Best Antivirus Solution for Home PC – Windows 10 – Review 2017

This article and its references are very specific to Home computers running Windows 10 OS, if you are looking for some other operating system, then you should refer somewhere else.

In the recent times, we have heard enough about cyber threats and data leakage. None of us want to be hacked. Everyone wants to have the best antivirus solution in their personal computer to protect their data, email, social networks, browsing information, …etc. There are few independent organizations – av-test.orgav-comparatives.org and se-labs.uk who perform comparative tests and reviews for antivirus software, antimalware tools and security software. We reviewed all of their reports, summarized them and recommend you these best antivirus solutions – ‘Kaspersky Lab Internet Security 2017′, ‘Avira Antivirus Pro 2016’ and ‘Bitdefender Internet Security 2016 & 2017’ for your Windows 10 OS Computers at home.

All home user looks for 2 objectives on their antivirus solution, first is to have full protection to their computer and secondly, no degradation of their computer performance.

In order to gain full protection benefit of antivirus solution, it is very important that you should be running an up-to-date windows 10 OS and more up-to-date third party software (e.g Adobe reader, Microsoft Office) in your computer. Remember that all the test result of these independent organizations are performed on up-to-date computers and not on pirated or outdated computer. Hence, in order to minimize the risk of being infected through exploits, keep your computer up-to-date.

Now, lets give you few hints about the second objective and the most common problem reported by users – ‘my antivirus is slowing down my system’. But users need to understand that other factors also play a role in system performance, and if users follow simple rules, system performance can be improved noticeably.

  1. Upgrade your PC hardware. You shouldn’t be running a ten-year-old hardware. If possible, buy a PC that meets minimum requirements of OS and software running on it, atleast 4GB Ram, multi-core processor and run only one security real-time protection program.
  2. Clean up the unwanted content of your hard disk. If your hard disk is full, your system performance will suffer accordingly. Leave at least 25% disk space free.
  3. Defragment your hard disk regularly. A fragmented hard disk can have a big impact on system performance as well as considerably increasing the time needed to boot up the system.

Having said all these tips, lets look at few international reports for choosing best antivirus solution –

AVTEST  – A Strong Player in the Field of Antivirus Research for Over 15 Years. The AV-TEST Institute is a leading international and independent service provider in the fields of IT security and anti-virus research.

The aim of the research work carried out by AV-TEST is to directly detect the latest malware, to analyse it using state-of-the-art methods and to inform our customers of the top-quality results obtained.

 

Kaspersky Lab Internet Security 2017 provides 100% protection against 0-day malware attacks and 99.9% detection of prevalent attacks, without compromising PC performance. As per AVTEST report, there was 1 false alarm, but that’s fine, it is not going to harm you anyway. All we want is total protection and best PC performance.

Avira Antivirus Pro 2016 has failed in 0.3% of its sample tests of prevalent malware detection, however its protection is 99.7% which is above the industry average. Additionally, your PC performance is no way affected and no false alarms.

Bitdefender Internet Security 2016 & 2017 provides 100% PC protection against 0-day malware attacks and prevalent malwares, however user may experience slight slowness in their PC performance. If you are more concerned about security and accept slight reduction in PC performance, go ahead with Bitdefender without hesitation.

 

AV-Comparatives is an independent organization offering systematic testing that checks whether security software, such as PC/Mac-based antivirus products and mobile security solutions, lives up to its promises. Certification by AV-Comparatives provides an official seal of approval for software performance which is globally recognized.

AV-Comparatives works closely with several academic institutions, especially the University of Innsbruck’s Department of Computer Science, to provide scientific testing methods.

 

AV-Comparatives report that Kaspersky Internet Security 2017, Avira Antivirus Pro and Bitdefender Internet Security were succeeded in detecting 99.9% of malware files.

There is some contradictory to AVTEST and AV Comparatives results on PC performance test especially on Kaspersky. As per AV Comparatives, use of Kaspersky will cause some impact on system performance and use some percentage of system resources, compared to Avira and Bitdefender. However, you no need to worry, AV Comparatives (reference link) awarded Advanced+ (highest grade) to Avira, Bitdefender and also Kaspersky for PC performance, so 5.4 is probably too low value to worry.

Hope this article helps you to choose best antivirus for your home PC. And we assure that we update this article as and when new reports were released by these major av tests organizations.

Real-World Protection Test July – November 2016′ report of www.av-comparatives.org is not considered as the tests were performed under Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit.

SE-Labs report is also not considered as we couldn’t find out the OS on which their tests were executed.

 

We welcome your feedback and stay SECURE !

Check all the open ports in your computer

What is a Port in computer terms?

