Crystal Security, a cloud-based system that detects and removes malicious programs (malware), is new to me. I am currently testing the portable version and so far the interface part looks great (user friendly). The detection engine, from I am can tell, is based on data gathered from millions of participating users systems around the world to help defend against the very latest viruses and malware attacks.
Due to not being familiar with Crystal Security, at this point, I will continue to test and use it solely as a troubleshooting application to inform when the possibility of malware exists. If you are familiar with Crystal Security, I would like to hear your experience with this. I do like the idea that there is a portable (no install) option.
I do recommend that you know what you are doing when using applications, such as this; so as not to cause accidental havoc to your PC.
SOURCE: Crystal Security
I have known Kaspersky’s Antivirus to be one of the best when it comes to computer security (however, at a price — not FREE). Soon you will be able to get a baseline version of Kaspersky’s Antivirus for FREE. This new development by Kaspersky’s (according to ZDNet) is apparently in light of the U.S. Government removing Kaspersky Lab from two lists of approved vendors used by government agencies to purchase technology equipment. Apparently, this is amid concerns the Russian-based company’s products could be used by the Kremlin to gain entry into United States networks.
The removal of Kapersky’s from the vendors list follows the accusations from US intelligence agencies that Russia hacked into Democratic Party emails, thus helping Donald Trump to election victory, despite President Vladimir Putin proclaiming his country has never engaged in hacking activities, but some “patriotic” individuals may have.
Ok, now that you have digested this, is it safe to install the free version of Kaspersky’s on our home-based computer systems? Personally, I am not installing it and will stick to the free version of BitDefender; however, if you are interested in the FREE version, click on the source link below to monitor for its’ release. Reportedly, the free version will rollout to the U.S. first…
If you do opt to give this a try, make sure you remove (uninstall) any antivirus software that is currently existing on your computer. Typically, to remove antivirus software, it is best practices to visit the website of the product and look for an uninstaller that will completely and safely remove the antivirus software from your PC.
SOURCE: Kaspersky’s Antivirus FREE
Antivirus software, now often referred to as security (suite) software, due to the innumerable threats, come in a variety of different brands. To get an idea, check out the top ten sellers at Amazon (see source links below).
I personally use a FREE antivirus program called Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition; however, you may feel more comfortable using one of the paid commercial versions such as reflected below.
Antivirus software was originally developed to detect and remove computer viruses, hence the name. However, with the proliferation of other kinds of malware, antivirus software started to provide protection from other computer threats. In particular, modern antivirus software can protect from: malicious browser helper objects (BHOs), browser hijackers, ransomware, keyloggers, backdoors, rootkits, trojan horses, worms, malicious LSPs, dialers, fraudtools, adware and spyware. Some products also include protection from other computer threats, such as infected and malicious URLs, spam, scam and phishing attacks, online identity (privacy), online banking attacks, social engineering techniques, advanced persistent threat (APT) and botnet DDoS attacks. [source: Wikipedia]
My recommendation to anyone needing antivirus protection is BitDefender FREE… An easy installation that will quietly monitor (and scan) your system in the background with no intervention on your part (zero configuration). After installing, it is recommended that you register your FREE version via an email account. I have been using BitDefender FREE for approximately 2 years and can attest to its’ performance (and detection capabilities)…
“Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition uses a combination of Cloud scanning and behavioural analysis to detect new or unknown threats that other antiviruses miss”.
Take A Virtual Reality Ride On A New Dive Rollercoaster Coming In 2016 – When introduced in 2016, this rollercoaster (called the Valravn) will establish itself as being the world’s tallest, fastest and longest dive coaster. You can read more about it here. In the meantime you can take a virtual reality ride on it from your computer (see video below) and even on your phone as an Android or Apple app.
Start Video Below To Ride The Valravn
(Click full screen to get the full effect. There is a control at the top left
corner that can be used to get a panoramic view)
Campaign To Ban The Development of Sex Robots – Folks, this is not a joke. Knowing what I know about computer technology and the rapid development of robotics, we are very close to the time where you will be able to purchase your own sex robot. From an ethical standpoint, this is very disturbing. “Dr Richardson, a robot ethicist at De Montfort University in Leicester, wants to raise awareness of the issue and persuade those developing sex robots to rethink how their technology is used — READ MORE
Free Security Protection and Speed Booster for Android Phone – If you are looking to take protective measures on your Android smartphone or tablet, you may want to take a look at the 360 Security – Antivirus Boost app. I am currently testing this on my tablet and phone and in comparison to many of the other security apps I have tried, I am really liking what I am seeing with this app. In summary 360 Security is a Security & Antivirus app with features such as: junk-file remover, memory booster, power saver, anti-theft components (locater, eraser, alarm and lock), privacy & app locks, and real-time protection. This app runs as smooth as silk on both of my devices and carries a high rating at the google play store. I have added 360 Security to the downloads page under the Android Apps swarm.
Could You Spot A Fake Product Review? – When I intend on making a purchase online, I head straight to the customer reviews to see what other people are saying about the product. The problem with this is that there are people paid to post fake reviews (often using automated technology) and you really have to be careful. I typically will head to other sites that have the product and also check out their customer reviews so that I have a good comparative analysis. I typically try to stick with Amazon for reviews because there are typically many reviewers (often with pictures and videos). As a matter of fact Amazon will often contact you, after making a purchase, to encourage you to post a review and/or answer a question about the product. So, how do you spot fake reviews? I encourage you to take a look at this article at TNW News, “How to spot fake reviews“… As the article states, “The bottom line is that you should easily be able to figure out if an item is a quality product or which companies have superior customer service without going through an exhaustive or misleading web experience”.
Always Check The Deal Of The Day (@Amazon) – At the bottom of the blog you will see an icon for “The Deal Of The Day“. When visiting, always click on that icon to see what Amazon has going on. For example, as of today’s blog post, they are offering tremendous savings on TP-Link Networking products…
What Antivirus Do I Use? – I can tell you this… I have NEVER paid for any antivirus software EVER. Much of what we do on the internet and how we do it determines what our risk level is when it comes to becoming a victim of malware. The antivirus software that I currently use is Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition. Once you install it, establish an online account, you will not even know it is there.
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Call me crazy, but I have never paid for antivirus software due to the FREE options that are available (and have never had a virus on any of my PC’s — “knock on wood”). I personally do not care for the security suites that often ship with new PC’s and will actually remove them. I have found that these suites embed themselves too much; are often times memory hogs; and can be over aggressive at times (causing confusion for the end user). No matter what antivirus package you have installed, if you do not use good common sense and pay attention to what links you are clicking on, you are susceptible. If you have a doubt, don’t do it… Believe nothing and verify everything!
If you are looking for a FREE antivirus option, I encourage you to read PCMag’s recent article, “The Best Free Antivirus for 2015“…
The top two on their list (Panda Free Antivirus 2015 and Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition 2014), I use, and highly recommend. Pay close attention to this article and you will see that Microsoft’s Security Essentials (Windows Defender) did not make the cut.
Just remember, if you do decide to uninstall antivirus software from your PC, make sure you visit the antivirus software maker’s website for uninstall instructions. Often times they will have a specialized utility developed that will uninstall the software completely from your computer.
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AppRemover is a must have utility to have around if you decide to swap out your antivirus or malware software on your computer.
It is important to know that security software installs, such as antivirus and malware software, are very complex in nature; and, if not uninstalled properly can wreak havoc to a PC. Typically, most developers of Security software will provide an uninstaller that you can download from their site; however, most people do not know or think about that. An easy option for removal of security type software is AppRemover.
