Computer Security: The Missing Link - Comments Page 1

Category: Security



All Comments on: "Computer Security: The Missing Link"

Comment Page: 1 |  2 

Posted by:

Neil Koven
24 May 2013

I really enjoy reading your column and find it very informative.

However...all this mention of hackers and what they can do to your computers is a little unnerving. I am a small one-man business (photographer) and I cannot understand why anyone would want to hack into my computer--there is really nothing there for them.

I realize you are talking about worst-case scenarios that would MOST apply to larger companies and/or those that would have info that could be of disruptive interest to some miscreant.

Perhaps you could temper your comments with something like, "this information is most likely to apply to (types of companies) but smaller companies are susceptible as well"

At any rate, keep up the good work; I've been reading you since the TOURBUS days of some 17 years ago..

Posted by:

FC Bock
24 May 2013

CNET is a disaster. I don't know if it was on your recommendation that I downloaded the malware program you favor from there but it totally messed up my XP machine. I cannot even get my long installed and updated Norton Internet Security suite to scan the C drive. It hangs up after scanning about 2000 files.

Bottom line: I agree that CNET is to be avoided at all costs.

Posted by:

Butch
24 May 2013

Is there any problem in running Secuia and Qualys simultaneously?

Posted by:

Hdhawk
24 May 2013

This is great information. My problem is with my Asus netbook. It seems to spend 50% or more of its time automatically updating programs (mostly Windows). While it's updating, the computer works like sludge. Very frustrating.

Posted by:

James D. Walsh
24 May 2013

I'd add two other aspects to improve security. One is disk image backups of the operating system and programs disks to recover from disasters, and the second is frequently (e.g., weekly) running chkdsk (drive letter): /f on each drive to ensure disk image backups are being made includes a healthy file system (and for other reasons). Backing up the data disk drive (if separate) is important too and fairly well recognized.

Posted by:

Doc
24 May 2013

Neil - what's on your computer are things like names and addresses - yours and your clients and maybe their e-mail address's, and you don't happen to have your credit card number or bank routing and account number on your computer do you? Stored in a Word file somewhere? But more important what's there is it's CPU - a person needs MILLIONS of CPU's for a Denial of Service Attack - yours could be one of them. Also it's a handy place to park pop-ups that they get paid say half a cent per ten to install, that's 50k if I subtracted right and that's not a bad profit from ONE company and how many companies do you 'spoze that guy works for (or with)? Then there's the selling of the e-mails -- CONFIRMED e-mails -- quit a haul. Bank draft for a new camera, charge that $12,000 Canon L series IS f-4.0 1000mm lens and ouch. How about a 'funny' donation to a 'terrorist organization' - now THAT'S ROFLMAO!!! And you are JUST a 'Photographer' - yeah, right, and I'm just a "geographer".

-- And, Neil, you don't have the security of a large company - why bother with trying to crack one of those when I can crack 100 or 1000 private ones in the time it takes me to crack their frirewall? They aren't worth the time vs income.

*****???-->BOB: Ok, I've noticed the same thing about CNET, yet I tell my friends to NEVER download from an untrustworthy site least they happen to pick up a hitch-hiker from Hell with their free anti-viral software. So - I can read URLs OK, With CNET now on my 'don't use' list, do I have to do a search every time someone runs into a problem and I know a program that might fix it, then open the site, copy and send that URL or is there a 'one stop shop' out there (presume no, or you would have mentioned it - but in the off chance that you were saving that for another article), IS there a 'one stop shop'? thanks, doc

Also - remember to set a restore point since some 'updates' can REALLY change the way your computer works or the amount of RAM it uses, even to the point of a (catastrophic) crash in one experience (student grades were on THAT machine) it was one of those old IBM's that had the 1 yer warranty on their floppy drives and at day 366 the hard drive would quit - every 'new' computer all over campus went down within a week (yeah, way!). So ONE SHOP STOP? -- and do we have to still worry about 'patches' or 'upgrades' for programs crashing our machines?

Posted by:

Don
24 May 2013

I didn't see Ninite mentioned as update software. I used to use Secunia, but I started having problems opening the program. In one of your articles you recommended Ninite Updater. I got rid of Secunia and now use Ninite. I am very satisfied with it.

Posted by:

duane
24 May 2013

I tried Secunia PSI on my Win8 machine but it wouldn't work. Had to give up and uninstall it. It worked fine on my WinXP machine about a year ago but not on the Win7/8 replacement. It probably had something to do with permissions. I followed all of the Security recommendations on the Secunia site, and established a path through the Windows firewall but it was a non starter. I'll give Filehippo a try.

Posted by:

Gerry
24 May 2013

I agree with your comments re: Secunia Personal Software Inspector (PSI). I've used it for years. It's easy to use and quite useful for someone as PC-Challenged as I am.

However when I recently "updated" it to Version 3.0 (the Version your link points to) I found it almost unusable. It took 30"-40" to load, 1-2 hours to scan and 1-3 hours to patch a program. (Version 2 takes about 1" to load, 3"-5" to scan and 5"-8" to patch a program.)

When I went to the Secunia Forums I found the LONG loading, scanning and patching times for Version 3 were NOT unique to me.

So...my suggestion...go to http://secunia.com/products/consumer/PSI/sys_req/ to download Version 2. The link is on the middle far right-hand side of the page ("PSI 2.0").

