Tag Archives: additional

Advanced Uninstaller PRO Version 10.6 – Now Free For Everyone!

imageI’m a big fan of Revo Uninstaller but, I’ve had some problems getting it to behave in Windows 8 Consumer Preview. The screen shot below illustrates Revo attempting to round up surplus Registry entries following an uninstall – and, not succeeding (21,132 entries and still counting – uh, no).

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A robust uninstaller – one which thoroughly cleans out the Registry is a must have application for a software reviewer like myself – so, on the hunt I went for a free replacement. The timing couldn’t have been better since, as it turns out, Advanced Uninstaller PRO is now free.

Advanced Uninstaller PRO is no lightweight, and this latest release features full support for Windows 8 – both 32 bit and 64 bit platforms.

Advanced Uninstaller PRO includes additional handy tools (all in a conveniently laid out GUI), to help you clean your system, and keep it running at top speed – as shown in the following selected screen shots. Clicking on any screen shot will expand it to the original size.

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Uninstalling a selected application is a simple process as indicated.

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If you’re into controlling Windows services – you’ll find that it’s a breeze with the Windows Services module.

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The Installation Monitor module provides granular control over application installation.

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The Internet Browser Tools module includes a robust set of tools all neatly packaged for easy access.

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When you need help – it’s just a click away. Press the F1 key and an advanced help system is readily available – as shown in the following screen capture.

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Fast facts:

Uninstall programs quickly and completely, with full disk and registry clean-up to remove leftovers. Way better than the standard Windows uninstaller!

Installation monitor. Examine all the items an application has installed on your PC, and makes sure all of them were removed.

Startup Manager – manages all Windows startup areas. Fully control what gets started when you turn on your PC.

Windows Services – control the services (background processes) that are run by Windows.

Quick Cleaner – erase the web browsing history and the history traces of over 200 programs.

Start Menu Cleaner – fully clean-up your Start Menu, eliminate all the shortcuts that don’t work anymore.

Start Menu Items Manager – show and hide start menu items, sort them alphabetically, etc.

Font Manager – manage the fonts on your computer, disable or uninstall the fonts you don’t need.

Control Panel Manager – full control over the items in your Control Panel. Disable broken items, etc.

Duplicate Files – find and delete all your duplicate files, saving a lot of disk space!

Live File Compression – harness the powerful and safe file compression built into Windows. Compress rarely used files in such a way that you can still use them normally, but you save disk space.

File Shredder – completely overwrites and destroys the files you want to be destroyed, so nobody can recover them.

Windows Temporary Files – recover lots of disk space by finding and deleting garbage files.

Full web browser management of cookies, history, add-ons, extensions, plugins, temporary cache files for Internet Explorer, Firefox and Google Chrome – up to date for the latest versions!

Registry Cleaner – to remove errors and to make Windows lighter.

Registry Optimizer – help Windows and the programs run faster by speeding up registry accesses.

Registry Backup and Restore – to avoid disaster where the Windows Registry gets hosed.

System requirements: XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8 (32 and 64 bit).

Download at: Download.com (this file does not contain the usual CNET wrapper).

If you’re looking for a freeware application that not only gets in there and cleans out the deep dirt, but offers a range of additional functionality, then Advanced Uninstaller PRO should definitely make your short list.

31 Comments

Filed under 64 Bit Software, downloads, Freeware, Hard Drive Tools, Registry Cleaners, Software, Utilities

ClearCloud DNS Service Bites The Dust – Pick Up The Slack With Norton DNS

Occasionally, when I’m stuck for time, I’ll post an edited version of an earlier article. In choosing an appropriate article, I try to focus on a free application or service that has real value, but is often underappreciated. More and more often though, I’m finding that a free application I reviewed is no longer free, or the free service I recommended, no longer exists.

Another one bites the dust.

Regular reader Georg L., has just notified me that ClearCloud DNS, a free DNS alternative (reviewed here September 5, 2010) which prevented users from visiting sites identified as harboring malware exploits, will be closing the curtain – effective September 1, 2011.

