How do YOU know that your antivirus is working?

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Skylyne

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I've seen the phrase, "X software does great for me," repeated in many different ways, but that always leaves me wondering very basic questions: How do you know this? Are you basing your AV software's performance on what it blocks/how much it blocks, or are you getting second opinions from somewhere? If so, from who/what software?

Personally, I gauge software on a number of things (which I won't go into here), but there's no significantly reliable method of double checking a software's protection beyond running other AV software from a live boot disk/USB; well, at least, not for average consumers. Even then you do run the risk of something not being caught, depending on which software you use.

I want to clear this up, because I have a feeling there are many people seeing posts like "X software works fine for me," and taking that as "X software works perfectly, and catches everything," which may/may not be the case. While you may very well have a squeaky clean computer, I'd like to know how you know this. If we can get that in the open, I think this could help out a lot of people looking for a new antivirus solution.

I've seen many people use the "When I switched to this software, I saw it was blocking so many things that my old one didn't." For you guys, here is what I want to know:

- What type of website (url is helpful, but not needed). If it's a type of website you'd rather omit, then state so; no judgements here
- Is the website run by a major company, a respected development team, or is it just some random website that Yahoo pointed you to?
- What browser you were using, extensions, toolbars, you name it
- What you were doing when the red flag came up (ie: downloading a file, reading an article on the website, etc.)
- Did you click on anything? Pop ups, random clicks on empty page space, highlighting text, etc.. As an example, I've seen some adult websites that spur pop up ads for every click on the webpage, from empty space on the page to clicking "play" on a video; so take note of how things occur.
- What antivirus did/didn't throw up a red flag

If you guys can help me take note of this stuff, we can all get a better sense of what software catches what exploits/vulnerabilities (I'll even see about testing sites/URLs on my own, if you want to send me links), as well as what places people are getting bugs/viruses. I have a hunch I know what is causing many people to get computer infections, but I want you guys to tell me where/what/why you're getting infected.

Can't learn a damned thing if nobody ever talks about what's happening!
 

Paul NZ

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Sep 15, 2014
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Personally I dont really care. Windows defender wont do anything until I tell it to scan something. Only thing I've done is update its defs.

Until I notice something strange, I dont worry about it. I deal with malware so I would know if this is infected with something


 

Wolfshadw

Splendid
Moderator
I want to clear this up, because I have a feeling there are many people seeing posts like "X software works fine for me," and taking that as "X software works perfectly, and catches everything," which may/may not be the case.
First thing to clear up. There is no software that will catch everything. There is no, "may or may not". No one's system is entirely safe unless it's NEVER been connected to another computer and NEVER had an external/USB drive connected to it. We may all feel safe, but in truth, every system we've ever used, regardless of the protection we utilize, could be infected with viruses that simply are not that intrusive.

Best that I can advise is simply to keep a separate system for personal information/finances. All your gaming and web surfing happens on one computer. All your financial/online identities should be kept on a separate system and if at all possible, never should the two meet.

-Wolf sends
 

anort3

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Moderator
90% of avoiding malware is intelligent browsing. Don't open email attachments unless you know who they are from and never access a website through an email. If you get an email from the bank go to the bank's website directly instead of clicking the link in the email. Don't go looking for cracks or keygens or download and run unknown files. That sort of thing.

Use Firefox with Ghostry and Adblock plus and you will never have to worry about getting anything through malicious advertising. Those can pop up even on legit sites. They also speed up browsing significantly by not loading all the advertising crap found on most web pages. If anything ever pops up you can't close or are suspicious about clicking on use the task manager to close your browser. It's easier to reopen some tabs than to reinstall Windows.

I use the free version of Avira and the paid for version of Malwarebytes ( lifetime was $10 ). That combination has kept me virus free for years.

Edit: Oh and use a strong password and don't use the same password for multiple sites.
 

Paul NZ

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Most of it is common sense. Go to dodgy sites you'll get hit by something.

Download dodgy files / attachments. You'll get something. Use torrents. Get / run the wrong thing your system will get infected
 

Wolfshadw

Splendid
Moderator
If anything ever pops up you can't close or are suspicious about clicking on use the task manager to close your browser. It's easier to reopen some tabs than to reinstall Windows.
Can't emphasis this one enough. Thanks for pointing it out anort3!

If you ever click the "X" to close a browser window and you get a pop-up stating Windows is trying to close the browser window, click OK to continue, that's when you go to Task Manager. You should never be forced to click, "OK" to close a web page.

-Wolf sends
 

Skylyne

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Sep 7, 2014
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I'd respond to practically everyone here, but I don't even think anyone actually read what I wrote...

Wolfshadow- I assume you haven't read what I've written in this section of the forums (most probably don't lol), but you're saying exactly what I say to most people; "security" is practically non-existent. In the particular context you responded to, I'm referring to what your typical security software would catch. I am not implying that one could actually find every piece of malicious software with Kaspersky/etc.; that would be naive. I'm only getting at what common security software catches, and nothing more. Just clearing up that original statement.

Nevertheless, I think everyone either completely ignored what I initially wrote, or thinks I'm asking "what security measures do you take?" While that was part of a question I asked - not to mention it was the focal point of another thread I started a while back, and was heavily ignored - I think maybe my questions were so direct they came out as completely different questions... if that's even possible. Before I consider shutting the thread down, I'll see if I can get it on track... I'll make direct quotes of the explicit questions I asked, in case they were ignored.



