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Friday, September 6. 2013
Doc's Computin' Tips: Security updates
As for an anti-malware program, I'm still a fan of the Zone Alarm Internet Security Suite, although it appears from a few reviews I read the other day that there are a number of quality programs out there these days, so there doesn't really appear to be a 'best'.
As for the freebie programs, like AVG and Avast, I'd be worried that it'd turn into a case of 'you get what you pay for'. As far as I can tell, while they get high marks for anti-malware prevention, they don't monitor browser activity in real-time. It should be noted that hackers are so smart these days that you don't actually have to click on a box to get infected. Just visiting the site will do it. So, real-time browser monitoring seems important. Using a freebie also raises the question, if you aren't going to spend computer money on a quality anti-malware program, just what are you going to spend it on?
The biggest problem with the new wave of 'smart' viruses is that, should they manage to slip by your present program and infect your system, they won't allow any other anti-malware programs to be installed. I've seen two computers with the problem in the last few years, both not allowing either Zone Alarm or Norton Anti-Virus to be installed.
For that problem, it appears the best program out there at the moment is Malwarebytes, which should install and hopefully find that bad boy. It's only hitch is that it deems every non-officially-sanctioned program a threat, including patches and 'keygen' programs, so be careful that it doesn't remove anything legitimate. It's not a real-time anti-malware program, just a file scanner.
And on a few different subjects:
Company to pay refunds over fake alerts in 'Angry Birds'
Hackers Reveal Nasty New Car Attacks--With Me Behind The Wheel
Hackers plan to offer blueprint for taking over Prius, Escape
Hacking cars isn't a problem yet, but we're getting there
How Do Cell Phones Reveal Your Location?
Here’s how phone metadata can reveal your affairs, abortions, and other secrets
Security issues, cell phone pics and what they can reveal
Malicious software pretends to be your friend, hijacks your Facebook account
Think Twice Before You Save Passwords in Your Chrome Browser
iPatched campaign helps users protect webcams from Internet spies
The two most common 'messages' in the boxes these days are the "Might be infected!" variety and either a Flash or Java 'You need to update!' box. Avoid both at all costs.
On the subject, here's a question for you. Let's say you're a clever hacker and you put two buttons on the box, "OK" and "CANCEL". Wouldn't you make them both install your nastyware on their systems?
Now what about that little 'close' box on the upper-right of the box? If you were a clever hacker, wouldn't you make that also do the dirty deed?
When that box popped up on Fark the other day, I immediately hit Ctrl-Alt-Delete, opened Task Manager, right-clicked on the browser's entry on the first panel and selected 'End Task'. That closed down both the browser and the 'warning' box without clicking anything on the site. That's the proper way to avoid such intrusions.
Any questions, give a holler in the comments.
Posted by Dr. Mercury in Dr. Mercury's Computer Corner, Our Essays at 11:00 | Comments (10) | Trackbacks (0)
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re hit Ctrl-Alt-Delete, opened Task Manager, right-clicked on the browser's entry on the first panel and selected 'End Task'. That closed down both the browser and the 'warning' box without clicking anything on the site. That's the proper way to avoid such intrusions.
Thanks Doc. I am saving this somewhere I can find it, like taped to the wall in the Command Module.
I have always hated closing those boxes out. When confronted with one, I always squint my eyes, turn my head to the side, cringe, and hope the screen doesn't blow up in my face when I close it out.
My latest pet peeve is at sites like PJ media, where if you click on anything on the page, you get an ad popup. Lately it is the "Power companies hate this" ad.
Is there any way to tweak the Firefox browser to prevent those ads from popping up?
Both PJ Media and Townhall are now doing that. I'm still trying to decide if it's ethical or not. It's not, in the sense that they're forcing you to make the window open, which makes them money, but on the other hand, what the hell -- it just takes a sec to close it down. What's particularly 'unethical' is the way clicking on the 'close' box on the upper-right of the first little box to pop up (if it does) still opens the big window. For that, they should be taken to court. If you're going to put a 'close' gadget on a box, it should actually close it.
As for preventing windows from popping open, the problem is that these aren't independent 'ad' boxes, which a normal built-in popup-blocker should block, they're an actual window of the browser, and if you run a program that prevents it, legitimate things like login/password boxes may not open. So, the only real advice is "live with it", and be glad more sites don't do it.
I am voting 'unethical" while realizing this helps pay the bills so I don't have to pay to visit the site. Is that an irrational reaction? Probably.
But someday someone is going to figure out how to put malware in those ads and then a whole lot of people are going to be, well, upset.
Love the World Weekly News front page. Reminds me that back in my distant youth I knew a woman who wrote stories for those types of publications. They would send her a photo, she would make up the story. Apparently there is hierarchy even at the bottom, for her stories were so far out that they moved them from the crazy paper to the lunatic paper. These days she could make good money as a respected climate journalist.
I thought their "Michelle Obama Painting the White House Green" story was excellent. My first thought when I finished was, "Onion, move over." The way she "declined comment" was perfect, then it was back to "our source says..." for the next juicy detail. I'm still in favor of hunter green over grass green, but, again, I don't claim to be an expert on the subject.
"They would send her a photo, she would make up the story."
Damn, that sounds like fun. (thinking) On the other hand, that's pretty much what I do now. :)
For fun reads, try "Trust Me On This" and "Baby, Would I Lie?" by Donald E. Westlake. There's a National Enquirer lookalike involved.
Damn interesting, big guy. My wife was talking with a friend the other night and they were saying something about some problem with "Angry Birds", so I'll email her the link. My best bud is a confirmed Chrome user so I'll email him that link. It's nothing but Firefox for me. What are you using these days?
I don't know if it's my system or not, but when Firefox locks up because of a Flash problem, the ENTIRE SYSTEM locks up, like even the Start Menu button doesn't work until (1) it resolves itself after about 30 seconds, or (2) I open Task Manager and shut it down. So, I've been using IE for a while now, but there seems to be a big bug with the 'Back' button, often not working, so I'm going to do a little investigation (like whether or not version 9 has the same problem on the same sites) and might end up back with FF. If IE version 10 actually has a serious bug, I'll probably write up a post on it.
Please (please) when you find The Cure for the FF lockup post for we plebeians in the hinterweb. T'was what I complained about to thee a few weeks ago on this site. It now happens on NRO/The Corner also. I now keep Process Explorer up on a second monitor just to see if FF is hogging resources.
Will do, of course, but don't hold your breath. Firefox blames, Flash, Flash blames Firefox. What's problematic is that this has been going on for about two years with no resolution.
There are two things to try. First, try this tweak to the Flash config file. If that doesn't help, you might try installing the older version of Flash found here and go into Control Panel and shut off any further updates. You'll probably constantly be nagged by sites like YouTube to update it, but such is life. Let me know if either helps.