If you are currently using ClearCloud DNS, you will need to reconfigure your network connection prior to September 1, so that your Internet connectivity is not interrupted. You can learn how to remove ClearCloud DNS from your computer by clicking here.

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If you’re convinced that an alternative DNS service has value, and you wish to continue to harden your system by substituting your ISP provided DNS service, with a more secure alternative – you have a number of choices to consider, including – Norton DNS, with Norton Safe Web.

Benefits of running with Norton DNS:

Malware Site Blocking – Automatically blocks known dangerous and infected Web sites. Provides a complete overview of the threats found so you know why a site is blocked.

Web Content Filtering – Lets you block Web sites that contain content that you think is inappropriate or dangerous. You can choose from over 45 different categories of content to block and specify individual sites to block.

Here’s an example of Norton DNS in action following my clicking on a spam comment link. 

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Further investigation of the Threat Report, reveals the following.

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Pretty scary stuff, I think you’ll agree.

You can install Norton DNS either by download and running the installer or, if you want to have a bit of fun – you can choose to install manually. At first glance, you may think this is complicated when it fact, it’s quite easy. So, give it a try, and don’t be nervous.  :)

The screen captures below, reflect the changes I made.

Norton DNS 2

Norton DNS

Manual Setup for Windows:

Open the Control Panel from your Start menu.

Click Network Connections and choose your current connection.

On the General tab of the Connection Status screen, click Properties.

On the General tab of Connection Properties, scroll down and select Internet Protocol (TCP/IP), then click Properties.

On the General tab of Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) Properties, select Use the following DNS server addresses, then enter the two NortonDNS IP addresses 198.153.192.1 and 198.153.194.1.

Click OK until each window is closed. You are now using NortonDNS.

Once installation is complete, you will be presented with the following confirmation screen.

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To ensure that you have in fact, been successful in making the change, visit this Norton page. The page will let you know if you are currently using Norton DNS.

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or

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System requirements: Windows XP (32-bit) with Service Pack 2 or later, Vista (32-bit and 64-bit) Win 7 (32-bit and 64-bit).

Download at: Norton DNS

Note: Uninstalling or canceling Norton DNS is easy – simply uninstall it. The process will revert your DNS settings to their previous values.

Additional free alternatives include OpenDNS, and Google Public DNS.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

8 Comments

Filed under 64 Bit Software, Cyber Crime, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Free Internet Protection, Freeware, Internet Safety Tools, Malware Protection, Norton, Software, Windows Tips and Tools

Steer Clear of Malware Web Sites With ClearCloud DNS

imageSecurity conscious Internet users are aware, that so called “trusted” websites, are not always to be trusted. We’ve covered this issue here on Tech Thoughts a number of times, most recently in, “How Safe Are Trusted Web Sites? Not Very!

The following is a brief explanation, from that article, on how cyber crooks manage to infect web sites:

“Cyber-crooks can exploit vulnerabilities on the server hosting the web page to insert an iFrame, (an HTML element which makes it possible to embed another HTML document inside the main document). The iFrame can then activate the download of malicious code by exploiting additional vulnerabilities on the visiting machine”.

Unfortunately, installed anti-malware solutions may not always provide adequate protection against this type of attack. Luckily, there is a solution which can add an additional layer of security by substituting your ISP provided DNS service, with a more secure alternative. An alternative that can prevent you from visiting sites that harbor malware exploits.

Free alternatives include OpenDNS, Google DNS, Norton DNS – and now, an additional free service can be added to this list with the release of ClearCloud Beta from Sunbelt Software, the developer’s of the highly regarded VIPRE antivirus application.

According to ClearCloud, the application “checks every website address your computer is trying to access, whether you’re browsing the internet, clicking a link in an email, or a program “under the hood” trying to communicate with servers for information or updates”.

In a quick 24 hour test, I found ClearCloud worked as advertised. With ClearCloud up and running, you will be prevented from visiting sites identified as harboring exploits. In which case, you will get detailed information on why ClearCloud believes the site is unsafe.

