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Old 01-08-2005, 02:05 PM   #1
stiles watson
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Computer viruses

As many of you know, the Microsoft Explorer is particularly susceptable to computer viruses. Recently, I had to do major work on my wifes computer and found eleven Trogan Viruses and over 400 spyware and adware files. The poor thing was virtually dead. This all occurred while one of the name brand and regularly updated antivirus programs was being used.

This set me looking for additional ways to address this threat. One way was to buy an Apple Powerbook ($2500) or maybe choose another browser. Well, I just downloaded a FREE browser called Firefox from www.mozilla.org. So far it is very quick. You can transfer many of you settings, favorites and preferences seamlessly.
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Old 01-08-2005, 02:40 PM   #2
HamRad
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stiles watson,
It's a jungle out there! Firefox has a great rep and should work well. If you haven't already gotten them you should get SpyBot Search and Destroy and AdAware. Both these programs will search out and destroy the spybots and ad programs. There is also an excellent web site you can go to and have it check you system for you. It is called TrendMicro.com. The free program you are looking for there is called HouseCall. And of course you should be running a FireWall. XP has a built in one but one of the better ones is Zone Alarm. It comes in a free version and a Pro version.

Let us know how you like FireFox and whether or not there are compatibility problems with some web sites.

HamRad
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Old 01-08-2005, 02:54 PM   #3
stiles watson
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Thanks for the info, Hamrad. Using Spybot and Adware and a couple of others was how I cleared the wife's machine which is using Windows 98. I have some periferals attached to that machine that would not be compatible with XP, so until they crash and burn, I will leave it with 98.

I am using Road Runner, a cable based internet server. When my subscription runs out on the current antivirus service, I will download their free firewall and virus protection. My son, with his degree in computer science, highly recommends Road Runner's protection package.
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Old 01-08-2005, 03:18 PM   #4
Montana_2205
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We have started using Firefox also and absolutely love it!!! I have "enjoyed" the internet for several years now but now it REALLY is enjoyable. I have not found any sites that will not work perfectly. NO POP-UPS, and it's very fast!

We also use AVG Anti-virus. This can be downloaded free or a more elaborate version for $$. We have been pleased with it as it doesn't slow down the computer like the other two we have tried. We also use Ad-Aware for more protection.

Cindy
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Old 01-08-2005, 03:46 PM   #5
sreigle
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I used to use Zone Alarm and liked it back when we had cable internet. Steve Gibson, a firewall guru, rates Zone Alarm as the best available, at least back then. I haven't checked recently. He has a website that will test your system and tell you of its vulnerabilities. I ran it with and without zone alarm and found without ZA I was wide open. ZA shut that down.

By the way, it's not that Microsoft's Internet Explorer is any more susceptible to virus and worms than any other browser. It's just they're the biggest and thus the target of the large majority of hackers. None of them are ironclad non-susceptible, unfortunately.
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Old 01-08-2005, 03:52 PM   #6
padredw
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Meeting lots of familiar friends in this thread. I am using AVG on all my computers, also AdAware and firefox. Though I must admit that I still use my old standby NetScape more than any other -- I use it for both email and browser. And from time to time (which means several times in any given day) I bring up the dreaded "Blue e" of Internet Explorer. Just to say hi to these friends.
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Old 01-08-2005, 03:56 PM   #7
OntMont
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Hank n Mo

We have started using Firefox also and absolutely love it!!!
I have also started using Firefox and find it good, and have used Trend Micro Houseclean for some time. I had a problem with the forum colours (Blue on black), but the new Forum version seems to have cleared up that problem for me.
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Old 01-09-2005, 03:08 AM   #8
padredw
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A big "DITTO" on the new forum background colors. Now I can read the profiles. Thanks
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Old 01-09-2005, 02:51 PM   #9
FredG
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I just wanted to point out that you are using the term virus and spyware interchangably. There is a distinct difference between the two as well as a difference in the approach to stop them.

Virii are programs that have always been malicious in nature and try to replicate themselves through email, network shares and over the internet. I've been using AVG (www.grisoft.com) for a while now and have found it to be a good anti-virus program. I tend to recommend against symantec and mcafee because they both gobble up a lot of resources. Mcafee runs over 5 different applications in the background, whereas AVG only runs 2 and does the same thing.

Spyware does not try to replicate itself, but does track your online (and sometimes offline) activities for "marketing" purposes. The big problem with spyware (aside from privacy violations) is that the spyware programs eat up a lot of processing power in your computer.
Many try to take over your browser settings (aimed at IE usually, because it's the biggest) and when you get two competing programs that are constantly trying to change the settings of your browser, it chokes your computer. Now, just because the problems manifest in Internet Explorer does not mean that the spyware does not work behind other browsers. The programs may still be installed and track your activities to send targeted online advertising within the pages that are viewable within Firefox or other browsers.

For spyware, I use Spybot, followed by Giant Anti-spyware (now owned by Microsoft) and, if a spyware program is really persistent, Hijack This. I recommend against running HijackThis unless you have good experience with the inner workings of your computer. It allows you to change a lot of startup features, both good and bad. If you remove the wrong thing, Windows may not boot again.

Here's a link to Microsoft's page on spyware. It explains a lot of the issues around spyware and has a link to their free downloadable program:
http://www.microsoft.com/athome/secu...e/default.mspx

I will be looking at spysweeper by webroot as an alternative to Microsoft's anti-spyware, but I have not tested it yet.

I just realized how long this post is, I'm sorry to be long winded, but I got carried away. I work in the IT industry for my night job and also run a home business doing local computer consulting and repair, so I come across these problems almost daily. I see the confusion between spyware and virii all the time and many people don't understand that they are two different things and need different types of protection.

