Archive for the Category ◊ free security software ◊

When I am cleaning up computers from the slowdown of malware and unwanted programs, there is one consistent thing I find in common.

There are usually several programs, toolbars, search assistants and more that are loaded onto the computer, without the user’s knowledge.

Most users never use the stuff, and don’t need it. Almost all of it is garbage and just slows things down on the computer and many track what you are doing.

Some of the common things that load uninvited are Google, Yahoo or MSN’s toolbars, Google desktop, Search helpers, disk defraggers, registry cleaners and more.

Google products are so intrusive, they can be hard to remove, including scheduled tasks, that most people don’t realize even exist, and it is another thing that will slow the system down.

One of the main ways these junk programs get on your systems is when you try to download a program that you need. Something such as Adobe Reader or Adobe Flash. Even big name software will try to include crud you don’t need.

When you download a file, you have to be a detective on the page and make sure you do not click on anything but the actual download link. They disguise other links that say DOWNLOAD NOW, and they download one of these other programs.

In the mean time, your program will download and you will have the program you wanted, and something else.

Here is an example of this, and what is crazy, it happens on more than one page, just to get one file. Let’s say you need to get the Mega Codec pack to make your videos work correctly.

You search on Google, and here is the top choice, below. Note all the Red X’s. Those are all links you do not want, and have nothing to do with your download. You need to look carefully when clicking.

In this case you have to click on a mirror or another site that actually has the file that you can download.

Ok, you made it through the first mine field, now you get a second page, the one that should have the file you want. Hmmmmm. Looks a bit familiar huh?

Now look at the above page, and how many Red X’s do we have here? There is only one link to actually download the file, and even it is not really obvious. The green circle is the download button.

As you can see, many things on a website look “legit” but they are just junk begging you to download them and slow down or infect your computer.

Now you need to have Adobe Flash if you are going to do anything on the Internet, including watching videos. Let’s go to the Adobe site and Download Adobe Flash:

 

Here we go again, and this is Adobe doing it as you are trying to download it. You need to UNCHECK any free software helper junk they are trying to push on you. Uncheck the “include in your download.”

Let’s say you got through both minefields of crud to download a file, and now you have the program saved on your computer. You double click the icon to install it. Let’s use good ol’ Ccleaner, a program I like, as an example.

 

This one is a bit sneakier. They try to put it on your computer after you download it, during the installation. Most of us just Click Install>NEXT>NEXT>OK>Done. We never really look at what it is asking us. I find myself doing this at times, and it can get you in trouble.

Ccleaner is a very good and reputable program, but Google and other companies make money each time someone installs it on their system or they pay a certain amount of money to have the software include the junk on their webpage or inside the software.

Why do they do this? Because they get free data from you, your surfing habits, demographics, and then they push out ads to you on the sides of web pages. Your free information makes people like Google Rich.

The key to safe downloading is to be careful, and watch what you download and make sure you uncheck any extra programs they try to install.

Hopefully these tips and examples will help you keep you computer a little cleaner!

Microsoft & Security Software – Another Gilligan’s Rerun
Saturday, February 21st, 2009 | Author:

Microsoft Drops Live OneCare Security product and will offer new free version of some new revamped security software. This is like seeing a rerun of Gilligan’s Island for the 15th time.

Like Gilligan’s Island, this is funny, predictable, entertaining, and always a catastrophe brewing. But the software is not really going to help keep your PC secure. Microsoft has tried to make Antivirus security programs for many years now, and each time, they have failed.

They have tried the free version, the pay version and the part free, part pay version, since back in the early 90’s. They all have been lousy programs that do not protect your computer well.

I have been a strong advocate against Window’s Live OneCare for a long time now, and Microsoft has announced that they are dropping the retail security software in June of this year.

The not surprising news is that they are coming out with a free program code named “Morro”. Microsoft has hired a guy from McAfee to oversee their Security Research & Response Team.

Microsoft has bought out many little Antivirus security companies that made good software, and then ran the products into the ground only to end up with watered-down, poor software.

I would strongly suggest not using this free product when it becomes widely available. It will be cheap and appealing to save a few bucks. However, as the old saying goes, “You get what you pay for!”

Remember, with Internet security, you pay $35-$60 a year, which is about $3-$5 a month, for peace of mind, safety, and keeping your computer and information protected. That is not a bad investment.

I still stand by Trend Micro Internet Security. Trend by the way, did not get the best review from PC World recently. The problem with the PC World review is that there is no comparison or discussion about how well the product performs. How easy is it to uninstall or troubleshoot a problem you might have? How easy is it for the average user to understand and use? How much does the program slow down the computer, and how much memory do you really need to run it?
Another issue I see is that PC World accepts advertising, and oddly enough there is not a lot of Trend Micro advertising in that magazine.

With the computers that come in the shop, I see fewer problems with Trend. I have tried them all, and sold both McAfee and Norton/Symantec, and I still feel Trend is one of the best products available, with everything considered. I have run AVG Free, F-Secure, Kaspersky, Panda, and they all have issues. There is no perfect product out there, but I do still highly recommend Trend.

Internet Security Tips

Whatever program you use for Internet Security, make you do the following:

  • Have good, current version of a paid-up Anti-virus/Internet Security program
  • Have it turned on and receiving automatic updates of the virus definitions
  • Have it set to automatically perform a full scan of the computer weekly
  • Make sure your Microsoft Windows updates are turned on (you can find the settings in Control Panel>Automatic Updates)

Here is a good article on the new Microsoft Free Antivirus that is coming soon: