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Greater than 20 Percent of Malware Articles Miss the Point

Manufacturer: PC Perspective
Tagged: Malware

Where problems go beyond malware, and conclusions.

Let us step away from malware for a second.

For the last couple of years there has been a mass of concern about privacy with Facebook, Google, and others. If you think back: the hysteria was never about the services; the hysteria was about the sudden realization that your data was as valuable and as accessible as it was.

There was a quote from a couple of years ago:

“If you are not paying for it, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold.”

If you, and occasionally your peers, were never complacent about where and how your data was stored then there would have been no surprises. You always trust that the organization you give your data to will use it as you expect and also will keep it reasonably secure. Ensure that your trust aligns with the data you disclose.

Getting victims into a state of complacency is also directly intended by attackers.

Parents are very concerned about their children. Some parents have gone to the lengths of secretly recording online activities of their children such as instant messenger conversations. This concern for their children makes parents less likely to think about their actions.

As it turns out, a company called EchoMetrix allegedly took advantage of this complacency with their product Sentry Parental Controls powered by Family Safe. Parents paid a subscription fee to receive the online activity of their children. The service is promoted on their website with banners such as the following:

View Full Size

Sounds exactly like they wish to calm you into making a cool and rational decision...

Because if you believe you are protecting your child by doing something, you are less likely to think twice about it. As it turned out, EchoMetrix also owned a data-mining service called Pulse which "allegedly" also collected the online activity monitored by Sentry. Parents were paying a subscription fee to have their kids unknowingly spied upon by advertisers. They were sued for this practice in an FTC lawsuit a couple of years ago and settled.

That is something that antimalware cannot protect you from.

Security is and always has been up to the end user. Malware is not magic and your information is and always was yours to protect. You should never be complacent with your computer just like you should never be complacent on the phone or in public. Malware need not even be involved.

Promoting a blind fear of malware is the exact opposite of what should be done.

In fact -- blindly fearing malware is exactly what some attackers hope for.

May 13, 2012 | 09:10 AM - Posted by Moogle Stiltzkin

the best computer security i think is this .....

anti virus: nod32

anti pop up: admuncher

sandbox: sandboxie

other things to do ...

1. regularly update windows 7 64bit

2. update the other software mentioned

Essentially the sandboxing will be the biggest help in ensuring even if a virus does get onto your pc, it wouldn't be able to do anything and can be easily cleaned.

i tried sandboxie browser setting. when your browse under sandbox, now and then you would download something and want to move the file out of sandbox to your hard drive proper. you can easily do that in sandboxie to authorize the downloaded file like a video etc to move out of the sandbox.

PS: forgot to mention a hardware router with firewall and portforwarding is a must these days. i don't recommend upnp, instead do the port forwarding manually :X

May 13, 2012 | 09:26 AM - Posted by Goofus Maximus (not verified)

We're all human, and that means that we will all be tricked at some point or other, no matter how paranoid we get, short of living in a concrete cell with no communications at all.

I just live my life normally, with nothing more than my usual habitual paranoia (such as turning off/blocking all services that I don't need or want like remote access or NetBIOS, and running NoScript in my browser). For the rest, I just keep an eye on things like my credit reports, or reports of e-mails from "me" that I never sent, that will tip me off if things are wrong.

May 13, 2012 | 09:30 AM - Posted by Goofus Maximus (not verified)

Shimata! I forgot to mention one very helpful security utility for Windows, that I always use and recommend! EMET 2.1 from Microsoft, which lets you turn on/manage all those windows security enhancements, both globally, and for individual programs, even if those programs don't support said features.

May 14, 2012 | 05:23 AM - Posted by aussiebear (not verified)

Since I use both Windows and Linux...

For Windows
* Windows XP or 7 (Professional versions)
* Password the default Administrator Account.
* Set up Limited or Standard User Account. (SUA or LUA)
* Apply Software Restriction Policy. (Default Deny)
* MS Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit. (Applied on browsers, Flash, Java Runtime, etc.)
* Stay updated. (Use "WSUS Offline Update" if multiple machines.)
* Practices adopted from Linux...
=> Only use Administrator account to install/upgrade/update. Daily computing use is only done with SUA/LUA.
=> Disable or remove anything I don't use.
=> Only install applications from trusted/known reputable sources.
* Firefox with NoScript.

End result? No malware encountered for the last 5+ years.

For Linux (Desktop)
* Stay updated.
* Standard User for daily computing use.
* Disable or remove anything I don't use.
* Only install applications from trusted/known reputable sources.
* Firefox with NoScript.
* Use SELinux or AppArmor (Depending on Linux distro) for refined access control of applications or vulnerable areas.

End result? Never encountered malware since using Linux from 2005 onwards. (Spent 1 year learning and breaking old, bad habits: "Transition Period". Started using Linux full-time in 2006).

For home network firewall/gateway, I use a custom build, low-power PC with Linux-based solution called ClearOS. Has anti-malware, intrusion prevention, URL filter, Protocol filter, Spam filter, Multi-WAN, etc.

I never use remote access. I take the perspective that I must be physically present to use the system.

March 11, 2014 | 10:25 AM - Posted by Nafis (not verified)

HI Scott!
I am grateful for this post, it was informative. But my lap restarts these days after showing a blue screen. i tried this Spyhunter anti spyware tool. the issue is now solved after i scanned with it, but now some error notifications appear.
any solution?

October 25, 2014 | 04:29 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

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