This page has been edited and improved by the SpywareHammer News and Articles Team.
This page will guide you through the basic principles on what you should and should not be doing with your security programs.
One of the first and without a doubt the most important Do's of all security programs, is to make sure they are kept up to date.
The reason for this is that Malware writers (The Bad Guys) are releasing new strains of malware every minute of the day, literally.
Last year alone there were something like 250,000,000 (yes that's 250 million) new varieties of malware detected, and to combat this, Security Vendors (The Good Guys) release what are called "virus/database definitions" 2-3 times a day. These new updates will include most, if not all, of the day's newly detected malware strains, well as many as humanly possible anyway.
If any of your security programs do not have the automatic update feature then you must do the updates manually at least once a day. This will help to keep your system safe and secure from the latest threats being released into the wild.
The next major do, is to make sure you have all the levels of security needed to keep your machine as secure as possible and this includes:
ONE: Anti-Virus Program
ONE: Anti-Spyware Program
ONE: Software Firewall
A Good On Demand Scanner:
DO NOT use another Anti-Virus Programs as a On Demand Scanner. It will still conflict with your resident (full time) Anti-Virus even if real time protection is switched off on the On Demand Anti-Virus. A list of FREE On Demand Scanners can be found here: On Demand Scans
Extra Layers of Protection:
Although some of these will have some sort of monitoring feature, they are all designed to run in the background along side your main Security Programs. Some very good extra layers are SpywareBlaster, WinPatrol and a good SiteAdvisor such as WOT.
An in depth analysis of securing a system can be found here: Infection Prevention
The next big do, is to scan regularly with your security programs, there is always the chance that something may have slipped through your protection before the relevant update was installed. It is recommend to scan the system once a week at the very least.
You can set most programs to run scans automatically, and this is fine as long as you know that your machine is going to be switched on and not being used, not always an easy task to plan in advance for, hence the reason the it is also a good idea to carry out manual scans. That way you know you have the latest updates for your programs.
Always remember to update your Security Programs before starting the scanner, if any thing is found once the scan has finished then Quarantine is the best option to take in case a legitimate system file is flagged as malicious (also known as a False Positive), and if you would like to be 100% sure your machine is clean then go to this forum Dell Community Malware Removal Forum, And follow the instructions in this thread Please Read This Before Posting... and a Malware Removal Staff member will be happy to assist in helping clean your system.
The last do, is to take notice of your machine, If you install a Security Program and your machine slows down dramatically or starts crashing/freezing right after the install then it normally means that something somewhere is conflicting. If this happens then uninstall the program and pick another; there will always have to be a compromise between speed and security but not every program will work well on every machine. There is a very good list of FREE Security programs located here: Free Security Software Links
If you experience slowdowns/crashes out of the blue, like after installing a random unknown file or program, then you may be infected and as such are more than likely here for that reason. If you are not confident in self-cleaning then to this forum Dell Community Malware Removal Forum, And follow the instructions in this thread Please Read This Before Posting... and a Malware Removal Staff member will be happy to assist in helping clean your system.
Next on the agenda is a major Don't, which is seen 100's of times a day across malware removal boards, and that is people running to many security programs, and this includes running two or more Anti-Virus Programs, two(2) or more Anti-Spyware Programs or two(2) or more Firewalls.
DONT: Ever run more than ONE Anti-Virus Program
DONT: Ever run more than ONE Anti-Spyware Program
DONT: Ever run more than ONE Software Firewall
The reason for this is that they will conflict with each other in many different ways, they will detect the files and drivers of the other program and flag them as malicious, they will act like two positive magnets and basically counteract and bounce away from each other and leave wide holes in your security setup for infections to slip through. They will also cause your system to slow down and even crash due to the two scanners/protection modules trying to gain access to the same areas of the system and causing a major overload and then meltdown, thus causing your machine to crash.
Another Don't is to never, ever install one real time Security Program over the top of another, It is always recommended to use the uninstaller in add/remove programs in control panel and then to run the specific program removal tool which can normally be located easily enough on the Security Vendors site of whose program you are using.
It is also recommended to do this even if you are doing one of the major version updates for the same program. For example when Avast or AVG or what ever security program you may use releases a major makeover and release a newly designed program it is always better to totally remove all of say, version 1.2.3 and then do an install of version 1.2.4, even if they are both from the same security vendor.
The above does NOT have to be done for minor version updates but I strongly recommend it for all major Program updates.
And Don't ever install your Security Programs when you have other programs of any sort open; this is a sure fire way to cause problems for yourself.
The next Don't is never for any reason other than to run another security scan, turn off your real time protection without killing the connection to the Internet. If for any reason you need to disable your protection you should always pull the Ethernet cable from the back of your machine or kill the wireless connection via the taskbar icon by the clock. The only real reason you should need to disable real time protection is to run a cleanup tool when advised to do so in the Malware Removal Forum, or if you have enough skill to be doing the clean yourself.
Don't ever think that one Security program is enough to rid your machine of infection, malware is getting more and more sophisticated every day and a lot goes undetected, and that of what is detected, is normally very difficult to remove. If you are lucky enough to get your machine clean by yourself then that's fantastic. If not then seek expert free help by to this forum Dell Community Malware Removal Forum, And follow the instructions in this thread Please Read This Before Posting....
In relation to the above paragraph, Don't leave it weeks or months before trying to clean your machine, it is another thing seen daily where people post saying "this problem started months ago". If your machine has been turned in to a bot, then chances are you have probably, indirectly and unknowingly infected 1000's of other machines,
As soon as you suspect infection, Do something about it.
Also Don't ever think what works for one person and one machine will work exactly the same on another machine, no two machines are ever the same. Even if they are the same make, model, operating system and have the same programs installed, there will always be slight differences that make programs run just a little bit different. You should also take into account that every person is different and while one person may get on fine with a certain security setup, another person may struggle to cope with that setup and vice versa.
There is no point having a security setup that you cannot use or do not understand. Use what works for you, not because somebody else said you should.
The last Don't, is not to take anything for granted, nothing is 100% secure due to the huge amount of infections floating around in cyberspace, the most powerful weapons you have against hacking and infection is knowledge, commonsense and most of all USER CAUTION.
NOTE: Remember that there is no one right or wrong security setup, it is all a case of trial and error.
These guidelines are by no means exhaustive but follow them and you will at least have a head start. You can also find an in depth article on securing a system here: Infection Prevention