Another Newbie asking "Which Anti-Virus Sofware is the Best?" - Page 2

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Re: Another Newbie asking "Which Anti-Virus Sofware is the Best?"

Offbreed wrote:

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Normally, by the time you reach for the cord, it is too late. <g>

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Don't know what you are calling a 'house cat'. On the right of that
seattlepi page, I see a menu of sorts, beginning with "Customize your
content" and "AP: Top Headlines", but it just sits there being
unobtrusive.

You need to be sending the HTTP_REFERER to see the comic (which is a
strange requirement), and with JavaScript either on or off, it's just a
normal page for me. I did refuse the several cookies it wanted to set.

Aside:  if you want to disable the HTTP_REFERER (and easily toggle other
stuff), this Moz/Firefox toolbar is very handy.
http://prefbar.mozdev.org/ and a picture of the customize dialog:
http://k75s.home.att.net/images/prefbar.png

--
   -bts
   -Warning: I brake for lawn deer

Re: Another Newbie asking "Which Anti-Virus Sofware is the Best?"

Beauregard T. Shagnasty wrote:

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That depends on the display settings. I thought it was just a column
width problem that shows up on some of the blogs, but the computer at
work does not show that frame, so I figure it's something else.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

That sounds like I'd be getting into something I don't have a clue
about. How long does it take to down load (dial up)? Looks like I can't
down load to install off a flash drive.

Re: Another Newbie asking "Which Anti-Virus Sofware is the Best?"

Offbreed wrote:
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Firefox extensions are .xpi files.

The Prefbar is an extension you add to Firefox. It is a 124KB download.
You have two choices: either install it right from the prefbar web site,
or download and save the file, and access it via Firefox's menu,
File > Open File ...

Start by creating (if you don't already) a c:\downloads\firefox folder.
Then go to http://prefbar.mozdev.org/installation.html and right-click
on the link at:
   " Or install the entire PrefBar package: prefbar3.3.xpi "
Choose "Save Link As" and in the resultant dialog, pick your new
\download\firefox directory. Once it is there, do the Firefox
File > Open File ...   and it will install.

Then customize it and set it as you like.
http://k75s.home.att.net/images/prefbar.png

It is not going to harm your computer in any way.

--
   -bts
   -Warning: I brake for lawn deer

Re: Another Newbie asking "Which Anti-Virus Sofware is the Best?"

Offbreed wrote:
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i don't get any... at all... i suspect because the noscript extension
effectively blocks most if not all popup vectors...

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i don't appear to be seeing that either... here's what i get when i load
that page (
http://img161.imageshack.us/my.php?image=untitled9jj.png)...
am i simply not recognizing what you're talking about or is it really
not there for me?

--
"it's not the right time to be sober
now the idiots have taken over
spreading like a social cancer,
is there an answer?"

Re: Another Newbie asking "Which Anti-Virus Sofware is the Best?"

kurt wismer wrote:

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It's the "My PI" thing. My screen settings cause it to overlay part of
the last cartoon, sometimes. (This was just the only one I could go back
to quickly as I usually avoid poorly done sites. Gotta get my Duck Fix <G>.)

The computer at work does not even show it, so I sometimes have to use
that one to get the punch line.

Re: Another Newbie asking "Which Anti-Virus Sofware is the Best?"

Offbreed wrote:
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oh, i see... you want to make it look like this
(
http://img163.imageshack.us/my.php?image=untitled23nz.png)

there's an extension called "remove it permanently" that can help with
that... you can right click on it (generally right on the edge, you may
have to experiment a bit to find the spot that will select the entire
thing) and choose the remove it permanently option and it's gone... i
seem to recall there was another one that would actually let you resize
or even move (i think) such elements, but i don't remember what it was
called exactly (maybe platypus?)...

--
"it's not the right time to be sober
now the idiots have taken over
spreading like a social cancer,
is there an answer?"

Re: Another Newbie asking "Which Anti-Virus Sofware is the Best?"


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Yeah, Platypus in conjunction with Greasemonkey.  Greasemonkey allows
you to run your own javascript on a given page, and Platypus provides a
WYSIWYG-ish editor for Greasemonkey scripts.  So you can use scripts to
rearrange pages.

Stylish is another extension that can help -- it makes managing user
stylesheets easy.

