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Are You Using Protection?


Cut to the chase: Links to sites and software.

Nope, you don't have to send your kids from the room. We're going to provide information on keeping your computer safe, not discuss intimate social interaction.

Unless you use your computer in a strictly stand-alone environment, with no connection to the internet, no use of email, and never exchange floppy disks, keychain drives, or CDs with files from other computers, YOU NEED PROTECTION.

At a minimum, you need to protect your computer from viruses, with anti-virus software. This software must be regularly updated with new "virus definition" files, which provide protection against newly developed viruses, variations on old ones, and other nasties. Many current anti-virus (AV) programs automatically check for new definition file updates whenever the host computer contacts the internet. However, you need to insure that feature is turned on. Other typical options that should be selected are the scanning of incoming and outgoing email messages for viruses.

You should insure that your AV program is configured to automatically scan your computer for viruses at least once a week. You should also have the program set for automatica downloading and installation of AV definitions. Bea in mind that this process may slow down other programs on your compute when this activity, takes place, especially if the machine is older, or has a less-capable CPU - a common problem with laptops. Set aside time at least once a week to download any updates for your AV program, and review the program's status page to verify that your AV definition files are up to date, and a full system scan has been performed when scheduled, or you can initiate a scan of the system manually.

AV programs are available in retail packaging, as downloads, and in some cases, as freeware for non-commercial users. Some AV sources have provided on-line scanning services, but with today's huge hard drives, a high speed connection would be an absolute requirement for on-line scanning. Having two AV programs resident and running on your computer is probably a mistake, because you'd risk conflicts, and one program might mistake the other's virus definition files for the real thing. However, some programs (for example, F-Prot) may have a version or mode which allows them to be invoked manually rather than being memory resident, and could be allowed to perform a scan as insurance that you've caught all viruses.

Firewall programs can help defeat attacks on your computer when you're connected to the internet by hackers trying to exploit a variety of openings into your computer that are typically unprotected by your operating system. They may also prevent spy ware from sending information from your computer to malicious information collectors. Window incorporates a firewall program. Be sure that it's turned on, if you're not using another firewall product. You may only use one software firewall program on a given computer. Some modems / routers have built-in firewalls that can be helpful in fighting off attackers.

Another class of programs protects against spyware or spy bots, programs that send information from your computer to other computers via the internet without your knowledge or permission. These may be tracking your surfing habits to allow companies to send you advertising in concert with your interests. The really malicious programs may capture your keystrokes, including user IDs and passwords, and send them to someone who'll misuse them - or steal from your bank accounts, for example.

Users of Microsoft's Windows, Internet Explorer, Outlook & Outlook Express, and Office suite product must install all critical and security updates for their products. Microsoft's success has made its products the malfactor's primary target. Unfortunately, new security weaknesses are found almost daily, so regular updating is essential in this arena as well. Adobe Acrobat Reader and Flash have also become targets of malefactors, because of their popularity - we suggest checking for updates to these important web tools as well.




In the tables below, we've noted ratings and rankings from magazines for many of the products mentioned. We advise reading the articles in full at the publishers' web sites, or the library, to better assess the suitability of the product for your application. Where possible, links to reviews are shown in the "Remarks" section of the product table, or the Reference section at the bottom of the page.

