Windows 7 security software providers — Dark horses included

Let’s have a look what Microsoft has prepared to protect their consumer operating system — Windows 7. Here is link to Windows 7 consumer security software providers arranged by Microsoft. Let’s take a look what is considered adequate. First (order is random) goes Norton from Symantec with download links to Norton™ 360 Version 4.0 and Norton™ AntiVirus 2010. This is a good stuff, because you can run the full featured software for three months for free! Next two guys are strange: Korean company AhnLab (who’s chairman has MBA for Entrepreneurial Management and M.D. in Physiology — must be relevant to viruses) and Indian K7 Computing. K7 goes with hieroglyph symbols on their logo, not Hindi anyway. Surprisingly K7 identify the same price for Microsoft customers as for regular customers. Next one is ZoneAlarm with nice almost 70% discount. I thought they went broke — last time I used their suite, I had to reinstall the system. Norman is from Norway, nothing spectacular. This one is good: McAfee VirusScan Plus with 5$ discount — Special offer for Microsoft customers!, yet there is a 90 days trial available for download (of course, if Norton does that, McAfee should do that even better). Trend Micro (“PC-cillin”) Internet Security with 30% discount. BullGuard Internet Security 9.0 for Windows 7 and Rising Antivirus International Pty Ltd — God knows who they are. Then Czech ESET, of course, with their ESET Smart Security 4 and ESET NOD32 Antivirus 4. No discounts here, good stuff does not come for free. Next is (also Czech company) AVG with 20% on AVG Internet Security 9.0. Webroot® Antivirus with Spy Sweeper goes next. Being an American company, I guess they feel strong, so no discounts here. There is a good offer from CA with Internet Security Suite Plus 2010 and Anti-Virus Plus 2010 and also 90-days trials. Then KIS 2011 & KAV 2011 from Kaspersky — the only Russian company in the list — with no particular offer. Then VIPRE Antivirus from Sunbelt software (anyone knows?) with discounts. Next are German G Data , BitDefender from Romania (guys really don’t like to talk about their origin as I can see from the website),BullGuard with prices in British pounds, telling on the front page that they are better than Norton and McAfee. There goes Spyware Doctor with AntiVirus® 2011 from PCTools (no interesting offers), Spanish PANDA with 2011 lineup, Indian Quick Heal, and Finnish F-Secure.

The last two guys require special attention. Czech Avast! whose free anti-virus is almost as good as the professional version — I like it very much. And the last one is the antivirus you would expect to work seamlessly with Windows 7: Microsoft Security Essentials. Look at the reports from AV-Comparatives.org where MSE is clearly performing with flying colors, and it is free.

Tweak Windows Firewall

Easy guide to tweak Windows Firewall (also applicable for Windows 7)

Windows FirewallAs Microsoft says: “The default behavior of the Windows [Vista] Firewall is to: Block all incoming traffic unless it is solicited or it matches a configured rule. Allow all outgoing traffic unless it matches a configured rule.”

Continue reading “Tweak Windows Firewall”

Virus Silent Threats

/ First published in 2008 /

Concept of Malware

You can get completely mad trying to understand which antivirus product to choose if you read countless reviews and tests. Results often contradict one another even coming from independent sources. Let’s try to understand why it is happening and what measures of common sense we could apply to protect ourselves from viruses and from lousy security products.

Concept of Malware in 2009

The public misconception of viruses makes people think that if nothing suspicious happens, they are fine (the opposite of that can be very exhausting, to the extreme when after any noticeable slowdown people blame a virus and reinstall the system from scratch!). A modern virus is far different from a virus 10-15 years ago. It used to be done for fun—deleting files, making computer unusable, irritating user with offensive messaged, and so on. Infection in most cases was obvious and virus creators were like warriors of the underground world, looking for fame and glory. Not anymore. Malware writing is a big business now. That big business wants to be in the shadow, because it is mostly criminal. Infected computers connected to the internet are organized in botnets. Number of bots (remotely controlled workstations) connected can be up to few hundred thousands (!), commanded by only one masterbot. That power can be used to generate spam, DOS attacks (“denial of service” when massive number of requests can completely disrupt a web-server (website) operation), brute-force cracking, illegal/secret information exchange and storage, fake ad hits generation and so on. Botnets are available for rent in the underground. Continue reading “Virus Silent Threats”