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rbeckey

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I have been irritated by spyware so much lately that I had to do some research to try to find a better solution than removing the stuff AFTER it is loaded. There were several that AdAware, Spybot and Spy Sweeper could not get rid of, and I'd end up using System Restore to eliminate them. I recently found Spyware Blaster, a free program that stops them from loading and stops known tracking cookies also. So far, after about a week, I have not had one spyware program get through. It has a database that must be updated occasionally, other than that it is invisible.

Highly Recommended!
 

Hospital_Rocket

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All of the ones RB lists are good. If you really have a persistent pest, try Pest Patrol. This is not freeware however the eval sample is fully functional.

So far it keeps all 3300 of my computers moderately pest free.

A
 

rstaff3

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OK rebckey, I took your advice and am trying it. Being somewhat ignorant of spyware, if the programs you listed don't find the spyware, how do you know you have it?
 

Rick James

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I did a search for Spyware Blaster and I turned up two sites -- both were down (or at least I couldn't get to them) Could you give us a link?

Thanks,
Rick
 

Hospital_Rocket

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Originally posted by rstaff3
OK rebckey, I took your advice and am trying it. Being somewhat ignorant of spyware, if the programs you listed don't find the spyware, how do you know you have it?
If the programs don't find anything here are some hints that will help you deternmine if you are infected.

1) Do you get frequent popups that make no sense given the site you are on? Lijke if you are in RF which has no popups and you start seeing ads as you navigate around.

2) Has your browser homepage changed without your requesting it? If you change it to where you want, does it change back?

3) If you have a firewall installed (like Zone Alarm) have you started seeing large numbers of warnings?

These are classic symptoms, however this is not an all-inclusive list.

A
 

rstaff3

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I haven't seen any of these symptoms so I am most likely OK. So far AdAware hasn't found anythink but cookies.
 

DavRedf

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Not all spyware/adware will be found by all programs but if you have 2 or 3 you stand a good chance of getting any that do appear on your system.
There is a new forum aimed at the beginner/intermediate user called Easy-tek.

http://www.easy-tek.com/

You can ask any question there and not get laughed at.

David
 

dr wogz

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And also, most of these 'spy / ad bot / virus destroyers' should be run in 'safe mode'. Safe mode is a basic basic windows OS used to diagnos a system, as it only installes the bits and pieces it requires to run. Nothing more. So, evil 'encrypted' trojans , evil DLL files, and scripts that 'look' innocent won't be loaded, and can then be easily removed.

You should also investigate your 'task manager' and root out any unwanted running aplications. I've found a few 'stray' programs taht shouln't be running, but were..'
 

flying_silverad

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I use Ad-Ware 6.0. It was free and so are the updates. You don't get all of the options, but it works well for what i need it for. I usually nail 14-20 files a day. All seem to be data miners. Anti-virus takes care of the rest.
 

lalligood

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Perhaps the *easiest* way to save your PC (& sanity) from spyware is to NOT use Internet Explorer. Try an alternate browser like Mozilla's Firefox (http://www.mozilla.org/) Firefox has a built-in pop-up blocker & does not run ActiveX controls (which is a HUGE, GAPING hole for spyware!)

The only time I run IE at home anymore is when I'm visiting websites that I am absolutely certain that do not have spyware junk attached to them but require IE (like personal banking, etc.)

Not running any filesharing & IM apps help considerably too...

HTH,
 

gothique_97

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While suggestions for malware finders are good, lalligood has the best advice for MS users; Firefox. If you're worried about switching from one browser to another [like loosing bookmarks, re-setting a start page, some plug-ins], the installation process imports browser settings. You might have to re-install some plug-ins, but to save you some grief of having to deal with malware, its well worth it. Firefox even has dozens of add-ons that do things like block ads, and mimic the functionality of IE [without risking security].

Another thing to do is simply stay current on your OS updates, particularly the security updates. You don't have to be an expert on malware, but you do need to know how to protect your computer. Granted, MS's updates are slow to come, and a total fix is rare [XP's Service Pack 2 has its holes], but its better than no security updates at all. Used in combination with a firewall, anti-virus ware and Firefox, you'll be safe from ~99% of malware.

