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Foolproof Spyware?


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#1 alburnus

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 11:59 AM

I understand new and more evasive viruses and worms are being created and spread, even as we sane responsible citizens who really have better things to do than try to protect our stuff, are, well, trying to protect our stuff.

I would like some opinions as to what the best spyware/anti-virus programs might be, and also, is it sufficient to stop with just the free downloads, or, is this a case of really getting what you pay for, so it is better to pay for an upgraded subscription to some or all of these?

I welcome your advice and opinions. Thanks so much!

Deb

(I currently have Ad-aware and Spy Sweeper, and McAfee, and another firewall through AOL - that I think might really also just be McAfee.)

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#2 jgweed

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 12:20 PM

I have found the free applications to be as good as, if not actually better, than the ones you pay for, especially in anti-spyware applications. Most of the latter have paid versions that have more bells and whistles, but because these companies do ONLY spyware, they tend to be more thorough and update more often than others. You do need to use several of these, because each company tends to have different criteria about what consitutes spyware and adware; one will look for things another will not, even though there is a general overlapping.

I tend to shy away from the all-in-one applications provided by ISPs or commercial companies, since they 1) are not consistently good for all aspects (good AV average AS, for example) 2) can bloat your system (historically they buy another company's program and glob it with whatever they began with) 3) make you dependent on one source, instead of picking and choosing what works easiest and best for you. By managing your applications, you know precisely what protection you have, and avoid the possibility of duplicating (e.g.) firewalls or running conflicting applications concurrently.

Using an alternative browser to IE, keeping MS patched, and especially exercising good judgement about what you download is just as important as having the right applications.



Regards,
John

Edited by jgweed, 14 February 2006 - 12:23 PM.

Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one should be silent.

#3 acklan

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 02:10 PM

John covered most everything you need to know. It's not that hard. The best thing is to be proactive not reactive. It is far easier to stop infections than to clean them up.
The one aspect of protection that I believe is over looked is online scans and trojan/worm detection. Most people think of virus worms and trojan are all detected in the same way. If you notice that each of the antivirus and antispyware look for different infections in different ways.
When you install protection load the online scanner software before you are infected. Once infected it can be very difficult to install software. You are limited only by the amount of resources your computer has. Primary RAM (512mb+).
This is a short list of examples:

Online scans
Trendmicro's Housecall Internet Explorer Only
Trendmicro"s Housecall FoxFire Only
Panda's ActiveScan Internet Explorer Only
F-secure's Virus Scan Internet Explorer Only
SyGate's Trojan scan
eTrust Antivirus Web Scanner Internet Explorer Only

Removal Tools
Kaspersky Removal Tools
AVG Manual Virus Removal tool
MacAfee Stinger Virus Removal Tool
Symantec's Viurs Removal Tools
BitDefender Removal Tools Free

Trojan Removal Tool
Ewido Anti-Malware After a 14 day trial it will not scan automaticily(2000, and XP only)(Features)
A Squared Free

They only use resources when running, so in this case your hard drive is you limiting resource.
You should run this from Safe Mode with Networking. This will allow you to update your programs while in Safe Mode.
Only use one Antivirus and one Firewall at a time.

Good luck.
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#4 -David-

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 02:32 PM

I thought i might as well throw in my 2C:
Here is my list of personal favourites.

Spyware KillersFirewallsAnti-VirusDavid

Edited by D-Trojanator, 14 February 2006 - 02:33 PM.


#5 alburnus

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 06:59 PM

Thank you - each of you - very much - your advice has been helpful. I will be acting on the advice and information you have given me. The time you have taken to answer is greatly appreciated.

Deb (There's probably a special place in you-know-where for you-know whos, wouldn't you agree?)

#6 acklan

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 07:38 PM

Since we are giving out recipes...

