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Advice Please :)

N/A

Advice Please :)

Hey all,

My poor PC got hit by something nasty the other day (2 days ago) - a bit of advice, NEVER let anyone else use your own PC... I did and that's when my trouble started.

I don't know what they did exactly but I got hit by viruses and spyware. I didn't have any AV (because Norton had been having hissy fits about a week ago - no real reason why, it just decided to stop playing ball). I managed to remove all the viruses and spyware with help from a few good tools. (I had disconnected myself from the net once I realised it'd been hit with something bad)

Anyhow, to the point - I've now repaired it all, just installed NOD32 to test for a replacement AV to Norton (as it's cheaper for a start). However, my question relates to Spam. I used to use Norton Antispam for this, however I'm looking for something faster and better. I've used Mailwasher before, it was okay but I want something that integrates with Outlook 2003. (I have 2 PCs I want protected from Spam, one uses Outlook 2003 and the other is Outlook Express).

So, what do you guys and gals recommend for good anti-spam solutions or all around good security solutions? (AV/Anti-Spyware/Anti-Spam/Firewalls). I have a DSL router acting as a firewall which seems to do it's job really quite well although too much security is never a bad thing IMO.

Another question is about F9's services - do they offer Anti-Spam type services for subscribers or is it part of a 'security' package and if so, what kind of things are in the package itself? (Is anyone else using it?)

I'm a little... twitchy as my PC here got hit so I want it covered on all bases that I possibly can. How much it costs doesn't bother me that much, I'm no billionaire but I'd rather pay to protect than pay the time to reinstall it all and get it all working again.

Any thoughts or ideas, please - let me know Smiley
14 REPLIES
N/A

Advice Please :)

Hello zombies,

YES!! Humm all too easy to be wise after the event sadly, and yes! NEVER let anyone else use your machine without being there & certainly dont let anyone else use your machine that you dont trust totally. Well your posting covers a massive number of areas, however here's my quick response.

1) Norton products, Humm! I gave up on them and dont like them any more. Far too much bloatware and I was REALLY shocked by how much faster my machine ran after I removed Norton AV!! Phew!!. Symantec made Norton AV a nightmare to remove and when things do go wrong I found getting any useful support almost impossible. The symantec website is terrible for support as they only want to sell you something more.

Secondly, each year the subscription to their update service got more and more expensive and when they added on £10 just becuase I wanted to pay by debit card and not credit card that was the last staw that broke the camels back.

**I replaced Norton 2002 with AVG free version which is made by Grisoft. This program is every bit as good if not BETTER than norton AV. Apart from being free for personal use, it has an inbound & outbound email scanner, on demand scanner, free almost daily updates over the web, the program is very fast to scan, the package is very well documented, has a rescue disk for CD etc,etc. Download & Installation was perfect.

URL is http://free.grisoft.com

**For an excellent software firewall I use ZoneLabs free basic firewall which I have been using for many years and it works fantastically. The best point about ZoneAlarm basic firewall is that it uses a very powerful technique called stateful packet inspection which is far more robust than packet filering methods used in some firewalls. The basic no frills ZoneAalrm firewall is still free and is now on version 6.0 (I'm still using version 2.361 but wouldnt change it as its so reliable set it and forget it)

URL is http://www.zonelabs.com

**For safe removal of many nasties I use the excellent AD Aware by Lavasoft, this is also free for personal use and has weekly free updates too.

http://www.lavasoft.com

PS:- I have been using Mailwasher since its first creation and am still a huge fan of this program, IMO Its the best available program of its type. The main reason I like it is that its features and functions have been well thought out and its very user friendly, intuitive to use and it works extremely well.

Yes! I have looked at other anti spam programs such as the freeware K9 but gave up on them as they were and are far to complex and found they didnt work as well as mailwasher.

**Yes! if you dont already have the F9 Plusnet Anti spam & Anti Virus services on your present account I would change account for that very reason alone. I did and am pleased with the results, the F9 service is very good and provides part of my mutilayered approach to spam & anti virus protection (server level protection and local machine level protection via mailwasher & AV software).

Ivan
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Advice Please :)

Thanks for your reply cyteck.

We used to use AVG at my workplace until the council decreed that we had to use their 'LEA licensed' version - eTrust AV. It's okay but I'm not sure it has E-Mail scanning and it does seem to eat resources for fun.