Also, while cookies are relatively harmless, set your browser so it asks you if you want to accept a cookie. It gets annoying when you go to some news website and they offer about 9 cookies, but you can set it to only ask once per website [e.g. always accept cookie from rocketryforum]

Like I've said before on this subject, surfing the Internet ain't what it used to be.
 

adrian

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Originally posted by lalligood
The only time I run IE at home anymore is when I'm visiting websites that I am absolutely certain that do not have spyware junk attached to them but require IE (like personal banking, etc.)
A colleague at work made an observation about that strategy:

Use a secure browser like Mozilla for most surfing, and an insecure browser like IE for stuff that involves your money, e.g. banking. :D
 

dr wogz

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About a year ago, I read an 'insight' on a soft drink cup, but it does make you think...

"The internet will be rendered useless by 2008 because of teh increase in viruses and such."

You once jsut bought a computer.
You then got "networks"
you then got eth I-net.
You then buy a newer PC, and a virus checker / destroyer
you then bought a fire wall
And now a spam blocker.
Now a spy ware / adware blocker..

You now need to purchase, install and understand all this before installing the game you really want to play.

You now have a computer machine, in which you need to know a bit about how it works. It's no longer a nice easy to use infornmation center. Useful yes, but a pain because of.. NO REGULATIONS!

Everybody wants one, or feels they need one.
No one is willing to learn the how, the why and what to do in this case.
And teh predators (mallware writers, marketeers, spammers, etc..) prey on the ignorance....
 

rbeckey

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Actually, with SP2 there is now a decent firewall and popup blocker in Windows. Add an antivirus with autoupdate and a spyware blocker like Spyware Blaster and you'll be alright. Norton AV 2004 finds most of the spyware if any does get through. I cannot fathom why "responsible adults" can't learn the basics of a little self protection and security. I guess the operative term isn't "can't" but "won't."
 

rstaff3

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I consider myself reasonably computer literate, although I find I am slipping after not working in the industry. Kinda like my spelling and grammar. I have Norton and run it regularly, also a pop up blocker and Ad Aware. And now Spyware Blaster. I keep my OS and browser up to date. I still have no clue what most of the cryptically named processes in XP are doing.
 

wwattles

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Don't worry, Dick...

Most of the folks at Microsoft probably don't either.

I was reading an article a few months ago about the way that computers load up, and a modern computer goes through several different "phases" in its startup. Each phase has its roots in one of the previous generations of computer, all the way back to the originals in the late 70's and early 80's. So with each new generation of computer we get, the startup processes, and the overall operation, of the computer gets more complicated.

That's how a lot of the toughest viruses mess up our systems nowadays - they activate during one of those "vestigial" phases of startup, before the antiviral software starts running.

I had a bad case of malware that did just that, and it was a doozy to get rid of!

Best solution is to have a battery of protection - AdAware, SpyBot Search & Destroy, and Spyware Blaster, combined with a strong Anti-virus program. Update and run them at least once a week, and sometimes more frequently than that if you notice things are a little screwy.

WW
 

lalligood

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Originally posted by wwattles
I was reading an article a few months ago about the way that computers load up, and a modern computer goes through several different "phases" in its startup. Each phase has its roots in one of the previous generations of computer, all the way back to the originals in the late 70's and early 80's. So with each new generation of computer we get, the startup processes, and the overall operation, of the computer gets more complicated.
Reminds me of an old quote....

Intel giveth and Microsoft taketh away.