Offbreed, if that My PI sidebar is the only thing bugging you, you can
get rid of it without messing with extensions.  If it's not already
there, add a userContent.css file in the chrome subdirectory of your
Firefox profile, and put this in it:

   @-moz-document url-prefix(http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/fun/mallard )
      { #mypi { display: none !important } }

Change the url-prefix part to just http://seattlepi if you never want
to see the My PI sidebar thingy on any of their pages.  (Well, it may
come back if there's a site redesign.)

--
Q

Re: Another Newbie asking "Which Anti-Virus Sofware is the Best?"

Q wrote:
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Many thanks.

I figure advertising is the cost of reading free content, but I'm seldom
at a site to read the advertising. Sloppy work like that is annoying.

Re: Another Newbie asking "Which Anti-Virus Sofware is the Best?"

kurt wismer wrote:

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Yes, that's it. (Speaking of popups, Fire fox does not seem to block
that advertising that loads right after imageshack.)

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Sounds handy, either way. Thanks.

Re: Another Newbie asking "Which Anti-Virus Sofware is the Best?"

Offbreed wrote:

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Odd. I see no advertising popup when visiting the link above, even
though the code seems to want to open a window from casalemedia.com.

You might also want to check out this page about blocking ads:
http://www.floppymoose.com /

Place the author's copy of the file:  userContent.css
in the following profile folder:
C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application
Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\<random>.default\chrome

--
   -bts
   -Warning: I brake for lawn deer

Re: Another Newbie asking "Which Anti-Virus Sofware is the Best?"

Beauregard T. Shagnasty wrote:

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I can't get it to come back, now.

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Bookmarked and downloaded. Thanks. That sounds like some handy tricks,
especially the flash.

Re: Another Newbie asking "Which Anti-Virus Sofware is the Best?"

Offbreed wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it

that's weird, i don't see that either... maybe noscript strikes again?

--
"it's not the right time to be sober
now the idiots have taken over
spreading like a social cancer,
is there an answer?"

Re: Another Newbie asking "Which Anti-Virus Sofware is the Best?"

Quoted text here. Click to load it

If you scroll all the way to the bottom of the "house cat", there is an
option to "disable PI".  Poof! It's gone...

-jen



Re: Another Newbie asking "Which Anti-Virus Sofware is the Best?"

jen wrote:

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Well, ibedam. Yup. Simplest solution yet. (Read the darn thing.) Thanks.

Re: Another Newbie asking "Which Anti-Virus Sofware is the Best?"

Thanks for the response Ed,

All good advice I plan to take!

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Since this thread started I've been using Mozilla to browse and I
really like it.   Not sure how secure it is but I've been using Mozilla
Mail too.  I'll try FF eventually.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Good advice.  Thanks.

Jim


Re: Another Newbie asking "Which Anti-Virus Sofware is the Best?"

'jimrainsford' wrote, in part:
| Well, I'm not an internet newbie, but soon I'll be switching to a high
| speed connection for the first time.  (cable).  I've been reading
| through old posts in this newsgroup and I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed
| as if there's no real way to rest assured my PC is protected.  I
| couldn't find a FAQ for this group, so I'll gladly go do more research
| if my questions are too basic.  In this case a link or reference is
| appreciated along with the flame.It seems you've done your homework.
_____

Some comments, in no particular order:

#1.  A router is a very good idea.  These days a router with NAT and a DHCP
server costs a few tens of dollars US.  The NAT router can be used to allow
multiple systems to connect to the Internet.  The way it does this is to
store the computer source of each outgoing packet and then when replies from
the Internet are returned it can use that stored identity to route the
replying packets to the correct computer.  WAN (Wide Area Network - the
Internet) can see only the IP address assigned to the router, not the IP
addresses of any system in the LAN (Local Area Network - perhaps only one
machine.)  A router with NAT blocks incoming packets of data that don't
match its record of outgoing packets.  A system in the WAN can not even
discover what ports are open on your computer.

        a.  My (home) routers (now and in the past) log unsolicited attempts
to access my computers (averaging 100 per hour).

        b.  They are always operating (otherwise no connections are
possible.)

        c.  The various software firewalls I have tried NEVER report an
intrusion attempts because the attempts are stopped at the router.

        e.  A router with NAT and DHCP does not inspect outgoing data, so it
does not offer protection against critical information being sent outwards
to the internet nor the use of your system as a 'zombie' by spammers.

        f.  There are Websites that offer 'port scans' and other tests to
determine how secure your systems are from attack over the Internet
(Symantec, for example, at
http://security.symantec.com/sscv6/default.asp?productid=symhome&langid=ie&venid=sym
.