Product
Supplier
Remarks: Dates reflect cover date of print publication, or web edition update; Last entry is most current information.
Anti - Virus Programs
AntiVir PersonalH+BEDV DatentecnikCommercial, server products available. [Germany] (PCWorld, 03/06, rating - 78/100); Avira AntiVir Premium Rank 7 of 10, Rating 3.5 of 5, PC World, Jan. 2010; MaximumPC, H'Day 2011, Rating 6 of 10
AVG Anti-Virus Free 2012GrisoftFree single home user edition
Paid versions; firewall product [Czech]; (Prof. Ed. 7.1Smart Computing, 02/06, 4.2 / 6) (PCWorld, 03/06, rating - 73/100) (PCWorld, 06/07, rating - 77/100); Free Edition, 2009, Rating - 6 of 10, Maximum PC, Jan '09; MaximumPC, H'Day 2011, Rating 8 of 10
Avast Free AntiVirus6Alwil SoftwareSpecific plugin for Outlook; supports skins[Czech] (PCWorld, 03/06, rating - 77/100) (PCWorld, 06/07, rating - 78/100); PC World, Nov '10, Rank: 6 of 10, Rating: 4 of 5; MaximumPC, H'Day 2011, Rating 7 of 10
BitDefender Antivirus Pro 2011http://www.bitdefender.com/Firewall & Anti-virus products, from Softwin [Romania] (PCWorld, 03/06, rating - 92/100) (PCWorld, 06/07, rating - 84/100); BitDefender Antivirus 2010, Rank 4 of 10, Rating 4.5 of 5, PC World, Jan. 2010; PC World, Nov '10, Rank: 2 of 10, Rating: 4.5 of 5
ClamAVhttp://www.clamav.net/Multiplatform Open Source (GPL) antivirus software
eTrust EZ AntivirusComputer AssociatesFirewall and Armor suite of products available.
F-Prot AVFrisk Software InternationalFree home user edition
Paid versions; DOS Version - use to back stop other AVproducts [Iceland]; F-Prot Antivirus, Rating - 5 of 10, Maximum PC, Jan '09
F-Secure AVF-SecureFirewall product; Network encryption [Finland] (2006, Smart Computing, 02/06, 4.2 / 6) (PCWorld, 03/06, rating - 83/100); F-Secure Anti-Virus 2010 Rank 6 of 10 Rating 4.0 of 5, PC World, Jan. 2010
G-Data Antivirus2011 G Data Software AGG-Data Antivirus 2010, Rank 1 of 10 Rating 4.5 of 5, PC World, Jan. 2010; PC World, Nov '10, Rank: 3 of 10, Rating: 4.5 of 5
KasperskyLab Anti-Virus 2011Kaspersky LabsAnti-spam & Firewall products; Claims 8 downloads a day virus definitions [Russia] (Personal 2006, Smart Computing, 02/06, 4.2 / 6) (PCWorld, 03/06, rating - 85/100) (PCWorld, 06/07, rating - 85/100); Kaspersky Lab Anti-Virus 2010, Rank 3 of 10 Rating 4.5 of 5, PC World, Jan. 2010; PC World, Nov '10, Rank: 4 of 10, Rating: 4.5 of 5
McAfee AVMcAfee, Inc.Firewall, Spamkiller, and antispyware products. (McAfee Internet Security 2005, Smart Computing Jul 05, Score 4 / 5) (Virusscan 2005, Maximum PC, Aug 05, verdict 5 / 10) (VirusScan 2006, Smart Computing, 02/06, 4.5 / 6) (PCWorld, 03/06, rating - 87/100); McAfee Antivirus Plus 2010 Rank 10 of 10, Rating 3.5 of 5, PC World, Jan. 2010
Nod32Eset [Slovakia] (PCWorld, 06/07, rating - 84/100) Eset Nod32 Antivirus 4 Rank 9 of 10, Rating 3.5 of 5, PC World, Jan. 2010
Norton AVSymantec, Inc.Firewall & Anti-spam products; broad range of utility products. Excellent computer security web site. (Norton Internet Security 2005, Smart Computing Jul 05, Score 3.8 / 5) (Norton AV 2005, Maximum PC, Aug 05, verdict 7 / 10) (AV 2006, Smart Computing, 02/06, 4.2 / 6) (PCWorld, 03/06, rating - 80/100) (PCWorld, 06/07, rating - 84/100); Symantec Norton Antivirus 2010, Rank 2 of 10, Rating 4.5 of 5, PC World, Jan. 2010; PC World, Nov '10, Rank: 1 of 10, Rating: 4.5 of 5
Panda AntivirusPanda SecurityFirewall, spam blocker, and privacy protection available in "Platinum" product. [Spain] ; (PCWorld, 03/06, rating - 79/100) (PCWorld, 06/07, rating - 79/100) Panda Antivirus Pro 2010, Rank 5 of 10 Rating 4.0 of 5, PC World, Jan. 2010; PC World, Nov '10, Rank: 7 of 10, Rating: 4 of 5
PC Tools AntiVirusPC ToolsTotal Protection, 2009, Rating - 3 of 10, Maximum PC, Jan '09
Trend Micro Titanium Antivirus Plus 2011 Trend Micro Includes firewall and anti-spam in base product. (PC-Cillin Internet Security 2005, Maximum PC, Aug 05, verdict 8 / 10) (PCWorld, 03/06, rating - 77/100) (PCWorld, 06/07, rating - 71/100); Trend Micro AntiVirus Plus AntiSpyware 2010 Rank 8 of 10 Rating 3.5 of 5, PC World, Jan. 2010; PC World, Nov '10, Rank: 5 of 10, Rating: 4 of 5
Zone Alarm Anti-VirusZone LabsNot surprisingly, incorporates firewall product as first line of defense. Product sections of web site incorporate graphics showing how they work.

