Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 26

Thread: The "HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF" thread

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Middle Sackville, NS, CANADA
    Posts
    9,822
    Feedback Score
    6 (100%)

    Default The "HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF" thread

    Ok, I've been getting tons of those "phishing" emails lately, trying to trick me into giving out my financial information (as if it would do anyone any good), and I'm getting several viruses daily in my email. I recently read an article in the newspaper that said that around Christmas these things get really common as newbies open up their shiny new box and head out onto that there Internet. Following are some of my suggestions on how to protect yourself from viruses, "Phishing" scams, and other people who would like nothing more than to separate you from your money. If you have anything to add, do it. If you know somebody who is computer illiterate or is considering buying thair first computer, print this thread off and give it to them.

    1) Before even plugging your ethernet cable or phone line into your PC, GET AN ANTIVIRUS PROGRAM! Surfing the 'net without an antivirus program is like screwing a prostitute without a rubber. STUPID! Immediately after connecting to the internet, update your virus program and AND Windows. You may have to restart your computer a few times, but don't consider your computer up to date until you go to the update site and are told that. you are up to date.

    2) Because viruses are changing faster than antivirus programs are, never trust an email attachment. No matter who it's from. For some reason, Windows defaults to "hide file extensions of known file types". This is a spectacularly stupid move on Microsoft's part, making it very easy to trick people into thinking that PIF, EXE or BAT file that they're opening is really a picture of Jessica Simpson's boobs. All the virus purveyor has to do is call the file something like "jessica'sboobs.jpg.pif". With the default setting you won't see the "PIF" part, so you'll think it's a harmless JPG image. This is an easy setting to change. Open up Windows Explorer (not Internet explorer, the other explorer found under START>ALL PROGRAMS>ACCESSORIES. In Windows Explorer, click on "tools", then "folder options", then "view" and un-click the "hide extensions of known file types" button. Click on "apply to all folders" and click "apply".
    Close Windows Explorer. Now, whenever you look at a file it will show you the extension, which inducates file type. If you ever see two extensions (such as "filename.jpg.pif" or "filename.gif.exe", the last three letters are the file type.

    If you get viruses in your email, don't even bother hitting "reply" and telling the sender off. The "from" address in your virus is fake. Guaranteed. Even if it is a real email address it is not where the email came from. It's spoofed. Just delete the email as you would spam.

    3) "NO PHISHING". "Phishing" is when somebody sets up a fake web site designed to look like a real financial institution's website, then sends out a bunch of fake emails hoping to trick people into logging into their site and entering personal information. They then take that info and rob you dry. Some ways to identify a "phishing" scam email:
    • The email is vague in identifying you. If, for instance, you ever get an email that starts out "Dear PayPal customer" or "Dear Ebay Member" the email is fake. Also, if you ever get an email that starts off "Dear yourname@youremail.com" it is also fake. Ebay, PayPal, (I mention these two because they are the most common theme for "phishing" emails) and most other legitimate business that you deal with know your name and they will identify you by it. They will not identify you by your email address.
    • The email is from an institution you do not deal with. Obviously, if you don't have a Bank of America account, Bank of America will not write you threatening to cancel your account. This leads us to:
    • The email is threatening to cancel your account if you do not "log in" and provide personal information. Ebay, PayPal, or your bank company will never, ever send you an email threatening to close your account unless you log in. They will NEVER tell you that they think that your account has been compromised and you must log in to verify yourself. These are tricks the criminal uses to try to get your info.
    • The email has a link to log into your account. Legit businesses will never ask you to "click here to log in" in an email. This is a spoofed website, and regardless of where the emil link says it's taking you, you're going to a scammer's site. DO NOT EVEN CLICK ON THE LINK, as the website could contain malicious scripts.
    • If you do click on the link, it asks you for VERY personal info (not only credit card and debit card numbers, but also PIN numbers, passwords, etc). Never, EVER, enter your PIN number(s) into anything other than a bank machine or debit PIN pad. Do not give it to anyone over the phone, throught the internet, or in person. Even if you are 100% certain that the person you are giving it to is legit, they do not need your PIN numbers.
    If you do recieve a "phishing" email, immediately forward it to the appropriate business. Ebay would be spoof@ebay.com, paypal is spoof@paypal.com, and just about all other businesses will have a link on their real website for you to report fraud.

