Monday, November 05, 2007

Security for Me: Antivirus Programs

I was thinking in explaining to you what an antivirus software is, but Wikipedia does it better in this article: It is an excellent one, take my word on it. Anyway, in short an antivirus software tries to detect and remove several types of malware. Therefore the best way to protect against such threats is to play a little defense on your own.

  • First, whenever you install an OS, do it with the network cable (if any) disconnected! (well, unless you do a network install...). Viruses are so versatile those days that they can infect your computer while it is still installing. Yes, that does happened! No kidding! How it is that possible? Easy... The OS will activate the network card so it can set it up and configure it. The firewall is usually down and there are no patches installed at this point... This is the critical point actually.
  • Second, always patch your computer! Turn on Automatic Updates in your OS! This is crucial so the updates get installed before a virus hits you on a known vulnerability. Personally, as an "advanced user" I have the Automatic Updates set to notify me about the patches but not download nor install them until I say so... This way I have a chance to review them. But I know what I am doing, and most of the people don't have a clue what a "buffer overflow that could allow remote code execution" is... So, if you fall in the second category, just leave the settings to automatic download and automatic install.
  • Third, keep your firewall running! Read my article on firewalls intro:
  • Forth, keep the antivirus software running and up to date! Leave the automatically updates feature of the antivirus on! Read the instructions on how to do that (it is on by default anyway). Not sure what antivirus to use? Try AVG free. I am not affiliated with them in any way, but the product is good so I recommend it.
  • Fifth, virus is not the same as spyware! So keep an antispyware program running. I recommend Spybot Search & Destroy. Again, I am not affiliated...
  • And finally, keep your mouse cursor away of warning windows that pop up saying that your computer is infected so you need to download the antivirus "X" to clean it. And I mean that! There is nothing wrong with your computer. Those are misleading messages to trick you and manually download and infect yourself with a nasty piece of virus or spyware. Your antivirus software may warn you with a popup that a virus is found, BUT, it will report the file name, the virus found and will NOT instruct you to download anything!

Well... I kind of deviated from the subject, but nevertheless, this info is useful after all... So to go back to antiviruses... what defines a good antivirus? No matter which one you use, if it is up to date then it is a good antivirus! No joke about that, seriously. Keep it up to date and you won't have too much trouble...


douchrti said...

Nicely said.
Ive noticed alot of users lately are looking for AntiSpyware that runs at startup.
First I ask em do they mean AntiVirus? Im wondering if its because users are becoming more educated about threats or are they looking for a product that they wont have to run manually. Or both.

.net Obfuscator said...

Anti virus is a really a must have if you are a avid internet user. It almost camouflages you from the attacks and other threats present in the web world. Great post and a nicely written article.