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Couple years back I had tried a FREE antivirus software product called Panda Cloud Antivirus. At that time I was impressed that Panda used the cloud (the internet) to scan and analyze files (in real time); however, I felt it just was not there yet in terms of reliability.
Today, I am back giving Panda a try and must say that I am really impressed. Not only has the name changed from Panda Cloud Antivirus to Panda Free Antivirus; but, the new metro look and Panda’s ability to rank up there with the best of them (in real-world protection) is worth giving Panda a try.
The only negative that I can see at this point is during the installation. Make sure, during the install, that you opt out of making Yahoo your default search engine and opt out of making your homepage MyStart. Other than this annoyance, Panda FREE Antivirus is definitely on the right track to being a top contender.
[FEATURED GEEK SQUEAK] Bitdefender Antivirus FREE Edition – When it comes to the frontline protection of my PC at home (on the cheap), I personally depend on the FREE edition of Bitdefender.
What I especially like about Bitdefender is its’ reputation for providing ironclad security without slowing down your computer and that it is virtually maintenance free (built in autoscan that focuses virus detection efforts on risky areas). I have been running the FREE edition for quite awhile and have installed it on other PC’s and have not one complaint… @Bitdefender
MORE GEEK SQUEAKS
[ANDROID] Antivirus FREE for Android – Bitdefender Antivirus Free utilizes high-detection engines, coupled with in-the-cloud scanning capabilities, to keep Android devices safe from attack – with minimal impact on resources. Malware Protection – Cloud Scanning – Low Battery Impact… @Bitdefender
[NETWORKING] Need a small wireless access point or wireless router? – Here’s one of the smallest, feature packed and powerful routers for under $30. The NetShair Nano by iogear offers some of the most features money can buy. Here’s how it works (interactive)… @TCAT Shelbyville – Technical Blog
[HOT NEWS] Amazon to Unveil Free TV and Movie Streaming Service: Report – This new service, which could launch “in the coming months,” according to the Wall Street Journal, would offer original programming like its comedies “Alpha House” and “Betas,” as well as music videos. It could also include TV shows and movies licensed from other sources… @NBC News
[HOW TO] Send Email to OneNote – Another neat new OneNote capability – With last week’s expansion of OneNote as a platform, Microsoft has added a nice new capability: You can now send email messages from your inbox to your OneNote-based notebooks… @Paul Thurrott’s Supersite For Windows
[SOFTWARE] Recover Your Router Password (RouterPassView) – RouterPassView enables you to recover your router password and wireless network keys if you have a backup of your router configuration saved as local file. It can load and decrypt the configuration file, providing you with a list of all passwords and keys that are stored in the file… @SnapFiles
[HOT NEWS] It’s Official: Microsoft Releases Office for iPad (And yes, Hell has frozen over) – As expected, Microsoft today announced Office for iPad, which is really a set of new mobile productivity apps—Word, Excel and PowerPoint—plus an update to OneNote, which was previously available. These apps aren’t upscaled versions of the Office Mobile apps on iPhone, they’re all-new apps engineered for the unique iPad capabilities and screen size… @WindowsITPro
[TABLET COMPUTER] The sharpest 7″ tablet screen ever – Nexus 7 from Google – The world’s highest-resolution 7″ tablet puts over 2.3 million pixels in the palm of your hand. With 323 pixels packed into every inch, you can read text that’s sharper than the printed page, see images more vivid than the highest quality photo magazine, and watch videos come to life in vibrant 1080p HD… @AMAZON
[WALLPAPER] Blue Burst… @Microsoft
Learn a byte at a time with Geek Squeaks’ — featuring a round-up of tech products, news, software, apps, wallpapers, articles, you name it… I just plain love tech!
As you may have discovered, Windows 8.1 is tightly integrated into a Windows Live Account. As a result, it can be a pain, especially for home based computer users to login each time Windows starts. By following these steps, it will make your life using the computer a little easier.
- Hit the Windows Key and the R key on your keyboard (Win + R) to bring up the RUN dialog box.
- Type in the RUN dialog box netplwiz and click OK
- When the Users Account box appear, under the Users Tab you will see he following: Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer.
- Uncheck the box and click OK
- When the Automatically Sign In Box appears, type in your Windows Live Account username and password and click on OK
- Restart your computer to see if it took. During start up of the computer you will briefly see the log in screen (if you followed the steps correctly).
MORE GEEK SQUEAKS
FROM AROUND THE NET
Avoid Creating Vulnerable Passwords – To help protect your accounts that are password protected, make your password something that is relevant to you, but that others might not consider. Also, stay away from the obvious choices of making the password relate to the account, for example, making your credit card password “creditcard”… @Computer How To Guide
Restore Point Creator – Create and manage Windows System Restore Points quickly and easily, all from a free simple program. No more drilling through multiple menus in Windows just to create a System Restore Point, now all you have to do is run this program and that’s it. Follow the simple program layout and you have your System Restore Point created in no time at all. Available installer or run as a portable app… @Tom’s World Tech Blog
Keep This Bootable CD Handy For Troubleshooting – One of the best ways to diagnose and examine an unbootable PC is to use a bootable rescue disk (normally a CD, DVD or a USB stick). Booting from the rescue disk gives you a usable, albeit minimal, operating system from which you can check out the problem. One really useful such tool is the Ultimate Boot CD from FalconFour… @Gizmo’s
BitDefender and Kaspersky top Internet Security Suite AV-Test – In the latest test performed by AV-TEST on Internet Security Suites, BitDefender, Kaspersky, Avira, Bitdefender, KasperskyLab, Symantec and Comodo were among the top performers. These security suites managed to detect 100% of the malware involved in this test. However, only two packages were able to score the maximum total of 18 points, namely the solutions from Bitdefender and Kaspersky Lab… @TWCN Tech News
TeamViewer Updated – Majorgeek says: I often have to connect to friends computers to do repairs and this is easily one of the best out there and it’s free. I have been able to steer even the most novice PC user to the TeamViewer website to download the Quick Support version and have them give me their 9 digit id and password. It’s fast, secure and what else can I say? I love it… @Majorgeeks
Kingsoft Office (for Android) – The closest thing to Microsoft Office on your phone or tablet. THE BEST CHOICE FOR YOUR MOBILE OFFICE… @Google Play
Wallpaper – Double Rainbow (Silt, Colorado, U.S.)… @Microsoft
Video Fun: “Evolution of Hip-Hop Dancing” (w/ Jimmy Fallon & Will Smith)
Learn a byte at a time with Geek Squeaks’ — featuring a round-up of tech products, news, software, apps, wallpapers, articles, you name it… I just plain love tech!
I was looking over the Nov/Dec 2013 antivirus test results, at AV-Test, where they continuously evaluated 25 home user security products using their default settings. The security products had to demonstrate their capabilities using all components and protection layers.
After reading the reviews for Bitdefender I was wondering if they had a FREE offering of their antivirus software??? Sure enough I found that they do in fact offer Bitdefender Antivirus FREE Edition.
Bitdefender claims that their Free Edition shares some of the revolutionary technologies that allowed their main product line to outpass major competitors such as AVG, Avast or Avira.
I was currently running AVG FREE and decided to give the Bitdefender Antivirus FREE Edition a try. Prior to installing Bitdefender, I located an AVG uninstaller that is specifically engineered to remove the AVG Antivirus software.
As word to the wise, if you decide to move from one security software product to another, ALWAYS check the product’s site for an uninstaller. The uninstaller built into windows is not enough to remove the complexities that are built into today’s antivirus software.
