Configuring a Windows computer from the ground up for security and stability – Part 4: Securing Other Software

Securing Other Software

Adobe Reader DC

Adobe Reader is actually pretty safe if you have the full suite of security settings turned on. In the case of Adobe Reader DC, there’s just one setting you need to change:

Edit > Preferences > Security (Enhanced) > Protected View > Files from potentially unsafe locations

Install Anti-Exploit

If a hacker finds a way to exploit an application like Chrome to load a virus, how do you stop that? Antivirus isn’t the answer, often the attacks they put on your computer are brand-new that haven’t never seen before. You need something proactive.

There are three products on the market that stop hacker exploits against desktop computers: Microsoft EMETMalwarebytes Anti-Exploit, and HitmanPro.Alert.

EMET is designed for corporations with a dedicated security person to keep it updated and troubleshoot any rare problems it can cause. Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit is smarter about protecting specific common programs, but only protects browsers unless you pay $25 a year. HitmanPro.Alert has advanced protections, but it includes aggressive experimental features and costs $25 a year.

If you use your computer only for browsing and gaming and want something free, Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit Free is probably your best choice. If you install it, go into the settings and turn off the message about when it engages. I pay for the Premium version which also protects media players, PDF readers, and Office.

If you use your computer for business and want something free, Microsoft EMET is probably your best choice. Just make sure you periodically make sure you’re running the latest version and be careful if you use Microsoft Office add-ins like SalesForce for Outlook. Do not use EMET on Chrome, this is not supported by Google. Instead, you will focus on protecting PDF readers and Office.

I do not have enough experience with HitmanPro.Alert to give any advice at this time.

14.) Install GlassWire Firewall

Want to get alerts when programs start communicating with the net, and find out when they change versions? This is basically impossible in a usable way, except for GlassWire. Note that it stores historical traffic history to help you manage bandwidth usage. This data stays on your computer and gets cleared after 30 days. If bandwidth history is not valuable to you, you can turn that off by going into “Incognito Mode.”

Install GlassWire

The paid version of GlassWire ($50 one-time) includes webcam and microphone alerts if they’re turned on.

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