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Online security dos and don'ts

November 10, 2009 15:02 IST

Do you know how to decide which blocked downloads to download? Which is the best anti-virus solution that can protect your computer from malicious attacks? Do anti-virus suites slow down your computer?

What is the best way of protecting your online identity? How to guard against phishing or identity thefts?

David Hall of Symantec answered these and other queries related to protecing you and your computer on the Internet in a chat with readers on November 6.

For those of you who missed the chat, here's the unedited transcript:

csacs asked, hello how to detect malware?

David Hall from Symantec answers,  at 2009-11-06 15:27:53The best way to detect malicious software that could be running on a machine is to install a security suite and run a full system scan.

ols asked, which is best anti virus? along with anti-virus should one also use trojan remover. What basic things should be taken care with a website?
David Hall from Symantec answers, With today's threat landscape antivirus alone is not enough to be able to protect you against all the weapons that Cybercriminals have in their arsenal. I would suggest a full Internet Security solution like Norton Internet Security 2010 as it offers both antivirus and protection from threats and scams that are now delivered from the web most commonly. Good security suites will keep you protected against trojans, rootkits, worms and now the new drive by downloads that are so common that we see 100,000 websites a day attacking consumers.

kannan asked, there is nothing as best antivirus. if it is for home use, there are plenty of free antivirus software available on the net. Any AV software that gives you regular updates, should be fine
David Hall from Symantec answers, You have a good point that there are many free antivirus programs out there these days. With Norton products we are now releasing 10's of thousands of signatures a day to keep up with the latest threats. We are now streaming updates out every 5 to 15 mins to keep PC's protected.There is now so many threats per day that we have needed to release a new style of protection based around the concept of reputation which is able to block the latest threats before traditional signatures are available.

aj asked, how to decide which blocked downloads to download ?
David Hall from Symantec answers, Ifyou are unsure of the safety of a site that you are downloading from it is always best to check it our with a site reputation service like to see if it is clean or it has been hosting threats before. If you are running a Secuurity product that uses a new styled reputation engine you can also query that once you have downloaded it to know if it is safe to install. It's always wise to double check before you double click.

kannan asked, u have plethora of security issues. so having a good antivirus doesn't necessarily guarantee you protection. there are basic precaution that you have to take when you are on the net. It has been found that some so called security software are actually a 'trojan' which creates the security hole
David Hall from Symantec answers, One scam that is on the rise is called "scareware" which pretends to be legitimate security software but actually is a misleading application that falsely scares you into thinking you have threats on your machine. We have seen about 250 unique versions of these in the last 12 months alone. A quick search on your favourite search engine will quikly determine if other users are complaining that the application is "scareware".

kannan asked, if you are using a wireless network for internet, ensure your neighbours are not allowed to use your connectivity. introduce basic WEP security
David Hall from Symantec answers, Thats good advice, it only takes a couple of mins to set it up and it stops any freeloaders hopping onto your connection.

kannan asked, there is nothing as fully secure. it is a race. you have to continuously update your guard. Similar to human security - this gets much more complex in the technology industry due to anonymity. If I tell you, to keep only the software that you use - then for students, exploring is lost. So - don't mix business & pleasure. keep them separate.
David Hall from Symantec answers, You are correct that there is no magic silver bullet technology that will solve every problem that the Malware writers use today. That's why it is best to use layers of security to block all the different threats. Firewalls, Anti Phishing, Antivirus and Web Reputation all layer on top of each other to keep the bad things off of your PC. Don't underestimate the power of education, if you understand how the bad guys are attacking you are less likely to fall for their tricks.

vaibhav asked, antivirus makes computer show,isn't it better to use window defender and firewall in on mode rather then installing antivirus?
David Hall from Symantec answers, Security products have historically caused a drag on your PC's resources. I can say that independent labs have tested many security products and voted that since the 2009 releases Norton products are the fastest you can install. We work hard to make sure that Norton Products don't slow you down. Using multiple solutions from multiple vendors can slow you down.

ganesh mane asked, what is the best security measure to prevent computer from virus attack
David Hall from Symantec answers, there is not a single answer I have for you, but here are some of the top things that you can do to stay safe. 1) update your OS with all the security patches, also good to update other common apps like Acrobat etc. 2) update your security software to the latest edition and keep it up to date 3)keep you private information private, don't be tricked into online scams that try to deceive you into sharing your confidential information.

soham asked, what are he security certifications which v must see on a bank website b4 transacting ?
David Hall from Symantec answers, always look for the adress bar to say https:// which means that the connection to the site you are on is encrypted and can't be snooped on while in transit. Always good advice not to follow links from email back to your bank and always type in the address in your browser.

deeo877 asked, how can i block porn site
David Hall from Symantec answers, We have launched a free tool called that will help you keep only age appropriate websites being looked at. check it out at It's free until the end of the year, then will remain free if you have a Norton Internet Security Subscription in the future.

ankitfadia asked, hello mr. david....please advise how one can educate oneself on internet security.
David Hall from Symantec answers, Hi, education is a great way to keep yourself safer online. I would suggest checking out which has a heap of online resources to get up to speed.

sooham asked, hello sir, r there ny certifications which a customer shld verify on a bank's site b4 transacting ? Also gen which bank (indian and foreign) hs a safe netbanking ?
David Hall from Symantec answers, at Symantec we have profiled popular online shopping and banking sites and made this information freely available at If you use one of our products like Norton Internet Security or Norton 360 you will have a toolbar that will show these ratings as you browse so you know if it is safe to transact with a site. But if you only have an antivirus product you can just check out the site to validate the identity.

kk asked, how can i know which antivirus is a best buy ? Any genuine international rating system exists ?
David Hall from Symantec answers, while there is no international standard rating systems yet for security products there are many dedicated labs around the world that test security products. Check out AVComparitives or AVtest or VB 100 which test products very deeply for protection. Labs like Passmark do testing on peformance. Use a couple of these sources to check out how your solution is peforming.

takhan asked, I am doing bank transaction online. What is best antivirus for me.
David Hall from Symantec answers, Antivirus is good at protecting you from threats that embed into your machine, but if you shop or bank or hang out online then you need a security suite that includes a firewall and identiy protection. Check out a trial version of Norton Internet Security which will be fast and light and help you stay safe online when banking.

ankitfadia asked, sir..i have a antivirus..PE classic and it don't get updated and i'm not sure if i'm virus free. I cannot test my system through online bt defender too for unknown reasons. How can i check for any virus? TY
David Hall from Symantec answers, try an online scanner if you are not sure if your current solution is holding up. is a free toll that will check up on your current solution and give you a report back.

asdf asked,  hello, there is virus attack on my system which has blocked my admin rights also i cant go to control panel and even cant edit the registry seting. when this happen there was no antivirus software installed in my system. i just purchased a copy of NA2010 and but i m unable to install it to clear the virus... any solution?
David Hall from Symantec answers, if a threat has buried deep into your machine, if you have a 2009 or 2010 Norton product you can boot up off the CD to cklean up your machine. This will help clean up a deeply infected CD. If you bough it online you can download the Norton Recovery Tool from a working PC and burn a bootable CD from there.

rohan asked, Hello David...I have latest Norton antivirus installed. recently i found that when ever im clicking my banking page...the computer gets into sleep it because of any virus attack??pls advise
David Hall from Symantec answers, I have had a quick look on and can't see anyone mentioning this happening there. If you don't have Norton 2010 yet you can get it from if you have a current subscription. If it is still happening I would suggest popping a note in the community forums so we can investigate further.

kamal asked, Nowadays, the web browsers like chrome, opera, IE, firefox are providing the option for saving/remembering the password, personal details, auto-fill forms etc.. I would like to know how much safe it is, Advice us whether we should use it or avoid it.
David Hall from Symantec answers, Most browsers are not encrypting the data that they store. But if storing your passwords in your browser helps you remember multiple passwords that is much better than using only a handfull of passwords across many sites if you can't remember them. I use Norton Internet Security on my machine which is an encrypted password safe which is safer again.

Girish asked, Hi David, While none of the anti virus installed on my PC / Laptop shows any malware and that includes Norton, the CPU utilisation ranges between 30-60%. Further many times when I run a full system scan the PC shuts down by itself. This problem doesn't occur while running a quick scan. What could be the problem?
David Hall from Symantec answers, Are you using multiple security solutions on the one PC? That quite often leads to problems. If you are running multiple Security Solutions uninstall them all and start with reinstalling the most up to date one which will give you an undertanding of what could be going on.

Vishal asked, Sir...Most of the times my ip is always attacked with intrusions.Does anyone hacking my ip ?? Please answer ...
David Hall from Symantec answers, If you have a security solution that is looking out for attacks via the network layer you will probably see a message saying an intrusion was blocked. They are very common and nothing to be alarmed unless the ip address is comming from your internal network. Time to clean up the machine if it is coming from inside your network if you have a home network. If tehy are comming from the wider web nothing to be alarmed about as long as they were blocked.

Ritzee asked, mostly Symantec products slowers the speed of a system....
David Hall from Symantec answers, Hi Ritzee, you are right that some older Norton products were slowing you down. That is not the case anymore as we have a focus on making sure that Norton Security products are using around 10 megs of Ram at idle these days, and that the scanning is going to be a lot faster with some technology we put in to make it faster.

Swati asked, Hi David, please tell us why paid software is better than freeware? Thanks
David Hall from Symantec answers, Good question, normally paid security suites include layers of protection including firewall, signature based antivirus and heuristics. Most often all the layers of defense are not inlcuded in a free solution. i.e. don't include reputation based protection or behaviour based protection or are not inlcuding support if something goes wrong.

Navneet asked, Hi ...If I wish to have set of phishing and fraud site list (current) for testing any anti virus or anti phishing to get that and from where ?
David Hall from Symantec answers, is a live feed of sites that are attacking.

Damodar asked, i have received spam emails from from my own yahoo email-id. my password is strong, Can you tell me how this was possible? My PC an internet scecurity software.
David Hall from Symantec answers, the spammer could be just using your email id as the outbound name on the spam. Its is quite common, but it is always good to change your passwords on a regular basis and use multiple passwords.

swi_gns asked, which are the main security holes in window xp which are most vulnerable
David Hall from Symantec answers, the most common method of infection we see today is via unpatch browser plug ins. Make sure that you have updated your media plugs ins as well, and have some form of intrusion prevention in your security product for when patches have not been released yet by the vendor.

echkayess asked, What is phishing??
David Hall from Symantec answers, Phishing is a term for when someone is trying to trick you into sharing your personal information. Most commonly you would get an email or a message tring to ask you to log in to a fradulent site which would collect your info.

mack asked, hi please let me know which is best antivirus product to go for which take cares of antivirus, antispam, spyware, malware and adware issues on desktop computers
David Hall from Symantec answers, I would suggest checking out a trial version of our latest Consumer releases which are the Norton 2010 products. Norton Internet Security is the one with all of these things.

ankitfadia asked, hi..i think i don't gave latest version of windows xp.Is it necessary for me to have service pack 2 to install your free software?
David Hall from Symantec answers, Yes I would need you to install XP SP2 to install as many security vulnerabilities have been closed down by SP2 and SP3 that threats area actively targeting.

Ingram asked, Norton product sucks. How do i get the refund????
David Hall from Symantec answers, We have a scheme at or give us a call or use the chat function inside the product to talk to us.

Ashish asked, David i personally feel that more than products if an Infosec company plays the role of training people and making companies understand the need of information security implementation as well as security product implementation it will work better....
David Hall from Symantec answers, I agree completely, education is an important part of any security posture.

debasis asked, hello sir, i am debasis from west bengal want to know the safety tips for online transaction
David Hall from Symantec answers, 1) don't follow links that ask you to log into your financial institution. Always type the address in your browser. 2)Install the latest security patches for your OS and Browser. 3)Install a complete Security Suite and keep it up to date. Antivirus is not enough to keep you completely protected online, you need to have a suite that includes a firewall, Identity protection and Antiphishing toolbars.

David Hall is the regional consumer product marketing manager for Symantec, Asia-Pacific.