Bill Pytlovany is well known within the internet security community. He is receiving some much deserved press recently from print publications. Bill was gracious in giving us some time and answering a few questions:
Bill, you are a Microsoft MVP. Can you tell us how you became interested in security software?
Yes, I’m very proud to have been awarded a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional with expertise in Consumer Security. Being an MVP allows me to hear directly from Microsoft developers so I know how serious they consider security.
Early on I was curious and started to dissect how viruses were able to move between floppy disks. The result was a more useful program that provided auto boot functionality for the Commodore 128. My program and research was published by “Run” magazine in the August 1986. My real interest started in the fall of 1997 when I was infected by an AOL password surfer attack. When I called AOL support for help, they told me that I couldn’t get back online until I formatted my hard drive. I knew there had to be a better way and the first version of WinPatrol was born.
How are some ways that WinPatrol defend against malicious programs (malware)?
The main way WinPatrol defends is by alerting users to a change and gives them the power to stop it. These days you don’t need to do something stupid to get malware on your computer. Just being connected to the internet can be enough. There are some things that malware must change to install itself and become dangerous. WinPatrol has over ten years experience monitoring critical internal areas and has a solid history of catching the bad guys. You should be the only one making changes to your computer and WinPatrol is designed to back you up.
As a security expert, what are three basics that you recommend for computer users – in addition to having WinPatrol on their machines?
It’s not easy to give generic advice without knowing more. Does the user have kids, are they active on social networks, have they heard of snopes.com, do they watch a lot of videos online, download music etc… Number one is a decent firewall to monitor network traffic. Second, would be to routinely run some kind of signature based AV scanner. How often depends on the user but it’s important that the signature files are updated regularly. Which AV scanner is the best changes every couple of months. Third and most important is to make sure you have the most recent Windows updates to protect against vulnerabilities. I don’t always recommend people update on the same day Windows updates are released but at some point they need to be protected. The same goes for updates of other installed programs like Adobe Flash or QuickTime which have a history of attacks on their vulnerabilities.
What will happen when Windows 7 is released? Will people who have WinPatrol need to pay for a update for that operating system?
There is never any addition cost for new versions. Upgrade to PLUS is not a subscription, it’s a one time fee. WinPatrol 2009 is all ready for Windows 7 in its current state. I have been keeping up with all new builds of Windows 7 so if anything does need to be updated it will be available immediately.
I know that you are constantly in product development. Can you give us some inside information on anything that you are doing? We promise to keep it just between you, us and the internet.
New features in WinPatrol are commonly based on user feedback. I have many ideas on the wish list and implement them based on security threats and frequency of feature requests. The security features of WinPatrol won’t change much unless Windows 7 introduces new ways for programs to auto run. There’s a lot of competition in the security market so most of the new features will be unique ideas that other companies haven’t considered. I don’t know of many other programs that monitor for changes in file associations, windows auto updates or UAC settings. I will continue to find unique settings that make a huge difference but aren’t obvious.
Thanks, Bill! ~ Tomorrow, we will be presenting Bill’s WinPatrol Plus program, with a ten dollar ($10.00) discount for our readers. Here’s a early look at the generous offer that Bill is giving to our readers!!