#2.  A router can allow more than one computer system to use one Internet
connection.  Some ISPs state that multiple computers are not permitted.
Some ISPs will provide you with multiple computer hardware (router) for a
monthly fee.  Just ignore these statements.  The ISP can't tell if multiple
computers are connected to a router (without more effort than it is worth)
and you don't need their equipment.  Usually, when you need support, it
isn't even necessary to bring up that you are using a router than the ISP
did not supply.  This is especially true when only one computer is
connected.

Consider a wireless router, even though you may not immediately use the
wireless function.
        a.
#3.  A software Firewall can keep watch on programs installed in your
computer system that attempt to access the internet, and can be set to allow
only certain programs accessed, and can be set to block types of
information.

#4.  Your ISP to be should be able to tell you whether you will get a static
or dynamic IP address, but usually a Static IP address is an added cost
extra.  And you likely don't need a Static IP address or the extra cost.

#5.  A good up-to-date Antivirus program, always active, and with up-to-date
virus definitions is a must.  It must be active ALL THE TIME so that ANY
time an attempt to manipulate (open, save, copy, move, execute) a file it is
scanned.  You will see many subjective posts about various brands.  Really,
any of a dozen or so Antivirus programs are adequate.  There are three main
things to consider.

        a.  How effective is the program at detecting and blocking the entry
of viruses and other malware?

        b.  How effective is the program at giving you the protection
choices you want?

        c.  And less important, how effective is the program at removing
malware that has been activated on your computer system?

#6.  Use several additional programs that don't necessarily need to be
continuously active.

        a.  Anti-spyware  (SpyBot Search&Destroy)
        b.  Anti-adware  (AdAware SE by Lavasoft)
        Both are well regarded and free.

#7.  You may also want to use an ad-blocker, a program that is always active
and stops most ads from appearing on web pages - no pop-up, no banners, no
embedded ads.  You will find this improves web surfing quite a bit, both
aesthetically and practically.  I like Super Ad Blocker, in part because it
prevents the even the download of an ad, which can reduce the time to
display a web page quite a bit.

#8.  As you mention, the KEY is prevention.  I haven't had a computer
malware infestation since 1991, and that was transmitted on floppy disk
copies of programs like AutoCAD (bought and used in a country that had no
copyright laws - discarded before leaving), and could have been almost any
type of malware since the programs were deliberately installed.

#9.  Keep your Operating System up-to-date, installing all critical security
patches.  Don't forget to check for critical security updates for
non-Microsoft applications.

#10.  Do NOT log on to your computer with administrator privileges unless
you need to.

#12.  Use strong passwords

#13.  Require a password to log on to your computer and set up a separate
user accounts for each person.

#14.  Things to consider, but that may be too big a pain-in-the-ass to do.
         a.  Require a boot password
         b.  Keep your system physically secure
         c.  Encrypt your sensitive data files

#15.  Penultimately, if you are concerned about financial transactions,
contact the financial institutions you use and ask for there policy on theft
from your accounts via stolen passwords and other identification.  I don't
think it is necessary to use a separate computer just for financial
transactions; I certainly don't.  A better use for your second system-to-be
might be to assign it to your son, along with responsibility for keeping it
malware free.  Both systems can be active on the Internet at the same time
through a NAT router.  Yes, these days a separate license is required for
each installation of antivirus software, but there are discounted licenses
for 3 copies from Norton Antivirus, for example and also free antivirus
software, AVG, for example.

#16.  Ultimately you must determine what balance between comfort and safety
fits your needs.

[You should not use a real email address as your identity to post to Usenet
Newsgroups.  Spammers have programs that harvest email addresses from posts
and add this to their lists.  Even worse, some Internet Worms (SWEN, for
example) running on infected systems harvest email addresses from Usenet
newsgroup posts and then send infected email to these addresses.  Also these
worms use the harvested email addresses as faked 'From:' addresses on the
infected email sent out.  Use a domain name that is guaranteed to be invalid
so that neither you nor some innocent (who might have a valid email address
you pick a random) will be hammered by spammers or worms; example.com and
invalid.com are both reserved and cannot be a valid email address.
'not.disclosed@example.com' works quite well.  If you wish to be contacted
by email, you can place a valid email address in your signature, altered,
but with directions for correction.  Example
jimranfordson at yokel.com {replace the ' at ' with '@' and yokel with
yahoo}  though this example is self explanatory.



