The non conformer's Canadian Weblog

April 9, 2009

The average, Illiterate computer users are taking a great risk

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I am also still amazed as to how much maintenance time you have to give to one’s computer system, spyware, viruses, security system now as well. It seems we now  also  have to spend much more time on computer maintenance too then over when computers had first come out in the 1980’s too.. http://postedat.wordpress.com/2009/01/12/viruses-trojan-agents/ Microsoft Antivirus is a new rogue anti-spyware program – a fake spyware remover, which uses trojans, such as Zlob or Vundo, to enter the system. This parasite appears to have been made by Microsoft, which is completely untrue. Microsoft Antivirus uses disinformation to trick the user into purchasing it’s “licensed version”. Once inside and active, Microsoft Antivirus will flood the user with popups and fake system notifications, supposedly to inform him of an infection or multiple infections present on the system. While this may coincidentally be true, Microsoft Antivirus has neither the ability to detect nor remove any of the threats. To remove these fake threats, the user will be asked to purchase the parasite’s full version. Microsoft Antivirus is a scam and should be treated as such: do NOT download or buy it and block it’s homepage using your HOSTS file.  Microsoft Antivirus is Extremaly dangerous http://www.2-viruses.com/remove-microsoft-antivirus
 

 
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Spybot has to be one of the all time favourites which many users still haven’t got around to installing. Spybot Search & Destroy is a free program which detects and removes spyware which is not covered by antivirus programs.  This includes many of the new rogue antivirus programs which install silently in the background  I too have ve used Spybot for years. I usually combine its services with CCleaner and Hijack  for a squeaky clean computer.
 
A  separate back up computer also   seems to be an essential  reality these days too.Not only have the software programs also  become too often more complicated, often not user friendly as well, they now take a massive hard disk space and seem to also require a computer system upgrade too, so one now basically needs plenty of time, even  a degree in computer science if you really want to use your computer for much more then just browsing the internet.  Thanks to this imperfect world, viruses, bad people, the continually need of a reliable computer  data back up software even due to  the short comings of Windows Back up and  restore is another serious problem now as well.  It is thus now a very well-known fact that most computers are  very susceptible to failures still,  hard drive crashes or virus attacks.  The average, Illiterate computer users are taking a great risk  these days in using a computer on the net...  see first http://wittnessed.wordpress.com/2009/01/19/windows-computers-backup/  
    
 
The  security engineers were cleaning up on   following a series of worm attacks  including at least two credited to a bored 17-year-old.  And the company would take legal action against the worms’ creators.  The worms exploits a common vulnerability in Web applications called cross-site scripting which allows someone to inject code into Web pages others are viewing. In this instance,  the  users who clicked on the name or image of anyone sending the worm messages would get infected and then send the message on to all that person’s followers. Anyone viewing an infected user’s profile would also get infected and pass the worm on. To avoid such Javascript-based attacks, you can turn off Javascript in your browser. Instructions for doing this are here.  As is frequently the case with XSS-based attacks, the worm was unable to prey on those using the NoScript add-on for the Firefox browser. “Media darling Twitter was hit with a series of worms this weekend, a scam that was the brainchild of a bored 17-year-old Brooklyn resident. The micro-blogging site fell prey to four worm attacks between 2 AM Saturday Pacific time and early Monday morning, according to Twitter. “We believe things are now under control; we’ll be continuing to monitor the Mikeyy situation,” the company said Monday via its @spam feed. Mikeyy is the Internet handle used by the worm’s creator.  PCMag.com received an e-mail from an individual identifying himself as Mikeyy – or Michael Mooney – a 17-year-old high school student from Brooklyn and creator of StalkDaily.com.”Yeah, I am the coder of the worm this weekend,” Mooney wrote. “The worm spread through multiple XSS exploits, which then reposted data with AJAX after getting their auth token. I did this … through infuriation with Twitter’s lack of security and popularity.  Mooney acknowledged that he hoped the stunt would result in a job, “but I doubt I’ll get any job offers,” he said.He has not been in contact with anyone from Twitter or law enforcement. Mooney is a “little bit” concerned about prosecution, but said he hopes he can “get out” of it since he did not cause any actual damage. Should we expect any more Twitter attacks from Mikeyy?”    ” In 2005, Samy Kamkar exploited a bug in MySpace to add as a “friend” anyone who viewed his account profile. He then copied a snippet of JavaScript to that user’s profile to continue the hack. Within 24 hours, he had accumulated over a million friends. MySpace sued, and in January 2007 Kamkar pleaded guilty to a single felony count. He was sentenced to three years probation and 90 days of community service. “
 
