Dedicated to Protecting You and Your Identity

Computer Security Analysis

WEBROOT and BITDEFENDER are my two recommended choices for anti-virus protection of your computer.  ADVANCED SYSTEM OPTIMIZER 3 is my recommended registry repair and computer system optimizer.

Protect Your Computers

Protect Your Computers

Let’s face it!  Your first and most important line of defense against identity theft must be focused on your computer(s).  You must balance between your convenience of conducting business online and your need to restrict your public information.  Your computer is the main portal of your information to the world.  You must control this process and that will require a lot of attention to details and a methodical plan to follow.

Most people take the ostrich approach to the internet.  They assume that identity theft only occurs to someone else.  They convince themselves that they are invisible on the web.  The problem is everyone is a possible target of identity theft at all times.  And when you are a victim of identity theft you will quickly realize that this is one of the worst problems to ever have to face.  In the most serious breaches, like thieves using your identity to commit a crime, open credit cards, create student loans, receive medical services, receive governmental services and funds, etc., there is always the risk that you cannot completely repair the damage.

In other words, if someone committed a crime using your identity, how do you convince the police that you didn’t commit the crime and someone else did it?   If you do prove it to the police, how do you stop people from thinking you did do it?  You can’t.

The invention of the personal computer and the invention of the internet have changed everything concerning private information and public information.  It has all been turned upside down.  Before the widespread usage of personal computers and exposure to the World Wide Web, identity theft was localized for the most part.  Someone had to gain physical access to your private information to steal your identity.  Credit cards moved our information from our local area to the world initially, but without the internet, the thieves did not have ready access to your banking information.  Once the internet and the World Wide Web became everyday life for the majority of us, the world’s access to our most private information became an immediate risk of theft and misuse.

I can’t stress enough the importance of securing your computer in every way conceivable.  No system is completely shielded from penetration.  Your wall of defense is only as strong as its weakest point.

The following is what you need to focus on first before you surf the web at all:

  1. Preventing and deleting the downloading of malicious software to your operating system and hiding your identity online through encryption and privacy deletions.
  2. Repairing and optimizing your registry and operating system.

How can you prevent and delete malicious software on your computer and how can you hide your identity online?

A Malicious Attack on Your Hard Drive

A Malicious Attack on Your Hard Drive

The answer is simple?  You must place an anti-virus program on your computer before you do any surfing of the internet.  And the best programs will hide your private information.  If you have already been on the internet without an anti-virus program, then load an anti-virus program and run it to remove any malicious software and to keep it that way.  If you do have an anti-virus program on your computer or you have one but are not happy with it, find another one to use.  Make sure you delete completely the old anti-virus program before downloading the new anti-virus.

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What anti-virus should I use?

Anti-Virus

Anti-Virus

If you surf the internet without protection, you probably will pick up some form of malicious software the very first time you surf the internet and even if you are only going to trusted sites.  This is not something you can do for yourself.  You must have a good anti-virus software program on your computer before you do any surfing.  Well, that begs the questions! Which anti-virus program should I use?  There are numerous anti-virus programs all claiming to be the best, some are free and some you must pay to use.

That is the first question I asked myself.  Over the years, I have used free anti-virus software and paid anti-virus software, and I have used several brands of each.  I have concluded that the free versions are better than nothing, but do not in my opinion compare to the protection offered by the best paid programs.  The paid services typically offer three tiers of coverage.  The first tier will typically offer the critical basic anti-virus protections like anti-virus and anti-spyware protection, secure browsing, social network protection, restrictions on personal data, and file shredding.  The second and third tiers typically offer additional services like cloud storage, parental controls, firewalls, file encryption, secure file deletions and computer tune ups.

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What criteria should I use to pick between equally good programs?

Testing Life Cycle

Testing Life Cycle

First, we must choose our preferred anti-virus program and then we must decide what tier we want to pay. My thought process in looking for the best anti-virus involves considering these 7 things in the following order of importance:

(1) How well does the software test in preventing malicious software?