Taking advantage of this service couldn’t be easier. Simply download the setup application, execute, and as the simply interface shown below indicates, you’re now protected by ClearCloud.

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Following installation, visit the ClearCloud block page to verify the service is up and running.

System requirements: Windows, Mac.

Download at: ClearCloud

Alternatively, you can manually set your DNS server address to 74.118.212.1.

Note: You can configure ClearCloud on your router. Click here for a setup walkthrough.

A big ”Thank You” to regular reader TeX for bringing this service to my attention.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

36 Comments

Filed under cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Freeware, Internet Safety Tools, Mac, Software, Spyware - Adware Protection, System Security, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Norton DNS Can Save Your Butt!

In early June, I posted an article – Norton DNS – Another Layer of Computer Security, in which I stated –

You should consider additional system hardening by substituting your ISP provided DNS service, with a more secure alternative.

A few days later, I posted an article – Follow the Link and You “Takes Your Chances”, in which I made the point –

As a matter of policy, I test every allowed link included in a comment, for safety. Spam filters can often miss comment spam, some of which are highly dangerous. While comment Spam is a pain for the Blogger, a reader who follows a link in a malicious Blog comment, which leads to a malware site, is in for a very painful experience.

The following comment emailed to me by WordPress just today, and not picked up by the Askimet spam filter, provides a perfect example where these two intersect:

The email notice:

A new comment on the post “Download TrueCrypt –  TrueCrypt Beats The FBI Decryption Team!” is waiting for your approval.

Author : retnol (IP: 202.70.54.67 , 202.70.54.67)

E-mail : retno.larasati08@student.ipb.ac.id

URL    : http://retno.larasati08.student.ipb.ac.id

Comment:

well, nice post. Thank you for sharing.

Approve it:

Trash it:

Spam it:

On testing the URL (the link), contained in the comment, I get this result from Norton DNS. This is not as uncommon as you might think.

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Further investigation of the Threat Report, reveals the following.

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Pretty scary stuff, I think you’ll agree.

So, I’ll repeat –

Be cautious when following links contained in comments on any web site – not just Blogs.

Be particularly cautious of comments, on any web site, where the writer is describing a problem with recommended software and offers a link to alternative software.  This is a favorite technique employed by cyber-criminals. All software reviewed on this site, for example, has been thoroughly tested, by me, for usability. If a reader has a problem with recommended software, it’s generally a machine specific problem.

Be cautious when following any link contained in any web page. Recent reports indicate there are 5.8 million individual web pages infected across 640,000 compromised websites. Cyber-criminals are finding it easier than ever to inject malicious content into legitimate sites.

Since the majority of infected sites are infected with Java based scripts, consider using Firefox with the NoScript add-on. NoScript offers superior protection.

Install an Internet Browser add-on that provides protection against questionable, or unsafe websites.

Use Norton DNS as an added safety precaution.

You simply cannot trust links, given the state of the Internet, so if you haven’t hardened your system by substituting your ISP provided DNS service, with a more secure alternative, I urge you to do so.

I deal with comments like this every day – it just happens, that today, I had some spare time to bring this situation to your attention, one more time.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

28 Comments

Filed under cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Internet Safety Tools, Internet Security Alerts, Malware Advisories, Norton, Online Safety, Safe Surfing, Software, Utilities, Viruses, Windows Tips and Tools

Norton DNS – Another Layer of Computer Security

image Here’s an item from today’s Tech Net News – “Thousands Of High-Ranked Web pages Infected With Malware, including ……

We’ve covered this issue here on Tech Thoughts a number of times, most recently in, “How Safe Are Trusted Web Sites? Not Very!

The following is a brief explanation, from that article, on how cyber crooks manage to infect web sites:

“Cyber-crooks can exploit vulnerabilities on the server hosting the web page to insert an iFrame, (an HTML element which makes it possible to embed another HTML document inside the main document). The iFrame can then activate the download of malicious code by exploiting additional vulnerabilities on the visiting machine”.

