Thursday, November 24, 2005

McAfee’s Updated & Advanced Features

The most recent version of McAfee Virus-Scan Home Edition, includes a couple of new features that deserve special mention. HAWK (Hostile Activity Watch Kernel) looks for behavior that indicates a new form of malware might be on your computer. For example, if a file sends email to more than 50% of your address book, HAWK could perceive this as malware-like activity. If it finds such a file, HAWK first prevents the malware from spreading, and then calls upon Virus-Scan to clean the file. HAWK works with any email client that supports SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol), such as Outlook, Outlook Express, and Eudora, but it does not support web-based email programs such as Yahoo! Mail.
In addition, HAWK incorporates McAfee’s Script Stopper, another new feature. Script Stopper detects potentially malicious activity (such as a script that attempts to rename a file on your computer) and stops the offending party (in this case, the script) before it can take action.
If Script Stopper is blocking acceptable scripts, however, and you want to add them to your “trusted script list,” you can do so. From the main window, click Configure Automatic Protection Settings, make sure there is a check mark in the Enable HAWK Script Stopper checkbox, and click Advanced. Then, select the HAWK icon (an action that renames the dialog box to Hostile Activity Watch Kernel Properties), choose the Script Stopper tab, and review the list of trusted scripts. Click the Add button to browse your hard drive or other drives and add scripts to the list. To modify the list, you also can select the name of a script and click the Remove button to delete it from the list, or click Clear List to clear the entire list. Click OK.
McAfee Virus-Scan Home Edition also includes several bonus components. The U.S. and Canadian versions include McAfee Firewall, a program that secures your Internet connection and keeps hackers from invading your system. But to take advantage of the firewall, you must first configure it because it is inactive by default. From the main window, click Firewall and let the McAfee Firewall Configuration Assistant walk you through the configuration process step by step.
From the first dialog box that displays, select the Filter All Traffic radio button and click next. Then, select the checkboxes next to Load McAfee Firewall Automatically at Startup and Place a McAfee Firewall Icon on the Desktop. (If you don’t want the Firewall active when you start your computer, deselect that particular checkbox.) Click Next.
Unless you’re part of a workgroup (in which case, your system administrator will probably set up options for you), deselect the checkboxes in the following dialog box and click Next.
When the McAfee Firewall searches your computer to find programs that can access the Internet, you’ll probably want to leave these settings alone if you wish to continue using these programs to go online, so click Next. Click Finish to activate the firewall.
PDA (personal digital assistant) synchronization protection is another notable component of McAfee Virus-Scan Home Edition. Each time you exchange data between your PDA and your PC; the software scans the files on your wireless device and prevents malware from transferring to your PC. The software supports most types of wireless devices using the Palm OS, Pocket PC, Windows CE, and EPOC OSes.
Win98 SE and WinMe users also can run Safe & Sound. (Because of the way in which WinXP handles file storage, this feature is not available to WinXP users.) Network Associates integrated this backup utility into McAfee Virus-Scan Home Edition. In a nutshell, this utility lets you create a protected area on your PC so that if you ever need a clean copy of a file, you can quickly access it. For more information on how to use this utility, type safe & sound in the search engine of the Help file bundled with McAfee Virus-Scan Home Edition.
Finally, it’s important to remember that McAfee Virus-Scan Home Edition comes with a year of free malware protection updates. And once your subscription reaches the 11-month mark, Instant Updater prompts you to renew your subscription by visiting the appropriate web page.

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