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Safe Computing Advice

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  • Safe Computing Advice

    Protect your computer by researching the suggestions below. I consider these to be steps in a plan that is subject to change and not in a specifically chronological order. Consider the scenarios that may be your case. You’ll find a skeleton of a plan within the following sections.


    OS Installation: Windows, Linux, OSX, Sun, FreeBSD and other prevalent operating systems.

    There are endless ways to solve the puzzle named Your Computer. Common scenarios include Starting From Scratch, Rescue Yourself and WTF Just Happened? These are the tools I use to feel confident that my PC is safe. I never use a “Recovery� case, because I will never be certain that I am not hacked. Backups on the typical workstation are impractical at best. Linux and Mac have security concerns that are unique but I wouldn’t consider them overwhelming. Windows is another story. My old boss used to say, “Be paranoid. You will be hacked.� I have seen this play out time and again. The great thing about portal is that all you have to do is backup the database once in a while and restore is a snap. A workstation with on-the-same-disk backup strategy going, then it is doomed to failure. I currently use Windows XP and Redhat 9 I used OSX for about a year and loved it. Read the license.


    Trojan Removal: Stinger by Mc Afee

    A library of known backdoors, worms, macros, malware, viruses, spybots, registry hacks and numerous other trojans are scanned for. It removes them too. After a reboot you'll have gotten rid of the resource consuming nastiness. Read the license.


    External Virus Check: Housecall virus protection

    This is remote virus checking. A known safe computer is checking you. The virus has yet to be written that can magically hop a connection and infect the safe computer. This will find all active and latent instances of a virus and can expunge them or offer the user more arcane management. That’s a free service. Read the license.


    Local Virus Protection: AVG

    Set it to run during the Baseball game you plan to watch. Set it to update for the latest virus signatures while you read MWM. Free under certain conditions. Read the license.


    OS Updates: Microsoft Windows and Office

    Update your operating system just as fast as you can. You may have to restart your computer numerous times. One can expect over any connection extended downloading and potential errors that could in some way fail. Sometimes the resolution is to start all over again from the beginning. Go to this http://v4.windowsupdate.microsoft.com/ and don’t forget to read the license. Don’t forget to update Office too, because those applications have Internet connectivity.


    System Hardening: Black Viper

    Shut as many services down as you can. Use the relevant guides to securing your computer written by a very clever person.


    Firewall: Outpost

    I love this feature rich firewall. This software is designed to prevent traffic from unwanted sources. It is a complex concept and requires some serious research before one can be assured of mastery. It can cause a great deal of red herring for you to be distracted by and can make it seem that your computer is in some way damaged or under attack.


    Ad Blocker: Spybot Search & Destroy

    This beauty purges your system of spybots, adbots and related data harvesters.


    Assorted Advice

    Stay updated. All of the programs you download and use can be updated in one manner or another. Pursue such updates rapidly.

    Your greatest challenge will be to figure out what part of this chain of protection is failing when you are having trouble. Google is your friend. Use those error messages to discover the root of the problem.

    If you are a Mac user, please post a similar message so that others can learn how to protect their Macs. I’ll assume you *nix people are doing okay for yourselves. J

    I'm hoping other knowledgable people will participate in this thread to help those who undoubtedly will have questions. I won't be responding in this thread very quickly, so don't rely on me to get you through all this.

    Off topic responses will be moved to the bit bucket. I would very much like to have this be a very helpful thread. Thanks.
    The cat spread its wings and flew high into the air, hovering to keep pace with them as they moved cautiously toward the city. Then, as they climbed over the rubble of what had once been a gateway and began to make their way through piles of weed-grown masonry, the cat flew to the squat building with the yellow dome upon its roof. It flew twice around the dome and then came back to settle on Jhary's shoulder. - The King of the Swords

  • #2
    I'm running Panther at the moment. Have I been infiltrated?

    I have noticed that a lot of my posts have disappeared, is this your end?

    I'm not up with highfalutin comp-speak. 8O

    C.

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    • #3
      I've noticed same. A little conversation Samsaramara, DeeCrowSeer and I were having in the Artists forum has been half-wiped.

      I am unfortunately a sufferer of Windows...
      "Wounds are all I'm made of. Did I hear you say that this is victory?"
      --Michael Moorcock, Veteran of the Psychic Wars

      Comment


      • #4
        This thread is a response to Thanos's recent problems. I am not addressing the site outage here.

        I don't know what happened to that conversation.
        The cat spread its wings and flew high into the air, hovering to keep pace with them as they moved cautiously toward the city. Then, as they climbed over the rubble of what had once been a gateway and began to make their way through piles of weed-grown masonry, the cat flew to the squat building with the yellow dome upon its roof. It flew twice around the dome and then came back to settle on Jhary's shoulder. - The King of the Swords

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        • #5
          Thanks for the tips Berry - I'm running two XP machines (PC and laptop) in a LAN with cable modem connected to a router, so I've had fun trying to lock down that setup tighter than a mosquito's tweeter. Once you do, it's unbelievable how many people are trying to get in.

          Anyway, I'd add - other firewall choices - ZoneAlarm and Sygate - both free for non-commercial home use. Sygate seems slightly more flexible to me, but requires more knowledge.

          Other anti-virus : I've switched from AVG to Avast - can't recall what it was made me look into it - again free for home use.

          Alternative applications : Mozilla Thunderbird for email - you can adjust the icon settings so it looks almost identical to Outlook, an it's very easy to migrate (will pick up your Outlook settings). Advantage : won't run certain types of viruses that exploit Outlook.

          Mozilla Firefox as web browser - smaller, faster, better - built in pop-up ad-blocking.

          (Keep Internet Explorer as there are still some sites that you can only access using this - inc. Windows Office Update).

          www.cnet.com is good for starting point for downloading all these things.

          If you're running a local network - even if it's secured by an external Firewall / router - run a firewall on each machine. This will protect you if one gets infected or if someone gets lucky. Allow open connections only between the machines you know are on your network - either by MAC address or set them up with fixed IP addresses. Lock down any other connections. OK, removes the ability to Plug and Play and means having to read a bit but better safe than sorry.

          If you're running Wireless - DO set up the security features (that are turned off out of the box).

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