influenza virusFirst of all, a big ‘Fuck You‘ to all people who have called my employer or me personally to deafen me whilst shouting that it’s not normal to have viruses on their computers, and that it’s our/my fault that this happened.

YOU are responsible for the stuff that happens on YOUR computer !!
I don’t remotely install these viruses, nor does my employer.
Use your fricking common sense !

That being said, if you’re not (yet) offended, please continue reading as you might actually learn something…

For starters, it’s extremely important that you do not put all your trust in your antivirus software to just click along randomly on any site whatsoever, or open any email that you believe to be safe. I’m not trying to scare you, although this might not be a bad thing necessarily in some people’s case.
My intention through means of this post is to generate a thinking pattern in order for you to no longer fall for the classic virus traps, and to become trained at pre-emptively avoiding the risks.

An antivirus program DOES NOT guarantee a virus-free environment. Neither does a limited user-account (aka not surfing as a user with administrative rights).
For the ease of understanding my point, let’s assume viruses and spyware/malware/browser hijacks/… are one and the same (although they’re absolutely not) and enter your PC in the same way. More on that in a later post, by the way.
Certain antivirus software packages are less reliable than others. My personal experience leads to certain dos and don’ts concerning installation of this software. Again, let me state that the “dos” do not guarantee a virus-free environment.

vinkjeDO :

  • MSE : Microsoft Security Essentials. This free antivirus (at least, if you have a genuine Windows license, starting  from Windows XP) is simple, yet quite effective.
  • Symantec Endpoint Protection. Normally I would start bleeding out my rear end, when speaking the name of a Norton-related product. SEP, however, proved to be quite the fun and manageable tool to work with. It can be managed through a central console , but requires a corporate license (not preferred for home use)
  • Windows 7 and Windows 8 come with a free Windows Defender, which runs on a different engine than the Windows Vista version, and therefore actually works. If you have this running on your W7 or W8, then don’t disable it. It’s A.O.K.

In a side-note : http://thundercloud.net/infoave/tutorials/email-scanning/index.htm

kruisjeDON’T :

  • AVG. If you want shit, this is it. AVG seems to fuck up every year over and over again, removing Windows essential files. Use at your own risk. AND DON’T EVER BUY THE FULL VERSION. This is one major rip-off.
  • Norton360 and Norton Antivirus. On the contrary to their related product, Endpoint Protection, this home-product is still the memory-hog it used to be in the old days. It’s somewhat effective at stopping certain threats, but there are better – free – products on the market, such as – and I can’t state this enough – your common sense.
  • By contract I’m not allowed to give my opinion on Panda Antivirus. *cough*

 

I’m also gonna drop all the fine tips and tricks that can be found all over the internet, on how to secure your network-connected computer, such as choosing a super-secure administrator password, while on the other hand leaving your default user account open for everyone to use at their own leisure. This is just common sense, right? Right?

I’m also not going to rant about the facts that you don’t let your kids play/install games on your corporate PC, so you can whine afterwards that there’s pop-ups and spyware on your computer while you yourself haven’t done anything wrong on the system. Of course not. It’s your kids, and according to law, you’re totally not responsible for a minor living under you roof.  (to read in a sarcastic voice) Again, just common sense, so no big deal on raging on this topic.

A checklist to train yourself into no longer being tricked :

  • If your friends or acquaintances e-mail you in a language that you don’t speak, or a language that you don’t speak among each other, then don’t even read the mail, and delete it.
  • DHL, TNT and other transport companies do not send you freight notes in executable (.exe, .bat, .pif, …)  format or in a ZIP file. If you don’t know what a zip file is, just doubleclick the file then, cause you deserve having a virus on your PC, in that case.
  • The Belgian police will never charge you with a fine for having downloaded something illegally (even if you actually HAVE done so) by means of a pop-up or a website.
  • If it’s too good to be true, don’t click it. You didn’t win the Spanish Lottery.
  • Verify that your antivirus software is up to date. Mostly by right-clicking the icon and choosing ‘Update’ …
  • Beware of social engineering. No person will ever ask you your password for your mail account, computer, … unless they need access to it.
  • Basically, just use common sense. However, since you got to reading this part, you’re probably hoping to find good tips and tricks. Nope. You won’t find any more here. Stop reading, before you get a virus on my blog…

 

I’m tired of ranting.
Watch out for a following post on why viruses and spyware, malware etc. aren’t the same things and what you can actually do to prevent them from getting on your computer.
If your PC is infected, I’ll maybe throw in some pointers on how to clean it up.

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