Internet Security in 2008

Posted on 2008-10-29
Last Modified: 2013-12-09
A few years ago, when using Internet Explorer, one had to be very careful about Spyware, but this seems must less of a threat these days, and certainly we don't see those browser problems that we used to see.

Is Spyware still a threat, and if so, what are reasonable steps to avoid it?

Are there any other similar security threats to PCs and what should we do to avoid them.

I ask this from the pov of a general users.

To my mind, t6he following should take care of most problems:


2. ANTI-VIRUS SOFTWARE (eg. Avast, Symantec)

3. WINDOWS UPDATE (Automatic)
Question by:Jason210
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Expert Comment

ID: 22832232
End users will always find a way to download the great "free" screensaver and some other worthless gimmick. You cant protect them from themselves and spyware is still a huge threat. Yes, the things that you listed will help in a big way but there will always be something out there that is determined to get onto a computer. Along with the things you listed i would advise loading spyware blaster, spybot and malware bytes on computers. Most AV's do absolutely nothing to spyware.
LVL 38

Assisted Solution

younghv earned 250 total points
ID: 22832271
I would say that spyware is more of a threat than ever before.
A much higher percentage of users are careful about having some kind of AV application running, but have no protection at all for their Internet activity.

All three of your points are valid (especially the first one), but I personally have a problem with the Symantec products.

AVAST has been great for me, but my current favorite is AVG (8.x has AV and AntiSpyware combined).

On all computers I touch, I also install the Hosts files from ( and have been doing that for years.

I also modify the 'cookie handling' in IE to "Allow" first party (and Session), but "Block" all third party cookies.

Good question.
LVL 23

Accepted Solution

phototropic earned 250 total points
ID: 22835279
"...Is Spyware still a threat, and if so, what are reasonable steps to avoid it?..."

Agree with younghv above; most users are aware of the need for a good av app., but think that having taken care of that, they can use the internet without any concern.
To your three points above, I would add a fourth: user education.
Users need to understand that the internet is like the Wild West - it is completely unregulated and anything goes. You should be cautious about where you go and what you do in cyberspace in exactly the same way that you would in any metropolitan city after dark.

"...I ask this from the pov of a general users..."  General users need to be made aware of the problem that spyware represents. Most of my customers are using P2P file sharing, clicking on links in adverts and pop-ups, and just generally blundering around the internet.  It's only when I present them with my bill for cleaning all the crud off their hard drive that they pay any attention to these issues.

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LVL 38

Expert Comment

ID: 22835488
<user education>

It seems as though I left out the most important piece to the whole puzzle.
Thanks phototropic
LVL 11

Author Comment

ID: 22838670
Good point about Education. Thanks. I was aware of that but I hadn't itemised it as a point, and I think it needs to be itemised, to make a point!
Do you think it's worth using software like Adware and Spybot S & D?
One problem with real-time checking is that it slows down performance and blocks sites. This can be annoying, especially if you have UAC on.
What about Windows Defender? Is that anything?
LVL 38

Assisted Solution

younghv earned 250 total points
ID: 22840015
The new AVG (8.x) includes anti-spyware and I quit adding AdAware and SpyBot earlier this year (used to use both).

I Beta-tested Windows Defender and had so many problems with it that I uninstalled it and have never gone back. Personal Opinion - it just isn't worth having.

I use the real-time function of AVG on all boxes and it had not been a problem - even on the older/slower computers.
LVL 19

Expert Comment

ID: 22840136
In order of importance:

1. Educate your users of typical threats and how to avoid them (think before you click, do not open email attachments from unknown senders, don't install unknown apps etc.)
2. Make your users run as regular user, not admin (
3. Patch management aka make sure all updates and hotfixes are installed promptly
10. Make sure they have up-to-date and correctly configured personal firewall, AV and antispyware (if you've done the first 3 points correctly, there's aren't even mandatory).
LVL 23

Expert Comment

ID: 22840221
Spybot and Adaware simply are not as effective as some of the newer apps., such as SuperAntiSpyware:

and Malwarebytes' Antimalware:

although the names are nowhere near as snappy!

Windows Defender I have had little experience of...but no one has ever told me that they swear by it and wouldn't use anything else...

LVL 38

Assisted Solution

younghv earned 250 total points
ID: 22840525
While running a hardware firewall, I think that adding anything other than the native Windows FW is a waste of resources and a potential source of conflict for the OS and basic applications.
LVL 11

Author Comment

ID: 22840830
^^ I agree

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