PC Doctor: Part 2 - Picking Internet security

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By Ralph McDonald, The PC Doctor
April 10, 2017 - 9:42:00 pm

Last Article we talked a little about internet security basics. How the Internet works in relation to your computer and things that can affect that. In this article, Iím going to go a little more in-depth about how anti-virus programs work and what kind of things can affect them.

A Virus is a software program that does things to your computer that you donít want it to do.

A Trojan, a Worm, a Key logger, a Crypto locker are all Viruses but they have different goals in how they want to damage your system. Whatever it is, itís something you donít want to have happen.

Anti-Virus software uses two mechanisms, for the most part, to determine if virus like behavior is occurring. The first, we are all familiar with, is referred to as a scan. But whatís really happening with that scan?

When you scan your computer, whether itís a quick scan or a long scan or custom scan, you are telling the Anti-virus software to look for viruses. To examine each file for virus behavior. So how does it do that?

With a scan, what itís looking for are unique virus signatures. Parts of code that are found only in specific files and are unique to a virus. This database of signatures is typically what you are updating in your anti-virus software. Itís also what stops being updated when you do not renew your subscription to paid anti-virus programs.

So, if you are researching AV Software, the first question you want to ask is, ďHow many virus signatures does it detect?Ē

Another method of virus detection is a less accurate heuristic detection. Is an application behaving like a virus? I say itís less accurate because some installation programs will give virus like behavior as they are installing.

Thatís why almost every software company wants you to shut off your AV Software when doing their installation. Where this type of detection is best suited is when you are surfing the web.

It is trying to determine if the websites behavior is harmful or not.

Remember last article I posted that I donít recommend internet Security packages?

The reason behind that is they are very cumbersome and resource intensive on your computer while their value to protect your computer is minimal. In most cases, itís just adding in a firewall, which you already have in Windows.

Some add in a more in depth web content filter, but if you arenít going to configure it and monitor it, you arenít going to be getting anything out of it either. Most decent Anti-Virus software has some level of automated predefined web content filtering that allows for some modifications.

When it comes to AV Software, Iíve been solidly behind two products. If you are going to pay for an Anti-Virus software, I donít recommend anything other than Panda Cloud Anti-Virus.

Typically, itís going to run $50 per year per computer and itís less expensive than wiping and reloading a computer. If youíre on a budget and want good protection, you should look at Windows Security Essentials for Windows 7 or the built-in Windows Defender for Windows 8, 8.1 and Windows 10.

In my next article, Iím going to go into more detail on the Firewall and what you as the user can do to help make those things function better. Always remember, you can call us at 620-442-5091 or visit us at 111 South Summit Street in down town Arkansas City. You can also send us an e-mail to [email protected] or visit McDonald's Computer Service on Facebook.

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