Phil Weldon




| Well, I'm not an internet newbie, but soon I'll be switching to a high
| speed connection for the first time.  (cable).  I've been reading
| through old posts in this newsgroup and I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed
| as if there's no real way to rest assured my PC is protected.  I
| couldn't find a FAQ for this group, so I'll gladly go do more research
| if my questions are too basic.  In this case a link or reference is
| appreciated along with the flame.
|
| Bascially, what I do on my PC is browse the web and stream online radio
| (via WMP) but I have a son who will ocassionally play online games.
| Although I've been very strict about pirated sofware, every once in a
| while he gives into temptation usually via a friend's CD rather than
| directly downloaded from the Internet.  I don't think it's an issue
| anymore, but there's always that slight doubt with teenagers.
| Furthermore,  I am not on any kind on LAN.  I don't do any kind of
| instant messaging.  I have occasionally used IE in FTP mode just to
| upload images to a personal website.  (It's just a basic webpage for
| family to see all ISP based).  I try to keep plug-ins and 3rd party
| apps to a minimum.  I'm on XP (regularly updated) and I use M$ software
| like Outlook Express, IE6 and WMP.  I currently use Zone Alarm.  I
| haven't consistently used anti-virus software but I ocassionally
| download and run anti-spyware and anti-trojain software.  So far I've
| never had a problem, but I guess I've just been lucky.
|
| While I would hate to have to deal with all the problems of a virus
| infection, by far my primary concern is security from someone
| discovering the username and password I use to log into financial
| websites like my local bank or to check my investments.  (I only have a
| few thousand invested but it's my money and I'd like to keep it that
| way).
|
| To my understanding, due to high encryption, the only practical way for
| a hacker to steal my username and password would be for them to install
| a text-capturing-application (via some kind of trojain) and have it run
| while I log in then phone home later.  Is this bascially true?
|
| To my understanding there are other things I can do to promote
| security, including:
|
| Get a dynamic IP Address.
|
| Get a router even though I don't have a LAN because the router will
| help keep my PC anoynmous, almost like an dynamic IP.  Not sure how
| this works.
|
| Get a good Firewall.  (I currently run Zone Alarm).  For best security
| is it better to get a hardware Firewall or is an updated software
| firewall just as good?
|
| Other than turning the power off, is there a good simple (automated?)
| method for turning off internet access during times when there is no
| reason to be online?  My firewall (ZA) has a panic button to block all
| incoming and outgoing transfers.  Assuming my firewall hasn't been
| compromised, does this offer the same protection as not being online at
| all?
|
| I'd rather keep using IE and OE and WMP because they are well supported
| and help me to avoid unecessarly hassles with viewing pages or using
| the internet.  I feel comfortable using these apps so long as I keep
| them updated.
|
| I have enough componets to build a second PC.  I've been considering
| keeping a second PC on hand just for using to check my bank account and
| to check my investments.  (I would still use my regular PC for internet
| shopping. I figure if I get hacked and my credit card is compromised at
| least that's fraud protected.)
|
| When I use it I figure I'll directly hook up my secondary PC (rather
| than going through a LAN).  I'll set it to automatically update my OS
| and my firewall, virus checker, etc... and then I'll only go online
| long enough to check my account then shut the computer down and
| disconnect again.  Is is a practical idea or am I just being paranoid?
| Will I be able to use anti-virus software on two different PCs in this
| manner or will most companies require me to buy to licenses?
|
| Beyond that what does a hacker look for when port scanning or otherwise
| invading a PC.  Assuming I ever do get compromised is there anything I
| can do to make my local computer look less inviting?  In other words,
| what do hackers look for?  How much is protection about keeping
| yourself hidden verses protecting yourself AFTER you've been hacked or
| been infected with a trojain?  If I understand better what Hackers are
| looking for I might be able to make myself look like less of a target.
|
| Given my concerns and the old posts I've read from this newsgroup, I'm
| leaning towards Kaspersky for an anti-virus program.  However, scanning
| for trojains every hour seems very excessive and draining to processing
| power.
|
| All comments welcome, including those that redirect me to good links
| for more homework.
|
| Thanks
|



Re: Another Newbie asking "Which Anti-Virus Sofware is the Best?"

