Monthly Archives: February 2011

Antivirus Software Poll – 2011 Readers Choice

According to a readers’ poll being done by these are the finalists sorted by category and their current position within each category (poll will still continue until early March):

Best Internet Security Suite: This is usually the top product of a security company. It includes antivirus, firewall, protection against spam, and other niceties. The finalists for this category are, in current order:  ESET Smart Security (49%), Comodo Internet Security (36%), Kaspersky Internet Security (8%), Norton Internet Security (4%), Panda Global Protection (2%). I agree with these results, except I would place Norton in last place if it was up to me.

Best Windows Antivirus: This is a program that has the usual protection against viruses, traditionally a step down from the full Security Suite – some features the Security Suite version normally has are not enabled. The finalists for this category are, in current order: VIPRE Antivirus (61%), ESET NOD32 Antivirus (20%), ZoneAlarm Antivirus (7%), Avira Antivir Premium (6%), Norton Antivirus (4%). I agree with these results, and in fact my personal choice for my own computers has been VIPRE Antivirus Premium for over a year now.

Best Free Antivirus: As the above category, but usually the free versions have even less functionalities enabled. The finalists for this category are, in current order: Avast! antivirus (30%), Microsoft Security Essentials (25%), AVG free (15%), Panda Cloud Antivirus (11%). I agree with these results, although I would place AVG in last place if it was up to me.

Remember, the above traditional security programs are only one layer of a complete security setup, as covered in my article on the subject. So even if you have the best of the top category, your security setup will not be complete.

Increased Security for Facebook Users

If you’re a Facebook user at all, and even if you’re not, you might have heard of problems in the past with Facebook as far as security is concerned. For example, the recent Firefox “firesheep” add-on that allows somebody in your vicinity to hijack your credentials for Facebook and have access to your account, and the countermeasures that ensued after the add-on went viral. This was covered in an earlier article, and the handling given to users was to use an add-on that would force the use of a secure connection when using certain websites, like Facebook. You can read my recent article about it here.

But now Facebook itself has included in the user settings a way to use secure connections when possible, regardless of what web browser or what computer you’re using. Furthermore, it gives you the ability to monitor the details of where has your account been accessed from recently, which would give you an idea of whether or not to suspect hijacking activity, plus it gives you the ability to terminate a suspected connection to your account. It also gives you now the ability to receive an email or text message if your account is accessed from a new device.

Ok so now as to the how-to. From the top right of the Facebook website, click on Account, then select Account Settings from the drop-down menu. Next locate Account Security and click on “change”. Check the “Browse Facebook on a secure connection (https) whenever possible” checkbox. If you want to receive an email, a text message, or both when a new computer or mobile device logs into your account, check the appropriate boxes. Then click on the save button right underneath.

Under all that you can see the recent activity and if you see that the location of recent activity is from Kazakhstan, well, click on the end activity link on the right side (unless you ARE in Kazakhstan 🙂 ).

So there you have it. It’s not like you’re immune now to security risks related to Facebook, but these measures should raise the fence as far as security and privacy is concerned.

Big Month of Patches by Microsoft

Today Tuesday the 8th, Microsoft issued 12 security updates patching 22 bugs in Windows, Internet Explorer and Office.

3 of the 12 updates were labeled “critical”, the most severe rating. the remaining 9 were labeled “important”, the next rating down.

The two most urgent ones to install are MS11-003, patching Internet Explorer bugs, and MS11-006 (the vulnerability this patch handles does not affect Windows 7 computers).

Actions to take: If you do not have Windows Update set to automatic, it is highly recommended you use the update management feature in your computer’s control panel or visit this link to install these updates:

Happy patching.