Advanced Plus Security JasonUK's Security Config 2024

Last updated
Jan 16, 2022
How it's used?
For home and private use
Operating system
Windows 10
On-device encryption
N/A
Log-in security
    • Basic account password (insecure)
Security updates
Allow security updates
Update channels
Allow stable updates only
User Access Control
Always notify
Smart App Control
N/A - Linux / Mac / Other operating system
Network firewall
N/A
Real-time security
Avast Free (4 Core + Ransomware Shields)
Cyberlock Pro v7.x
Firewall security
Microsoft Defender Firewall
About custom security
Portable security / privacy applications:
- Windows Hybrid Hardening Light (Default settings) **Disabled while VS installed**
- FirewallHardening tool (LOLBins Rules)
- RunBySmartScreen
- O&O Shutup 10++ (Recommended settings)
Periodic malware scanners
KVRT, EEK, NPE, MBAM Premium, & AdwCleaner
Malware sample testing
I do not participate in malware testing
Environment for malware testing
N/A
Browser(s) and extensions
1. Brave ('Aggressive' shield level | Search Engine - Startpage) *Primary Browser*
- AdGuard AdBlocker v4
- Bitwarden
- ImTranslator (access to site on manual click only)
2. Edge ('Strict' tracking protection & 'Balanced' security mitigation settings | Search Engine - Startpage)
- AdGuard AdBlocker v4
- Bitwarden
Secure DNS
Quad9 over DoH (Using YogaDNS client)
Desktop VPN
Windscribe (rarely used)
Password manager
KeePass XC
Bitwarden
Maintenance tools
Wise Care 365
Autoruns
SUMo
Revo & HiBit Uninstallers
Eraser
Windows Repair All-In-One (Tweaking.com)
File and Photo backup
Allway Sync to second internal HD
Copies on external HDs
Ransomware Protection personal folders (currently Avast Free previously WVSX v3.x)
Subscriptions
    • None
System recovery
Macrium Home v8 (Paid Licence) - Full backups every second day to secondary HD (Image Guardian protection), weekly to external HD
Wise Data Recovery
Risk factors
    • Browsing to popular websites
    • Working from home
    • Opening email attachments
    • Buying from online stores, entering banks card details
    • Logging into my bank account
    • Downloading software and files from reputable sites
    • Streaming audio/video content from trusted sites or paid subscriptions
Computer specs
Asus Desktop
i5-4460S @ 2.90GHz
16GB RAM
Twin 2TB HDs
Notable changes
18Jan22 - Replaced AdGuard AdBlocker extension with AdGuard for Windows. Secure DNS still Quad9 but through AdGuard for Windows rather than YogaDNS.
13Feb22 - Replaced WD+ConfigureDefender & WSVX with Avast Free (Core & Ransomware shields) & MBAM Premium. WVSX retained as a periodic scanner.
10Mar22 - Replaced Avast Free & MBAM with WD+ConfigureDefender ('High') & WSVX 3.05. MBAM & Avast Free (in 'Passive' mode) retained as periodic scanners.
20Mar22 - Replaced WD+ConfigureDefender & WSVX with Avast Free (Core & Ransomware shields) & VoodooShield Free v7. WVSX retained as a periodic scanner.
22Mar22 - Replaced AdGuard for Windows with AdGuard Adblocker v4 extension now it's a final release. Secure DNS-Quad9 now via YogaDNS rather than AdGuard.
04May22 - Removed VoodooShield Free v7.06. Enabled Avast's Hardened Mode.
06May22 - Reversed last change as I was one of the lucky recipients of a free VS Pro licence from Dan!
17Feb23 - Deleted WVSX as periodic scanner.
13May24 - SWH replaced with WHHL. Tor Browser deleted. Purchased lifetime licence for Cyberlock
What I'm looking for?

Looking for medium feedback.

JasonUK

Level 5
Thread author
Apr 14, 2020
235
I change security settings pretty frequently and this is the latest iteration. I tend to layer / harden Windows Defender as I'm not 100% sold on it as sole protection despite its much improved results in Lab tests. No reason other than paranoia and its less than comprehensive reporting / GUI :) The computer itself is getting a bit long in the tooth (bought 2015?) but runs fast enough for me to delay upgrading to Windows 11 capable hardware.
 
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JasonUK

Level 5
Thread author
Apr 14, 2020
235
ConfigureDefender "Hard" ?

Do you mean the setting "high"?

Also I am pretty sure that the extension Click and Clean isn't doing anything that Brave can't do already. You can set Brave to delete everything on browser exit.
Yes, amended to be clearer :)

Click & clean allows you to selectively retain some cookies on exit which I use for a very small numbers of sites I visit frequently (obviously none that access personal or financial details)
 
Last edited:

oldschool

Level 83
Verified
Top Poster
Well-known
Mar 29, 2018
7,283
allows you to selectively retain some cookies on exit
Brave does this:
tempsnip.png
 

JasonUK

Level 5
Thread author
Apr 14, 2020
235
Switched back to Avast Free (4 core shields + ransomware) + Malwarebytes Premium combination.

