Paid vs Free: Anti-Virus Software

Recently I have encountered a few viruses on my PC in the form of constant pop ups to malicious websites every time I try to access any web page. This lead to to me running a number of deep Scans using my Paid and trusted Bitdefender. And I thought after ruining a couple of scans everything would be grand. But as it turns out the scans found no issues with my PC.

But it was apparent there was an infection, and with the recent WannaCry attack being so prominent I felt further action had to be taken to avoid any more issues causing further harm to my Computer and potentially my personal file. So the next step was to turn Bitdefender on to Paranoia mode, this essentially locks down your PC requesting permission before websites and application can connect to the web. But again the pop ups to malicious websites continued. This was rather annoying as in my opinion Bitdefender was on of the better paid Anti-Virus software on the market with a nice UI (User Interface). But it just was not finding these malicious files causing trouble on my computer.

Bitdefender UI

So after a while I decided it would be a good idea to have a second set of eyes look over it so to speak and that’s when I decide to download Malwarebytes because I had used it in the past, in its free and portable form. The download is simple and it installed right along side Bitdefender, so I decided to do my first scan, and it turned out there were a whole lot of potentially unwanted files that Bitdefender had seemingly ignored.

Now if Bitdefender was only a free package I could have understood somewhat that it was not finding everything but after 3 full system scans (bearing in mind i have about 6TB for it to scan so it took a while) But considering this application cost per year I was bitterly disappointed. And for Bitdefender to scan my system in about 5 minuets and to find a number of unwanted applications and file it was a bit of a blow to moral.

But I was genuinely impress with Malwarebytes, not only is the free application very effective and quick. But it also removed or placed into quarantine the files that where reeking havoc on my PC. It has also  lead me to think about dropping Bitdefender as my Anti-Virus software of choices and pay for the premium Malwarebytes.malwarebytes

One thing that might deter you from taking Malwarebytes as your go to Anti-Virus however could be the cost, for 1 machine for a year it will set you back about £29.99 and for a second machine the cost is £44.99. For me this is a large sum of money when it will only cover 1 machine for £29.99.

In comparison Bitdefender is only £34.99 for 5 machines for a year, it also throws in some other features that I found to be quite a nice little addition. Such as the devices tracking ability, this is accessed by a very sleek and well built web application letting you log in and not only track all of your devices but also add new devices or remove them from the account. It also offers features such as file shredding meaning that once a file is “Shredded” there should be next to no trace of it left on your machine, Bitdefender will also allow you to encrypt parts of your hard drive to securely and easily store files. And the built in password manager is just a bit of a bonus as well.

So all in all I was genuinely impress with how effectively and smoothly Malwarebytes was able to remove the harmful files that Bitdefender was missing. But will I be moving from Bitdefender? There is a strong possibility but money is one of the things keeping me drawn to it, as I currently have my Bitdefender deployed over 3 different devices, this would mean spending £74.98 to protect all of my devices and that not a little bit of money to just throw around. If anything I will get Malwarebytes for my main machine and have it run along side Bitdefender to try and maximize the protection my system has.

 

McAfee 2017 Threat Predictions: Are they right?

At the beginning of the year McAfee release a document laying out there predictions for cyber security. And with it being almost half way through the year I feel it would be appropriate to write a review on how there predictions are coming on and if they are coming true.

The initial part of the document I am going to cover is the prediction that “Ransomware subsides in the second half of 2017” For those that don’t know ransomware is a type of malware essentially take control of the users data until the demands or ransom are met. and it is becoming a much greater issues, there have even been cases of not just PC’s but also mobile devices being effected by ransomware. And although the measures to stop these types of attacks are improving the methods for delivering these attacks is also becoming an issue. This could be in the form of using multiple vulnerability to achieve the final goal.  These current point of Internets to the Ransomware attacks are:

  • Adobe Flash
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer and Edge browser
  • Java, PDS and Microsoft office
  • Windows Kernel
  • Infrastructure software
  • Virtualization software
  • Security Products

But McAfee’s prediction of ransomware reducing by the second half of the year could look to be incorrect, this is because of a recent attack that has effected the NHS (British National Health Services) There where a number of services effected including a number of Hospitals, Pharmacy’s and GP Surgery’s. The attack was encrypting data and then demanding £230 to decrypt the files. This could have had a massive effect on the health and live of real people. Usually when you see a large scale cyber attack it is on large organization and companies that do not literally have peoples lives in there hands. This attack could have lead people dying.

