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Hello, I am using Windows 7 and I want to keep this system. I have changed systems on other computers and it caused software glitches that never went away. I am sure that my PC would get slower with a different system, and who knows what else might happen. I do not have time for trouble. I'm in the middle of a project and if I had the money I'd get a separate laptop for internet use, but I cannot do that right now. I am wondering how to protect my Windows 7 PC from ransomware and any kind of spyware that reads credit card numbers and passwords. I know to not click on weird links, and I probably won't have any need to download anything, but I do need some kind of protection from viruses and ransomware etc that might sneak in without me doing anything foolish. Would it help to use Avast's secure browser? Would a free version of Bitdefender or Kaspersky be sufficient? Thanks for any advice.
 

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retired framer
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I used AVG free for as long as they would let me and after years of that, now I pay for it. You have the right idea about an on line computer and keep this one for working with older programs off line. Windows 10 is just less like every other new program they come out with.
 

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When 10 first came out about 5 of my older programs did not pass the compatibility test.


18 months later on 12/21 after cloning my hard drive to an SSD I upgraded to 10 and apparently lost none of them. If your hardware is capable it might be easier to just upgrade. Registered software still upgrades for free if you do it right. By cloning and disconnecting the old drive you still have 7 as a backup plan.
 
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Nothing protects against ransomware better than daily drive image backups. If you get your drive encrypted by ransomware, you're dead in the water... no easy recovery available or big companies wouldn't be paying huge sums to get out of the ransomware grips. Get EASUS free imaging software and use it to put daily incremental drive images on separate media so you can restore the drive and leave the ransomware behind. Ten minutes a day is all it takes. Keep a months worth of them to be safe.

Don't keep credit card information on your computer. It's not necessary and even though you wouldn't be liable for any loss, it could be inconvenient to get it resolved.

As for anti-virus protection, I haven't used one for years but AVG is as good as any if you insist. None of them are foolproof and cleaning up a drive after it gets infected is something that most experts agree isn't something you can trust. Again, restoring a previous drive image to before the gremlin came aboard is best.

If your data is precious and you don't have current backup images, you can be sure that someday you will lose it... guaranteed.
 
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Challenge Everything!
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Nothing protects against ransomware better than daily drive image backups. If you get your drive encrypted by ransomware, you're dead in the water... no easy recovery available or big companies wouldn't be paying huge sums to get out of the ransomware grips. Get EASUS free imaging software and use it to put daily incremental drive images on separate media so you can restore the drive and leave the ransomware behind. Ten minutes a day is all it takes. Keep a months worth of them to be safe.

Don't keep credit card information on your computer. It's not necessary and even though you wouldn't be liable for any loss, it could be inconvenient to get it resolved.

As for anti-virus protection, I haven't used one for years but AVG is as good as any if you insist. None of them are foolproof and cleaning up a drive after it gets infected is something that most experts agree isn't something you can trust. Again, restoring a previous drive image to before the gremlin came aboard is best.

If your data is precious and you don't have current backup images, you can be sure that someday you will lose it... guaranteed.
Dude is correct, nothing will protect you from Ransomware.
Keep your Firewall shut down, lock it up, disable RDC.


Btw, the Ransom Attack will also encrypt your Backups, so even Backups don't help unless you disconnect the backup drives every day after the Backups.
 

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Some other things you should do to protect your privacy is to never keep your email contact list on a web based server. They get cracked too often. Use a local mail client... I use Windows Live Mail but it's pretty long in the tooth and no longer supported. Others are available to choose if WLM doesn't please you.

If you use Facebook, don't make your friends list public and don't use your picture for your profile image. There are those creeps that copy the picture and create an account that looks just like yours. That can lead to embarrassing situations at the least and perhaps money lost by friends or relatives. Be careful what you post since you can never actually delete it, you just remove it from your view. Trust me, it's still on the server.

Don't click on anything on a pop-up screen that offers to protect you from something or reward you for something. Even it it has an exit X or a No Thank You button, don't click anything. Hold down the alt key and press the F4 key. That closes the active window. If you can't remember that sequence, just press and hold the power button down to shut off the computer. Pressing anything on a pop-up screen can get your drive encrypted or otherwise infected.

Do not keep list of your passwords on your computer, no matter how handy that is. Do not keep a list of your credit card numbers on there either. Store all items like that and any other sensitive personal information on separate media, either a USB drive that is encrypted and password protected that is not inserted when your computer is connected to the internet (pull the plug) or else burn it to CD's in Encrypted form. Print lists for things you need frequently and delete them from your drive, it's safer that way. Encryption won't stop a dedicated hacker but those aren't the kind that fool around with individual users. It will stop the inept ones that are doing it for their idea of fun.


When choosing to install some freeware, shareware or any software for that matter, always choose the "Custom" install when offered. You may be surprised to see that some of the normal install mode items aren't what you would ever want on your computer. Be alert for a pre-checked box that says you agree to let something you don't want to come along with what you do want. Sometimes it's free trial of something you don't want or it may be some browser hijack that directs claims to make finding stuff easier which actually makes it easier for them to nag you with sales pitches and redirect you to their sites. I have turned down AVG protection more times than I can count... they seem to be everywhere.

There are some nice tools that work better than the standard MS Windows provided one such as stacking clipboards, search software and drive imaging. I use Spartan Clipboard, Agent Ransack, and EaseUS respectively for those tasks. Spartan allow for encryption of clips on the fly, Ransack finds thing 10 times faster than the MS Dog, and EaseUS is the most user friendly and best imaging software you will find and there is a free version that does all you need. None of these three tools contain any malware if you get them from the original creator's site. All other sources may be suspect.

Free games are often loaded with malware that will gum up and slow down your computer. Free downloads for trial software can also end up leaving their effects after you decide to uninstall them. Shareware that times out is best avoided unless you think you will eventually buy the full version. Get some Google opinions first to see what other users think.

I hope some of this will help someone stay safe from the predators that take pleasure in making the internet less enjoyable and make it necessary to have anti programs that slow our systems down. At least it's a few things to consider that I find useful. I don't claim it will keep you from all harm but it will fend of some of the sucker punches.

Regards, SD2
 
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