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  1. #1
    2 Star Lounger
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    Best recommendation

    I trust the people here more than any magazine, computer show, web recommendation, etc!

    If you had a new computer and wanted to make sure that spyware couldn't take over, deplored pop-ups, and already had a good virus checker, what would be the product that you would recommend?

  2. #2
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    Re: Best recommendation

    Hi Susan

    For programs that deal with spyware you can use the ones shown in <post#=296439>post 296439</post#>, in particular AdAware and Spybot S&D. To assist in blocking spyware I recommend SpywareBlaster. You could also check out SpywareGuard on the same site.

    Finally I would recommend Firefox, in my opinion a far better browser than IE and built with security in mind.

    I know you asked for the product I would recommend but there are several products I consider to be essential.

  3. #3
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    Re: Best recommendation

    In addition to those recommended by Tony, I'd also suggest a good firewall, web page filtering program and maintaining Windows with current security updates. I run Windows 98 (no built-in firewall) with IE6 so I'd suggest looking at:
    The Proxomitron
    Agnitum Outpost Firewall

    Completely <img src=/S/free.gif border=0 alt=free width=30 height=15> versions of both are available. There are also numerous options available for (trying to) eliminate spam in e-mails.

    Alan

  4. #4
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    Re: Best recommendation

    Susan

    The only application not dealt with by previous authoritative posters is popup-blocking (to which you can perhaps add "advert-blocking").

    If you have Norton Antivirus and can spend a happy hour or two exploring all the option screens, you will find that "ad-blocking" is available, together with popup-blocking.
    If you use Firefox, popup-blocking is built-in.
    If you use Internet Explorer after having installed XP SP2, you will find that it now has a popup-blocker -- and you can install the Google Toolbar which among other features includes a further popup-blocker!

    The downsides to this preventative enthusiasm is<UL><LI>you still get some popups appearing<LI>some sites do not work as expected[/list]It has been reported that Firefox won't allow you to sign on to HSBC online banking, and, conversely, I was able to get through the Tesco Finance logon procedure in Firefox, whereas IE just threw me back to the front screen! And some Javascript fails with the Norton Ad-Blocker...

    As you can imagine, with this multi-product blocking, trying to find which product/option is stopping something you really, really, want is a pain in the proverbial. Fortunately, for me at least, it is fairly rare.

    For testing how well your PC environment blocks popups, there are a number of tools available, found by Googling for popup blocking testing , such as from http://www.popupcheck.com/, http://www.auditmypc.com/freescan/pop-up-blocker.asp, and so on.!

    John

    PS After reading all this, I'm not sure that it contained a recommendation!
    <font face="Script MT Bold"><font color=blue><big><big>John</big></big></font color=blue></font face=script>

    Ita, esto, quidcumque...

  5. #5
    2 Star Lounger
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    Re: Best recommendation

    I've just downloaded and installed firefox - really excellent. Can't wait to pass it on to all my friends.

    Thank you!

  6. #6
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    Re: Best recommendation

    I agree a firewall is essential so I should have mentioned that we already have one installed. Thanks for the suggestions though, I have some friends who will be interested in the free versions!

  7. #7
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    Re: Best recommendation

    When I was using IE I had the google toolbar and a great application called snag it as part of my IE add-ins. Is there any way to put these in firefox?

    BTW, thanks for the spyware suggestions as well, I'm just really impressed with firefox at the moment.

  8. #8
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    Re: Best recommendation

    Hi Susan

    You can not add IE add-ins to Firefox though Firefox does have its own set of extensions including the Googlebar

    If you have questions about Firefox you can post them in Other Browsers and e-mail clients

  9. #9
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    Re: Best recommendation

    <hr>The only application not dealt with by previous authoritative posters is popup-blocking <hr>Actually, the Proxomitron application I mentioned is the most effective popup blocker in my experience; although I haven't tried them all of course. I really can't give this freebie enough praise - works perfectly "straight out of the box", but also offers an endless potential for user configurability.

    Alan

  10. #10
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    Re: Best recommendation

    Alan

    You've enthused about Proximitron before -- how well does it pass the various Popup Blocker tests (assuming you are able to disable all the other ones that are about)?

    John
    <font face="Script MT Bold"><font color=blue><big><big>John</big></big></font color=blue></font face=script>

    Ita, esto, quidcumque...

