Received a recent subscribed email from Microsoft At Work regarding Basics for safer downloading. It expounded three  basic steps to protect your PC and your company’s network. Here’s «The Grey Chronicles» annotations:
1. Get ready: Strengthen your computer’s defenses
Annotations : Refer to the series of posts about using Microsoft Security Essentials [MSSE], and the story still continues to be monitored here for certain issues that need to be addressed. «The Grey Chronicles» do not entirely rely on Microsoft Security Essentials, but rather installed other third party antispyware programs, much leaner and effective than MSSE.
Annotations : «The Grey Chronicles» use Internet Explorer only during monthly updates. The default browser is Firefox, which is more secure than the copycat tabbed Internet Explorer. Furthermore, Firefox is smaller in hard disk footprint than Internet Explorer and watch out when Microsoft Updates offer security updates for IE, it installs hidden files during updates and these hidden files will stay there occupying space which could be used to boost the system’s virtual memory.
Annotations : «The Grey Chronicles» never used Microsoft Outlook, and this application was not installed during the installation of Microsoft Office and also disabled from running through a registry tweak, yet unfortunately Microsoft Updates still insists on offering junk email filter updates for Microsoft Outlook every once and a while! Huh?
2. Download with caution: Think first. Click later.
Annotations : Microsoft employs a bunch of expert software programmers and they could not think of a way to handle this annoyance, except to click the close box instead of OK or Agree to close the box? Maybe they could not, because the Message Box is a regular feature in all Microsoft applications.
Annotations : Most of these file-sharing programs are free to download and install. Thus, to make money, these applications are usually or surreptitiously embedded with either an adware or a spyware. Although, some file-sharing applications claim the contrary, unless
Annotations : In the post: MSSE Redux, although MSSE is running in the background, it never detected an executable with a spyware on it. Avira AntiVir protected the system, instead! Although the download was deliberately done to test the Real-Protection offered by MSSE, but it never did do its job!
3. Remove malicious software
Annotations : It is not only your best efforts that could have save your computer from malware. Attempts of Microsoft to strengthen its operating system with security add-ons, yet with million of lines of codes, it became inherently the most vulnerable of all operating systems to security threats. Thus, a better understanding of how the Microsoft operating system protects itself from vulnerability is also a way to handle malicious software.
Annotations : «The Grey Chronicles» used Malicious Software Removal Tool [MRT] in the past, but other small-footprint removal tools from third party security applications offer much more than MRT. Several years of running updated versions of MRT, the latest is version 3.12, it never found one malicious software in my computer, although other removal tools detected and deleted some.
Annotations : «The Grey Chronicles» uses Firefox which handles browser add-ons more securely than Internet Explorer. Most IE add-ons are ActiveX-based. IE add-ons, therefore, could install Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) Custom Extension [OCX], Direct Link Library [DLL] or even an executable file [EXE], all these are exploit-vulnerable compared to the chrome-based add-ons for Firefox! How about strengthening these files. i.e., OCX, DLL, and EXE from exploits?
Annotations : Is this statement an obvious Microsoft declaration of passing the responsibility of minimizing risk to Windows users? Instead of really strengthening the Microsoft operating systems, Microsoft is trying to solicit Microsoft users for help? Hey, users paid Microsoft for its operating systems with the belief that such is secure and not vulnerable to exploits. Is it not good customer service relations to freely offer a quality update for a bought and paid for operating system?
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