Once I had AVG off the system, I began the installation of the Bitdefender Antivirus FREE Edition. One pleasant surprise was the install took less than several minutes. Following the installation, another pleasant surprise! The FREE edition has the most minimalistic and simplistic interface I have ever seen in any antivirus software. You basically install this thing and forget it (totally maintenance free).
Bitdefender uses proprietary technology, as well as other technologies integrated to provide maximum strength against e-threats.
Real-time Shield – The real time shield is designed to protect your entire system from infected files coming from the outside, before they have a chance to spread inside your PC.
Active Virus Control – Proactive technology that quickly and accurately detects potential threats, even in cases of new viruses for which there is no default protection released yet.
Intrusion Detection System – Ensures that applications trying to access the Internet or the network are not masked malware. Intrusion Detection is automatically alerted when such apps behave in a suspect manner, and blocks them when they go over the limit.
B-Have – Proactively detects unknown threats that other products miss, by analyzing how apps behave in a safe environment. If no malicious actions are detected, B-Have starts the program normally. Otherwise, it will automatically quarantine or delete it.
HTTP Scanning – Protects you from scams such as credit card phishing attempts, Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition scans all the links you access from your browser and blocks them when they prove to be unsafe.
Anti-rootkit – Rootkits are a type of stealth software, often malicious, that can help hackers get control of your computer. Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition uses special technology that detects and blocks such malicious software.
Early Boot Scanning – This technology scans the system at boot time, as soon as all critical services are loaded. Early boot scanning ensures virus detection at system startup, while also improving boot time.
Auto Scan – A huge time and resource saver, Auto Scan is a Bitdefender proprietary technology that focuses virus detection efforts on risky areas.
If you want full protection, you can get the full commercial version of Bitdefender Internet Security [ CLICK HERE ]
Bitdefender Internet Security is the acknowledged Antivirus of the Year. With a non intrusive and extremely fast scanning technology, it offers enhanced silent security against e threats. This 2014 version references a “PCMAG Best Antivirus 2013” Award in the top right corner of the box and “Product of the year” on the lower half with two additional 2013 reference logos. Despite 2013 award references, this is the 2014 version.
ONE OF THE BEST PROGRAMS IN THE NATION FOR IT PRO’s is TCAT Shelbyville (placement rate of over 90% and a retention rate of 96%)…
TODAY’S RANDOM TECH SITE PICK is a blog that has been in my hip pocket since the first day I started blogging…
ONE OF TIME MAGAZINE’S “50 BEST ANDROID APPS” is a popular source of free ringtones, wallpapers, and games…
A CELL PHONE UNLOCKING DEAL has been made between the FCC and the five major US wireless carriers…
NO OBLIGATION. NO SECRET FEES OR HIDDEN CATCHES. Just simple, reliable, free protection from the antivirus experts at Avira…
A WALL MOUNT COMPACT SURGE PROTECTOR that provides direct, plug-in surge protection for your entry-level desktop computers…
What makes TCAT Shelbyville’s IT program different?
The Information Technology program at TCAT Shelbyville offers one of the best programs in the nation for IT professionals. The amount of resources and curriculum that cover all major operating systems (Linux, Apple and Windows) is delivered by certified and industry leading experts… READ MORE
Today’s Random Tech Site Pick (with sample article)
(as listed @ Bookmarks4Tech.com)
12 Scams of Christmas (and Yahoo, too) – Folks, as we approach the Holidays, please be aware, and remind your friends and family, that we are now in the peak scam, ripoff, fraud, and – of course! – phishing season. The vermin are happily and busily creating phony online stores, and filling our Inboxes, Faceboook, and Twitter with bait and lures of all types… READ MORE
For years ZEDGE™ has been the most trusted and popular source of free ringtones, wallpapers, and games in the world. Over 80 million people get more than 300 million free downloads from Zedge every month. ZEDGE’s brand is synonymous with high quality, diversity, uniqueness and great fun.
“Zedge is a safe choice with no shady advertising tactics. It has plenty of ringtones and wallpapers to choose from, and getting them onto your phone can be done with the press of a button.”
FCC, wireless carriers reach cell phone unlocking deal
The Federal Communications Commission has reached an agreement with the five major US wireless carriers that requires the carriers to disclose how and when cell phones on their networks can be unlocked, according to Reuters.
Under the terms of the deal, carriers agreed that customers’ phones could be unlocked at the end of their contract, which makes the mobile business a more even playing field… READ MORE
Avira Free Antivirus
Security and simplicity redefined
Built upon the same award-winning technology found in their premium products, Avira Free Antivirus helps keep your PC malware-free while protecting your privacy.
Lightweight and powerful, Avira Free Antivirus offers Real-Time malware detection, a pop-up blocker, privacy tools and safety ratings for your search results.
(remember – uninstall any exisiting antivirus software
prior to installing new antivirus software)
Belkin SurgeMaster 6 Outlet Wall-Mount Surge Protector
The Home Series from Belkin offers wall mount-direct, plug-in surge protection for your entry-level desktop computers, peripherals, phone/fax/modem, kitchen appliances, standard household electronics, and more. This model boasts 1045 Joules, 45,000 Maximum Spike Amperage, six outlets, and a lifetime 50,000 dollar connected equipment warranty. It also includes a built-in phone line splitter and filters EMI/RFI noise up to 43 dB reduction. Additionally, this surge protector plugs directly into the wall to avoid cord problems… CHECK IT OUT HERE
A summary of Today’s Geek Squeaks‘:
Squeak #1 – (Reduce The Risk Of Your Computer Being Attacked or Infected): Bill Mullins’, writer of Tech Thoughts Daily Net News, started off this morning with Avast 2014 FREE Edition, as being the lead topic (and rightfully so). I encourage you to bookmark Bill’s site to get the latest and greatest in tech news (and more).
To get Avast 2014 FREE Edition, see below. Remember, it is important to uninstall any antivirus program you have installed on your PC prior to installing another (GET AVAST BELOW);
Squeak #2 – (When Delete Means Delete): When you delete a file on your computer or other drives, the file becomes hidden from view, but can actually remain present on the drive until it is written over with other data. This data can be there a long time and can be easily recovered using many of the free utilities that are available on the internet. To completely delete a file, you need special software such as Hardwipe (SEE BELOW);
Squeak #3 – (Crooks Using Cash Register Skimmers): Today.com has an interesting piece posted today about high tech thieves using PS/2 keyboard loggers (which are available on the internet) to capture data that is inputted at the cash register level (SEE BELOW);
Squeak #4 – (NEW – A 21.5 Inch All-In-One Android Computer by HP): I knew it would be a matter of time before Android would be on desktop size computers. I like this concept and would be the perfect computer for Mom and Pop (SEE BELOW)…
Geek Squeaks’, featuring a round-up of tech products, news, software, apps, wallpapers, articles, you name it; from my favorite tech web sites… I just plain love tech!