  11. #11
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    Re: Best recommendation

    All good recommendations. It is important to note, and I assume you realize, that there is no single product that will protect your systems. Here are my recommendations based on the assumption you are using Windows XP (Home or Pro) and Internet Explorer (See note below about alternative browsers).

    1. <LI>Upgrade to SP2 - SP2 is essential - if you are putting off upgrading to it, make sure your system is running correctly, then bite the bullet and upgrade to SP2 - Recommend using the free CD from MS
      <LI>Firewall, Software based: ZoneAlarm (Sygate Personal is good alternative) Replace Windows Firewall ASAP - Do NOT use two firewalls.
      <LI>Firewall, Hardware based: Cable/DSL Router with NAT (Note: If using dial up, consider Router with dial up support)
      <LI>Anti-virus program - I use Norton on some systems and AVG on others - Do NOT have 2 AV programs resident at the same time - however, having one resident and one available for "on demand" scanning is a good idea.
      <LI>Trojan scanner - Trojan Hunter - AV programs are good, but an additional Trojan scanner is another level of comfort.
      <LI>Spyware scanner - AdAware SE AND SpyBot Search and Destroy 1.3 - Together they make a great team.
      <LI>Pop-Up Blocker - IE 6.0 as included with SP2 has an excellent blocker (I know, I can't believe MS did it but they did!) - However, I also use the Google Toolbar too!
      <LI>SPAM Blocker - MailWasher Pro - I prefer MWP for one main reason, it processes the email on the server BEFORE you download the spam onto your system. To me, this is critical. Other spam blockers download the entire email to your system, then analyze it. They may be excellent analyzers, but my brain says if the blocker can do the same thing without dumping the bad guys onto my system first, then that is better. MWP does take a bit more setup to get it going, but once up and running, it becomes second nature.
    And the Number 1 tool - is YOU. You must practice "Safe Computing"
    1. <LI>Us a Firewall, and note that the Windows Firewall is inadequate
      <LI>Keep anti-virus and spyware scanners current with latest updates and signature files.
      <LI>Scan with anti-virus daily and spyware scanners at least weekly
      <LI>Keep Windows and applications current and updated with latest updates and patches
      <LI>NEVER open email attachments from strangers - just delete (NOTE: This is an advantage of MailWasher - SPAM attachments never download)
      <LI>NEVER open email attachments without scanning for viruses first (even from "friendly" sources)
      <LI>NEVER open downloads with scanning first
      <LI>Always scan incoming email
      <LI>Never click on the "to remove email from this mailing list" link - that just confirms your address
      <LI>Never click on unsolicited pop-ups - just close
    Did I forget anything?

    Note about alternative browsers: There is no doubt that, for now , using a browser other than Internet Explorer is a safer way to browse the Internet. But that advantage is deminishing daily. As more users switch to Mozilla Firefox, Netscape, or whatever, badguys start targeting them as well. NO BROWSER IS 100% SAFE! Period. Note too, that Internet Explorer is more vulnerable IF you do not keep it updated and patched on a timely basis, and if you do not practice safe computing.

    BillB
    Bill (AFE7Ret)
    Freedom is NOT Free!
    Heat is the bane of all electronics!

    ─────────────────────

  12. #12
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    Re: Best recommendation

    John

    I gave this suggestion a bit of a whirl - interesting exercise. I wasn't willing to disable my firewall for these tests, but I don't think that made a difference. It's very hard to draw any conclusions. Some popups did appear, although when I do my "real" surfing, I never seem to see any. The most curious was the particularly nefarious popup test on one site, that actually recommended Prox as the only way to block it. This didn't appear for me, even when a fresh page was reloaded, with Prox turned off!

    All in all, rather inconclusive I'm afraid.

    Alan

  13. #13
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    Re: Best recommendation

    I just have two additions to your excellent list of recommendations:
    1. <LI>Concerning unwanted pop-ups, I do not trust anything on them to be safe to click, including 'No', 'Cancel', or 'Close' buttons. Windows has the nice ability to close the active window by using Alt-F4 -- just make sure the pop-up is the active window so you don't accidentally close a window you want to keep open.
      <LI>Even if you are using a non-IE browser it is important to install any updates that Microsoft releases for IE. Explorer is so highly integrated with Windows that vulnerability patches usually apply to your entire system and not just the browser.
    Also, a caveat to the 'never click on unsubscribe links' -- If it is a newsletter you have signed up to receive but no longer want, do the publisher a favour and follow their unsubscribe protocols.

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