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Kitrax’s guide to killing Adware, Spyware, and Viruses.

Discussion in 'Techno-Magic' started by Kitrax, Jul 9, 2005.

  1. Kitrax

    Kitrax Pantaloons are supposed to go where!?!?

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    Kitrax’s guide to killing Adware, Spyware, and Viruses (Updated!)

    [​IMG] Chances are you came to the Techno-Magic forum with less than ideal performance from your computer due to adware, spyware, trojans, viruses, or all of the above. Well, you’ve come to the right place, because here you will find all the answers to all your malware problems.

    So what exactly are adware, spyware, and malware? Read this, and you’ll have your answer:
    Malware is a general term used to describe adware, spyware, or any other program that sneaks it’s way on to your computer. So there you have the short version. For a more detailed description of terms, check out the Spyware Glossary at download.com's website.

    ----------

    First things first: you need to get you system clean. This part is probably the hardest part as you need to decide what programs to use. Programs are constantly changing, and as they gain new features, or are completely changed, their abilities often change…sometimes the change for the worse. It’s ultimately up to you to choose a program that can effectively clean and protect your computer. At the very end of this article, you’ll find my recommendations.
    You have several choices of programs that will seek out and destroy malware. Many names you will recognize, but some are less known, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they won’t work as well, if not better than the others.

    In their February 2008 issue, Maximum PC Magazine ran an article on several security applications. To read the article for yourself, you can find it here. Internet Security 2.0
    Chose a program to scan for and remove any and all adware, spyware, and general malware that’s on your computer. Many of you have an All-In-One security suite. Not one of these suites can protect you from everything, nor can they completely clean an infected machine. To see a recent review and comparison of several of the top All-In-One suites, check out these two links:
    http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,140127-page,1-c,securitysoftware/article.html
    http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,140027-page,1-c,securitysoftware/article.html
    The first link contains a chart that ranks each suite; the second link provides a more in-depth review of each program.
    Now, you might actually have a virus or trojan on your computer. These little nasty buggers can cause a whole lot of actual damage and corrupt your files. To deal with these, you will need an actual Anti-Virus scanner. All of the All-In-One suites have an AVS. More often than not, you’ll end up paying money for virus scanners, but there are a few free versions out there that are pretty good…if not better than the paid programs such as Avast!, AVG Free, and ThreatFire.
    You should also check out these Free Virus Scanners as well. These programs run in the background and continually scan of viruses and trojans, and delete them as soon as they manage to creep on to your computer. Again, after you have the program(s) downloaded and installed, configure them to match your needs, and see if there is an updated version, by using the program’s auto-update feature, if it has one. Don’t actually scan just yet though, read on!

    Depending on how badly your computer is infected, you might need to download and install 4 or more programs, but for the majority of you, all you’ll need is a good adware/spyware removal program, an anti-virus program, and a firewall.

    ----------

    And with that, now is the time to do the scanning. For best results, restart your computer and enter safe mode, by continually pressing the ‘F8’ button as soon as the computer turns back on. Being in safe mode is The Best mode to be in when scanning, as some scanners can't delete malware if it is currently running. If you have Cable/DSL or are networked, unplug your network cable now. Once you’re in safe mode, go to the start menu and open up your adware/spyware scanner and do your scan! If at all possible, have it scan everything, from the registry, files, folders, subfolders, and everything in between. It will take time...especially if you have a 500GB hard drive that’s 90% full. After that scan, it’s time for another...oh the joy! This time, it’s going to be your freshly updated virus scanner. Again, have it scan everything possible. Oh, and if you think that the first scan took a lot of time, just press “scan” and watch your free time slip away as it scans...but hey, it’s time worth wasting.


    Okay, now that you got rid of all the malware, viruses, and/or trojans, it’s time to make sure they can’t come back. This is where firewalls come in to play. There are dozens of them out there, so once again, PCWorld reviewed several and has a list of the top performing programs, along with links to download the actual program…see it at PCWorld Firewalls can be a pain to configure, so take time to do it right once you have the one you want installed…otherwise you might not even be able to get online. Make sure you keep an eye on the programs that ask for internet access. A “program” that wants to act as a server, and that has an odd looking name that you don’t recognize could end up being a virus or malware installer trying to screw you and others out there on the net. Programs that ask for internet access during installation, or soon after can usually be trusted, unless the program itself is questionable. Your ISP, well known games, virus scanners, and the like you should give access to. But if you’re at a questionable site, and some unknown program named ‘XXXinstller.dll’ wants internet access, it’s probably best if you deny it, and also, see if you can select an option like, “Always deny access to this program” while you’re at it.
    Important note: *You* are your computer’s worst enemy when it comes to internet security! There’s no point in having a firewall if you constantly allow every program to access the internet just because you either don’t understand the pop-ups, or you just get annoyed with them. Take the time to read what your firewall is telling you…it could save a major headache down the road.

    • Now, for my recommendations! Currently, I’m transitioning from one set of programs to another. I used to use AVG Free, Spy Sweeper, and the free version of Zone Alarm. However, better programs have recently come to my attention, so I’m testing them out. The programs currently running on my computer are ThreatFire Free, Comodo Firewall Pro, and Spy Sweeper. I like ThreatFire, and I might pay the $15 to get the Pro version, as the Pro version adds more features. Even though ThreatFire is better than Spy Sweeper, I will keep Spy Sweeper for two reasons: First, it’s free for me (MSN Premium offer); and second, it offers a 10 ‘Shields’ that I think are essential.
    Stay tuned for any updates I make concerning the programs on my computer.


    To download any of the above programs, You can click any of the direct links I’ve provided for each program, alternatively, you can find them programs at download.com or go to PCWorld's download center.

    To check to see how protected you computer is, there are two sites that can test to see of they can see/break in to your computer. These sites are invaluable, and you should test every option they offer to see how your software holds up.
    The first is Shields Up!
    The other is PC Flank

    Finally, for a superior level of protection that some would call overkill, there are two more programs, Drive Sentry and Buffer Zone, which will add additional layers of protection to your computer. Both of these programs are in the 'Internet Security 2.0' article I liked to earlier, so you can read all about them...but basically, Drive Sentry is a free firewall for your hard drive, while Buffer Zone literally creates a virtual “buffer” between your computer and the internet…and it doesn’t let anything nasty though. They’re so sure of it, they’ll pay you $500 if the program doesn’t keep you safe. Snazzy...however, Buffer Zone will cost you $30 a year.

    Oh, and for you people out there that think you’re immune to malware because you don’t use Internet Explorer, THINK AGAIN!

    Thanks for reading this, and safe surfing! :thumb:
    If you have any questions, fell free to post them in this thread, or you can send me a PM.
    ~Kitrax :rolling:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 25, 2013
  2. Charlie Gems: 14/31
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    Thanks, Kitrax. I've been malware free since your reply in my previous thread. :thumb:
     
  3. Erod Gems: 14/31
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    About browser security (from the Secunia vulnerability reports):


    Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.x
    Secunia has issued a total of 31 Secunia advisories for Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.x. Currently, 32% (10 out of 31) are marked as unpatched with the most severe being rated Moderately critical.

    Mozilla Firefox 3.x
    Secunia has issued a total of 3 Secunia advisories for Mozilla Firefox 3.x. Currently, 0% (0 out of 3) are marked as unpatched.


    Opera 9.x
    Secunia has issued a total of 17 Secunia advisories for Opera 9.x. Currently, 0% (0 out of 17) are marked as unpatched.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2008
  4. hedron Gems: 7/31
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    Rogue Anti-Spyware

    The above link lists programs that claim to fight spyware but actually infect your system.

    I might disagree with using download.com after reading THIS They used to be a spyware haven until they got numerous customer complaints then instated this policy rescently, so I don't go there on principle.
     
  5. Kitrax

    Kitrax Pantaloons are supposed to go where!?!?

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    @hedron: Yes well, be that as it may, they still have a large selection of programs for download, and have a few good articles. Besides, they now have the phrase "Safe, trusted, and Spyware-free" on almost every page now. :lol:

    I could really care less about a website's infamous malware past...so long as it has since rectified the problem.

    Also, I have edited my first post to include two more helpful links. :rolling:
     
  6. Klorox

    Klorox Baruk Khazad! Khazad ai-mênu! Veteran

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    When you say "continuously press F8" to enter "Safe Mode," do you mean hold it down or keep on pressing it?

    Thanks for the wonderful guide!
     
  7. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    Just keep pressing rapidly. You can hold down too, if the buzzer doesn't annoy you. :D
     
  8. Klorox

    Klorox Baruk Khazad! Khazad ai-mênu! Veteran

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    Thanks Tal, and thanks again, Kitrax. This thread should really help a computer-retarded guy like me out.

    Do the websites you visit matter? I mean, are certain types of websites more likely to have viruses than others?

    I've also heard that you should never download an attachement from your e-mail onto your computer. Is that true?
     
  9. Harbourboy

    Harbourboy Take thy form from off my door! Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Yes, if you visited a lot of "free porn" websites you would probably be more likely to end up with viruses and malware on your PC. But, of course, you may look at that as a fair enough deal......
     
  10. jaded empath Gems: 20/31
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    Well, never is a pretty absolute word. It might be better to say "never trust an attachement sent to you by email".

    If the email was sent by a complete stranger (you don't know the person IRL, nor chat with them on msg boards or chat channels, etc.) who apparently has no reason to send it to you beyond "check this out its cool", delete the email without ever touching the attachment! :cool:

    And even if you have a good friend you'd trust to drive your car home, watch over your kids for the evening, etc. If they send you something without you asking for the file first, likely just don't touch it - send the person an email back to check. Some viruses will 'propogate' by accessing a victim's email program, and send copies of itself to everyone in the address book via a 'you gotta see this' -type email. :toofar: (If it's a virus, your friend's going to be replying "what email???" :hmm: and you could help them stop a virus on their PC. :D If it's 'legit', it's up to you - but see below)

    Some email services run virus-scans on any uploaded files for attachment, to keep them out before the get into the mail in the first place. I do know that Rogers Hi-Speed (sic, learn how to SPELL, Ted!) Internet provides a service with any included email accounts that virus scans *incoming* email, but other services? *shrug*

    But even if you ASKED for a software patch, the latest update on the client database, or even just a funny joke written in Word, a virus could still piggy-back into that attachment. So still run your checks on the file before *opening/running* it, have an AV prog running during, and do a spyware scan after.

    Technically the only way to be POSITIVELY sure your computer is virus-free and not being beset by spybots is to unplug that internet connection, and 'immunize' any incoming data on disks, etc. with another computer beforehand. :heh:

    In short, the only attachements I even TOUCH are those that I *specifically* requested from someone, and even then I'll copy the attached file to my pc, then scan the bejesus outta it before doing anything with it! :cool:

    .


    EDIT: And HB's right, but it's a little more broad than just 'porn.' My rule of thumb is, if the site seems too good to be true, IT IS - the's a catch somewhere, and it's probably trickling down the pipe towards your pc as you peruse the site. :heh:
     
  11. Kitrax

    Kitrax Pantaloons are supposed to go where!?!?

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    Is that from personal experience HB? :lol:

    I've found that "hacker" sites (basically any link you find off of astalavista.com) will assault you with tracking cookies, browsers hijackers, and just about every other kind of malware. So, if you need a crack for some reason...find someone else to get it for you! :evil:

    Also, if you have one of those "email preview" windows, find a way to close them and keep them from ever opening again. Some viruses only need that window to attack. :eek:

    And one last tip for the broadband users. When ever you do not have an internet browser, IRC chat connection, IM client, or any other program that needs internet access open, unplug your network cable (or the USB cable for those of you with weird modems). Your connection is "always on", which means that malware can sneak on to your computer anytime your computer is on! So limit that time where bad things can happen. If you need to get back online quick, just plug your cable back in, wait 5 to ten seconds, and you're ready to go. :rolling:
     
  12. Klorox

    Klorox Baruk Khazad! Khazad ai-mênu! Veteran

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    Kitrax, I downloaded avast, but it asks me to restart my system often. I guess it's downloading updates, and needs to restart for them to take effect, but is this normal?
     
  13. Kitrax

    Kitrax Pantaloons are supposed to go where!?!?

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    I wouldn't know, I don't use Avast! I use McAfee. Usually, a program will ask you to restart after a major update is installed. But I can't help much more than that. :rolling:
     
  14. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    Yes, it's normal... but you shouldn't have to actually restart often (maybe once every few weeks). And you don't need to either... just choose No and it'll update whenever you restart or shut down and power up your computer again.
     
  15. Disciple of The Watch

    Disciple of The Watch Preparing The Coming of The New Order Veteran

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    Kit, I installed avast! and Zone Alarm on my bro's P4, and avast tells me that it's incompatible with Zone Alarm and that it could create problems. What kind of problems are we talking here?
     
  16. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    First time I hear... I've had both installed since forever, and never had any issues. Must be an issue with a new version of one of them.
     
  17. Kitrax

    Kitrax Pantaloons are supposed to go where!?!?

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    Problems usually come up when you try to install two firewalls or two virus scanners on the same computer. You wouldn't by any chance have Zone Alarms Pro (or at least using the trail period)?

    All you need is one dedicated firewall, and one dedicated virus scanner...as as many spyware programs as you want.

    My suggestion is to look in to both programs and:
    • Make sure you only have Zone Alarm Basic installed. Uninstall it if you have the "pro" version, and reinstall choosing "basic firewall protection only".
    • Make sure that the newest version of Avast! isn't trying to be sneaky by offering a firewall of its own.
    • Go on Zone Alarm's web forums and search around for answers and/or post your problem there...they have nice, helpful members, and chances are, you'll get a reply from a Zone Labs staff member that can give you a straight answer. :thumb:
    If that doesn't help...try a different virus scanner...like the ones that cost money... :bad: :rolling:
     
  18. Disciple of The Watch

    Disciple of The Watch Preparing The Coming of The New Order Veteran

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    Well, Avast mentioned that I could face problems when browsing on the web, which is no problems, since my bro doesen't plan on using the machine to go on the web... I did deactivated transparent proxy, or some such thing, and also deactivated the Windows Firewall (XP Pro, SP2) since Zone Alarm is already there, and it seems to work correct... for now. The only one thing I have to do online is activate the damn Windows.
     
  19. Kitrax

    Kitrax Pantaloons are supposed to go where!?!?

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    I updated the guide to reflect my current dissatisfaction and removal of McAfee. I now use AVG Free as my virus scanner, and it's great!

    Bye bye 'bloatware'! :wave: :rolling:
     
  20. DarkStrider

    DarkStrider I've seen the future and it has seen me Distinguished Member

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    Ok anybody a good tool (preferably free) for clearing up the registery, mine seems to be playing silly buggers, and it's pointing at things I no longer have.
     
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