See An Endless Stream Of Geek Squeaks’ [ HERE ]
Avast! Free Edition 2014 9.0.2006 Final
Avast! is a package of applications that aim to protect your computer from a possible virus infection or other malware threat. If you use it correctly, and in combination with other programs such as data backup utilities, it will significantly reduce the risk of your computer being attacked or infected by a virus, and thus the risk of losing important or private data… GET IT HERE
File Eraser & Drive Wiper
Hardwipe can erase drives and USB media, but can also sanitize the Windows Recycle Bin, overwrite selected files and folders, and clean unused drive space of unwanted remenant data. Furthermore, you can run Hardwipe as a standard-alone application, or use its convenient “right-click” context menus from within the Windows File Explorer… GET IT HERE
Shoppers getting ripped off by tiny,
high-tech cash register skimmers…
Crooks who steal credit and debit card numbers have found a devious new way to snag this information. They’re using a small and relatively cheap piece of off-the-shelf technology to compromise computerized store cash registers… READ MORE
HP Slate 21-k100 21.5-Inch All-in-One Touchscreen Desktop
Android just hit the big screen. Let everyone in the house enjoy their favorite Google Play contention this big, Full HD touchscreen… CHECK IT OUT
The same security software that we use to protect our computers can be more troublesome than a virus when the time comes to uninstalling the software. Security software products are very comprehensive in design; and as a result often require special uninstallers to fully remove them from your computer. I encourage you to visit TCAT Shelbyville to get to one of the most comprehensive lists (by ESET) I have seen to help you uninstall anti-virus software. I cannot emphasize this enough. If you decide to remove any anti-virus or anti-malware software from your computer, ALWAYS CHECK WITH THE SOFTWARE DEVELOPER, to determine if there are any special utilities to remove the software. Also, on the ESET site, you will also find a link listing malware removal tools that may be helpful in the event you suspect a malware infection.
MediaFire is an online file storage and sharing service that most computer users at home are not familiar with. With MediaFire you are given 50GB’s of space (for FREE) with a 200 MB file upload size limit. Compared to the other online storage services (which typically offer much less FREE storage space), MediaFire is very generous in their offering. I have maintained an account with MediaFire for nearly 2 years and have never experienced an issue.
The complaint you will hear coming from people about MediaFire is that they will remove your account is your account is inactive. There is some truth to this; however, the rule is that if you must access the MediaFire API (your account) from either the Web, your Mobile platform or your desktop platform at least once per year and if you do that, your account will never be removed. This is a pretty easy rule to follow; especially, that you are getting 50 GBs of online storage space. If your account is in jeopardy you will receive sufficient notice via the email account you signed up with.
The one downfall to MediaFire, that I was experiencing, was no Android App available to access and manage my MediaFire files from my tablet. This has all changed within the past couple days (prior to the writing of this article). MediaFire now has an Android mobile app available in the Google Play Store that can be downloaded to your Android phone or tablet. You can get the MediaFire App [HERE] .
The MediaFire mobile app lets you access all your documents, photos, and videos from anywhere. Securely store, organize, and share all your data on the web and through your Android device.
• Keep all your important files at your fingertips.
• View docs, spreadsheets, presentations, video, and listen to audio.
• Take and upload pictures and videos directly in the MediaFire app.
• Upload Android gallery images.
• Create and manage folders of files.
• Share files on the go via email, SMS, through other Android apps, and with copy and paste links.
• Quickly search all your MediaFire files and folders.
MediaFire Android App: Requires Android OS 2.2 or higher
GEEK BONUS AREA
The title of this post tells it all; AND, as a matter of fact it is a direct quote from Bill Mullins’ Weblog – Tech Thoughts where his article “Microsoft Security Essentials – Breaking Up Is Hard To Do – But, It’s Over; You’re Gone” quickly opened my sleepy eyes this morning.
I had been reading inklings here and there where Microsoft Security Essentials (also called Microsoft Defender on Windows 8) has been faltering here of late and I shrugged it off, thinking the software giant was on top of it; however, Bill’s article was the kick in the butt that I needed.
It is really concerning to me that my main level defense on my PC may be lacking and further concerning (and a lesson to be learned) that even the giant can have weaknesses. As a matter of fact, I can remember many, many, many, many moon’s ago where Microsoft developed their own antivirus software and they eventually dropped the product. I sure hope that we are not heading in that direction again and history is going to repeat itself.
After reading Bill’s article, I have decided to take his advice and take a look at AVG AntiVirus Free 2013. When I was managing a network, years back, AVG was my antivirus (and anti-malware) software of choice; however, AVG even took a dip there for awhile; BUT, they are back in full tilt, as Bill’s article will highlight.
As blogger’s we can make a difference and I am sure once Microsoft starts to see these articles, we may see a change that will open the sleepy eyes of the giant.
GEEK BONUS AREA
One of the neat things with tablet computers (and smartphones) is that you can do just about anything with them; even stream videos, movies, TV etc… to the devices. The problem is that most services that stream movies and TV require a paid subscription.
Today I want to share with you, a cloud based (TV and Movie) service called Crackle that gives you the ability to watch full-length Hollywood movies & TV shows on your tablet or phone (and computer) — Free and on demand. What you are going to find at Crackle is not the latest and greatest, but you will find content that is pretty darn good for being FREE.
* Watch full-length Hollywood movies and TV series
* FREE to download app, FREE to watch
* Unlimited, on demand viewing
* New movies and TV episodes added monthly
* Genres including: action, anime, comedy, crime, horror, thriller, sci-fi and anime
* Optimized for both phones and tablets
* Browse Movies, TV, Originals, Collections and Genres
* Build and manage your Watchlist for viewing on the app or online at Crackle.com.
* Stream HQ video via 3G, 4G or Wi-Fi
* App works in US, Canada, UK and Australia
Note: You can get Crackle on your desktop or notebook computer at the main site [ here ].
GEEK BONUS AREA
The reflection of love… This wallpaper is absolutely stunning, to say the least!
To Get This Wallpaper – [ CLICK HERE ]
Windows 7 Users: If you are using Windows 7, did you know you can create a desktop background slideshow to show off your pictures and wallpaper images? To learn how to use this feature [ CLICK HERE ] .
GEEK BONUS AREA
If you are looking for a security software option, that is FREE; that is easy to understand and use; that uses minimal system resources; and is engineered by a company that we are all familiar with, then Microsoft Security Essentials is a good choice.
You will see me here on the blog pushing this software on a regular basis. It is a layer of defense that I have installed on all of my PCs; not because it is FREE, but because it does the job.
Microsoft Security Essentials is a free* download from Microsoft that is simple to install, easy to use, and always kept up-to-date so you can be assured your PC is protected by the latest technology.
Microsoft Security Essentials runs quietly and efficiently in the background so you’re free to use your Windows-based PC the way you want—without interruptions or long computer wait times.
Before installing Microsoft Security Essentials, we recommend that you uninstall other antivirus software already running on your PC. Running more than one antivirus program at the same time can potentially cause conflicts that affect PC performance.
** IMPORTANT ** – When changing security software on your PC from one brand to another, it is very important that you completely uninstall the security software you intend to remove. The uninstaller built into windows will not cut it. I highly recommend you either visit the software maker’s site to get information to uninstall the product or use a third party uninstaller such as AppRemover.
The free AppRemover utility enables the thorough uninstallation of security applications like antivirus and antispyware from your computer. Remove computer stress. Simply, cleanly and effectively.
GEEK BONUS AREA
“Ur Advice on Computer Security” was the subject line to an email I received this morning from a friend and it dawned on me that this would make for a good real world blog post to hopefully incite some response and advice from some of the professionals out there.
The email conversation went like this:
I have been using McAfee software for security purposes for more than a year. Now, it is time to renew. Do you think McAfee is a good protection? What do you recommend?
