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Please don’t use free antivirus on a business network!!

I went out to client a couple of weeks back who had an emergency. The emergency was that their file server (old Vista box) wasn’t booting up.  It was working when everyone went home the previous night but the following morning when they came into the office the screen was blank.  As the system was the main file server for the business (4 users) this was a bit of a problem.


After doing some checks it turned out that the system had caught a virus which was removed by using a BitDefender Antivirus CD (really good by the way). Once the virus was removed the system booted back to life as normal.  Great, job done I thought until I checked what antivirus was running in the first place – Microsoft Security Essentials!!

Microsoft Security Essentials is “ok” for use on a home system but is a definite NO in a business environment.  I have nothing personal against Microsoft Security Essentials but in recent months I have seen a lot of viruses get past it and no end of problems caused (rootkit anyone?).  Out of curiosity I checked the other systems in the office.  One had Avast (free), two systems had AVG (free) and another had nothing!! All of this on a business network.

I tried to explain to the client that at the moment they were leaving their business wide open to threats by not having a paid antivirus solution in place.  The response I received was “this is the first time we have got anything”.  This was one of those times when I felt I was banging my head against a brick wall. No matter what I said this guy was not going to get convinced.

If you don’t value your business that highly go ahead and run free antivirus as it is your choice.  Be warned though that at some point you are going to get stung (possibly big time) and you could lose a lot of time, data and money recovering from and ultimately fixing the problem.  Yes free antivirus is better than nothing but there are so many better options on the market which will secure your systems.

The choice is yours.

 About the Author

P1020114

Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter

 

Is antivirus getting too bloated?


Antivirus software is essential – fact.  Whether it be a home system or a business one you still face the same threats.  There are loads of software on the market to choose from but one thing I have noticed recently is that most offer ‘other’ services besides antivirus protection.  A lot of them are no longer antivirus software but call themselves ‘Internet Security Suites’ instead.  Lets take AVG Anti-virus 2013 as an example.  Some of the features are:

  • Surf and search with confidence
  • Keep tough threats out
  • Stay protected on social networks
  • Download, share files and chat safely
  • Support and assistance
  • Play games and watch movies without interruption
  • Scan smarter and faster

Sounds impressive but what exactly is ‘Stay Protected on social networks’?  It won’t stop people from slurring you or writing things you don’t want people to know about.  What is Play games and watch movies without interruption all about? Does it increase the speed of the internet connection now?

Some suites offer the facility to backup your files to cloud storage and beefier firewalls. Features like these are not really required on a standard PC.  In a business environment there will usually be a network firewall keeping everyone safe who is behind it.  Why do you need another one on your system which, in my experience, can cause problems.  I had a business laptop once which couldn’t connect to a wifi printer because Norton’s firewall kept blocking the connection.  On a home system Windows comes with a good firewall as standard (except XP) so why change it.

As for cloud storage yes it is handy but call me old fashioned but I want my antivirus to concentrate on one thing and that is to stop virus before they hit my system.  If I want cloud storage I will get some.

All these extra features have one big drawback – computing resources.  Have you tried to run any recent Internet Security Suite on a desktop with 1 GB RAM (a lot of home users and businesses with tight budgets still have these).  The system crawls and it is very hard to actually do work so it defeats the purpose of actually having the software in the first place.

So what do you think is antivirus getting too bloated?

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows, Mac and Linux based IT Support to small businesses in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter

 

 

 

10 things your average IT user should know


So what should your average IT user know when they are using their computer? How about how to switch it on and off safely or how to use Word and Excel? I have constructed a list below of the 10 most important things your average IT user should know.

1. Backups

People need to know what a backup is and how you should go about taking one.  I have met too many people (and companies) who are so blasé about backups it is unreal. How would you feel if you lost all your family pictures or all your company financial records? I am guessing not very good!! This tutorial will show you how to take a backup in Windows while this one will show you how to do it in Linux.

2. Antivirus Software

Next up we have viruses.  If you run a Windows system you need antivirus protection (Linux users you may now start smiling – you don’t need antivirus) .  The best way to avoid infection is to install an antivirus program and make sure that it updates regularly to get the latest virus definitions.  For a home PC I recommend Avast Free Home Edition and for Business use either Norton 2011 Small Business Pack or Avast Internet Security Suite.  Either way get some!!

3. Firewall

A firewall is a piece of software that acts as the front door to your system.  When it is activated the door is closed (and locked) but when it is off your system is wide open. Most modern operating systems come with a firewall installed by default and chances are your router should have one as well, however you do need to check periodically.

