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Old February 9th, 2006, 08:17 PM   #1
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Computer/Software Friendly Anti-Virus/Spyware Programs?

I read so many conflicting things about anti-virus/spyware programs messing up computers. My editing-dedicated computer is also used for internet purposes, and I'd like to know what "security" programs people here have found useful and trouble-free with their digital video-oriented computer.

I use Vegas, incidentally. :)

Last edited by Barry Rivadue; February 9th, 2006 at 08:19 PM. Reason: typo
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Old February 9th, 2006, 08:25 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Rivadue
Id I'd like to know what "security" programs people here have found useful and trouble-free with their digital video-oriented computer.
I could go on and on about how to keep your PC free of virus, spyware popups, and all the other little nasty stuff. I have attempted it all. The best thing I found was to throw my PC in the trash and get a Mac. Not a guarantee, but the next best thing. I just put a wireless network card in my PC laptop earlier today for fun and found some hotspots to surf the net. I had more popup in the 2 hours I used it, than I have had on my Mac all year. It was rediculous. I love the PC for anything non internet related. But they suck for internet. Too many nasty things out there love them. And I found myself spend a rediculous amount of time trying to fight them off.
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Old February 9th, 2006, 08:31 PM   #3
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I've found in avoiding antivirus all together my computer has been running better than ever.
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Old February 9th, 2006, 09:16 PM   #4
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There are no known viruses in the MAC OS-X arena AFAIK; not to say that there won't be some day. Virus-protected computers running professional editing programs do not mix well, nor do they do well with other utilities, like energy savers, screen savers, etc. This is particularly true during capture & playback. Keep the CPU dedicated to as few tasks as possible.

My editing system (FCP) is MAC based, but I'd imagine the rules are true for Windoze machines, as well.
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Old February 9th, 2006, 09:23 PM   #5
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(If Barry wants to switch to the Mac I'm sure he will make his decision on more fundamental reasons than popups and spyware.)

Barry, first you should put yourself behind a firewall. This absolutely essential. Run out as soon as possible and get yourself a router. Linksys, Dlink, these are all good. By doing so you can control all access to your local network. (This goes for you Mac people too) You can block IPs, you can allow IPs, you can protect yourself more surely than any software can. As you use your computer for real work, I would not install any software-based firewall as this will use up resources you need for your programs.

When I surf I use both IE and Firefox because I develop websites and need to see it on both browsers. Plus I find sometimes Firefox is a bit slow for certain things. Anyway, for the paranoid I recommend Firefox. Actually, I surf quite a bit and er on lots of questionable sites (read that how you will) and unlike seemingly every mother with a teenager my computer has never been killed by a virus or been taken over or what have you. This is for a simple reason, I do not download executables that others have not vetted. I do not open crap that my parents or other clueless people send me through the email. I pay attention to Virus alerts so that by the afternoon I know what files to open.

Exploits that do serious harm to your computer or browser when you are just passively surfing a site are uncommon. It is the programs or files you download from questionable sources that are by far the most serious threat to your computer beyond leaving your network open to hacking.

Google Toolbar and now IE by default block popups. If you go to a site that has popups that work despite, avoid it. Sooner or later those sites adopt policies that don't annoy their visitors. Firefox also has a popup blocker.

I've now started running a program called PeerGuardian that blocks IPs. You can whitelist and blacklist IPs and the company also updates several lists of IPs that are identified as coming from spammers, risky locations, universities. Occasionally it interferes with a server based program I actually do want to run and so I just whitelist the IP I want to allow or temporarily turn it off.

For email I find cleaning my mail before it gets to my inbox saves me from spending half an hour filtering Russian, Nigerian and Chinese spam. I whitelist from people I know I want mail from and let the program figure out everything else. I use Mailwasher. Do a search on it.

I have used two programs to clean my registry and my browsers of Spyware. Actually, I only use one right now and that is Adaware. There is a free version. I run it every week or so or after I think I've dirtied myself by diving too deep into Internet dreck.

If you suspect something is running on your computer that is an exploit, hit the CTRL-ALT DELETE and watch what processes are using up the CPU cycles on your machine. You can look up the names of processes you are unfamiliar with on the Internet and decide whether to kill it or not. Usually this bit of research will lead you to the steps to get rid of one annoyance or another.

Finally, you definitely need some form of antivirus but I hesitate to endorse programs that run ALL the time and scan your drive constantly.For that reason I've avoided using Norton since forever ( I heard they were getting out of home net security too). Instead I use a free antivirus program called AVG. I have it do a daily search every morning. I am on the west coast so by the time I go for work the viruses have already been out so AVG will have already updated its virus definitions. Do a search on that.
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Old February 9th, 2006, 09:36 PM   #6
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Ironically, the more people who switch to Mac the bigger a target the Mac will become for viruses.

There is nothing inherent about the Mac besides its low user base that makes it virus or exploit proof. Virus writers get their jollies seeing how far and wide (how successful) their nefarious project has spread. A virus writer whose goal is to bring down networks and generate infamy would hardly target the smallest user base just as a grafitti artist would hesitate to spraypaint in a desert or a terrorist launch a suicide attack on Iceland. No one would care.

