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  1. #1
    iNET Interactive
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    The ultimate security-tools list: Fall edition


    On Security

    The ultimate security-tools list: Fall edition


    By Tracey Capen

    Keeping hackers at bay is arguably the most important task on any PC. For most Windows Secrets readers, that's obvious, but it's amazing how many personal-computer users I know who rarely think about their system security. You probably know a few, too.

    If there's a silver lining to the recent spate of ransomware attacks and corporate-data thefts, it might be that Windows users (and possibly a few Mac users) are thinking more about digital security. Although Windows Secrets can't compel all PC users to lock down their systems, our ultimate security-tools list makes a good reference for best-of-breed security applications.

    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/top-story/the-ultimate-security-tools-list-fall-edition/ (opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    Secunia Personal Software Inspector (site) was for years a go-to application for keeping your software up to date. But Secunia was acquired by Flexeria last fall, and, ironically, the last PSI update appears to be Dec. 3, 2015. As a security product for individual Windows users, PSI seems to be dead.
    Secunia PSI is a scanner that uses a remote database located on it's own server ('Cloud-based' at Secunia/Flexeria), not one that's installed locally as part of the installed software.

    This means that the front end, the software installed, doesn't need to be updated anywhere near as frequently as the database does. W10 1511 was released shortly before the last Secunia update, which might 'only' have been a patch required to improve compatibility with 1511.

    It isn't perfect, for instance, it doesn't appear to differentiate between the current Firefox ESR (45.4.0.6092) and the Release version of Firefox (49.0.0.6103), but as ESR is much more commonly used in, and intended for, the Corporate sector (and that's Secunia CSI's area), it might be intentional.

    PSI can also be quite useful for detecting old and vulnerable software that you'd forgotten, or didn't know had been installed.

    Don't write it off just yet, it still has it's uses.

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  4. #3
    2 Star Lounger NTLS's Avatar
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    Mr Capen,

    Your list is missing some of the most important. Like WinPatrol, WinPrivacy, WinAntiRansom by Bret Lowry after taking over WinPatrol from Bill Pytlovany. They are very strong and efficient programs. Plus do not see Microsoft Security Essentials within the list and heard Windows Defender OFF-Line has been removed from µSoft's website, I do not use it anyway.
    Last edited by NTLS; 2016-09-22 at 07:00. Reason: Miss-spelling
    TIA, CU L8R,
    NTxLS Win7 Pro 64bit SP1; FireFox v49.x, all with the latest updates

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    Another great tool that was missed is CryptoPrevent by FoolishIT.

    This one:
    -blocks many common infection vectors (running executables from temporary or data directories, misnamed/renamed files like: file.pdf.exe, etc.)
    -uses windows built-in group-policy settings, and so i) is low overhead; it set rules and is done no background application is left running, and ii) runs well with any other anti-malware application (it is currently on every PC in my house running fine with Emsisoft, MalwareBytes (MBAM), Kaspersky, ZoneAlarm)
    -it protects all user accounts on the system
    -works even on "home" versions of windows where microsoft offers no way to set group-policies
    -rules can be adjusted and it supports white-listing to support applications that run in non-standard ways like running from data directories. I only saw one application that did this (BitTorrent) so I removed it.
    -extremely good pricing (free version needs manual updates, but for $15 you get lifetime access and auto-updates)

    The tool is here:
    https://www.foolishit.com/cryptoprev...re-prevention/

    Technical info here:
    https://www.foolishit.com/cryptoprev...l-information/

    Note: I am just a very happy customer (and fan of clever solutions), I have no financial interest in the company.

    -brino

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  7. #5
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    Since InSSIDer free is just a back-level product, I went on to Acrylic WiFi, which does much the same job but is maintained.

    Similarly AdBlock is becoming rather dubious with regard to allowing paid-for advertising, I prefer uBlock Origin.
    BATcher

    Time prevents everything happening all at once...

  8. #6
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    Hello,
    Your newsletter mentions inSSIDer as a "free" with a link. On clicking on the link, the page that opens is to a paid versions of their software. I trawled internet and came across this article https://support.metageek.com/hc/en-u...me-End-of-Life. The article says inSSIDer 3 (inSSIDer Home) End-of-Life and one needs to buy a licence for "home" users - cost $19.99.

    Would be good if you update your article. Thanks

  9. #7
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    "Removing" Secunia PSI

    Quote Originally Posted by satrow View Post
    Secunia PSI ... Don't write it off just yet, it still has it's uses.
    +1
    And come to think of it, I have stuck with version 2.0.0.4003 since about 2012(?) because I just hated the interface of version 3; it needed so many more clicks to get "down to the nitty gritty" that I passed the version updates since then.

    And version 2 still works strongly down to very recent alerts about missing Windows Updates. One week I had "forgotten" my weekly manual check of WU...

