1. Computer problem? Tech Support Guy is completely free -- paid for by advertisers and donations. Click here to join today! If you're new to Tech Support Guy, we highly recommend that you visit our Guide for New Members.

Looking for a practical security idea

Discussion in 'General Security' started by Tabvla, May 10, 2013.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
Advertisement
  1. Tabvla

    Tabvla Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2006
    Messages:
    2,554
    I am looking for a practical (and clever) security idea for a slightly unusual configuration.

    I will shortly be purchasing a new computer to replace the one on which I do most of my work. For normal daily use this machine does NOT need to connect to the Internet. Internet activities such as email, banking, online purchases... etc are performed using a separate laptop. But this machine does need to connect to the Internet - mainly for the purpose of the monthly Windows update and occasionally to update the installed software applications - those are the only reasons to connect to the Internet.

    To install a fully-fledged Internet Secuity application seems like over-kill. It is not the cost that bothers me it just seems like unnecessary clutter for a service that will be used probably at most for an hour a month.

    On the other hand, if this machine were to become infected, that would be a total disaster as it will contain all the software that I use and very valuable and irreplaceable data files. The data files will be backed up to a separate drive but it could still be catastrophic if I was not aware that the machine was infected and then backed-up infected files.

    So I am looking for some clever solution that will provide adequate levels of protection while performing Windows and software updates but which will not clutter the machine with unnecessary software.

    Thanks for your ideas.

    T.
     
  2. 1002richards

    1002richards Retired Trusted Advisor

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2006
    Messages:
    5,333
    Hi,
    If you're connected for a few minutes or a few hours there are still risks. I'd suggest Microsoft Security Essentials which is free & well-regarded here at TSG. It's not a resource hog - for instance it causes no lags or slowdown on my 10 y/o XP PC which is woefully under-powered compared to a new machine.
    From link: "Use Microsoft Security Essentials to help guard against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. It provides real-time protection for your home or small business PCs."
    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/security-essentials-download

    Hope this helps?
    Richard
     
  3. Tabvla

    Tabvla Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2006
    Messages:
    2,554
    Hi Richard, thanks for your suggestion.

    I have in the past recommended MSE to others, usually non-technical users who do not use online banking or online purchases.

    I have always considered MSE to be only just a little better than nothing at all. I am therefore pleasantly surprised to learn that MSE is "...well-regarded here at TSG...." and that someone with your knowledge and experience would in fact recommend it. Makes me feel better about having recommended it to others... :)

    I will follow the link you provided and refresh my thinking on MSE. Perhaps the product is more robust than I have been led to believe.

    Tks again

    T.
     
  4. 1002richards

    1002richards Retired Trusted Advisor

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2006
    Messages:
    5,333
  5. Tabvla

    Tabvla Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2006
    Messages:
    2,554
    Hi Richard, thanks for the links, interesting reviews.

    Do you know if MSE can be excluded from the start-up process by simply disabling it in the start-up list? (I would have installed MSE to test that myself, but I don't have a test computer available at the moment).

    On the specific computer that we are discussing in this Thread (still to be purchased and configured), my preference would be to enable MSE just prior to running the monthly updates. So at up update time I would do the following: -

    1. Enable MSE in the start-up list
    2. Restart
    3. Plug in the Ethernet cable to Router
    4. Update Windows
    5. Restart
    6. Check for and if available install other software updates
    7. Unplug the Ethernet cable
    8. Disable MSE in the start-up list
    9. Restart

    If MSE cannot be enabled / disabled in the start-up list in there another option that will deliver the same result?

    T.
     
  6. lunarlander

    lunarlander

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2007
    Messages:
    10,415
    If you are going with MSE, please be cautious about inserting USB keys as I think the product does not scan USB keys unless you tell it to. I used to use AVG and that does scan USB keys when inserted. And it found viruses twice for me on my friend's key.
     
  7. Tabvla

    Tabvla Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2006
    Messages:
    2,554
    Thanks LL for the heads-up on USB keys. Will ensure that these get checked out on another computer first, which will have a top-of-the-range Internet security product installed.

    T.
     
  8. Cookiegal

    Cookiegal Administrator Malware Specialist Coordinator

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2003
    Messages:
    112,569
    If it would be a total disaster for this machine to be infected then regardless of how much time it spends on-line, I don't understand how a light weight anti-virus program can be seen as "clutter". It shouldn't interfere with anything you're doing on a daily basis even if not connected to the Internet. The way you're proposing disabling and re-enabling it when necessary could work against you should one of your installed programs auto-update when you're not expecting it and haven't enabled the anti-virus software.

    Another tip regarding USB flash/external drives is to disable the autorun feature on the computer so that anything that may be on the external drive that has created an autorun.inf file with commands to run an application upon insertion of the USB device (which malware often does) would not execute automatically.
     
  9. Tabvla

    Tabvla Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2006
    Messages:
    2,554
    Cookiegal, thanks for your feedback, which is much valued.

