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Anti-keylogger Programs And My Own Computer's Security Programs


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#1 Nikita

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Posted 21 May 2006 - 02:10 PM

Hi guys, I know this is a bit long but bare with me. I have several questions about various things and this site has helped me greatly in the past as far as previous security questions I've had. Also, to the moderators and creators of this board, I have skimmed other recent threads to make sure I'm not repeating questions and I didn't not find any other threads specifically about keyloggers. I apologize in advance if some of the stuff I'm asking below has been repeated elsewhere. Thankyou for your patience and this wonderful site. Being a moderator is a thankless job and I like to give moderators kudos every once in a while. (I'm a member on various message boards and moderators have to deal with so much crap sometimes from members on certain message boards. You guys do a great job and put in a lot of work that is usually under-appreciated so I just wanted to say thankyou since I don't visit this board that much unless I'm having an "issue".)



Ok, onto my questions...I've been doing some research on keyloggers and apparently, even though I have three different anti-spyware programs, an anti-virus program, a firewall, and I've switched to the Mozilla browser, none of these things can prevent all keyloggers.

I was reading about keyloggers and even specific anti-keylogger programs cannot protect against all types of keyloggers. Even using a virtual keyboard, is not enough. This is a good article below and it discusses the different types of keyloggers but this article made me realize that no security program will ever be enough:

http://www.securityfocus.com/print/infocus/1829

I read that it is very important to avoid clicking on pop up ads, unkown email, banner ads, unfamilier sites, etc, etc. I've always known this and I try to be careful, but sometimes you just accidently open something or click on something on a site (like a banner ad that can have spyware in it) and then its too late.

Here are the security programs I have so far:

AVG free edition anti virus
Zone Alarm Internet Security Suite (their top of the line one for private home computers)
A free version of A-Squared for dialers, worms, trojans, spyware signatures, etc
Spyware Blaster
Ad-Aware SE Personal (free version)


But I'm not sure which of these protects against keyloggers or if they even protect against keyloggers at all. Even though anti-keylogger programs cannot protect against all types of keyloggers, are there any programs that you'd still recommend since something is better then nothing?

Other questions...

McAfee virsus Zone Alarm: We have a brand new computer and it has Windows XP on it. (we got a Gateway GT5032) When we got the computer, it was already preloaded with McAfee which seems to offer more types of features then the Zone Alarm Internet Security Suite I got. But we only had a free trial for McAfee for three months. When it expired and I checked the site to possibly subscribe, it turns out that all the features on McAfee have to be subscribed to seperately. (McAfee has antispam, anti-virus, a firewall, a privacy service, etc, and they were all listed seperately for me to upgrade) And each one is around $40 which would be a fortune. I can't afford that. That's why I got the paid Zone Alarm program because it was around $50 for the entire thing and I wanted something better then the free edition of Zone Alarm but cheaper then McAfee. I'm hoping this Zone Alarm program is enough since McAfee seemed to have so many more features as far as privacy protection features. I've used the free edition of Zone Alarm in the past and I've been pleased with it. Is the paid Zone Alarm program enough or is McAfee better?

Instant Messenger programs: Here's the other problem with spyware. I use Yahoo Instant Messenger and MSN Messenger and keyloggers and other types of spyware can get into instant messenger program and chat rooms you might be on easily because they tend to be more vunerable. Are there Intstant Messenger programs that are less vunerable overall? Or, as long as I'm using all of my security programs, Yahoo IM and MSN IM should be ok to use?

Secure email programs: What about email? I change my email passwords on a regular basis and I've always used Yahoo email which I've never had trouble with and I make sure to delete all spam and bulk emails or emails where I have no idea who sent them or where they came from. But, because I'm human, over the years I have accidently clicked on a "mystery" email from time to time when I've "forgotten" to be careful. Should I switch from Yahoo email to a more type of secure email service? (please let it be free if you list any suggestions because my funds are tight)

Surfing the web more anonymously: The other thing I was wondering about is surfing the web anonymously. How do you do that? Or using email addresses that are "invisible" and non-trackable? There is a name for these types of email services but I forget what they are called.