Antivirus (Run only one.)
AVG Free Edition Antivirus (I personally use)
Avast Home Edition Antivirus Freeware
AntiVir Personal Edition Classic Freeware
BitDefender 8 Free Edition

Antispyware
Microsoft AntiSpyware Beta (2000,and XP only)
Spybot Tutorial
AdAware SE Personal Edition Tutorial
SpyBlaster Tutorial
SpywareGuard Tutorial

Trojan Removal Tool
Ewido Anti-Malware After a 14 day trial it will not scan automaticily(2000, and XP only)(Features)
A Squared Free

Online scans
Trendmicro's Housecall Internet Explorer Only
Trendmicro"s Housecall FoxFire Only
Panda's ActiveScan Internet Explorer Only
F-secure's Virus Scan Internet Explorer Only
SyGate's Trojan scan
eTrust Antivirus Web Scanner Internet Explorer Only

Removal Tools
Kaspersky Removal Tools
AVG Manual Virus Removal tool
MacAfee Stinger Virus Removal Tool
Symantec's Viurs Removal Tools
BitDefender Removal Tools Free

Utility
cCleaner
Everest Home (hardware and software information)
Belarc Diagnostic Tool
Memtest86 "A Stand-alone Memory Diagnostic"
MicroSoft's Memory Test
Digtal Dolly (Hard drive utility)
Active@KillDisk-Drive Wipe Utility
BartPEWindows 2000 & XP Only.
Ultimate Boot Disk Utility
www.bootdisk.com
BIOS beep & POST codes
Firewall Security Test
Snap Backup (Backup Utility)
SpeeDefrag 2.1 (Restarts, runs, and shuts down Windows)


Firewalls (Run only one.)
Zone Alarm Free for Personal Use
SyGate Personal Free Edition (I personally use)
OutPost Firewall Free
Jetico Personal Free
Kerio Free Personal Firewall

Add alittle swat of the brow and commen sence and you have a safe computer.

Glad to help. We are here anytime.
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#7 alburnus

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Posted 15 February 2006 - 09:51 AM

acklan,

You have said to run only one firewall and one anti-virus. Is this because if you run more than one of those, they can interfere with each other? Or is it just because it is redundant to do so?

Again, thanks!

Deb

#8 acklan

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Posted 15 February 2006 - 10:55 AM

Yes they will conflict. Big time. It can and often will drag your computer to a grinding halt.
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#9 Pandasmith24

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Posted 15 February 2006 - 12:07 PM

Hey, Alburnus, :thumbsup:
This is probably a factor of alot of things, i personally run panda platnium '05 on home PC and and '06 on laptop and run microsfot spyware. i do tech support for panda problems with a retail store in US. the biggest problems when this hapens is AOL 9.0 security edition( spyware,mcaffee,firewall) or previous viruses and trogans, worms and Norton or other anti virus files or folders left behind at times(regisrty). it also really depnds alot on your surfing habits and other items such as P2P programs on downloading sharing files/programs and if you are a download junkie. :flowers:
panda does not have conflicts with adawre from lavasoft or spybot S&D or microsoft spyware program.
it really depends on you and your habits and prefernces of surfing online. also highly recommend keeping windows up to date, unless you have a pirate copy. as for free programs i am a firm beleiver in you get what you pay for. norton does not provide any phone or online support, unless you pay upfront. mcaffe i am not to familiar with really, until it comes time to uninstall from PC, this can be a real bear. panda can be a real bear at times also, i am not going to lie to you or blow smoke up your skirt either. like i said before it really depends on you preferences, surfing and free programs.:trumpet:
[font=Times New Roman][size=3][b] Joe Smith[color=#FF9900]

#10 alburnus

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Posted 15 February 2006 - 03:02 PM

acklan, well that seems like mighty valuable information - thanks for that! Where have I been that I am just now learning that - kind of scary - it makes me wonder what else I should know ASAP, before even touching my systems again.

Pandasmith - thank you for your contribution, as well. I am conservative in most things, including downloads, but I know this protection is important anyway - it only takes once, right?

