If you trade, this is all you really need

Discussion in 'Backup and Security' started by paulxx, Jun 13, 2009.

  1. paulxx


    The other thread is mostly overkill for 95% of normal traders, but fine if you are a brokerage or an exchange...

    If you are a normal trader, here's what you need - if starting with a clean, lean PC (if not, see below), preferably XP Pro:

    1) A UPS is good, gives you a few minutes to close out and switch on your laptop. Make sure your router is on the UPS circuit.

    2) Get a laptop, keep it charged and ready, with basic trading software.

    3) Get a backup internet source. Could be one cable and one ADSL supplier. Or maybe a PAYG USB cell type. Or, maybe a neighbour or two with an open network as a risky minimum (what if you all get a power cut?).

    4) Forget hi tech firewalls, hardware or software. The last thing you need is something you don't understand. Your router is a double hardware firewall plus you have the built in Windows firewall.

    5) Be reasonably careful what you click on, who uses the computer and what you use it for.

    A Clean, Lean PC:

    Many PCs are riddled with viruses, spyware, toolbars, ‘helpers’ and weighed down with bloated ‘security’ suites. If you have a PC, then do what I have done for many hundreds of customers in recent years – first, get rid of Norton/Mcafee or similar and restart. Next run ‘msconfig’ as in this tutorial http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X754ryfj5UY (Vista users type ‘msconfig’ in the Search box). Restart.

    The best and leanest antivirus is currently the free ‘Avira Antivir’ (www.free-av.com). You will also need weekly or monthly manual scans with www.Spybot.com (un-tick all options except Desktop Icon on install). Do a scan with both and that’s it. In case of a stubborn problem try a www.Malwarebytes.org one off scan. Combofix is good too. If problems persist, then a backup and reinstall is needed.

    Last, get the free www.ccleaner.com Un-tick everything except Desktop and Start menu shortcuts on install. Expect the first run to take a while. Use its registry scan function afterwards also.

    Keep air vents clean with a vacuum cleaner on PC/Laptop, but only open the PC and do the inside fans if its starting to sound like a helicopter or cutting out suddenly (earth yourself/touch the chassis, watch for static).
  2. Do you mean instead "tick everything except Desktop and Start menu shortcuts"?

    I agree with your suggestions provided people do not click on some link they are sent by email or visit some malicious website. The other day I visited a financial portal and it installed an executable on my root directory. It tried to run it but DEP prevented it. So I would add:

    Finally, use XP SP3 with DEP enabled in IE.

    Malwarebytes identidfied the file as a very dangerous malware and imagine this was downloaded to my PC from a legitimate website.
  3. paulxx


    No, I mean during the install process only, make sure only Desktop Icon and Start Menu entry are ticked - the rest you don't need ticked.

    Once installed you can leave all the standard tickboxes alone. You might want to go to Options>Advanced and untick the 'leave stuff that is less than 48 hrs old' to get rid of everything.

    Run ccleaner when nothing else is running or installing, except your antivirus.
  4. spywareblaster.com is also a good anti-spyware freebie. Unlike others, it prevents things from getting onto your computer in the FIRST place, unlike spybot and others, which try to clean it up after the fact

    and one GOOD thing about windows vista, is that any executable will prompt you before running, giving you time to try and detect malware, rather than it being able to run silently.
  5. paulxx


    Running anything other than the essential antivirus in the background all the time will slow the system and nag you. That's why I suggest turning off the Spybot 'protector' and running a manual scan whenever you want.

    I also recommend getting rid of the User Account Control nag in Vista - it is intolerable for most users.

    The whole thing does depend on not letting people on the computer that cannot be trusted and exercising a little basic control on what you click on. Otherwise nothing can help.

    I've done the exact same setup (except for dumping AVG a year or so ago) for many hundreds of customers. The vast majority have had trouble free computing - at least for that particular computer - for years before they need me again.
  6. Nice suggestions, I'll add a few.

    1. Have at least 2 normal power supplies for each computer. They break every so often and cost peanuts.

    2. Hard drive backups. Strongly recommend one you can automate, to avoid laziness/forgetfulness. Also burn onto CD/DVD and store all your trading and important docs securely off-site (I use a bank safe deposit box), I update them once every 3 months. Do not store confidential info online (e.g. online drives/storage), however online storage is good for less sensitive stuff like backups of your trading strategies, trading diary, trading ideas, plans, watch lists etc.

    3. Have at least 3 computers. When one fails, you need 2 ready so you are not vulnerable for the few days whilst you order another.

    4. Recommend triple failsafes for net connections. Satellite is slow but good for emergency backup in case your DSL and cable go out.

    5. Have a long-lasting UPS, or a generator. A few minutes is not enough because a laptop battery will run down in 1-2 hours if you are trading actively. You want to be able to trade bell to bell for one session on UPS/laptop battery power.

    6. Have duplicate mice and keyboards, including for your laptop. If you use wireless mice/keyboards, make sure you have at least 3 backup sets of rechargeable batteries, and a recharger.

    7. Your main trading computer should not connect to the web at all. Use it only for trading and for non-internet tasks. Use your backup PC or laptop to surf websites.
  7. lots of overkill in that last post.

    sensitive information is EXACTLY what you need to store offsite.

    strong encryption is all you need.

    not using your 'trading computer' for the web is a bit much.
  8. Actually Cutten is correct.

    You should have at least two computers (one for trading ONLY), the other for all of the miscellaneous stuff.

    I have heard this statement made by several different computer professionals, none of whom trade, but they know their computers. :cool:
  9. fhl


    I find it hard to trade on an empty stomach and, thus, the necessity of a backup refridgerator in case the main one goes out.
  10. paulxx


    I agree about overkill. I suspect he's pulling our legs about hiring safes and stuff.....

    If you have a laptop as backup, then that is a second computer. Forget about 2 backup PSU's. Most people here don't know how to replace it, if they do, then they don't need to be told.

    Backing up data is of course true, just use a memory stick or an external hard drive. The security is in having everything in two places - either can fail but unlikely both.

    Don't go for complicated synchronisation software, just copy and paste the whole of 'My Documents' and keep overwriting your last backup. Or create a folder for each backup.
    #10     Jun 24, 2009