    If you have ever (or think you may have) entered any personally identifiable information into one of these websites, immediately contact your bank, credit card providers, ebay, paypal, the credit bureau and the FBI. If you have ever entered any PIN numbers into a website this means you. You may be the victim of idenity theft without even knowing it.

    A safe rule of thumb is to never, ever log into a website by clicking on a link in an email. If, for example, you want to go to ebay, open a browser window and type in www.ebay.com. Always assume an email link is fake.

    4) Never give out your real email address. To anybody. If you do, prepare for an inbox full of spam. If you wish to visit a site that requires an email, give 'em a fake one. If it has to be a real email (in other words, if they require you to verify it by entering a code they email you), use a hotmail email or hotmail address.

    5) Never trust "free" software. Those people offering you smilies, atomic clocks, file sharing and other "freeware" are usually just trying to trick you into installing spyware. Spyware is very easy to install and almost impossible to uninstall, and it is a huge hit on your computer's performance. Here is a list of known spyware installers that should be avoided like the plague (this will be updated as people make me aware of them):

    • Smilycentral. That huge banner with all of those smilies you see on several sites (including the old messageboard) is a spyware installer.
    • Gator or Gain. This notorious spyware is bundled with several freeware programs
    • CoolWebSearch. If your software includes this demon, burn it.
    • BargainBuddy. Ditto. All three of the above programs are usually "bundled" with other software and they are nothing short of viruses IMHO. Just install it and try to uninstall it. You'll see what I mean...
    • KazAA. If you can't find the "lite" version, don't install KazAA. You will regret it.
    • BearShare. Same as KazAa. Both will install Gator/Gain, CollWebSearch, BargainBuddy and other malware.
    • Search bars or tool bars. Any "search" or "tool" bar that a website offers to "improve your internet experience" will almost certainly destroy it instead.
    • Accelerators. Your computer is sucking info throught that CAT-5 or phone line as fast as it can. An "Accelerator" will only accelerate your need to format your hard drive and reinstall Windows.
    • Most free/share ware While some of the things you cann download for free really are free, most are merely a vehicle for installing a bunch of crap you don't want. A fairly decent way to tell if your download is clean is to search for the program on download.com. Read the review of the program - If it is spyware-infested they will usually tell you.
    • Atomic clocks or Web clocks If you ever see a warning that your clock is wrong, it isn't. This is spyware trying to trick you into downloading and installing it. If your computer clock is wrong, look at your watch. Don't install crapware.
    • Any "warning" message that pops up when you visit a website telling you that something is wrong with your computer. This "warning" is really just an image made to look like a warning message, pointing to spyware. If this "warning" is floating, moving, bouncing or flashing in any way you can be certain it's not legit. True Windows warning dialogue boxes do not move or flash.
    If you are running XP SP2 the latest version of IE has activeX controls turned off by default. When you visit a website that tries to install crap on your computer you usually get a warning from IE stating that the activeX control was blocked. That's a good thing. This prevents things such as CoolWebSearch (probably the worst of spyware/malware proigrams there is) from hijacking your browser.

    Of course, if you go surfing on the fringes of the internet, you're bound to come back dirty. Surfing WAREZ sites, porn sites, etc will greatly increase your chances of getting spyware.The people that run those sites are not interested in your computer's welfare, they want your money. They'll trick you into installing spyware because the spyware authors pay them to. Keep on your toes.

    And that about sums it up. Keep on your toes. If it looks suspicious it is. It it's too good to be true, it isn't good, and it isn't true. Be smart and you should be safe. If anyone has anything to add, feel free.
    2015 Mustang GT Premium - 5.0, 6-speed, Guard Green - too much awesome for one car

    1988 5.0 Thunderbird SOLD SEPT 11 2010: TC front clip/hood ♣ Body & paint completed Oct 2007 ♣ 3.55 TC rear end and front brakes ♣ TC interior ♣ CHE rear control arms (adjustable lowers) ♣ 2001 Bullitt springs ♣ Energy suspension poly busings ♣ Kenne Brown subframe connectors ♣ CWE engine mounts ♣ Thundercat sequential turn signals ♣ Explorer overhead console (temp/compass display) ♣ 2.25" off-road dual exhaust ♣ T-5 transmission swap completed Jan 2009 ♣

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Buffalo, NY
    Posts
    257
    Feedback Score
    1 (100%)

    Default Re: The "HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF" thread

    Some additional programs and refrences for spyware removal.