The attack is called WannaCry worm and how was it so effective. Well it is rumored to have used some exploits that where found when a large number of NSA documents where leaked earlier this year. These leaks where called Vault 7 that detailed a number of exploits that the NSA had been finding and collecting .

How the WanaCry worm works, is when it finds a vulnerability machine on a network  it will infect that machine and sit and wait until it can find more vulnerable machines on the network and then it will keep the processes going until as many machines as it can infect are infected. From there there could be a trigger for the attack to start or it could open up the infected machines to more complicated attacks, this could be in the form of allowing malicious files to be download to the machine or it could simply be that the worm will in fact deploy the ransomware attack.

There have been reports all over the world in the past few days about large scale attack of this nature, so is this the end or is it only going to get worse?

Gaming Laptops

I’m currently looking at getting a new laptop, although the main use of the laptop will not be gaming I like the hardware that is offered in these types of laptops. And with so many options it is really hard to choose the one that will be right for you.

First of all there is the size of the laptop, my current one is 15 inch and is an acquitted size. But I’m getting drawn to a 17.3 inch one due to the vast amount of screen space, making task much as data analysis a littler bit more comfortable, and of course to play the odd game on a slightly larger screen is a plus. The issue with a lot of powerful 17.3 inch gaming laptops is that they are not the lightest and thinnest. Meaning that the overall portability is to going to be limited. And considering i will be carrying this laptop around with me everyday i would rather something that isn’t going to weigh me down a huge amount.

So I started to do some research and initially checked the go to brands for gaming laptops, this includes Alienware, Asus, MSI and Acer.

The issues in my opinion with the Alienware laptops is how thick they are, i have seen the 13 inch models they use to do and it was about the width of two 13 inch netbooks. This is a slight deal breaker and I am yet to see them release a slightly thinner one like a lot of other companies do. Asus and MSI are both great examples of this as they bother offer there own flagship gaming laptops with incredible hardware and performance, but again size and weight. So after a number of searches 3 laptops just kept coming up

 

AsusStrixHPOmenMSIStealth

After looking at the hardware that I was after these 3 laptops came out on top, and the MSI and Asus ones went straight to the top of my list. Although the Asus one has a larger build it would still be a manageable size to use every day, but the MSI one just looks incredible. Granted it is the most expensive of the 3 but in my opinion it is the nicest looking with a sleek brushed metal finish and looking less like a gaming laptop than the other 2 i feel it suites my requirement the best.

It still amazes me somewhat the Pascal GPU’s can be put into laptops and have more or less the same specification as the desktop equivalent. And it might only have a 1060 in it but this card will stick pack a punch playing most games. I did look at ones with a 1070 but i just could not justify the extra money for a GPU that i really would not utilize that much. I have also read a large number of reviews on this deviceand it appears to be all positive. Something you would expect when a company like MSI brings out a gaming laptop.

 

So this is just a little food for thought if anyone is looking at getting a gaming laptop that looks sleek and professional while not weighing over 2.5kg, and stick packs a mighty punch!

 

If anyone has this laptop leave your opinion in the comments below.

 

RFID Wallets: Are They Worth It?

The title may lead you to believe this is going to almost be a tinfoil hat sort of post, but there are a lot of reasons why RFID protected wallets make sense. Sometime last year the photo below circulated the internet, because it showed someone on a train with a contactless card reader. contactless

Now I’m not sure if I know anyone these days that doesn’t have a contactless card, when they first came out i declined one due to the possible security threats that came along with them. But last year when I opened a new account my bank sent me one, so began the hunt for an RFID protected wallet.

So naturally the first place I turned to was amazon, as it is usually the place to go for items of that type. But after looking through about 4 or 5 pages i just was not happy with the style and quality of the wallets that they had. The images below are some example of the wallets that Amazon had to offer, not that any of them are bad. But I’m personally not a fan of either a hard shell or a tri-fold wallet. I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to wallets, as its like a good pair of shoes if you pay a little bit more they tend to be of a better quality and last longer.

So I held of for a while as i was skeptical of how well these wallets would last, and then I found what is in my opinion the perfect wallet. It was a nice black leather Michael Kors one. I did not at the time realize designer companies were incorporating RFID into there

RFIDWallet4.png

It was a fairly costly investment for a wallet but i felt the combination of the style and technology was worth the cost, personally i feel it blows all of the others on amazon out of the water, but the curious part was that if i had not stumbled upon it in a department store i would have had no idea. It was not overly well advertised on the packaging either other than a little paper tag sticking out of the top mentions the RFID protect. So for anyone out there looking for a nice stylish wallet with the added comfort of RFID protection should defiantly have a look at Michael Kors.