Here's a related question for anyone with more computer knowledge and experience than me, and that would be just about all of you:

I have two computers - a laptop and a desktop. Last fall my laptop was infected with a virus which slipped through my Norton Antivirus protection. My two computers are not "networked," if that is the correct terminology, but just to be safe I cleaned them both up, after first removing the virus from my laptop (and, of course, thoroughly checking my desktop for the virus, which, by the way, was not found).

The one commonality the two systems share is my internet connection. Could my desktop ever be infected by my laptop, and vice versa, if they are not actually ever networked? (If I am understanding accurately what that term indicates, which I believe is setting up your systems in such as way as to allow them to communicate directly with each other.)

I am planning to purchase a new desktop, but I am worried there are some residual issues with my laptop from the virus. This is something I want to resolve anyway, whether or not I purchase a new desktop. However, if I would be risking my desktop with the (possible) residual issues from my laptop, I would wait until I have these issues resolved.

To summarize, these are my questions:

#1 If my systems are not networked, can they still infect each other, since they have the internet conection in common?

#2 What can I do to check my laptop so I can tell if the issues I am having with my laptop are from the old virus, or if the issues are related to something else?

Thank you!

Deb

#11 triangleflyer

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Posted 15 February 2006 - 04:12 PM

I have been using Norton for quite awhile because I used to use their utilities a lot back in the MSDOS days. My Norton was up for renewal and I decided to try a free one called AVAST!. I am really impressed. It found stuff on my computer that Norton did not. It has a nice interface. You might like it.
JRB
:thumbsup:
[font=Century Gothic][b][size=7]JRB

#12 alburnus

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Posted 15 February 2006 - 05:06 PM

Thanks, JRB, for the info - I have been hearing a lot about AVAST - I will be checking it out. I wasn't that unhappy with Norton until I tried to get some help. I was having all kinds of trouble which could not be dealt with in the usual ways, and even though I had been a paying subscriber for many years I could not receive even the most elementary help without incurring an additional cost - which I may have even been willing to pay had I been able to ascertain the exact amount before committing to some phone help - it was just so frustrating. Fortunately, they have lots of competion now. :thumbsup:

You (or anyone else) wouldn't happen to know the answers to my previously asked questions, would you? As I have been thinking about it, I might want to purchase a new desktop sooner rather than later, but I would not do this if I would be putting my new desktop at risk.

Also, (I know, I am breaking the "rule" about one question per posting, but these are such uncomplicated questions...) can someone please tell me, is it possible to infect a healthy computer with a flash drive that has been used on an infected computer? I am guessing the answer is yes, but I am not willing to settle on a guess for an answer in this case. Sorry if some of these questions are just too dumb, but I couldn't find a "Stupid Question" Forum.

Deb

#13 tg1911

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Posted 15 February 2006 - 05:33 PM

....is it possible to infect a healthy computer with a flash drive that has been used on an infected computer?

Yes it is.
If there was an infected file on the flash drive, and you downloaded it to the uninfected computer. it is now infected.

If you want to check your lap top, to make sure it's not infected, post a HijackThis log for examination.
A member of the HijackThis Team will walk you through, step by step, how to disinfect your computer.

Read How to post a HijackThis Log.
Please read, and follow, all directions carefully.

Then, run a log, and post it in the HijackThis forum, at this link. Do not, fix anything, yet.
A member, of the HJT Team, will help you out.
It may take a while to get a response, because the HJT Team are very busy. Please, be patient, these people are volunteers. They will help you out, as soon as possible.

