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Old 08-07-2007, 10:20 AM
 
Location: Home is where we park it.
3,098 posts, read 8,405,209 times
Reputation: 3195

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This advice is reposted from the advice given by Tony Klein, the acknowledged spyware & malware expert who supports many forums on the net.

You usually get infected because your security settings are too low. Here are a number of recommendations that will help tighten them, and which will contribute to making you a less likely victim:

1) Watch what you download!
Many freeware programs, and P2P programs like Grokster, Imesh, Kazaa and others are amongst the most notorious, come with an enormous amount of bundled spyware that will eat system resources, slow down your system, clash with other installed software, or just plain crash your browser or even Windows itself.

2) Go to IE > Tools > Windows Update > Product Updates, and install ALL Security Updates listed.
It's important to always keep current with the latest security fixes from Microsoft. Install those patches for Internet Explorer, and make sure your installation of Java VM is up-to-date. There are some well known security bugs with Microsoft Java VM which are exploited regularly by browser hijackers.

3) Go to Internet Options/Security/Internet, press 'default level', then OK.
Now press "Custom Level." In the ActiveX section, set the first two options ("Download signed and unsigned ActiveX controls) to 'prompt', and 'Initialize and Script ActiveX controls not marked as safe" to 'disable'.

Now you will be asked whether you want ActiveX objects to be executed and whether you want software to be installed. Sites that you know for sure are above suspicion can be moved to the Trusted Zone in Internet Option/security.

So why is activex so dangerous that you have to increase the security for it?
When your browser runs an activex control, it is running an executable program. It's no different from doubleclicking an exe file on your hard drive. Would you run just any random file downloaded off a web site without knowing what it is and what it does?

And some more advice:

4) Install Javacool's SpywareBlaster!
Download it here. It will protect you from all spy/foistware in it's database by blocking installation of their ActiveX objects. Download and install, download the latest updates, and you'll see a list of all spyware programs covered by the program (NOTE: this is NOT spyware found on your computer). Press "select all", then "kill all checked", and you're done. The spyware that you told Spywareblaster to set the "kill bit" for won't be a hazard to you any longer. Although it won't protect you from every form of spyware known to man, it is a very potent extra layer of protection. Don't forget to check for updates every week or so.

Let's also not forget that SpyBot Search and Destroy!
Download it here. SpyBot S&D has the Immunize feature which works roughly the same way. It can't hurt to use both.

5) Another brilliant program by Javacool we recommend is SpywareGuard.
Download it here. It provides a degree of real-time protection solution against spyware that is a great addition to SpywareBlaster's protection method.

An anti-virus program scans files before you open them and prevents execution if a virus is detected - SpywareGuard does the same thing, but for spyware! And you can easily have an anti-virus program running alongside SpywareGuard. It now also features Download Protection and Browser Hijacking Protection!

6) IE-SPYAD
Download it here. This puts over 5000 sites in your restricted zone, so you'll be protected when you visit innocent-looking sites that aren't actually innocent at all.

7) The IE hosts
Download it here. This program file blocks ads, banners, cookies, web bugs, and even most hijackers. This is accomplished by blocking the Server that supplies these little gems. Example - the following entry 127.0.0.1 ad.doubleclick.net blocks all files supplied by the DoubleClick Server to the web page you are viewing. This also prevents the server from tracking your movements. It now includes most major parasites, hijackers and unwanted Search Engines! In many cases this can speed the loading of web pages by not having to wait for these ads, banners, hit counters, etc. to load.

This also helps to protect your Privacy by blocking servers that track your viewing habits, known as "click-thru tracking".

However as time has progressed the focus of this project has changed from blocking ads/banners to protecting the user from the many parasites that now exist on the Internet. It doesn't serve much purpose if you block the ad banner from displaying, but get hijacked by a parasite from an evil script or download contained on the web site. The object is to surf faster while preserving your Safety, Security and Privacy.

Incidentally, another site with an enormous amount of nformation on computer security, and which is well worth a visit is Wilders.org.

Finally, after following up on all these recommendations, try running Jason Levine's Browser Security Tests (http://www.jasons-toolbox.com/BrowserSecurity/ - broken link). They will provide you with an insight on how vulnerable you might still be to a number of common exploits.

