SPYWARE Update from Kim Komamndo

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by YuccaFlatsRanch, Feb 6, 2005.

  1. YuccaFlatsRanch

    YuccaFlatsRanch Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Just returned from a 2 week trip to California and was catching up on reading and came across this from Kim Komando's website on new spyware infecting computers and how to get rid of them.

    "KILLER TIP--THE WEEKLY QUESTION SENT IN FROM PEOPLE LIKE YOU!

    I'm dispensing with the usual Q&A format this week. It appears from
    my e-mail that the spyware problem is reaching crisis proportions.
    I am getting many complaints about About:Blank and something new
    (to me, at least)--SearchMiracle.Elite.

    Both of these programs, and others of their ilk, make changes to
    Windows Registry. When their files are deleted, the Registry entries
    download them again. To the uninformed eye, they appear impossible
    to eradicate. It's a real nightmare.

    As it happens, someone I know was infected last week with
    About:Blank, Cool Web Search and a number of other programs.
    He knows his way around computers, but it still took three or four
    hours to clean the machine. Argh!

    The infections occurred when he went to a site looking for information
    on a program. There was no indication that the site was troublesome.
    But a number of terrible programs downloaded automatically. He was
    using Windows XP and Internet Explorer, which were both fully updated.
    He was not, however, running any anti-spyware software. :/

    Today, an anti-spyware program is a necessity. Had he been using a
    blocking program such as Spybot-Search & Destroy, Spy Sweeper or
    SpywareBlaster, he probably would not have had these problems.

    After the fact, he used a cocktail of antidotes to clean the computer:
    Spybot, Ad-aware, Spy Sweeper, CW Shredder, About:Buster and
    Microsoft AntiSpyware. But when he rebooted, everything was back.

    He discovered that all of the programs had inserted themselves into
    Internet Explorer's Trusted Sites. He cleaned that out. He then ran the
    cocktail of programs again, and this time was successful.

    The fact that this spyware was downloaded to an updated computer
    is disturbing. I believe Internet Explorer is fraught with danger.
    If you're using it, I suggest you switch to Firefox. You can get it at:
    http://www.mozilla.org/

    If you have About:Blank, SearchMiracle.Elite or other invaders, get
    offline. Clean out the Trusted Sites in Internet Explorer. Click
    Tools>>Internet Options. Select the Security tab. Click Trusted Sites.
    Click Sites. Clean out everything and click OK>>OK. Then attack the
    spyware with the programs I've mentioned.

    Use Firefox to download any programs you need. Run the programs at
    least twice, to be sure they've gotten everything possible. You should
    also install a custom HOSTS file. Should you get a malicious program,
    the HOSTS file can block it from communicating over the Internet. I
    have more information on the HOSTS file at:
    http://www.komando.com/tips_show.asp?showID=8083

    You need to use an anti-spyware program, both to block this malware
    and to scan your system for problems. There are several, as I mentioned
    above. I think SpySweeper offers the most protection. It performs both
    functions. It's the one I use on my systems at home and at the office.
    Others here use SpywareBlaster. It is a blocking program only.

    On last weekend's show, I mentioned About:Buster to get rid of
    About:Blank. It's available free on the Internet, as is
    Spyware/Blaster. You can find it them at, respectively:
    http://www.majorgeeks.com/download4289.html
    http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/

    Most of the other programs are available from my site at:
    http://www.komando.com/bestshareware.asp

    Anti-virus and firewall programs are still necessary. But they will not
    protect you from spyware. So you must install additional protection.

    Hope this helps! And thank you for listening to the show. Be sure
    to tell 10 friends. It doesn't matter where they live, by the way.
    Kim :)"
     
  2. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    Follow the herd and you get to step in their droppings. I use Puppy Linux.
    http://www.goosee.com/puppy/ Its small (50mb download), its fast (even on my relatively old computer), there is a choice of Firefox or Opera browsers. Does nearly everything I need to do online and off though I have a copy of XP to occasionally run some favorite software offline. And I dont have to "scrape the bottom of my shoes" regularly like I would with windose.


    Spyware and viri are 99.9% aimed at windose users (the big herd you are following) so they are the ones who get to suffer. Better them than me though I have no sympathy with idiots that write viri and spyware and send spam. They should be tracked down and prosecuted. Let them spend a few years with Bubba in state pen. See how funny they think that is.
     