Security Suites


Ratings Are Also Shown for Earlier Products
Supplier
Product
(Latest Version Reviewed)
Remarks
Aluria SoftwareAluria Security CenterPCWorld, July '06, Score 68
AgnitumOutpost Security Suite ProConsumer Reports, Jun'11, Rank-14 of 14, Rating:23
AvastAVAST Internet Security 5 Rating - 4 of 10, Maximum PC, Jan '09; Consumer Reports, Jun'11, Rank-8 of 14, Rating:57
AVGAVG Internet Security 2011 Rating - 6 of 10, Maximum PC, Jan '09; PCWorld, Aug 09, Score: 81; Consumer Reports, Jun'11, Rank-7 of 14, Rating:57
AviraAvira Premium Security Suite Rating - 7 of 10, Maximum PC, Jan '09; PCWorld Dec 2010, Rank-10th, 3.5 stars of 5; Consumer Reports, Jun'11, Rank-3 of 14, Rating:61
BitDefenderBitDefender Internet Security 2012PCWorld, July '06, Score 73; PCWorld, Aug 09, Score: 87; PCWorld Dec 2010, Rank-3rd, 4.5 of 5; Consumer Reports, Jun'11, Rank-1 of 14, Rating:65; MaximumPC, H'Day 2011, Rating 9 of 10; MaximumPC, H'Day 2011, Rating 9 of 10; .
CACA eTrust Internet Security Suite 2006PCWorld, July '06, Score 75
ComodoComodo Internet Security Pro 3.8PCWorld, Aug 09, Score: 57
EsetEset Smart Security 5 Rating - 9 of 10, KickAss Award Maximum PC, Jan '09; PCWorld Dec 2010, Rank-9th, 3.5 stars of 5; Consumer Reports, Jun'11, Rank-2 of 14, Rating:64; MaximumPC, H'Day 2011, Rating 6 of 10.
F-SecureF-Secure Internet Security 2011PCWorld, July '06, Score 79; PCWorld Dec 2010, Rank-6th, 4 of 5; Consumer Reports, Jun'11, Rank-10 of 14, Rating:54
G Data SoftwareG Data Internet Security 2011(Germany) PCWorld, Aug 09, Best Buy, Score: 91;PCWorld Dec 2010, Rank-5th, 4 stars of 5; Consumer Reports, Jun'11, Rank-5 of 14, Rating:60
GFIVipre Antivirus PremiumConsumer Reports, Jun'11, Rank-9 of 14, Rating:56
Kaspersky LabsKaspersky Internet Security 2012PCWorld, August '06, Score 86, "Best of Breed"; KIS 2009, Rating - 8 of 10, Maximum PC, Jan '09; PCWorld Dec 2010, Rank-2nd, 4.5 stars of 5; Consumer Reports, Jun'11, Rank-6 of 14, Rating:59; MaximumPC, H'Day 2011, Rating 8 of 10.
McAfee, Inc.McAfee Internet Security 2012PCWorld, July '06, Score 83 [Internet Security 2007, Rating - 85, PCWorld, 01/07]; Total Protection, 2009, Rating - 6 of 10, Maximum PC, Jan '09; Consumer Reports, Jun'11, Rank-13 of 14, Rating:31; MaximumPC, H'Day 2011, Rating 5 of 10.
MicrosoftMicrosoft Windows Live OneCarePCWorld, July '06, Score 76 To Be Discontinued by Micro$oft in 2009
Panda SoftwarePanda Internet Security 2012PCWorld, July '06, Score 81; PCWorld, Aug 09, Score: 84; PCWorld Dec 2010, Rank-8th, 4 stars of 5; Consumer Reports, Jun'11, Rank-12 of 14, Rating:48; MaximumPC, H'Day 2011, Rating 7 of 10.
PC ToolsPC Tools Internet Security 2011PCWorld, Aug 09, Score: 68; PCWorld Dec 2010, Rank-4th, 4.5 starsof 5
SymantecSymantec Norton Internet Security 2011PCWorld, July '06, Score 84 [Internet Security 2007, Rating - 87, PCWorld, 01/07]; NIS, 2009, Rating - 9 of 10, KickAss! Award, Maximum PC, Jan '09; PCWorld, Aug 09, Score: 90; PCWorld Dec 2010, Rank-1st, 4.5 stars of 5; Consumer Reports, Jun'11, Rank-4 of 14, Rating:61; MaximumPC, H'Day 2011, Rating 9 of 10, KickAss!.
