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Antivirus and Spyware Programs, The True Story


I have used many antivirus programs over the years. I first started with McAfee along time ago. It was good at its time but it started causing problems for me. I switch to Norton Antivirus. Again it was good at its time. The corporate version is not too bad but now the personal version I would not recommend to anyone. Since version 2005 and up and even worse the Internet Security and full Utilities versions can cause your super fast PC turn into an IBM XT. They cram everything into one program that will at minimal drop the performance of your PC to at least 10-15 percent. The anti-spyware part never seems to be able to remove the spyware. It finds it but can’t remove it. I can’t count the number of PC’s I see that have slowness, Internet/Email issues and they have Norton installed. I uninstall Norton and all the problems go away. I don’t want to just pick on Norton. McAfee and Pc-cillin all have similar issues. My recommendation is change your behavior and install a less intrusive antivirus program like AVG. There is the free version and the paid version. Oh and have some form of Firewall. Hardware firewalls are the best because they can’t be easily compromised. (Routers have built in firewalls, if you are on highspeed, GET ONE!!!!!). If not use at least the MS firewall. If you are on Windows 98/ME/2000 and are on dial-up or highspeed without a router, GET WITH THE TIMES because you are just minutes of getting infected !!!

If you are one that seems to be getting viruses a lot then change your behavior. Don’t open email attachments!!! This is probable the #1 way of getting infected. Don’t go to websites that look and feel like bad sites (porn, download illegal software for free, etc). Don’t use P2P software like Limewire or Emule. Change your browser from IE to a more secure one like Firefox or Netscape. IE 7 is getting better than IE6 but I still like the non active X browsers (Active X is Microsofts great programming add on in IE. Its great for a lot of stuff but unfortunately its great for virus infections). Also update Windows security patches. This is MS way of fixing their bugs. Another option is to change your OS from Windows to OSX or Linux. The later is one I have been starting to do. Slowly testing Ubuntu as my dominating OS. As of now there are very few ( I mean very few if any virus/spyware on OSX and Linux). This might change in the future if the creators start to shift but I feel that because of the nature of security built into OSX and Linux (OSX runs over UNIX) that it will be harder for them to infiltrate like they have with Windows open minded ways. MS has improved with there SP2 in XP and Vista security but I have also read that Vista’s security is not all what its cracked up to be in regard of preventing spyware and such. If you have not noticed I love MS and I hate MS. I love MS because they are my bread and butter. I fix their problems for a living. I hate MS because I fix THEIR problems. This is one of the reasons I am slowly switching OS. I am rambling and this is another topic I will post later.

One thing I should point out is I don’t get viruses. Maybe twice over the many years I have been on Windows that I have got actually infected and both were very minor. I see a lot of viruses come in from email. Seems to go in cycles. I might go for months not seeing anything and then I will see a virus come in for a week or so till either my ISP’s antivirus hardware device kills it or it just stops coming in. Most people that know what they are doing don’t even run an Antivirus program. Again its mostly behavior.

I have started over the last few years seen a shift from Viruses to Spyware. Sometimes its a fine line between the differences. There is spyware (or some people call adaware) that just do pop ups. Others are keyloggers that will steal keystrokes. Others will turn your PC into a spam bot. I have seen some PCs that are infected with 2000+ spyware objects on their systems. I run over 4 spyware utilities usually on PCs that are infected. See my downloads for a list of the ones I use. If you are infected with a small amount of spyware and run the spyware removers a few times and everything is clean then you are probable safe. If you run spyware removers and remove a lot of spyware then I might suggest you backup all your data and start from a fresh format and install. Spyware creators (a lot were virus creators that switch to spyware because they can make money from companies that pay for their services) are very cleaver people and they will create spyware that are extremely hard to detect and remove. A lot of the sophisticated spyware use rootkits. The rootkits are hidden from the OS and any removers. A lot of the time I will take the drive that I know is infected and attach it as a second drive on a PC I know is clean and then run the virus/spyware removers on it. This way its not booting from the infected PC that could be hiding the nasty stuff.

If you know what you are doing, or even run a non Windows OS then you are pretty safe from disaster. If you open attachments and download illegal music and programs with no protection then I will like you in someway because not only are the spyware companies making money but so am I. This is my two cents.

Compute Wisely!!!

 

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