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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Dear Folks,

In light of my recent computer debacle, I thought I'd share a few tips about protecting your computer from Malware attacks. Worse than virus' as far as I'm concerned.

My computer was recently "hijacked", my start page changed, a new tool bar added, and so many pop up ads flying around I could barely get offline, not to mention shutting the computer down. Many of my data files were corrupted. Favorites were added to "My Favorites!" A little "Horoscope" program that WASN'T a horoscope program was dowloaded. And scariest of all, I couldn't delete these programs or registry keys associated with them. They protected themselves! Also, a tip off to all of this, my computer was running more and more slowly as days, then later hours past.

Result? I had my hard drive formatted ... everything gone. All the info I backed up was contaminated as I had apparently been harboring some malware for about a week before "The Crash". I also cancelled the one credit card I use online. Spyware can take any info about you it so desires. I was told to do this by the computer dudes.

I have a great place I now take my computer for repairs where about 80% are now in for the same Malware attacks -- a close gal friend was just recently attacked as was HER friend. Per, Todd, my computer hero, sigh :oops: , "The internet is a nasty place these days with fewer and fewer safe sites." Sad but true.

I now have the most up to date Windows Service Pack, actually a beta test given to my computer guys. But this is what you need to do...

UPDATE WINDOWS.
UPDATE YOUR NORTON ANTIVIRUS.
Go to http://www.downloads.com and get
AdAware by Lavasoft
SpyBot
and I purchased SypSweep by Webroot as I then had a disc to start protecting myself with BEFORE logging on again with my pristine computer.


I've also ordered a laptop (there goes my savings) my computer guys are building one for me to spec at the mo. This will be a backup that WILL NEVER GO ONLINE. My writing, my Quicken, my website HTML, etc. Thank God I print out hardcopy as well. A few perfectionistic OC-ish tendencies have served me well. And my website was up on a server. A friend also has a copy!

BACK UP VERY REGULARLY. I do, but unfortunately, I was already infected when I backed up stuff and didn't know it!

Be careful out there!
Love,
Dreamer
:shock:
The evil is not in ourselves, but in our hard drives! :twisted:
 

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Good luck. Neither of those spyware killers worked for me. My pcs were all infected with spyware so I repartitioned each drive and formatted them, burned a new install of xp on em' with all the newest updates and spyware killers. A few trips around the web and they are all infected again...lol
 

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Don't want to get too technical, but there are a few main 'precautions' I take...

1.If you use XP, Only go online in a Limited user account. Sensitive parts of the registry and system files are write protected, so malware can't embed itself by changing global settings.

If you don't use XP.. Good Luck, you'll need it!

2. Install a firewall like ZoneAlarm. Nasty programs have to ask permission before making outbound connections, so you will be able to identify quarantine them permanently. Inbound IP port sniffing is blocked. Also blocks pop-ups etc etc etc.

3. XP again.. Use System Restore to roll back any harmful changes.

4. If you can, use Norton Ghost and take a known good image of your hard disk to revert to in an emergency.

5. Back up all irreplaceable files regularly!!!

6. Nothing is 'free' software wise. Don't install freeware unless you've researched on Google to make sure it doesn't open you up to endless spam and pop-ups. Good software is worth paying for.

Andy..
 

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Hi Andy,

You sound like you are very knowledgeable in this area. I know just enough about computers to get by which isnt much, but doesnt xp have a built-in firewall? Ive never been alerted of any problems and my pc is always infected with this crap.

Joe
 

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dakotajo said:
doesnt xp have a built-in firewall? Ive never been alerted of any problems and my pc is always infected with this crap.

Joe
The firewall in WinXP and Service Pack 1 wasn't the best. It protects against SOME (very minimal) incoming connections but does not block any outgoing packets by default.

In Service Pack 2 the firewall is much improved, though I disable it myself.

I use Zone Alarm Pro 5 and a US Robotics Router (Hardware)
The links I suggested above, Spybot and Spyware Blaster are a MUST in my opinion.

Spyware Blaster - Automatically blocks spyware BEFORE it can install itself, the database is updated weekly.

Spybot - Search & Destroys spyware. Works great, updated weekly and much like Spyware Blaster it has a built in immunization.

Want to be even safer on the web? Switch to Mozilla's Firefox (http://www.mozilla.org/products/firefox/). It is quite an amazing browser, built in pop-up stopper / google toolbar / tabbed browsing etc - and has a massive mod community. Their POP3/IMAP e-mail client 'Thunderbird' is also quite impressive http://www.mozilla.org/products/thunderbird/.
Those products prove why open source is such a great thing.

The limited user account Andy T spoke of is an EXCELLENT idea.
 

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Addition comments:

Zonealarms free version does wonders for many people. I use pro simply because I like the extra features.

Free version link:

http://www.zonelabs.com/store/content/c ... wnload.jsp

Note: CAREFUL, if you install and reboot your machine upon connecting to the net you will see it ask for several permission rights. Allow the first few and tell ZA to remember the setting.

Especially these:

Application Layer Gateway (alg.exe)
Generic Host (svhost.exe)

If on XP create a Restore Point before installing ZA.

Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > System Restore

Follow the instructions
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yes Rev and others, many thanks. It seems I have so much protection on this stupid machine. How much is too much!? I don't want to have to worry about this, I want to research and write and surf when I want to.

Much appreciated. I have decided though a second computer that never goes online is one way to give me peace of mind... a laptop.

And Rev, the place is looking snappier every day here!

L,
D :shock:
 
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