    My favorite 2 programs:

    Spybot Search & Destroy

    This program does a great job at removing the most common types of spyware. After this everything can be cleaned out manually. Just remember if using this to make a backup first, to update the program, and to use the immunize feature.

    Adaware

    This program is also another very easy to use program which will remove most of the spyware on a computer. Again make sure you update it or it will won't help much. Spyware changes frequently and new stuff is being developed all the time.

    HiJackThis

    If you have even gone throught the torture of having your home page changed without your consent automatically. Or having internet exporer windows opening to pages that you would rather not goto this is the program to fix it. These things are called Hijackers because of how they do what they want when they want. Here is a HijackThis tutorial.


    Registry

    Most of the spyware will open itself from the registry. The regsitry is the backbone of the windows operating system in that it is a database where all settings are stored. Working in the registry can be harmful to your computer in that it could cause Windows to no longer function. Therefore anything you do is done AT YOUR OWN RISK.

    Spyware will open itself from two main places in the Regsitry:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\Curr entVersion\Run
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Curre ntVersion\Run

    From here the spyware can set itself to open everytime the computer is started or everytime you log on. You can simply go through each key listed and check it through a Windows Startup Library like this one. Startup DB. Google can also be used to do this. Anything that is listed as being spywayre, adaware, or some type of worm can be deleted. Usually a spyware free computer will have fairly few keys listed. If you have a lot then either you have a lot of spyware or you have a lot of junk.

    Here is how mine looks (100% spyware free):


    Another helpful hint is to check the processes that are running. This can also show if you have spyware running. By pressing CTRL+ALT+DELETE and then going to Task Manager you can see what processes are running.

    The first number is the CPU Usage. With newer computers no one process should be using a great amount of CPU time. There are excpetions like processing things in photoshop and games can also use a large amount. The only thing that will almost always have a large number because it is telling you how much percent is not being used.

    The second number is the memory usage. Again this number should not be extremely high or the computer will be going very slow. Spyware is known for using large amounts of memory and slowing down the computer while doing so.

    Here is what mine looks like:



    Finally, I would recommend using Mozilla Firefox for a browser. It is far superior to Internet Explorer in both protection and ease of use. It will block most popups and doens't allow things to be automatically downloaded. Also a good firewall program is a must Windows Firewall does not.

    I just want to help anyone out that I can. I fix and upgrade computers and 99% of all problems that I see are caused by spware.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Stow, OH
    Posts
    1,176
    Feedback Score
    0

    Default Re: The "HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF" thread

    I definatly concure with using Spybot and Ad-aware. Definately the best 2 programs to rid yourself of spyware/adware/mal-ware. As a personal suggestion to others I also use a freeware program called SpywareBlaster (http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/spywareblaster.html). This program works as a first line of defense by preventing spyware from installing to begin with. It also can lock out certain items like changing of active-x controls and changing of your start page. But the number one thing to remember with any of these program is Keep Them Up To Date.
    Temporarily Foxless? Ride the Bull...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Willow River B.C.
    Posts
    1,891
    Feedback Score
    0

    Default Re: The "HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF" thread

    I run spywareblaster, adaware, spybot, AVG antivirus, and firefox. DEATH TO SPYWARE!!!

