be double sure

We all run anti-virus programs, right? Please agree with me, save me the stress. Some are better than others, but any AV program, free or paid, will at least allow peace of mind for the user.

No AV program is a 100% panacea though, the ever-shifting nature of attack vectors means that a particular AV will be good at some areas of protection while another brand will be better at other facets of defence. Because of the nature of computer code, and the absolute truth behind “If they can code it in, we can code it out”, AV programs can be susceptible to attack themselves.

The worst I’ve seen so far was an installation of McAfee, provided free by Telecom NZ to their online subscribers. In this particular case, the McAfee badge showed up correctly in the system tray, and looked – to the untrained eye – as though it was doing it’s job as it should. Mine, however is not an untrained eye.

Somehow, the entire McAfee program had been ripped out and replaced by a massive spyware/virus infestation, and a very clever one too. When the owner (& recent Benny award recipient) had gone to update his website, the virus had written itself into the footer of his web pages, thereby infecting anyone who visited his site. The infestation on his PC included a keylogger and self-replicating scripts that regenerated any files that were deleted – all sorts of nasty. Yuk, what a mess.

I never did discover how he got the disease, I was too busy stripping it out of his website and disinfecting his data. After a fresh Winstall (with ESET Security Suite instead of McAfee), all we had to do was alert/apologise to visitors to his website & his entire address book. I couldn’t fkn believe it when he emailed me his new passwords (for safe keeping) – you’ve just had a keylogger infection, WTF are you doing? *Sigh*

Anyway, back to my post. Installing and running 2 Av programs in parallel is counter-productive, they’ll fight with each other and end up delivering weaker protection than a single install offers. You can’t improve your PC security that way, dammit.

Enter cloud technologies, ahhhhhh. There’s some really cool, innovative web apps delivering powerful services that simply weren’t available before cloud, herdProtect is one of those. A free, cloud-based AV/Malware PC scanner that hooks into 68 – yes, 68 different AV engines as it scans your system. Now, as I said, no single AV program is ever going to halt all threats all the time. But it’d be a spectacular (& very new) chunk of code that avoided such a barrage of examination as provided by herdProtect.

It’s a simple, pain-free process too. Download the scanning utility (just 2.5Mb), follow the clicks and leave it alone for a while. (The initial scan takes longer than follow-up scans. Timing depends upon your system spec, amount of data to be scanned and your Internet connection speed.) When finished, you’ll be presented with a report detailing any errant files, the engines that called the files errant, and a choice of options to deal with the miscreants. So even after 68 AV’s have inspected your data, herdProtect still leaves the final decision up to you. & that’s just the way I like it.

Those of us with a cynical bent on life may query how come such a useful service can possibly be provided F.O.C. It’s a sensible thought to have, after all, the basic laws of economics tells us that truly free provision of valuable products/services cannot be sustained, so where’s the catch? The answer is here on their website, read it to find out.

You can create a scheduled herdProtect scan by clicking the little tools icon in the top right corner of the herdProtect utility – I recommend you set it for a weekly checkup. This is a vital opportunity for you to be confident that your PC is infection-free. Adding a regular herdProtect scan to an existing high-quality AV/Firewall installation creates a suitably robust defence strategy for home/small office users.

This has been another public announcement by Megabyte in the interest of your PC security. That’s all for now, carry on please.

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