Consider a server hosted with two applications, say Yahoo Mail and Yahoo Messenger (We consider Yahoo here!)

Whenever server receives request packet from client, it reads the header appended to the packet and forwarded it to particular application i.e, based on your request, server forwards request to either Yahoo Mail or Yahoo Messenger. Remember, both applications are on same server. Hah!  How the server differentiates the client request packet between Yahoo Mail request and Yahoo Messenger request? That’s where Port number plays its role. A port number is a way to identify a specific process to which the packet is to be forwarded. In this case, Yahoo Mail uses 80 and Yahoo Messenger uses 5000-5010. The server reads the user request details, look for port number and forwards to the respective application.

http://www.iana.org/assignments/port-numbers [Complete list of all port numbers]

Now you have to accept that required port needs to be opened in your computer firewall  (or gateway) as well to communicate with server i.e, Yahoo Messenger. Otherwise, your computer cannot access your required application. But the security problem here is when a port is ‘open‘ and if it is poorly configured to accept request, hacker will be able to make use of those ports and can take control of your computer. That’s true!

So what measures must be taken for opening ports?
Tip 1: Whenever any application requires to open the firewall, make sure to tweak your firewall by selecting “Program exception” rather than “Port exception” for the application to work. Program exception will open the port only for that application, it will not unnecessarily allow other traffic. While Port exception will make entire port open which makes your system more vulnerable.
Tip 2: Also Open ports only for the time required. Once you are done with your need, close the port in the firewall esp, Torrents.
Tip 3: There are also free services from well trusted sources available for testing your computer for wide range of online threats. One such product is Sygate Online Services (Symantec Security Check)- Free and an effective tool that helps determine your internet security needs.
http://www.symantec.com/norton/sygate/index.jsp

Symantec Security Check does three most common category of threats test
1. Hacker Exposure Check – Test whether most commonly used Internet applications ports are exposed to hacker’s attack.
2. Windows Vulnerability Check – Test our PC’s network identity
3. Trojan Horse Check – Test whether ports used by most common Trojan Horse applications are exposed to hacker’s attack.

3 Free Tools for Safe browsing

Malicious websites are increasing to scam visitors, deliver malware or send SPAM. Sometimes they put a small piece of key loggers that sends all your key strokes to a remote hacker. Whatever you type in your keyboard, every keystroke, even backslash would be sent to that remote hacker. Think about the case of using online banking or booking system. The moment you provide your credit card information, finished! The remote hacker will take of the rest of your cc amount.

It seems that this technique is actually a separate scam aimed at stealing personal information and such attacks are on the rise. Security vendor Symantec warns about commercialization of malware — cybercriminals prefer cash to fun, so various kinds of information-stealing software are used more actively. So as a single person, how do you ensure that you are surfing SAFE website ?

There are FREE tools available from recommended vendors which will keep you safe from online threats. Three of the best famous tools are

1. McAfee Site Advisor

2. WOT https://i1.wp.com/www.davemason.com/mywot_logo.jpg?resize=106%2C36

3. Norton Safe Web 

It is a small-sized friendly tool and won’t affect your internet speed in any way. All security experts strongly recommend these products for safe browsing.

These vendors scan millions of websites, use evidence collected form multiple trusted sources to categorize a website. Once installed in a computer, it will warn you if you are about to enter a risky website and save your computer from infection.

7 Steps to secure your Windows XP Home PC

The following steps describe how to secure your Windows XP Home computer by altering few original configuration.

1. Password Protect your computer

Set strong login password to your computer. There are many home and personal computers that are connected in Internet without password . This should not be the case as anyone would be easily able to take full control of your computer.

How to set password for my account?
1. Open Control Panel and choose User Accounts
2. Click on any already existing user account and click Change Password
3. If you dont have any password already, leave the box “Type a new password” empty and fill rest of colums.

Always choose Strong Password (minimum of 8 characters with minimum 1 alphabet, 1 number and 1 symbol). Keep changing your password regularly.

2. Disable auto logon

Do you enabled auto login welcome screen? This shows a icon with your name beside it and allows you to enter into your computer just clicking it, without entering password. If yes, it must be disabled.

