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Tips for preventing malware with anti-virus software

Malicious applications currently make up the largest security threat to businesses and home users. Usually data protection is in danger because of malware. Unfortunately, the functionality of antivirus programs have proven to be quite weak, especially against new viruses or malware campaigns. Experiment made with hundreds and thousands malicious software showed that with high quality-liked anti-virus programs may take for weeks or even months before they recognize any of the new malware. This does not make antivirus programs unnecessary. Here is a guide how you will keep your home computer clean of malware.

The best protection against various types of malicious software is always based on the user. If the antivirus program will give you an alert, you are probably already doing something wrong.

Users whose machines are basically ever contaminated practice:
1. Keep operating systems, browsers and utilities updated
2. “Think before they click” – they do not follow unknown links
3. Will not install or run unknown or vague programs or plug-ins
4. Are suspicious to e-mail attachments and links
5. They use some anti-virus program (at a last resort)

Oamk Security Officer has over the years used a few different anti-virus programs. The last couple of years, he has used mainly Avira Personal Edition for Windows machines. It is available free of charge. Other well-known products are for example: F-secure, Avast, AVG, Bitdefender, Kaspersky, ESET, McAfee, Panda, Qihoo Total 360, and Trend Micro. Microsoft’s own Security Essentials/defender program, that comes with Windows is generally considered as a very weak anti-virus program.

Widely used anti-virus software sites www.av-comparatives.org/ regularly tests features of various anti-virus programs and reports on its findings and false alarms. The most recent statistics in real-world tests against viruses can be viewed, for example, here: chart.av-comparatives.org/chart1.php

The Security Officer has end up to Avira, as it has done well in various tests, and in those tests percentage of false alarms has been small. According to the same tests, Avira is rather heavy, but Oamk Security Officer has not noticed performance problems in Windows machines, which are installed with default settings of Avira and real-time auditing is enabled. He mentions that Aviras problem is that the hand-driven inspection in network drive files does not always work (even in a paid PRO version). The problem does not exist on the files located in the machine’s hard drive.
The Information Security Officer has also tested Qihoo Total 360, but noted that its own “Heuristic analysis” gave too many false alarms. In any case, Total 360 is a very popular product and it detects viruses very well.

For example, free version of Avira can be downloaded here: https://www.avira.com/en/avira-free-antivirus

PRO Tip: Do you have a file you want to open but driving or opening it troubles you, and you want to be very sure that the file contains no malware? There is a Google-owned site, https://www.virustotal.com/ where you can submit an individual file, which the site test with several different anti-virus programs. Please note that files containing sensitive information should not be sent to external services.

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