But if you or a well-meaning helper has turned off JavaScript and you want to turn it back on (or if you’ve decided, for whatever reason, you really want to turn it off), you’ll find instructions below for doing so in the four most popular web browsers. http://www.tucows.com/article/1690 You can also use utilities such as NoScript open source Firefox extension, “The latest and greatest sites on the web–including this one–require JavaScript to be enabled in your web browser to give you the best experience. If you’ve got JavaScript turned off, read on for instructions on how to turn it back on (or, if you really want, the other way around) in Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, or Safari. Once little more than a novelty, JavaScript has become one of the main technologies driving innovation on the web. JavaScript (not to be confused with Java, a mostly unrelated technology) lets web designers make their sites more interactive, more visually appealing, and more useful. JavaScript isn’t all good–it enables pop-up ads, for example–but modern web browsers eliminate those nastier aspects, and browsing with  JavaScript turned off, in  excludes one from experiencing the best of what the web has to offer–including much of the functionality of this site–without offering much benefit.”
 
“There’s no hope for you and no point in looking for security enhancements, while you keep using an unsafe wannabe web browser… Get a real browser first!  There’s a browser safer than Firefox… …it is Firefox, with NoScript! The NoScript Firefox extension provides extra protection for Firefox, Flock, Seamonkey and other mozilla-based browsers: this free, open source add-on allows JavaScript, Java and Flash and other plugins to be executed only by trusted web sites of your choice (e.g. your online bank), and provides the most powerful Anti-XSS protection available in a browser.  NoScript’s unique whitelist based pre-emptive script blocking approach prevents exploitation of security vulnerabilities (known and even not known yet!) with no loss of functionality…  You can enable JavaScript, Java and plugin execution for sites you trust with a simple left-click on the NoScript status bar icon (look at the picture), or using the contextual menu, for easier operation in popup statusbar-less windows. Staying safe has never been so easy! Firefox is really safer with NoScript!http://noscript.net/ PC World‘s Ten Steps Security features using NoScript as step #6. (cite bite)
 
PC World   »Security  Recommends   ” 10-Step Security

If you have about an hour, you can batten down your machine’s hatches against Net threats new and old. Here’s how.Each new wave of computer viruses, spies, and spam may have you ready to dust off your typewriter, but PC security can be effective without being a chore. To keep your computing safe from current and future threats, we’ve distilled our security advice down to the basics. These ten quick and easy tips will help protect your hardware, software, and data.  

1. Patch automatically: Ensure Windows is set to update itself. In XP, click Start, Control Panel, Security Settings (if you’re in Category view), Automatic Updates. In 2000, choose Start, Settings, Control Panel, Automatic Updates. In both versions, verify that ‘Automatic (recommended)’ is selected. You can also have Windows notify you before it downloads an update, or you can install the update manually. (The steps and options are only slightly different in Windows 98 and Me.)

2. Don’t wait for Windows: If your PC has been off for more than a few days, don’t wait for Windows’ automatic update to kick in. Make the Windows Update site your first Internet stop. Also, there may be a lag between when a patch is available and when Windows Update pushes it to you. Microsoft releases Windows patches on the second Tuesday of each month, so to be safe check for updates manually every couple of weeks. And don’t forget to set your antivirus and anti-spyware tools to update automatically (or check weekly for updates yourself).

3. Use XP’s security monitor: Windows XP Service Pack 2’s most welcome addition is the Windows Security Center, which alerts you when your PC’s firewall and antivirus protection are disabled or out of date. Still, XP’s own firewall protects you only from inbound pests; it doesn’t alert you to suspicious outbound traffic (see “Tweak Windows XP SP2 Security to Your Advantage” for more). We recommend that you disable the XP firewall and instead use Zone Labs’ (ZoneAlarm) or another third-party firewall program that protects both ways.

