Jul 032013

The Best Anti-Malware Scanner – MalwareBytes AntiMalware

This concise MalwareBytes Review covers only the free version of MalwareBytes anti-malware scanner because we currently do not find the features of the paid version justify the cost.

Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware (MBAM) is a relatively new arrival on the anti-malware scene but one of the best in its class for anti-malware scanner and removal. It is specifically designed to find and remove malware that other anti-virus and spyware programs generally miss, including rogue security software, adware and spyware. The free version of MBAM is a lightweight but powerful malware scanning and removal utility while the paid version adds a form of real-time anti-malware protection. As of 2011, the NetizenGuide concludes that SUPERAntiSpyware Pro provides  more effective real-time malware protection but MBAM Free is a powerful yet light-weight addition to your anti-malware scanning and cleanup arsenal.


MalwareBytes Review – features of MBAM at a glance:

  • Very small lightweight anti-malware scanner (free version runs only during scans)
  • Lightning fast scanning.
  • Can full-scan all drives.
  • Malware database updates at least every two days.
  • Quarantine can hold threats indefinitely for later restoration or deletion (useful for unknown or potential false positives)
  • Ignore list for areas you do not wish to scan (useful for known false positives, large archives, etc)
  • "Smart" defaults but highly customizable scanning settings to enhance performance.
  • Multi-lingual support.
  • Fully compatible with other anti-malware utilities.
  • Right-click context menu integration to scan single files on demand.


Download Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free

Malwarebytes Anti Malware Scanner

Jul 022013

All About Firewalls

This is the forth and final step in the Netizen Guide that covers the purpose and function of firewalls, a brief discussion on the pros and cons of windows firewall, and last, our recommendations for the best firewall.

To begin, the purpose of firewall is to prevent unwanted communications both to and from your computer. A firewall is to your computer as a lock on the front door is to your house. Without a firewall you are essentially leaving an open door to security threats (or leaks). Obviously the firewall is a vital component to your security so you will want the best firewall for your system (we recommend two of the best firewalls at the end of this page). You should always and only have a single active firewall because more than one can conflict to cause system instability or security holes. However, to be clear, your firewall is NOT a substitute for an active defense program (covered in step 2) and vice versa. It is essential you have both a single firewall and a single active defense service running on your computer at all times. The exception is a  security suite which already includes both an active antivirus service and a firewall such as Comodo Internet Security Pro 2011 (the only security suite fully endorsed by the Netizen Guide).

By their nature, firewalls cannot be entirely automated. Depending on your firewall policy setting, certain types of communications will be automatically blocked and your firewall will remember what programs you have defined as safe and intended. However, if you are running a new program for the first time, your firewall may ask you about it or, in the case of windows firewall, some new programs may automatically be blocked until you set your firewall to allow them. Because of their greater sensitivity, best proactive firewalls may prompt you more often but again this is this is only because the process cannot be entirely automaticed.Even the best firewall could not read your mind to ‘know’ if a program is initiated by you or if it is a malicious process that you did not start yourself.

By default, Windows Operating Systems comes with Windows Firewall already installed and active. If you are a novice at computers, it is perhaps ‘adequate’ because of it's relative ease of use and you are probably already at least a little familiar with it. However, there are far more powerful and effective firewalls out there. We highly recommend you choose a more powerful firewall and if you do, make sure windows firewall is disabled to prevent conflicts.

Windows Firewall is known as a silent firewall because it does not ask you many questions about what communications and programs to block or allow. The downside is that it will often automatically block programs you would have wanted to allow and will sometimes allow connections that you would have wanted to block. This is why our two recommendations are proactive firewalls that will ask you about every new program and block every communication by default unless it is verified or explicitly trusted. This is why a proactive firewall used properly is significantly more effective than a silent firewall. However, windows firewall is far from the best firewall even among the silent firewalls. If you want the simplicity of a silent firewall combined with a simple, fast, and effective antivirus, Avast! Internet Security 6 includes an unobtrusive silent firewall that is considerably more effective than Windows Firewall, although it is not free.

If you are currently using Windows Firewall we highly recommend you upgrade to a more effective option but firewalls are largely a matter of personal preference and the type you choose depends on what you want to deal with in terms balancing power and obtrusiveness with ease of use. However, the all-around best firewall in terms of power will be proactive so that is our recommendation.


