Firewalls & Spyware

Questions from a computer virgin!

If the ISP claims to have it on their servers do I still need a version of it on mine? - What types are there and how reliable are they?

I downloaded the trial version of Webroot Spy Sweeper, which eliminated what the Lavasoft Ad Aware could not. Is this the best on the market?

I have Norton Internet Security. Is this the best on the market?

As for Antivirus, Norton is the best in the market. So is McAfee. So is AVG. So is Panda. So are any of these. All antivirus has the same effectiveness. All will detect any known viruses at the time of their last update. All will fail to detect any unknown viruses. Ultimately, antivirus software is a commodity, and should be purchased on price.

You should have a firewall on your computer – get ZoneAlarm.

For Antispyware, Spyware Warrior certifies six stand-alone programs. For the average user, Microsoft’s Antispyware is great. (There are some issues with it, but they are matters of philosophy rather than quality.) In any case, like antivirus, buy on price among the six. Spy Sweeper is on the list, but is one of the most expensive.

I have no objective advice, however, you will find it much easier to live life without spyware utilities, virus utilities, or any of the sort on your computer at all.

A hardware firewall using a router is the best choice in my opinion, that is second best to buying a Mac.

Firstly, welcome to the boards.

It is likely that if you ISP claims they have a firewall on their server, they do, in fact, have it. Still, you would probably want to have a personal firewall installed on your pc. The reason for this is that the firewall your ISP provides will only protect you from attacks coming into their network. It won’t scan your pc’s outgoing network traffic. That is where a personal firewall like ZoneAlarm or Sygate will be helpful.

There is no one spyware removal tool that is considered the best. What one misses the other may catch. It is considered a good practice to run at least 2 spyware products on your PC. You mentioned you use AdAware. Other good products are Spybot Search & Destroy, Spywareblaster, and HijackThis. Each has features that are useful that others dont’ have.

You will get mixed answers when you talk about Norton Internet Security. There are those that absolutely love it because it has antivirus, spyware removal, and firewall tools in one package. There are those that hate it because of it’s pricetag for the initial package and for updates (usually you get charged after 30 days use). The reality of it is that it doesn’t do any worse than other products out there, so if you don’t mind paying for the product and it’s updates, you are probably ok. Just keep in mind that there are free products out there that will do just as good a job (AVG antivirus and Avast are two free ones that come to mind). Combine them with the firewall and spyware programs I’ve mentioned earlier and you have a very good way of keeping your system clean.

I hope this answers your questions.

I think this is a crucial point. Running just one spyware product (no matter which one) is likely to leave holes in your security. Read this article:

Anti-adware Misses Most Malware

And then there are us who hate Norton because it is a crappy program, that breaks a large number of computers - I have worked on a lot computers where Norton was more of a problem than the viruses/spyware that Norton didn’t do anything about. Go with AVG or Avast, as they are free, and I have never seen them screw up a computer like Norton.