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Computer / Online Security question...

  1. Lily Rose profile image84
    Lily Roseposted 6 years ago

    For the past 5 or 6 hours I have been dealing with some fraud and identity theft that I discovered and I'm now really weary of my online security; I hope some HP "techies" can help... 

    I use the Windows 7 built-in firewall and I use the free version of Avast for antivirus.  Apparently Avast has built-in spyware detection.  I don't know much about this; I'm wondering if I need more spyware protection as well as malware protection and if so, any good free ones?

    Another option is to get rid of Avast and take advantage of the free Norton Security Suite that Comcast (my ISP) provides for free - seems like it may be an all-in-one option.

    My head is about to explode and I haven't eaten in hours, so please don't get annoyed that I may not be able to check back here until the morning, but I needed to get this question out.  I'm going nuts right now!

  2. Henry S. profile image80
    Henry S.posted 6 years ago

    I would suggest switching to Norton Security Suite if Comcast is giving it to you for free. In the mean time download Microsoft Security Essentials (update first) and do a full scan. Also remember that you shouldn't keep the same password for any of your accounts online it is a recipe for disaster.

  3. Kangaroo_Jase profile image82
    Kangaroo_Jaseposted 6 years ago

    Go read this Hub - Why Does Removing Computer Nasties Have To Be So Darn Confusing, from my page.

    It will take you through a step-by-step process of getting rid of infections on your computer.

    1. Lily Rose profile image84
      Lily Roseposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      Thank you! 

      Kangaroo_Jase - I'm going through the steps.  I ran CCleaner and just finished running a full malware scan (tokk 1.5 hours!) and it found 300+ adware files/programs, so I removed them.  I'm going back to your hub now to see what the next step is.

      By the way, are you familiar with Threatfire & Secunia?  In my panic yesterday I downloaded them after seeing them reviewed by Kim Komando...

      How do you feel about Norton Security Suite?  If I install it, will it take over and never let me get rid of it (that's what I heard)??

      1. puter_dr profile image84
        puter_drposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        If you do install the Norton product, and don't like it or the resources it takes, you should be able to uninstall it. If you use the uninstall function in control panel/ add/remove programs, and that doesn't do it, you can go to symantec.com and download the uninstaller for norton.

        1. Lily Rose profile image84
          Lily Roseposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          Thanks.  I'm going to check out what it offers first and decide if it has enough to consider it an all-in-one or if I should stick with avast plus several other apyware, malware, etc programs....I'm just so confused!

  4. skyfire profile image74
    skyfireposted 6 years ago

    Avoid Norton if you have choice. You can choose AVG or NOD32 instead. Secunia is good software but it's limited with functionality unless we pay for it.

    Also download a registry cleaner for clearing extra crap registry entries that comes with virus/spywares.

    For spyware/malware protection download:

    1. Malware Bytes Antimalware software
    2. Spybot search & destroy
    3. Adaware 2010

    1. Lily Rose profile image84
      Lily Roseposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      skyfire - do you think AVG is better than Avast?  I've thought that I read somewhere that AVG slows down your computer...

      I already downloaded Malware Bytes and Spybot, as per Kangaroo_Jase's recommendation.

      I checked out Adaware but it said that it detects viruses and I thought you shouldn't have more than one antivirus running on your computer because they could conflict??

      With all of these free programs, there's no "real time" detection, right?  I have to physically run them when I "remember" to?  That's kind of why I was considering Norton, so I don't have to remember to fun 5 different programs every week or few days...

      Lastly, will all of these protect me and my personal information that's stored on some websites like Amazon?  That's where this all started yesterday - someone hacked into my Amazon account and ordered something to be shipped to him/her as a "gift" from me!  It also shows that they paid for it with a credit card in my name, which I don't have, so I think somehow this person applied for a credit card in my name and used it....

      My brain is about to explode from all of this, so I'll be back in a few hours to check for responses...I just really need to unwind for a little bit right now.

      Thank you!

    2. Kangaroo_Jase profile image82
      Kangaroo_Jaseposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      CCleaner already has built in registry scan facility.

  5. WizardOfOz profile image62
    WizardOfOzposted 6 years ago


    I'm jumping in a bit late and I have a difference of opinion but here goes anyway.  Notice there are no links or anything so don't be alarmed as I say to avoid free anti virus.  In my experience, AVG is not going to help.  I have used Avast also.  Both of these, sorry, to clarify, they will help, yes, but they are not going to protect you from attack.  Likewise, a paid anti virus cannot protect you.  I use paid AV, not expensive and not perfect but it is a good start.  Unfortunately, anti-virus software and this goes for anti spy/malware, all that stuff, there is no perfect solution.  Mostly, these programs are reactive.  New malicious software is being churned out daily.  With a slight tweak, it will not get picked up en route to the dark corners of your computer.  There are many ways to protect yourself but this will require a change in habit.  Otherwise, try Norton (some people swear by it) or Trend Micro.  I like Kaspersky but I have read that Norton is better?  Depends on the journo I guess, and maybe the kickback?

    My two cents.  Cheers.  Mail me if you care to.

    1. Lily Rose profile image84
      Lily Roseposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      Thanks, WizardOfOz, I appreciate all the help and suggestions I can get right now.  Your hub was very informative, by the way!  I'm headed over to Comcast now to check out the Norton Suite they are offering for free...