Good Morning Friend,
There are numerous FREE options out there as well, that are not as resource hungry as the paid versions. For example, on my PC’s I use Microsoft Security Essentials. Then you will find the likes, such as AVG, Avast, Avira, etc…
Now something to point out here. If you decide to discontinue with the McAfee’s protection it is important that you get it completely uninstalled from your PC so that it does not conflict with whatever you end up going with. The typical uninstall process in Windows “will not” remove it. Many of the antivirus/anti-malware products actually have there own uninstallers that you have to download, but there is a utility that I have used numerous times that is engineered to specifically remove security software called AppRemover. You simply download it, run it, and follow the prompts.
Security software is one of the biggest rackets out there. No matter what you install or have in place, you are always at risk. In today’s world of the internet, most malware attacks are the result of clicking on what appears to be a legitimate web link to only find out it was a bad link. Once the trigger is pulled, there is no going back… It will unleash a stream of trojans that most of the time happens so quickly (and quietly) that the user does not even know it is happening until they start seeing false warnings on their PC that looks like real professional software. These trojans often will completely shutdown your security software and other security components on the PC; and bribe you for money.
In the end, if McAfee’s has worked for you and you are happy, then go for it.
If you currently have anti-virus or anti-malware software installed and you think your computer system has been compromised and you need a second opinion; an option to consider is Microsoft’s Safety Scanner.
The Microsoft Safety Scanner is a free downloadable security tool that provides on-demand scanning and helps remove viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. It works with your existing antivirus software.
The purpose of the Microsoft Safety Scanner is just that. It is a safety scanner and not full install antivirus software package with realtime protection. Simply download and run.
Note: The Microsoft Safety Scanner expires 10 days after being downloaded. To rerun a scan with the latest anti-malware definitions, download and run the Microsoft Safety Scanner again.
Reflected below are screenshots of Microsoft Safety Scanner to give you an idea what to expect after you download and run the scanner file.
Accept the End User License Agreement
A notice advising you that Microsoft Security Scanner is not a replacement for an anti-malware solution; however, the tool is engineered to remove viruses, spyware, and other potentially unwanted software.
Scan Type: Determineswhether you want to perform a “Quick Scan”, a “Full Scan” or a “Customized Scan”. I recomment the “Full Scan” if you suspect any problems with your PC.
Scanning Your Computer
Geek Squeaks’ of the Day
If you are looking for security software to protect your PC that runs quietly and efficiently in the background (AND IS FREE), then look no further than Microsoft Security Essentials.
If you are a current user of Microsoft Security Essentials, be advised that Version 2.0 has been released. You can upgrade by either waiting for the upgrade to come to you (via the automatic updates) or you can download and manually install the upgraded version from [ HERE ] . If you go the manual route, the installation will automatically detect if you are upgrading or performing a full install.
The good about Microsoft Security Essentials is that it is a Microsoft based product that provides real-time protection for your home PC that guards against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. I have been using Microsoft Security Essentials since its’ inception and I can personally attest that it is doing an excellent job in protecting my PCs. It is very easy to use (and understand) and performs in a manner where it will not bog (slow) down your PC.
If you have a desire to give Microsoft Security Essentials a try, I highly recommend you remove the antivirus software you currently have installed on your PC. To assist with the complete removal of any exisiting security software on your PC, I recommend using AppRemover to assist with the uninstall and removal process.
In today’s world of computing the choice of security applications, that we are presented with, to use on our computers are astounding and is like picking apples from a tree. Years ago, the competition was a select few; however, the internet of today, where cybercrime is prevalent, has produced more security application options like never seen before. For example, names such as avast!, AVG, Avira, ESET, Kaspersky, McAfee, Norton, Symantec, Trend Micro have become household names.
Where the problem comes into play is when you decide you want to switch the apples for oranges and change the security application(s) that you are currently using. What people do not realize, and I emphasize this, uninstalling (or removing security apps) is not the same as uninstalling normal software. Security applications are complex in nature, are viturally alive on your PC at all times (monitoring and scanning), write to the Windows registry (and your computer) in many places, and sometimes I truly think (due to the intense competition) the developer deliberately does everything possible to keep you from uninstalling it. As a matter of fact, from my own experience, I have found that the uninstall module built into these applications themselves will not even thoroughly get the job done and will even fail. Again, this is more likely due to the complexity of the app than anything else.
So what do you do?
You can research the uninstall process at the developers site; however that task alone is like looking for ticks. Many times the site will offer up an utility program to perform the uninstall; however, to the everyday computer user, the removal process described can appear intimidating.
The easy way of thoroughly removing a security app, providing the app is in the database, is to use a program called AppRemover.
AppRemover is a free utility that enables users to remove antivirus and other applications as well as left over files from incomplete uninstallations. There’s no more need to mess around with your registry.
AppRemover is very easy to use. Download, run, then follow the steps. AppRemover will scan your system and will walk you through the automatic removal of the security application; even applications that may have failed their original uninstall process.
Sample – Scan Results
If you have a passion for computers and information technology, then the place to be is at the sites listed below. Each week What’s On My PC features links to recent postings, called “Geek Squeaks’” that are authored by the members of the What’s On My PC blolgroll. Truly a blessing to be associated with this group!
You might not have heard of Eset or NOD32, but it has quietly been around, and winning awards, since the early 90′s (the days of DOS). For the last year, I have been using it as my primary anti-malware defense on my principle machine and I have not been disappointed. This Internet security tool passed my every test and I recommend it; and I do so to folks of any skill level. – Tech-for Everyone.
Folks, this is an excellent opportunity to possibly get your hands on some great antivirus software. To enter the drawing, simply click [HERE], and at the bottom of the article “Software License Giveaway: NOD32 Antivirus 4”, “Leave A Comment” and enter a name and valid e-mail address. The contest will end midnight Thursday, May 27th, and the winners announced Friday. Good Luck; and while you are there, give a big “Thank You” to TechPaul!
This is a one year celebration of Geek Squeaks’. If you have a burning desire to learn about information technology and computers, then you are at the right place. Each week What’s On My PC features articles (from the past week) that have been composed by bloggers that are associated with the What’s On My PC blogroll. I encourage you to visit these blogs and better yet, click on the “Geek Squeaks” category at the side of the blog to get a rundown of articles for the past year.
Recently I posted an article [ link ] about the What’s On My PC… Launch Pad that is a compilation of over 300 tech sites and blogs. If you visit the Launch Pad [ link ] you will notice that some of the sites in the listing are in a larger font size. Those sites (blogs) in the larger font size are the blogs that are associated with the What’s On My PC… blogroll (located on the sidebar of the blog). The purpose of the larger font size is to draw attention to those sites or blogs. Each week I pull an article from each of those blogs to highlight their accomplishments in Geek Squeaks’ of the Week. If you want to learn more about information technology and computers, blogging is where it is at. I encourage you the preview the articles below and pay a visit to each of these sites.
They say there are hidden treasures in those blogs and the treasures in these blogs are are no exception. The blog articles listed below are articles from the blogs (sites) that are listed on the “What’s On My PC…” blogroll community. If you are looking for that treasure, then look no further; the information that is conveyed and presented in these articles are true gems of professionalism.
Thirty weeks of Geek Squeaks’ and going strong. I encourage the readers of this blog to visit each of the sites (blogs) that are listed below to learn more about information technology and computers. I am quite sure you will find something that will grab your attention. Geek Squeaks’ is a weekly listing of random articles that have been posted (within the past 7 days) by the blogs that are on the What’s On My PC… blogroll (located on the right side of the blog).
