Secure IT Foundation

Posts Tagged ‘Backups

As usual, whenever the topic of “which Anti Virus product should I use” comes up, people always mention the product they use. Wrong place to start, as you need to focus on which products perform well in independent testing. You would be shocked at the results from some free and paid companies.

Anti Virus is also the last line of defence against malware not the first. When did you last run Windows Update? Have you updated your applications recently? Malware finds holes in your computer using ‘exploits’ and burrows in. The more up to date you are then the less risk of malware. Use a highly recommended free program called Secunia PSI to see how many updates you are missing… In the configuration you can turn on the secure browsing option and see if your browser is even secure for Internet use. We normally recommend people use Firefox with the extensions ‘Adblock Plus’ and ‘NoScript’ for safer surfing.

Not only can exploits be used but the current form of spreading malware is to exploit the user. By downloading files from torrents and file sharing networks, magic fix programs, cracked games etc you are always taking a big risk. If you agree to a install a program then unless your anti virus realises what is going on quick enough, then the malware can install and disable your security before it works. You can read our advice on home computer security and try our risk profiling at our site

Once you have a fully up to date computer, and are using a secure browser then you can think about what will be the way to save your butt when all else fails. Any single Anti anything solution is always flawed as the bad guys know what is popular and write malware around these single provider solutions.

Our recommended layered approach consists of the use of four products. All are free and trustworthy. For computer security you need to think of having a team rather than just a single player.

For your defence you need a strong Anti Virus program that stops almost everything. We suggest Microsoft’s own free Anti Virus called Microsoft Security Essentials . Consider it their gift to Windows users to atone for their other security sins.

There is little benefit for paying for Anti Virus programs as the best they can offer is support once you have a virus. Save your money, and use a computer shop for emergency virus removals when all else fails. You can get two or three visits for the cost of the Anti Virus program.

Your midfield should be a cloud based Anti Virus program called Immunet. This works by checking files in real time and catches items that signature based Anti Virus like Microsoft Security Essentials can miss.  You can choose the cloud only or use the Clam AV database as part of the product for free. By the way Clam AV for Windows is the Immunet product!

Time for some proactive forwards in your team as security doesn’t have to be passive! Spybot Search and Destroy  is a free Anti Spyware program written by one bloke and sadly the user interface looks like it. Be patient with it as its rewards are worth it. Bit like a temperamental star, needs a bit of work but scores well. Once installed, you make a backup of your ‘Register’ for sanity. Then update it, let it restart, immunise your computer and let it check for problems. Remove anything found, reboot and repeat. The tea timer can time tea, but its main function is to stop malware getting on your computer through changing security settings.

If any malware has got past that lot then your fourth program will help root it out. MalwareBytes is a program that offers free and paid versions. For our use, the free version works fine but if you want to use the full version it has our blessing. Once a week run a quick scan after updating the program. Once a month run a full scan over your entire computer and external drives. As each file is accessed it will be checked by your other anti virus programs so you can see if anything is suddenly detected, that way you know if anything had been missed. If everything is clear then it would be a good time to make a full backup to an external drive only used for backups.

Next time you are asked what Anti Virus program to use copy this information or point them here, our free security advice website!



When did you last make a backup? Simple question that can provoke the strangest of responses from computer users, ranging from ‘There is nothing important on the computer apart from my photos and work stuff but I could lose my job if the work stuff went missing’ to ‘They can have the lot’. When did you last invite a burglar into your house intentionally to be robbed? In the real world, without a recent backup any problem with your computer or the latest encryption ransomware virus can make your data unavailable, often without warning.

So make sure you have an external hard drive at least the size of your computer’s hard drive, install a simple backup program like Runtime’s DriveImage XML and make a backup of your hard drive to the external hard drive. Store away from the computer in a safe place then repeat the backup process every few months or sooner if you add documents, pictures and videos more frequently. Then when there is a problem you can always recover your data regardless of how or why it happened.



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