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Computer security advice


inamorata
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Hi, I want to update my security on my computer, but I really have no idea about what to do, and what I might need. So Im coming to the people in the know :)

 

Im running Windows XP, with Norton Internet Security (up-to-date with automatic updates, etc etc). Is that good enough? Should I install anything else?

 

 

Also, a friend of mine has a seriously screwed up computer. His Norton Anti-Virus software is disabled, and a spyware search with Ad-Aware came back with 280 hits. And when I tried to delete the software, the computer crashed. Trying to do a virus scan from an online source was practically impossible, since the pages were continually redirected and the speed was mind-numbingly slow.

 

Any ideas as to what may be the problem here? And how I might be able to fix it for him?

 

Thankyou :)

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by what u have said, I would say that ur fren has a spyware problem. maybe even a virus, as some virus disable the resident scanner of popular AV's, and executing the on access scanners impossible. I never had such problem, so can't help you there. Your best bet would be to google for information.

 

For spyware, I always start with the the trusty combo of Adaware and Spybot. I tend to keep away from downloading other software claiming to be spyware removal tools and they generally are malware. Some spyware are very virulent and are hard to get rid of , like CoolWebSearch, and you can find tools specifically designed to get rid of its variants.

 

Also if u download HijackThis, and post its log up on security forums or over here, we may be able to help you

 

The two tools above ive talked about can be found at http://www.merijn.org

 

 

About YOUR security, altough NIS is fine, you could probably do with better software firewalls like ZA. altough it seems to conflict with the bit torrent client Azureus, so i dont have any firewalls running now. It should be ok if u connect to net through a router.

 

For anti virus, I use Kaspersky has it has a high detection rate for BOTH viruses and trojans. most AV have a pathetic detection rate for Trojans. IF you are paranoid, you can always get a third party Anti-Trojan software like TDS or Taucan.

 

Anyway , you should be alrite, as long as you dont go into any dodgy sites, like warez and crack sites, and they are full of trojan loaders.

 

Its very handy also if you create a backup image of your hard drive using software like Nero BackItUp or Norton Ghost (Industy Stardard) on two or more CDs, so if you ever mess up ur comp, you can always restore ur computer in 5 mins. I find it very liberating , knowing that you can do almost anything on your computer and be able to go back. altough its quite a hassle going through all the updates.

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firstly, just incase:

 

AV = anit-virus

NIS = norton internet security

ZA = zone alarm

 

Its very handy also if you create a backup image of your hard drive using software like Nero BackItUp or Norton Ghost (Industy Stardard) on two or more CDs,

 

so are you saying that i can back up my 190GB combination of two HDDs on 2CDs, or when you say two or more, does that mean im gonna need a lot of CDs!? [im guessing the 2nd! its just, when you say two or more, i dont know anyone with a 1.4GB HDD and thats two CDs capacity, so i wondered where the figure two came from?

 

___________

 

back to the topic at hand:

 

this is coming from a person who has windows XP and norton internet security professional [which includes AV], i keep it up to date, as you do.

 

NIS: is fine, you will not be hacked with this, however, if you are paranoid, or get regular hackers, [you can tell from if you get pop up boxes from NIS, saying; your computer is being remotely accessed, thats a hacker, click block, or sufer, badly!]. yeah, so if you get that, then maybe get Zone Alarm, its the best one around, i think that it is free, or maybe the thing i got was a trial version, or illegal, i dunno, dont have it any more though...

 

AV: norton is fine for actualy viruses, that is why it is the world's leading market! however, ppl say that its not good. why? because it does not pick up, spy-ware, ad-ware, trojans or stuff like that. you have two options:

download a different AV, such as avast-home [free]. nod32, kaspersky, but my computer didnt like any of those, for some reason, so i went back to norton. just in case, when norton is around, i have spybot search and destroy, freeware, which removes spyware and spyware doctor, which removes ad-ware, normally cookies for me.

 

ur friends computer: i advise formatting the HDD, but only if you know how, although, admitedly, it is not that hard! just dont do it, if you might muck up the whole PC! if he has valuable stuff on there, then back it up, as bloodhound said, using one of those programs, or better still, just copy and paste stuff off his HDD onto a CD. the reason i say this is because: if you back up his HDD, then you back up his viruses, trojans and general ad/spy-ware! which isnt too good!