You know, its gotten to the point where you can't even enjoy surfing the web anymore because you have to be so worried about any unfamiliar sites you might open or something you might accidently click on, or if you should even check your bank account online even though its supposedly on a "secure" site. I love the Internet but keeping up on Internet security can be a daunting task sometimes.

And one last question...

Dial up virsus DSL: The other thing you need to know is I have dial up service from NetZero. I've heard that it can be easier for hackers to get into your computer with DSL then with dial up. I would love to upgrade to DSL, but now I'm paranoid about that.

If you know of anything else I can do to keep my computer more secure in addition to all the things I've done so far, please feel free to share. Or, if you know of other threads on this site where my specific questions have already been answered, feel free to just post the link for me and then you don't have to repeat yourself and type a long answer. :thumbsup:

And finally, thankyou for taking the time to read this long post!


Nikita :flowers:

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#2 Nikita

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Posted 21 May 2006 - 02:12 PM

Oh, one other thing I forgot to mention. My computer does Windows updates automatically as far as possible security threats and updated patches. See, I'm doing everything I possibly can! :thumbsup:

#3 tg1911

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Posted 21 May 2006 - 05:26 PM

Thank you for the nice compliment, Nikita.
We do appreciate them. :thumbsup:

I can help you with some of this.

I see you're using AVG and Zone Alarm Internet Security Suite.
Are you running both antivirus programs at the same time?
If so, you shouldn't.
Running 2 AV's at the same time, will cause conflicts, possibly rendering them both inoperable.
You should run only one AV, and firewall, but as many spyware/malware applications, as your system will handle.

As far as which AV program is the best, that's a personal choice.
They all perform about the same, free or paid versions.
If you ever think your AV is missing something, do a couple of online scans.
We have several listed here:
Freeware Replacements For Common Commercial Apps

Along with aČ, I would also use ewido security suite - Windows 2000 and XP, only.
This free program also detects keyloggers.

I would also recommend SpywareGuard
It's a nice compliment to SpywareBlaster.
It allows you the option to prevent downloads that contain bad active X controls.
Think of it as, an AV for downloads.
If it pops up, asking if you want to allow a download, and you didn't click to download anything, that's something you'd want to deny.

The only place I know of, for throw away E-mail addresses, is dodgeit
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#4 Elendil

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Posted 21 May 2006 - 09:27 PM

tg1911 has answered your post very diligently and effectively, but I have a few things to add in conjunction with tg1911's advice.

Ewido Security = A must in my mind. Now that Grisoft has taken over it, Ewido's free edition and paid will continue to deliver excellence in malware prevention and removal (perhaps better).
I've looked through your list of security programs and I don't see Spybot Search & Destroy. Spybot Search & Destroy can be downloaded from www.safer-networking.org I feel that after you download this wonderful, free tool, you'll want to keep it.
SpywareGuard is the partner/sidekick of SpywareBlaster and I use both so I'm supporting tg1911's point on it as well as Ewido.
Likewise, two anti-virus programs shouldn't be run at the same time (what a hypocrit I am, see my AVG & Sophos post).
The nice flash and bang "security suites" appear to be catching everyone's attention; personally, I don't believe in paying for computer security (at least not over $75 and even that hasn't occured with me). McAfee is great and all but like you said it'd cost a fortune. ZA hasn't been a personal favorite of mine either. So, here's my malware defense layout for you:

Remove McAfee since the trials over. Equip your computer with Ewido, Spybot S&D, Ad-Aware SE, SpywareBlaster, SpywareGuard, (possibly A-Squared Anti-Malware), HiJackThis, and an anti-virus program. Since Windows XP SP2 comes with a decent built in firewall: Windows Firewall you're firewall security is fine. Now, for the big issue with you: anti-virus. If you're willing to pay, check out NOD32 and Kaspersky, both of which are top of the line and amazing anti-virus products. Of course, if you want to roll completely free, AVG Free, AntiVir, and Bit Defender 8 are all excellent anti-virus choices. You're security suite has been created and you are ready to roll.

