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Security Settings Question

PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 4:21 am
by Spark
This regards an XP Pro desktop and an XP Pro laptop that are used in the home on a wireless DSL network which is locked down.

Browser is IE 8 / Google

email - gmail/IE6

I am using the following utilities:

Zone Alarm (free)
AVG (free)
Super Anti Spyware (free)
Malwarebytes (free)
Spyware Blaster (free)

My Questions:

I recently had a bad nasty of some type where it locked up one of the PC's. The only thing I was able to do was get into safe mode where I saved my necessary files and folders before reloading the O.S.

At the time I was using Windows Firewall that I was trying out for about 6 months. I don't know if that was the reason I caught that nasty but I did. I have since gone back to Zone Alarm (free) but in going over my browsers security settings I was wondering which would be stronger settings, Default on all or go through and set up Custom settings?

I know the pay version utilities do a better job but in the past did an acceptable job until now.

Suggestions are appreciated........Thanks

PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 6:10 am
by Karlsweldt
IE is a big "target" to hackers and virus purveyors. "The bigger the target, the better to hit it" is a catch-phrase among hackers! Same with most other big corporation products.. not only software.
If using IE, set the security levels to "medium-high" for best all-around security, after resetting to default. Keep user accounts separate, and password-protected if a family-used system. Adults usually have the good sense to avoid pop-up ads, but the youths are too curious.. and invite trouble. Avoid third-party cookies and such, they are not trusted.
Best to use Firefox as the primary browser, or similar.. such as Chrome or other. Being open-source, there is no joy in cracking code on them for hackers.
IE saves all the "trash" from Web sessions. You can preset the conditions to delete all info on close of a browser session.. otherwise, you have to manually do so when needed. Have seen systems with hundreds of megs of useless duplicated files saved by IE. What a waste of drive space!
When deleting viral files, remember to disable the 'restore' feature of Windows until after assuring the "bugs" are gone. Otherwise, Windows will undo all your efforts on the next normal reboot! "Safe" mode is best to rid a system of infection, as most viral forms are dormant and very susceptible to deletion.
Most free security programs are adequate, but a purchased program is more secure, with more features. And with multiple computers in a setup, getting a "package" deal on security is less expensive than individual programs.
With any wireless setup, ensure that allowed users are the only ones that can access the net. Otherwise, any person passing within the signal zone can get in the 'group' and cause problems.. or dump a virus on your system!!

PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:33 am
by Hardware Junkie
The other big thing is that XP is stuck with IE8. IE9 is not compatible with XP, so you are never going to get an update.
I recently switched from Firefox to Chrome, because FF is starting to feel a little bloated.

Super Anti Spyware, Malwarebytes and Spyware Blaster all running is pretty redundant. I would have them installed but not running at the same time.
Zone Alarm and AVG as well. I would just pick one.

Even the most heavily protected PC can get infected if you go to the wrong place.