:kill: :D
 

KermieD

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Firefox is great for what it is, but I avoid it. There are a number of sites I frequent that don't display properly with it, and also I *despise* the fact that whenever I click on a picture link (ala attached photos in TRF posts), it makes me open Photoshop rather than just pop it up in a new browser window.
 

gothique_97

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Originally posted by KermieD
Firefox is great for what it is, but I avoid it. There are a number of sites I frequent that don't display properly with it, and also I *despise* the fact that whenever I click on a picture link (ala attached photos in TRF posts), it makes me open Photoshop rather than just pop it up in a new browser window.
I've noticed that, too; its a security feature [now that virii can be coded into .jpgs]. You should be able to set it so that it will open in a new browser window. Just set the Open With program to firefox.exe when opening image files from trusted websites, such as this one.
 

NewEntity1

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here are a number of sites I frequent that don't display properly with it, and also I *despise* the fact that whenever I click on a picture link (ala attached photos in TRF posts), it makes me open Photoshop rather than just pop it up in a new browser window.
Was going to say the same thing as gothique, but he beat me too it :D

Plus, having firefox doesn't mean you have to abandon IE...I use firefox when visiting sites I'm unsure of, and for most general browsing, but go back to IE for sites that require special plugins in order to work that I know are safe (banking sites, anything involving Sony). Firefox is still considered beta, and even some very basic html tags are not handled correctly; an example would be the <pre /pre> tags...an early html tag used to format spaces in html and the like...firefox just ignores the formating. Firefox also seems to have problems with web-sites that use DHTML as well; however, more common scripting languages such java script, PHP annd Perl are handled fine. I am unsure how well Firefox handles XML.

As for spotting spyware and trojans that are "unknown" (ie: spybot doesn't do a search for them, or in the case of trojans/viruses, Nortan and Macafee do not have a definition for them yet), here is what I : Working in the computer field, I already know what many of the processes and services running under xp and the various Window's server family's do. Those remaining services and processes for which I do not know the function of, but which are always present as soon as the OS is installed, I have basically memorize.

I have also memorized what items are in the registry under */software/microsoft/windows/currentversion/run and HKCU/software/microsoft/windows/currentversion/internet settings. Whenever I install new software, I note any new entries made in these areas, if any, and what processes are launched.

Then I check the registry on a weekly basis with msconfig, and on a daily basis I look to see what processes are running. If I see something new suddenly show up, without me having deliberately installed anything new, then I know my system has been compromised.

In addition to these manual checks, I have the following security software running: Nortan, Spy Bot S&D version 1.3 (the new version that tries to block software from changing the registry), Zone Alarm, Kerio PFW (yeah I keep 2 firewalls), Etherial (a sniffer), and GFI Languard. I have all of these tools, because I work at a Computer Tech school, full of students who are constantly hacking and writing brand new trojan scripts that no commercial software is going to have any definition for.
 

NewEntity1

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here are a number of sites I frequent that don't display properly with it, and also I *despise* the fact that whenever I click on a picture link (ala attached photos in TRF posts), it makes me open Photoshop rather than just pop it up in a new browser window.
Was going to say the same thing as gothique, but he beat me too it :D

Plus, having firefox doesn't mean you have to abandon IE...I use firefox when visiting sites I'm unsure of, and for most general browsing, but go back to IE for sites that require special plugins in order to work that I know are safe (banking sites, anything involving Sony). Firefox is still considered beta, and even some very basic html tags are not handled correctly; an example would be the < pre /pre > tags...an early html tag used to format spaces in html and the like...firefox does not handle them correctly . Firefox also seems to have problems with web-sites that use DHTML as well; however, more common scripting languages such java script, PHP annd Perl are handled fine. I am unsure how well Firefox handles XML.

As for spotting spyware and trojans that are "unknown" (ie: spybot doesn't do a search for them, or in the case of trojans/viruses, Nortan and Macafee do not have a definition for them yet), here is what I : Working in the computer field, I already know what many of the processes and services running under xp and the various Window's server family's do. Those remaining services and processes for which I do not know the function of, but which are always present as soon as the OS is installed, I have basically memorize.

I have also memorized what items are in the registry under */software/microsoft/windows/currentversion/run and HKCU/software/microsoft/windows/currentversion/internet settings. Whenever I install new software, I note any new entries made in these areas, if any, and what processes are launched.

