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Old 27. May 2011, 02:16 PM   #41 (permalink)
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Seems like my suggestion for reducing stress has only served to increase it amongst some of those posting here Another one of MC's dismal failures although I am enjoying the conversation
Well, it is the debating chamber after all.
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Old 27. May 2011, 02:55 PM   #42 (permalink)
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Seems like my suggestion for reducing stress has only served to increase it amongst some of those posting here...
When Having Less = More?
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Old 27. May 2011, 08:01 PM   #43 (permalink)
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When I think back over the years the only AV that's ever caused me to really lose my temper (high stress) was Norton, but that was way back and I paid for it. I don't let things get to me very often when it comes to computers but Norton really did turn the key in my back, to the point where it just had to go, a clean install of the OS, worse than a virus. Never again.

After that, through a company I dealt with at the time, I got Zone Alarm Pro free of charge. So in effect I was using a paid for security suite, the full thing. I ran it for a good long while, can't remember exactly how long but on the whole it did a good job, although it took some getting used to the many settings and frequent alerts. But in the end it was the updates that killed it off for me, one or two they released caused me no end of problems, lost connection, failed database updates on a regular basis, that kind of thing. Stress, and it pestered me a lot, began to take up my time when I could have been doing something more productive. So it went the same way as Norton.

After that I followed the well trodden path down the freeware route, picking this and that to try out - AVG, Avira, Avast, all the usual stuff, plus all the malware programs, AdAware, Spybot, etc, etc, and firewalls. I pretty much tried them all in varying combinations, some I was ok with, some not at all. Trial and error = high stress.

Everything was kept up to date as always, system, AV's, browsers, and there was WOT. But during that period of experimenting I picked up several infections and had quite a lot false positives using various AV's. I wouldn't have described it as stressful at the time, but maybe it was when I think back, it was time consuming and to be honest I never really felt entirely relaxed about any of the various combinations I tried. But I learned a lot about what suited me and what didn't.

In the end I decided to go with Avira because even though I got a few FP's with it I didn't get any infections. I learned to live with it, everything was fine for a while and then the free Avira update issues started - really annoying (stress) and it was just around that time that MSE made it's appearence and so I thought 'why not?' - minimal setup, un-complicated, easy to use, no FP's, pretty much set and forget, it worked. Minimum stress so I've stuck with it ever since.

The only stress I've had with MSE was when I had problems uninstalling version 2 from my spare. I'm in no rush to repeat a performance of that sorry saga and will admit to losing my temper with it at the time, but not as much as I did when getting rid of the paid stuff I'd used before - that was stress.

So going back your original post, MC. When you say that having no maintenance stuff like WOT and DNS filters in place, along with system + Windows FW + MSE, and people saying they don't get infected are likely telling the truth, I believe that too. I also think (know) from what I've seen first hand, that they (average users) have low stress with that setup. And I think that stress levels increase for average users with over busy, nagging paid stuff, and possibly some (though not all) of the very good but slighlty more complicated free stuff.

As for the risk? Commercial vendors would say that setup is not enough for average users but I'm inclined not to believe them or their statistics. Nothing is a 100 percent stone wall banker, but I think it gives as much protection as they offer to the average user.

Bo's Sanboxie and NoScript approach, I think, is a good one. Low maintenance, low stress and low risk - once you've learned how to set it up and use it. Experience. But as I understand it we're talking about the average user here? - and none of the average users I know could begin to cope with that, nor could they handle lots of add-ons. That would be high stress for them, seriously, and would probably lead to high risk along the way.


Finding a balance is difficult, you have to make it safe but on the other hand you don't want to take the enjoyment out of it. But I think it can be done with all lot less than many people would have us believe.

Last edited by deya; 27. May 2011 at 08:12 PM.
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Old 27. May 2011, 11:13 PM   #44 (permalink)
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Bob, the points you made earlier about statistics are valid and I agree with what you're saying. Statistics are important, and the people who gather them I would say, on the whole, do it honestly. But statistics can be gathered in different ways, used in different ways or interpreted in different ways, depending on who's reading them...
deya, I think we're saying the same thing really. I expressed myself clumsily. Partly perhaps because I'm so caught up with the multiple issues of designing, conducting, analyzing and interpreting studies that I always end up hedging.

The two points I felt the need to defend are:
1) statistics as a valid and essential discipline;
2) the efforts on Gizmo's to apply statistics appropriately in independent reviews that attempt to minimize bias when comparing the efficacy of security products.