Fred
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Old 01-10-2005, 01:47 AM   #10
snowbunny
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If you want to bypass all the hassles of spyware, viruses, trojans etc you should consider an Apple iBook laptop. They start just over $1000. well equipped. Consumers Reports rates Apple highest in reliability, customer support and customer satisfaction. I use one on the road and have been using Firefox as a browser for about a year. Firefox runs faster than IE but lacks a few nice features in IE like autofill of forms.

As Steve says, one of the chief reasons that both Apple and Firefox have fewer problems with spyware, viruses, trojans etc is that hackers (like most opportunistic villans) almost always write for the biggest slowest targets.
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Old 01-10-2005, 05:16 AM   #11
Countryfolks
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To add a little more confusion to the subject; Linux is also immune to virii and has the virtue of running on PC,s for those who want to use the equipment they have. I dual boot, using Linux almost all of the time [for internet and most other things] and XP for those programs I use that do not run on Linux. I must admit I haven't installed Linux on the laptop yet, but I don't use it on the net either.

Skip
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Old 01-10-2005, 03:48 PM   #12
sreigle
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Awhile back I like to never got rid of some spyware/adware called Bargain Buddy. None of the removal tools I tried succeeded. They all said they got rid of it but next boot it was back. I tried Adaware and McAfee AntiSpyware and some others. I finally found it had installed a service that was not getting deleted. Each boot it checked and then reinstalled itself. There oughta be a law...
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Old 01-10-2005, 07:06 PM   #13
stiles watson
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Switching to an Apple Power Book is not as simple as just buying one. There is your current application software to consider. Even if you run a windows emulator, some applications won't run. If you do import a word file written in Microsoft Word or Office into the equivalent Mac Word or Office, you are not guarenteed to be virus free. It may not affect your operating system, but then you may become an unaware carrier and distributer.

This Apple vs. PC discussion is current dilemma over which I am agonizing. The comparibly priced Fujitsu PC has a much cleaner display screen that does not "disappear" when in the sunlight. Like the Montanas, everything is a trade off. I will probably settle for the one that comes on sale first.

I think a great antivirus program is Avast. Avast is free to home users. Like Firefox, it is a slick program. When my McAfee subscription runs out, I will remove it in favor of Avast.
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Old 01-11-2005, 11:05 AM   #14
FredG
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In these cases, if you are running Windows 2000 or XP, you must logon into safe mode (F8 during bootup) and run the cleaner. If that doesn't do it, then use HiJackThis! while in safe mode and remove the service from starting up. There is a new site where you can post your HiJackThis log file and it will tell you what each entry is and what action you should take: http://www.hijackthis.de

Fred

Quote:
quote:Originally posted by sreigle

Awhile back I like to never got rid of some spyware/adware called Bargain Buddy. None of the removal tools I tried succeeded. They all said they got rid of it but next boot it was back. I tried Adaware and McAfee AntiSpyware and some others. I finally found it had installed a service that was not getting deleted. Each boot it checked and then reinstalled itself. There oughta be a law...
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Old 01-11-2005, 01:58 PM   #15
sreigle
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Fred and Jen, thanks. I ended up doing just that to get rid of another stubborn one, after reading about using safe mode somewhere or other. I didn't think to use safe mode on the first one. Now I run an antispyware app in the background that has kept me apparently adware/spyware free for the past couple of months. Yea!
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Old 01-11-2005, 03:01 PM   #16
rames14
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One of the things that helps at home is that we run behind a wireless router, which provides a hardware firewall. We are running WEP encryption, have changed the SSID and the password. These are the least that should be done if running a wireless home network. I have had good luck with Norton, but recognize how deep it weaves itself into your PC. I will probably try some of the antivirus software that was mentioned on this post. Thanks for the help.
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Old 01-16-2005, 04:12 AM   #17
Montana_2194
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by sreigle

Awhile back I like to never got rid of some spyware/adware called Bargain Buddy. None of the removal tools I tried succeeded. They all said they got rid of it but next boot it was back. I tried Adaware and McAfee AntiSpyware and some others. I finally found it had installed a service that was not getting deleted. Each boot it checked and then reinstalled itself. There oughta be a law...
Steve,

I shared your frustration, and no-one in the business or in my ISP group could help. I finally downloaded something called "Spyware Doctor" from PC Tools, and also a sister application called "registry Mechanic". When I ran tese, they cleared out Bargain buddy for keeps, and found a ton of other stuff which Spybot didn't detect.

On rebooting, they were gone. Whew! The software has a modest cost. under $50.00, and includes automatic upgrades for a year. My computer runs faster, and there are no registry corruptions, so I never get derailed or hung up. I've used it three weeks, and am delighted, and don't feel invaded like I did. (and that dumb Bargain Buddy dog is dead)

jhadley (Jack)
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Old 01-16-2005, 12:57 PM   #18
sreigle
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Thanks, have saved the info for reference.

I used to try to avoid safe mode because it always used 640x480 resolution and really messed up my icon placement when I returned to my 'native' resolution. But I found under XP this doesn't happen. Nice.
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Old 02-04-2005, 02:19 AM   #19
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I downloaded Microsoft's program
http://www.microsoft.com/athome/secu...e/default.mspx

This baby found stuff that no other program picked up. I have it running 24/7. I have been VERY happy with it.
Carolyn
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Old 02-04-2005, 03:37 AM   #20
padredw
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Steve, since I have Win98 on a couple of my computers (XP on this one) I found a little free program called "Icon Restore" that works like a charm. I had exactly the same problem whenever I had to use 'safe mode'. Now I can save the icon placement anytime and if they get messed up by safe mode or any other idiocyncracy of windows I just right click the "my computer" icon and click "restore icon layout." Takes up little space and is quickly and freely downloaded. I keep it even on my XP machines.
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