 

if you want, add me to ur msn, my address is on this site, its

jonathanmelzack@yahoo.co.uk

yes, thats a msn address! [yahoo! on msn]

then we can have a live conversation, and i can give you some files.

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I run ZA in tandem with BlackIce, thus far all`s been quite safe, but I run it on win 98, so it`s probably Security through Obscurity! :)

 

probably, although since microsoft have stopped brining out regular security updates, there are possibly, and even probably a few loop-holes in the 98 operating system, which allows hackers to bypass the security. however the chances of these being discovered are minor, as not many people are trying to hack computers, specifically with '98.

 

i would recommend the upgrade, except for two things:

 

1) the cost! its a rip-off for what it is!

 

2) as computers got better, with more RAM etc. so did the programs. so did windows, consequently, if you updated '98 to XP, your computer would run slightly slower, whilst, if you have a fast computer, you might not notice the difference, it would still be there.

 

No, no 3) security reasons... because, people say there are security issues with XP, thats why updates are needed. firstly, i say, there are loop-holes in every program, the only thing you can do is to block it, so good on microsoft, for updating their OS, doesnt mean you can disregarde them! plus, once a loop-hole is found, it doesnt take long for microsoft to update it! so good on them, at least they can deal with security problems once they happen. and no, i dont work for microsoft! its just theyve never given me any problems, so i think that they are ok!

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Wow, thank you very much, all of you, for your advice, it is truelly appreciated.

 

I have not updated my XP for a loooong time, thanks for the reminder.

 

I have heard that AVG is a great free AV, I used to have it but I deleted it because.. well i cant remember why, obviously i found it irritating for whatever reason :)

 

 

I think formatting the hard drive is the way to go with my friends computer, although I won't be the one doing the formatting.

 

But yeah, thanks again! :)

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I have not updated my XP for a loooong time, thanks for the reminder.

 

when i said that to yt2095, i meant, to upgrade from windows 98 to XP, but once you have any OS, you should keep it up to date, microsoft have brough out loadsa updates for XP, you need them, they mostly cover flaws in windows..... critical flaws, update, and keep udated!

 

I have heard that AVG is a great free AV, I used to have it but I deleted it because.. well i cant remember why, obviously i found it irritating for whatever reason :)

 

yes AVG is good and free, im not that sure about much else about it! check out the other threads on AVs i told you about, 2 or 3 posts ago.

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Also' date=' a friend of mine has a seriously screwed up computer. His Norton Anti-Virus software is disabled, and a spyware search with Ad-Aware came back with 280 hits. And when I tried to delete the software, the computer crashed. Trying to do a virus scan from an online source was practically impossible, since the pages were continually redirected and the speed was mind-numbingly slow.

 

Any ideas as to what may be the problem here? And how I might be able to fix it for him?

 

Thankyou :)[/quote'] I had nearly the same problem, where it froze up while scanning. I'd recommend booting up in Safe mode and then scanning. To do Safe Mode go to Run and type msconfig. Go to tab BOOT.INI and select /safeboot. That should do it. Hit OK and then scan.

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hhhmm. ANother odd problem.

 

I tried to *finally* update my Windows etc, so I went to the Microsoft website, and found that there were 20 critical updates and patches that were available for me.

 

I d/loaded them (17.6 MB worth!), but for whatever reason was only able to install 16 of them. The final 4 i tried d/loading again, but it just wouldnt install. I even went to bed while it was installing, woke up 7 hours later, and lo and behold, it was still installing. 2 MB worth of files. It had halted somehow, I couldnt work it out. Very irritating.

 

I wonder why I cant install these files? 3 are security patches. Could my NIS have anything to do with it?

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On my home pc, for security and spyware prevention I use

 

1: A router

2: AVG -- IMO, it is great. Finds viruses, spyware and adware. In conjuction with adaware, you will remain spy/ad ware free.

3: Common sense. Pay attention to what you click. I don't mean this as an insult, but I've seen people install spyware by clicking the wrong buttons without paying it attention. Alot of these programs install themselves by asking trick questions. I've seen some, where, if you click "no" for instance, it installs.

 

Email is an easy one. If you don't know the person sending you the email, delete it instantly. Disable showing graphics in emails also, this is how companys know you read their spam, by sending them information when the picture is loaded.

