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Anti – Virus Strategy

There are many ways to protect yourself from malware. This post is not about the “best” method but what I chose to use. I will give reasoning behind my choices. It is not for people already working/researching in cyber-technology but rather a typical computer user who is concerned about their online security. Especially if they do online banking or even just some shopping on the internet.

Real-time

The first consideration is the main real-time protection software you might use. This is the one that runs in the background continuously monitoring files that are being handled in your system. This includes your email attachments, files coming through downloading and from external sources like memory sticks and “drive-by” code foisted by websites you’re visiting.

This software has to be crafted carefully so that it is fast enough to capture bad pieces of script trying to undermine your computer and put it safely into quarantine. Yet it has to be light on the system resources like ram and CPU cycles. The user would quickly reject any program that slows the system down perceptibly. This demands very clever coding that is being updated regularly as malware producers try to outwit it continually.

Emsisoft TrialFor a powerful yet unobtrusive application, my first choice is the offering by Emsisoft. Their anti-malware is a cleverly uses two anti-virus engines so that one will catch what the other misses. Yet my dual core processor laptop never notices that it is running the background. This shows how careful its designers have been about using the system’s resources. With homes having multiple computers, good discounts are available for multiple licences.

The other big benefit of this company is it’s headquarters are not based in a specific country. This means that countries with governments that want to intrude upon their citizen’s internet usage (UK, USA, China, Russia, etc) cannot force Emsisoft to build in secret backdoors. Once crooks break into these government backdoors your bank and credit card details are open for them to use freely!

bitdefender_logoI’d like to give a free alternative when possible in my software recommendations. The one that’s  my favourite free anti-malware is the one by Bitdefender. Their free offering is not obviously displayed on their website, but Google is your friend here. At the moment, the link to use is http://www.bitdefender.co.uk/solutions/free.html for UK users. Those reading this from other countries will have to search for the link from their respective countries. When searching, look carefully at the search engine results page and choose the link that is on the Bitdefender website.

Cloud-based

webroot logoNow no antivirus product by itself has a 100% detection rate. However it is not recommended to use two real-time protection software together on the same machine. Because they are doing very similar jobs, they can become cumbersome on the system or even make each other ineffective. Yet for the very careful (or even paranoid), having a real-time second opinion anti-virus capability could give you peace of mind. There is actually a cloud based system by Webroot that I’ve used successfully with one of two real-time antivirus recommended above. This is a paid for solution that is cloud based. This means that it is not as effective when you are off-line but this is not a problem for most people.

zemana_logoAnother second opinion real-time program that runs well in parallel with Emsisoft is the Zemana anti-malware. This company was well known for their anti-keyboard-logger software. Rogue scripts may also include keyboard loggers. These pick up your keystrokes and transmit them to a controller who will be looking for valuable passwords that, for example, get access to your bank account. Zemana anti-malware is also well regarded for protecting you against ransomware. This program is not free but is reasonably priced. You can try it first for 30 days then pay for it if it suits your needs.

The Best Anti-Virus

your turnAs mentioned previously, no anti-malware program, by itself, will 100% stop the millions of nasty ways the internet criminals try to gain access to your computer. The ones mentioned above will have detection rates in the high 90’s (98 – 99% or better). But one of the ways to augment the software protection is you! Here are some of the ways you can protect against malware:

  • Beware of any attachments in email. Especially the ones you are not expecting.
  • If you download a file or attachment, go to the download folder, right click on it and choose to scan it
  • Allow automatic updating of Windows and virus database automatically
  • Do not lightly let other people use your PC. Youngsters have been known to get media, full of malware from illegal sites
  • If someone gives you a disk or memory stick, again right click and scan it first
  • Buying external hard drives from a shop has been known to contain adware or worse, viruses – scan first
  • When on unfamiliar websites, do not click on any offerings. Google the site to see what others think of it
  • If you think your PC is infected with a viruses, don’t do internet banking or buying
  • “Free” software can have nasty adware or PUPs. Research first and download only from trusted sites.

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