Trend MicroTrend Micro Titanium Internet Security 2011PCWorld, July '06, Score 79; PCWorld Dec 2010, Rank-7th, 4 stars of 5; Consumer Reports, Jun'11, Rank-11 of 14, Rating:51
WebRootSecure Anywhere Complete 2012MaximumPC, H'Day 2011, Rating 9 of 10
Zone LabsCheck Point Zone ZoneAlarm Extreme Security 8.0PCWorld, July '06, Score 77; MaximumPC, Sept. '06, 9 of 10; PCWorld, Aug 09, Score: 77
Product
Supplier
Remarks
Fire Wall Programs
(see remarks above)
Black Ice DefenderInternet Security SystemsOne of the original firewall programs for home use.
eTrust Personal FirewallComputer Associateshttp://my-etrust.com
F-Secure Internet SecurityF-SecureFirewall and AntiVirus combo product
Kaspersky Personal Security SuiteKaspersky LabsCombo: Firewall, AV, Anti-Spyware
Kerio Personal FirewallKerioPersonal Firewall - Purchased by Sunbelt Software, 12/2005
McAfee Personal FirewallMcAfee(Personal Firewall Plus 6.0, Maximum PC, Aug 05, verdict 6 /10)
Norton Personal FirewallSymantec(Norton Personal Firewall 2005, Maximum PC, Aug 05, verdict 7 /10)
Outpost FirewallAgnitumLimited free version available [Cyprus]
Panda Platinum Internet SecurityPanda SoftwareCombo Product: Firewall, AV, Anti-Spyware, other features
PC-cillin Internet SecurityTrend MicroCombo Product: Firewall, AV, Anti-Spyware, also includes wireless security
Personal Firewall ProSygateBought by Symantec, 11/2005; Personal products discontinued; Professional product support continues.
Zone AlarmZone LabsNow offers bundle of AV product with Firewall. (Zone Alarm Security suite, Smart Computing Jul 05, Smart Choice award, Score 4.4 /5) (Zone Alarm Pro 5.5, Maximum PC, Aug 05, KickAss Award, verdict 9 /10)
Product
Supplier
Remarks
Anti-Spyware Programs
Avoid Rogue Anti Spyware AppsSpyware WarriorThere are applications that pretend to be anti-spyware and are, in fact, spyware and malware. Check here before downloading an anti-spyware application. Go to Rogue/Suspect Anti-Spyware Products & Web Sites
Ad-aware 2007 PlusLavasoft.deRemoval program for datamining, advertising, and internet tracking. [Germany] 9Smart Computing, Jan. 05, Score 4.4 / 5) [Smart Computing, Oct. 05; Score 3.8 / 5] (Smart Computing, 02/06, 57 threats) [SE-1.06, Rating - 64, PCWorld, 10/06]; V2007 Plus (paid version - better than free version) - PC World, Rating - 77 Good, 10/07
AVG Anti-Spyware 7.5GrisoftV7.5 - PC World, Rating - 81 Very Good, 10/07
Trend Micro Anti-Spywarewww.trendmicro.com (Smart Computing, 02/06, 47 threats)
Counterspy Sunbelt Software(PC World's Best Buy, 04/05) [ Beta version 1.5, A PC World favorite, tho' unrated in Aug. 05] (Smart Computing, 02/06, 22 threats) [V2.0 Beta, Rating - 76, PCWorld, 10/06]
Pest PatrolPest PatrolEvaluation copy available - scans only. (Etrust PestPatrol 2005, Maximum PC, Aug 05, verdict 8 /10) [Smart Computing, Oct. 05; Score 4 / 5] (Smart Computing, 02/06, 104 threats)