Unfortunately, your anti-malware solutions may not always protect you from this type of attack, so you should consider additional system hardening by substituting your ISP provided DNS service, with a more secure alternative.

Free alternatives include OpenDNS, Google DNS, and now Norton DNS – a free service (in Beta), that provides faster web browsing with basic security. The additional security is provided by Norton Safe Web, which provides a quick check on each site to make sure that it isn’t a threat. If it is, you are protected from the site, and you will get detailed information on why Norton believes the site is unsafe.

Norton DNS, with Norton Safe Web incorporated, prevents users from visiting sites identified as harboring exploits including.

Viruses

Drive-By Downloads

Malicious Downloads

Worms

Suspicious Applications

Suspicious Browser Changes

Security Risks

Heuristic Viruses

Adware

Trojans

Phishing Attacks

Spyware

Backdoors

Remote Access Software

Information Stealers

Dialers

Downloaders

Norton has not yet provided an install client, but in the meantime, you can make the required changes manually by following the instructions below. At first glance, you may think this is complicated when it fact, it’s quite easy. So, give it a try, and don’t be nervous.  🙂

The screen captures below, reflect the changes I made.

Norton DNS 2

Norton DNS

Manual Setup for Windows:

Open the Control Panel from your Start menu.

Click Network Connections and choose your current connection.

On the General tab of the Connection Status screen, click Properties.

On the General tab of Connection Properties, scroll down and select Internet Protocol (TCP/IP), then click Properties.

On the General tab of Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) Properties, select Use the following DNS server addresses, then enter the two NortonDNS IP addresses 198.153.192.1 and 198.153.194.1.

Click OK until each window is closed. You are now using NortonDNS.

To disable or uninstall Norton DNS manually:

Follow the same instructions above, but on step five, select Obtain DNS server address automatically on the last screen (or replace our NortonDNS addresses with your recursive resolver IP addresses).

To ensure that you have in fact, been successful in making the change, visit this Norton page. The page will let you know if you are currently using Norton DNS.

Note: According to Norton, this service is currently only available in English and, not all users in all countries will benefit.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Beta Software, cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, Freeware, Google, Interconnectivity, Internet Safety Tools, Norton, Safe Surfing, Spyware - Adware Protection, Symantec, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Internet Security Tips for Seniors

image According to the U.S. Census Bureau 40% of of people 65 and older have a computer at home. Of this total, approximately  25% of these individuals are connected to the Internet.

If anything, I’m sure these numbers are now even higher, since these numbers were taken from the census of 2005. In Canada, where I live, recent statistics indicate older adults are the fastest growing group of computer buyers and internet users.

Many of the older people that I have met feel, to some extent, that they have been left behind by technology and the computer age, or as I like to term it “the age of the interconnectedness of all things electronic”.

Part of this disconnection, in my view, is caused by the mistaken notion that the “younger” generation is tech savvy in the extreme. While it may be true, that in developed countries, those in their teens to 40’s are comfortable texting via cell phones, using social apps like FaceBook, Twitter and so on, its sheer media generated hype to extrapolate this level of skill into “a tech savvy” generation.

My personal experience with older adults has shown me that the perception, sometimes held by older adults themselves,  that the older generation has a  limited interest ,or limited skills in using computers, does a disservice to this varied group.

Many older adults are now realizing they don’t have to understand computer technology to send e-mail to friends and family, shop online, play games, make greeting cards, read book and film reviews, look into family genealogy or find valuable health information on the Internet.

So, if you fall into this newly liberated group and have recently acquired a computer, or you just need a refresher course on the fundamental precautions you need to take to secure your computer against the ever increasing exposure we all face to Trojans, Spyware, Viruses, Phishing Scams, and Identity Theft, while connected to the Internet, this article is for you.

