Adware Concerns from a Newby

Discussion in 'Security Software' started by IslandBK, Oct 11, 2004.

  1. IslandBK

    IslandBK Guest

    Hi there,

    I have just bought a new XP machine with Nortons 2005. It has been
    identifying that I have the files... AdwareEnvolo, AdwareFlashenhancer,
    Adwarebroadcast. These files have been deleted (or excluded) by Nortons,
    once my scan was completed. It says on the Nortons website that these files
    are a low concern. Are these something that I should worry about? Is there
    a good, free program that will stop them or is Nortons enough?
    Thanks for your help
     
    IslandBK, Oct 11, 2004
    #1
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  2. IslandBK

    PA Bear Guest

    1. Before You Connect a New Computer to the Internet
    http://www.cert.org/tech_tips/before_you_plug_in.html

    2. Run a full scan using NAV per this post:
    http://aumha.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5878

    Help with Hijackware
    http://aumha.org/a/parasite.htm
    http://aumha.org/a/quickfix.htm
    http://mvps.org/winhelp2002/unwanted.htm
    http://inetexplorer.mvps.org/Darnit.htm
    http://www.mvps.org/sramesh2k/Malware_Defence.htm

    --
    ~Robear Dyer (PA Bear)
    MS MVP-Windows (IE/OE), AH-VSOP

    WinXP SP2: What's New for Internet Explorer and Outlook Express
    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/sp2/ieoeoverview.mspx

    What You Should Know About Spyware
    http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/spyware/devioussoftware.mspx

    "There is no 'silver bullet' solution."
    http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=33131
     
    PA Bear, Oct 11, 2004
    #2
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  3. I am a big fan of Ad-Aware from Lavasoft:
    http://www.lavasoftusa.com/software/adaware/

    Free for non-commercial use. You want to worry about any of these third
    party Ad/Spy ware products. They tend to multiply and can reak real havoc on
    your computer. They also tend to download other products eventually slowing
    your computer to a crawl and or creating system instability.

    Cheers,
    Tom
     
    Thomas Vincent, Oct 11, 2004
    #3
  4. If only there was a "cure all". There is not.

    *WARNING* This is a LONG spill, all in plain text and simplified so that
    even non-techs should be able to understand it. Hopefully this will
    assist some people in not only repairing their systems, but in making
    them faster and more stable tools for them to use. It contains advice
    on many things, many considered "common knowledge" to 'IT' people
    everywhere. It is split into major sections, hopefully this will make
    it easier to navigate. *WARNING*

    Suggestions on what you can do to secure/clean your PC. Every attempt
    has been made to be general and an assumption of a "Windows" operating
    system is made here as well - although in some ways, this could be
    adapted to any OS.


    GENERAL UPKEEP AND CLEANUP
    --------------------------

    You should periodically defragment your hard drives as well as check them
    for errors. Only defragment after you have cleaned up your machine of
    outside parasites and never defragment as a solution to a quirkiness in
    your system. It may help speed up your system, but it should be clean
    before you do this one.

    How to Defragment your hard drives
    http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=314848

    How to scan your disks for errors
    http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=315265

    How to use Disk Cleanup
    http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=310312

    You should also empty your Internet Explorer Temporary Internet
    Files and make sure the maximum size for this is small enough not to cause
    trouble in the future. Empty your Temporary Internet Files and shrink the
    size it stores to a size between 10MB and 360MB..

    - Open ONE copy of Internet Explorer.
    - Select TOOLS -> Internet Options.
    - Under the General tab in the "Temporary Internet Files" section, do the
    following:
    - Click on "Delete Cookies" (click OK)
    - Click on "Settings" and change the "Amount of disk space to use:" to
    something between 10MB and 360MB. (Betting it is MUCH larger right
    now.)
    - Click OK.
    - Click on "Delete Files" and select to "Delete all offline contents"
    (the checkbox) and click OK. (If you had a LOT, this could take 2-10
    minutes or more.)
    - Once it is done, click OK, close Internet Explorer, re-open Internet
    Explorer.

