Quick security overview
All machines (desktops, laptops, tablets, phones, etc) that connect to the internet are vulnerable to malicious programs such as trojans, viruses, malware, spyware, rootkits, scareware, and a host of other bad little buggers. This makes it necessary (yes, even you Mac users) to have installed an antivirus program and anti-malware /anti-spyware program.
The best security for a computer comes in layers of antivirus program, anti-malware program, a secure browser, having all updates done on the computer, and web surfing protection.
Note that you should not have more than one antivirus program installed on your machine; having more than one causes conflicts with the operating system and in the end run, problems with your computer. You can have an antivirus program and an anti-malware program installed (which we strongly suggest).
Also note that antivirus programs alone do not protect your computer. Most computers are currently getting infections due to other programs not being up to date with their security updates. If you see any of the below programs pop up asking your permission to run an update – do it!
- Adobe Reader
- Adobe FLASH Player
- iTunes / Quicktime
- Office Suites (Microsoft, Open Office, Abi-word)
- Windows Operating System / OSX Operating System
Of course with applying updates you do need to be wary of fake updates, and installing extra programs that you did not want with your updates:
- Identify fake updates: http://lassenpc.com/tip-8-identify-fake-updates/
- Don’t install crap with your update: http://lassenpc.com/tip-3-read-installers-carefully/
Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware Programs
Here are anti-virus programs we suggest:
- AVAST! (Win/OSX) http://www.avast.com/free-antivirus-download – (note for non-commercial use)
- Microsoft Security Essentials (Win) http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/security-essentials-download
Suggested anti-malware programs:
- Malwarebytes (Win) http://www.malwarebytes.org/
- Mac Malware Remover (OSX) http://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/42895/mac-malware-remover
- Spybot – Search & Destroy (Win) http://www.safer-networking.org/spybot2-own-mirror-2/
Most secure browsers (subject to change):
- Chrome (Win/OSX/Linux) http://www.google.com/chrome
- Opera (Win/OSX/Linux) http://www.opera.com/download/
Safe browsing add-on:
- WoT Web of Trust (Win/OSX/Linux) http://www.mywot.com/en/download
When all of the above is combined, the chances that your computer will get infected becomes very small. Remember, updates, updates, updates!
Side note – Do *not* accept phone calls from strangers claiming they can ‘fix’ your computer – read this first: http://lassenpc.com/computer-repair-phone-scam-on-the-rise/
Edit 10/30/13 – In response to the Cryptolocker ransomeware, see our post here: http://lassenpc.com/security-recommendation-malwarebytes/