    And since about 10:00AM this morning it reminds me of an out-of-date Firefox 48.0.2! Version 49.0 was released sometimes this last night only. What other "outdated" software works that well?
    Last edited by eikelein; 2016-09-22 at 18:10. Reason: Updated content
    Eike J Heinze
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  11. #8
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    Tracey:
    Great article about ransomware and the potential problems in protecting yourself.
    I have a couple of question:
    1. What about a software product that is "suppose" to stop ransomware called...Cryptoprevent (https://www.foolishit.com/cryptoprev...re-prevention/) and wonder if this is a valuable addition to one's security or if this is more hype than actual benefit.
    2. I use Eset. In speaking with them, they say that they can stop ransomware. Any ideas if this is true?
    3. I only make image backups of my computer. The backup drives are connected to the PC. Will ransomware be able to discover and encrypt the image backup file as well? Or am I protected from this file image being encrypted by ransomware.
    Again, thanks for the valuable article.
    SG
    Last edited by sag; 2016-09-23 at 09:06.

  12. #9
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    Is Windows Defender capable enough?

    IMHO and experience it surely is.

    What NONE of the "professional" AV test organizations measure in their results is how user friendly are the programs that they test. And how could you "measure" such a soft target?

    A geek will be able to interpret whatever message an AV product coughs up but a normal, in their own words "computer illiterate" home user, will feel and be "out in the cold and dark".

    Microsoft Security Essentials (on Vista and Win7 only) and Windows Defender (on Win8/10) are for above mentioned group of users unbeatable because they only speak clear, simple English.

    For 99% of my customers these two AV programs are a God sent. They impose no perceivable overhead and work nicely besides Malwarebytes for the occasional on-demand PuP scan.

    Btw: On all my customer's computers with Win Home and Pro editions I apply a simple registry hack that turns MSE's/Defender's PuP scanning ON; it is by default ON only when MSE/Defender run under an enterprise version of Windows. See here.

    Earlier I said "... no perceivable overhead ...". I compare this to systems that barely crawled along and immediately went back to "normal" working order once AVG (or Avast) were removed and replaced with MSE OR Defender.

    Please no defenses of the two "free" AV programs I just mentioned, I know ALL of your arguments and feel sorry for you; but you are entitled to believe what you want to believe.
    Eike J Heinze
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  13. #10
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    Re. Windows Secrets essential security utilities

    Can you (or anyone else) please explain to me why 7-zip is still in that list?

    I don not even know how many years ago Windows learned to natively open ZIP files within the standard Windows File Explorer.

    And the last RAR file I encountered? That is even more years in the past.

    Maybe I am paranoid but any software from China and or Russia (or with authors from said countries) gives me pause...
    Eike J Heinze
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  14. #11
    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eikelein
    Can you (or anyone else) please explain to me why 7-zip is still in that list?

    I don not even know how many years ago Windows learned to natively open ZIP files within the standard Windows File Explorer.
    Perhaps because some people want/need to create ZIP files - possibly encrypted - instead of just opening them?

    Quote Originally Posted by eikelein
    Maybe I am paranoid but any software from China and or Russia (or with authors from said countries) gives me pause...
    So everyone at Microsoft is native-born American?

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    For a Windows 7 user, what is the difference between Defender and MSE? I don't believe they can both be run together, is that right? I use MSE, coupled with manual scans of MBAM Free Edition - although I'm still using version 1.75 as every time I think of upgrading to version 2 there seems to be a report of problems with it and it just sounds like it's still in beta in all but name. What are people's experiences in that respect?

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    3 Star Lounger JC Zorkoff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by satrow View Post
    PSI can also be quite useful for detecting old and vulnerable software that you'd forgotten, or didn't know had been installed.

    Don't write it off just yet, it still has it's uses.

    Quote Originally Posted by eikelein View Post
    +1
    And come to think of it, I have stuck with version 2.0.0.4003 since about 2012(?) because I just hated the interface of version 3; it needed so many more clicks to get "down to the nitty gritty" that I passed the version updates since then.
    And version 2 still works strongly down to very recent alerts about missing Windows Updates. One week I had "forgotten" my weekly manual check of WU...
    +1

    I also use the 2.0.0.4003 version of PSI for the same reason as eikelein. Although it has not been updated since 18 Oct 2011 it still works because Secunia keeps the database up to date. Please do not write off a useful application like PSI just because the the program is great as is and doesn't NEED an update to the UI.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tandor View Post
    For a Windows 7 user, what is the difference between Defender and MSE? I don't believe they can both be run together, is that right? I use MSE, coupled with manual scans of MBAM Free Edition - although I'm still using version 1.75 as every time I think of upgrading to version 2 there seems to be a report of problems with it and it just sounds like it's still in beta in all but name. What are people's experiences in that respect?
    You are correct, MSE replaces the Windows 7 version of Windows Defender.
    In Windows 10 however you can think of Windows Defender as being an improved version of MSE.
    Clone or Image often! Backup, backup, backup, backup...
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  19. #15
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    [QUOTE=sag;1067650
    I only make image backups of my computer. The backup drives are connected to the PC. Will ransomware be able to discover and encrypt the image backup file as well? Or am I protected from this file image being encrypted by ransomware. I use Macrium./QUOTE]
    If the back-up drive is connected to the PC at the time of infection it will be encrypted.

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