Thanks for taking your time to help me Phil,

I'm sold on getting an external router.  I need to do a little more
study, but your brief explanation has helped a lot.  So the IP of the
router is the only one seen publically and that IP is the one assigned
by the ISP (dynamically).

I'll be sure and get a router that supports NAT and DHCP, but as you
mention this doesn't stop outgoing transmissions which I'll have to
handle with a a sofware firewall.  Can I throw money at it and get a
router that DOES regulate outgoing transmissions?  Is there anything
else I should look for in a router?  I figure this is one of the things
I'll keep upgrade after upgrade so I'm not afraid to spend some money
on it.

Is the wireless feature and advantage just becuase it's easier to use
or is there more to it than that?  Would I be at risk of the next door
neighbor kid hacking in and pulling my data "out of the air" so to
speak?

Unless I hear good reasons not to, I'm planning to say with Zone Alarm
(the free version).  I need to put a little more thought into the
anti-virus program.  Of course I'd like to use donation based software,
but it doesn't sound like they are up to par.  My biggest fear is still
malware that will steal a username or password.  I routinely (2 or 3
times a year) wipe clean and reinstall the partition that contains my
OS and applications (using True Image 9).  In this way I get a clean
start with any spyware that I may have not seen, but it also means I
have to update everything again.  I realize some malware can survive
repartioning and reimaging.   Also, I have other partitions (used
mostly for storage, one for running games) that I do not regularly
reformat/reimage.

I have spent some time with "Shiled's UP" particularly when I used to
run win 98.  I didn't realize XP had similar open port problems.  When
I have time a little later, I'll download and check out the Norton post
probing link you offered.  I assume it doesn't raise false alarms like
some websites do.  I seem to recall symatec doing that years ago, but I
could be wrong.  It's a good link and I check it out.  Thanks.


I do use anti-spyware software from time to time.  So far no problems
other than tracking cookies.

I have used Web Washer in the past, but I'll check out Super Ad
Blocker.  I'm not really willing to pay much or any money for an ad
blocker.  I'll update my hosts lists as well. I'm a lot more open to
having extra software running now that I have the bandwidth to handle
it and more importantly, to handle the automated updates.

I'm quite ignorant on the way XP assigns user account and
administrative privledges.  All I know is that I have one user account
which I thought I was forced to create, otherwise I would have just
launched XP under one simple account.  Chances are I DO have
administrator privledges assigned because I've never had a problem
doing anything locally under the "user account" I always use.  I'll do
my homework.

I do use strong passwords but I don't think I can bring myself to type
in a password with every boot.  I certainly don't keep social security
or credit card numbers on my hard drive.  I guess the only risk would
be some kind of online shopping transaction, but that's done through
encryption.

Caling my financial institution for more info is good advice I'll soon
take up.  I don't know how practical it will be separating the gaming
from the non-gaming computer due to the hardware that I'd prefer to
share.  If there's just no way to separate the gaming machine from
machine that will be occassionally logging into financial institutions,
then I guess I'll have to just stop doing those kinds of things online.
It's a real shame becuase I love the convenience, but the hassle and
cost of maintaining two seperate PCs just makes it not worth it.

Oh, the email I use here is real, but it's for a throw-away yahoo mail
account that I never check.  I've been using Google Groups to post here
and so far I haven't discovered how to make it hide my email addy (or
to do an inline post).  I was aware of the issues you raise regarding
spammers and usent and email addys.  All good points.  I'll probably
get some decent usent software somehwere down the line, but for now my
plate is full with other issues.

I'm very thankful for your help and advice Phil.  I've got some
homework to do but I'll be back with more replies when I have time.

Jim


Re: Another Newbie asking "Which Anti-Virus Sofware is the Best?"

'Jim' wrote, in part:
| I'm sold on getting an external router.  I need to do a little more
| study, but your brief explanation has helped a lot.  So the IP of the
| router is the only one seen publically and that IP is the one assigned
| by the ISP (dynamically).
_____

Yes, a router with Network Address Translation (NAT) hides the IP addresses
of the LAN (Local Area Network, home) side and blocks transmissions from the
WAN (Wide Area Network, Internet) that can't be paired with a request from
the LAN side.

