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very easy and safe alternative for virus-scanner

Postby WaveOnWave » Sun Feb 03, 2013 6:37 pm

Just thought to share my security settings (XP, Vista, 7) with you:
  1. Create an admin account + create an account with standard rights. Use this standard account for your day to day tasks. Make sure after booting the 'choose your account screen' will show up. Give your admin account a high password length.
  2. Keep UAC on.
  3. in the rare case you have to log in from the choose-account-screen as an admin: plug out your network cable from the router (probably easier to reach than the back of your computer). Do this before loggin in and plug it back in after loggin out.



Last point sounds hilarious but it works perfectly. It is important to keep the next points in mind:
  1. windows firewall should be on
  2. make sure your OS is patched
  3. be very very careful installing software from untrusted parties


This is how I always deal with my computer and never gave me any virus, malware or whatever, without the need for a bloated unnecessary virus scanner on my computer.
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Re: very secure and safe alternative for virus-scanner

Postby Exalted Wombat » Sun Feb 03, 2013 6:42 pm

Still install Microsoft Security Essentials though. It won't jump up and bite you. Honest!
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Re: very secure and safe alternative for virus-scanner

Postby WaveOnWave » Sun Feb 03, 2013 6:44 pm

Well, my point is I can do without.

I always have a red shield in my tray but I am still very safe. :)
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Re: very secure and safe alternative for virus-scanner

Postby Exalted Wombat » Sun Feb 03, 2013 6:50 pm

It's an unnecessary point. There's no virtue in doing without if one does no harm.

The other destructive bit of advice is to turn off Ststem Restore. Don't. It will save your life one day.
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Re: very easy and safe alternative for virus-scanner

Postby The Elf » Sun Feb 03, 2013 7:00 pm

Just make sure you do a regular incremental image backup. That's the best anti-virus protection of all.

Install Microsoft Security Essentials anyway - no bloat and no reason not to.
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Re: very easy and safe alternative for virus-scanner

Postby Folderol » Sun Feb 03, 2013 8:38 pm

If I was going there, I wouldn't start from here!

First line of defense is your router. Mine is set to block all incoming ports. Access attempts are logged but no response is given, so any nasties have no way of knowing there is anything connected at all.

Next I split out 'domestic' stuff from important stuff.

Important is the DAW, which is on its own machine. It doesn't even have a browser configured let alone in use. It also is never connected to any network unless I am downloading known software from a known source using a dedicated downloader. Any other transfers are via known clean memory sticks - my machine also does not auto-run any external media.

My domestic machine is a small cheap general purpose one with standard, readily replaceable software on it. The stuff that matters at all (data) is on its own partition and regularly backed up - I keep old backup copies. If the machine were to get hosed, I'd simply wipe and re-install. This is arguable less time consuming that any other option, and certainly more reliable. At worst, I might lose a couple of days of e-mail (although my link to my ISP is IMAP so even there I can re-fetch them with a bit of fiddling about).
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Re: very easy and safe alternative for virus-scanner

Postby robin746 » Mon Feb 04, 2013 1:26 am

Or just run Panda Cloud (low overhead) and don't do anything outright stupid on your computer. In performance turn off the internet. Had one virus in ten years. Survived the experience.
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Re: very secure and safe alternative for virus-scanner

Postby OneWorld » Mon Feb 04, 2013 10:02 am

Exalted Wombat wrote:It's an unnecessary point. There's no virtue in doing without if one does no harm.

The other destructive bit of advice is to turn off Ststem Restore. Don't. It will save your life one day.


+1

I survived about 3 years with no AV software at all - after having had the travails of Norton imposed upon me, never again!

But now there is MS Security Essentials, works fine, tiny footprint, unobtrusive, one of those rare examples of Microsoft embracing that sage computing advice - KISS

And possibly the most important tool - make an image of a mean and clean installation, with incremental backups and the nasties can throw whatever they want at you.

I have been told System Restore can itself become infected by particularly invasive viruses?
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Re: very easy and safe alternative for virus-scanner

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Feb 04, 2013 10:07 am

WaveOnWave wrote:This is how I always deal with my computer and never gave me any virus, malware or whatever, without the need for a bloated unnecessary virus scanner on my computer.

Of course, an alternative approach is to use a non-bloated virus scanner and forget all that faffing about with internet cable nonsense!