  6. Kangaroo_Jase profile image82
    Kangaroo_Jaseposted 6 years ago

    At the end of the day, if you go with a paid anti-virus, they all usually come as a suite of applications now. Some have a better virus scanner, some have a better firewall, some have better tasks at finding malware, etc.

    Using a paid anti-virus, in conjunction with several free malware removal programs is a good way to get rid of (current) infections. Just don't use MORE than one paid or free AV program on the same computer, they will conflict with one another.

    I agree with WizardofOz's suggestion as well, there is no absolute, surefire way to get protected consistently and constantly. We are always playing oneupmanship with hackers and virus/malware creators. They bring out a new nastie, the AV companies bring out a new patch, yet in between that time, someone gets infected somewhere.

    At the end of the day, its about minimization, new nasties come out every day, so do new updates.

    As for paid anti-virus, it is certainly a users choice as to whether they buy from Kaspersky, Norton, Trend Micro, Nod32, or any other AV company, One needs to really look into each software and its specific protections and see if it is one that meets your needs.

    I have been in this game for geez, ages, but I am up on always checking out new software, whether free or paid, as I know if it helps me or offers aspects of protection (or removal) I have not seen before, I know I can recommend it to others.

    As for suggestions of Norton and AVG, neither of these two these days is a resource hog (not that I have seen on my own PC, or others I have seen use it), they used to be (2007 edition was such a pain in the *ss), but I find the 2010 editions don't adversely affect my PC. Also they can all be uninstalled as well if you do not like them.

    On a final note, Lily just wanted to mention happy to help out big_smile

    1. Lily Rose profile image84
      Lily Roseposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      Thanks so much, Kangaroo_Jase!  It's quite strange how I've never met anyone here at HP in person, but somehow I knew when all this crap happened that I could ask here and be able to trust some knowledgeable hubbers!

      So I ended up getting rid of Avast and I downloaded and installed the Norton Security Suite - as a Comcast customer (my ISP) I get the Norton Suite for free, so it's still free AV plus everything else that the suite includes.

      I now have Norton installed as well as CCleaner and Secunia.  Should I also have Spybot and/or Malwarebytes??

      1. Kangaroo_Jase profile image82
        Kangaroo_Jaseposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        Yes get both,

        Where one may not pick up certain items of malware, I find that others pick up the slack so to speak.

  7. Lily Rose profile image84
    Lily Roseposted 6 years ago

    Thanks, I will.  What I'm a little unclear on is whether or not these programs (Spybot, etc) run constantly or if I have to manually open them and run a scan...

    1. Kangaroo_Jase profile image82
      Kangaroo_Jaseposted 6 years ago in reply to this


      They usually operate as a 'resident program' which means they appear as those little icons on the bottom right hand side when you start your computer. Essentially though, they will sit there until such time as you start a manual scan. Or you can still use the icons to start each program from your desktop if the programs have created shortcuts to each.

  8. Lily Rose profile image84
    Lily Roseposted 6 years ago

    Thanks for clearing that up!  Again, I truly appreciate all of your help and great advice and tips.  I'm finally starting to calm down.

    1. Kangaroo_Jase profile image82
      Kangaroo_Jaseposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      big_smile wink

  9. WizardOfOz profile image62
    WizardOfOzposted 6 years ago

    Another thought,

    Take a look at Linux operating systems.  There is much better chance of being infected using Windows, Linux is not 100% but it is open source software (free and with a large community of tech savvy consumers).

    There are constant updates with Linux and in my experience, the drain on PC hardware is far less.  At first, I was a bit daunted by the idea but eventually, when I installed the new OS, I found there was nothing to be worried about.

    Within half hour, I booted the new OS on a partitioned drive (Windows and Linux).  I am not sure of your technical skills  and to be honest, I needed a bit of help from a friend.  The task of partitioning is not very technical but you might just ask someone with a little know how if you are like me.  I am no expert on the hard technical side of things.  Trying to get there though.  Long time since I was typing commands in DOS...

    I am dragging on now... Cheerio smile

  10. skyfire profile image74
    skyfireposted 6 years ago

    Linux does have script kiddies/viruses (not much in comparison to windows but still there are some serious one). Browser based spyware/malware are platform independent, so risk still exists even if we switch to linux. (If any OS platform gets large number of users then it attracts attention of anti-virus companies to create virus/spywares for that platform).

    Some add-ons(like compiz) to gnome/KDE does take resources. No matter what hardware specs are.

    Linux is uselessif there is no internet access to update softwares(even worst-there is no repository to access some softwares, in that case you've to rely on CD/DVD which you used for installation). Linux is more pain in the brain if you've no internet access and need some apps desperately to get your work done.

    1. WizardOfOz profile image62
      WizardOfOzposted 6 years ago in reply to this


      "Linux is useless with no Internet access."  How is it useless?  It doesn't suck as much resources from hardware as Microsoft so even if you don't have Internet access, you still have a more efficient OS and open source software.  How is that useless?

      You can still run windows apps in linux, if you need to.  I know the adobe suite runs better on its own partition so if you are a designer you could just install windows and adobe on a partition and run linux on another.

      I am unsure why no internet access is an issue.  Who doesn't have Internet access? 
      Why would you bother with AV with no internet access?  Without net access, no OS and no AV will update.  Not sure on what you mean there.

      Of course, you are right that there have been scripts written for linux but the extent to which is meaningless in a comparison to MS or MAC.  You could always boot up and play freecell if you don't want to use  resources hmm ?????

      You can order a boot disk for free or low cost, the install is simple and if your concern is viruses then you probably have internet access.  Yes, no??