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...to a point where 'statistic' becomes 'fact' - then it's misleading.
Agreed. For example, I think there's a big difference between our statistical/epidemiological knowledge of smoking-related diseases (which by now is quite robust) and the sort of news item which came out last week about brisk walking as a way of preventing progression of certain type of cancer (a plausible hypothesis at best). Btw, sorry to use health examples - that's my field.

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You can look at statistics and then make a measured decision on whether you go with brand X, Y or Z. They may show that brand Y is going to suit your needs best and that, statistically, it's better than X and Z. But it's not fact, even though the statistics show that Y will be best for you, it may well turn out to be the case that it's not. So when I say you either believe them or you don't, I mean that statistics can help people make decisions, but they're not always fact and shouldn't be read that way because they are only the result of a 'test.'
I think we can distinguish at least two complementary approaches to testing, both of which have their place:
  • Testing in an artificial situation (eg a predefined sample of "bad" sites)
  • Real-world testing (eg browsing in a certain way using a particular security set up).

But I also think that MC's point is a valid one... If I understand rightly, that the set up you choose should reflect your individual needs. And it's no use protecting yourself against threats you're never likely to encounter in your own real-world experience. Otherwise, we're just playing the game of companies who often would like to scare us with alarming figures to promote their products.

And I think that's what you're saying too.

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You're totally correct in defending independent sites like this one, Gizmos, because there is no commercial advantage to be gained in manipulating any kind of stats, no matter what the product or it's use. So Websites like this one become much more useful, reliable, more relevant than the stats and tests we're referring to here. Because I believe that the reviewers write their reviews honestly, and only after genuinely testing the various products in the real world - as in every day use, and I trust that.
Yes, we agree on the importance of honest independent testing/reviewing.

I would add that it is actually rather difficult to eliminate bias during testing (and reviewing). And that's not just a question of honesty, it's a question of methods. Remah remarked on another thread, where he had discussed his testing methods and the steps he was taking to minimize bias, that he had been surprised by the results of his comparative tests. To me, that shows the value of testing. You find out something which you weren't expecting.

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Likewise, via threads like this one, I believe that the members contribute by posting their findings on various topics, using real world experiences, and in an honest way. But this being the forum everything is open to debate, opinions differ and that's great because, even though I use them, I trust the information provided on here more than the statistics. So much so that I now run a spare in virtual only, no AV installed at all, surf and download in my usual manner, stick to WOT ratings and use Norton DNS. And although it's nice to have the safety net of virtual to fall back on (almost zero stress) I've not encountered anything nasty in normal day to day use, nothing has tried to take over the machine or anything.

In the real world, the world that I work in etc, I can't use virtual so I put my trust in a more beefed up combination of the one I described for the seventeen, which is:

System + third party firewall + MSE + WinPatrol free + WOT + Norton DNS = low stress.

Risk level? - again, I don't know. But it's working for me, clean system.
I think that's great. And really useful information too. And I've been enjoying this conversation.

Sorry if I gave you the impression that I was criticizing your set up and experience. In reality I was just trying to dialogue with you about the value and pitfalls of statistics and how difficult it is to gain a balanced view on the subject.

Last edited by Bob; 27. May 2011 at 11:25 PM.
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Old 28. May 2011, 05:13 AM   #45 (permalink)
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Finding a balance is difficult, you have to make it safe but on the other hand you don't want to take the enjoyment out of it. But I think it can be done with all lot less than many people would have us believe.
I think you hit the spot here, finding the balance is the key for a joyful
internet experience with as little stress as possible. To some, having
too many apps can generate a lot of stress but to others that might be
the way to go. My way, your way, Bobs way, each way its right as long
as it keep us with 0 infection and generating very, very little stress.


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Old 28. May 2011, 08:36 AM   #46 (permalink)
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I'd even considered writing an article along these lines but then thought better of it, because however well intentioned it would likely be a self-made trap. BF Antivirus is the most searched for review on the site, so suggesting users might not need the best performer, or even one at all (in a review), is fraught with danger. Not only could this be viewed as rubbishing the opinions of other editors, many would also see it as irresponsible and it would only take one person to come back and say "hey, I followed this approach and now I'm infected", whether it be true or not.