I use Eset Nod -- a very non-bloated and efficient virus scanner. My machine is connected to the big bad outside world 24/7, and I have virtually no problems with virus and malware. In fact the only time I have in the last five years or so came from someone else's memory stick, and it was detected and dealt with instantly!

Keep the OS up to date, use good virus protection and keep it updated, have a good internet router with proper firewall configurations, and avoid surfing dodgy websites or downloading dodgy files. And finally, keep all your critical data backed up in at least three independent places, and maintain images of the OS drive. That way if the evil monster does find a way in, you can flatten the system, restore the image, and be up and running as if nothing had happened inside an hour or two.

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Re: very easy and safe alternative for virus-scanner

Postby WaveOnWave » Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:25 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:

...

Of course, an alternative approach is to use a non-bloated virus scanner and forget all that faffing about with internet cable nonsense!

I use Eset Nod -- a very non-bloated and efficient virus scanner. My machine is connected to the big bad outside world 24/7, and I have virtually no problems with virus and malware. In fact the only time I have in the last five years or so came from someone else's memory stick, and it was detected and dealt with instantly!

Keep the OS up to date, use good virus protection and keep it updated, have a good internet router with proper firewall configurations, and avoid surfing dodgy websites or downloading dodgy files. And finally, keep all your critical data backed up in at least three independent places, and maintain images of the OS drive. That way if the evil monster does find a way in, you can flatten the system, restore the image, and be up and running as if nothing had happened inside an hour or two.

hugh

and what account rights do you use when running your computer for browsing/music production? I find it hilarious people put a lot of effort and money in protection while still logging in with their admin account. Why using 3rd party software when there is no need for it.
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Re: very easy and safe alternative for virus-scanner

Postby The Elf » Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:28 am

WaveOnWave wrote:I find it hilarious people put a lot of effort and money in protection while still logging in with their admin account.

What effort and money?

MSE is free and looks after itself - and it takes all of ten seconds to set off an image backup (which everyone should be doing anyway)! :crazy:

It seems you're the one making the most effort!
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Re: very easy and safe alternative for virus-scanner

Postby WaveOnWave » Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:31 am

robin746 wrote:Or just run Panda Cloud (low overhead) and don't do anything outright stupid on your computer. In performance turn off the internet. Had one virus in ten years. Survived the experience.

The funny thing is, when logging in as a standard account I can do all the stupid things on my computer I want, it won't harm my computer. I don't have to think about it. The only thing I have to think about it is when a request for admin credentials shows up, then I know there is something going on.

While on the subject I am still surprised .msi files haven't become the standard. Current situation: when installing (another thing to think about, you can do without, if the distributor wants) a program you have to run an .exe file and your computer is a walk-in for the exe file. With .msi files the OS installs the software giving you an extra security layer without the need for 3rd party software.
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Re: very easy and safe alternative for virus-scanner

Postby tex » Mon Feb 04, 2013 2:01 pm

Viruses are like Dracula. You have to open the door and invite them in.
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Re: very easy and safe alternative for virus-scanner

Postby tex » Tue Feb 05, 2013 3:47 pm

Oh, and post 5 in virus aware week? The only people who want us aware of viruses are certain anti virus companies who want moneeee. :round1:
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Re: very easy and safe alternative for virus-scanner

Postby Pete Kaine » Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:04 am

The last time I picked up a virus, it was via a very well regarded news site who's server had been compromised and forced to deliver a payload when you opened an article.

To put it bluntly; [ ****** ] happens and it normally happens outside of your control. Just because your careful it doesn't mean the isn't an Apache or jquery exploit out there with your name on it.

Sure if your not connected to a network or if you are and nobody else uses it then great, your low risk; unless you absolutly never insert any media (burnt cd's,usb drives) into your computer then in which case you would be completely safe. If your connected to a network and other people are on it, then are you 100% sure they are not going to do something foolish?

When the AV solution isn't going to cost you anything, its simply a case of better safe than...
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Re: very easy and safe alternative for virus-scanner

Postby Magic Matt » Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:59 pm

The worst viruses are the ones that install in such a way as to go completely undetected. They sit in the background logging data you enter, and send it to persons unknown. They are used to harvest details such as credit card numbers, logins, anything that can be used for fraud and identity theft basically.

Just because your computer is running fine, does not mean there's nothing wrong. Sure it's possible you may never encounter such an issue, but why risk it? I fix computers for a living, and last month I had to spend two weeks helping somebody sort out a load of issues they had with their credit card details being used fraudulently. They had a rootkit installed on the computer that was connecting to a server in Russia and basically sending almost everything she typed, so that must have been how the criminals got her details.

