Friday, June 25, 2010

How to stay malware free!

How to stay malware free!


I’m writing this to hopefully keep you virus, spyware, adware, and malware free. This manual will hopefully educate you on malware, help prevent it and help remove it.

So what’s this ’malware’ then?

So, what is ’Malware’? Malware is the name given to viruses, spyware, adware, trojans, keyloggers and all the nasty things you want to avoid when computing. Malware is a common issue with computers (especially Windows, lesser on Linux and Mac) because there’s a wide variety of ways you can get infected by malware, anyway let’s move on.

How do you stay virus, trojan, adware, spyware, keylogger etc free?

The easiest option is to run a variety of security software. Most Anti-viruses have spyware and adware definitions in there too, which means in theory it should protect you from both. So a must, is a good Antivirus irregardless of how experienced with computers you are. There’s several free ones, a personal favourite is Avira Antivir Personal. Why? It’s free, reliable, quick, light and simple. It does the job, it doesn’t bother me and automatically deals with viruses and such. There’s a few others such as AVG Free or Avast which I tend to stay away from as Avira comes out top in almost all Antivirus related tests.

Of course you can go for paid versions such as Kaspersky, F-Secure, Bitdefender, Panda and a few others. It’s all your choice, personally I prefer the free version of Avira (baring in mind theres a premium version)

Moving on, along with my Antivirus (Avira Personal) I run another software called Malwarebytes Antimalware just incase something slips through that Avira doesn’t detect (baring in mind Avira is an Anti-VIRUS not an Anti-MALWARE) so that I don’t get infected. Malwarebytes Anti-malware(I’ll refer to it as MBAM) is a second layer of defense, which catches spyware, adware, and other things that Avira doesn’t catch. It’s a bad idea running two Anti-VIRUSES together, because they will ’fight’ each other if they both detect a virus. MBAM is free (however there’s a premium version which offers real time protection, you can get the cracked version free from CW though) it’s also very light and extremely effective, possibly the best Anti-Malware out there currently.

So, we’ve got our Antivirus now our Anti malware, let’s move on. Most people run a firewall too, which basically blocks access to your computer, that shouldn’t be accessible. A free one that springs to mind is Comodo, I’ve used it in the past and really liked it, currently I don’t run a Firewall as I prefer to travel light.

There are other security software (which you don’t really need) such as immunzation software, other scanners, Host Intrusion Prevention systems and such, I just run my Antivirus and my anti-malware because I think anything else is overkill if you don’t visit shady websites and download from places you don’t trust.

Symptoms of infections

1. Redirects - a popular symptom is redirects, let’s say you go to Google and it redirect you to some Russian website, you’re most likely infected with a trojan so it’s time to scan with your Anti virus, then your Anti malware.
2. Slow computer - Computer abnormally slow? You could be infected, run a scan.
3. Icons on desktop, you didn’t put there - most likely an infection, scan!
4. Popups - I don’t just mean the odd one, I mean quite a lot. If so, it’s time to get scanning

A few tips

1. Always keep your Antivirus and Antimalware up to date, it’s useless if you don’t.
2. Run a scan once in a while (don’t go overkill and scan daily, it’s just wasting time and energy)
3. Don’t run more than one real time Antivirus together.
4. Don’t visit shady serial websites, or porn sites that you don’t trust.
5. Always run an Antivirus, in the event of a virus and you don’t have one you will really wish you’d had one (as I found out a while back)
6. Use common sense while computing.