Computer Knowledge Virus Tutorial
Unpatched PCs compromised in 20 minutes
How Internet Explorer could drain your bank account
Protect Your Windows®
PC (all recent versions)
Simply connecting to the
internet is now a risk.
New worms can infect a computer even if you do not visit any web sites or open
email. Be sure to have a firewall enabled before connecting the first time.
security risks and countermeasures associated with Internet connectivity
User's Security Checklist for Windows
Watch out for
Spam that can’t be
Protect your computer with
How I do a cleanup
How business travelers risk exposing their companies when remotely accessing company
More computer security advice
Don't fall for tricks
on hostile websites!
Just say "No,
No, No, No, and No..."
(Click image to enlarge)
1.) If you see these messages
popping up on your screen while browsing the Internet, they are requests to install
programs onto your computer. Be very careful that they originate from a site you know and
trust before agreeing to download. Think.
Read the details, and if in
doubt, click, "No". Read on...
The above message can be benign -- you'll see
it at PC Pitstop,
RAV, and other
legitimate sites that need your approvals to temporarily install their scanners or other applications to do
the job you
are requesting -- or they can be a sign of an attempt to trick you into installing
malware -- trojans, spyware, hijackers, or worse -- onto your computer on the part of a malicious
-- but sometimes innocent-looking -- site you are visiting
either intentionally, or by accident.
If you are thinking of saying, "Yes", be
very sure you know what you are downloading and that you have read the EULA --
End User License Agreement -- so you know what you are agreeing to.
If your computer security settings are not set up
properly, you may never see these warnings, and your computer may allow the malware
to install silently. After clicking a link and while loading a web page, the download
could begin automatically and your computer would be hijacked.
Be sure your browser security settings are
set for your protection, not for convenience.
2.) After you click, "No",
you may still be pestered by a number of boxes like the box below and/or more of the
boxes in 1.) above.
careful. Click the 'X' button
in the upper right corner to kill the box. Do not click "OK".
(Click image to enlarge)
This second message is tricky. What
happens if you click 'OK'? You don't want to find out. Click the red 'X' on
the upper right, instead.
Make sure your kids, if they use your computer also know what to not do.
Before you begin any confidential work,
run adware, pest and virus scans if you wonder if the kids understand and heed your
I would think twice about doing serious
banking or stock trading on a computer you share with kids due to possible spyware having
slipped in, unless you don't have any money in the bank. (That's also quite possible if
you have kids)
Prevention Is the Best Way to Fight Adware
Note: This page is
getting quite out of date. Many new risks are
showing up out there daily.
the info here is still relevant, but I have not been updating this page
lately in it is incomplete. Please also check other sources for
of ideas, articles and links
to computer security resources .
Hate the balloons and the
"Checked by AVG Anti-Virus..." message tags in AVG?
Turn them off.
Even if you buy a brand new computer (tips),
you are probably
not well protected from security threats on the Internet until you set it up properly, and
even then there are risks unless you know enough to take certain precautions.
Moreover, although protective software will attempt to prevent
malicious email and websites from acting against your computer, the first line of defense is
you. Set your software up correctly and be careful what email you open or what software installations
you permit. Scan your system for pests often, and keep the scanning software up to
Hopefully this page will
help get you up to speed so that
you can protect yourself from the worst of the threats. These suggestions are, by no
means, exhaustive, however they work for me, and could save you a lot of trouble and a lot of
money spent on questionable security. There are also links to more complete
The basics: For reasonable safety,
you need a working
email screening (usually combined with the
and/or virus checker), correct browser security settings, and
unauthorized installation of software or registry changes when you accidentally visit
hostile web sites. (A disaster can otherwise can take place instantly when you
simply follow a link from a search engine like Google).
You also need to
Although all this may
sound complex, and is, most of what you need to know, and pointers to resources should be
somewhere on this page, along with some warnings about how to avoid big trouble.
Using some of these easy, free scans, and ideas, in an hour or less for each machine, I took hundred pests,
several viruses, rogue dialers, multiple trojans and dangerous 'favorites' off computers belonging to family members and
friends -- including one belonging to a computer professional! Some
of these machines had been
acting up and running slow. After a cleaning, they returned to
normal performance. In another case, the computer seemed perfectly
normal, and I just ran the scans to be sure I was secure using the
machine. Using these same tools, I've cleaned up friends' computers that
were locking up, running very slowly and halting frequently -- as well as flashing SPAM and
returning to 'home pages' the users did not choose and could not change.
There are many firms cashing in on
viruses, trojans and SPAM, selling expensive and often overly complex solutions, some of
which may muck up your computer, but these and other firms often also offer free versions to the public
and/or offer free web-based scanning from a web page.
