Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Software List

With all those nasty people out there trying to get into your machine, what software can help you to stop it? The following is a list of the things which I would normally use and, if I've been to sort out your computer, you may find already installed. Most of the software is free (and does not infect your computer)!


Firewall

The purpose of a good firewall is to stop intruders getting in and also to stop naughty programs from getting out and doing things they shouldn't. The product I tend to suggest is Zone Alarm. You may have to search the site a bit to find the free version (they'd rather you bought a commercial one!) but it is there, for home use.
Information on how to use it can be found on my website.

Anti Virus Software

Forget your Nortons and your McAfees and go with the free version of AVG! I've scanned computers protected by these commercial products and still found infections! Just remember to keep it up to date! More information on how to use it can be found on my website.

Spyware, Adware and various ScumWare

Clearing these infections is currently the biggest area of work I get. It's almost impossible to avoid them if you use the internet (and clearly you do!). There are a variety of products available which will scan your system when you ask and currently Ad-Aware SE Personal and Spybot Search and Destroy are thought to be the best, but use both since they tackle the problem from slightly different viewpoints.

However... although these products are free there is a much better product which scans your machine all the time and keeps you free of infections, and that is Spyware Doctor. The slight downside is that it's a commercial product but it only costs around £20 ($30) for a year's subscription (which is a lot less than getting Ken to come a sort out your problems!). You can download a free trial.

New Addition: If you don't like the idea of paying money for Spyware Doctor, then at least get hold of WinPatrol (http://www.winpatrol.com/download.html). It's free and will monitor your machine for unexpected behaviours.

SPAM

...in other words, unwanted email messages offering you online drugs, sex enhancement products, investment opportunities and so forth. You know the sort of things I mean; there's such a lot of it about these days.

A good spam filtering product is SpamPal which requires you (like all spam filtering software) to teach it what is and what isn't spam but it very quickly starts working on its own.

SpamPal requires the emails to be loaded onto your machine so they can be filtered but there are services which filter it externally so you don't even have the cost of downloading them. Such products tend to be commercial but one which s worth looking at is SpamDefy - it only costs £0.99 per month and you can have a 60 day free trial!

Web Browser

I know Micro$oft give you Internet Explorer for 'free' but it does have very many security problems and, quite frankly, isn't really all that good anyway (in my opinion). Switch to Firefox (also for free) and on the rare occasions when you really MUST use IE, you can still run it. You'll find Firefox is just as easy to use, provides better protection and has some nicer facilities (so much so that Micro$oft are incorporating a lot of them in the new version 7 of IE!).

Email Client

OK, if you're running Outlook (the full version) and using its various calendar, task, etc. facilities then you might as well stay with it. If, however, you're running Outlook Express then you should switch to Thunderbird which provides all the same advantages that Firefox does over IE.

Remember that it's worth checking my website at www.CallOnKen.co.uk for
more details about these and other products - and many other useful issues.

3 Comments:

At 12:54 PM, Blogger Tim & Sonia said...

I think I could use some advice from you!

So I'm wasting my money with the McAfee full security package then? Hmmm. I wondered but it seemed like an easy option.

I have other things as well.

I'll email you. ;-)

Sx

 
At 4:26 PM, Blogger Ken said...

My experience with McAfee and Norton is that the AV component is 'adequate' (I've still had machines which had viruses despite being protected by either of those).

The advantage of this Internet Security approach is that you get the lot rolled into one; AV, firewall, Anti-adware. The disadvantage is that you get the lot rolled into one!

Also you have to pay for it.

And also some other disadvantages include them taking a LOT of machine resource (eg. Norton has around a dozen components running on your machine - and they seem pretty slow) and being somewhat obscure in the messages they give you and how they expect you to respond. I've still not got to the bottom of what happens then Norton firewall detects something and asks you what to do. If it's not easy to understand then you're likely to make the wrong decision and end up with little protection!

On the other have, AVG (free) is quick and works 'strordinarily well, ZoneAlarm (free) is quick and, to my mind, is easy to understand, and so it continues with the opther recommended programs.

If you want to spend a bit of cash then go for Spyware Doctor (around £20), although if you only go so 'safe' website (Tesco, Amazon, etc) and avoid things like www.sex-toys-for-all.com or www.ripoff-expensive-music.com, scanning with AdAware (free) and Spybot (free) would be fine.

 
At 7:52 PM, Anonymous James said...

Firefox rules! Yes, it is much better than IE. Also, I use AVG and have had no problems with it.

 

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