    Thanks for the reminder about disabling Autorun.... just the sort of thing that one could easily forget to do :eek:

    The connection to the Internet will be via Ethernet. The cable will only be connected for the purpose of updates and only after the AV (whichever product is installed) has been activated.

    I have no experience with "light-weight" AV software - in all the many years that I have been in this business I have always used security products akin to Muhammad Ali - which are (in my view) absolutely essential for a machine that is connected 24/7 and that is used for highly sensitive functions such as online banking, online purchasing, FTP..... etc.

    So the question I asked myself was "Is it necessary to have a heavy-weight AV product installed and active on a machine that is only going to be connected to the Internet for the purpose of updates?".

    If the answer from the experts to that question is "Yes, absolutely", then I will go with the expert opinion and install the full Internet Security Suite from one of the big boys like Norton or Trend Micro or Kaspersky - I use all of them on different machines at this point in time.

    However, if the opinion is that a product such as MSE is more than up to the task of protecting this specific machine during Windows and software updates then I will seriously consider that as an option.

    Bottom line...? I really don't know which is the most appropriate option for this purpose.

    T.
     
  10. Cookiegal

    Cookiegal Administrator Malware Specialist Coordinator

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2003
    Messages:
    112,569
    OK, I get that the cable will be disconnected but there's always the chance you may connect it and then be distracted and forget to activate the anti-virus software.

    I don't have any personal experience with MSE and only know what I've read from others but I'm not confident that it would be as good as Eset or Kaspersky. In my opinion, Eset is lighter than Kaspersky. I'm running Eset now and have used Kaspersky so on that I speak from experience. But MSE would be better than no anti-virus software.

    Whatever you decide, another thing that would be helpful would be to use imaging software for your backups, like Acronis True Image. If you were to be infected, it would not be such a disaster as you could restore an earlier image without having to reload Windows or any other programs and with no loss of data in a matter of minutes.
     
  11. etaf

    etaf Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2003
    Messages:
    65,202
    First Name:
    Wayne
    Just a FYI - the antivirus will be out of date when you reconnect and will itself have to update at the time you connect to the internet ,so make sure that gets updated first.
    Therefore you will be using an outdated virus software offline and so if while you are working offline, you do get a USB or any file onto the PC that has a later infection then you will not have the protection.
    Although that can be true of people online when the security software has not yet been updated for any new virus

    you can download the latest MSE definitions off line and copy to the machine
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/971606

    but just how significant that is, I'm sure our virus expert Cookiegal will be able to advise
     
  12. Cookiegal

    Cookiegal Administrator Malware Specialist Coordinator

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2003
    Messages:
    112,569
    Etaf raises an excellent point. If you're talking about one full month of virus definitions that haven't been applied then that can be very signficant indeed. There is new malware created every day that remains "in the wild", which means it's currently "undetected" by security programs, until the anti-virus software vendors discover it and create specific definitions for their software to detect and block or remove it. Some will be picked up by "heuristic" detections, which is only based on suspicious behaviour but it's best not to rely on that alone as it's not very dependable.
     
  13. Tabvla

    Tabvla Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2006
    Messages:
    2,554
    Thanks Etaf and Cookiegal........ hmmmm, I think my question is almost answered.

    As things are now my thinking is that it would be unwise to follow my initial intention. So, given all of the above advice I think I will install one of the big-hitters full Internet security packages, connect to the Internet once a day and run updates then disconnect and forget. That sounds like a recipe for peace-of-mind.

    One last question for Cookiegal before I close this thread. Can you please tell me something about Eset. I concur with your comment on Kaspersky - it does tend to hog the resources and actions which should happen in the "background" tend to intrude on the working environment. Norton is not much better and I have some reservations about how good Trend is at detecting malware.

    So any info on a top-of-the-range product that is respectful of what the user is currently doing would be welcome.

    TiA

    T.
     
  14. Cookiegal

    Cookiegal Administrator Malware Specialist Coordinator

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2003
    Messages:
    112,569
    I find Eset very user friendly and easy to set up and use. But it does have a task automatically scheduled to run a file check on startup which doesn't take long but will slow down other functions you may be doing at the same time. I generally start the computer and then leave it for a few minutes before I try to do anything else on it. But for the use you describe, you can disable the startup scan as well as the automatic updates very easily since you'll be updating it manually daily and you can run scans manually whenever you want to.

    If you're operating system is Windows 7 or 8 then you would only need to use Eset's Nod32 anti-virus program (as opposed to the suite "Eset Smart Security" that includes a firewall) but I don't think the firewall in XP is as reliable as a third party one would be (I'm not sure about Vista). However, I don't think you're talking about XP here.
     
  15. Sponsor

As Seen On
As Seen On...

Welcome to Tech Support Guy!

Are you looking for the solution to your computer problem? Join our site today to ask your question. This site is completely free -- paid for by advertisers and donations.

If you're not already familiar with forums, watch our Welcome Guide to get started.

Join over 733,556 other people just like you!

Loading...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Short URL to this thread: https://techguy.org/1098327

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice