Toledo Talk

Anti-virus/spyware software

What do you guys use for anti-virus/spyware software on your home computers?

Recently my 2 major credit cards (Discover and Visa) have had fraudulent activity. The first time it happened was the beginning of November. I was traveling at the time and figured someone must have gotten the number when I was using it in an airport or something. Then last week, my other credit card (Visa) got hit. So I figured I must have a virus on the computer. I normally don't use the Visa on the computer but I did use it at the end of November to make plane reservations.

I scanned the computer with AVG and AdAware (both free versions) and they found nothing. Someone suggested XOftSpy which reported a Trojan Spam virus when I ran it. Last night I reinstalled the factory provided OS, enabled Norton Security which came with the computer and then enabled the internet. Next, I downloaded the Norton updates and the Microsoft updates (I'm running Windows 7) and downloaded Firefox. This a.m. I decided to run XOftSpy again and guess what -- if found the same virus! A Norton scan finds nothing. I'm suspicious of XOftSpy because to clean the virus you need to purchase it.

So I'm going to reload the OS again this p.m. But I really want to find some anti-virus/spyware that I can trust. I'm very careful about what websites I visit and rarely download apps. I've never gotten a destructive virus before.

I don't really like Norton because it is such a hog. I'm thinking about the pay version of AVG. Any recommendations/experiences? Thanks.

created by surfer341 on Dec 19, 2011 at 09:06:43 am     Technology     Comments: 32

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If a program is telling you that there is a bug on your system and then mandating you purchase the software to remove it I would be extremely leary of the software.

I'm goign to ruffle a few feathers here, but just as a warning, Firefox is not as secure as people think. It's a step up from the Chrome browser, but not as secure as the native IE on Win7.

If you want a free AV program I would look to Microsoft Security Essentials, its the free home version of their Forefront product. It doesn't have an expiration on it, runs on all of their OSes from XP on, and has a fairly small footprint for drive and resource use.

Disclaimer I'm a Microsoft guy, we're talking MCSE and MCITP:SA. So I know these products well enough, but remember this is an on-line forum so I would take any advice with a little bit of skepticism.

posted by apophistoledo on Dec 19, 2011 at 09:43:46 am     #  

Malwarebytes located and destroyed some pesky viruses I picked up that no other software program could find (or at least completely eliminate). They produce both free and retail versions (I forked out the cash for the pay version if for no other reason than I was loyal after they saved two machines).

I also recommend RKill for those viruses that hijack your desktop with a fake "security" error message. Be sure to download a copy to an external drive so that you can quickly upload it if your laptop or PC gets hijacked. This program instantaneously shuts down the hijacking software to allow you the freedom to then run your antivirus.

posted by historymike on Dec 19, 2011 at 10:47:12 am     #  

Do a remote scan from here first. http://housecall.trendmicro.com/ It will check a couple places that installed software usually don't check, and its free. I highly recommend their anti virus also be installed different versions run from $25 to $47 (on sale right now prices), but they are consistently rated as one of the best.

posted by roygbiv on Dec 19, 2011 at 10:54:41 am     #   1 person liked this

I use a combination of three or four.
Spybot R & D
Malwarebytes
Adaware
Forefront

Make sure to keep these up to date along with your system files.

Also, I recommend CCcleaner to clean out the junk. This improves computer performance and makes the virus checks faster!

posted by ilovetoledo on Dec 19, 2011 at 11:38:42 am     #  

Another one would be Avest!.. I've been using that for a couple years, and it's been working pretty good. It comes with a Free version, or you can 'upgrade' to a paid version.

posted by drunkenwildmage on Dec 19, 2011 at 12:10:36 pm     #  

aww..crap.. miss spelled.. I meant Avast!

posted by drunkenwildmage on Dec 19, 2011 at 12:11:22 pm     #  

I second everything that historymike posted. Those are the best programs for removing.

In my experience Norton is basically worthless. Currently I'm running Symantec but that's because work pays for it. There is no "free" antivirus anymore that actually works - you'll have to pay for it.

My mother-in-law just bought a laptop and I put AVG on it. No problems for her.

posted by idinspired on Dec 19, 2011 at 12:22:14 pm     #  

Avast me mateys, I like avast, and follow up with malwarebytes (MBAM), and spybot. I had adaware long time ago but they got bloated, norton/mcafee are the definition of bloatware. Used to run AVG but they pretty much got full of themselves and more worried about image than working well in my opinion.

posted by Linecrosser on Dec 19, 2011 at 12:43:56 pm     #  

Lol just notices you said norton was worthless but you run Symantec, they are the same company.

posted by Linecrosser on Dec 19, 2011 at 12:45:30 pm     #  

Yep, and basically worthless but work pays for it. Luckily I haven't had any issues outside of spyware knocks on wood.

posted by idinspired on Dec 19, 2011 at 12:47:41 pm     #  

I knew someone that had the internet security thing, took over his computer had hell just trying to get online most of the time.

posted by Linecrosser on Dec 19, 2011 at 12:49:35 pm     #  

AVG, AND KEEP IT UP TO DATE!

posted by anonymouscoward on Dec 19, 2011 at 12:50:00 pm     #  

Avast (it will update itself, and it's free), Malwarebytes, Super AntiSpyware, use Firefox with AdBlockPlus add on.

posted by smbfc on Dec 19, 2011 at 12:52:14 pm     #  

apophistoledo posted at 08:43:46 AM on Dec 19, 2011:

If a program is telling you that there is a bug on your system and then mandating you purchase the software to remove it I would be extremely leary of the software.

I'm goign to ruffle a few feathers here, but just as a warning, Firefox is not as secure as people think. It's a step up from the Chrome browser, but not as secure as the native IE on Win7.

If you want a free AV program I would look to Microsoft Security Essentials, its the free home version of their Forefront product. It doesn't have an expiration on it, runs on all of their OSes from XP on, and has a fairly small footprint for drive and resource use.

Disclaimer I'm a Microsoft guy, we're talking MCSE and MCITP:SA. So I know these products well enough, but remember this is an on-line forum so I would take any advice with a little bit of skepticism.

"secure as the native IE on Win7"

HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAH HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAH .*gasp gasp* AHAHAAHHAHAHAHHAHA

And since IE is the operating system due to Microsoft's integration, any hole in Windows is a hole in IE and vice versa. It took Microsoft to make the "email virus" from a hoax into reality, after all.

posted by anonymouscoward on Dec 19, 2011 at 12:55:25 pm     #  

I agree with A.C. I'm converting everyone that I support to Macs with ESET (Mac ver. of NOD32). If I could get them to use NetBSD or FreeBSD, then that's what they would use. They are both free. FreeBSD is the basis for Mac OS X - a version is used for iOS devices, iPhone, iPad, iWhatever...

The most brilliant thing Jobs ever did was take over Apple and MAKE them use a version of his NeXT Computer OS. Again, the basis for all the iToys that propelled Apple beyond M.S. in a couple of years.

Paul Hem
The Blade

posted by paulhem on Dec 19, 2011 at 01:06:09 pm     #   1 person liked this

I'm not going as far as to join the Cult of Steve Jobs, but there's a lot to be said for Mac OS X. Win7 isn't bad either, a definite improvement on XP, but IE itself, as well as Outlook/Exchange, are viral vectors. Then again, Adobe Acrobat and Flash are HUGE security holes these days. What I'm seeing though are morons using Bittorrent and Soulseek and that garbage to download Photoshop and games and other stuff and getting viruses and malware through whatever they download, and of course they have no or outdated antivirus/security software because security software/firewalls interfere with P2P.

posted by anonymouscoward on Dec 19, 2011 at 01:53:10 pm     #  

paulhem posted at 12:06:09 PM on Dec 19, 2011:

I agree with A.C. I'm converting everyone that I support to Macs with ESET (Mac ver. of NOD32). If I could get them to use NetBSD or FreeBSD, then that's what they would use. They are both free. FreeBSD is the basis for Mac OS X - a version is used for iOS devices, iPhone, iPad, iWhatever...

The most brilliant thing Jobs ever did was take over Apple and MAKE them use a version of his NeXT Computer OS. Again, the basis for all the iToys that propelled Apple beyond M.S. in a couple of years.

Paul Hem
The Blade

Jesus Christ, is this the biggest load of Cult of Jobs revisionist history I've ever read or what?

Okay, first things first: Apple had several projects for a "next generation OS" going. Taligent and Copland come to mind.

Second, Steve Jobs didn't take over Apple and MAKE them use OPENSTEP (the NeXT OS). Apple was shopping around for a new OS after canning their in-house projects, and they looked really hard at BeOS (which was a fairly good OS at the time) before buying NeXT. Steve Jobs didn't come with NeXT, he came on as a consultant/advisor and after Gil Amelio left the board brought him on as interim CEO and then formalized it.

posted by anonymouscoward on Dec 19, 2011 at 02:02:13 pm     #   1 person liked this

I liked BeOS, could run like 10 copies of a video on a pentium class computer with now slow down. Its a shame it fell apart after Apple decided not to go with it. It was being tailored for Apple they did try to continue on but they ended up selling it to Sony I think. A open source version is still being worked on but its still a work in progress and will take forever to complete it seems, being worked on mostly by enthuseists.

posted by Linecrosser on Dec 19, 2011 at 02:20:43 pm     #  

Opps sold to Palm.

posted by Linecrosser on Dec 19, 2011 at 02:21:17 pm     #  

Linecrosser posted at 01:20:43 PM on Dec 19, 2011:

I liked BeOS, could run like 10 copies of a video on a pentium class computer with now slow down. Its a shame it fell apart after Apple decided not to go with it. It was being tailored for Apple they did try to continue on but they ended up selling it to Sony I think. A open source version is still being worked on but its still a work in progress and will take forever to complete it seems, being worked on mostly by enthuseists.

HOLY HAND GRENADE OF ANTIOCH, LINECROSSER AND I LIKE SOMETHING IN COMMON, THE SIXTH SEAL HAS OPENED!

It booted insanely fast and was great at multimedia, but of course the lack of app support doomed it.

posted by anonymouscoward on Dec 19, 2011 at 02:25:47 pm     #   2 people liked this

I've been using Avira and Malwarebytes and really like each of them. I would recommend doing both so that way you are protected almost completely.

posted by JustaSooner on Dec 19, 2011 at 02:55:49 pm     #  

I'm converting everyone that I support to Macs...

Why? What did they ever do to you?

I use STOPZilla. I've never had a good experience with Symantec software in the past 15 years; prior to that, the company produced a solid product. I'm on Windoze XP Pro.

The products HistoryMike mentioned are good as well.

posted by madjack on Dec 19, 2011 at 03:10:50 pm     #  

For a one time removal use combofix.exe from bleepingcomputer.com you have to download a new one ever time you use it. Very efective tool

posted by paul333 on Dec 19, 2011 at 03:29:58 pm     #  

err Effective tool....cant freaking spell...

posted by paul333 on Dec 19, 2011 at 03:41:48 pm     #  

Hey AC. Actually, I loved BeOS, but it was not to be... Anyway, here's the BeOS guy who is saying the same thing I did. Neither of us are Jobs' fans.

"Gassée: Thank God Apple chose Steve Jobs’s NeXT over my BeOS"

Apple acquired NeXT, but in fact Steve took over and we know what happened. By re-acquiring Apple, NeXTSTEP finally produced the kind of fruit that justified the labor that went into it. This was very nice technology that had trouble finding its footing.

posted by paulhem on Dec 19, 2011 at 03:53:03 pm     #  

Thanks for all the suggestions -- you guys great.

