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Good security practices.

Posted 10-15-2012 at 08:36 PM by ReaperX7

Often people wonder how to really effectively protect their PCs regardless of what operating system they have on it. People think, "I can buy or download this one program and automatically I'm fully protected." They never realize how wrong they are. Just installing a toolkit doesn't give you the best protection possible. here's a few basic ways I've found to really stretch the abilities of your toolkits to not only give you proper protection, but full administration over what goes on in your system.

Most of these regardless of what kind usually come with Heuristics set to the lowest possible setting. I've found that as malware evolves, often putting higher levels of detection and more thorough scanning abilities can find and track malware down better than going with the defaults.

You have to update often if not each day or at least every other day. Missing definitions can leave you vulnerable. If you can, always have the auto update start upon startup of the system if you can. This way your tools can get what they need rapidly and quickly. If a boot-time quick memory scan is offered, run it.

Just because you bought it doesn't mean it's better. Often people get a misconception freeware, open source, and even shareware antivirus tools can be some of the most powerful tools on the market. Do research into which anti-virus tools work best for all forms of malware and which has the highest rating in not just consumer ratings, but in user reviews, and even word of mouth.

Passive protection is good practice. Often we think it's easier to clean up a mess after the fact, but prevention will save you headaches in the long run. Programs like script and ad blockers can prevent things like malicious scripts and ads from loading onto your PC, even sometimes stopping pop-ups in the process. Ads and pop-ups have been used heavily with scripts for drive-by downloaders for malware. Also, learn to read up on how to set up your HOSTS (Win32) files or RESOLV.CONF and nsswitch.conf (UNIX) to blacklist malicious known websites. Spybot Search and Destroy has a huge database that can be used and even imported to UNIX from a Windows install. Often this will even block ads and pop-ups, but not always. Also, learn how to set up Firefox and it's many clones to prevent automatic actions. Even having authentication for opening a new tab is a good practice.

Use a firewall. Even if a basic one, it's better than nothing. However, be aware that some firewalls can be broken, if they are software based, more easily than ones that are hardware based, like the ones included in Routers or kernel based like iptables.

Remember, there is no magic bullet. Practicing "safe internet usage" is key to maintaining security, not only for yourself, but others also. Only install reputable software onto machines, limit users per machine, and even then, enforce in-house policies for internet usage even at home. Kids can often wander into what they think is a cool website ran by elite hackers only to find out they are now hosting malware for that hacker unwittingly. Be a parent that's responsible and tell your kids to visit safe websites only, and enforce the rule.

Security starts and stops with you, and while tools exist, you must be the one to drive on this two way street, and you must still drive with care.
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