The cost of a 'firewall appliance' can be as little as a few hundreds of
dollars US.  A 'firewall appliance) will likely include the functions of a
router.  For your purposes go for the 'firewall appliance' that is the
easiest and quickest to setup, rather than for the highest possible
protection.  A properly set up simple 'firewall appliance' is superior to a
poorly set up complex 'firewall appliance'.  A 'firewall appliance' is a
computer with a CPU, ROM and flash memory for the operating system and
applications, RAM, and Ethernet I/O.  The operating system is likely to be a
flavor of Linux.  It is setup and modified through your web browser.  You
may not really benefit from a 'firewall appliance' because some of your
programs may not work (on-line gaming, for example) through the more
protective 'firewall appliances'.

One of the flavors of 'Vista', the next Windows operating system, may
include security features that are more suited to your needs than a
'firewall appliance', though certainly a 'firewall appliance' couldn't
hurt - you can always allow on-line gaming programs, for example, to bypass
the 'firewall appliance'.

I can think of only three advantages to a wireless LAN;
    * no wiring required
    * protection from lightning induced surges on phone lines or cable
service
    * mobile operation within your home, workplace, etc.
A wireless LAN does put data 'over the air' and those signals can be
received over short distances (not more than perhaps 100 feet.)  Within that
distance the signals can be received by anyone with a computer with a
wireless LAN card in a notebook (or desktop.)  HOWEVER, the signal can and
should be encrypted.  WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) offers complete
protection against casual scanning.  BUT, with technical knowledge, easily
available programs, and lots of patience the encryption key can be
discovered over a few days of constant monitoring.  If you don't have WEP
enabled, within the distance limit your data can be received and casual
users can join your LAN and use your Internet connection.  Thus, distance is
absolute protection; WEP is good against all but determined attacks, and
newer wireless LAN hardware devices offer even more security than WEP.  Most
wireless capable routers also have wired connections.

Finally, NO malware can survive reformatting and restoring a drive image
UNLESS the malware had already infected the system before the last image was
saved.
Do NOT make security a bigger hill than it is.  If you make the security
hill steeper than is necessary, you will not climb it.  Pick the basic
protections and put them in place.  Don't worry about the more complex
procedures - that's for folks with long experience with computers and
networks, or with IT support available.

DO NOW what you can do now.

* Purchase and install a good antivirus program with automatic updates.  Set
it to always be active, and do a complete scan once a month.
* Use several free anti-malware applications to backstop the antivirus
solution:
        - SpyBot Search&Destroy
        - Ad Aware SE by LavaSoft
* Use a method to view email in text only mode ( I use Magic Mail Monitor to
download email headers to cull spam, and to view suspicious email before
using my email program, Outlook.  Any spam I identify, along with suspicious
email I delete directly from the ISP mail server without ever downloading.)
* Install a router with NAT.

Consider your exposure, risk, and consequences to evaluate cost/benefit
ratio of protection.  Count your time as part of the cost of protection.

Consider that the vast majority of Identity thefts do not involve malware or
the target's use of personal computers.

