Protecting Your Computer


A good anti-virus program and firewall is always recommended, you need more if you want to keep your
computer clean of spyware, parasites, etc! The list of recommended programs below help you rid your computer of what is already on there and protect you against future attacks.

Symantec Products
-Norton System Works 2004 includes your anti-virus, utilities, ghost, password manager, clean sweep and web tools. Personally I don't like the password manager, and that is nothing against Symantec, I just don't like the idea of something controlling and holding my passwords. I have also chosen not to have Ghost installed on my computer, the others are as always, in my opinion something a computer should never do without! As for Norton Internet Security 2004, I was not impressed with it and chose to go with Norton Personal Firewall instead.

Free Anti-virus programs recommended are: Avast! or AVG Although you should be aware that the Norton products will still find items on your computer that both Avast and AVG have been incapable of finding or cleaning.

Trend - Housecall
or Symantec Security Check a weekly online virus scan at one of these two is highly recommended

Also some recommend or claim that it is OK to run two anti-virus but two firewalls conflict. Personally I have been running two firewalls ever since I installed Windows XP in my computer and we all know just how much my computer has been safe from harm. I strongly recommend against running two anti-virus programs on your computer because they indeed can conflict each other and lead you to believe you are protected but in truth you are not.

Free Firewall recommended
is: Kerio

If you are running Windows XP with SP2 installed you can get away with just running the Windows firewall, I am using both the Windows firewall and Norton Personal Firewall.

Along with these products I believe the following products are highly recommended for top security of your system. With the following installed on your computer along with your firewall and anti-virus, malware has got very little chance to infect your computer.

- Once this is installed you will want to update it immediately, open the program, click on Updates then click on the check for updates button. Once you have done this then click on Protection and under Quick Tasks choose Enable all Protection. You are now protected from all the malware that SpywareBlaster has in
it's list. Be sure to check for updates often. If you are a member of Ask Maggy Mae or even if you are not, by watching the Spyware Info forum you will be advised when a member or Admin at AMM have checked for updates. One thing to remember with SpywareBlaster is to make sure once you have updated the file that you go back to protection and choose Enable all Protection again to add the new files to your protection list.

- Once this is downloaded you will need to extract it. It will extract to C:\ie-spyad. Then you will need to go to that folder in order to install the file onto your computer. The easiest method to install this is to do the following:

Click on install.bat file and a dos window will appear

You will see 5 options but you want to install so just enter the number 2 from your keyboard

It will then ask you to confirm enter the number 1 from your keyboard

It will then tell you that it is installing and it was successful and tell you to press any key, well we
don't have an any key on our computers so just press your space bar and you'll be fine (hehehe)

You are then asked if you want to return to the main menu or exit just enter the number 2 from your keyboard and the dos window will close.

You have successfully installed ie-spyad. I
don't update this one very often, but occasionally I'll go check to see if there is a newer one than I have and if there is I update.

Spy Sweeper - Once this is installed click on options to update it. Under Shields you will find all that Spy Sweeper will do for you, I highly recommend checking all options.

- WinPatrol tutorial - Very seldom updated because the way this wonderful program works it
doesn't need updates, but do watch for new versions coming out. This program is always free but becoming a PLUS member is a one time fee and covers ALL future upgrades to the program. I am in the middle of writing a tutorial on how WinPatrol PLUS can help you to read your own HiJack This logs and eliminate the need to rely completely on others to help you. I intend to teach as many people as I can to keep their computers safe!

Windows Scripting Host - Please do not be fooled by
Symantec's note on this page, please read below about this subject, disabling Windows Scripting Host is something I highly recommend!

If you don't care too much about your computer's safety you can use the following products.

Spybot S&D - I don't recommend you use this product if you want to keep your computer clean from malware

AdAware - I don't recommend you use this product if you want to keep your computer clean from malware

HiJack This
- How to Run - Running this and having someone look it over, even just to tell you that your computer is clean.

And some extras:

Shields Up
- once you click on the link here you will be brought to the Shields Up site ( Click the Proceed button the next page you will come to you will see the following

most important is to click on the File Sharing, Common Ports and All Service Ports buttons to make sure your firewall is running properly and you are running in TruStealth mode. Clicking the others will just teach you more about protecting your identity on the internet. Check this once a week to be sure you are still in TruStealth mode, if you are not please follow the instructions to protect yourself. There is some excellent reading in there so please educate yourself.

EMS Free Surfer MK II is the best popup stopper I have ever used. I highly recommend this. Remember with most popup stoppers, if they stop the popup window for example when you want to post a reply in MSN, just click the "ctrl" key when clicking reply and the popup window will come up. If you are running Windows XP with SP2 installed you will not need a pop-up stopper so there is no need for this program, for anyone else Please do use it or another that works as well as this one.

tests your computer for the DCOM to see if it is available and vulnerable, if it is this little utility will safely disables it for you. Don't worry, your computer runs just fine with it disabled.

UnPlug n' Pray checks to see if Universal Plug and Play is installed in your computer and if it is enabled. If it is enabled it will disable it if you choose. I highly recommend this as your computer is vulnerable if it is enabled.

If and only if you do not use Remote Assistance you can use

Shoot the Messenger
to disable Windows Messenger. When you read that page you will find the following:


Therefore, disabling the Windows Messenger service will have no effect upon your use of any other instant messaging applications. They will continue to work without trouble.

This is not true, you need Windows Messenger service if you are going to use Remote Assistance. Now for the average user, they are not going to need Windows Messenger and can very well shut this down. It can be fixed later if for some reason you are in need of assistance with Remote Assistance, but if you are someone who wants to be ready to help someone via remote assistance and quickly if need be I don't suggest using this utility as your remote assistance will not work if Windows Messenger is disabled. How do I know? Because I've disabled Windows Messenger before and could not use Remote Assistance. And the only version of Windows Messenger that is needed on your computer in order to use Remote Assistance is the version that comes with Windows XP 4.7 I believe it is.

is another utility you can download and run to check that your system has been patched. If you have service pack 1 or Microsoft's patch installed into your XP then your system will already be protected from this vulnerability. But if you are not sure this utility will tell you and patch you if you are not protected. XPdite is not required once you have SP1 installed in your computer and the DCOMbobulator is not required once you have SP2 installed in your computer.

Special tools for cleaning your computer are found in this thread but I strongly recommend that they are not used unless instructed.

For additional reading:
How did I get Infected?
Doxsdesk - When you enter this page it scans your computer for parasites and lets you know if you are infected. Also gives you a description of the known parasites.
SpyWareInfo has been the site that has educated me about spyware and adware.




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    Copyright © 2001-2005 Margaret Walker