Our Recommendations for the Best Firewall (choose only one):

Comodo Internet Security Pro 2011 / Comodo Free Firewall

Online Armor Premium




Congratulations, you have completed the Netizen Guide to the Best Security of 2011!

You may proceed to our Final Words or review any of the previous steps in this guide.

Jun 272013

Get Rid of Spyware Now With Spybot S&D!

Spybot Search and Destroy is a powerful free program for your spyware protection arsenal or simply to get rid of spyware already on your machine. This free anti spyware program can detect and remove spyware and adware from your computer as well as passively immunize your computer from future malware threats.


Disable Spybot's Active Protection, "TeaTimer"

Spybot – Search and Destroy also comes with a small active protection feature called "TeaTimer" that monitors your system for known malicious processes. Teatimer also monitors and alerts the user of changes in critical registry keys on your system. However, because your main antivirus has similar active protection (and more), there is a  potential for compatibility conflicts. Therefore, we highly recommend you have "TeaTimer" disabled. One way to do this is from the vertical Spybot Menu: Tools>Resident> "TeaTimer" unchecked (not active). WIth TeaTimer disabled, Spybot Search and Destroy is just a passive spyware protection program that will immunize you from future threats and help get rid of spyware already on your computer.

This means Spybot should not be running all the time on your computer. To achieve it's passive spyware protection, you will only need to run it periodically for scans (to get rid of spyware already on your machine) and to update its immunization (spyware protection from future threats).



Download Spybot – Search & Destroy

Spybot Search and Destroy


If you linked to this page from an external site, remember, Spybot Search and Destroy by itself is vastly insufficient as an exclusive security program. It will get rid of spyware on your computer but is only effective as part of a tiered security array of programs to protect you from all angles. Therefore, after downloading Spybot – Search & Destroy, remember to return to Passive Defense or navigate elsewhere on the Netizen Guide:

     1.  Real Time Protection

     2.  Passive Defense

     3.  Scans and Cleanup

     4.  Firewalls

Jun 202013

Free Security Software Covering Every Angle of Attack!

The purpose of the Netizen Guide is to provide you with a comprehensive four-tiered security net using some of the best free security software to date. If your computer has already been infected then we will provide you with the tools to remove all present infections and prevent such threats in the future. You may already have one of the best free antivirus software alternatives out there but your resident antivirus program is just the first tier in your arsenal. The programs we recommend will cover all angles of PC threats, ranging from viruses, rootkits, worms, dialers, trojans, malware, adware, and spyware.

All software and companies we endorse have free full versions of their software. In many cases, paid upgrades with additional features are available with many of the programs (and we definitely recommend these upgrades if you can afford them), but they remain entirely optional. Incidently, if you are concerned about free programs being lower quality (which is sometimes true), this is not the case here; the programs we endorse are some of the best security programs in their class period. The Netizen Guide is distinguished from most other security guide/review sites in that, we don't simply recommending you install a single "security suite" to cover everything. There are a couple security suites we do recommend but there are also several small but specialized programs with low or zero impact on your system resources that we always recommend to everyone in addition to any other programs in their security arsenal. Through research and hard earned experience, we have found that no single program can do as good a job at protecting you as several smaller and more specialized programs.

This view is actually the consensus among most security experts although you might not realize it from most of the sites out there trying to promote their own product of choice. It's really just common sense that no single company or product can give you the best defense in every possible area because there are just too many different types of threats and new ones being devised every day. The best free antivirus software or even the best antivirus software period just doesn't matter all that much by itself.

Best Free Antivirus Software and Beyond!

Even if you already have or think you have the best free antivirus software on your computer, this is just the first tier. Do you have any other paid or free security software? Are you certain all your security programs are working simultaneously without conflict? If you are not sure on any of these questions or would just like to add a few more streamlined but powerful programs to your security net then the Netizen Guide is at your service! Even if you are already a security guru you'll likely find one or two great programs you didn't know about.

With so much software on the internet, good free security software is at an all time high. It's true that paid versions of programs have very valuable features that are often worth the cost but you can easily create a powerful multi-layered protection with all free security utilities. If you are ready to let us help you secure your computer from threats using the best free security software, proceed to the:

Guide to the Best Internet Security of 2011!


