As a faithful reader of Bill Mullins Tech Thoughts, I am constantly reminded about how important it is to be diligent about protecting my computer from the thousands of nefarious nasties that are at every turn on the web and email. Today’s post highlights a few of my favorite security applications.
Just yesterday, a friend of mine emailed me with an html style email embedded in the body of the message. The first thing that struck me as odd was the fact his emails usually show up with his pseudonym and not his first name (which was apparent in the email). Though tempted, I instead chose to simply delete the email without “clicking here” to view some photos he supposedly sent me. Not 10 minutes later he emailed me (in a form that was recognizable as his) saying NOT to “click here” to view photos. He was victim to a similar email from someone he knew and unfortunately had “clicked here” to view some photos.
I emailed him back and suggested he ran a few scans to make sure he cleaned any nasties out that may have occurred from opening the email. I haven’t heard back yet from him if the scans turned anything up.
The moral of this story is your first line of defense – before you “click here”, ask yourself if the email looks familiar. If it doesn’t, delete it and email your friend and tell them your concerns. Along these same lines, if you are sent an attachment, ALWAYS scan the attachment before you open it. That goes for downloads as well. Be diligent and your reward will be a virus free computer.
Some of the security applications I use (all of which are free) are:
Avira Antivirus – This is my main antivirus program. I like this program because it’s free, it is the best antivirus program out there, you can right click any file or folder to run a single scan. The Avira database is updated daily and the program is as feature packed as most of the pay versions. I run this program scanner every day my computer is turned on.
SuperAntiSpyware – I use this program to run weekly scans for malware, spyware, and other viruses. If you get a nasty on your computer, you are going to want this program to track it down. It is one of the best out there so don’t be without it!
Malwarebytes – Similar to SuperAntiSpyware. I use it as a second opinion and also scan my computer weekly with it.
ThreatFire – This nice gem of a program is a heuristic scanner that looks for behavioral patterns that are synonymous with spyware and worms. It also comes with a rootkit scanner which I use on my weekly scan routine.
WOT – Wot is a web browser add-on which works with several search engines and informs you of how safe (or not) a website is. It is color coordinated so it is a great browser add-on for kids. It has a feature that will block unsafe or untrusted websites which is great if you have kids.
TrendMicro – This site hosts a free online (cloud) scanner. I like to use this online scanner to scan clients computers and occasionally scan my own computer.
This post only touches the surface of computer security. If you are genuinely interested in computer security, you should really pay a visit to Bill Mullins Tech Thoughts. He is a computer security guru and spends his professional life making our computers safer to use.