4. Make your file extensions visible: Some viruses masquerade as harmless file types by adding a bogus extension near the end of their name, as in “funnycartoon.jpg.exe,” in hopes your system is set to hide such extensions (the default in Windows XP and 2000)–you see ‘.jpg’ but not ‘.exe’. To make these troublemakers easier to spot, open Windows Explorer or any folder window and click Tools, Folder Options, View. Ensure that the option ‘Hide file extensions for known file types’ is unchecked.

Bonus Tip 1: To get the most complete picture of your Windows setup, check Show hidden files and folders and uncheck Hide protected operating system files (Recommended).

Bonus Tip 2: Click here to play Microsoft’s video guide to Windows XP security settings.

5. Keep Internet Explorer safe: Many people find IE 6’s Medium security level too obliging to ActiveX controls and other small programs, or scripts, that the browser runs on your PC. ActiveX and JavaScript enable such useful Web features as order forms and security scans, but they also may run malicious code and give attackers access to your system. To make IE safer, click Tools, Internet Options, Security, Custom Level, select High from the drop-down menu at the bottom of the Security Settings dialog box, and click Reset, Yes, OK.

Unfortunately, setting IE to the High security setting can lead to the browser’s unleashing a fusillade of warnings and permission pop-ups every time you visit a site. The solution is to add the sites that you access often to IE’s Trusted Sites list: Choose Tools, Internet Options, Security, click the Trusted Sites icon, and then click the Sites button. Enter the Web address, click Add, and repeat as necessary (see the Trusted Sites screen below). Be sure to uncheck Require server verification (https:) for all sites in this zone. When you’re finished, click OK twice.

6. Make Firefox more secure: The only way to block JavaScripts on a site-by-site basis in the Mozilla Foundation’s free Firefox browser is to download and install the NoScript add-in that was created by Giorgio Maone. NoScript places a warning bar at the bottom of all the Web pages you visit that use JavaScript. Click the bar to see options for allowing scripts on the site (permanently or temporarily), blocking scripts, and other operations (see the NoScript screen below). The program can also stifle Flash animations and other Firefox plug-ins, but keep in mind that going Flash-less means you’ll be missing out on some of the Web’s richest content (along with all of those great dancing ads). Although NoScript is freeware, the author does accept donations at www.noscript.net.

7. Handle e-mail links with care: If a virus infects your PC, chances are good it arrived piggybacked on e-mail. To reduce your risk of an e-mail-borne infection, don’t click links in suspicious messages (the text in the message may mask the actual Web address). Instead, enter the URL in your browser’s address bar manually, or go to the site’s home page and then navigate to the page in question.

8. Scan attachments for viruses: Run each of the e-mail attachments you receive through your antivirus software before you open them. Rather than double-clicking the attachment to open it instantly, save the file to a drive on your PC, open Windows Explorer, right-click the file, and choose the option to scan it for viruses. (Better yet, set your antivirus software to scan incoming and outgoing e-mail automatically.)

9. Close the preview pane: Some maleficent messages need only be opened in your e-mail program’s preview window to do their dirty work. That’s why we recommend that you close the preview pane in all of your inboxes. In Microsoft Outlook 2003, click View, Reading pane, Off. In Outlook Express 6, click View, Layout and verify that ‘Show Preview Pane’ is unchecked. In Mozilla Thunderbird, click View, Layout and confirm that ‘Message pane’ is unchecked (or press <F8> to toggle the preview pane on and off).

10. Read your mail in plain text: Since many e-mail pests rely on HTML code to achieve their nefarious goals, you can stop them in their tracks by viewing your messages as plain text. In Outlook 2003, click Tools, Options, Preferences, E-mail Options and check Read all standard mail in plain text. In Outlook Express 6, choose Tools, Options, Read and click Read all messages in plain text. In Mozilla Thunderbird, select View, Message Body As, Plain Text.

Security Tool Kit

A well-stocked PC security toolbox goes beyond the basics of firewall and antivirus software to include protection from phishers and snoops as well. Bolster your system’s defenses with these security utilities.

