(Guide) How to safely use Windows without Anti-virus security

Discussion in 'Security and Anti-Virus Software' started by micman, Oct 10, 2010.

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  1. micman

    micman Notebook Evangelist

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    Indrek, I wrote this guide to help anyone looking for resources on the security measures not already covered extensively by countless other posts here on NBR. Either you can continue to pointlessly argue with me, or you can respectfully make suggestions on how I can improve the guide.

    I understand you disagree with me, and that you may even be 100% right; however, my goal is to spread knowledge, not debate back and forth over what cannot possibly be scientifically proven. If you would like to make a suggestion for additions or corrections, I'm all ears. Let's work together to make this as useful and accurate a resource as possible.
     
  2. Indrek

    Indrek Notebook Virtuoso

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    I respectfully made several suggestions and corrections regarding XP Mode, UAC and IE. If you don't like them or disagree with them, fair enough - it's your guide, not mine. Ultimately, though, if your goal is to spread knowledge, then I trust you want to be sure said knowledge is as truthful and accurate as possible, which is what I tried to contribute to. Sorry if I digressed a bit too much there.
     
  3. RWUK

    RWUK Notebook Evangelist

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    Not looking to put down your work or anything so don't think that... I just want to ask, why is this all so much more appealing than just using an av program? This all seems so much more complicated, time consuming (and potentially expensive) than it needs to be. Do all these things use less comp resources, cost less and are more secure than a top rated AV program? Also, should you get an infection, you will still need an AV program or removal tool to disinfect.

    A program like Avira Premium ($25/comp, 1 year) or Avast Pro ($35) use less than 30,000K of memory. Avast has shut itself down to ~2,500K right now on the XP running Vaio I'm currently using, can't beat that. VMware looks geared towards businesses rather than individuals. I don't see prices on their website (didn't go through each link though) so chances are, it's not cheap. Avast does support sandboxing.

    I tend to think UAC is a sort of prank from Microsoft for anyone who is above the truly oblivious user. That's fine & all but I keep mine OFF, lest I go insane. I know I'm not alone here. If someone downloads an infected torrent, they go to run that app or play that song and UAC says 'are you sure?' User says yes, they still get infected. If they say no, then no Hannah Montana today. Well, what then did the user download the torrent for? UAC doesn't detect anything or give you reasons for its behavior (malware detection, outgoing connection, unauthorized execution, etc.), it just second guesses your every move. I have found no way to configure UAC other than on/off.

    I do use and love Peerblock which likes about 40,000k in RAM for itself but with 8 gigs and Peerblock's functionality, I'm fine with that.

    I also love Comodo 5. It has gotten much less docile with its popups and security checks since version 3 and has an added sandbox. It will also allow you to use Comodo's DNS service. I haven't tried this yet. The firewall and DNS listing is free.

    DNS I've never gotten reliable improvements with though. I've tried Google DNS, Open DNS and a one or two others I've seen in threads on NBR. Leaving my computer to automatically select these seems to work best for me.

    I use CCleaner too but it doesn't always pick out everything that Windows Disk Cleanup does...and vice versa. PerfectDisk also has a clean utility and lately I've been weighing that against the other two. I also set my browsers (Opera and Firefox) to not store a disk cache, just use memory which of course is cleared on exit.

    I've never used a host file service but seems like something a web scanner in many AV programs will do as well. Check the site you want to access against a database to see if it's safe. Peerblock can filter HTTP sites too but can be very broad with its lists.

    I'm giving the no AV program a shot and just sticking with Comodo free and my full subscription to Malwarebytes. I keep Clamwin and Superantispyware on a flash drive for emergency or when someone I know has problems.

    I do agree that common sense is the most important safeguard here but a good browser like you suggest and a good firewall...IMHO...are all that is needed otherwise. There are still many who would argue even that is overkill. IMHO DNS, Virtualization & encryption...with all this, I might as well just use Avira and surrender a mere 20,000k of RAM and $25 for Avira. The real time scanning is what I like most (and why I still use MBAM). I also don't keep super sensitive material on my computer.

    Different uses for different users but I'm just surprised when some say that they don't need an an AV cause they've built a mote around their house and wear HAZMAT suits when on the internet. Ok, slight exaggeration but I'm sure you see my point....:D

    Again, not looking to dispute, just understand your reason for the extras but if that's what works for you, then great. :) You've obviously put a lot of work into your setup.
     
  4. sama98b

    sama98b Notebook Evangelist

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    99% of the ppl who think they don't need antivirus or firewall or don't even know about them don't reach minimum IQ in computer usage and should never ever touch one :p
    So from that point making this tutorial useless.
    Do not make ppl-s life harder who fix these computer noobs pc-s

    Never use windows without antivirus and firewall if connected to the internet.
     
  5. nikeseven

    nikeseven Notebook Deity

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    I'm not sure whether to consider you a troll, or to consider myself in that 1%, perhaps both. The internet isn't a giant cesspool of viruses, only some sites will give you spyware, only certain files with give you viruses. Don't live in fear of what you don't know, rather get educated on what a virus really is, and how in some cases your antivirus does more to harm your computer from a performance perspective than your run of the mill spyware.
     
  6. Lithus

    Lithus NBR Janitor

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    Modern antivirus uses so little resources that if you're feeling a performance hit from running it, you need a new computer. Back when Symantec and McAfee were throwing everything including the kitchen sink in their products you could of made the argument that AV slows your computer down. Currently it's quite silly to make the same argument.
     
  7. micman

    micman Notebook Evangelist

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    All the mentioned security measures here are free and some use little to no system resources. I updated the VMware link to make it easier to find the free version, sorry for the confusion.

    OpenDNS doesn't work for everybody, but it should for most people. But as an example, I can't use it because the Sprint 3G network charges extra to allow users to provide their own DNS. If you weren't noticing a difference in speed or responsiveness, did you check to make sure it was working right? Maybe your ISP doesn't allow different DNS servers.

    Ccleaner gets most of the (un)important temp files, and I've never seen Disk Cleanup find anything Ccleaner didn't. If you look in Ccleaner's options, you can find additional items to delete and check their corresponding box to wipe them out. The only result I ever get from Disk Cleanup is old/unused file compression, which I stay away from due to speed concerns. Compressing hard drive files usually doesn't save much space anyway.

    I apologize if I may have been unclear, but I'm not actually using each method I mentioned on my main system. In fact, right now I'm only using a few of them. I merely wanted to include as many helpful security alternatives as possible in the guide for people to use as a resource.

    I absolutely want the information in this resource to be as accurate as possible. I also want it to be readable so that even an average user can learn from it if they are inclined. I wasn't always a geek, and I learned a lot by reading online resources and talking to other geeky people, so I hope this can be a good starting point for people who are learning. Experienced IT users know their stuff already, so I know I don't have to explain anything to them.

    I made several changes and additions to the guide in light of the corrections you made. I hope this clarifies things more accurately.

    Instead of letting what you think is 99% of the world rot with a lack of information, I decided to share my knowledge for those who care to learn. There are people out there who wish to secure their systems with other methods, either as an alternative or an additive measure.

    I treat every "computer noobs" as if they have as much or more knowledge than me, even when they have made the most ignorant mistakes. My attitude toward my clients is why they keep coming back, and bringing more clients to me. If you treat everyone like they are too stupid to ever learn about computers, I guarantee you they will never learn.

    Yes, modern anti-virus programs use fewer resources. Yes, I like saving 5mb of memory here and there. Yes, it's pointless with as powerful a computer as I have.

    I realize there aren't many people in need of this kind of security advice. Most people just use anti-virus. Still, I wanted to increase the available options for anybody looking for more information. Whether they decide to run these measures with or without anti-virus on their system is not up to me. I'm only providing the info, you choose whether to use it or not.
     
  8. Lithus

    Lithus NBR Janitor

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    It's great that you created a guide detailing some security measures, but by titling it "How to safely use Windows without Anti-virus security", you're insinuating that your methods provide overlapping functionality that makes antivirus redundant - which your listed methods do not.

    It's interesting that you ask for criticism, yet quickly rebuff anything said that is contrary to what you wrote.
     
  9. micman

    micman Notebook Evangelist

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  10. nikeseven

    nikeseven Notebook Deity

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    Anything running constantly in the background monitoring your computers activity will cause a slow down. Would I notice the slow down on day to day activities, probably not, but I don't live my life in fear of viruses either. Understanding what you're up against is half the battle and after that antiviruses are more problematic than viruses themselves.
     
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