Protecting my Laptop (Viruses, Malware, etc)
April 2, 2019 3:01 AM   Subscribe

Just wondering if what i have installed on my laptop is adequate for protecting my computer for viruses, etc.

I have a laptop that I only use for watching movies and tv, etc. Its is running Windows 10 and I use the Windows Defender that came with it. Outside of that, I have the following installed on my computer:

- Avast (Free)
- Malware Bytes (Free)
- SpyBot Search and Destroy (Free)
- CC Cleaner

I also use Google Chrome and have ABP installed for pop-ups, etc.

I mostly use Netflix and other paid streaming services, but I also consum most of my live tv sports from various streaming sites (I usually get the Links from these sites from Reddit). I know some of these links look sketchy as there are loads of pop ups, but its how I consume my sports.

Just as an aside, I am a huge college sports fan and I currently live in Canada. I don't have access to my teams games (and I don't have the option to pay for them through my local cable provider). I would gladly pay for such a service if it existed (I currently pay for MLB and NHL so I can watch them online).

Any suggestions to ensure my laptop might be protected from watching college basketball and football from various online streaming sites (there are loads of pop ups).

Suggestions, tips, thoughts? Anything else I should be using?

(and please, save the comments of 'don't watch sports from questionable links...)
posted by dbirchum to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Aside from porn this is probably the most likely vector of possible infection, so yeah. Question the links first. Hover over things and make sure they're from sites you recognize. Don't be the first one to click - Reddit is full of click-happy teens, some of whom will quickly report a malevolent link if they didn't post it. Set downloads to "Ask me first" instead of having a default directory. Run scripts on popups case-by-case.

Privacy Badger would be the other obvious plugin. The software you have is mostly pointless in trial versions - the default Windows AV is pretty good now, and the constant prompts to purchase, etc. get you used to the idea of popups from your AV, which is bad (and lots of exploits take advantage of that).

If this is your main rig you can't afford to have it go down. Can you spring for a Chromebook? Run a different OS (Mint off a thumb drive)? Run the browser in a VM?

Failing that I suppose you could always learn to enjoy the glory of Canadian sports commentary, but one of the above plus all the browser plugins is a pretty reasonable layer of protection.
posted by aspersioncast at 4:54 AM on April 2, 2019

Sounds adequate to me but if you want to get fancy and you have Windows 10 Professional you could enable Windows Defender Application Guard and use that for when you go to the sketchiest of web sites. It runs Edge inside a virtual machine, which requires more Houdini-like escape artistry for a virus to get out of.

(It's a "Windows Component" you enable through the control panel rather than normal software you install.)
posted by XMLicious at 5:04 AM on April 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

Which edition of Windows 10 do you have? Some editions will allow you to install Hyper-V, which will let you create virtual machines (essentially a PC inside your PC, complete with its own OS).

I would consider making a VM to run your sketchy sports links in, and creating a checkpoint. If your VM gets infected, you can just roll it back to the checkpoint, and your host machine won't get infected at all.

Or, run Linux.
posted by vitout at 7:03 AM on April 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

I'm several years, perhaps a decade, past any intense study of anti-viral solutions but the idea of having more than one running in the background is something I'd almost never do just because of the impact on the system itself. Your list sounds pretty comprehensive if you're just alternating scans overnight or something but, again in my opinion, your use case seems pretty safe as well if you're using sites that receive even a casual amount of vetting from other users that, for lack of a better phrase, may be providing you with a bit of herd immunity from sites that are obviously traps/vectors for infection. I say that as someone who uses subreddits to stream the occasional college sporting event and find a good stream in the moment as well as someone who in a past life may have known someone else, cough cough, who was a frequenter of private torrent trackers.

I'd say you're doing ok. Consider uBlock addin for Chrome perhaps...
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:07 AM on April 2, 2019

Web browsers are extremely safe these days. Google pays cash bounties to anyone who can figure out how to install malware just from browsing the web. As long as you're not downloading and opening files, keeping Chrome up-to-date should be enough to keep you secure.
posted by panic at 7:32 PM on April 2, 2019

There are some quite inexpensive IPTV services that carry sports content without (as much of, in the case of the grey market) a risk of malware. If you're OK using random found Reddit streams, I'm fairly certain you could find some such services without much trouble.
posted by wierdo at 7:45 AM on April 7, 2019

« Older How do I get back into my Cartooning   |   User-friendly, multipurpose, zeitgeisty and... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.