I've got spyware pretty much covered with antispyware, Ad-Aware.

I've decided to trial NOD32 for a bit, it's fast and seems to do the job for several of my friends so I figured I should give it a blast.

I'm currently trialling SpamFighter for anti-spam, so far it's done better than Norton ever did, so I won't be going back to Symantec anymore.

As for firewall, I don't have a software firewall - I do have a hardware firewall (Netgear DSL Wireless Router) which seems to work really well, so I'm not sure if I need 2 layers of firewalling here.

Can the F9 service be configured per-user (if I want to block things that it might not catch - can I?) or is it hard-set by F9 and you can't change it?

Cheers.
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Advice Please :)

Hi Again,

Just for your information I would definately rate AVG free Anti Virus product as better than Norton, and YES! AVG does definately have a built in email scanner for both incoming & outgoing emails, infact it integrates with my version of MS-Outlook 2002 seemlessly. AVG also marks your emails as having been checked too. No! I think your wrong about AVG using alot of resources, infact AVG's foot print on my system seems minimal.

**The F9 Anti Spam and Anti Virus services are hard set by Plusnet so you cannot configure them. But seing as they are setup at the server level by the providor I guess that does make sense.

**A software firewall like ZoneAlarm is actually quite a good idea to have in place even on a small home network. Yes! the firewalls built into routers are good for certain types of attack but you can never be too careful and IMO having a mutiple layer of protection is not a bad idea. And seing as ZA is free you have little too loose and lots to gain TBH.

Ivan
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Advice Please :)

I didn't say AVG consumed resources - I could've worded that sentence better. What I meant was that e-Trust (the AV we use at work now), seems to take up lots of resources and I have no idea if it even scans E-Mail. I'm familiar with AVG and have found it to be good, as you say, it's fast, takes up little resources and it just plain 'works' - no extra bells or whistles - gets the job done.

I've got ZA somewhere - version 2.6 I think (or maybe 3.6) one of them, it's the free one but I never upgraded it and once I got my hardware firewall, I ditched ZA because I didn't think I'd need it. I'm going to have a trawl and see if I can find my old version of ZA (as you're using an older version because it's stable, I think I used to use the same version for the same reason).

I'm currently happy with my AV solution (trialling NOD32), although AVG would've definately been on my shortlist to try. Ditching Norton makes me PC work so much better - takes less time to do things, which means I can actually get on with things without having to worry.

Incidentally, I had to run through my registry to fully remove all traces of Norton, what fun that was, even their own 'removal' tool doesn't fully remove everything. The uninstall does uninstall - but still leaves bits hanging around that's horribly unclean - only thing of Norton I have now is just the Systemworks Utils, mainly for the protected recycle bin and various diagnostic tools.

I'm trialling SpamFighter for my anti-spam solution and so far I've only had to tell it 2 E-Mails were spam and 4 were not (as in, they were ones it identified as spam, but they're part of a mailing list I subscribe to). It works well and is very quick.
N/A

Advice Please :)

Hello Again,

So sounds like your moving forwards with things OK, Yes! agree Norton removal is horrible and I can quite believe what you say about how it leaves rubbish in the registry. IMO a good programmer creates a good install & removal routine that doesnt leave all that mess in its wake.

**ZA 2.6 is a fantastic version of the free product, its about as close as set it & forget it as is possible. Im NOT very keen on the newer versions of the same software becuase zone labs have changed the GUI and made it far less user friendly in my opinion, plus there seems to be adverts plastered all over it too and lots of nags to get you to buy a paid version with all the useless bells & whistles which I dont want myself.

**If you want a copy of ZA 2.631 I can supply it for you, if you want it drop me a PM or email me.

Ivan
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Advice Please :)

Thanks of the offer Ivan, I've actually already got this one (I used it for years happily before I got my DSL router).

I've taken your advice, installed ZA, configured it, had to mess about a bit for my VPN connections but it's all running nicely now.

I checked out my router and it's firewall is SPI and ZA is also SPI, so I'd say I'm pretty well protected now, the router will do for the rest of the household but my PC is used for more than just the odd game. I can't afford to lose it, so much so that I have 2 installations of the same OS. One is configured for gaming (which has no internet configured - deliberately). The other is used for anything not to do with gaming which is all work-related.