I'll admit, I added some extra fluff to the original post, but what I just quoted is what the topic was supposed to be about... not to mention the title of this post isn't really too vague. I appreciate the responses, but practically no response is remotely on topic. While there is good info posted, I'm not trying to make this a tutorial/explain how to keep your computer clean... I think I made that blatantly clear in my initial post.

Hate to sound like a dick, but I don't know how I could avoid that when this thread was derailed from reply #1...
 

anort3

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Moderator
What do I use as a metric to judge antivirus software? AV Comparatives. They are why I trust Avira. They are always at the top and have been for years.

http://www.av-comparatives.org/

If you want to see what's being blocked try Ghostry and Adblock Plus as I recommended above. Both show you in real time. The pro version of Malwarebytes also gives you real time warnings and even blocks unsafe pages.

I thought I was answering your questions ;)
 

Skylyne

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Sep 7, 2014
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Still not what I was asking lol.

This was really directed at the people who claim "X software works perfectly fine for me," in regards to using Avast/Avira/Bitdefender/Norton/Kaspersky/MSE/etc.; the people who simply state "it works," but don't really back it up. To make it extremely short, but not entirely encompassing: When you use a particular security software, how do you know you're actually protected? I'm not looking for comparisons, as I already have a few places I can check for that (with links to share for those desiring them), nor am I looking for what your programs have blocked (a number of blocked intrusions only tells me how many were blocked... but not prevented). I want to know why people are saying "This works for me." What are they really basing that on? Are they basing it on someone else's test results, like from AVC or AV-Test? Are they double checking their computers via a boot disk using a different software than they use daily? Do they have a buddy who checks their computer for infections/malware that may not have been picked up by the software used? Do they personally comb through everything to make sure their software didn't miss anything? I want to know what "this works" is actually based on.

I'm kind of feeling like a broken record, because that is exactly what I've asked twice now, but I don't really get much of a real answer. Guess it's a question people aren't used to really answering? I don't know. I'm not trying to compare software, I'm trying to figure out why people are saying a particular software "works" or "keeps my computer clean" when they say so. What are they actually basing that statement on? If they don't do have a second opinion from another software, or a person who manually checks everything on their personal computer, then I don't think they really have a basis for that statement. Really, what it seems like they are saying is, "I use this software, and I don't know of any infections/malicious files on my computer." While there will always be things that are near impossible to detect, there is always room for error with the security software that is used on a daily basis. If you don't double check anything, then you really don't know if your system is truly secured.

Does that make more sense?
 

aldan

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to get an idea of how good an av will work i look at its rating on the sites that evaluate this software.to say it works fine for me in no way can be construed as it works perfectly for me.if it was perfect that is what i would say.you are mistaken if you think there is no reliable way to gauge the efficacy of av software.there are countless independent testing outfits out there.here are but a few.
www.av-comparatives.org
www.av-test.org
www.dennistechnologylabs.com
https://www.icsalabs.com
https://www.virusbtn.com
www.westcoastlabs.co
these are all highly respected sites and should be looked at before selecting av software.like was said,there is no one magic program that will protect you absolutely,hence my recommendation of a layered approach.my setup works well for me as the last infection i had was the antivirus 2009 bug in 2009.do i know for sure im safe? of course not.do i care? not really.i mean you can only do so much and to obsess about it,to me,takes all the fun out of the internet.if you do get infected the absolute most important first step in getting rid of it is to IDENTIFY the infection.armed with this you can then find the specific tool to get rid of it.
 

Wolfshadw

Splendid
Moderator
I want to know what "this works" is actually based on.
In the simplest terms, "Faith".

User A says program X works for them only because they've never seen any issues on their computers. If no issues arise, then program X *must* be working.

As I stated before, there is no such thing as a completely secure computer (other than one that's never had any type of outside influence) and I agree with you that thinking any particular software package of group of packages will keep you safe is naive at best. But the point is, most people wouldn't know how to test if their systems were infected without an anti-virus/anti-malware product.

People say, "this works" because they take it on faith that the program they're using is doing the job it's supposed to be doing. That faith is strengthened by the fact that they've used the program for x number of months/years and never encountered any issues. That's not to say they *haven't* been infected, only that they've never seen any issues and their program has *seemingly* protected them.

Does that answer your question better?

-Wolf sends
 

Skylyne

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Sep 7, 2014
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Again, I like the replies I see... but it is NOT answering my question. I don't know whether to laugh or cry... and I'm almost entirely serious about that. Oh well lol

aldan- Love the response, but that would actually have fit in my other thread that was started a month ago- Antivirus/Security Software, and its effectiveness. Your response would actually be perfect for that thread.

Wolfshadw- You know, I really think it is faith in the software; hence why I asked this in the first place. However, I want to hear it directly from these people, as they always leave their statements at that, and never offer any other explanation when challenged. I know this isn't always the case, but I want to see how many people truly don't double check their systems. I'm also looking for how many people actually base their "it's working" statements on caught viruses/malware, and so on; it gives me a better idea of what the typical consumer advice really is based on, instead of just guessing, and assuming a certain level of ignorance for them. By doing that, I'm actually insulting them; even though it may be true, low balling their level of standards isn't fair.

Regardless, I think this thread should just be removed. I starting to think this kind of question really isn't meant for this forum. Or, maybe I invited the wrong people to the conversation with the way it was worded? I'm not trying to instil debate/conversation on security techniques, or third-party software reviews (already made that point), or anything remotely similar. I'm simply trying to get individual responses of "This is how I gauge my security software's effectiveness." It just didn't attract the right crowd, and didn't even attract anything close to the responses I was looking for. I'll see about reposting this in the future, if I can make it much clearer; but, this thread is pretty much useless for the intended purpose, quite honestly.
 
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