In regards to IM programs, as a teen, IM programs are necessary and essential to me. Unless you go provoking a script kiddie, find a hacker and annoy him/her, or any such malicious and idiotic activities, you shouldn't have to worry about being infected through an IM program. Just don't open any downloads, attachments, etc. that aren't realiable. Yahoo email is a good choice, but I personally love Gmail. If you'd like I can send you an invite for this 2.5 GB+ email account with an excellent built in spam filter (Gmail is free, so no worries about budget there). Just PM me your email and I'll send you the invite.

Surfing annoymously: Really, unless you're an all time celebrity or extremely important person, you don't need it as long as your web habits are good.

Now the final answer to your last question: DSL vs. Dial-up, relax like the previous answer you're not going to be assault by hackers the second you switch to DSL. Currently, I'm using DSL and I have yet to suffer a hacker attack.

I hope my advice, info, etc. has been helpful and good luck on securing your computer! :thumbsup:
Stanford '14
B.S. Candidate | Computer Science

#5 tg1911

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Posted 21 May 2006 - 11:14 PM

I agree with Elendil, about adding Spybot to your arsenal of spyware tools, but I have to disagree, about Windows firewall being adequate protection.
It's considered by most, to be 1/2 a firewall, as it only filters incoming communications.
If you were to become infected, there's nothing preventing your computer from spreading the infection throughout the internet.
You should use a good 2-way (incoming and outgoing) firewall, either hardware (router), or software (a program such a ZoneAlarm).
There are a few good, free, software firewalls available, at the Freeware Replacements For Common Commercial Apps link I provided above.
Remember, only 1 AV, and 1 firewall, running at the same time.
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#6 Nikita

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Posted 18 June 2006 - 08:49 PM

Hi guys. Thankyou for the info and sorry it took me so long to get back here. We ended up encountering problems with Zone Alarm so I ended up having to uninstall it completely. We tried Spybot on our new computer originally, but it kept interferring with other programs so we had to uninstall that as well. And we eventually uninstalled AVG because I know that it's not a good idea to have two anti-virus programs or two firewall programs running at the same time. (AVG continued to stay glitchy even after I disabled McAfee and the anti-virus feature on Zone Alarm to try it) So, after a couple weeks of frustration because of "glitches" that kept happening with AVG, Spybot and Zone Alarm, my brother got fed up, uninstalled all of them and went ahead and paid for the subscription to McAfee. We were hoping to avoid that but I've noticed over the years that I've used AVG and Zone Alarm, that while they are still good programs, they have gotten "glitchier" everytime they get upgraded to a new version.

Anyway, I have not tried Spybot again though because it interferred with McAfee when we were using McAfee for its free trial run. I do still have A-Squared, SpyBlaster, and Ad-Aware. (all free versions) I will however, check out the additional spyware programs you guys have listed as far as keyloggers. And I will also check out the other antivirus/firewall programs you've listed even though we've now got a paid McAfee subscription. There are always new programs being developed that might be just as good and cheaper then McAfee or even free. So, I will add them to my list of security programs. I wish I had gotten back here sooner but it couldn't be helped. But thankyou so much for your advice. I appreciate it as always. This board has been very helpful to me in the past.

I may download Spybot and try it again.

(P.S. We turned off the Windows XP firewall so that it does not intefere with the McAfee firewall. We also did that for Zone Alarm but Zone Alarm was still glitchy even with the XP and McAfee firewall off)

Edited by Nikita, 18 June 2006 - 09:17 PM.


#7 buddy215

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Posted 18 June 2006 - 09:26 PM

The best computing day of your life will be when you dump Net0000 and use broadband. The glitches you refer to probably had more to do with Net0000 than anything else. Using Firefox is the best way to avoid active x malware as Firefox doesn't allow it. Using NoScript extension in Firefox will prevent getting infected by drivebys when surfing the net. If you have the option to get cable broadband it is generally better than DSL as the speeds you can expect drastically drop as you get further from the phone company's office. Last but not least, when you notify Net0000 of your intent to cancel, be sure to get an email from them stating you have canceled. Believe nothing they tell you over the phone. They have a reputation of billing you long after you have canceled.
“Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded and the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics...you are all stardust.”Lawrence M. Krauss
A 1792 U.S. penny, designed in part by Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, reads “Liberty Parent of Science & Industry.”




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