It's also unrealistic to expect the majority of folks to educate their surfing discipline to the point where such a minimalistic approach is likely to be safe. This is a not a blanket criticism of the majority of users, just a recognition of how things are. By far the majority now just want to switch on and go straight to Facebook, Youtube and the like. To me this is the best argument yet for having Windows pre-installed with MSE. It'll never happen though because of the requirement for third party vendors to bundle commercial AV's with their own setup.
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Old 28. May 2011, 08:59 AM   #47 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by bo.elam View Post
... finding the balance is the key for a joyful
internet experience with as little stress as possible. To some, having
too many apps can generate a lot of stress but to others that might be
the way to go. My way, your way, Bobs way, each way its right as long
as it keep us with 0 infection and generating very, very little stress.
I think that's great at an individual level. And it's interesting to share our experiences.

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Originally Posted by MidnightCowboy View Post
I'd even considered writing an article along these lines but then thought better of it, because however well intentioned it would likely be a self-made trap. BF Antivirus is the most searched for review on the site, so suggesting users might not need the best performer, or even one at all (in a review), is fraught with danger. Not only could this be viewed as rubbishing the opinions of other editors, many would also see it as irresponsible and it would only take one person to come back and say "hey, I followed this approach and now I'm infected", whether it be true or not.

It's also unrealistic to expect the majority of folks to educate their surfing discipline to the point where such a minimalistic approach is likely to be safe. This is a not a blanket criticism of the majority of users, just a recognition of how things are. By far the majority now just want to switch on and go straight to Facebook, Youtube and the like. To me this is the best argument yet for having Windows pre-installed with MSE. It'll never happen though because of the requirement for third party vendors to bundle commercial AV's with their own setup.
And I'd second every word of that too.

Last edited by Bob; 28. May 2011 at 09:05 AM.
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Old 28. May 2011, 05:07 PM   #48 (permalink)
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Bob - Correct. We're both singing from the same hymn sheet here, and you'll have to excuse me if I've given the impression that I'm disagreeing with you. I'm not. You didn't express yourself clumsily and I absolutely respect what you're saying. Also, at no point in this conversation have I thought you were criticising the setup I described, at all. Nor do I think that setup is perfect because we all know it can't be, not for everyone, not 100 percent for anyone for that matter - and by posting the details of that setup on here I fully appreciate, and accept, that it's thrown wide open to criticism from anybody, and that's absolutely fine. If we don't accept that, we learn nothing.

It's sometimes difficult to convey to people what you're getting at in plain text but the crux of the matter for me, and what I was trying put across in my clumsy way, is for people to be careful not to interpret the word 'statistic' into the word 'fact' when it comes to reading security industry stats. Does that make more sense? I hope it does because you're defense of "statistics as a valid and essential discipline" is quite correct.

Bo - I envy you're stress free way to using the internet. I also admire the way that you share your knowledge of Sandboxie on here for those who want to go that route. Even though I'm on nobody's clock but my own here, time is very important and it just wouldn't be feasable for me to work that way, for me it would be stress, unfortunately.

J_L's way of doing things is great also. The willingness to experiment with various combinations of programs and add-ons, then post findings on here is, I'm sure, a big help to many. But for me, personally, again it's time. And you can see from reading that earlier post of mine how long it took me to get to my particular low stress combination.

MC - Brilliant thread, and I also agree with your post, #46, and think that to say AV is not required would be a dangerous thing to do for any average user, it would be disasterous for the ones who I know, no doubt about that at all.

... and, seeing as how it's a big night for you tonight, how about taking your mind off this and taking a look at these stats and facts instead - which are off topic, so I apologise in advance. Delete it if you see fit.

Barca v Man U - last ten meetings:

Barca - won 3
Man U - won 3
Drawn - 4

Barca - best attacking record in CL this season
Man U - best defensive record in CL this season

Will you let your heart rule your head, or go with the stats and facts?
Where's your fifty quid going?

A bit like picking a good security setup, don't you think?
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Old 28. May 2011, 09:42 PM   #49 (permalink)
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Well, in the end I can't decide if Barca really were that much better or if Man U just let them play that way. Certainly the first chance Man U got they scored from but the rest was really just a master class of Barca keeping the ball while Man U ran round trying to get it back

Overall I'm well pleased that the best team in Europe won what is the greatest competition in football and I just hope Sir Alex can can come up with a Van de Z look alike before next season!
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Old 28. May 2011, 10:49 PM   #50 (permalink)
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...what I was trying put across... is for people to be careful not to interpret the word 'statistic' into the word 'fact' when it comes to reading security industry stats. Does that make... sense?
Perfect sense, yes.

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... you're defense of "statistics as a valid and essential discipline" is quite correct.
Yep...

And at the same time, I think MC is quite right to question the relevance of many test results to users like ourselves.

-----------------
Thanks, deya, for taking the time to discuss - I'm still struggling with writing and expressing myself appropriately in the forum format.
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