For all those smug Mac users that say only PCs get viruses... sorry, I've had to remove viruses off of a Mac too! Thankfully it's far more rare, but Mac users are often guilty of forwarding virus ridden messages, and with appropriate anti-virus installed, the infected messages would be filtered out - even when not directly affected, they are often carriers.

In light of this, I maintain as I always have done, that using a computer online without appropriate antivirus and firewall protection, is totally irresponsible.
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Re: very easy and safe alternative for virus-scanner

Postby tex » Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:16 pm

The worst viruses are the ones that install in such a way as to go completely undetected

....and log all your details?
I've seen that statement many hundreds of times. Not once have I seen an explanation of how that is done from anyone that posts that statement. Always the scary bit and never the reality.
Keyloggers are never casually implemented. They are either clandestinely installed on physical media or they require the (tricked) cooperation of the recipient.
I once built a friend a computer, clean install of Windows with the only visits to the internet being to download the latest Windows updates. An "expert" friend of his came along and "found" hundreds of viruses. Go figure.
Windows security essentials plus the usual rule of never doing so much with your computer that you are likely to forget doing it. That plus the fact that companies and their employees are, incredibly, much more at risk than individuals form viruses and hackers just because they are stupidly lax with security because most of them can't remember anything more than the simplest security routines as a body. So to reassure everyone, you are, with the most basic of security, vastly safer than MI5.

In light of this, I maintain as I always have done, that using a computer online without appropriate antivirus and firewall protection, is totally irresponsible.


Yeth, and alwayth wear full body armour too. :D You've been told.
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Re: very easy and safe alternative for virus-scanner

Postby feline1 » Thu Feb 07, 2013 10:12 am

The Elf wrote:
WaveOnWave wrote:I find it hilarious people put a lot of effort and money in protection while still logging in with their admin account.
What effort and money?

MSE is free and looks after itself - and it takes all of ten seconds to set off an image backup (which everyone should be doing anyway)! :crazy:

It seems you're the one making the most effort!


Quoted for truth!! :headbang:
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Re: very easy and safe alternative for virus-scanner

Postby Magic Matt » Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:31 pm

tex wrote:
The worst viruses are the ones that install in such a way as to go completely undetected
....and log all your details?
I've seen that statement many hundreds of times. Not once have I seen an explanation of how that is done from anyone that posts that statement. Always the scary bit and never the reality.
Keyloggers are never casually implemented. They are either clandestinely installed on physical media or they require the (tricked) cooperation of the recipient.

That's just absolute twaddle. Allow me to explain why your implication that I'm lying (for reasons I can't comprehend) is completely misplaced.

Without anti-virus protection, security vulnerabilities in browsers and email clients are the most common way of encountering an implimentation of a "dropper" - that is a script that once installed will then try to download the main infection.

One recent high profile vulnerability was found in Java, and was published in most of the respected computer press.
http://www.informationweek.co.uk/security/attacks/java-zero-day-attack-could-hit-enterpris/240006341

The important part about understanding a dropper, is that its intent at that stage is not to do anything more than attempt to gain access to the computer so that arbitrary commands can be carried out. It will usually connect to a server and periodically check that server for instructions. Once a good number of machines are connecting to the server, the operator will then issue commands for them to download and run arbitrary code. The code is installed and executed, and runs just as any other background process does on your computer. It can do anything that any normal piece of software would be capable of doing.

You are now in the arena of guessing what the motives of person who has gained some access and control of your computer are. Some of the more common ones are:
- To pool resources and use as many machines as possible to create a DoS attack. That's where you flood a server with more requests than it can handle, and it stops being able to respond - Denial of Service.
- To harvest information, - keyloggers are smart. They don't send every keystroke, they look for patterns. Strings of 16 numbers is usually a credit card number, in which case the data before was probably a name and the data after probably the dates and CVV code.
- To prevent access to your computer - this one is becoming more common. One such infiltration has been very effective in obtaining money by deception, and is hard to track. You'd be amazed how many people fall for it. http://deletemalware.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/remove-police-central-e-crime-unit.html
- It may also simply be feeding all your documents to the server at low speed.

