The awesome How-To Geek had a very good post on lifehacker the other day, which I think worths a post space here spreading the word, loudly.
What he basically claimed in the post was
When it comes to keeping your Windows PC secure, all of the scare tactics and overblown virus stories out there make it hard to feel safe online. The fact of the matter is that you don’t need to pay for Windows security.
And he backs up with 6 reasons.
1. Microsoft Security Essentials is a GREAT anti-virus application
MSE is a important release from Microsoft. It closes one gap that should have been filled for a long time. It’s an all-in-one complete application that protects your PC against not only viruses, spyware, but also other malware too. And,
You don’t have to take my word for it, however. Not only did AV-Test.org find that it detects 98% of their enormous malware database, but AV-Comparatives (a widely known anti-malware testing group) found that MSE was one of only three products that did well at both finding and removing malware, including the leftovers. It was also the only free product to grab their “Advanced+” ratingâ€”the top honor for an anti-malware solution.
Besides, you also have many other free options like AVG and Avast!.
2. Stop whining about â€œoutboundâ€ firewalls
This is a good one. I have been wondering the same too why being able to handling outbound connection in a PC is so important to many people, and why people still use either paid or free 3rd party firewall software to enhance their security. The fact is:
if you just look through your start menu you’ll find a link for Windows Firewall with Advanced Security. You can head into there and pretty much configure any setting that you can possibly imagine, getting right down to the port level if you want.
The fact of the matter, however, is that outbound firewalls on a desktop PC are Completely Pointless. If the malware has made its way onto your computer, you have already lost the war. Your PC now belongs to whoever is running the botnet, and your outbound firewall isn’t going to stop itâ€”after all, the malware can simply add a rule to the firewall to allow access. It’s better to focus on keeping malware off your PC in the first place.
Therefore, 1) Windows built-in Firewall is good enough, and 2) you don’t need to worry about outbound connections on your firewall too much.
3. User Account Control (UAC) is NOT a security tool
For those people out there who don’t run any anti-virus software on their computer because of UAC,
So please, do yourself a favor, either install an good free anti-virus software or push the bar all the way to the top.
4. Keep Windows Updated
Needless to say, make sure Windows Update is turned on and reboot your computer at least once a week. Note that MSE data update is also part of the Windows Update.
5. Keep applications like Acrobat and Flash updated, or uninstall them
Here is the point:
Keeping your applications updated is critically important to protecting your security. Your firewall won’t protect you, and an antivirus software is unlikely to help if you’re using an old, vulnerable version of Flash in your browser
And what you need is a tool that scans your computer and make sure that you are using the latest versions.
6. Stop Downloading Questionable Files
It’s quite common sense but still a few his hints would help us a bit more.
How have I managed that, while being a geek and testing software all the time? There’s a couple of simple rules that will protect you:
- Use an online scanner like VirusTotal to scan questionable files before installing them.
- Don’t download and install those questionable files in the first place.
- Use some common sense. That pre-release copy of the latest video game you got from a torrent? Yeah, it probably has a virus in it.
So here is the conclusion, â€œStop paying for Windows security.â€ Period! Save that money for good use.