Obviously, you’ll find us positive about our own software for this purpose, Spybot – Search & Destroy, which should protect you well.
A very important advice when downloading any anti-malware application is to check the source of the file and the validity of the application twice. Do not use sponsored links on search engines for example – cheaters often try to sell inferior software “trials” labeled with the name of well known other products. Others are rogues that have only superficial functionality and might even install malware themselves to show they would detect something others are missing. A list of known fake or rogue applications can be found at Spyware Warrior.
Also, make sure the manufacturer of the solution you intend to install is a member of the ASC and does adhere to its standard (not all do, see below).
The classical area of protection that anyone knows about, initially centered on detecting files only, so we would still not recommend on depending on the malware protection from your AV (nor from that of your anti-malware – you’ll need both).
Standard precautions to avoid the classical viruses haven’t changed in a long time: do not open files you receive on disk or by email unless you scanned them with your antivirus application first. Do not open files a stranger sent you at all, nor files that seem to be coming from known persons, but are not accompanied with a personal letter (your friends machine might be infected and sending them out automatically). Verifying downloads by comparing their hash to one displayed on the website of the manufacturer is highly recommended (you can for example use our FileAlyzer product for that purpose).
Products we cannot recommend are:
- Kaspersky Internet Security 2008/2009
- McAfee InternetSecurity 2008/2009/2010
- Trendmicro Internet Security 2008/2009/2010
Industry standards define software that impairs user control over material changes that affect their system security as potentially unwanted technologies, and these products force you to uninstall unconflicting competing software, thus lowering your computers level of security compared to other software. And should you really trust a company that’s putting marketing way over your security?
At the moment, we cannot really recommend any firewall product. On the one hand, we’ve (at some point over a long time, not continuously) experienced problems with all of them we tested and would not feel comfortable e.g. recommending a firewall that kills the system. On the other hand, we do not really believe in those one-thing-for-all solutions, where firewalls include anti-virus and anti-spyware applications that are often not as well maintained as dedicated solutions and may conflict with other installed security software.
After much thought, we’ve decided that we simply could not find any third party software firewall we can currently recommend with a safe conscience. The Windows Firewall could be regarded as sufficient for sensible Internet users. We’ll update this part with better information when we come across it.
If you’ve got an up to date version of your email application installed, it’ll already come with a sufficient spam filter. If you enable it and it doesn’t lead to good results immediately, you might have to “train” it for a few weeks by manually flagging spam emails. And the best protection against spam still is to deal sensitive with your personal data. Check twice or thrice where you leave your email address.