Without anti-virus, you may never know it's there. Yes, it's frightening. Unfortunately it's also very real, and people do get caught. Part of my job, is clearing up that mess.

tex wrote:
I once built a friend a computer, clean install of Windows with the only visits to the internet being to download the latest Windows updates. An "expert" friend of his came along and "found" hundreds of viruses. Go figure.

If you were capable of doing the checks yourself, you should have. You would then have been in a position to challenge the person that claimed to have found hundreds of viruses.

However, it's also common for people that claim to know what they are doing to be complete idiots, and I've encountered plenty of people that thought cookies were viruses.

tex wrote:
Windows security essentials plus the usual rule of never doing so much with your computer that you are likely to forget doing it. That plus the fact that companies and their employees are, incredibly, much more at risk than individuals form viruses and hackers just because they are stupidly lax with security because most of them can't remember anything more than the simplest security routines as a body. So to reassure everyone, you are, with the most basic of security, vastly safer than MI5.

What twaddle is this now? Point one, you're saying you don't need antivirus etc. but then saying use Windows Security Essentials which includes the anti-virus you don't need.... do you want to contradict yourself any more??

Employees are stupidly lax with security... no. Clearly you're completely unaware that most companies will have rules saying employees should not alter settings on the computers, and installing software without the boss clearing it first would most certainly get you on a disciplinary. Some business are lax, but that's because they usually believe the sort of nonsense you're saying about security not being needed.

If a home user is foolish not to have security, a business is an accident waiting to happen. If somebody gets the payroll information, banking information (usually held in Sage Accounts Company.001 folder) from a business, that's a pretty big jackpot.


tex wrote:
In light of this, I maintain as I always have done, that using a computer online without appropriate antivirus and firewall protection, is totally irresponsible.


Yeth, and alwayth wear full body armour too. :D You've been told.

Stop being an idiot please. You have been told.
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Re: very easy and safe alternative for virus-scanner

Postby Sabbs » Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:57 pm

Hi all

The original recommendations of using a standard account day to day in the first post is something I've been drumming into professional IT Admins for years and should be standard fare in any IT Pro Shop.

Yet I still find IT Admins logging on to their desktops with privileged accounts and on to privileged systems directly. Arghhh!

For my own music laptop - I operate a use at my own risk policy. I use an Admin account and Security Essentials for AV.

My use at my own risk policy is if I need wipe and load then this should not involve data loss. Therefore I'm careful what sites I connect to (manufacturers only) if I need something else I do it on another machine. I also have an MDT (Microsoft Deployment Toolkit) server (VM) that contains my image with my base OS and apps. To wipe and load - I just PXE boot the laptop and back it all comes (drivers as needed). Of course there's tuning and tweaking afterwards but it saves me time.

Also if it's not backed up - I obviously don't care enough about it....

As long as you accept your risk of data loss then don't be surprised/upset when it happens - because it will.
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Re: very easy and safe alternative for virus-scanner

Postby johnny h » Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:09 pm

Sabbs wrote:Hi all

The original recommendations of using a standard account day to day in the first post is something I've been drumming into professional IT Admins for years and should be standard fare in any IT Pro Shop.

Yet I still find IT Admins logging on to their desktops with privileged accounts and on to privileged systems directly. Arghhh!

For my own music laptop - I operate a use at my own risk policy. I use an Admin account and Security Essentials for AV.

My use at my own risk policy is if I need wipe and load then this should not involve data loss. Therefore I'm careful what sites I connect to (manufacturers only) if I need something else I do it on another machine. I also have an MDT (Microsoft Deployment Toolkit) server (VM) that contains my image with my base OS and apps. To wipe and load - I just PXE boot the laptop and back it all comes (drivers as needed). Of course there's tuning and tweaking afterwards but it saves me time.

Also if it's not backed up - I obviously don't care enough about it....

As long as you accept your risk of data loss then don't be surprised/upset when it happens - because it will.

You say 'it will', but that's incorrect. It 'might'. And probably won't for the foreseeable future.
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Re: very easy and safe alternative for virus-scanner

Postby Exalted Wombat » Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:11 pm

johnny h wrote:
Sabbs wrote:As long as you accept your risk of data loss then don't be surprised/upset when it happens - because it will.

You say 'it will', but that's incorrect. It 'might'. And probably won't for the foreseeable future.