Fundamental security precautions:

Patch your operating system. Download and install all available patches and service packs by connecting to Windows Update. It is now beyond dispute that 50% of unpatched and unprotected systems will be infected with malicious code within 12 minutes of being connected to the Internet.

image

Install a firewall. Windows XP comes with a basic firewall, and if you are running Windows Vista, it comes with a more robust firewall (Windows Firewall) than XP, as well as anti-spyware utilities (Windows Defender). However, the consensus is; third party applications are usually more effective. Keep in mind that the XP firewall offers only minimal protection.

image

Choosing a firewall. There are a number of free firewalls that are worth considering. The following are two that do the job particularly well.

Comodo Firewall Pro:

The definitive free firewall, Comodo Firewall protects your system by defeating hackers and restricting unauthorized programs from accessing the Internet. I have been using this application for 14 months and I continue to feel very secure. It resists being forcibly terminated and it works as well, or better, than any firewall I’ve paid for. This is one I highly recommend. Amazing that it’s free!

PC Tools Firewall:

I’ve been running with PC Tools Firewall for a few months, first on Win 7 Beta, and now on Windows 7 RC, and in this short time period I have been impressed with its performance. It installed easily, set up quickly, and has not caused any conflicts with my machine despite my sometimes esoteric running requirements.

The default settings are well thought out, and provide excellent protection for less experience users – and despite the hype put out by the IT industry, most computer user can be classified as having limited system experience.

Install anti-virus software: There is no doubt that an unprotected computer will become infected by viruses and malware within minutes of first being connected to the Internet. There are many free versions of anti-virus software available and the programs that have a well justified reputation are listed below.

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Avira AntiVir Personal:

This anti-virus program offers comprehensive protection with an easy to use interface. In the time that I have been testing Avira I have been impressed with its performance, and I have come to rely on it as my primary anti-virus program on an XP Pro system. I highly recommend this one.

PC Tools Free Antivirus:

Having tested virtually all of the major antivirus applications, and updates, over the last several years, I’m comfortable recommending the free version of this application as a front line antivirus defender. In the time I have been testing PC Tools Free AntiVirus on my Windows 7 systems, I have been more than satisfied with its performance.

This free antivirus program offers it’s comprehensive protection within an easy to use interface, and it should meet all of your requirements.

Install Anti-spyware and Adware Software: It’s not only a virus that can put your computer down for the count, but a multitude of nasties freely floating on the Internet. Listed below are a number of free programs that offer very good protection against malware.

image

Spyware Terminator:

Having tested virtually all of the major anti-spyware applications over the past year or more, I’ve settled, for now, on Spyware Terminator primarily due to its strong real-time protection against spyware, adware, Trojans, key-loggers, home page hijackers and other malware threats.

Spyware Terminator excels in strong active protection against know and unknown threats. If anything, I find it perhaps a little overly aggressive. On the other hand, better this than the alternative.

Microsoft Security Essentials:

I’ve been running Security Essentials as a tester for months on my Win 7 machine, backed up by my usual, on demand, security applications and I’ll state, without any hesitation, I’m impressed. I highly recommend this free application.

Ad-Aware:

Many software reviewers consider Ad-Aware Free as the best free adware remover available. It does a relatively good job of protecting against known data-mining, Trojans, dialers, malware, browser hijackers and tracking components.

The only downside with the free version is real-time protection is not included.

ThreatFire:

ThreatFire blocks mal-ware, including zero-day threats, by analyzing program behavior and it does a stellar job. Again, this is one of the security applications that forms part of my front line defenses. I have found it to have high success rate at blocking mal-ware based on analysis of behavior. I highly recommend this one!

Internet Browser Protection:

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Web of Trust (WOT):

WOT is a free Internet Browser add-on (my personal favorite), that has established an impressive 4.5/5.0 star user rating on CNET. WOT tests web sites you are visiting for spyware, spam, viruses, browser exploits, unreliable online shops, phishing, and online scams, helping you avoid unsafe web sites.

SpywareBlaster:

SpywareBlaster prevents ActiveX-based spyware, adware, dialers, and browser hijackers from installing on your system by disabling the CLSIDs (a system used by software applications to identify a file or other item), of spyware ActiveX controls.