If you are currently running the Beta1 version (00.08.80.0000) of Panda Cloud Antivirus on your PC you are most likely being alerted that it is set to expire. You will be required to uninstall the Beta1 version prior to installing Beta 2 (Version 00.08.82.0000). If during the uninstall process (especially on Windows XP) the uninstaller may not complete. In my case, I went into the Windows Task Manager, under “Processes”, and terminated the process “PSANHost.exe”. Once that process was terminated I was able to complete the uninstall process on my Windows XP machine. I encountered no issues on my Windows Vista boxes.
Panda Antivirus is the latest in “set and forget” antivirus programs that relies on synchronization processes that are driven across the internet to your PC. I have been using this software on my PC’s and have been quite pleased. It is a lightweight antivirus package in that degradation to your system’s performance is minimal compared to other antivirus packages.
Reflected are some of the fixes and enhancements in Beta2:
New – “Undo” Option for Recycle Bin
New – Synchronous Real-Time Cloud-Scan
New – Latency & Response Control of the Cloud-Scanner
Fixed – Slow Scans
Fixed – Recycle Bin Unblock Functionality
Keep in mind, that with any “Beta” level software, expect issues; such as the uninstall issue I experienced. If interested in reading more about (and even trying) Panda Cloud Antivirus, click [ HERE ]. Past articles of interest about Panda Cloud Antivirus can be found here:
As an added note, if you opt to remove any antivirus software from your computer, to install another, always check with the software maker to determine the uninstall process. To assist you with this process I encourage you to follow the links below:
There are those occasions where the Microsoft Update alert in the system tray will continuously bug you until you proceed with the update, which is a good thing from a system security perspective. However, there are those special occasions where you may not want the update to proceed.
My Tech friend, buddy, brother of the geeks, TechPaul at Tech-for Everyone has put together a clear, concise “quick” tutorial (Tip of the Day) about what to do when you want or need to manipulate the update process. TechPaul provides an excellent (very recent) example that is very helpful to all and easy to learn.
I encourage you to read:
Thank you TechPaul at Tech-for Everyone
for providing us with these very helpful tips.
Bill Mullins’ at Tech Thoughts scooped us all on a new “exciting” and FREE antivirus product called “Panda Cloud Antivirus”. I encourage you to visit Bill’s site [ CLICK HERE ] to preview his article, “Panda Cloud Antivirus – Free Cloud Protection”. My reading of Bill’s article prompted me to get the word out about this new security product and to test it on my netbook.
Many of you may not have heard of Panda.
Panda Security is an European based company…
Founded by Mikel Urizarbarrena in 1990 in Bilbao, Spain, the company operated under the name Panda Software for the first 17 years. By 1995, it was the antivirus market leader in Spain and the following year saw the start of its international expansion effort. It currently has a direct sales presence in 56 countries, operating through an extensive network of subsidiaries and franchises.
“Panda Cloud Antivirus” compared
to the other FREE antivirus software…
Panda Cloud Antivirus is a “thin client” service that you install on your PC that is dependent on the Panda’s internet (cloud) based services for its’ processing activities (aka: cloud computing). As result of the processing services being managed at the cloud (internet) level; maintenance, updates, configuration changes and system resources are minimized to the point that it becomes a maintenance free product. Panda is claiming that by using this model, which is the first that I am aware for any security software, their system will scan and quarantine malware with a 50 per cent less performance load on your PC than other traditional signature based antivirus systems. The detection component of “Panda Cloud Antivirus” is installed on your computer, but the analytic component is managed at the cloud level. One important thing to point out is that Panda Cloud Antivirus is in beta (released to the public for testing) and has not been made final. [added 05/01/2009 – Panda Cloud Antivirus” – Instructions & Help]
“Panda Cloud Antivirus” installed and running on a netbook…
Following my review of Bill Mullins’ article I downloaded and installed “Panda Cloud Antivirus” on my Acer AspireOne Mini-Netbook over a wireless connection (Intel Atom processor, 1.60 Ghz, 1Gig of RAM, 120 GB SATA, Windows XP). Netbooks are basically low-end PCs’ that primarily rely on the Internet for remote access to web-based (cloud) applications. I use my netbook to test software; and in theory, if it will run on the “netbook” it will run on just about anything.
System Requirements for Panda Cloud Antivirus
Operating system: Windows Vista 32
(also compatible with Windows Vista SP1 32-bit), Windows XP (32-bit with SP 2 or 3).
RAM: 64 MB.
Hard disk free space: 100 MB.
Browser: Internet Explorer 6.0 or later.
Netbook Install Experience
In summary, the install file was approximately 18.5 MBs and occupied a footprint of approximately 56 MBs following the installation. The installation was very, very quick. The Windows XP Security Center immediately recognized the product as a Security product. The GUI (graphical user interface) is very attractive and simplistic (one of the easiest GUI’s I have experienced). I performed a system scan and found the scan time was comparable in speed and duration to the previous antivirus software I had installed. I plan to continue using “Panda Cloud Antivirus” on the netbook, as my primary level of antivirus protection, for further review and testing. So far this cloud app is running smoothly on my netbook, but time will tell.
To Bill Mullin’s at Tech Thoughts; Thank you for bringing this product to our attention. As Bill stated in communication with me “This is an important improvement to our overall security status..”
THE WORD IS OUT
Addendum (05/01/2009) – The Tennessee Technology Center at Shelbyville (aka: TTC Shelbyville) has posted the article “Panda Cloud Antivirus Free”. The TTC Shelbyville article provides additional information about their installation experience(s), screenshots and findings; that is a great supplement to this article. They also threw some actual viral content at “Panda Cloud Antivirus”… I encourage you to visit TTC Shelbyville [ CLICK HERE ] to see the results of their review.
I have had many people approach me and ask,
“What is a good Security Suite to install on my PC?”
For the sake of this article, a “Security Suite” is a proprietary combo package that offers multi-dimensional levels of protection (against spyware, viruses, malware, rootkits, etc.).
I don’t know why (well I do), I start to cringe when I hear people tell me their stories of using the “high powered” security suites (that cost money); that they either installed or simply are using because it was on their new PC. I have found it ends up being a convoluted mess that causes the user to become frustrated; often is a burden to the PC; and often ends up where they let their subscription expire (thus having no protection at all). I also get the feeling that people, who use these security suites, have a false sense of security and think they are “ultimately” protected from anything and everything.
I have experienced just about every type of security software package out there. Am I an expert? No… But, the strategy I have been adhering to, has worked; especially when it comes to “layers” of protection that I set up on my computer; without causing my computer to come to a crawl. I use no Security Suites, never have, never will…
If you plan to go the route I am about to suggest (of no Security Suite), you will need to uninstall your current security suite software. The uninstall of security software can be very tricky and I encourage you to visit the vendor’s site to explore this subject or get a tech to assist you. I also posted (2)-two recent articles on this topic:
The listing below are the layers of protection (all FREE) I have installed on my PC… I encourage you to check for comments following this article, due some of the techs out there may add further information or make suggestions. All of the software reflected is FREE…
You can click on the links below to explore each specific title:
Common Sense – You can not install this… I have found that if your gut says “beware”; then follow your gut. Also, I am not an advocate of social sites, porn sites, pirating sites, etc…. If it is something that violates morality; believe me, you will be victimized. “Where the people gather, the cybercriminals prey”. Please use common sense!
Microsoft Windows Updates – You should set your computer to automatically update or at least alert you that updates are available. Either way, this is very, very important. Keep your operating system up to date. Microsoft usually unleashes updates the 2nd Tuesday of each month. You can learn more about Windows Updates and “patch Tuesday” [ HERE ] .
Software Updates – Keep any software on your PC up-to-date. Popular title software that is used by the masses are often targeted by hackers looking for methods to exploit any vulnerabilities or code flaws. I currently use Secunia Personal Software Inspector (PSI) to assist me with maintaining software updates.
