Hey The Skeptic,
For example: for myself I use Avast as an antivirus/antispyware, considering it far superior to AVG 8.0. Avast is the only free antivirus that has a p2p shield. In my opinion it's an absolute must. However, for other people I install AVG 8.0 because it's more user friendly. When people have to renew their free license with Avast they get paralyzed, not knowing what to do, calling for help, feeling betrayed by me, reminding me that I offered them free protection (which I did). Eventually, against my best judgment, I started installing AVG 8.0 fully aware that many computers will get infected because of a lack of a feature that I know, and they don't, could protect them when they download using file sharing programs and other social nets ignoring my warnings or not understanding it them in the first place.
I think that AVG and Avast are both great recommendations to users, even though I prefer Avast and Antivir better. (I'm not using Antivir at the moment because its free version update servers are having major problems) Avast seems hard to use, but it actually is really easy to use if you look at it. Avast updates its definitions automatically, which can save a lot of trouble and help those users who are lazy to update on their own. AVG is lighter on resources (not sure if AVG 8 is still the case, but AVG 7 was lighter than Avast) and has pretty good scanning engines. As for P2P and file sharing that brings risks and potential malware, the only thing you can do is to point them to the dangers of it. Whether they want to heed your advice is not something you can control, you would be doing your job if you make them understand the risks.
A second example is the use of real time protection of the type that Spywareguard and Spybot's TeaTimer offer. Even myself, I am so confused by the barrage of enable/disable messages that these program produce that I prefer not to use it. I know it's important but frankly it's useless and a pain for the average user.
Spybot do have alert messages that come up when a registry change occurs. Most of the times, it pops up during installation or uninstallation of programs and you wouldn't need to be alarmed by the messages. However, when the messages start popping up when you aren't doing anything to the registry or installing anything that could be making changes to the registry, you should be on your guard. The best way to actually prevent any damages to the registry is to make constant backups of it so even in cases when a registry change causes something to malfunction, you have a backup to save your computer. But as I have said earlier on, Spybot is no longer an efficient protection against spyware, and you should have something like SpywareBlaster to complement it.
As for SpywareGuard, I'm not very familiar with how it works. It is still a relatively new program to me and it is still under development on Vista, and further assessment needs to be carried out before I can make a conclusive comment on its credibility.
Regarding Spyware Blaster: so far I didn't read any assessment that can quantify the value of this program. It's simply against my nature to use something which does not allow any scrutiny. It could just as well be a ghost. You either believe in it's existence or you don't. I am willing to change my mind any moment but I need a better proof.
I see your point. Personally, I think that SpywareBlaster does help a great deal in preventing installation of malicious codes, even though we actually have no idea what it does "behind the scenes". In addition, SB actually allows you to take a snapshot of your system and revert any damages done to it. There are actually quite a number of reviews going around, you can have a look at them by googling a search on SB.
To sum it all up: presently I chose to install AVG 8.0 for my customers as an antivirus and Malwarebytes as a second, manual, extra layer of protection. Regarding firewall: I use Microsoft's after trying Zone Alarm and Sygate for a long time, finding them troublesome and heavy on computer resources.
I think AVG 8 and MBAM is a good combination. It would be good if you recommend your users to update these softwares regularly (like once a week). As for firewall, I would really recommend that you install a firewall like Zonealarm or Comodo Pro. Zonealarm is easy to use and gives you the option to lock the Internet, which can be useful when trying to remove malware that needs to constantly access its servers. Comodo is very powerful as well, though it's a little harder to configure. The most important thing is that they are two-way firewalls which prevents external attack as well as internal access of external source by malware present on your computer. Windows Firewall is practically useless in protecting you from hackers because it only prevents malware from accessing your computer due to its one way protection. I would never rely on Windows Firewall to protect my computer.
Simply put, there is no protection software that can make your computer immune to infections a 100%, but installing one is definitely better than installing none. Even I have doubts about the protection softwares I'm using, but so far, they have proven to be effective to a large extent, and I have not had any significant infections since I used these softwares. I do have cases where one of two malware slip past my protection softwares, but most of them get removed immediately with a scan using MBAM, Spyware Doctor and Avast. Also, I do keep an eye for any strange changes on my computer (eg. a sudden Ebay shortcut on my desktop) that could be an indication of malware and tackle them immediately when I discover their presence. Installing protection softwares is one very important step to preventing malware invasions, but being vigilant is even more vital to ensure that your computer does not end up in a state of incurable.
Edit: Errors in expression
Edited by Ltangelic, 06 November 2008 - 07:16 AM.