At this point I'm not that interested in getting this 'virus' removed since I'm going to do a clean OS install. I just really wish I knew I had a virus because I'd like to know for sure how my credit card numbers were stolen. In fact, I was almost relieved when a virus was found.

I'm not a big fan of IE, even v9. I'm an ex-MS software developer and I'm just leery of IE even though it's been 10 years since I worked there. I've always used FireFox but the past couple versions seem to be getting bloated. I know a lot of people use v3 of Firefox (the earliest version still supported).

I don't want to get into the MS/Mac debate. Many of my retired co-workers are huge Mac fans. But I think it was basically two different philosophies towards software and hardware. At least in the late 1980's and 1990's, MS encouraged outside development for both hardware and software. Apple strictly controlled what hardware was available and most of the software. Jobs was a control freak. It resulted in elegant designs and implementation. It's also a lot easier to write secure software when you know exactly what's in your computing environment.

Anyways, thanks for the suggestions. I'll check them all out.

posted by surfer341 on Dec 19, 2011 at 04:54:14 pm     #  

What "virus" is this XOftSpy claiming to find? Some of these programs "find" "spyware" or "viruses" in even a default clean install of Windows and usually it's a false alarm or some stupid tracking cookie crap that Microsoft put in there.

posted by anonymouscoward on Dec 19, 2011 at 05:06:56 pm     #  

It says that c:\users\'mycomputername'\appdata\local\tmp1 is infected with the Trojan Spam virus. Tmp1 is a folder with a file tmp1 in it.

Right now I'm basically back to where I was this a.m. before installing/running XOftSpy. I've got folders set to show hidden and system files and so far I have no tmp1 folder in the Appdata folder. So I'm guessing that XOftSpy was putting it there. I suppose I could install it to verify my suspicions but I really don't care that much and I don't want to do another install.

posted by surfer341 on Dec 19, 2011 at 07:41:41 pm     #  

By chance does the window saying you have a virus say "XP Internet Security Suite 2012"? If so that itself is a virus, had to clean it off a machine today.

Otherwise agree with others Avast (for free) for viruses, Malware Bytes for malware. Use to like AVG but I thought they went non-free? Was some oddities that crept up a couple months ago why I gave Avast a chance.

Have also use Kaspersky on other machines and seem to like it. I gave up on the Norton and McAffee even though I use to like both. They are so bloated and full of extra, perhaps unnecessary, tools that waste resources.

posted by INeedCoffee on Dec 19, 2011 at 09:02:40 pm     #  

I had to clean that fake AV crap off my dad's computer latest being 2012. Not sure where it sneaks in from likely some popover/popunder he got from some internet game sight. He plays a lot of the flash games like solitair and marble poppers. Those guys aren't the most trustworthy I've found, only takes the 1 out of a 100 to be crooked and I'm cleaning his computer again. But he enjoys the games so I will just keep fixing it when it gets infected.

posted by Linecrosser on Dec 20, 2011 at 04:11:27 am     #  

Chrome is the most secure browser these days (http://blogs.wsj.com/tech-europe/2011/12/12/chrome-is-most-secure-browser-says-study/), though Firefox is up there and IE is getting better.

I used to use AVG, but switched to Microsoft Security Essentials, which has proven to be worth its salt (unlike many Microsoft products). Malwarebytes is good, too.

I also recommend Spybot Search & Destroy and CCleaner to get rid of the junk.

That's all I use and I've never had an issue. Avoid Norton, IE, and other bloated, useless software.

posted by Mesmerix on Dec 20, 2011 at 03:03:45 pm     #  

I use TrendMicro regular AS/AV on XP with Chrome, $30 a year, have not had a problem in 3 years, but I don't download much and I only play 1 game on FB, so maybe I don't get exposed to much garbage. works for me.

posted by nana on Dec 20, 2011 at 09:14:19 pm     #