My Frugal, Simple Computer Security Setup

Since I sometimes pontificate on malware, security patching and the like on this blog, I expect some folk would naturally ask: "Ok, Mr. Smarty-pants, what do you do to your computer?"

Well, I'll be glad to share. I don't go overboard as the "home" PC is mostly used by Mrs. Oldgoat, and she is not one to be met with pop-up windows, prompts and so on. She wants to click on a site and go to that site, with minimal interruption or fuss.

Keep it simple, keep it cheap - and use multiple layers of protection.

The hardware:

Home-built Intel dual core system with a recently-upgraded SSD drive and 4GB RAM (so an older, unremarkable system). It's not used for anything fancy, so other than perhaps adding some RAM down the road, the performance is adequate for our purposes.

The software:

Windows 7 Pro, 64-bit operating system, set to allow automatic updates. Yep, still on Windows for now, will likely upgrade to Windows 10 when this computer is replaced (i.e. I build a better one).

Mozilla Firefox set as default browser.
     uBlock Origin installed to help avoid possible ad-based malware.
     Set for private browsing mode. 
     Using as the primary search engine.

Microsoft Security Essentials. Microsoft's own antivirus solution.

Malwarebytes Anti-malware (free edition). I scan weekly with this.

Malwarebytes Anti-exploit. Helps protect against browser exploits.
*update* this does not appear to be available separately anymore, but is built into recent versions of Malwarebytes Anti-malware

OpenDNS dns servers. Helps avoid phishing, malware sites. 

Box cloud storage for online backup. I also periodically make backups to DVD.

And that's about it. I do not pretend it's a locked-down system, but it covers the basics without being overly intrusive - that is why NoScript is not currently part of the package; great browser plugin, but a little too much fiddling required.

Mrs. Oldgoat knows to yell if something weird pops up, and to not click indiscriminately, so the current setup works for us.

On my own laptop, I use various flavors of Linux that I reload with alarming frequency, so that's kind of a different kettle of fish.

Updated May 2018

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