NOTE:
Once you have made the post, please, DO NOT make another post in the HJT forum, until it has been responded to by a member of the HJT Team. The first thing they look for, when looking for logs to reply to, is 0 replies. If you make another post, there will be 1 reply. The team member, glancing over the replies, might assume someone is already helping you out, and will not respond. So, just make your post, and let it sit there, until a team member responds. This way you will be taken care of, in the most timely manner.
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#14 acklan

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Posted 15 February 2006 - 05:49 PM

Once you have your computers clean install one of the freeware antivirus' and a freeware firewall before you network your computers. Networking local computer is referred to as a LAN (Local Area Network) and can enhance your computer's capablilities. Proper protection should be the focus not if you will get malware. Alittle worry in healthy, but over concern can be as bad as the malware. What good is a computer if you are scared to use it because of malware. The good thing is it will not cost one thin dime.
By the way you can pick a router at Walmart for about$40, an ethernet cable for each computer and in under a hour all your computers ccan be sharing the same high speed internet access connection.

Antivirus (Run only one.)
AVG Free Edition Antivirus (I personally use)
Avast Home Edition Antivirus Freeware
AntiVir Personal Edition Classic Freeware
BitDefender 8 Free Edition

Antispyware
Microsoft AntiSpyware Beta (2000,and XP only)
Spybot Tutorial
AdAware SE Personal Edition Tutorial
SpyBlaster Tutorial
SpywareGuard Tutorial

Trojan Removal Tool
Ewido Anti-Malware After a 14 day trial it will not scan automaticily(2000, and XP only)(Features)
A Squared Free

Online scans
Trendmicro's Housecall Internet Explorer Only
Trendmicro"s Housecall FoxFire Only
Panda's ActiveScan Internet Explorer Only
F-secure's Virus Scan Internet Explorer Only
SyGate's Trojan scan
eTrust Antivirus Web Scanner Internet Explorer Only

Removal Tools
Kaspersky Removal Tools
AVG Manual Virus Removal tool
MacAfee Stinger Virus Removal Tool
Symantec's Viurs Removal Tools
BitDefender Removal Tools Free

Firewalls (Run only one.)
Zone Alarm Free for Personal Use
SyGate Personal Free Edition (I personally use)
OutPost Firewall Free
Jetico Personal Free
Kerio Free Personal Firewall


Best of all... they are free.
"2007 & 2008 Windows Shell/User Award"

#15 alburnus

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Posted 16 February 2006 - 10:46 AM

Again, thank you all so much for the valuable advice - I will have a block of time later today during which I can do that HijackThis log. That's really cool stuff - who thought that up? I'd love to learn how to read one of those logs, but as it's been fairly mind boggling just spending the last few days reading through hundreds of pages of your forums and tutorials, and realizing how fast I got left so far behind - how little I know - I'd best leave it to the pros. Still, I'd like to learn - do you guys have a tutorial for learning to read HijackThis logs? Or is it too complicated to learn via tutorials?

Questions related to the flash drive question - what if my desktop is clean but my laptop has issues - I used the flash drive to take files from my desktop and place on my laptop. I did this twice, but the interaction was always: taking from the desktop and placing on the laptop. (This was before I began to suspect lingering virus issues on my laptop)

#1 Does the direction of the interaction make any difference - are you infecting the uninfected machine if the transfer of files is going from clean to infected?

#2 How about when you take that flash drive and place it back into the clean machine (from the infected one) - am I correct in assuming an infection could only happen if I transferred files from the infected machine to the clean one, or is it possible for more insidious activity than this to transpire?

acklan, I totally take your point about overconcern. I realize I have reached that place where I hate even using my computers anymore (something I used to love) because I have had nothing but headaches for months now, due to the viruses and spywares and all the little nasties out there. I began to despair when I realized everything I was doing was not enough to stay protected, but thanks to you guys and gals, I am beginning to dare to hope maybe I can get on top of this and start fresh and stay better protected so I can have the free use of my machines again. That's your mission, isn't it? (Well, probably only one of them) Thanks!!

Once I get past this niggling concern that my laptop has residuals from its infection, and can be sure I am as well protected as possible, I have other computer issues to resolve, and things I want to learn. I expect it will take some time - thanks for all the help, everyone - I am learning a lot from you!

Deb




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