Posted by:

coover
24 May 2013

My comments below refer to the PORTABLE version of kcsoftwares (kcsoftwares.com) SUMo only. I DO NOT RECOMMEND ANY OTHER VERSION as the others may contain the software Relevant Knowledge and/or Open Candy. Relevant Knowledge has been described by some as Spyware and Open Candy places ads on your computer.

I like the portable version of SUMo for determining which software needs updates and where to get them. SUMo does a good job doing all of that, sees 99% of the software on your system, and determines which, indeed, can be updated. It bases the need for updates by comparing the version number on your computer with the version numbers on all of the other computers it has scanned that have the same software. It is not perfect, particularly in areas where the software version depends on the hardware in your computer, but still gets it right about 98 - 99% of the time. It doesn't take long for a user to know whether or not to take SUMO's suggestion to update.

After suggesting updates, SUMo uses Google to help you find the update. Here, it is less useful, as Google will find correct update pages only about 90% of the time (using whatever terms SUMo sends it), but that is still helpful. And the user has the option, of course, of using other terms for the search.

All in all, the portable version of SUMo does the job for me. It is not perfect, but it is very, very good.

Posted by:

Deborah
24 May 2013

Dear Bob,

Thank you for your very helpful computer/internet/software, etc information.

And...

Thank you for being one of the Good Guys.

Deborah

Posted by:

Stuart Berg
24 May 2013

I would mention one other place to check for updates: Ninite (http://ninite.com/) allows you to create a custom program to update or install software on your PC. What's REALLY nice about it is that it updates or installs without any crapware. I REALLY like how much easier it makes updating my software.

Posted by:

Gerry
24 May 2013

I'm not sure I agree with your somewhat harsh criticism of CNET downloads. Even someone as PC-Challenged as myself can easily see (and UNcheck) the boxes for the crap (or click "DECLINE" at the bottom of the page). After years of CNET downloads I've NEVER ended up with any unwanted "surprises".

I never used their TechTracker (the User Reviews have always been pretty negative) nor tried their new Download App.

But any program you download on CNET (if you remember to sign-in first, of course) gets automatically added to your "Download Watch List".

This has 2 major benefits (to me, at least). First...when a newer version of any program on the list becomes available you're automatically sent an email notification with a link to the new version download. Second...after I had a PC crash and had to re-format I went to this list, scrolled down all my programs, clicked on the "Download" button to the right of each one and was back up-and-running almost effortlessly.

Posted by:

DON POTTS
25 May 2013

I, too, just got nailed by CNET, and you can't just remove everything at once. They have a list of 16 things you must do if you want all that Crapware removed! That's it for me and CNET, too.

Posted by:

Unitary
25 May 2013

Bob,

You wrote, “Some serious security holes in Java prompted many pundits to recommend removing it altogether.”

That was a very good recommendation indeed.

Please note that when one tries running the Secunia Online Inspector, one is required to install … Java.

Thank you for your useful site.

Posted by:

Salman Khan
25 May 2013

Bob,

Can you confirm what one poster says about CNET? Is there something wrong with download.com?

Please advise!

Posted by:

J
26 May 2013

Bob, You I trust - others I verify! Thanks much I just downloaded Secunia Personal Software Inspector and I was amazed at how many programs are on my computer. They all checked out up to date. Too bad I'm not smart or I could probably determine which ones I don't need or use. I also have been with you since the Tourbus days. You are doing a great service for we unsmarts.

Posted by:

cybercipher50
26 May 2013

I agree with you re: Secunia's PSI. It's the best of the lot, and it catches a lot of the "under the hood" stuff that is otherwise overlooked. It doesn't have the widest range of applications in it's library, however.

CNET's new Download App is, as you and many others have pointed out, full of foistware (I like that term! TY :) if the default auto-update feature is used. If the updates are done manually and individually, it works just fine (granted, it takes a little longer). Alternatively, just use it to identify the applications that need updating, then go to the application site's download page. I use it about half-and-half between two methods. CNET does have the most extensive library (doesn't get a lot of the under-the-hood stuff that PSI does) and does the best job of identifying programs in need of updating.

I've been trying out FileHippo's update checker for the past month: I'm not that impressed. It only catches between 30-75% of the possible updates for my applications, then doesn't recognize that they've been updated after the updates are installed.

(Thanks to Geri for the link to PSI 2.0 - I agree that 3.0 takes way too long. And thanks to Coover for SUMo - that's a new one. I'll check it out (question: often, portable versions are simply that - portable, but are otherwise the same as the non-portable versions. Have you tried the non-portable? I'm wondering if the Open Candy, etc., are part of the auto-default install, but can be declined if the "custom" install option is used. Can you clarify any of that?)

Posted by:

cybercipher50
26 May 2013

Hi Bob,

I recently read an article (I think it was here, but maybe not) about the percentage of malware sites returned by the various search engines. Chrome returned significantly fewer than Bing; that was the big reveal.

Here's a link to an article I received from EmsiSoft. They find that IE10 is safer than Chrome when it comes to running malware.

http://blog.emsisoft.com/2013/05/23/which-browser-offers-the-best-malware-protection/?ref=news130523&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_content=blog&utm_campaign=news130523

Up to you if you want to share it with your readers.

Ciao for now.

Posted by:

snert
26 May 2013

Major Geeks has a free update checker that you might want to take look at.

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