No. In the forseeable future there WILL be data loss. Maybe not in the immediate future. But don't bank on it.
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Re: very easy and safe alternative for virus-scanner

Postby WaveOnWave » Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:15 pm

Sabbs wrote:Hi all

The original recommendations of using a standard account day to day in the first post is something I've been drumming into professional IT Admins for years and should be standard fare in any IT Pro Shop.

yeah true, the most important recommendation of this topic is NOT to stop using virus-scanners, although i made the decision to stop using them (in fact never ever used them in my life). The recomendation is indeed to start using your computer with a standard account. Something which seems to be missed by almost everybody in this topic and the rest of the world. Also met several IT professionals who dis recommend it while it is THE no 1 protection against every IT danger we have.
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Re: very easy and safe alternative for virus-scanner

Postby The Elf » Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:23 pm

WaveOnWave wrote:it is THE no 1 protection against every IT danger we have.

I'm sorry - this is blind faith, and misguided.

I was an IT professional for 30 years before my full-time career in audio. The No. 1 protection is backup, backup, backup.
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Re: very easy and safe alternative for virus-scanner

Postby WaveOnWave » Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:32 pm

The Elf wrote:
WaveOnWave wrote:it is THE no 1 protection against every IT danger we have.
I'm sorry - this is blind faith, and misguided.

I was an IT professional for 30 years before my full-time career in audio. The No. 1 protection is backup, backup, backup.

Werther it is 1 or 2 (or 3) is not really important of course, fact is that everybody who is serious about working on the computer and security should run under standard account.
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Re: very easy and safe alternative for virus-scanner

Postby The Elf » Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:39 pm

WaveOnWave wrote:
The Elf wrote:
WaveOnWave wrote:it is THE no 1 protection against every IT danger we have.

I'm sorry - this is blind faith, and misguided.

I was an IT professional for 30 years before my full-time career in audio. The No. 1 protection is backup, backup, backup.


Werther it is 1 or 2 (or 3) is not really important of course, fact is that everybody who is serious about working on the computer and security should run under standard account.

Maybe, but AS WELL AS, not INSTEAD OF, other protection! AV and backups are more important and no hassle to implement.

If you truly believe that a standard account on its own is a guarantee of protection you are very wrong.
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Re: very easy and safe alternative for virus-scanner

Postby johnny h » Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:47 pm

Exalted Wombat wrote:
johnny h wrote:
Sabbs wrote:As long as you accept your risk of data loss then don't be surprised/upset when it happens - because it will.

You say 'it will', but that's incorrect. It 'might'. And probably won't for the foreseeable future.

No. In the forseeable future there WILL be data loss. Maybe not in the immediate future. But don't bank on it.

Computers have a shelf life. In my experience only one hard drive has ever gone wrong, and that was the infamous ibm deskstar 'deathstar' and it made horrible noises for many months before finally refusing to access certain files. Viruses have happened but nothing that has caused any data loss nor loss of valuable information (as far as I know). But that was with the PC. Now the PC has been relieved of all of its internet duties. The mac has time machine, which is, as you would expect from Apple, by far the best backup utility ever invented for mainstream use.
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Re: very easy and safe alternative for virus-scanner

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:50 pm

The Elf wrote: If you truly believe that a standard account on its own is a guarantee of protection you are very wrong.

+1 billion to that one!

H
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Re: very easy and safe alternative for virus-scanner

Postby Sabbs » Thu Feb 07, 2013 4:27 pm

Using a standard account in IT is good practice and can help against the propagation of malware/virus/Bad boy hacker. This is one of many good practices including AV software, backups etc etc.

If things really go wrong and recovery is needed...backups (verified and tested ideally) save your hide.

Those of us that have spinning disks = mechanical moving parts = potential failure. And as I understand it SSDs have a finite write capability. Therefore to guard against this happening - backups - I travel with my laptops all the time. If one laptop gets dropped or whatever could equal hard drive death. data paranoia is healthy - I have both on premise and off premise backups.

Everybody has their own way of doing it. As long as you understand your risk and have some kind of recovery plan then whatever works for you works for you.

Everybody suffers data loss at some point. My first wake up call was accidently saving sequences on a floppy disk on my Korg 01/W FD over the top of a lot sequences that I didn't have back up of...did backups after that and on every subsequent device/keyboard that saved data.
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Re: very easy and safe alternative for virus-scanner

Postby WaveOnWave » Thu Feb 07, 2013 4:34 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
The Elf wrote: If you truly believe that a standard account on its own is a guarantee of protection you are very wrong.

+1 billion to that one!

H

and what rights do you run at? admin or standard?
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