A secondary but equally important function offered by SpywareBlaster, is its ability to block spyware/tracking cookies and restrict the actions of spyware/adware/tracking sites in Internet Explorer, Mozilla FireFox, Netscape, Seamonkey, Flock and other browsers.

If you have not yet taking the precautions as outlined above, you are extremely vulnerable and it is critical that you take the following precautions:

Stop surfing the Web and patch your operating system. Only then download your choice of the protective software as noted above, or software that you are familiar with that will do an appropriate job of protecting your computer.

Do not visit any other websites until you have done this!

Additional security precautions:

Establish a password for the administrator account. Only you should have access to the administrator settings on your PC. Unfortunately, XP installs with open access to the administrator’s account. Be sure to change this.

Create a new password protected user account. Using this account for your general day-to-day activities adds another layer of protection to your computer. A user account does not have the same all-access permissions as your administrator account, and in many cases this extra layer of protection will restrict malware from gaining a foothold on your PC.

My apologies for using the word”Senior” in the title of this article – it is not a word I’m personally comfortable with.

If you enjoyed this article, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Antivirus Applications, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Firefox Add-ons, Free Anti-malware Software, Free Firewalls, Free Security Programs, Freeware, Internet Safety for Seniors, New Computer User Software Tools, Older Adult Computer Users, Software, Spyware - Adware Protection, System Security, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP, WOT (Web of Trust)

Senior Computer User? Internet Security Precautions You Need To Know

According to the U.S. Census Bureau 40% of of people 65 and older have a computer at home. Of this total, approximately  25% of these individuals are connected to the Internet.

If anything, I’m sure these numbers are now even higher, since these numbers were taken from the census of 2005. In Canada, where I live, recent statistics indicate older adults are the fastest growing group of computer buyers and internet users.

Many of the older people that I have met feel, to some extent, that they have been left behind by technology and the computer age, or as I like to term it “the age of the interconnectedness of all things electronic”.

Part of this disconnection, in my view, is caused by the mistaken notion that the “younger” generation is tech savvy in the extreme. While it may be true, that in developed countries, those in their teens to 40’s are comfortable texting via cell phones, using social apps like FaceBook, Twitter and so on, its sheer media generated hype to extrapolate this level of skill into “a tech savvy” generation.

My personal experience with older adults has shown me that the perception, sometimes held by older adults themselves,  that the older generation has a  limited interest ,or limited skills in using computers, does a disservice to this varied group.

Many older adults are now realizing they don’t have to understand computer technology to send e-mail to friends and family, shop online, play games, make greeting cards, read book and film reviews, look into family genealogy or find valuable health information on the Internet.

So, if you fall into this newly liberated group and have recently acquired a computer, or you just need a refresher course on the fundamental precautions you need to take to secure your computer against the ever increasing exposure we all face to Trojans, Spyware, Viruses, Phishing Scams, and Identity Theft, while connected to the Internet, this article is for you.

Fundamental security precautions:

Patch your operating system. Download and install all available patches and service packs by connecting to Windows Update. It is now beyond dispute that 50% of unpatched and unprotected systems will be infected with malicious code within 12 minutes of being connected to the Internet.

image

Install a firewall. Windows XP comes with a basic firewall, and if you are running Windows Vista, it comes with a more robust firewall (Windows Firewall) than XP, as well as anti-spyware utilities (Windows Defender). However, the consensus is; third party applications are usually more effective. Keep in mind that the XP firewall offers only minimal protection.

image

Choosing a firewall. There are a number of free firewalls that are worth considering. The following are two that do the job particularly well.

Comodo Firewall Pro:

The definitive free firewall, Comodo Firewall protects your system by defeating hackers and restricting unauthorized programs from accessing the Internet. I have been using this application for 14 months and I continue to feel very secure. It resists being forcibly terminated and it works as well, or better, than any firewall I’ve paid for. This is one I highly recommend. Amazing that it’s free!

ZoneAlarm:

The free version of ZoneAlarm lacks the features of ZoneAlarm Pro’s firewall. Its program control asks you regularly whether to allow programs; for some this can be intrusive and annoying. But it’s been around forever it seems, and it can’t be shut down, or out, by mal-ware.