Disabled or Removed:
Windows Defender + ConfigureDefender ('High' setting)
Wisevector StopX 3.03 (All shields, Firewall & HIPS 'High Security' Modes). WVSX retained as an on-demand, second opinion scanner
 

Gandalf_The_Grey

Level 79
Verified
Honorary Member
Top Poster
Content Creator
Well-known
Apr 24, 2016
6,861
Switched back to Avast Free (4 core shields + ransomware) + Malwarebytes Premium combination.

Disabled or Removed:
Windows Defender + ConfigureDefender ('High' setting)
Wisevector StopX 3.03 (All shields, Firewall & HIPS 'High Security' Modes). WVSX retained as an on-demand, second opinion scanner
Just curious... Why that combination of Avast with Malwarebytes? Is Avast as AV not good enough? You could add Simple Windows Hardening or Hard_Configurator to harden your system.
 

Moonhorse

Level 37
Verified
Top Poster
Content Creator
Well-known
May 29, 2018
2,660
Switched back to Avast Free (4 core shields + ransomware) + Malwarebytes Premium combination.

Disabled or Removed:
Windows Defender + ConfigureDefender ('High' setting)
Wisevector StopX 3.03 (All shields, Firewall & HIPS 'High Security' Modes). WVSX retained as an on-demand, second opinion scanner
Any reason?
 

JasonUK

Level 5
Thread author
Apr 14, 2020
235
Just curious... Why that combination of Avast with Malwarebytes? Is Avast as AV not good enough? You could add Simple Windows Hardening or Hard_Configurator to harden your system.
I'm sure Avast Free is good enough but I've used the combination for significant periods in the past (setting exceptions in Avast for MBAM & vice versa) and they play nicely. MBAM's anti-exploit shield has a pretty good rep too. I have SWH (recommended settings) too :)

Any reason?
A few. For some reason WD is noticeably laggy on my system compared to Avast.. don't ask me why :( WD GUI even with DefenderUI is just not user friendly or informative enough. Controlled folder ransomware protection is a pain so I was relying on WVSX for that ~ Avast's is far more intuitive/easy to use. On WVSX I've no real issue but it conflicts with Avast and I'd really like to see some lab results for WVSX to use it long term.
 

JasonUK

Level 5
Thread author
Apr 14, 2020
235
Switched back to WD+ConfigureDefender ('High') + WVSX 3.05 combination.

Real time protection disabled/retained as secondary scanners:
Avast Free (4 core shields + ransomware)
Malwarebytes Premium

No particular reason for change.. both combinations work for me :) (I hadn't tested WVSX v3.05 so that's one small justification for change I suppose!)
 
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JasonUK

Level 5
Thread author
Apr 14, 2020
235
Avast has a setting called, passive mode. This is better than disabling shields if you want to have Avast as a second opinion scanner.
Thanks for that suggestion. As @harlan4096 has commented it's an option I've already used not only so I could use Avast as a second opinion scanner but so Avast could be quickly re-selected as primary real-time protection if required without having to reinstall/set-up exceptions etc again (Avast settings backup doesn't save everything!)
 

JasonUK

Level 5
Thread author
Apr 14, 2020
235
Switched back to Avast Free (4 core shields + ransomware) but this time combined with VoodooShield Free v7.01 instead of MBAM.

Disabled or Removed:
Windows Defender + ConfigureDefender ('High' setting)
Wisevector StopX 3.05 (All shields, Firewall & HIPS 'High Security' Modes). WVSX retained as an on-demand, second opinion scanner

Reason for change: WD continues to be noticeably laggy on my system. Also this week Defender disabled itself entirely as it was unable to apply 'Microsoft Defender antimalware platform KB4052623 (Version 4.18.2202.4)' update. Having an AV switch itself off without any notification being displayed isn't great for starters but it was compounded by the fact the WIndows Security system tray icon hadn't loaded on boot either (which happens on occasion) so it was only by chance that I realised that Defender wasn't defending at all. WVSX which was running alongside Defender was active so I had some protection. I was able to subsequently apply upgrade on reboot but the fact that it switched itself off until it was able to upgrade is pretty poor. Decided to give VS another run.
 
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JasonUK

Level 5
Thread author
Apr 14, 2020
235
Removed VoodooShield Free v7.06 which I'd been running alongside Avast Free. VS is a very good product but with free option being discontinued I'm not sure I'd want to pay $30.00pa to continue this secondary level of protection although I would have gone for a 'lifetime' offer if it had been available. I noticed that I'd forgotten to disable SWH when I added VS which was an unnecessary overlap but as VS has now been uninstalled it's no longer an issue!

I've enabled Avast Free's Hardened Mode. I'll also try Hard_Configurator (with Avast Hardened Mode profile) again this month, replacing SWH and standalone RunBySmartScreen & FirewallHardening tools.
 
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