Phil Weldon


| Thanks for taking your time to help me Phil,
|
| I'm sold on getting an external router.  I need to do a little more
| study, but your brief explanation has helped a lot.  So the IP of the
| router is the only one seen publically and that IP is the one assigned
| by the ISP (dynamically).
|
| I'll be sure and get a router that supports NAT and DHCP, but as you
| mention this doesn't stop outgoing transmissions which I'll have to
| handle with a a sofware firewall.  Can I throw money at it and get a
| router that DOES regulate outgoing transmissions?  Is there anything
| else I should look for in a router?  I figure this is one of the things
| I'll keep upgrade after upgrade so I'm not afraid to spend some money
| on it.
|
| Is the wireless feature and advantage just becuase it's easier to use
| or is there more to it than that?  Would I be at risk of the next door
| neighbor kid hacking in and pulling my data "out of the air" so to
| speak?
|
| Unless I hear good reasons not to, I'm planning to say with Zone Alarm
| (the free version).  I need to put a little more thought into the
| anti-virus program.  Of course I'd like to use donation based software,
| but it doesn't sound like they are up to par.  My biggest fear is still
| malware that will steal a username or password.  I routinely (2 or 3
| times a year) wipe clean and reinstall the partition that contains my
| OS and applications (using True Image 9).  In this way I get a clean
| start with any spyware that I may have not seen, but it also means I
| have to update everything again.  I realize some malware can survive
| repartioning and reimaging.   Also, I have other partitions (used
| mostly for storage, one for running games) that I do not regularly
| reformat/reimage.
|
| I have spent some time with "Shiled's UP" particularly when I used to
| run win 98.  I didn't realize XP had similar open port problems.  When
| I have time a little later, I'll download and check out the Norton post
| probing link you offered.  I assume it doesn't raise false alarms like
| some websites do.  I seem to recall symatec doing that years ago, but I
| could be wrong.  It's a good link and I check it out.  Thanks.
|
|
| I do use anti-spyware software from time to time.  So far no problems
| other than tracking cookies.
|
| I have used Web Washer in the past, but I'll check out Super Ad
| Blocker.  I'm not really willing to pay much or any money for an ad
| blocker.  I'll update my hosts lists as well. I'm a lot more open to
| having extra software running now that I have the bandwidth to handle
| it and more importantly, to handle the automated updates.
|
| I'm quite ignorant on the way XP assigns user account and
| administrative privledges.  All I know is that I have one user account
| which I thought I was forced to create, otherwise I would have just
| launched XP under one simple account.  Chances are I DO have
| administrator privledges assigned because I've never had a problem
| doing anything locally under the "user account" I always use.  I'll do
| my homework.
|
| I do use strong passwords but I don't think I can bring myself to type
| in a password with every boot.  I certainly don't keep social security
| or credit card numbers on my hard drive.  I guess the only risk would
| be some kind of online shopping transaction, but that's done through
| encryption.
|
| Caling my financial institution for more info is good advice I'll soon
| take up.  I don't know how practical it will be separating the gaming
| from the non-gaming computer due to the hardware that I'd prefer to
| share.  If there's just no way to separate the gaming machine from
| machine that will be occassionally logging into financial institutions,
| then I guess I'll have to just stop doing those kinds of things online.
| It's a real shame becuase I love the convenience, but the hassle and
| cost of maintaining two seperate PCs just makes it not worth it.
|
| Oh, the email I use here is real, but it's for a throw-away yahoo mail
| account that I never check.  I've been using Google Groups to post here
| and so far I haven't discovered how to make it hide my email addy (or
| to do an inline post).  I was aware of the issues you raise regarding
| spammers and usent and email addys.  All good points.  I'll probably
| get some decent usent software somehwere down the line, but for now my
| plate is full with other issues.
|
| I'm very thankful for your help and advice Phil.  I've got some
| homework to do but I'll be back with more replies when I have time.
|
| Jim
|



Re: Another Newbie asking "Which Anti-Virus Sofware is the Best?"

Thanks Phil. Between you and Art and a little online study I think I'm
getting this down.


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Well, that certainly sounds the most secure, but I don't know if I'm
willing to shoulder all that expense and trouble.  A few hundred USD?
Ouch.   I was hoping to get something a little simpler like a more
passive NAT Router that doesn't need it's own PC.  I can still use a
software firewall to track outgoing transmissions.  I don't doubt your
advice offers better security, but I'm more likely to change my banking
habbits than spend that kind of money.    I'm hoping to pick up
something from Linksys for around $75 USD give or take $25.

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Thats just the kind of info I was looking for thanks.  I can tell you
right now I'd rather have the peace of mind and get a wired router.

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As a matter of trivia, I thought there was at one time some kind of
malware that survived reformatting.  Didn't sound true when I heard it,
maybe because it wasn't.  Perhaps it was a quick format or perhaps the
virus hid out in one of the non-active partitions and later reinstalled
itself.

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Good and appropriate advice.  I'll admit I'm feeling a little
overwhelmed and ignorant, but it's getting better.

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I'll check out Magic Mail Monitor.  I might change but I've been using
Outlook Express using the typical security options (including text only
email).  Maybe I'll stick with it.  Time will tell.

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I don't really mind putting the time in now.   But once it's in place I
want to automate as much as possible so I don't have to do a lot of
regular matience.

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I know you're right.  I've been online for years and years and never
once had a virus or a trojain or anything.  But who wants to roll the
dice on getting their bank account cleaned out?   Ha Ha

I think I pretty much know what I need now.  I just have to get it
done.  I'm not trying to launch us into a public debate, but if you
have any software recommendations before I break out my wallet, I'm all
ears.

Thanks again,

Jim


Re: Another Newbie asking "Which Anti-Virus Sofware is the Best?"



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Reformatting does not remove (overwrite) malware in the MBR (Boot Sector
Infector).
This is probably what you were thinking about. BSI's are very rare now and don't
even
work with the more modern OSes.

Re-imaging the drive from a backup image (including the boot sector) will
overwrite any
malware in the MBR (but there probably isn't any anyways).



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