If you are using Vista, XP or windows 2000 or 2003 then this application will also help a lot to prevent hijacking. Check out Prevx.com.

And make sure your Antivirus and firewall is switched on and kept updated.

Liz

ASAP member
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Old 08-07-2007, 12:01 PM
 
Location: Vero Beach, Fl
2,949 posts, read 12,279,158 times
Reputation: 2079
Great info all in one place - thank you!!
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Old 08-07-2007, 04:10 PM
 
Location: Tolland County- Northeastern CT
4,459 posts, read 6,505,382 times
Reputation: 1237
You might also try using Firefox browser.
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Old 08-10-2007, 10:24 PM
 
Location: SanAnFortWAbiHoustoDalCentral, Texas
791 posts, read 2,031,967 times
Reputation: 185
'All I need to know about life I learned from computers'
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Old 08-11-2007, 11:45 PM
 
Location: Mableton, GA USA (NW Atlanta suburb, 4 miles OTP)
11,319 posts, read 22,740,732 times
Reputation: 3896
Quote:
Originally Posted by skytrekker View Post
You might also try using Firefox browser.
Either Firefox, Seamonkey, or Opera.
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Old 08-16-2007, 10:18 PM
 
3,451 posts, read 3,723,169 times
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A word of waring on using the host file for blocking in Windows XP/2000 and Vista. Over a certain size (around 100kb IIRC) can cause your browsing to slow way down.

Turning off your DNS Client service will fix this. Use this only on a single machine (at home for example) and not a work machine on a domain.

Here's a page with instructions on how to turn off services. Turn Off Unnecessary Windows XP Services | JasonN.com
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Old 08-24-2007, 08:13 PM
 
Location: Between a nook-a-ler reactor and a dump, North Cackalacky
283 posts, read 1,162,851 times
Reputation: 135
Tony must have some products or something to sell, b/c he forgets the single most important piece of advice:

Do not sign into your computer as the administrator!

If you are on a Windows machine, the admin/root account should not be used except for emergencies.

If you sign in and run programs as a regular user, the damage that can be done is significantly reduced.

Unix/Linux have been this way since the beginning of the epoch; I heard this is default in Vista now? Congrats, MS. :rolls eyes:
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Old 08-24-2007, 08:42 PM
 
Location: Home is where we park it.
3,098 posts, read 8,405,209 times
Reputation: 3195
Quote:
Tony must have some products or something to sell, b/c he forgets the single most important piece of advice:
No, he doesn't. Signing in as admin is the default esp in 2000/XP.

Tony Klein is an ASAP member and a very respected member of that community. We are all volunteers. Liz
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Old 08-24-2007, 09:03 PM
 
Location: Between a nook-a-ler reactor and a dump, North Cackalacky
283 posts, read 1,162,851 times
Reputation: 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by southernlady5464 View Post
No, he doesn't. Signing in as admin is the default esp in 2000/XP.

Tony Klein is an ASAP member and a very respected member of that community. We are all volunteers. Liz
That signing in as admin is the default does not make it right. That was a horrible decision by MS (why couldn't they learn from the previous 30 yrs of Unix, Linux, etc experience?) and that is the single largest reason for so many MS problems.

Windows is the only popular OS of which I am aware that has done this. And evidently they changed this policy with Vista, which came after their huge Security push - tacit acknowledgement?

For those who know anything about user, group, directory, file, and executable permissions, signing in as admin by default is pure idiocy. You will not find a single sysadmin on a non-MS OS who does this, even though they have the choice. Aside from the huge security risk, you are also prone to really screw up your computer or server through fat-fingering, making an honest mistake, things like that.

His advice is good, but not complete.
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Old 08-24-2007, 09:05 PM
 
Location: Home is where we park it.
3,098 posts, read 8,405,209 times
Reputation: 3195
Quote:
For those who know anything about user, group, directory, file, and executable permissions, signing in as admin by default is pure idiocy. You will not find a single sysadmin on a non-MS OS who does this, even though they have the choice. Aside from the huge security risk, you are also prone to really screw up your computer or server through fat-fingering, making an honest mistake, things like that.

His advice is good, but not complete.
His advice is for the average home user. Liz
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