Alternatively, you can skip directly to a specific step in our guide:

     1.  Real Time Protection

     2.  Passive Defense

     3.  Scans and Cleanup

     4.  Firewalls

Jun 142013

Resident Shield: Why Real Time Protection is Your Most Important Security Service

Your antivirus resident shield or real time protection is the first tier of your defense. Other common synonyms for this service include on-access scanning, background guard, autoprotect, active defense, or realtime shields. Regardless of the terminology, the idea is always the same; the purpose is to continually monitor the data being processed by your computer, in real-time, in order to detect, intercept, and block any suspicious activity, particularly viruses. This is why the terms ‘active’ or ‘real time’ are so common to describe this type of protection.

Real time protection is arguably the most important service in your security arsenal and the program you choose to fill this role will nearly always come with a host of additional tools including scanning and removal or quarantine. Hence, your resident shield program will likely be the backbone of your security arsenal.

There are two important points to understand about real time protection: First, because of the potential for conflicts, you should only have one real-time active shield running at any time on your computer. Multiple redundant services running simultaneously could overlap or conflict, causing system instability or potentially opening new security holes. Therefore, choose one good antivirus program with real time protection and make sure it is the exclusive program fulfilling this role. Two exceptions that will NOT conflict with your primary resident shield are, first, your firewall (and you definitely need a firewall, which we cover in step 4), and second, optionally some form of active anti malware protection (among the Netizen Guide recommendations, SUPERAntiSpyware Pro (paid version) has real time anti malware protection that will not conflict with antivirus resident shields).

The second point about real time protection is simply this: always keep your shields up! There is a reason this service is commonly called a ‘resident shield’ and that is because it should always be running whenever your computer is on. If you find your your active real time protection has been disabled and you are not the one who disabled it then you should be extremely wary because you may have a security breach on your system in which case it would be time to roll out your scanning and cleanup solutions (which we cover in step 3).


Our Recommendations:


For your antivirus resident shield (choose only one):

Avast! Antivirus  OR  Comodo Internet Security Pro 2011


For additional anti malware and anti spyware real time protection:

SUPERAntiSpyware Professional


Once you have your tier 1 defense in place, proceed to Step 2: Passive Protection

May 122013

Easy and Free Virus Scan and Removal Utilities – Keep Your Computer Clean

Free virus scan and removal is the third tier of your defense and only really comes into play if all  other layers of security have failed and your computer has been infected with a virus or other threat. We also recommend some of the most powerful and best malware removal programs for threats that most conventional antivirus scanners overlook. The reason for emphasizing free here is because every program we recommend in the Netizen Guide in this category generously offers their full-featured scanning and removal process in the free versions. Therefore, you can be confident using free virus scan and removal utilities because some of the best are free. However, outside of this category, we highly recommend the paid versions because they provide more proactive defense that should prevent you from being infected in the first place.

A common misconception is that scanning (detection) and removal is the most important part of computer security. In fact, of the three steps we have covered so far, this is the least important.  Finding and removing threats from your computer can be a messy process, even with the best malware removal programs, and in some cases the damage might be irreversible. Though there are many free virus scan and removal utilities and many of the best malware removal programs are also free, it is much more efficient to prevent those threats from ever gaining a foothold on your system in the first place. Fortunately if you have a strong array of security programs and passive adjustments, i.e. if you have followed the first two steps in this guide, it should be extremely rare, if ever, that your computer is compromised. That said, it is still quite important to have a reliable set of scanning services, even more so if you are not confident about your other security.


How often to scan your computer:

Even if you think your system is clean, it is important to regularly scan your computer just in case. Nearly every scanning program has both a quick scan (or ‘smart scan’) and a full scan (or 'complete scan'). The quick scan is much faster because it only scans the most critical and commonly infected areas of your computer and should be performed at least every few days and also whenever you notice anything that seems suspicious (when in doubt, do a quick scan!). The full scan (or ‘complete scan’) scans your entire system  and should be done at least once every two weeks, preferably once a week. If you have a large number of scanning and removal programs it’s not as essential to scan as often with all of them though for computer and internet security, it never hurts to be paranoid. Again, as far as scanning goes, there is not big difference between paid or free virus scan and removal services. In fact, the best malware removal utility (malwarebytes) is free and the same can be said for spyware removal.


For free virus scan and removal the NetizenGuide recommends (choose only one):
Avast! Antivirus 
  Comodo Internet Security Pro 2011


For the current best malware removal we recommend (all of the following):
SUPERAntiSpyware  AND  Malwarebytes Anti Malware AND Spybot – Search and Destory


Once you have set up your tier 3 defense, proceed to Step 4: Firewalls

Apr 182013

Once again…

Congratulations, on completing Netizen Guide!

