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Old 29. Jul 2009, 10:10 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: South American Banana Republic, third bunch from the left
Posts: 15,249

Hello again. Well, the first step you took was definitely a good choice. I use Avira free myself which is a simple program to operate with a highly effective detection rate.

Here's just a few tips to improve your protection coverage. If you start Avira to open the main windows then click the blue "configuration" link, put a 'tick' in the box for "Expert Mode". Then, in the right hand window select "All files", and also put a tick against "Search for rootkits before scan".

Hopefully, under the "General", "Extended threat category" you have already enabled these during the install process, but if not just select "All" in the right hand window.

There are a couple of other things like splitting the scan results into separate entries so you don't have to manage the findings en mass but these are not important at this stage.

Do you know how to set your time preference for the automatic updates? If not, please say and I'll run you through this process from the main window too.

I'll also apologize here but coming late into this I might end up duplicating stuff others have already posted for you.

The free version of A-Squared also has an excellent detection rate but also suffers from "false positives". These are files wrongly identified as being malware when in fact they're safe. The danger is that if you don't know this and delete them (same with any other program's scan results) then you risk removing things that other programs need to operate. This even extends to your operating system which in a worse case scenario could be disabled. This is the other reason I suggested a reformat because you could scan immediately after in the knowledge that anything identified would be definitely false. You could then just note these down to ignore in future scans. With an already established system though it means checking the files flagged with an online service and/or uploading them to a site like Virus Total, both of which I'm guessing you wouldn't be too keen on attempting. On the basis that we are now retaining your existing system however I would recommend downloading and scanning with A2 free, and we'll try to advise the results here depending on how many things it finds. Just post a screenshot of the scan results if you're unsure about anything and we'll offer an opinion. The dual scanning engine in A2 and broad spectrum detection makes this a must have option for your situation.

Firewall choice.

For an excellent ease of use Firewall I would recommend Outpost Free. It has the ability to create most things for you automatically and will remove the need to make lots of manual configurations.

I would also recommend you download and install Comodo memory firewall. It's a simple process, requires no configuration and although it won't save the world it will prevent most of the commonly exploited methods for launching "buffer overflow" attacks. Some firewalls and other applications offer this protection too but CMF is a set and forget solution and well worth the 6MB of memory it takes up.

Having offered some choices for your security setup we then come to maintenance. This I know is where my own views are going to differ greatly from some of the others here because I do not like file cleaners and registry whatevers one bit! However, one thing not in dispute is that most established systems will benefit from the removal of temporary files and a disc defrag. The tools I would recommend for this are EmptyTempFolders and Auslogics defrag. The techies might suggest a "better" defrag tool but Auslogics is trouble free in use, easy to understand and does the job well enough.

I see others have recommended different options here which is fine. By all means stick with what you like best. In the end you'll never tell the difference between any of them. SmartDefrag is the easy option because it's fully automatic but I personally don't see the need to keep a service like this running full time and I did read somewhere recently that constantly defragging over time can actually slow your computer down instead of speeding it up. I thought I's saved the link to this at the time but something went wrong and now I can't find it again!

For your Firefox I would also recommend adding the CS Lite (cookies) and RefControl set to "forge" for a bit more added protection. OK so cookies are a privacy concern mainly but some recent malware exploits have targeted cookie files as a means of spreading.
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