  3. Daryll in NW FLA

    Daryll in NW FLA Well-Known Member

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    Hey HermitJohn, I checked out the site about puppy linux- I have an e-machine w/XP, do I have to remove windows to use puppy? Or can I switch back and forth? Will Bellsouth web accelerator work with it? Not sure how it works-just wondering. Daryll in NW FLA
     
  4. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    No you dont have to uninstall windows to use puppy. You will download a 50mb iso file (choose either the one with Firefox or the one with Opera browser) and burn it to cdr making sure you check iso option in your burning software (usually a box you tick for this iso burning option or something simular). The software has to translate it. Just the iso file burned to cd, without this translation, does nothing for you. Most windows and linux cdburner software are capable of doing this. If your XP software isnt capable, there is some free XP burner software that can do this. Ask if you need it and I will look it up. Heck as Puppy progresses, I use the old Puppy to download and burn the new cd. Puppy offers Gcombust cdrburner. There are slicker linux cdr burner software gui frontends but this one works ok. Or you actually can do it from commandline if you really want to. I never do. Anyway, once properly burned to cd, you can boot your computer from this cd (set in your bios for your computer to first try to boot from cdrom). Puppy should boot and you can see what its like and even use it just that way without installing it at all. Or you can install it one of two ways to hardrive partition or you can copy it to usb keydrive and boot it from there or I believe if you have a super floppy drive you can even boot Puppy from that.

    I personally like a traditional install to hardrive since I like to tinker with Puppy a bit and for me this seems easier. I also like having both Firefox and Opera. I usually get the Firefox version of Puppy and add Opera after installing it to hardrive. Also add some games (there is a real neat pinball game that will work on Puppy though its rather large, windows version too if anybody is interested). All this is explained on Puppy website and in the Puppy discussion forums. Puppy discussion group is newbie friendly. Dont be afraid to post. Two other small linuxes worth mentioning (and simular to Puppy) are DamnSmallLinux and AstrumiLinux. I like Puppy best. If you want a larger version of linux try the Knoppix cd. Any computer capable of XP should handle it with no problems and I've even gotten knoppix to boot on an old pentium though it was slow. Lots of software and knoppix either can run from cdrom/ram or you can do a hardrive install. In this medium range I like Knoppix or Mepis, but there are for sure others. Windows users tend to like Xandros. Its commercial but free version for private use. It is familiar like windows and like windows will try to outguess you though it installs to hardrive very easy. If you really want the full bloated deal, there are always the major distributions with anything you can think of and plenty you cant, like Debian, Red Hat, Suse, Mandrake, etc.

    Might mention Puppy comes with ROX file manager. ROX is best file manager that I have seen or at least the way my brain works it makes most sense of any I've run across. Maybe I just have ROX in my head. Odd its rarely offered in other linux distributions though you can add it to nearly any.

    Feel free to ask me questions about puppy (I'll try) or go to the discussion group. Can do a search for previously asked questions about topic or just post. Barry is the developer and gladly answers questions. Be a bit patient for answers and remember time differences, he's in Australia and has to sleep sometime. Some others there especially GuestToo are very knowlegable about Linux. I've learned quite a bit especially from GuestToo's postings.

    Might add that the only problem you might run into is with your modem. Many windows computers come with a software modem, also called a "winmodem" Puppy supports some of these and there are linux drivers for some proprietary ones that cant be included with Puppy. However with Linux or Windows, a hardware modem works best. My computer still has an isa slot and old isa hardware modems are very cheap. I got whole pile of them for couple bucks since modern motherboards dont have isa slots. (I use them as they are far cheaper than surge protectors....) Even the external hardware modems that fit serial port are pretty cheap used on ebay, just watch out for those making their profit on shipping. There are even adapters to convert these serial modems to usb as some really modern computers no longer have a serial port. Regular usb modems tend not to be hardware modems.
     
  5. FrankTheTank

    FrankTheTank Well-Known Member

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    I currently use WInXP...and although i have a few problems here and there, i've wanted to make the switch (I'll probably get another drive for LInux--notebook computer--while keeping XP on the old drive).

    I'm still not sure what i want to go with (i've used older versions of Redhat, an OpenLinux). I recently came across a good slashdot article (theres many!) on Linux... http://linux.slashdot.org

    i'm thinking about Ubuntu...
     
  6. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    Really, try a variety of the live cd versions of linux. There are many, many choices. Most are much larger download than Puppy so unless you have a fast connection... However there are various online stores that sell cd copies of the free downloads, like couple bucks per cd. Also some sell on ebay. Just plop in the cd and set your computers bios to boot from cdrom drive and youre off to the races. You get an idea of what you are going to get without the hassle of an install. And if you really like a particular live cd, then most offer option to install to hardrive.

