What do I need to install to protect pc?

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beckys

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I just bought my first pc in many years (i've been using macs since 2005) and have no clue what to do to protect it. I've read through previous posts looking for "best antivirus," etc - but I lack a general understanding of different types of threats and types of software. Is there one program that takes care of everything (viruses, malware, spyware, firewalls, and whatever else I need)?

It's a windows 8 machine, so I've gathered it comes with windows defender. I've also read that you only should have 1 antivirus at a time - is that on top of windows defender? (And still not quite clear on whether "antivirus" = "internet security").

My basic question: what would an expert install on a brand new machine?

Relevent info:
I'm not very concerned about price, but my school offers me Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP) for free.
The laptop (samsung series 3) shipped with 4 gb ram, and eventually i upgrade to 8gb, i5 3rd gen dual core processor (i think it's a 3210m, 2.5ghz)

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!
 

flavallee

Frank
Trusted Advisor
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May 12, 2002
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82,043
There is no single security program/suite that will protect your computer 100%.

10 people will give you 10 different recommendations and advice on what to use.

It's a manner of personal choice and what works best for that person.

No matter what you use though, unsafe and dangerous computing habits will almost guarantee you problems.

----------------------------------------------------------------
 
Joined
Sep 21, 2007
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antivirus is a part of internet security.

If you choose to install another brand of antivirus, you should disable Windows Defender.

First you should know the threats, and then understand how they get onto your system, and then find the counter measures

Threats you'll encounter.
. virus
. trojan
. botnet
. keylogger
. rootkit
. screen grabber
. worm
. other malware like ransom ware and fake antivirus.
 
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Feb 11, 2013
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You're right, antivirus alone is not sufficient for the complexity of modern malware. SEP 12 does come with 4 different layers (Network, File, Reputation, and Behavior) of protection to extend defense beyond antivirus and has recently be been rated as the #1 endpoint protection available by Dennis Labs.

If your machine is running Win8 it probably has some A/V built in. However, the native A/V can slow your system down. The latest release of SEP 12 actually makes Win8 run faster by removing the native A/V and replacing it with a full-grade solution.

Good luck!
 

ChumCaster

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I don't think that categorizing threats is useful in choosing a defense, and while 10 different users might suggest 10 different solutions, probably 8 of them would give you bad advice. There are AV solutions that are clearly top shelf products and many more that aren't Check out VirusBulletin.com and AV-comparatives.org for starters. Frankly, I find Windows Defender inadequate, and I'd replace it with either Eset's NOD32 or Kaspersky. I'll get a little more specific about versions in a minute.

First off, do yourself a big favor, and give MalwareBytes.org $24.95 for MalwareBytes Anti-Malware Pro. 25 bucks buys you a lifetime of protection including free product upgrades. MBAM has excellent blocking for potentially dangerous web sites, and it can definitely block, or find and kill, malicious software that other products will miss. But, it still isn't a replacement for more traditional AV products. MBAM Pro also has a couple of quirks. It enables realtime scanning and updates by default, but it doesn't automatically do a scheduled scan. You can set this up, and I'd suggest doing a daily Full Scan, with the scan set to times you aren't normally on the machine. The scheduled scan defaults to a Quick Scan when it's enabled, but I'd override that.

Now, as to specific versions of AV software, I tend to go for the basic products: no third party firewalls, no spam blocking, etc. If you have a choice, use an ISP that offers Postini or a similar service that includes a spam filter and malware blocking. If that isn't possible, you might want to look at the products from Eset and Kaspersky that include these capabilities.

Mostly, be careful online. Be wary of downloading all those "free" services that are likely to come back and bite you in the butt. Toolbars, weather services, coupon printers, are all often used as infection vectors. Windows 8 is very secure, but I did a Win8 malware removal a couple of weeks ago, so it isn't perfect.
 

ChumCaster

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You're right, antivirus alone is not sufficient for the complexity of modern malware. SEP 12 does come with 4 different layers (Network, File, Reputation, and Behavior) of protection to extend defense beyond antivirus and has recently be been rated as the #1 endpoint protection available by Dennis Labs.

If your machine is running Win8 it probably has some A/V built in. However, the native A/V can slow your system down. The latest release of SEP 12 actually makes Win8 run faster by removing the native A/V and replacing it with a full-grade solution.

Good luck!
If the machine is running Windows 8, it doesn't "probably" have some AV built in, it definitely does. Sorry, but while I used Norton AV all the way from version 1.0, running under DOS, until 2003,I wouldn't currently, use, recommend, or sell any of Symantec's security products.
 
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From Chumcaster:
I don't think that categorizing threats is useful in choosing a defense
From Thread Starter:
but I lack a general understanding of different types of threats and types of software.
Most certifications like Security+ and CISSP tells one to first identify the threats to figure out the risks as the first step in defining what you want to spend on various counter measureS. I was just identifying the different threats for beckys, and it looks like I omitted some, like spam.
 

dvk01

Derek
Retired Moderator Retired Malware Specialist
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If you have Symantec SEP given free from school, then go for it
the corporate versions of Symantec are vastly superior to the domestic (home) versions. BUT they do rely on you being connected to the school network for updates & to be more efficient. SEP & similar programs from other Antivirus programs rely on the network perimeter being set up correctly and most threats blocked at the perimeter level, rather than relying on an antivirus blocking files etc on the computer itself.

However with W8, you are almost bomb proof, if you run as a standard user, NOT admin, have UAC set to high to alert you of any possible change to the computer and use the inbuilt defender. Because of the way W8 & secure boot works, ( provided the computer uses secure boot, and almost all new computers with EFI bios not standard bios do ) then it is almost impossible to be infected with a rootkit

Just watch what you download or install and be sensible and Defender will protect you. Defender is way more effective on W8, than MSE is on other windows versions, because of the way it integrates into the W8 smart screen much better
 

ChumCaster

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Most certifications like Security+ and CISSP tells one to first identify the threats to figure out the risks as the first step in defining what you want to spend on various counter measureS. I was just identifying the different threats for beckys, and it looks like I omitted some, like spam.
Right. Your point is well taken, and I'm not trying to be snippy, but I don't think that most users are going to be interested in the finer points of distinguishing a worm from a virus from a Trojan. In the end, I see most people simply referring to every bit of malware as "a virus". Of course a professional is going to see this in a different light, but for most end users, they just want a straightforward suggestion for capable protection. That's all I was trying to say.
 

ChumCaster

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And, in my most recent post, I wish I had remembered to emphasize how important it is that users choose an ISP that provides a first line of defense with some spam blocking and antimalware protection, such as Postini. It seriously cuts down on the threats you have to deal with on a local computer. Stuff that many ISPs install as protection like the Yahoo tools that AT&T bundles with their service aren't good for much, since the quality isn't high, and it's running on the local computer, rather than the ISPs servers.
 
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