Firewall: ZoneAlarm, free (for individuals and not-for-profit charities), Zone Labs

Antivirus: AVG Anti-Virus System, free (for noncommercial use), Grisoft

Anti-spyware: Spy Sweeper 4, $30, Webroot Software; see review in “Best Defenders”

Antiphishing: Anti-Fraud Toolbar, free (currently in beta), Cloudmark

Encryption: PGP Desktop 9, $199 or $70 annual subscription, PGP

Wireless Safety

Encrypt your Wi-Fi network: When you install a wireless network, it’s tempting to keep the vendor’s default network name and leave the network unencrypted. But doing so is an open invitation to your neighbors and anyone else within range to help themselves to your Internet connection. Open your network’s configuration program to rename your network and apply Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) encryption. And check the maker’s Web site regularly for driver and security updates.” http://www.pcworld.com/article/122500/10step_security.html

 
Now the top 20 threats encountered by computer users in the recent time, four out of five of them were NOT Conficker.  It is still true that the makers of the Conficker, the worm virus  that has infected millions of PCs, it also downloads several new malicious files to the infected system  has begun now to do what all botnet owners hope to do — make loads of money — security researchers said today . And the PCs that are infected with the Trojan horse — are now also rented out to spammers. Conficker.e is downloading and installing fake security software. Often called “scareware” for its habit of trying to spook users with bogus infection warnings — then dumping them with endless pop-ups until they fork over up to $50 to buy the useless program — sadly such rogue antivirus software has become a huge business.. It makes no sense to protect yourself or your business from Conficker and forget the other threats.
  
As many users are aware there is an epidemic of fraudulent anti-malware products which are targeting all internet users.  . They are delivered through various website links, pop-ups, drive-by downloads, email links etc, and in many cases, once the fake program has started to scan your machine you are infected, then it is a battle to get rid of this scourge. The trend of rogue software sites is increasing all of the time, changing names every few days once users realise that they have been snared which reduces the chances of claiming refunds for those who have actually purchased these fake programs in the belief that they will help them.  Fake anti-malware software, marketed under hundreds of different names, scares users by giving false spyware alarms and then tries to deceive them into paying for removal of non-existing malware. The goal of these criminal software makers is to make people pay for the “full” version of their bogus anti-malware product and to collect financial information that can be used for phishing. The fake security product often installs malicious software to download itself or executes other unwanted actions. The user is shown fake messages such as, “Warning! Your computer is infected with spyware”, followed by a promise that the chargeable version of the tool will remove this non-existing threat. These tools are promoted using hundreds of different names, such as XP Antivirus 2008 and XP Antivirus 2009.  http://freepcsecurity.co.uk/2008/09/19/epidemic-of-fake-anti-malware-products-threaten-internet-users/
 
This list contains known malicious sites that WILL download malware to your computer. http://freepcsecurity.co.uk/2009/01/16/list-of-known-malicious-sites/
   
Rogue security software, also known as “scareware,” is software that appears to be beneficial from a security perspective but provides limited or no security, generates erroneous or misleading alerts, or attempts to lure users into participating in fraudulent transactions

Downloading and installing any one of the following free tools will assist you in removing most rogue application. The individuals/companies who wrote and developed these free tools, are to be congratualted for giving back so freely to the Internet community.

Rogue Fix at Internet Inspiration

SmitFraudFix available for download at Geekstogo is a free tool that is continuously updated to assist victims of rogue security applications.

Bleeping Computer is a web site where help is available for many computer related problems, including the removal of rogue software.

Malwarebytes, a reliable anti-malware company has created a free application to help keep you safe and secure. RogueRemover will safely remove a number of rogue security applications.

To  any casual, or inexperienced Internet users, the  advice that is critical. 

To help protect yourself from rogue security software:

Install a firewall and keep it turned on.
Use automatic updating to keep your operating system and software up to date.
Install antivirus and antispyware software, such as Windows Live OneCare, and keep it updated. For links to other antivirus programs that work with Microsoft, see Microsoft Help and Support List of Antivirus Vendors.
If your antivirus software does not include antispyware software, you should install a separate antispyware program such as Windows Defender and keep it updated. (Windows Defender is available as a free download for Windows XP and is included in Windows Vista.)
Use caution when you click links in e-mail or on social networking Web sites.
Familiarize yourself with common phishing scams.

The freeware Windows Defender detects and removes spyware.  Windows Defender is software that helps protect your computer against pop-ups, slow performance, and security threats caused by spyware and other unwanted software by detecting and removing known spyware from your computer. Windows Defender features Real-Time Protection, a monitoring system that recommends actions against spyware when it’s detected, minimizes interruptions, and helps you stay productive. http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/defender/default.mspx

 ohomeinvader

How to tell if your PC has been infected by a Rogue Anti-Spyware such as Microsoft Antivirus?