 

Don't download stuff you don't know and trust. When you install programs, make sure you don't inadvertantly install the extra programs included.

 

But a router will pretty much keep you good and secure. Cost a little bit of money, but is well worth it in the long run IMO. Zonealarm is awesome if you don't have a router, sometimes even if you do. One thing. if ZA conflicts with certain programs, ie bittorrent, just close zonealarm while in use.

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NIS prof, and Norton AV are fine

 

with spybot search and destroy, to prevent spyware from getting in, and its a scanner for spyware

 

if you are paranoid, or visit dodgy sites, then maybe get a seperate anti-tojan, but i feel that it is un-needed.

 

try:

http://www.pandasoftware.com/activescan/com/activescan_principal.htm

for free anti-virus, including anti-torjan scans

 

the rest is common sense, as pointed out in drz's last post.

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Im generally pretty careful where I surf, and I run the Spybot/Ad-Aware combo and check my comp pretty regularly.

 

 

I keep getting these alerts from NIS though, "unknown computer attempting to connect" etc. which I keep blocking, but its irritating to do so...

 

Thankyou very much for your advice, it is very much appreciated :)

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here here, i get these messages too,

 

"unknown computer is trying to connect"

 

it registers it as a 'high danger risk' and recommends blocking it, which i always do, in addition it gives you the IP address of the 'attacking' computer.

 

i dont know what this is, whilsts one may say, its a hacker, i say; in my list of hackers blocked, its always 0, and once ive been atempted hacked, the IP is auto-blocked, there are no IPs in that list either, so what is it?

 

i have run several tests through the internet, which try to hack you, im all safe. if you dont believe me, try;

 

http://www.auditmypc.com/

 

NIS works fine, so long as you have it all set-up realisticly, by that i mean, decent security, but no soooo much that you get one pop-up security box every other minute. i dont know what default levels are, i've customed all of mine, i advise you dont do that, unless you know what you are doing.!

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I ran the test from auditmypc.com, and it came back fine. But in the past few days I have received a couple of "Intrusion Detection detected and blocked the Default Block Backdoor/SubSeven Trojan horse Trojan horse.". AFter that, my internet connection dipped for a minute or so, it was very very brief. Then it was back online, only reason i knew it dipped was because i checked the logs and saw that all of my programs connected to the net resigned afterwards.

 

 

Im probably going to download ZoneAlarm, I had looked into it before, but after reading some reviews (some BAd reviews) i was afraid to.

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zone alarm is safe, its highly popular, because its free, but good, i think that the Norton firewall is fine, the only reason i'd switch from one to the other is cost, and that im used to norton!

 

za users, what do you think? any problems?

does it do it all automatically, or do you get pop-up boxes the whole time about security issues?

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I prefer zone alarm to let me know when someone/thing is connecting to my computer. I'm ole school, got me a whole aresenal of mIrc goodies that I can do alot of things to an IP.

 

Anyhow, I've not had to much trouble with ZA, aside from it just not letting some of my programs work, like, messengers, for which I simply shutdown zone alarm.

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so whenever you are on any messenger service, you dont have your firewall on, thats a bit dangerous, it means whenever you're talking to your friends, you can be hacked ;) i'd try changing your ZA settings, that can't be right

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I rarely use messengers, they annoy me. The only I time I get on them anymore is to talk with my cousin. I got vonage, which features unlimited US calling, so I'd rather talk instead of type.

 

I've tried changing the settings, I'm likely just missing something. But I allow full access for yahoo for example, but it still doesn't connect. Close zone alarm and try to connect again and boom.

 

I'm also sitting behind a router, so I don't worry to much.

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i've been of air for a day and a bit now, but playing with my router seems to have fixed it!

 

a router is like a hub, but im guessing you wont know what that is.

 

basically a router or hub is a sharer

so if you plug your internet into one of em, and plug your computers in as well, you can share your internet connection, which is what i'm doing

 

additionally you can share your computers and make the computers "talk" you can share printers through them and any other software, and some hardware.

 

they are the centre point of all networks, something which lets you share almost anything! incl. internet, printers, scanners, even CD drives!

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oh yeah, forgot to say, one thing which makes a router preferable over a hub is that there is an in-built firewall, which prevents you from being hacked,

 

which is why drz said he doesnt worry much, whereas people using a hub to split connections must have a firewall like Zone Alarm or Norton to protect them ;)

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