Outstanding! Below are some recommendations for keeping your system clean and running well along with some suggestions for your security applications. These recommendations should not
be considered as an absolute "Must be" or "Must have" arrangement. They simply are suggestions that, over all, have been time tested by many of us in the malware arena concerned with consumer security and have proven to be fundamental in the protection and performance of home computers.
Any decisions/choices are yours entirely...no one particular program or setup can possibly be pointed to as THE VERY BEST for one scenario. There really is no such thing, when it comes to home computing, as a "One Size Fits All" so one must consider their own particular needs for their home computer setup in order to determine what would be best for them.
We sell nothing on this web site and are dedicated to no particular vendor(s) of any particular software but many of us are active in the "ongoing" endeavor(s) of today's software developers in order to keep abreast of the latest, most current and effective programs for security and maintenance. For this reason, you may over time, find that these recommendations here at SpywareHammer (and other help sites) will change so it's ALSO an excellent idea for users to stay "connected" to these type of web sites and read up on what is most current. To put it another way, consider how foolish it would be to make decisions based upon archived (old, out of date) information.
You might also consider that the very best laid plans sometimes fall apart soon after they're put into practice...think "Titanic".
So, if you are one that can take time to understand how things can seem to be most excellent to the onlooker, yet fail to meet a certain need or respond well to exigent circumstances, then you will do well with your decisions/choices...and can learn to adapt to today's ever changing computing environments.
To assist in the prevention of malicious software intrusion and infections, you can begin by reading "How to boost your malware defense and protect your PC"...
Please remember to keep antivirus software on board and always use it's real time protection feature. Run a complete system scan at least once a week...preferably in Safe mode
.A word of caution
Security vendors, in recent years, have partnered with "Ask.com"
in providing the "Ask Toolbar" bundled with their download(s).
Although the toolbar is considered to be a Legitimate
program, it is nonetheless questionable
as to it's behavior. It is alleged to be spyware/adware as the behavior of this application tracks a user's history and sends "search" information to it's servers in order to provide a user with targeted search results, many of these results may also be for questionable web sites. In fairness, one should keep in mind, google does the same thing regarding search results.
This tracking is considered by many of us in the security field, to be offensive.
Some of the "Download links" that I may provide, may also contain this program bundled with it. If you choose not to use it, the bundled software will always contain an "Opt Out" measure via some checkbox. The user can check (or uncheck)
this box to prevent the download.
If a user isn't cautious and may have mistakenly installed this program, it can easily be removed via the "Uninstall" string provided with the software. Detailed instructions how to remove the program can be found Here
If your antivirus program is a licensed version that is about to expire, you can consider using one of these available free on the public domain:Microsoft Security EssentialsAntiVir Personal Edition ClassicAvast! 4 Home Edition
Those of us in the online safety/security community have tried and tested these programs to determine their abilities. Having in mind, nothing is ever a guarantee regarding computer security, these programs nevertheless, combined with the rest of these recommendations are certain to have an impact in helping to keep your system running free and clear. I personally have been satisfied from having tested and used each one of those at one time or another.
Immunize your browser by installing Spywareblaster
. What does it do?
- Prevents the installation of ActiveX-based spyware, adware, browser hijackers, dialers, and other potentially unwanted software.
- Blocks spyware/tracking cookies in Internet Explorer and Mozilla/Firefox.
- Restricts the actions of potentially unwanted sites in Internet Explorer.
Keep your anti-virus and spyware definitions up to date. Be sure to scan often.
Web of Trust, (WOT
,) warns you about risky websites that try to scam visitors, deliver malware or send spam. Protect your computer against online threats by using WOT as your front-line layer of protection when browsing or searching in unfamiliar territory. WOT's color-coded icons show you ratings for 21 million websites, helping you avoid the dangerous sites:
- Green to go
- Yellow for caution
- Red to stop
WOT has an add-on available for both Firefox and IE.
Install the Winpatrol
security monitor utility. WinPatrol will alert you to hijackings, malware attacks and critical changes made to your computer without your permission. What I hear most from users is how much they like the startup control feature and it's ease of use. Need help understanding something about Winpatrol? Here it is
Windows Vista and Windows 7 come with a native firewall turned on by default. In most situations, this is just fine by itself and many users will have no need for a third party software firewall. But, for those who would like to have something which offers a bit more, below you can choose from several of the freeware Firewalls available on the public domain.
Even though you may have a (third party software) Firewall already installed, keep this list handy should you choose not to renew your subscription for whatever reason.
You should never have more than one of these types of third party firewalls running on board and one should make certain, if they choose to install one of these, to "turn off"
the native Windows firewall:Zone Alarm
...Windows 2k/XP/VistaOutpost FreeComodo
...I highly recommend this firewall, but it may just be best suited for advanced users.
Stay updated with the most recent Windows patches using Microsoft's Windows Update
. Make it easy on yourself, and set this feature to Automatic
Keep your installed software up to date by downloading the free FileHippo Update Checker
. Double-click the FHSetup.exe
file to install it. When the install completes, you'll find the Update Checker shortcut on the desk top.
Double-click on it and a scan begins with the results showing in your browser. Any software it finds to be out of date, will be presented in your browser. Just click on the download link provided there to download your software updates. Ignore the beta software unless you want that...during the scanner initialization, you can click the settings link, then click the results tab and check the box "Hide beta versions". After clicking the OK button, click the "Retry" link to continue the scan with those settings.
Using an alternate browser can reduce your chance of certain infections installing themselves. I recommend installing Mozilla Firefox
. If you don't already have "Firefox", please consider installing and using this browser for surfing.
If you still wish to use Internet Explorer, please make sure you install SpywareBlaster (from above) to protect you from most ActiveX infections.
often. Please avoid using the "registry" cleaning feature of this utility unless you consider yourself an expert. Contrary to popular thought, the Windows Registry has no need of any "cleaning". I personally challenge anyone to show a substantial benefit from having used any of these "registry cleaning" programs. There is none. Any difference at all is so miniscule that it's nearly impossible to calculate.
On the flip side, rather than any benefit, there is the possibility of slicing out enough pieces of the registry to render things useless...and that includes the operating system.
By default, CCleaner will ask you if you want to backup what is removed, and I suggest you do just that. If you have already used this option and found that something no longer works properly, please find the backup that was created and use it to restore that particular item. Remember, using this to clean the disk is absolutely useful and beneficial. A novice needs only to use the disk cleaning feature...and avoid the registry cleaning aspect. It's not difficult...just don't bother to click the Registry
button on the menu.
CCleaner is an excellent...and fast disk cleaning utility that can easily be configured to suit your needs. Often, users find a simple reboot resolves a quirky performance issue which can come about as a result of the collection of temp files while browsing the web...and if you configure CCleaner to run on start up, then your system could be kept running fast and clean with each new user session.
The Yahoo Toolbar is included by default during the installation of the CCleaner utility...if you DO NOT WANT IT, be sure to remove the check from the "Add CCleaner Yahoo! Toolbar and use CCleaner from your browser" option during installation setup or else just download the Slim
version (no toolbar...last download link at the bottom of that page)...
Or if you just want to run your on board Disk Cleanup ("Start--> Programs-->Accessories-->System Tools-->Disk Cleanup" ), just open the utility and check off the following:
Downloaded Program Files, Temporary Internet Files, Recycle Bin, and Temporary Files.So how did I get infected in the first place?
Regards, and Happy Surfing!