I'm happy with my AV, my anti-spam, my anti-spyware and now my firewalls - forgot how reassuring it was to have that little icon on my taskbar monitoring my traffic.

(As for Nortons' Uninstall - apparently it leaves alot of it there to stop you just uninstalling and reinstalling Norton, trying to get a 'free' year out of it although why it leaves a bunch of services I'll never know. On a side-note to this, I've learnt how to rip Norton out of the registry and purge it - so it wasn't all bad.)
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Advice Please :)

Hi again,

Glad to hear things are going well for you, now ALL you need is to make sure you have a good solid backup system in place? :lol:

You'd be suprised just how many people forget to even think about some form of backup no matter how basic it might be. Oh! & if your running win XP I wouldnt rely on its restore feature. But I personaly do like the ASR (automated system recovery set) feature and I have actually used this in anger in conjunction with my daily backup routine. I had my whole system restored back to the previous days working state within 20mins which isnt too bad and I can live with that in my book.

Ivan
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Advice Please :)

I have a backup solution in-place, might not be the fastest going but it works.
An external USB2 250GB Hard Disk - uses MSBackup to backup to another PC, then backs that PC up to the ext hard disk (that way I can carry on working during the PC -> hard disk transfer. I'd rather get a tape drive though but IDE ones are slow and I don't have a dedicated time-slot during a day that I can backup (sure, I can whilst I'm at work but not during a weekend).

Are the days of slow (IDE) tape drives a thing of the past or are they not? (Obviously SCSI would be the way to go but the expense with that is far too much)
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Advice Please :)

Hi again,

NOP!! there are still plenty on commercial companies that still use tape backup systems for their business data.

Ivan
John_McKenna
Newbie
Posts: 5
Registered: 30-07-2007

Advice Please :)

Hi Zombies,

I'd just like to add a little peice about NOD32 if I may.

Although AVG is a cracking free anti-virus programme, it's mushy peas compared to NOD. Over the last 5-7 years, nothing has come even close to outperforming NOD in tests carried out by industry leading independent testers Virus Bulletin. In their 100% VB tests, NOD32 hasn't missed a single 'in-the-wild' virus since 1998. What the means to you the consumer is that it detects viri which haven't even been formally identified yet which is extrememly reassuring.

When deciding on an anti-virus program I always feel it's good to evaluate what you use the internet for exactly. If you use the net mainly for email and light internet 'safe surfing' to recognised sites, AVG is more than enough protection. However, if like many others you like to download music and surf the odd 'dodgy' site :lol: , a NOD32 license should definately be somewhere in your thinking. The interface can be a little hard to navigate even for experienced users but when it comes to detection and protection, it's second to none.

If you decide to keep NOD32, you can find their support pages at Wilders Security Forums. They have some excellent tutorials on the program's configuration.

Hope this helps.
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Advice Please :)

cytek: We use SCSI at my workplace for backup, it's fast and effective but I think I'll plug my USB2 Hard Disk into the PC and back it up that way on a daily basis at around 2PM (that way I can give it 4 hours and can use it when I get home). Quite what I'll use for backup I'm not sure - NTBackup seems the way to go, any reason I'd want something else?

Force99: Thanks for your views on NOD, I've been running it for just over a week and I'm well impressed with it. Running it in conjunction with SpamFighter, Ad-Aware, MS AntiSpyware and Zone Alarm firewall it works absolutely great. Doesn't hog my system resources and doesn't cause me any trouble. You're right that the interface isn't the most user friendly but I've worked with worse - I found it easy to configure and now it just sits there - working happily. A NOD32 license is definately in my thoughts, once I'm happy with SpamFighter also (I prefer to buy everything at once, so only have to worry about 1/2 dates for subscription renewal) then I'll go and get myself a NOD32 license certainly.
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Advice Please :)

use linux Smiley

no spyware issues then Smiley
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Advice Please :)

OK!! Ha!! Ha!! How will LINUX prevent spyware then? :roll:
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Advice Please :)

splink: Thanks for the suggestion there, been there, done that. I use Windows because it's what I work with day in, day out, so using it at home makes alot of sense for me. I still use Linux for some of my development (read: hobby) stuff but that's about it.