Install anti-virus software: There is no doubt that an unprotected computer will become infected by viruses and malware within minutes of first being connected to the Internet. There are many free versions of anti-virus software available and the programs that have a well justified reputation are listed below.

image

Avira AntiVir Personal:

This anti-virus program offers comprehensive protection with an easy to use interface. In the time that I have been testing Avira I have been impressed with its performance, and I have come to rely on it as my primary anti-virus program. I highly recommend this one.

Install Anti-spyware and Adware Software: It’s not only a virus that can put your computer down for the count, but a multitude of nasties freely floating on the Internet. Listed below are a number of free programs that offer very good protection against malware.

image

Spyware Terminator:

Having tested virtually all of the major anti-spyware applications over the past year or more, I’ve settled, for now, on Spyware Terminator primarily due to its strong real-time protection against spyware, adware, Trojans, key-loggers, home page hijackers and other malware threats.

Spyware Terminator excels in strong active protection against know and unknown threats. If anything, I find it perhaps a little overly aggressive. On the other hand, better this than the alternative.

Spyware Doctor Starter Edition:

Spyware Doctor Starter Edition from PC Tools is an excellent choice, as a secondary line of defense. This free version of the award winning program, with its easy to use interface, is used by millions of people worldwide to protect their computers; it’s reported there are a million+ additional downloads every week.

Be aware however, there is no real-time protection offered with this version and this is the reason I recommend this application as a secondary scanner only.

Ad-Aware:

Many software reviewers consider Ad-Aware Free as the best free adware remover available. It does a relatively good job of protecting against known data-mining, Trojans, dialers, malware, browser hijackers and tracking components.

The only downside with the free version is real-time protection is not included.

ThreatFire:

ThreatFire blocks mal-ware, including zero-day threats, by analyzing program behavior and it does a stellar job. Again, this is one of the security applications that forms part of my front line defenses. I have found it to have high success rate at blocking mal-ware based on analysis of behavior. I highly recommend this one!

Internet Browser Protection:

image

Web of Trust (WOT):

WOT is a free Internet Browser add-on (my personal favorite), that has established an impressive 4.5/5.0 star user rating on CNET. WOT tests web sites you are visiting for spyware, spam, viruses, browser exploits, unreliable online shops, phishing, and online scams, helping you avoid unsafe web sites.

SpywareBlaster:

SpywareBlaster prevents ActiveX-based spyware, adware, dialers, and browser hijackers from installing on your system by disabling the CLSIDs (a system used by software applications to identify a file or other item), of spyware ActiveX controls.

A secondary but equally important function offered by SpywareBlaster, is its ability to block spyware/tracking cookies and restrict the actions of spyware/adware/tracking sites in Internet Explorer, Mozilla FireFox, Netscape, Seamonkey, Flock and other browsers.

If you are now on the Internet, and you have not yet taking the precautions as outlined above, you are extremely vulnerable and it is critical that you take the following precautions:

Stop surfing the Web and patch your operating system. Only then download the protective software as noted above, or software that you are familiar with that will do an appropriate job of protecting your computer.

Do not visit any other websites until you have done this!

Additional security precautions:

Establish a password for the administrator account. Only you should have access to the administrator settings on your PC. Unfortunately, XP installs with open access to the administrator’s account. Be sure to change this.

Create a new password protected user account. Using this account for your general day-to-day activities adds another layer of protection to your computer. A user account does not have the same all-access permissions as your administrator account, and in many cases this extra layer of protection will restrict malware from gaining a foothold on your PC.

For information on even more free computer security applications, see “The Best Free Spyware, Virus, and Browser Protection” on this site.

My apologies for using the word”Senior” in the title of this article – it is a word I personally loath.

4 Comments

Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Antivirus Applications, Browser add-ons, Don't Get Hacked, Free Security Programs, Freeware, Internet Safety, Older Adult Computer Users, Windows Tips and Tools