    Also a few times when logging onto online banking a window has popped up asking me to verify my account by giving them my visa number and expiry date wonder how many people have been fooled by that.
    Last edited by tbirdscott; 01-04-2005 at 10:49 PM.
    1980 birds X 3, 1982 bird, 1984 XR7, 1988 TC

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    3,505
    Feedback Score
    11 (100%)

    Default Re: The "HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF" thread

    Watch out for something called "Virtual Bouncer" as well.
    I got nailed by this and it installed a bunch of "Web Rebate" and Casino stuff on my desktop. It was a HUGE pain to get rid of it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Beaverton, OR
    Posts
    2,841
    Feedback Score
    1 (100%)

    Default Re: The "HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF" thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Thunder Chicken
    [*]Accelerators. Your computer is sucking info throught that CAT-5 or phone line as fast as it can. An "Accelerator" will only accelerate your need to format your hard drive and reinstall Windows.
    heh, I miss the days when instead of tweaking your 33.6k line manually, a program would use the well known (at the time to tweakers) settings to get the most from your dialup connection. Accelerators USED to actually help back in the 9x days and some (legit ones) will still help the 9x users today. Be it in network performance or memory management.


    Quote Originally Posted by 1986Tbird
    Spyware will open itself from two main places in the Regsitry:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\Curr entVersion\Run
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Curre ntVersion\Run
    I would NOT recommend anything to do with opening the registry in a thread like this. Even with a disclaimer, people are bound to make mistakes and modify something they shouldn't - possibly causing serious problems such as no boot.

  7. #7
    MDJ1281 Guest

    Default Re: The "HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF" thread

    I run spywareblaster, adaware, spybot, AVG antivirus, and firefox. DEATH TO SPYWARE!!!
    Ditto

    Another helpful hint is to check the processes that are running. This can also show if you have spyware running. By pressing CTRL+ALT+DELETE and then going to Task Manager you can see what processes are running
    A helpful site to see what's what in your processes is:
    http://www.answersthatwork.com/Taskl...s/tasklist.htm

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Middle Sackville, NS, CANADA
    Posts
    9,822
    Feedback Score
    6 (100%)

    Default Re: The "HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF" thread

    Another program to add to the list of Spyware killers (I don't generally recommend Microsoft betas, but this seems to work great):

    Microsoft Spyware Killer beta
    2015 Mustang GT Premium - 5.0, 6-speed, Guard Green - too much awesome for one car

    1988 5.0 Thunderbird SOLD SEPT 11 2010: TC front clip/hood ♣ Body & paint completed Oct 2007 ♣ 3.55 TC rear end and front brakes ♣ TC interior ♣ CHE rear control arms (adjustable lowers) ♣ 2001 Bullitt springs ♣ Energy suspension poly busings ♣ Kenne Brown subframe connectors ♣ CWE engine mounts ♣ Thundercat sequential turn signals ♣ Explorer overhead console (temp/compass display) ♣ 2.25" off-road dual exhaust ♣ T-5 transmission swap completed Jan 2009 ♣

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Port Coquitlam, Canada
    Posts
    1,883
    Feedback Score
    0

    Default Re: The "HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF" thread

    Microsoft betas, but this seems to work great
    Only cause they bought out yet another company and are using their product. Wait til the "expiry" date is up, then let's see what they do with (or to) it.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Seward, NE
    Posts
    87
    Feedback Score
    0

    Default Re: The "HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF" thread

    http://www.spywareguide.com/

    They have a block list that works awsome as well as a comprehensive list of spyware.

    The only problem that i see with the microsoft beta is that it acts as a firewall too in some cases. I guess that is good but it would be nice if the firewall caught the stuff. Double security is nice though.

    I've also noticed AVG Antivirus does as good or better job than Symantec corporate 9.0.1 antivirus. It does a better job with trojans and such.

    Firefox is your best bet a around. I havn't gotten one piece of spyware other than what is already installed in Windows since i switched soley to firefox. Tabbed browsing is the bomb too. I install it on every computer i touch. There are tons of add ons as well so you can personalize the crap out of firefox.

    Play it safe. Use your commen sence and you will be ok.

    tc
    1986 Mercury Cougar -- Midnight Wine and Taupe ($1700) in 1999 w/ 103,000 miles. Now with a motor from an 87 with 54K on it.
    1988 Mercury Cougar -- Light Sandlewood Metalic ($40) in 2003 with 111,000 miles. Needs a fender, some welding and a good tune up. Possibly my next daily if i ever get it to the shop.
    1991 GMC Sonoma, My $50 daily driver.


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •