Jump to content


 


Register a free account to unlock additional features at BleepingComputer.com
Welcome to BleepingComputer, a free community where people like yourself come together to discuss and learn how to use their computers. Using the site is easy and fun. As a guest, you can browse and view the various discussions in the forums, but can not create a new topic or reply to an existing one unless you are logged in. Other benefits of registering an account are subscribing to topics and forums, creating a blog, and having no ads shown anywhere on the site.


Click here to Register a free account now! or read our Welcome Guide to learn how to use this site.

Photo

What's the Best Way to Protect a Public-Use PC?


  • Please log in to reply
10 replies to this topic

#1 YetAnotherGeek

YetAnotherGeek

  • Members
  • 4 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:11:15 PM

Posted 20 October 2011 - 05:22 PM

I do volunteer PC repair work with a local non-profit group that offers the use of several internet-connected PCs to residents of subsidized housing. These PCs are located at community centers, and available for use by any housing residents who wish to use them while the centers are open. Most of the folks who use the PCs are interested in job searching while online, but some just come in to surf. In any case, the PCs accumulate a good bit of adware and other junk that periodically has to be cleaned up. Serious virus infections haven't been a big problem (yet), which I'm guessing is because users are logged in with only limited account privileges.

Is there a free or very low-cost, and preferably not-too-complex way to set these PCs up with virtual or sandbox sessions so that whatever junk has accumulated during the day gets wiped out when the PCs are shut down or when users log off? Ideally this would also prevent virus damage to the PCs.

The PCs are all standalone, running Windows XP Home Edition SP3. They are older donated/recycled PCs, so they don't have a lot of processing horsepower. Typical setup is a P4 processor running around 2GHz, with 512MB to 1GB of memory, and disk capacity of 80 to 160GB.

Any suggestions welcome. Thanks.

Bob

Edited by hamluis, 20 October 2011 - 05:44 PM.
Moved from XP to AV, Firewall, etc.


BC AdBot (Login to Remove)

 


#2 baldogwapito

baldogwapito

  • Members
  • 5 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Manila, Ph
  • Local time:10:15 PM

Posted 20 October 2011 - 05:30 PM

I have the same setup here at my small office and here's the setup that I have


I use Google Chrome as default browser and set it to "Clear Cache after exit"
For Antivirus protection I have Microsoft Security Essentials, Malwarebytes and SuperAnti Spyware. All of them consume little resources so they would be okay. MSE is free, but the others have free versions but I recommend purchasing the Pro edition since they are good.
For Firewall, I use Zone Alarm Free Firewall.

Basically, that should get your PC's protected.

#3 hamluis

hamluis

    Moderator


  • Moderator
  • 55,562 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Killeen, TX
  • Local time:10:15 PM

Posted 20 October 2011 - 05:44 PM

FWIW: IMO, free versions of AV are just as efficient and certainly more than adequate...for doing whatever an AV can do.

The paid versions of such usually often combine unnecessary firewalls and nice-sounding phrases so that the user thinks that he/she is really paying for something which is not virtually the same product as the free version.

We have a forum devoted to such information as you seek, I will move this topic there.

Louis

#4 Orange Blossom

Orange Blossom

    OBleepin Investigator


  • Moderator
  • 36,911 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Not Telling
  • Location:Bloomington, IN
  • Local time:11:15 PM

Posted 20 October 2011 - 05:46 PM

An important thing is to disable autoplay so that when flash drives are inserted, they don't automatically start. Many infections are spread through these.

Orange Blossom :cherry:
Help us help you. If HelpBot replies, you MUST follow step 1 in its reply so we know you need help.

Orange Blossom

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

SpywareBlaster, WinPatrol Plus, ESET Smart Security, Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware, NoScript Firefox ext., Norton noscript

#5 cryptodan

cryptodan

    Bleepin Madman


  • Members
  • 21,868 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Catonsville, Md
  • Local time:03:15 AM

Posted 20 October 2011 - 05:54 PM

I would also disable all USB Ports in the computers, use Linux and Samba to create a domain type controller ti limit what accounts can and cannot do (with windows 2008 r2 server you can disable the installation of anything via group policy), a firewall to block all outbound traffic should be good, and how many computers?

#6 Nunos

Nunos

  • Members
  • 61 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Local time:10:15 PM

Posted 20 October 2011 - 06:13 PM

Microsoft Steady State was good for XP if you can find it anywhere. They don't have a version for 7 as is eluded to here.but you can use security policy to lock down things pretty well. Also if you look at the alternatives here.

Edited by Nunos, 20 October 2011 - 06:15 PM.


#7 YetAnotherGeek

YetAnotherGeek
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 4 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:11:15 PM

Posted 21 October 2011 - 09:49 AM

Thanks for all the suggestions. I looks like there are a couple of basic things I can do (e.g., disable USB autoplay) to help secure the PCs while still keeping them useable for the stuff that most folks want to do.

The discontinued Microsoft Steady State sounds like it was exactly what I'm looking for. Hopefully I can find it or a free/very low-cost clone of it.

Thanks again,
Bob

#8 RedDawn

RedDawn

  • Members
  • 454 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Not Telling
  • Local time:04:15 AM

Posted 21 October 2011 - 04:02 PM

Hi Bob,

Have a look at Returnil System Safe. They have a free version that may just suit your needs.

http://majorgeeks.com/Returnil_System_Safe_Free_d5702.html

http://www.softpedia.com/get/Internet/Popup-Ad-Spyware-Blockers/Returnil-Virtual-System.shtml

Official Returnil Support Forum is HERE if you have any questions.

#9 baldogwapito

baldogwapito

  • Members
  • 5 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Manila, Ph
  • Local time:10:15 PM

Posted 21 October 2011 - 05:17 PM

If you want the perfect solution for your computers, I also recommend using Deep Freeze. You can know more here: http://www.faronics.com/enterprise/deep-freeze/

#10 Didier Stevens

Didier Stevens

  • BC Advisor
  • 2,672 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Local time:05:15 AM

Posted 22 October 2011 - 03:55 AM

I too recommend Windows SteadyState, since you are using Windows XP. But you'll ave to Google a bit to download it, since Microsoft doesn't support it anymore: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2390706

Didier Stevens
http://blog.DidierStevens.com
http://DidierStevensLabs.com

SANS ISC Handler
Microsoft MVP 2011-2016 Consumer Security, Windows Insider MVP 2016-2018
MVP_Horizontal_BlueOnly.png

 

If you send me messages, per Bleeping Computer's Forum policy, I will not engage in a conversation, but try to answer your question in the relevant forum post. If you don't want this, don't send me messages.

 

Stevens' law: "As an online security discussion grows longer, the probability of a reference to BadUSB approaches 1.0"


#11 YetAnotherGeek

YetAnotherGeek
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 4 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:11:15 PM

Posted 23 October 2011 - 02:29 PM

If anyone is interested in getting a copy of the discontinued Microsoft SteadyState, the latest (final) version is still available from the Cnet download site. Microsoft still has a handbook available for download from their support site, and there seem to be a lot of other web pages with information on using the product.

Thanks again for all the suggestions.

Bob




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users