(2) How well does the software test in removing malicious software?

(3) Can it work automatically without my intervention?

(4) How easy and fast is it to load on my computer, set up and run?

(5) How much load does the software place on the operation of my computer assuming it is running all of the time?

(6)What other features does it offer?

(7) How much does it cost?

Using my approach listed above in the order of importance to evaluate all of the anti-virus software programs available to me, I have narrowed the choice down to two anti-virus programs that I will recommend:  WEBROOT SECURE ANYWHERE and BITDEFENDER.

Both of these programs perform better than everyone else, but they do it in different ways and offer different types of services.  I am not here to say which one is best as everyone’s needs are diverse and different from everyone else.  I personally prefer WEBROOT and use it on my systems because of the platform it uses to analyze new malicious information and to block it before it damages your system.  I have not had any hijacks on my office computers in four years of using Webroot.  However, there was one instance when a hijack occurred using another anti-virus and when I downloaded Webroot and ran a scan, it did not remove a particularly troublesome root kit.  I had to use ComboFix to remove the root kit.  For this reason, Webroot is not perfect at removing every malicious file once it is on your computer, but it has been perfect in preventing malicious files from reaching my operating systems.

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The Anti-Virus Testing Laboratories and Reviews

Software Testing Laboratory

Software Testing Laboratory

If you read the testing laboratory reports, you will see BitDefender chosen as the 2014 pick for best anti-virus, and that is for good reason.  It is worthy of that designation.  It is that good.  However, those same testing laboratories are not testing Webroot because Webroot’s platform does not test out well.  The reason is this.

Most anti-virus programs work off of a data base of known malicious signatures.  While Webroot does work off of a data base of known signatures, its most powerful feature is that its platform is very good at detecting new and unknown malicious signatures.  It does this by building a profile of new files and how they act.

What makes Webroot not test out is that it does not take any action to remove a file until the file actually acts maliciously, like attempting to send out private information.  Once the malicious act is attempted, Webroot will stop and delete the file and will roll back the computer settings to remove the effects of the malicious file.  With this understanding, Webroot has tested out 100% in blocking malicious files in PCMag.com’s testing.

BitDefender, on the other hand, is very effective at blocking malware as well, using its known signatures and some intuitive features to prevent new and unknown malicious files.

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My Recommendation on Anti-Virus Protection

I use Webroot because I am sold on its malicious activity blocking platform and because it is the smallest and fastest anti-virus program on the market and puts virtually no strain on the computer operation as it runs (which is continuously).  While BitDefender is not as small and puts more strain on the computer operations than Webroot, it still way outperforms everyone else and offers more effective features than anyone else.

My recommendation to my readers, however, is to pick one of these two programs to protect your computer.  You should choose which one to use after comparing the services they provide and comparing how they meet your needs.  You cannot go wrong with either one of these programs.

To see my review of Webroot please CLICK HERE.

To see my review of BitDefender please CLICK HERE.

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Which Tier should I use?

Several factors go into answering this question.  Some may be satisfied with the protections offered by the top tier while other may choose to use only tier one and find other files to perform other functions.  For example, I do not rely upon my anti-virus to tune up my computer.  I prefer using a separate program to do that function because it offers more services and more customization of the process than the anti-virus programs will provide.  You just have to do a cost benefit analysis of which tier meets your needs best.

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What is the best software available for repairing your registry and optimizing your computer system?

Just like with Anti-Virus programs, there are many registry repair programs.  You will just have to compare what each one offers and read their reviews.  After reviewing most and using several, I have settled on Advanced System Optimizer 3 (ASO3) by Systweak.  This one offers the most services and does so very effectively.  I have used Advanced System Optimizer 3 for two years on all of my computers.  The combination of Webroot AntiVirus and ASO3 have been all the doctor ordered for keeping my computers running at peak efficiency and keeping my internet information private.

To see my review of Advanced System Optimizer 3, please CLICK HERE.

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