Then I check the registry on a weekly basis with msconfig, and on a daily basis I look to see what processes are running. If I see something new suddenly show up, without me having deliberately installed anything new, then I know my system has been compromised.

In addition to these manual checks, I have the following security software running: Nortan, Spy Bot S&D version 1.3 (the new version that tries to block software from changing the registry), Zone Alarm, Kerio PFW (yeah I keep 2 firewalls), Etherial (a sniffer), and GFI Languard. I have all of these tools, because I work at a Computer Tech school, full of students who are constantly hacking and writing brand new trojan scripts that no commercial software is going to have any definition for.
 

wwattles

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Originally posted by NewEntity1

In addition to these manual checks, I have the following security software running: Nortan, Spy Bot S&D version 1.3 (the new version that tries to block software from changing the registry), Zone Alarm, Kerio PFW (yeah I keep 2 firewalls), Etherial (a sniffer), and GFI Languard. I have all of these tools, because I work at a Computer Tech school, full of students who are constantly hacking and writing brand new trojan scripts that no commercial software is going to have any definition for.
Have you ever tried HiJack This? It's a bit more aggressive than your standard scan-and-delete programs, so it's definitely NOT for the casual or even moderately skilled user. But it definitely finds ANYthing unusual about your system!

WW
 

gothique_97

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Originally posted by wwattles
Have you ever tried HiJack This? It's a bit more aggressive than your standard scan-and-delete programs, so it's definitely NOT for the casual or even moderately skilled user. But it definitely finds ANYthing unusual about your system!
I use that with much the same strategy that NewEntity checks his registry; memorize what's typically listed and be vigilant for what gets added when you install new software or plug-ins. That's how I found the transponder that kept re-installing malware on my home computer. There's any number of geek forums where you can post a HJT log, and those who are wise in the ways of Windows will tell you what does and doesn't belong.
 

lalligood

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Originally posted by KermieD
Firefox is great for what it is, but I avoid it. There are a number of sites I frequent that don't display properly with it, and also I *despise* the fact that whenever I click on a picture link (ala attached photos in TRF posts), it makes me open Photoshop rather than just pop it up in a new browser window.
I understand where you're coming from Kermie... My #1 gripe with Firefox is that opening images points to an application rather than another window (or tab--tabbed browsing rules!) However, that's about the only gripe I have & from a security standpoint, it has (seemingly) none of those that plague IE. If I cared to write code, I take a stab at fixing that problem myself...but I guess I'll have to wait for someone else to do it for me "rolleyes:

There is no such thing as the perfect browser...<sigh>
 

KermieD

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Well, Firefox is still kinda like Linux. It's not that it's that much more secure, it's that nobody's targeted it....yet.

How on earth can a virus be written into a .jpg file? My system handles .jpg as read-only and won't execute anything through it.
 

solrules

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Originally posted by gothique_97
I've noticed that, too; its a security feature [now that virii can be coded into .jpgs].
Huh? Virii can only be written into exectuable commands (.exe, .scr, .vb, etc). You can't catch a virus by viewing an image.

Tabbed browsing rules. There is an extention for firefox that adds 'Open Link target in IE', for the sites that don't render properly in Firefox.
 

gothique_97

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Originally posted by KermieD
How on earth can a virus be written into a .jpg file? My system handles .jpg as read-only and won't execute anything through it.
I don't know how, but its been done. The .jpg, itself, doesn't launch the virus; a seperate executable does that, but they can be downloaded at the same time. Opinions on the actual threat of image file viruses vary; many will tell you that such infections in the wild are extremely rare. But, just that it exists should raise a little bit of awareness of why some security features are in place.
 

gothique_97

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Originally posted by solrules
There is an extention for firefox that adds 'Open Link target in IE', for the sites that don't render properly in Firefox.
Wired ran two articles back in July about all of the Firefox extensions. I thought I had remembered seeing one that mimicked the functionality of IE so that you could visit IE-only websites, but apparently, I remembered incorrectly [it happens occasionally].
 
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