Security 101: August 2012

As previously announced, we continue to answer questions received from the readers of the PC.COM magazine.

Do I need to uninstall other internet security products before installing a new one?  And why?

Yes, it is mandatory to uninstall any security product before installing another one.

There are many reasons for this, but the most important are:

• The real time scanners will be in conflict with each other as they work to get access to the same file. If such a scenario happens, both will return an error and cause the result to show  that the computer is infected.

• Various modules installed with these conflicting products will crossinterfere,

causing both to not function properly as designed (eg: LSPs, minifilters, TDI drivers, NDIS drivers, etc.)

• Having a security product active already slows down the computer a little bit but when  there is more than one task performing at the same time it will have a dramatic impact on the computer.

All Avira products offer integrated services that check before installation for potential incompatible software that were previously installed on the computer. If such conflicts are found, depending on the software, the user can choose to let the product to automatically install or uninstall it manually.


Why do hackers attack PC users? What do they get out of it?

The short answer to this question is: money.
The long answer would be pretty complex because there are several ways to get to the  money. The easiest way for hackers to steal money is to use other computers that can carry out their malicious dealings. This includes distributing spam, malware, performing Distributed Denial of Service and so on. Usually, hackers install special software on the computers that allow them to remotely control the PCs they manage to compromise. Once “stolen and reprogrammed”, these computers then become the hacker’s remote bots and will be part of a complex botnet.

This action will cost you money because the computer will no longer do only what you expect it to do but will also be executing other actions.

This ties in directly to incurring unnecessary costs like electricity, Internet and memory bandwidth and affecting  productivity. As for indirect costs, issues like reducing your online reputation, causing your ISP to block your access to the Internet and slowing the performance of your computer.

If the computer is infected with another potent malware – the keylogger – it can copy your credentials for Online Banking, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and so on.

This is has a great impact on you from financial point of view. This may also affect your reputation in a negative way.


Sorin Mustaca

Data Security Expert