Now if someone was able to target iPods, now there would be a huge hue and cry.
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Old February 9th, 2006, 09:52 PM   #7
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Wow, thanks to everyone so far--and you in particular, Keith. I always suspected that heavy duty utilities etc. tend to threaten the maximum efficiency of editing software and all that. I'm pretty well committed to the PC, so that's why I like gathering this info. :D
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Old February 9th, 2006, 10:48 PM   #8
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The top things to do in my opinion would be to:

A- Run Windows XP service pack 2 (not win2k, or win98). This version of Windows has Microsoft Antispyware available for it, and it has Windows SP2 firewall.
B- Use Microsoft Antispyware Beta... it will detect the various spyware programs out there and stop them from installing.
C- Use Windows SP2 firewall. Easy to use (with routers you may need to mess around with port forwarding), no problems/conflicts (unlike Norton, and to a lesser degree all the third-party firewalls), and the most widely supported.
D- Use an antivirus program like AVG Free, Avast (free), or NOD32 (commercial; scans fastest, and good track record).
E- Using Firefox will help too, as it is not as exploited as Internet Explorer.

Extra protection:
- Install Spyware Blaster. This passively protects you by stopping known nefarious sites from installing activeX controls.
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Old February 9th, 2006, 10:52 PM   #9
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The best thing you can do is get another computer for surfing the web and isolate your editing machine completely.
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Old February 9th, 2006, 11:17 PM   #10
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I think I would have to disagree about Mac not being a target because of the small user base.
If it were due to that reason, in my opinion, we would see at least 1 virus for Mac OS X that someone wrote. Macs have a huge professional user base, much more than regular home users and this would definitly be a target. As it now stands, there are around 18,000 viruses for Windows and 0 for Mac OS X. I'm not saying they're immune, but I think if someone was planning to write a Mac virus, they would have done it long ago.

Anyway (sorry to get off topic) the tips mentioned are great. Stay away from odd web pages, unknown emails and don't download things you don't need, especially freeware that often has a lot of spyware on it.

One tip I haven't seen mentioned is partitioning your hard drive. Since you're editing, I'm assuming you have at least 2 physical drives in your computer - one for video and one for everything else. I would split up the drive containing your OS into 2 partitions, one for all your documents and files and one for the OS and programs. That way if something does happen (crash, virus etc.) you just need to reinstall Windows and programs and all your stuff will be fine.
hope this helps
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Old February 9th, 2006, 11:52 PM   #11
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Avg

AVG free software can be obtained from www.grisoft.com. It runs in the background, upgrades regularly on its own, with an internet connection. I have used this on most of my systems for years, and have rarely had a virus problem.

Ad-Aware is also great for popups. It is a free program from http://www.lavasoft.de I run it if I have a pop up problem, and it usually resolves it.

Also look for the free Spybot-Search & Destroy. Finds destroys various spy programs.

These three seem to keep everything clean.

I have been on AOL since its inception, and the it has new protective software it provides is detecting any spy programs and adware. In fact, since that was introduced by AOL, I haven't been using the Ad-Aware or Spybot programs.
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Old February 9th, 2006, 11:52 PM   #12
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I think the most sound advice given so far is to keep the editing machine off the web. It negates the possibility of infections. Even with the absence of viruses in the MAC world, I put mine on the net only for program updates from Apple. It also eliminates the need to run a bunch of utilities that don't add to the editing workflow. (I use a Dell laptop for my surfing!)

Andrew, I believe you're correct about MAC viruses. The odds are overwhelming that someone wouldn't have taken a shot by now. There are other factors at work, not the least being the Unix-based operating system. Whatever the reason, the attempts haven't been successful, fortunately.

Barry, there is no reason not to stay in your comfort zone, which in this case is the Windows-based environment. And, there's been some pretty good advice given here for you to filter and use, as needed.
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Old February 10th, 2006, 01:41 AM   #13
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Last word on Macs and viruses. I promise. I was curious so I did a search.
I am NOT a Mac expert nor a virus expert. All I know is that someone has compiled a list of Mac viruses:

http://www.faqs.org/faqs/computer-virus/macintosh-faq/

I don't know how current any of these are but it seems that at least some one out there has bothered to create viruses that threaten Macs.

Mac users should be aware of at least two ways that Macs could be threatened. 1) MacOS is now UNIX based. Do a search on UNIX and viruses. 2) MacOS has Java bundled which, like any runtime, can and has been a source for trojans and other exploits. 3) Any program that has a macro facility (I know Word is going away, btw).

And also since this thread is about SECURITY in general, we are not just talking about viruses, we are talking about hax, exploits, malware. There is no magic shield protecting one particular operating system over another. So patting yourself on the back because you have a smaller target doesn't mean your computer will not be harmed when someone decides to target that platform. So far, from what I've read, virus writers are simply ignoring Macs because they want to make the biggest splash.

Another article (albeit by a security company):
http://www.sophos.com/pressoffice/ne...a_mac2003.html

"Despite their cool designer looks, Apple Macs are failing to capture interest amongst the counter-culture which writes viruses," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos Anti-Virus. "It's perfectly possible to write viruses for Apple Macs. Indeed, a Mac has no more inherent security when it comes to malware than a PC, but virus writers appear to be motivated by a desire to cause widespread havoc and so have concentrated on the market leader."
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Old February 10th, 2006, 11:13 AM   #14
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great advise from everyone, let me simplify a little bit: GET XP service pack 2 and get NOD 32 antivirus system. That is seriously all you need. Just try it out and get back to me.. It really is that simple..
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Old February 10th, 2006, 11:59 AM   #15
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By the way, I have a computer currently in repair due to a "corrupted Windows file." This is Windows XP. The machine could not boot all the way up. Sorry to say I had no updated security program (the reason I'm now revisiting the whole subject). I wonder if this was just an unfortunate software gitch or because some malevolent bug got through.
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