Numerous undesirable and annoying pop-ups: A typical Rogue Anti-Spyware parasite keeps track of your internet browsing habits, sending your browsing history data to remote servers, owned by third party companies that use this information to advertise their products via numerous pop-ups, toolbars, hijacked homepages and spam letters. All these undesirable advertising methods are used on the victims of Rogue Anti-Spyware.
 
Changed or new icons: Sometimes, Rogue Anti-Spyware installs unwanted software to a victim’s PC without user’s knowledge and consent. This may lead to slower PC performance and stability, as well as more unwanted programs you can’t remove. 

If you think you might have rogue security software on your computer:

Scan your computer. Use your antivirus software or do a free scan with Windows Live OneCare safety scanner. The safety scanner checks for and removes viruses, eliminates junk on your hard drive, and improves your PC’s performance. 

Additional precautions you can take to protect your computer system: http://billmullins.wordpress.com/2008/08/31/get-rid-of-ie-antivirus-four-removal-solutions/

When surfing the web – Stop. Think. Click

Don’t open unknown email attachments

Don’t run programs of unknown origin

Disable hidden filename extensions

Keep all applications (including your operating system) patched

Turn off your computer or disconnect from the network when not in use

Disable Java, JavaScript, and ActiveX if possible

Disable scripting features in email programs

Make regular backups of critical data

Make a boot disk in case your computer is damaged or compromised

Turn off file and printer sharing on the computer.

Install a personal firewall on the computer.

Install anti-virus/anti-spyware software and ensure it is configured to automatically update when you are connected to the Internet

Ensure the anti-virus software scans all e-mail attachments 

How does rogue security software get on my computer?

Rogue security software designers create legitimate looking pop-up windows that advertise security update software. These windows might appear on your screen while you surf the Web.

The “updates” or “alerts” in the pop-up windows call for you to take some sort of action, such as clicking to install the software, accept recommended updates, or remove unwanted viruses or spyware. When you click, the rogue security software downloads to your computer.

Rogue security software might also appear in the list of search results when you are searching for trustworthy antispyware software, so it is important to protect your computer.

 
 
The 35 Best Free software Applications – Tried, Tested and Reliable! There’s a wealth of tried and tested free software out in the wild blue of the Internet that will meet virtually every need you’re likely to have. Take a look at the following recommended free downloads that will help you communicate, improve your photos, have some fun, and manage and protect your system. All of the recommended applications have been well tested over the years for reliability and functionality, and all have developed a strong, loyal following. http://billmullins.wordpress.com/the-35-best-free-applications-tried-tested-and-reliable/
 
 
 Computer CARTOONS

     

Conficker Gets An UpdateE Canada Now –  Toronto (ECN) – BEWARE of a pop-up on your computer for Spyware Protect 2009, which is a fake antivirus program offered to supposedly remove the Conficker C worm.

Lately supposedly  the reason many even Vista personal computers seem to freeze up  is that some people have not updated all of their software, especially their Adobe software,  that Microsoft explorer also uses such as http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/ http://get.adobe.com/reader/   http://get.adobe.com/air/

see also   Basic computer troubleshooting http://www.computerhope.com/basic.htm
Tech-savvy users willing to put up with an at-times annoying interface, as well as a daily pop-up ad, might prefer the stronger malware detection rate in Avira AntiVir Personal, which took top billing in the free AV ratings. Microsoft’s New Free Antivirus Hits the Streets. MSE, now available for download, Microsoft Security Essentials is a rerun no one should watch.   The free Security Essentials can be downloaded for Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 from the Microsoft Web site.

 
I was asked years ago by a computer user as to who would benefit from installing computer virus on the computer, and my reply was the computer dealers, consultants themselves..
One of the most common causes for a misbehaving PC is malware—viruses and other malicious apps that spy on you and slow down your computer. Unfortunately, no single app can find 100 percent of malware, so we recommend keeping at least these three cleaning programs in your toolkit.
Run Malwarebytes’ (http://bit.ly/BjJJ) and SuperAntiSpyware (http://bit.ly/23MxVo) first, and then Combofix (http://bit.ly/mJgzK) if the problem  persists.   MAXIMUMPC | OCT 2010 | www.maximumpc.com
 

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