Thursday, 4 April 2013

Micro$oft security tools

The chances are that if you are reading this blog, you are using a Micro$oft Windows based computer system. There is a belief amongst computer users that some system are immune to infection by Malware. The problem is that like a free lunch there is no such thing as immunity from malware.

There are many applications that are available to help protect your computer system from malware. Many of the applications have a free version and a paid for version that has additional functionality. AVG Anti-Virus is one such application that I use. I even have AVG running on my Android phone. Another application I use is Spybot Search and Destroy which has an immunisation facility to block known malware sites.

However, Micro$oft also has a number of free applications available for its various Windows platforms. If you are running Windows then you should also be running the Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool. When you install most versions of Windows you also install the malicious software removal tool automatically at the same time. However, it is essential to go to the Microsoft Update site to update the application from time to time. The update automatically runs the software after updating. The software does not run again until the next visit to the Microsoft Update site. However you can force the software to run again at any time by typing mrt.exe into the Start window.

Another application that installs automatically in certain versions of Windows is Windows Defender. Defender provides protection against spyware. Spyware is an application  that secretly gathers information from your computer. Information about you as a person without your knowledge and then  sends the information to another person. Windows Defender self-updates and runs automatically.

Microsoft Security Essentials is Microsoft's all-in-one security tool. Security Essentials must be manually installed as it's not built into any version of Windows. you can run Security Essentials or Windows Defender, but not both at the same time.

Last but not least is Windows Defender Offline this is Microsoft's most powerful anti-malware tool. It's a self-contained, downloadable utility that operates completely outside of Windows. After you've downloaded and launched the application, it steps through the process of creating bootable media. I use a Flash Drive. You then restart the PC to be checked from the bootable flash drive. You will need to have the bootable media created before the infection strikes. You can do this by putting the latest version of Windows Defender Offline  on a flash drive every few months. I run Windows Defender Offline on my system every few months to pick up on any malware that may have slipped by my defences.


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