Essesntial Tools & Tips: PROTECT YOURSELF FROM MALWARE
The following are some tips to help avoid malware infestation. While nothing can guarantee 100% that you will not become infested, the suggestions below will go a long way toward safeguarding your computer from many of the evils lurking in the shadows of the Internet. I strongly suggest you heed them all!
Basically what we will list here are for good, FREE, security programs. Most of these also offer paid versions which also consistently rank very high in Independent Unpaid Testing.
1 – Be sure to enable Windows Updates on your machine (Windows Updates are released on or around the first Tuesday of each month). It is vitally important to keep your OS and IE Up-To-Date! This is the first line of defense. I cannot stress this enough – Be sure to get those Critical Updates!!
Keep Everything Updated on the computer including Add-ons in the browsers, like Flash Player and Java
Today most things do not require Java. If you have no programs or play no games that require Java then you don't need Java. Many serious pieces of malware today enter the computer due to known Java exploits, so if you don't absolutely need it then don't install it. If you Do need it then keep it fully updated.
2 – Make sure you are running a Good Anti-Virus program! Again, the watchword is Update – Your AV is most effective if you have the latest virus definitions, so make sure it is scheduled to automatically update daily and scheduled to automatically scan weekly. Each computer MUST have installed 1 anti-virus program and 1 firewall...I stress again 1 (ONE) of each NO more than one. Adding a second of either one only LESSENS your security because of the conflicts caused by having multiple instances and therefore reducing your protection.
The three BEST FREE* anti-virus programs are these according to most recent tests by independent testers at AV Comparitives are the three listed below along with SAFE links for download.
Avira Free - Hit Green Start Download Button this will give you the executable file itself.
BitDefender Free - This is the executable file itself.
Avast Free – direct executable file download from their site.
3 –Good Firewall is absolutely mandatory! Windows, operating systems come with excellent built in firewalls, a 3rd party firewall today is really not necessar
4 – Employ strong resident Spyware Scanners and Spyware Blockers. But don’t go overboard. I suggest a very simple set up. Some of the better FREE tools include the following:
SpywareBlaster-- A Must Have Tool! Blocks malicious ActiveX installs by implementing a “kill bit” to prevent those ActiveX programs with known CLSIDs from being executed.
And unlike many other anti-spy apps, SpywareBlaster does not run in the background. Very highly recommended!
5 – Check out a few other handy tools that merit strong consideration:
• CCleaner (Crap Cleaner) - - This is a good index.dat / TEMP File Cleaner.
Regular use of CCleaner is definitely recommended!
6 – Tighten your Active X Security Settings if you are using Internet Explorer.
To do this, Open IE and Click Tools > Internet Options > Security > Internet (Globe Icon) > Click Default Level and APPLY.
NEXT, Click the Custom Level Button and adjust the settings as follows (some settings will already be properly set):
* SET Download signed ActiveX controls to Prompt
* SET Download unsigned ActiveX controls to Disable
* SET Initialize and script ActiveX controls not marked as safe to Disable
* SET Installation of desktop items to Prompt
* SET Launching programs and files in an IFRAME to Prompt
* SET Navigate sub-frames across different domains to Prompt
After changing these settings as noted, please Click OK. If you are prompted to save the settings, click YES.
Finally, click APPLY and OK to finalize these settings.
7 – Use an Alternate Browser (such as Firefox or Opera ) which may not be quite as susceptible to the same evils as IE. Both of these are excellent, and many consider them a step up from IE in ease of use and versatility!
ADBlock Plus should be added to All browsers in order to block ads on pages to assure that "errant clicking" won't give you programs or downloads that you may not want to receive.
AdBlockPlus for Firefox
AdBlock Plus for IE
AdBlockPlus for Opera
All Browsers should be configured to BLOCK 3rd party cookies and ACCEPT 1st party cookies.
When downloading software use only SAFE sites and the safest are directly from the developer. If the developer doesn’t offer downloads for his own program but wants to send you elsewhere then make the decision that you don't need whatever it was you wanted. Downloads from 3rd party sites are one of the most common ways to end up with malware on your computer.
Installing Software: Most important rules WATCH & READ, WATCH & READ, WATCH & READ every single thing shown to you when installing software. Many reputable pieces of software do "offer" extras that you do not want or need. A reputable piece of software WILL give you the chance to OPT OUT of the extras offered, like Chrome browser or McAfee SiteAdvisor by removing the Opt In check marks that are usually there by default. Take those check marks OUT before continuing with your installs.
If you are unlucky enough to find your computer infected, OR simply feel it may be infected then follow the steps given in our Preliminary Cleanup Steps in the Virus and Malware Removal Forum
Once you have completed those steps, create a new thread in Virus and Malware removal giving all important information about your computer, operating system, anti-virus program and stating all of the symptoms your computer is showing and post the logs created by running the tools in Preliminary Steps and we will help you get it all cleaned up.