Windows Vista Firewall – I currently use the Vista Firewall and have no other firewall software installed.
Properly configured, it can stop many kinds of malware before they can infect your computer or other computers on your network. Windows Firewall, which comes with Windows Vista, is turned on by default and begins protecting your computer as soon as Windows starts. – [ source: Microsoft ]
WinPatrol – a robust SECURITY MONITOR , WinPatrol will alert you to hijackings, malware attacks and critical changes made to your computer without your permission. The software puts a small “Scotty Dog” in the tray area that will bark when a change occurs. It is strictly for monitoring and does not fix anything. You can also get full details about WinPatrol [ HERE ].
Avast! Antivirus Home Edition – a full-featured antivirus package, with anti-spyware and anti-rootkit built-in, that is designed exclusively for non-commercial & home use. You can also get full details about Avast! [ HERE ].
MalwareBytes Anti-Malware – an easy-to-use, simple, and effective anti-malware application. Use the “Free” version of this app to manually scan your system for malware. You can also get full details about MalwareBytes Anti-Malware [ HERE ].
SuperAntiSpyware – a next generation scanning system that goes beyond the typical rules based scanning methods. The Multi-Dimensional Scanning system detects existing threats as well as threats of the future by analyzing threat characteristics in addition to code patterns. Use the “Free” version of this app to manually scan your system for spyware. You can also get full details about SuperAntiSpyware [ HERE ] .
Spyware Blaster – can help keep your system secure, without interfering with the “good side” of the web. And unlike other programs, SpywareBlaster does not have to remain running in the background. It works alongside the programs you have to help secure your system. With the “Free” version, you will have to manually run the updates to keep your system sufficiently protected.
Firefox Browser – I currently test all of the main player browsers (e.g. Internet Explorer, Chrome, Opera, and Firefox). I currently use Firefox as my main browser. You will find that most Techs are an advocate of Firefox.
Web of Trust (WOT) – WOT is a free Internet security add-on for your browser (Internet Explorer or Firefox) that will keep you safe from online scams, identity theft, spyware, spam, viruses and unreliable shopping sites. WOT warns you before you interact with a risky website. It’s easy and it’s free. If you do not install this, then I recommend you read the first item on my list (common sense). You can also get full details about WOT [ HERE ].
OpenDNS – I currently use OpenDNS as a layer of protection from web site phlishing; plus, by setting up an account with OpenDNS, I can use the built in Parental Controls to filter out and block what content reaches my computer. Installing or setting up OpenDNS can be intimidating to those with non-technical experience; however, I encourage you to read more about OpenDNS [ HERE ] .
Optional: I opted to list some additional protection, that I currently use, due to my ongoing testing of software and “test” visits to the underbelly of the internet.
Shadow Defender – This is the only software on the list that you would have to buy; however, if are someone who messes around with your system more than you should, then this may be for you. With Shadow Defender you can run your system in a virtual environment, called Shadow Mode. Any software changes or malware attacks that occur, will occur in the virtual environment, not in the real environment. If attacks happen, all you need to do is to reboot your system. I currently use Shadow Defender to test software products. I place the PC in shadow mode, install the software and perform my testing. Following my testing, I reboot and voila’, my computer is back to the original state it was prior to going into Shadow mode.
Reflected below are tips and other “security software” recommendations made by the “Techs” who routinely contribute to the blog:
AVZ Antiviral Toolkit (recommend by AKSHAT) – is a Portable AntiMalware and Portable AntiSpyware Solution that was created by a Russian named Oleg Zaytsev to remove adware and spyware, network worms, trojan horses (Trojan, TrojanDownloader, TrojanSpy) and Dialers. This app would be used when you are dealing with a system that you suspect is infected.
Spyware Terminator (recommended by the Crazy World of G) – will scan your computer for known threats and report findings in a manner that is easy to read and interpret. Free comprehensive protection that is comparable to competitors’ paid versions!
Threatfire (recommended by the Crazy World of G) – continually protects your PC against attacks by detecting malicious behavior, such as capturing your keystrokes or stealing your data, instead of only looking for known threats like normal antivirus software. By implementing sophisticated real-time behavioral analysis ThreatFire is able to stop never- before-seen “zero-day” threats solely by detecting their malicious activity.
Hazard Shield (recommended by the Crazy World of G) – is an antimalware program that scans for any and every threat we can get our hands on. These include malicious items such as malware, viruses, spyware, trojans, backdoors, dialers and much more.Hazard Shield also comes with realtime protection that removes threats the instant they appear and before they can cause damage. An excellent review on this application, “Hammer Malware With Hazard Shield” [source: Bill Mullins Weblog – Tech Thoughts]
Comodo Firewall (recommended by Tech-for Everyone) – is a multi-layered security application that keeps hackers out and personal information in. Built from the ground upwards with your security in mind, this award winning firewall constantly monitors and defends your system from inbound and outbound attacks. TechPaul has indicated this software firewall is for the more advanced.
Router / Modem Tip (by Tech-for Everyone) – a most frequently overlooked aspect of protecting your PC’s is placing a router directly behind the modem, even if you aren’t ’splitting’ your Internet to multiple computers.
Geek Squeaks are random “hot” topic links (called “squeaks”) from various credible sources (called “geeks”) and may appear on the blog at any time. Many of the topics are creations from fellow bloggers or software authors who have actively participated (e.g. link exchanges, comments, etc…) with “What’s On My PC…”. If you are interested in a link exchange please leave a comment below.
I have used numerous antivirus products over the years and have found that many of the “FREE” antivirus product options that are available are sufficient for home-based computer users. What I look for in an antivirus product, is a product that will provide the needed protection without robbing my computer of its’ memory resources. For the past 12 months I have been running the “FREE” edition of Avast! (called Avast! Home Edition) on my PC and have been quite pleased. So far it has met the criteria that I desire (sufficient protection without slowing down the computer). I have actually seen computers overloaded with security suites to the point that the software designed to protect the computer actually becomes counterproductive.
The “Avast! Home Free Edition” is produced by Alwil (a Czech-based company). Alwil also provides a professional version with additional features. [ CLICK HERE ] to compare the two. You will find that the “free version” offers features such as:
Simple User Interface
Integrated Virus Cleaner
Support for 64-bit Windows
P2P and IM Shields
I applaud Alwil for producing such a fine product and making it globally available to everyone in an effort to prevent the global spreading of viruses. If you are interested in downloading and learning more about Avast! Home Free Edition [ CLICK HERE ]. If you download and install the free edition you will be required to register the product (for free). The registration process is explained on the download page. Once you complete the registration process, a license key will be emailed to you. The registration is good for one year and can be renewed annually.
As an added note, if you opt to remove any antivirus software from your computer, to install another, always check with the software maker to determine the uninstall process. To assist you with this process I encourage you to follow the links below:
I periodically visit the Wilder’s Security Forum to see what other people are saying about the various security software products that are available. Forums are managed discussion sites where interest groups of people are formed to openly discuss a specific topic. When I preview software, I always look to see if there is a forum on the site. Forums are excellent information resources and can give you a good overview on the credibility of a matter or subject.
Recently while visiting the Wilder’s Security Forum, I was reviewing a topic titled “Probably the best Security List in the World : )”… The title caught my attention and as a result I came away with, what I feel, are (2)-two credible lists of “FREE” Security Software that I would like to share.
