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Virus and Malware Software Recommendations

So I am a Mac user. I recently bought a windows 10 machine so I could take advantage of some of the special software needed for things like the handy and hopefully the OSR2. I am hoping some of you would share your best options for protecting my new machine from virus and other nasty stuff out there in the wild. I am not super computer savvy so please be patient.
I’d eventually like to start scripting but I have a lot to learn. Thanks in advance and hopefully I can soon become a contributing member of the group.

Hop

F-Secure, Malwarebytes, BitDefender those are antivirus programs that i have paid for and they have worked pretty good. F-secure might sometimes give false positive but and Bitdefender might block some websites for no reasons.

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Personally I use Norton 360, but depending on your use you might actually be good with Defender that is part of Windows. Defender is both firewall and antivirus and is working really well these days. If you know that you might be visiting more “shady” web sites (e.g. torrent sites), download apps from unknown sources and so on, then you should consider a security suite like Norton or some other that have already been mentioned.

When downloading applications from the web I also recommend scanning them using www.virustotal.com, which is a site supported by Google and other major companies. It basically test files for viruses and malware using about 40 different antivirus scanners, including Norton, F-Secure, BitDefender, Kasperskys etc. You can find the full list here. VirusTotal can also be used to scan suspicious web links.

Using an ad blocker are also recommended to avoid malicious ads. Even if you aren’t visiting shady web sites legitimate web sites can serve malicious ads since ad networks are usually an hierarchy of companies. I know for a fact that that trusted news sites, sites for TV stations etc. have occasionally spread malicious ads due this fact.

In the end, it’s your judgement that is the best defense against malware. Do you trust what you download? If not then you shouldn’t even download it in the first place and definitely not run it. Using pirate copies of software is like inviting malware to your computer. Don’t click on links in e-mails, don’t share any personal information on the web unless you really trust the site and so on.

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I’ll echo what @sentinel said.

An Ad Blocker is a great front line defense to “keep you out of trouble.” Most of the malicious junk you’ll pick up will come from those site that trick you into clicking stuff you shouldn’t, and an Ad Blocker will remove/block that stuff a lot of times.

On the AV front, I think your best bet would be a paid Malwarebytes subscription. Bitdefender is good as well. I wouldn’t recommend most of the others you buy off the shelf. As far as the built in Defender goes, yes it’s been doing a whole lot better these days - there are charts and reports that put it up against some of the paid ones and it wins out, so that’s a really good sign. I personally still feel better with a paid product like Bitdefender or Malwarebytes.

Side note/background - I’ve owned an IT company (MSP) for 12 years. You won’t have access to some of the tools/software we use; however, a layered approach is always your best bet. Make sure the Windows firewall is turned on, employ an Ad Blocker, have a good AV software (Defender, Malwarebytes, or otherwise), if you torrent anything be sure to use a VPN (this is a HUGE one, I use NordVPN), backup your stuff (it’s not a matter of IF, it’s a matter of WHEN, so make sure you backup regularly so you can clean-install when the time comes). having these layers in place will go a long way to keep you safe. Feel free to DM me if you have further questions, I’m happy to help!

Edit (because I know someone will bring it up): you should generally always use a VPN; however, if you torrent, it’s a requirement. Any time you torrent your public IP address shows up in the seed list. This gives hackers an easy way to target you - using a VPN will prevent your public IP address from being known, so it will make it harder to find you.

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imo an ad blocker, the built in windows defender, and a tiny bit of common sense to avoid suspicious sites and files is enough for most people. And maybe doing the occasional security scan.

But if you don’t feel like you have that ‘common sense’ then maybe one of the other options people are recommending could work

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I’d love to hear more about setting up a private VPN. I know enough about computers to make me dangerous and give friends of mine in the IT world headaches.

I am very careful about what click on, download and install. I try to stick to the main sites, but sometimes when reviewing a vid that was posted in a script post. I have to deal with the myriad of popups on some of those sites. that’s what I am trying to avoid. I won’t randomly download something from a non-mainstream site, not that those sites are not riddled with nasty files.

I appreciate your insight and would welcome further discussion should your time permit.

Hop

Thank you, I will be researching all of these and try to determine the best for my needs.

Hop