Is AVGfree Enough For DSL?
June 12, 2007 9:17 AM   Subscribe

I'm presently using a dial-up internet connection on my home Windows 2000 system, but have ordered DSL from Verizon. AVG free edition is my virus protection on the advice of the AskMe community. Now I need know, does DSL make my system more vulnerable to all that bad stuff out there? Do you think AVGfree is adequate for DSL?
posted by partner to Computers & Internet (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It's adequate, but there are better ones.

I'd also recommend an inexpensive router if the modem Verizon provides doesn't already have one built-in. That potentially puts your computer entirely off the Internet and inaccessible. Otherwise, you'll want a software firewall of some sort, as Windows 2000 does not have one built-in.
posted by kindall at 9:25 AM on June 12, 2007

You will be more vulnerable because you will be online more then you were with dialup. But there is nothing inherently riskier about broadband then DSL, just make sure you have a firewall up. There is one with Windows that is adequate, but if you are worried get Zonealarm, its pretty no nonsense. Also make sure you are using Firefox or Opera, they also help protect your computer.
posted by BobbyDigital at 9:26 AM on June 12, 2007

You won't necessarily be more vulnerable, except that you'll probably be visiting more sites and might be more tempted to download some stuff that maybe you shouldn't.

High-speed access will be more "useful" to a virus or trojan because it will allow them to do more harm.

AVGFree should be fine, but it's not a firewall and you need to make certain you have one and it's working properly.

You can also help protect yourself by upgrading to the latest version of Internet Explorer, or better yet, switching to Firefox or Opera.
posted by 14580 at 9:29 AM on June 12, 2007

Install a firewall like Comodo.
posted by WizKid at 9:33 AM on June 12, 2007 [1 favorite]

AVG is fine.
posted by bigmusic at 9:38 AM on June 12, 2007

No offense to the many, many people who will perhaps recommend viable anti-virus solutions, but I'm sometimes nauseated by the prospect of anti-virus software.

I have not personally used any anti-virus program in years. Get yourself the Firefox browser, and then download the Noscript extension.

Noscript utilizes a "whitelist," only allowing javascript, flash, and other potentially noxious doodads to get through when you allow them to. Some sites will not load properly at first visit, but all it takes is for you to click the noscript bar or icon and tell it to "allow" the site you know is safe.

In other words, using Firefox with Noscript and not allowing or clicking on things that I know are possible hazards has kept me virus-free for a long time, without the use of anti-virus software. This might not work for you, but you might also try it as an additional precaution.

...or, you could switch to Mac ;]
posted by gaiamark at 10:22 AM on June 12, 2007

I should add that this approach has also kept me free of spyware.
posted by gaiamark at 10:24 AM on June 12, 2007

I've used the free AVG on my DSL for 5 years and haven't had a single problem in all that time. Of course, I am running behind a router, a hardware based firewall, and a software based firewall.
posted by kc0dxh at 10:54 AM on June 12, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for all the comments so far. I'll be installing a firewall, for sure.

I'm intrigued with gaiamark's advice about Firefox and its noscript extension. The simpler the better, sez I. Does anyone else have comments about this?

Also, where can I learn about and obtain a router?

Gaiamark -- I'd switch to a Mac, but I use proprietary software that doesn't run there. I wish it wasn't true.
posted by partner at 12:16 PM on June 12, 2007

Make sure you have NAT running on a home router. (2Wire or Linksys, etc.) and AVGFree should be fine. If you are using IE you probably need anti-spyware running as well.
posted by crazyray at 12:20 PM on June 12, 2007

Response by poster: Crazyray, please excuse my ignorance, what is NAT?
posted by partner at 1:17 PM on June 12, 2007

I've used AVG free for the last 5 years both at home and at my last job. I am a frequent downloader and have never had a virus problem. Part of avoiding a virus, though, is educating yourself. An antivirus alone can only help a certain amount if a person clicks around willy-nilly and downloads every random file they come across. I doubt you will do that, but be aware of what to avoid when it comes to websites, downloads and email.
You would also be wise to make a registry backup when you know you don't have any malware on your computer so, should you receive some, you can restore your computer to the gloriously pristine nature that is windows (slight sarcasm, yes).
posted by pontouf at 2:19 PM on June 12, 2007

NAT = Network Address Translation. The likely reason for Crazyray's suggestion to use NAT is to hide your PC's IP address from external probing (good idea.)
posted by anadem at 2:57 PM on June 12, 2007

Everything that gaiamark said - except for the snarky comment about getting a Mac. I use Firefox and NoScript and to answer partner's question, NoScript is easy to use, but you have to "train" it by allowing sites you like to visit to run scripts. My only problem with NoScript is that I forget it's running, and find myself surprised sometimes that pages won't load ;) .
posted by Lynsey at 3:36 PM on June 12, 2007

flabdablet household router: Billion 7402VGP (it does NAT).

My computers: Redhat 9/Ubuntu 6.06/6.10/7.04, two years online, no problem; Ubuntu Server 6.06, one year online 24/7, no problem.

Ms. flabdablet's computer: XP, Windows Firewall, Firefox only, AVG Free, limited user accounts, two years online: no problem.

Young flabdablet's computer: XP, Windows Firewall, mostly Firefox, AVG Free, admin accounts (because limited accounts are "a hassle" i.e. assorted randomly downloaded warez don't play nice with them), one year continuously online: several viruses detected and quarantined, needs occasional Spybot Search & Destroy and Hijack This! scans to kill weird popups and slowdowns, Windows needed a nuke and pave once.

My conclusion: no amount of technology will compensate for a fifteen year old male sysadmin.
posted by flabdablet at 4:37 PM on June 12, 2007

Lynsey's got it about Noscript, and the Mac comment was more of a joke than anything else (hence, the ;] ).

But in any case, Partner, if Windows proprietary software is really holding you back, you should know that the newer Intel Macs will run Windows either by virtual machine (through Parallels or VMWare Fusion) or by Apple's free "Boot Camp" dual-boot software.
posted by gaiamark at 5:05 AM on June 13, 2007

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