If we have done our job you should now have a strong array of programs working to provide the best possible protection from just about every type of threat and every angle of attack on the internet. Just as importantly, you should also have a basic understanding of what each of these programs is doing to protect you (so that you can effectively use the programs).

What you should not have done is simply skipped to the bottom of each page to download and install every single program. If you did skim, just remember this: No matter what security configuration you go with, it is absolutely necessary that you have both a Resident Antivirus program and a Firewall and you must only have one of each (a ‘security suite’ includes both antivirus and firewall).You will almost certainly want many of the additional programs to supplement these two (as per our suggestions) but Firewall and Antivirus are your main two security programs.


A Final Word of Caution: You are not invulnerable

As we have echoed throughout this guide, no single program or even set of programs can protect you from every possible threat, much less every possible threat that might be developed in the future. Just because you have some of the best protection on the net is not an excuse for reckless or careless habits. There are always new threats being developed with new methods and angles of attack. Therefore it is essential that you keep your security programs up to date and make sure you are scanning your computer on a regular basis.


Also, stay tuned as we will be expanding our security guide with additional info pages and also adding an entirely new PC Maintenance section in the near future.

Lastly, if you know anyone who could benefit from the resources of this guide (and we can't imagine anyone who would not!!), don't hesitate to send them this way.

Dec 302011

First, a common question: Do you need antivirus protection for Mac OS X?

Apple claims "Mac OS X doesn’t get PC viruses" which is true but the trick is in the wording. It doesn't get PC viruses because PC viruses are targeted at Windows…  This says nothing about Mac viruses, and as many independent sources affirm, Mac OS X is susceptible to Mac viruses and malware. If this were not true, why would antivirus and internet security companies be coming out new Mac versions of their software?

The one big advantage going for Mac is that there are far far less threats targeted at Mac OS X than at PCs, simply because Mac is far less common and there are still many PC users who lack proper security measures that virus and malware creators can easily target. However, Mac threats are on the rise and if you or a friend own an unprotected Mac, we highly recommend investing in avast! MAC Edition – antivirus and antispyware offering complete desktop protection for your MAC.

Dec 062011

SUPERAntiSpyware Review – Remove ALL The Spyware!


SuperAntiSpyware ProSuperAntiSpyware Pro



SuperAntiSpyware is a rising star with over 20 million satisfied users, specifically designed to complement your main antivirus program with both a powerful search and removal as well as a unique form of on access scanning (only for SuperAntiSpyware Pro). Our SuperAntiSpyware review covers the most important features for both the Free and Pro editions.

SuperAntiSpyware’s powerful search will discover and remove adware, spyware, rogue security software, trojan horses, rootkits, parasites, computer worms, and other potentially harmful applications. The fully customizable search functionality includes complete, quick, or custom scans for memory, registry, single files or folders, hard drives, and removable drives, as well as the option for trusting or excluding items and folders.

SuperAntiSpyware Pro – On Access Scanning And More

This section of our SuperAntiSpyware review covers additional features exclusive to SuperAntiSpyware Pro (paid version). SAS Pro has a unique form of on access scanning (a.k.a. real time protection) that is fully compatible with any antivirus real time protection. In independent tests conducted by SuperAntiSpyware Pro users, the on access scanning was able to block malicious executable code before their main antivirus program picked it up. In many cases the on access scanning picked up threats their main antivirus would not have even detected. Because of numerous testimonies such as these, as well as glowing endorsements by internet security professionals, the NetizenGuide highly recommends investing in SuperAntiSpyware Pro just for it's on access scanning. However, SAS Pro additionally comes with:

          – Scheduled scanning and/or automatic scanning and updates

          Repair broken Internet Connections, Desktops, Registry Editing and more (from malware damage)

          E-Mail Support

          System Diagnostic

If you are concerned about system resources, don’t be. The on access scanning from SAS Pro runs in the background on less than half a megabyte of RAM (about 400KB). Your primary AV program will probably take 10-100 times as much memory as this so even the oldest computer can handle  SAS Pro with almost no noticeable effect. Since SuperAntiSpyware Pro comes with a notable on access scanning service and host of additional security, maintenance and repair features (detailed above), it is one of our most highly recommended investments on the Netizen Guide.


Buy SUPERAntiSpyware Pro


Download SUPERAntiSpyware Free  /  Free Trial of SUPERAntiSpyware Pro