Internet Security for your Windows PC
When you get a new PC it is a clean slate, unfortunately there are some nasty people out there waiting to take advantage of unsuspecting PC users. Although there are now some basic security programs built-in to the later versions of Windows it is best to “belt and brace” the security measures on your PC.
The security of a PC is split in to several activities:
- Email Spam Prevention
- Managing Installed Programs
Anti-virus software runs all the time on your PC and intercepts and checks email and web browsing for potentially harmful items, such as email attachments and in some cases also web links to dodgy or fake web sites. Some anti-virus software will schedule a scan of some or all files on your PC to check for harmful items that may have got through in the past, sometimes this is combined with or done by anti-malware software. In order to check for the latest threats, which are being invented all the time, anti-virus software downloads and keeps regular updates of threat “definitions”.
Firewall software runs all the time on your PC and looks for and blocks incoming and outgoing Internet activity through connections known as ports. Internet ports are used to make the connections for different types of activities – such as email, web browsing, secure web browsing, file transfers etc. There are a number of standard ports for these which are usually enabled, but there are many more available for special and/or specific uses. Some ingenious Internet threats can use open ports as a back-door to steal information or even hijack control of a PC. A firewall uses default configurations to have as few as possible of these additional ports open for traffic as possible.
Anti-Malware software runs all the time on your PC and checks the characteristics of running programs and data for embedded threats, including those known as “trojans”, “root-kits” etc. Most anti-malware software will also perform an initial scan of all programs and files on your PC, in some products this may be combined with a scan by the anti-virus program. In order to check for the latest threats, which are being invented all the time, anti-malware software downloads and keeps regular updates of threat “definitions”.
A Free Product that does all three:
A good free product that combines anti-virus, firewall and anti-malware is Comodo Internet Security, with a paid for Pro version that uniquely includes a sizeable monetary payment if a protected PC is breached as well as live on-line assistance to deal with any infections or problems.
Comodo Internet Security is the free, multi-layered security application that keeps hackers out and personal information in.
Built from the ground upwards with your security in mind, Internet Security offers 360° protection by combining powerful Antivirus protection, an enterprise class packet filtering firewall, advanced host intrusion prevention and automatic sandboxing of unknown files.
Unlike the stripped down versions of commercial software that other software vendors offer for free, this is the full, completely functional version of the product.
Users can upgrade to Comodo Internet Security Pro 6 for just £30.70 per year and receive unlimited live expert virus removal services and our exclusive Virus Free Guarantee.
Belt-and-Braces and Anti-Malware Scan of infected PCs
For initial inspection of an existing PC I would also recommend installing and running an initial malware scan using Malwarebytes: Free Anti-Malware. In fact it is worth installing the free Pro trial for run-time protection, this can “belt-and-brace” the protection alongside other products such as Comodo Internet Security or even the standard Microsoft offerings, although it may not be allowed to run alongside other products such as McAfee etc. Despite that it is an excellent first port of call to clean-up an infected PC before then installing your own preferred Internet security software suite. It may be all that is needed, however, cleaning up a heavily infected PC can be a time-consuming process involving several stages of scanning and removal using several complimentary tools. As the old saying goes, “prevention is better than the cure”.
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free’s industry-leading scanner* detects and removes malware like worms, Trojans, rootkits, rogues, spyware, and more. All you have to do is launch Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free and run a scan. It’s that simple. Or if you want even better protection, consider Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Premium and its instant real-time scanner that automatically prevents malware and websites from infecting your PC. Either way you’re crushing malware and foiling hackers
*According to OPSWAT, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is the most popular security product installed by users.
Second Opinion Anti-Malware Scan
With that in mind it is worth considering a second opinion to supplement anti-virus and anti-malware scans from any installed security suite. A recent anti-malware innovation is to combine a behavioral scan and to use cloud confirmation against multiple leading mal-ware definition databases. The HitmanPro Trial version does just this. Here is what they say:
Just relying on a single vendor is not sufficient to completely protect you. You do need a second source to make sure you are secure. But in most cases, installing a second anti-virus program is not a viable solution. Two programs are effecting the performance of the computer dramatically, and sometimes even conflict causing the computer to crash.