    Like I said above, if you arent familiar with linux, try knoppix or for a hardrive install, might try free version of Xandros. I had an install of Xandros for awhile. I can see how somebody who wants something very familiar and that invasively installs itself without asking bunch of odd questions would like it. I wasnt real happy because of lot of little things. It wanted to install LILO boot loader and I wanted to install GRUB. I replaced LILO with GRUB manually. Next reboot, LILO was back. Had to track down the bit of script that was checking for LILO and reinstalling it. It also comes with apt-get, avery nice Debian system for installing software and necessary dependencies. Unfortunately it limited apt-get's search to its own software repositories. I had to manually add the Debian.org sites where apt-get is going to have the most success. Now somebody that doesnt want to think about options but just wants the software to do everything, well this could be good. Anybody wanting options and this can be a bit of a nusiance.
     
  7. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    What new systems come with linux installed? I've been looking for a new tower and will never buy ms anything again.
     
  8. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    I pm'd you, but for anybody interested there are some low end computers that come with linux installed. Some have operating system support but most are just a workaround from paying M$ and they fully expect those buying them will format and install either an old or pirated M$ system. Shame as there are some really good linux distributions and most windows users at first blush wouldnt have any trouble using one. If you do want such a machine, check out thoroughly the particular linux distribution used. Is is a modern, popular distribution, and has active support group? I know Frys sold some low end computer with some Chinese linux. It didnt even support the modem that came with the computer. Frys knew nothing about them, the manufacturer was in Asia and offered no support. The distribution had no english website. Everybody involved just assumed people would add windows.

    There are also some higher quality systems that come with linux although I dont personally have any experience with them. Look at Dell and IBM. I am pretty sure they offer such.

    Might say if you want handholding with everything installed and supported, and have the $$$, consider a MAC. Its not linux but many of the benefits of 'nix system like being virtually immune to viri and spyware out there.
     
  9. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    Hi HermitJohn,
    Thank you for your pm. I've been looking all morning at Linux OS laptops. After looking at all the linux exclusive manufacturers, the ones who do not pay ms licensing fees - something like ten of them in the U.S.- I might go with a Mac. I've not found any inexpensive systems, except maybe the laptop with no modem, no drive, and the buyer can download Fedora 3 - 1K for that one :no: I don't need the handholding though I'm no expert. I've found my way around windows problems for the past 12 years and am disgusted with the increasing frequency of problems even with subscription virus protection and spyware protection. Pretty sure I can find my way around a linux OS but they seem to be made for the high- tech aficcionados, not your run-of-the-mill writer.
     
  10. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    I thought you wanted a tower not a laptop??? Walmart.com and Frys.com have the cheap desktop towers with linux installed. Probably others, I just have never been that interested in such since I can piece better one together myself for the money. I still think if you presently have at least something that will run win98, just get a live cd (like $2.50 per cd from place like BudgetLinuxCD.com) to see what linux desktop is like. Honest, no installing anything, just possibly a problem if you have winmodem. Even then you can get feel for linux, just cant go online. Of course there are for sure some hardware out there unfriendly to linux, but odds in your favor that Knoppix would recognize most of your hardware that you have now. And Puppy I've even got to run on an ancient 75mhz early pentium with around 32mb RAM. Some have gotten DamnSmallLinux to run on old 486 computers with 16mb RAM (not fast but it runs).

    Ok, quick look, Walmart.com's cheapest tower computer is $199.95 (no monitor included) and comes with Xandros Linux installed. Xandros is ok. Not my favorite flavor but it is solid system. http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.gsp?product_id=3380786

    Quick search at Frys/Outpost.com finds another couple cheap computers starting at $199.95 with Lindows/Linspire installed. Never used it, and maybe not first choice as linux people dont seem to rave about it. http://shop1.outpost.com/category/O...ing+System/Linux/?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN_RSLT_PG

    There are also places like Tiger Direct that sell new computers with no operating system. But then you are back to installing it yourself. (Really, trully, it aint that hard to do). Xandros especially is agressive in installing itself and very good at recognizing hardware. Just let it do its thing and very, very good chance you will have a bootable system without having to know much at all. It isnt even that hard to piece together your own computer. Most modern motherboards tend to come with video chip and sound chip built in. Not always a wonderful thing, but it does make it simple. Case(case usually includes power supply)+motherboard+RAM+hardrive+cdrw/cdrom/dvdrw/whatever and you have a computer. Reuse your old monitor/mouse/keyboard or buy a new one..... Might take look at Pricewatch.com for lowball prices(include shippin) on NEW computer parts/assemblies.
     
  11. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, I got switched around in the shopping. I have two fairly new, fairly fast towers - both Dell- an 8200 (ME) and a 4600 (XP). For a tower, I found very good prices on exclusively linux OS. For laptops, which I decided I'd go with due to the possiblilty I move off grid this year, I found nothing worthwhile.
     
  12. Smelt

    Smelt Active Member

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    BTW...Kim Komando really gives pi**poor information. I would take anything she says with a grain of salt.