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
Get off the shelf firewall/ antivirus / anti spy software which has got a price, license and patches. For example McAfee / Symantec
Avoid free software downloads which mimics the above utility as most of these free online downloads are actually malware / phishing software which comes together in a bundle with all the unwanted leisure / entertaining apps.
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.
I have 2 programs and I feel completely safe from all unwanted files - I use AVG Antivirus with firewall extension and Advanced System Care to run a complete scan every week. My PC is faster and I never had a "fear" of getting problems while I surf. Plus, if you are using a Chrome Browser, for example, there are antivirus and anti-malware extensions available. Same goes for Mozilla. I really don't recommend Internet Explorer, I don't know any extensions for that and it's usually easier to infect.
- 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!
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 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 have used Sophos which is highly recommended for malware-protection, security and software / computer protection. The company is based out of Burlington, MA and they provide excellent service and trouble free protection.
I believe my first year was 99 dollars and just renewed for the second year at 59 dollars.
Thanks for the question
This is an "on going battle". There's no single solution to prevent these un-wanted annoyances, you need to take the multi-level approach. As you can tell from the responses, you should check with your provider for their security offerings and also look into Norton 360 as well.
most of the major players offer full suites to protect external attacks to your computer - Norton, Vipre, Panda, McAfee, eset, Webroot, Kaspersky. The more you tighten down their settings, the less things "pop up" to try to sell you something. But your computer cannot read your mind and cannot know what you do or don't want to buy. You have to exercise control where you go on the Internet. Just like you would exercise caution driving your car and avoid going in a seedy neighborhood where you could be carjacked, mugged or shot at.
If you stick with mainstream links to sites, and install the software, that's the best you can do. Often Comcast and others will provide you with a FREE license of protection software as long as you are a customer and they try to block some of that before it ever gets to your computer as well.
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!
Forget the Comcast stuff. It is generally Norton. Norton wasn't good when I used it. It would start a hard drive scan and relentlessly continue despite any use you may need for your computer. It may have changed in the last year or two, but Norton would not allow a scan to be stopped. Since I moved to Windows Defender suite, I have had no problems at all. You can download it for free from MicroSoft and it stays updated. The promotional stuff can be stopped at your browser, but I think it still downloads and uses your bandwidth, it just doesn't display. Not sure about that and would welcome clarification if anyone has some insight.
We personally like to use ESET. Its user friendly, easy to install and perfect for catching anything harmful. Typically if a computer is already infected, ESET will do a sweep and clean. If something cant be removed, we will do a data backup and wipe/reload the OS and then install ESET.
Just a side note....be very careful about downloading free antivirus. They often come with additional surprises (and not the good kind.) :(
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.
Generally your provider such as Cox Communications, Time Warner Cable , ComCast as you mentioned offer these services for free or for a very low cost. You generally need to cal their call center or technical support to purchase " only what you want and need ". Also you can purchase a firewall for additional protection for home use. SonicWall offers a Residentail product for a reasonable price. If you have more than one computer to protect for example you have a small business working from home Fortinet also offers great products. Another great option is the "cloud". You can host desktops in the "cloud". These products are callrd Hosted Desktops , Virtual Desktops or the acronym VDI.
Providers often offer security packages at discounted rates to their customers. Check with your provider what they have on offer.
Other than that, assuming that you run a current version of Windows, there's Microsoft Security Essentials doing quite a good job but only as long as you don't click on every flashing button on every website. To clean up a PC that already got infected with Malware, I recommend McAffee Avert Stinger, Lavasoft AdAware and Spybot Search and Destroy. A good free antivirus (made in Germany) can be found at free-av.de
And the last and probably most powerful advise: create a new user account for your daily tasks and give it only basic privileges, no Administrator privileges. Everything you run will then only run with those reduced privileges and can't modify any system files and such. The computer should ask you each time for the Administrator password if you are about to install something, this way you are notified and can double check whether you really want to install it.
Let me know if I can help further