How to disable auto logon?
1. Open Control Panel and choose User Accounts
2. Select the option “Change the way user logon and logoff
3. Uncheck the option ” Use the Welcome Screen” and click Apply


3. Disable & Password Protect Guest Account

Guest Accounts are disabled by default. You can check by navigating to Control Panel and then User Accounts. If you select Guest account, you have options as “Turn On the Guest Account” or Turn Off The Guest Account”. You can disable Guest Account just by choosing Turn off option. But Windows XP Home uses Guest Account as integral part of network file and folder sharing. If your computer is not well protected, even users on the public Internet can be able to connect to your share folders using Guest account privilege. Because, the account is still functional in the background. It is impossible to truly disable Guest Account.The beast way is to set password for your Guest Account. Open command prompt and type following

net user guest <type_password>

4. Enable Windows Firewall

Enabling Windows Firewall provides basic security and provides control over Incoming and Outgoing traffic. It will not keep your machine entirely safe. Windows Firewall is described in detail in this thread

5. Turn off File and Printer Sharing

File and Printer Sharing must be closed unless you require them to share your files with any other computer in your network. But it is highly recommended to keep it off in home computers.

How to turn off File and Printer sharing?
1. Go to Control Panel and open Network Connections
2. Select your network connection, right-click on Properties
3. Uncheck File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks box.

6. Update Windows Patches

Microsoft constantly releases patches for all version of their products to mitigate vulnerabilities identified in that version. The easiest method to configure this is by enabled Automatic Update option in Windows itself.

How to configure Windows Patches update?
1. Right-click on My Computer and choose Properties
2. Click Automatic Updates tab
3. Select “Keep my computer upto dateoption and choose “Notify me before downloading any updates and notify me again before installing them on my computer”
This option will not trouble you while you are doing important work in computer and doesn’t want to restart it. Because whenever updates are available, it will notify you to download and again notify to install them.

7. Anti-virus and Anti-malware Solution

Please read this point once again, Anti-malware is mentioned too and not Anti-virus alone.  I am not a great fan of free anti-virus or malware solutions, but some of them are highly recognized in the market – AVG, avast!, malwarebytes

Does your computer meet Microsoft Security Recommendations?

Free Microsoft Tool is available to test! MBSA (Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer) is an easy to use tool to determine common vulnerabilities and missing security updates in your computer. This tool also provides an option to scan network computers from a single computer in which MBSA is installed.

This tool is recommended by IT Security Auditors & Analysts!

What Operating System are supported?
Windows XP Home, XP Professinal, Windows Vista, Windows 2003, Windows 2008. For Windows XP Embedded and Windows IA64 platforms, MBSA supports remote scanning and does not run locally.

How to download and install?
MBSA latest version can be downloaded from http://www.microsoft.com website (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/security/cc184923.aspx). I assure you, the installation is too easy and does not require any steps to be defined here!

How can I scan my computer?
1. After installation is successful, open Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer 2.1 short-cut in your desktop. If it is Windows Vista, right-click on short-cut and choose “Run as Administrator”.

2. MBSA opens a screen as below where you can choose to scan one computer or multiple computers in your  network. (option is highlighted by an arrow mark to scan local computer)

3. In the next screen, your local computer name will be automatically retreived to scan or if you want to scan any other computer in your network, edit computer name tab or specify IP address.

Note: Choose option highlighted in red arrow. This installs latest version of Windows Update Agent (WUA) on the computer. If you dont choose this option, it may lead to an increase in the number of warnings as your computer may be with lower version of (WUA).

MBSA also provides options to choose what scan checks can be  done in our computer

* Check for Windows Administrative Vulnerabilities – Security issues in the Windows operating system, such as Guest account status, file-system type, available file shares, and members of the Administrators group

* Check for Weak Passwords -Checks computers for blank and weak passwords during a scan.

* Check for IIS Administrative Vulnerabilities

* Check for SQL Administrative Vulnerabilities

* Check for Security UpdatesScanning computers for security updates

It is highly recommended to choose all options which are applicable to the targeted computer. If you are not aware of which options are applicable, choose all 5 options. Anyhow, MBSA scan will report finally that specific option is not applicable for the targeted computer.

What to do with MBSA scan report?
Now MBSA scan is completed. Lets check security status. (I am not discussing here about all security results of MBSA. Only specific results which I think must be notified to users. If you want any clarification, you can post your scan restults for further discussion)

[] Security Update Scan Results:

oh!!! lot of security patches are missing and that too security updates and service packs. Must need to work out for this! But MBSA also provides an valuable information to find what exact patches are missing and where to download them. Thus how it makes your job easy! Smile (Click Results details option, it provides detailed patches details as in next screen).

Result details screen of Windows Security Updates:

[] Windows Scan Results & Additional System Informations.

Windows Scan Results & Additional System Informations are two results which I would recommend to Home users to take corrective actions based on guidance on the check. It reports

* Any user accounts with blank or simple passwords
* Auto login option (option to automatically enter to desktop screen without providing username and password)
* Guest accounts
* Anonymous accounts
* How many administrators
* Potentially unnecessary services running (some serivces may be required for your application. Review and take action)
* Any share drives and folders present
* Windows Firewall test.