Start with the basics. Set ClamWin to update signatures hourly. Use the latest versions of ClamWin and Clam Sentinel. Run a daily ClamWin scan on memory, system 32 folder (and WOW folder on Windows 8), and the users/documents folder. Use these Clam Sentinel settings: run on startup, detect and monitor new drives, quarantine infected files, and set the system monitor to detect suspicious files only--you do not need warnings of all system changes. Set your computer for automatic Windows updates.
Keep your firewall turned on. The Microsoft firewall that comes with XP/Vista/Windows 7 protects against unauthorized contacts inbound from the web. It is difficult to configure for outbound protection, but it is is simple, free, and “quiet.” There is also a free software firewall for Windows XP and later computers from Zone Alarm and maybe others. Zone Alarm version 6.1.744.001 works on Windows 98.
Configure your web browser to use any filters it has--such as pop up blocking, tracking protection, phishing filter, smart download protection, and malicious website protection. Keeping your browser updated is more important than what browser you use. Some free browser toolbars and add-ins provide additional web protection, but stick to toolbars from well-known companies like Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, or one of the antivirus companies. Stay away from web sites offering porn, illegal/cracked software, and torrent downloads. Do not give out personal information on social networking sites.
Malwarebytes' Anti Exploit (beta) provides free exploit protection for users of Windows XP and newer systems. Malwarebytes also has a free Antirootkit program (beta) that provides rootkit detection for XP and newer systems.
Clam Sentinel detects many new malware files that might be downloaded to your computer, but fast-acting malware can do damage before it is quarantined. For extra protection, I recommend Microsoft's free Security Essentials antivirus for Windows XP through Windows 7 computers. To prevent AV confilicts, whitelist the ClamWin and Clam Sentinel program folders, and ClamWin's data folder from MSE's scans. If you decide not to use another real-time AV with ClamWin/Sentinel, do a daily scan with Malwarebytes' free Antimalware on Windows XP and newer computers. If your computer is older than Windows XP, all I can suggest is that you do a daily scan with ClamWin in Windows Safe Mode. Users should also get a free rescue CD or USB for emergency use that boots up with its own operating system that are available from some of the AV companies (such as F-Secure, Dr. Web, eScan, or Kaspersky). I recommend Microsoft's free Windows Defender Offline program that lets you make either a Windows rescue CD or USB (get the USB). You must run rescue CD/USBs from a wired DSL connection to properly update the malware signatures.
Finally, keep in mind that safe surfing and common sense provide the best extra protection.
Please contact Andrea Russo, the Clam Sentinel developer, via the
Clam Sentinel web site if you have any comments about this article or
suggestions for improving Clam Sentinel. Delphi programmers can help
contribute to the Clam Sentinel project by contacting Andrea via the
Clam Sentinel web site.
by Robert Scroggins