SpyWare BlasterJavacool SoftwareInnoculator program; prevents, doesn't remove spyware. Assorted utility programs.
Spybot Search & Destroy 1.4From PC World SiteNote: With Norton Internet Security 2007, must be loaded after Norton product. Free removal program [Germany] Smart Computing, Jan. 05, Score 4.4 / 5 [Smart Computing, Oct. 05; Score 3.8 / 5] (Smart Computing, 02/06, 74 threats) [V1.4, Rating - 63, PCWorld, 10/06]; V1.4 - PC World, Rating - 59 Poor, 10/07
SpyCatcher 3.0Tenebril, Inc.Makers of GhostSurf [Smart Computing Review winner, Jan. 05, Score 4.8 / 5] (Smart Computing, 02/06, 54 threats)
Spy Subtract ProIntermuteAlso, Spam and Popup products.
Spy Sweeper 5.5Web Root SoftwareAlso, firewall, anti-spam, other utility products. (Ver. 3.2 - Smart Computing, Jan. 05, Score 4.6 / 5) [ Ver 4.0, PC World, Aug 05, Score 4 / 5] [Smart Computing, Oct. 05; Score 4.6 / 5] (Smart Computing, 02/06, 111 threats) [V5.0 Beta, Rating - 87, PCWorld, 10/06] V5.5 - PC World, Rating - 76 Good, 10/07
Spyware Doctor 5.0PCTools(PCTools Spyware Doctor 3.2, Maximum PC, Aug 05, verdict 7 /10 ) (Smart Computing, 02/06, 63 threats) [V3.8, Rating - 85, PCWorld, 10/06]; V5 - PC World, Rating - 95 Superior, 10/07
Windows Defender 1.1MicrosoftOnce again, the camel's nose under the tent. [Smart Computing, Oct. 05; Score 3.8 / 5] (Smart Computing, 02/06, 34 threats); V1.1 - PC World, Rating - 72 Good, 10/07
Zero SpywareFBM SoftwareAnti spam, popup, Internet utilities (Zero Sypware 2005, PC World, Aug 05, Score 3.5 / 5) (Smart Computing, 02/06, 22 threats)
Zone Alarm Anti-Spywarewww.zonelabs.com(Smart Computing, 02/06, 47 threats)
Protection References
Hoaxbustershttp://www.hoaxbusters.org/Check here before you forward email virus warnings
Shields UpGibson ResearchDiscover your vulnerabilities, from Steve Gibson, author of SpinRite, one of the Classic PC repair utilities.
CERThttp://www.cert.orgPrimary US Gov't. Computer Incident response center; Home Users section
Dangerous ProcessesLIUtilitiesIf you find these running on your computer, you're in trouble! Get WinTask product to help. [Malta]
BookThe Symantec Guide to
Home Internet Security
Symantec Press - Books of Security Interest
Anti-Virus ReviewPC World MagazineJune '07
Anti-Spyware ReviewPC World Magazine
PC World Magazine
November, 2005
October 2007 - Best Vista AntiSpyware
On Line Antivirus Scannersfrom PCWorld from 12/2005
Security Suite Review
Antivirus Software Roundup
PC World Magazine
Maximum PC Magazine
July, 2006   Dec 2010
December, 2008
Computer ProtectionSmart Computing MagazineAV, Spyware, Adware articles, Feb. 06
Stop Badwarehttp://stopbadware.org/Reference Site for specific kinds of badware - spyware, malware, and deceptive adware. Badware is malicious software that tracks your moves online and feeds that information back to shady marketing groups so that they can ambush you with targeted ads.
Spyware Referenceshttp://www.doxdesk.com/parasite/Learn about specific threats.


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