you have to manually clean after each use; the paid version will clean automatically...it's called CCleaner. Another really great software is System Mechanic - they recently upgraded their software to also carry virus protection. Another great tool is Spyware Search and Destroy which can be downloaded from CNET. It's free but it also has a paid version too. Great for doing what you need; it does have an auto feature you can set up under the free version. Those are three I can recommend that you can try. Also, remember that on your computer, you also have Windows Defender aka Bit Defender - built in. It is a great tool as well. Defender has come out with some great software too and has great ratings that you can find in PC World. Hope this helps.