The first list is maintained at another forum located at a Finnish Antivirus Portal (called Virustorjunta.net). The category titles are in Finnish; however, the sub-titles of the software are in English. You can preview this list by clicking on the logo below.
The second list is located at another forum called Respawned. This forum appears to be maintained in the United Kingdom and it appears that the forum topic “Freeware Privacy, Security and Recovery Software” has been updated on regular basis since April ‘04. You can preview this list by clinking on the logo below.
Both of these lists provide an excellent overview of the various “FREE” products that are available AND provide a great opportunity to explore and research security software in a “side-by-side” manner. The people who contributed to compiling this information has done a great service to those who are unfamiliar with security software products. The forums which they have made these postings is an excellent way to get feedback, criticism and praise.
Recently I posted an article about “Uninstalling and Installing AntiVirus Software…” and how difficult it can be to totally remove (uninstall) all remnants of antivirus software from your computer in circumstances such as switching to a different software brand. Antivirus software, and any security software for that matter, hooks into many areas on a computer (i.e. registry, file system, processes, resident memory, etc…). I know personally I’ve experienced occasions where I had to boot into safe mode to eliminate debris that was left over from the uninstall process. My opinion; in instances where you are uninstalling “Security” software in order to replace it with an alternate brand, it is especially important to ensure that all remnants are completely removed,so as not to cause a conflict or potential breach with the “Security” software you are intending to install. In other words you do not want to compromise the security of your computer due to a software conflict.
Today I came across an application, called “AppRemover” that is in “BETA” (still being publicly tested), that is designed, at this time, to specifically remove Antivirus and AntiSpyware Software. I did not get to fully test the software to see if it actually did what it said; but I did download it (no installation required) and performed a scan of my system. The software picked up my Antivirus software and another Security application I was running on my system. The AppRemover site reflected that once it removes the “Security” product you desire to remove, it will then remove the “AppRemover” application from your computer as well. PC Magazine recently published an article on AppRemover (12/17/2008 – “AppRemover Makes Switching A/V Programs a Snap”) and gave it a good writeup. It also appears that developer of AppRemover, OPSWAT, Inc., is a company of good standing.
Antivirus software are complex programs designed to identify, neutralize or eliminate malicious content that invade your computer. Many people over a period of time will change from one brand of antivirus software to another. Antivirus software is big business and today there are many flavors and options available.
For example; There are (3)-three “FREE (for personal use)” reputable antivirus packages that are widely recognized (see below). I prefer any one of these over the major brand antivirus software packages due they are light on system resources, and are not bloated. As a matter of fact, I cannot remember ever having a commercial (paid for) version of an antivirus program on any of my computers at home.
The points of this article is to educate you to the fact that there are FREE antivirus software options available and that follow-up research may be required to “completely” uninstall (remove) antivirus software from your system in the event you desire to install another antivirus program.
Antivirus software, when running on your system, is hooked into many areas (i.e. registry, file system, resident memory, etc…) and uninstalling it can leave debris behind that can cause other systemic issues. Antiviruses are like viruses; they can be hard to get rid of… To prove my point, I researched (9)-nine antivirus programs and found that every one of them had supplemental removal instructions or tools, in addition to following the typical Add/Remove console process found in Windows. I have listed the sites below for convenience and reference. During this research I also found that locating this information was often buried deep in their sites and was not readily accessible.
Uninstall Information & Links
Norton Removal Tool – The Norton Removal Tool uninstalls all Norton 2009/2008/2007/2006/2005/2004/2003 products, Norton 360 and Norton SystemWorks 12.0 from your computer. If you use ACT! or WinFAX, back up those databases before you proceed.
McAfee Consumer Products Removal tool (MCPR.exe) – uninstall or reinstall supported McAfee consumer products using the McAfee Consumer Products Removal tool (MCPR.exe)
Avast! uninstall utility – Sometimes it´s not possible to uninstall avast! the standard way – using the ADD/REMOVE PROGRAMS in control panel. In this case, you can use our uninstallation utility aswClear.
Avira AntiVir -Normally the Avira Registry Cleaner removes all entries that were created by AntiVir. In this way, it prepares your system for the installation of a new AntiVir version.
BitDefender Uninstall Tool – There are two methods of uninstalling BitDefender from your computer: using the system tools and using the special uninstall tool provided by BitDefender.
Kaspersky’s Antivirus Removal Tool – Some errors might occur when deleting Kaspersky Anti-Virus product via Start > Control Panel > Add\Remove Programs. As a result the program will not be uninstalled or will be partially uninstalled. The removal tool is required to remove a variety of their products.
F-Secure Internet Security (and antivirus) – Should you decide to uninstall, F-Secure does not provide its own uninstaller. You must use the Microsoft uninstaller found in Add and Remove Programs within the Command Console. After a reboot we found no Registry files, but we did find several program and log files in an F-Secure directory tree on the root drive.
Trend Micro Antivirus – Trend Micro Support to remove Trend Antivirus plus AntiSpyware from my computer?
AVG – Open the directory with AVG Free Edition installed in and run the SETUP.EXE file or download the current installation file of AVG Free Edition from here and run it to start installation process. A window with following options will be displayed during the installation process: Add/Remove Components, Repair installation or Uninstall
I am getting sporadic reports from friends of getting the uninvited rogue “Antivirus 2009” anti-spyware program on their computers. From what I can find, the “Antivirus 2009” is usually spread via a ZLOB/MediaAccess Codec installer usually found on adult sites, in shady torrent downloads, and from what I call the underbelly of the internet. If you are one to cruise the underbelly, you better be prepared for the consequences. It is not to say there is the possibility infection can occur from what appears to be legitimate means; but the underbelly of the internet is usually the carrier and promoter of these rogue packages. These forms of infection carry what is called a “Trojan” that is basically installed on your computer and disguised as system notifications that lead to websites with rogue anti-spyware and anti-virus programs. If you are seeing random pop-ups prompting you to do system scans and showing results that your system is infected with spyware, etc., then you’ve been had. Do not let desperation get the best of you where you end up using your credit card to purchase of the “rogue” software. Again, it goes back to the old premise, “believe nothing and verify everything”; including the removal sources for these type of malware applications. I strongly advise that if you get infected, do not make any online purchases where you are typing in personal information, such as credit card numbers, etc… The “Trojan”, as I mentioned earlier can or could contain a keylogger which could record and send out every keystroke you make. I do not put anything past these rogue packages. If you do get infected, research the problem, preferably on a clean machine AND, if possible, get someone to help you… These infections are difficult to remove and are usually bundled with so much other malware, that traditional antispyware or antivirus programs have difficulty with completely cleaning these infections. Even a seasoned tech person will tell you these packages are a nightmare and it is not uncommon to do a complete rebuild on the computer.
Research information and Removal Assistance (click on links below):
SmitFraudFix – A tool created to remove rogue anti-spyware applications that utilize Trojans to issue fake taskbar security alerts or that change your background in order to scare you into purchasing the full commercial version of their software.. This is a specialized tool was created in order to help a user clean their system of these infections.
Bill Mullin’s Weblog – Tech Thoughts – Bill, a seasoned blogger and information technology expert, recently posted an article on (VirusResponse Lab 2009) – Removal Solutions which describes a similar circumstance as the Antivirus 2009. Further down in Bill’s blog post you will find additional removal sources.
Tech – for Everyone – Another blogging site that is an excellent resource, with numerous posts, which describes and teaches you what to expect from the underbelly of the internet.
Spyware Techie – A techie’s take on spyware. The site specializes in identifying and providing removal solutions for numerous of these rogue carriers.