HitmanPro is designed to work alongside existing security programs without any conflicts. It scans the computer quickly (less than 5 minutes) and does not slow down the computer (except for the few minutes it is scanning). HitmanPro does not need to be installed. It can be run straight from a USB flash drive, a CD/DVD, local or network attached hard drive.
HitmanPro offers you a Free Scan for a second opinion. It is designed to check if your security measures work. If nothing is found (and we sincerely hope so), then you will never need a license. When a virus is found, then you will receive a free 30-day license to remove the threat.
SurfRight has done an extensive research of malware files to determine the common characteristics (behaviour) of malware. The HitmanPro client uses this research in its Behavioural Scan, when it scans the computer for virus activities or suspicious files that have the characteristics of malware.
For the files that are classified as suspicious, the HitmanPro client sends a request to the Scan Cloud for confirmation if these files are indeed malicious. The Scan Cloud is a cluster of multiple computers, residing on the Internet. The Scan Cloud will respond to this request with the answer:
When the file is unknown, the HitmanPro client uploads the file to the Scan Cloud where the file is scanned using the anti-virus programs of 5 different vendors. Each of these anti-virus programs analyzes the file and responds with “safe” or “malicious”.
When the file is classified as malicious by the Scan Cloud, the HitmanPro client is placing the infection into quarantine. Various techniques ensure that all infections are completely removed without false positives.
Email Spam Prevention
Most email programs have some kind of in-built spam filter, but they depend on you downloading potentially harmful or just time-wasting emails in to your email program. With all the clutter involved and the possibility of simple spam filters accidentally marking good email as spam, it’s better to use a program to pre-filter and qualify all emails before they get anywhere near your inbox. I use and heartily recommend using MailWasher Pro, it does a really good job.
Which email programs does MailWasher work with?
MailWasher works with every email program, since all email programs support POP3 or IMAP. eg. Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows Live Mail, Thunderbird, GMail, Hotmail, AOL, Incredimail, Postbox, Outlook.com, Yahoo with Mail+ and so on.
How does MailWasher work?
MailWasher logs in to your email accounts at your internet provider and downloads a copy of the email allowing you to read all your email on the server. Your email actually stays on the server at your internet provider, but MailWasher lets you inspect and interact with your email.
MailWasher uses its built in spam tools to best determine what is spam and what is good email. You’ll get great results if you initially train MailWasher to learn which of your email is good and which is spam.
You can easily mark email for deletion, report spam to authorities, bounce spam back to senders and train MailWasher to better recognize spam and good email. Then, simply pressing the ‘Wash Mail’ button will remove spam and unwanted email from the server so you can download the remaining good email to your email program.
Using MailWasher is easy, but you should always check your email with MailWasher first, because once it’s been downloaded to your email program, MailWasher can’t interact with it.
Managing Installed Programs
Meanwhile it’s also a good idea to keep track of any new program installations, Comodo Program Manager is an excellent free utility that does that and makes it easy to completely un-install unwanted programs, applications and features.
Save disk space and time with just a click!
Comodo Programs Manager (CPM) is a powerful utility that gives you the ability to completely remove unwanted components from your computer. Normal uninstallers can often leave behind a slew of unwanted files, folders, settings and registry keys on your system. The more programs you install and uninstall, the more clutter gets left behind.
CPM is capable of purging all traces of an application from your computer. It’s monitoring functionality keeps track of the changes that are made during the installation and usage of a program. When you uninstall using CPM, it’s as though the software was never there in the first place.
CPM also creates a backup of the files, folders, data and registry entries when a program is uninstalled – allowing you to easily restore any program you uninstalled by mistake.
5 Secrets about Comodo Programs Manager
- Monitors and records every change so it can be totally undone at uninstallation
- Can eradicate any program, driver or Windows update with a few mouse clicks
- On-access scanner alerts you if a setup file contains a virus, worm or Trojans
- Allow you to easily manage programs, drivers and Windows features
- Includes free 30 day trial for LivePCSupport
Supported Operating Systems:
Windows XP/Vista/7/Server 2003/Server2008 – 32 bit and 64 bit.