The days of ‘glamorous’ virus attacks like Michelangelo and Jerusalem are far behind us. Today’s Internet battlefield consists of various rootkits, worms, and Trojans, designed to sneak behind your defenses and strike at you for money, information, or crippling your system. The wall of security built by companies like Norton, McAffee, and Kapersky is more of a chain link fence today. Now more than ever, the user shares in the responsibility of system protection. Dodging malicious code is a union of preparation and discipline and we must all learn the dance steps if we want to continue our online adventure.
Preparation starts with an Anti-Virus package. For my computing, I want something with low overhead. I’m far less likely to cancel a scan or update its not chewing up all of my system resources. I want frequent updates and an easy to understand interface. I also want cheap. I hate the blackmail popups about renewals, and software that is nearly impossible to remove. For my systems I use Microsoft Security Essentials http://windows.microsoft.com/mse . This is my outer fence, now let’s place some guards in position. My next layer is system monitoring. I use spybot http://www.safer-networking.org/ to actively watch my registry and scan for spyware. Then I want to check on the troops, spot check their work, and squash anything that’s gotten through. For this I use Malwarebytes http://www.malwarebytes.org . I scan my system weekly, and I still seem catch something every month or so. I’m sure there are better combinations out there, but this suits my needs well. Plus it has the added benefit of being 100% free for home users.
Now for my part of the equation. The basics first. I don’t open email attachments unless I have an idea what it is and why I have it. I don’t open the “joke” pictures or videos people send me, no matter how enticing the description. I don’t share USB flash drives. I have some for work, and some for home, and never the two shall meet. If I must move files, I do it through Dropbox http://dropbox.com , where my live protection Internet scanning gets a fair crack at it. I don’t surf like I used to either, I’m careful to choose short URL’s when searching. Often hackers will bury their files deep in someone’s ill protected server and build websites there to attack from. This results in long convoluted URL’s. I choose the root domain and try to use the site navigation to get where I’m heading. When grabbing shareware tools or utilities, I search for reviews and referrals on other sites before downloading, often the reviews will post links to alternate sites to download from, I always apply the smell test to these. If they want me to install their download tool to enhance my internet speed, grow 3 inches taller or even live forever, I decline. I read very carefully the buttons and instructions on freeware or shareware pages, often the reason they’re offering this jewel of software for free is because the site is filled with landmines of spyware just waiting for an errant click. If you place your mouse over (hover) a button or link, and look to the bottom left of your browser window, you can usually see what URL that link will transport you to. Does it look like where you want to go? If you must download free software form unfamiliar websites, look for these landmines before playing Russian hopscotch.
The time has come when we the users must take a more active role in protecting our systems. Stay informed, stay protected, and stay alert. For more information, or help removing a malicious software attack, call Simpletech’s it support technicians today at 951-781-3412.