4. Internet Explorer and Google are not the internet

A lot of people think that Internet Explorer is the internet.  Same goes for Google.  If one of them is not working then “my internet is broken!!”  Internet Explorer is a web browser which is a program for accessing the internet.  There are loads of web browsers on the market.  For example you could choose Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari or Opera.  The choice is yours which one you use as they all allow you to access the internet.

As for Google, it is a search engine which allows you to find things on the internet nothing more.  There are different types of search engines available, for example Ask, Yahoo, Bing etc.  Choose whichever one suits you.

5. Passwords

This one is simple – use them!! A lot of users don’t bother or use easily cracked passwords (using password offers very little protection).  Use a combination of letters and numbers and don’t write them on a postit and place it on your monitor!!!

6. Emails

This links nicely with passwords as most people use easily cracked passwords for their email accounts.  You should also note that you should never open any attachments from anyone you don’t know as these may carry viruses.  Another thing to note is that you will never receive emails from the HMRC or your bank.  If you do these will be fraudulent and do not enter any financial details or give them your bank details!!!

7. Do not delete anything on your system unless you know what it is

I see this a lot.  People try to clean up their systems by deleting things they think they don’t need.  Upon rebooting the system nothing works.  Unless you know exactly what a file or program is for do not touch it.

8. Downloads

This is another one I see a lot of.  Unless you know the website be very careful when you are downloading software.  I recommend people stay away from bit torrent and file sharing sites as yes you will get the software but chances are it will be riddled full of viruses.

9. Wireless Settings

Write down your encryption key and put it in a secure place.  I have had people change their wireless key and then forget what it is or even better didn’t know they had one!! You also need to make sure that you have the highest form of encryption available on your router.  Use this tutorial to check yours.

10. You can make secure payments over the internet

Yes you can make secure payments over the internet but you do need to check that the website starts with https://. If it does then it means all communication between your system and the website is secure and encrypted meaning no one can get access your details.

If you think I have left any obvious ones out please let me know!!!

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows, Mac and Linux based IT Support to small businesses in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter

 

Clam Antivirus


I usually use either BitDefender or Avast Linux edition as the antivirus software of choice on a Linux system but recently decided to give ClamAV a go to see what it was like.  I have been put off this software in the past by the complexity of having to run it from the command line (newbie clients don’t like the command line) but on further investigation it can be run with a GUI.  Said clients should be happier now.  You can also run ClamAV on Windows (it goes by the name ClamWin).

To install it in Linux Mint 12 open up a terminal and type:

sudo apt-get install clamav

This will install all the dependencies that clamAV needs to run, however, it will have to be run from the command line.  To run it from a GUI type:

sudo apt-get install clamtk

This will give you a GUI similiar to the one below:

As you can see clamAV gives you the ability to scan files, folders, directories or the whole system.  When I tried this out on my Linux Mint 12 system it found 32 (yes 32!!!) infected files that Avast had missed.  I also found it to be pretty quick too when undertaking a full system scan (much faster than Avast but probably on par with BitDefender).

So if you are after decent easy to use antivirus software for Linux I would now say either BitDefender or ClamAV.  I never thought I would be saying that!!

About the Author

Hi I am Chris the owner of ComTech. I provide IT Support, Laptop repairs and Computer repairs to both personal and business clients in and around Stirling. For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find my blog, testimonials, services and much more.  Start supporting a local business today so I can start supporting you.

If you found this blog useful then why not sign up to my RSS Feed for news, tutorials, views and general techie stuff!!

 

 

Linux Antivirus


Yes you read that correct – antivirus on Linux.  You must be thinking “I don’t need antivirus on Linux.  You only need that on Windows!!”  That is not strictly true and I shall explain why.

I run a Linux Mint 10 file and print server in the office which is connected to multiple virtual Windows machines through Virtualbox.  I also have a USB pen stick and external hard drives which are used between all the machines and client computers.  And here lies the issue.  I am constantly transferring files from a linux based machine to windows based machines so if I get a virus on one it will be immediately be transferred to the other.  When you take into account I also transfer files to clients machines you can start to see the scale of the problem.  I could be spreading viruses when I am meant to be fixing the computers!!! Basically if you transfer any files you need antivirus software.

Secondly Linux is not as impregnable as you might think.  Yes you are unlikely to get a virus written specifically for Linux, as you do for Windows, but believe me they are out there.

So which one should you go for?  To answer that I found a great article here.  On my system I use BitDefender or Avast.  Both are free, however I have found that BitDefender has the more intuitive interface.

 

About the Author

Hi I am Chris the owner of ComTech. I provide IT Support, Laptop repairs and Computer repairs to both personal and business clients in and around Stirling. For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find my blog, testimonials, services and much more.  Start supporting a local business today so I can start supporting you.

If you found this blog useful then why not sign up to my RSS Feed for news, tutorials, views and general techie stuff!!

 

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