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Anti-Malware programs... what do you like, and what do I need?
September 18, 2008 5:23 PM   Subscribe

Anti-Malware programs... what do you like, and what do I need?

I’ve been using the pay version of AVG for the last two years, and my licence is about to expire. I have no real complaints about AVG, aside from the interface, which is not particularly intuitive for this human being. Anyway, everything catches different stuff, and I’m ready to move on.

I’m running IE on a four year old Dell 4600 and its not what it was last year... lucky to still be around, I guess....
posted by Huplescat to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
You should be running the latest version of IE. Using an outdated web browser can be a door for malware.

As far as antivirus software goes:
Everyone will have their own opinions on which is the best. I've been using Avast! for a little less than a year now, and have been more-or-less pleased with it. Occasional the "updated virus database" pop-ups annoy me. I think there is a way to turn them off, but I haven't tried, lol. If you are a home user, I think there are plenty of good free options to choose from that you shouldn't have to pay.
posted by nickerbocker at 5:31 PM on September 18, 2008


This may or may not be a popular opinion but I really don't see the need for anti-malware programs beyond the basic windows firewall. I've been using a computer since I was 9 years old (in 1984) and I've never once had a virus scanner find any malware beyond the typical tracking cookies everybody gets if they browse the web with cookies enabled.

I run Ad-Aware occasionally to clean out the tracking cookies but I know they'll just come back 'cause every site and their brother serves them to you.

If you find that you are regularly intercepting trojans and viruses, the problem is more your internet habits than anything else. Don't use IE, don't use Outlook, don't click on that weird file your grandma mailed to you, don't run the "FREE VIRUS SCAN" you find on that shady porn site. And you're golden.

I have avast! antivirus sitting on my computer, and ad-aware, spybot, you name it. But like I said, if you find anything but tracking cookies it's 'cause you screwed up somehow. Frankly, any time I've had to use a computer with heavy duty stuff like Norton installed I've been FAR more annoyed at Norton than at any problems I've ever had with malware. Norton is basically malware itself in my opinion.
posted by Justinian at 5:33 PM on September 18, 2008


I use Firefox with Noscript and Adblock Plus and all of the default warnings disabled. I use a local hosts file to screen known malware sites and update it whenever I remember - in practice, every six months. I use no anti-virus or anti-malware programs. Total number of malware problems in around 5 years of this setup: 0.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 5:43 PM on September 18, 2008


My own preferred option for avoiding malware may be a little too radical for you. If so, start with AVG 8 Free if you want free, or Kaspersky or NOD32 if you're determined to pay out money as well as having to worry about getting infected.

Also, read this. Running as a non-admin is kind of like fitting locks on your doors and windows. Anti-malware software is like littering your house with mousetraps.

And if you absolutely can't tear yourself away from IE (seriously - it's the worst browser available, and not just on security grounds), at least use IE7 or IE8.
posted by flabdablet at 5:46 PM on September 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's where you go that makes the difference. If you stay on the safe side of the internet, you don't need any AV at all. CCleaner is a great app to clear unwanted cookies and temp files. Firefox and Opera are excellent alternatives to IE. Also, if your network, even if its just one computer, is much safer behind a router, makes you invisible.

There is no reason to run a pile of anti spyware, antivirus, anti malware progams! They S L O W down your box and are a pain because they always want to update, scan, phone home, nag you to upgrade, and, generally do nothing.
posted by cvoixjames at 5:48 PM on September 18, 2008


Frankly, any time I've had to use a computer with heavy duty stuff like Norton installed I've been FAR more annoyed at Norton than at any problems I've ever had with malware. Norton is basically malware itself in my opinion.

Quoted for truth. Norton is what I had in mind when I used the term "over-protected" here. Same applies to McAfee. They are both horrible, horrible products.
posted by flabdablet at 5:52 PM on September 18, 2008


Avast or AVG for anti-virus. Free versions work splendidly.

Ad-Aware and Spybot S&D for anti-spyware. S:S&D's TeaTimer will get annoying, turn it off during setup. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware if you would like to try a paid solution (with free trial)
posted by deezil at 6:12 PM on September 18, 2008


I use AVG 8 Free day-to-day, and run Spybot S&D once a month or so. I'm also sitting behind a fairly paranoid router, though, and about the only thing I use Windows for is City of Heroes. Purchases on the Net and so on get done in OS X.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 6:12 PM on September 18, 2008


Oh, yeah, and Ad-Aware to catch anything Spybot might miss (and vice versa).
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 6:13 PM on September 18, 2008


Second vote for Malwarebytes. It's excellent.
posted by purephase at 7:12 PM on September 18, 2008


Another Avast! (don't forget the !) happy user. And ditto Justinian - be aware. Fwiw I downloaded some pirateware recently and got about a dozen intruders from it. I had to re-install XP to clear them out -- antivirus apps couldn't do it (even paid-for "top quality" ones.)
posted by airplain at 10:23 PM on September 18, 2008


If you stay on the safe side of the internet, you don't need any AV at all.

No, no, no, no, no. What happens the next time a zero-day exploit comes out? You get hosed, that's what happens.

If you're using windows, you MUST have AV. AVG free has served my family reliably over the years. Avast and others are good as well. Make sure your windows updates are running automatically and nightly, and use the newest browser version (for IE, 7.x, for Firefox 3.x)
posted by chrisamiller at 10:49 PM on September 18, 2008


No, no, no, no, no. What happens the next time a zero-day exploit comes out? You get hosed, that's what happens.

If it's a zero-day exploit, AV won't catch it because it's new.

If you're using windows, you MUST have AV.

This does not match my experience nor the experience of many other computer users I know. Or rather, the built-in Windows Firewall is adequate AV as long as you aren't doing dumb things.
posted by Justinian at 10:06 AM on September 19, 2008


Since there seem to be lots of people who don't fully understand what "dumb things" are, here's a short list of poor computer hygiene practices. You should avoid: That's off the top of my head. I'm sure others will come up with things I've left out.
posted by flabdablet at 5:09 PM on September 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


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