Anyone can follow the steps
outlined here without spending a penny. Afterwards, the computer
should run better and you should be 99% safe.
Here's a page detailing how I do a cleanup
on an infected machine
Use this information at your own risk, however.
Of course, I can't give you any
They say that free advice is worth exactly what you pay
for it. I hope this page is an exception, but even the pros don't have 100% success and new threats come
out of the blue with great regularity. A few years ago, all this nonsense and nastiness
we combat daily was not even imagined.
18 Things you can do Keep Out of Trouble
...or Repair Damage if it Happens
no guarantees, but these ideas should neutralize well over 90% of the most common risks.
Make sure you have a
email screening (often combined with the
and/or virus checker), and correct browser security settings,
share your computer with anyone if you can help it. Kids,
especially like to load a computer up with sharing software like Kazaa
that can carry spyware and bring in viruses. Kids may also click on pop-ups asking to
install software without knowing what they are getting you into.
If you must share, do not allow others administrative
privileges for their normal daily use. It is a good plan not to
have anyone using an administrator account, except for system
Backup essential data regularly.
As a minimum precaution,
you only need to make copies of important letters, pictures, etc. on a CD, tape, or disk,
then be sure to store it somewhere safe. Of course, you can make more complete
backups, but this is the most basic protection against computer failure, theft, fire,
Don't click and agree
to install some feature that a website says you need to view that page, unless you are
sure you know exactly what you are doing. Some of the 'features' offered may be spyware
Be very careful
about doing sensitive business on public computers.
If I must, I
visit this page, download
Ad-Aware® SE Personal Edition
and/or Spybot, then run it to sweep the computer I'm using.
PestPatrol has a web-based scan to check for Trojans, and a
based virus scan couldn't hurt, assuming you have time.
Consider carrying something like a
keychain-sized Kingston 256
MB CompactFlash Card with you, carrying URLS of scanning sites or even copies of scanning software to check public (or
family) PCs before doing banking or other sensitive business from there. (Even then
you may not be entirely safe, tho'). Many digital cameras can be used to carry data
around, just like the CompactFlash card, too, saving on extra things to carry.
use warez, or visit porn and warez sites or newsgroups. Warez and porn
areas of the Internet are known to be places to pick up lots of nasty
hijackers, spyware, Trojans, and viruses. If you find yourself at such a site
(especially if you did not intend to go there) assume you have been hijacked and
immediately do scans.
Copies of proprietary software found at warez sites and may claim to run without your paying for them.
The software may be safe, but also it may also have been altered to carry backdoors or keyloggers. Remember, these people are
crooked, and you, not the owner of the software being distributed illicitly, may be the
target. Such sites may have tricky features that alter your machine without asking
SPAM email when
you are connected to the Internet,
unless you have a reader that reads in 'plain
text' Some SPAM immediately reports back to the source,
that your email address is good and that the owner reads SPAM, or a script in it may even
shuttle you off to a booby-trapped website. You may also see pictures that embarrass
you, or someone sitting beside you.
If you must examine a message of unknown
source, shut off your internet connection first, at the firewall, or hang up
your modem -- or use a 'text only' view. Software
like Mailwasher allows you to sort and sample
emails quickly in text mode before downloading, and to erase junk on the server without
wasting time downloading it to your computer. If you are on dialup, that feature
alone can save a lot of time on the phone line. Lately I've been using
ePrompter and like it even
your computer often using
It is not unusual to find up to 100 spyware items that need removing if
you have not been protecting yourself. Most of these are cookies
and registry entries, and are just trackers from advertising firms, but
some like Gator and Xupiter can slow your computer, and some can hijack
your home page -- or worse.
sure you have a good virus checker and update daily. Here are several links to
virus checkers. Personally, I use
AVG's free version . It is
very good and has regular updates available automatically from the
(If you decide to use AVG, be sure to turn off the tag line in outgoing mail. The
setting is under 'E-mail scanner'. Uncheck the 'certify outgoing messages' box.)
I also run
Panda's online checker from time to time just to be sure. New
viruses come out all the time and no one checker gets them all, every
If you have been away for
a while and start using your machine after it has been idle for a week , or
days, update everything FIRST.
What is in your Favorites?
Some malware adds a malicious site to your favorites,
and some lowlifes manage to get control of formerly decent addresses and post malware and
porn there. Check your favorites with free scans at this
site. You may be
email secure from viruses and worms? Find out
wonder how vulnerable your system is to attack by hackers, just click
here (it is friendly and
harmless, but a real eye-opener).
install Zone Labs' free, easy to use
the test again. You'll be pleased.
use Windows™, visit Windows Update
URL) at least once a week, and
If you use MS
weekly, as well -- or, preferably more
often. Make sure your patches are up-to-date. Here is a
Tutorial about Security from Microsoft