View Full Version : Making sure your computer is clean

14-07-2012, 03:43 AM
So I use Microsoft Security Essentials. I haven't ever had realtime protection on since I'm pretty particular about making sure that every site I visit is safe before visiting it, through things like Google Safe Browsing and McAfee Site Advisor.

Today, my girlfriend's sister's fiance, without a second thought and without asking went to one of those pirated video sites on my computer. It's something like 1channel . ch (separated like that so that no one clicks on it). Apparently Site Advisor doesn't have a profile for it, but Google says that almost 10% of all pages it visited on that site install malware. And then half of the ad sites that came up, I can't even check.

My question is pretty much this - when MSE's scan is done, if it says nothing is there, is that enough? Should I trust that? Should I install Malwarebytes alongside that? Or should I opt to start using a different antivirus (I used to use Trend Micro with my last computer because a 1 year free subscription came with it from Best Buy)?

I mean, I've had issues with viruses before, but they were usually easily removed.

Thanks in advance.

14-07-2012, 04:03 AM
To me a 'clean' PC is one that isn't clogged up with bloated security apps/processes; these days I just stick with MSE. But in your case, with foreign mitts on the machine and all that, I'd probably supplement that with another scan using Something Else too.

14-07-2012, 04:59 AM
To me a 'clean' PC is one that isn't clogged up with bloated security apps/processes;
Damn you. Never again will I be able to think my PC is clean due to all the security apps installed by games these days. Even the niche ones are using ridiculous protection (see Steel Beasts and the Codemeter DRM).

On another note, what would you recommend? I was looking at Malwarebytes, since I think it can supplement MSE. But I'm open to suggestions.

EDIT: MSE came up totally clean. Bleh, this is the point where I wonder if it's worth downloading another one or not.

14-07-2012, 10:08 AM
right. get rid of ANYTHING McAffee. Seriously, a user with McAfee is usually oblivious to any malware due to the false sense of security it provides, not to mention the unnecessary overheads that McAffee seems to gobble up.

Malwarebytes is good. Juts make sure you download it from the proper site.

If you insist on using MSE, it should only be used when it nags you to do a scan. It has never found a single thing on my machine, even when I intentionally loaded up some malware.

Avast! free is very good for real time protection, just disable the browser plug-ins and crap like that as they do unnaceptably slow down your browsing experience.

You may also want to look into getting an updated hosts file, to block advertising- the majority of malware is pushed through drive-by downloads in the adverts- if you block them, there is no chance of them getting to push the malware to you in the first place.

14-07-2012, 10:37 AM
I used to believe that a PC would always be clean if you stay out of porn sites or any other suspicious sites. But Firewall is also a critical part of security. Hackers would actively roam around to try cracking into a system without proper Firewall protection.

So I always dont trust online transaction. I dont have any Internet banking. That ensure me to be safe from information thievery I guess, since my PC does not store my personal information.

And I personally try not to worry something I do not have control over. Online security is like a war. I dont really know my enemies, so I do all I can and leave the rest to the god.

14-07-2012, 02:20 PM
I would suggest installing Malwarebytes as well, but just the free version (don't activate the trial), you don't want the active protection. Between MSE and occasional scans with MBAM you should be pretty safe.

Most malware requires the user to actively download and install something, often in the guise of some fake antivirus software or something like that, so despite the fact that 10% of the pages linked may 'contain' malware, it doesn't necessarily mean that you would be infected just by visiting them. If you're really worried you can install a browser plug-in like NoScript to disable Javascript on unknown pages (Adblock Plus is also helpful here as potentially malicious scripts are often contained in dodgy adverts).

14-07-2012, 02:32 PM
So I'm the only one here who read the thread title and realized it's time to open up the poor thing and clean it with compressed air?

The last virus I've seen on one of my machines was Cascade. So all I use is ClamWin. No real time protection for viruses, it's just a waste of resources. I do run Defender though.

As for the browser, Chrome + ScriptNo + Vanilla + Disconnect, mostly to sidestep excessive tracking.

14-07-2012, 04:13 PM
I'm just using MSE and NoScript/AdBlock. Unless you actively go to an infected site and let it run its scripts, you shouldn't get infected.

Firewalls are, I've found, mostly a nuisance. For every hacking attempt they block, they'll cause a crash or block a legitimate program a million times. As long as you install Windows updates and use a sanely-configured router, most hackers won't even bother. They have much bigger fish to fry manually and don't need to actively attack personal computers when a virus will infect tens of thousands automatically because of user stupidity.

14-07-2012, 04:43 PM
Alright, thanks for the responses. McAfee Site Advisor is a site like Google's Safe Browsing diagnostics. That's it. No software on the computer. :P

Seems there are a lot of conflicting opinions on this. I think I might download Malwarebytes just to be safe, though. I wasn't so much looking for real-time protection as wondering simply if MSE's scans could be trusted.

14-07-2012, 05:19 PM
MSE seems to be pretty good, but no one AV program will ever be foolproof, so doing occasional scans with MalwareBytes gives you peace of mind. Personally I don't use an active AV (Just occasional MBAM & Spybot scans and a couple of browser plug-ins), but I'm the only person who uses this computer so I can be fairly confident I won't catch anything nasty. If you have other people using it who may be less cautious then having some active protection is a good idea, and MSE seems to be pretty light on resources.

14-07-2012, 05:37 PM
If you have other people using it who may be less cautious then having some active protection is a good idea, and MSE seems to be pretty light on resources.
Fortunately, 99% of the time, I am the only one using it. It just happened to be this one time, primarily. But bearing that in mind, I think I will at least scan with Malwarebytes.

14-07-2012, 09:57 PM
If you're paranoid and want a rather elaborate (but quite interesting to setup) solution to strangers potentially harming your computer, you could always create a virtual machine and have it run in full screen when such strangers come by. If you deactivate the overlay and make sure the host key is obscure enough (right-ctrl, the default, should work for most cases), they probably won't even notice it, and you get the peace of mind of having an additional layer of separation.

I personally find it interesting to dabble with that kind of stuff, but it is a ridiculously overengineered and contrived solution.

For day-to-day usage, MSE in the background and the occasional Malwarebytes check will work fine, as long as you remember to always update Windows on a timely basis! Updating Windows is perhaps the most important thing you can do for security, more so than any antivirus.

14-07-2012, 10:42 PM
Alright, thanks. I personally have automatic updates turned off because they piss me off, but I should do it manually a lot more often than I do, I'll admit that.

MSE did come up clean, but I think the RAM, which has been broken for a while (mentioned in another thread) finally just broke altogether and now the OS won't boot up, so since it should still be under warranty, I'll get the peace of mind of knowing the company will probably check all of this stuff for me.