    Uninstall any software you no longer use or cannot remember installing
    (ask if it is a multi-user PC) - but only if you are sure you do not
    need it and/or you have the installation media around to reinstall if
    you need to. http://snipurl.com/8v6b may help you accomplish this.

    If things are running a bit slow or you have an older system
    (1.5GHz or less and 256MB RAM or less) then you may want to look into
    tweaking the performance a bit by turning off some of the memory
    using Windows XP "prettifications". The fastest method is:

    Control Panel --> System --> Advanced tab --> Performance section,
    Settings button. Then choose "adjust for best performance" and you
    now have a Windows 2000/98 look which turned off many of the annoying
    "prettifications" in one swift action. You can play with the last
    three checkboxes to get more of an XP look without many of the
    other annoyances. You could also grab and install/mess with one
    (or more) of the Microsoft Powertoys - TweakUI in particular:

    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/powertoys/xppowertoys.mspx

    You should also verify that your System Restore feature is enabled and
    working properly. Unfortunately, if seems to have issues on occasion,
    ones that can easily be avoided by turning off/on the system restore and
    make a manual restoration point as one of your periodic maintenance tasks.
    This is particularly important right before installing something major
    (or even minor if you are unsure what it might do to your system.)
    (This, of course, will erase any previous restore point you have.)

    Turn off System Restore.
    http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=310405

    Reboot.

    Turn on System Restore.
    http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=310405

    Make a Manual Restoration Point.
    http://snipurl.com/68nx

    Also, you should look into backing up your valuable files and folders.
    http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=308422

    And keep your original installation media (CDs, disks) safe with their
    CD keys and such. Make backups of these installation media sets as
    well and always use strong passwords. Good passwords are those that
    meet these general rules (mileage may vary):

    Passwords should contain at least six characters, and the character
    string should contain at least three of these four character types:
    - uppercase letters
    - lowercase letters
    - numerals
    - nonalphanumeric characters (e.g., *, %, &, !)

    Passwords should not contain your name/logon name.


    UPDATES and PATCHES
    -------------------

    ** Side Note: *IF* you are about to install Service Pack 2 (SP2) for
    Windows XP, I suggest you clean up your system first. Uninstall any
    applications you do not use. Update any that you do. Download the
    latest drivers for your hardware devices. Defragment and run a full
    CHKDSK on your hard drives. Scan your system and clean it of any
    Spyware/Adware/Malware and for Viruses and Trojans. Below you will
    find advice and links to applications that will help you do all of
    this. If this advice helps you, please - pass it on. Print it,
    email it, forward it to anyone you think it might help. A little
    knowledge might help prevent lots of trouble.

    This one is the most obvious. There is no perfect product and any company
    worth their salt will try to meet/exceed the needs of their customers and
    fix any problems they find along the way. I am not going to say Microsoft
    is the best company in the world about this but they do have an option
    available for you to use to keep your machine updated and patched from
    the problems and vulnerabilities (as well as product improvements in some
    cases) - and it's free to you.

    Windows Update
    http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com/

    Go there and scan your machine for updates. Always get the critical ones as
    you see them. Write down the KB###### or Q###### you see when
    selecting the updates and if you have trouble over the next few days,
    go into your control panel (Add/Remove Programs), match up the latest
    numbers you downloaded recently (since you started noticing an issue) and
    uninstall them. If there was more than one (usually is), install them back
    one by one - with a few hours of use in between, to see if the problem
    returns. Yes - the process is not perfect (updating) and can cause trouble
    like I mentioned - but as you can see, the solution isn't that bad - and is
    MUCH better than the alternatives.

    Windows is not the only product you likely have on your PC. The
    manufacturers of the other products usually have updates as well. New
    versions of almost everything come out all the time - some are free, some
    are pay - some you can only download if you are registered - but it is best
    to check. Just go to their web pages and look under their support and
    download sections. For example, for Microsoft Office update, you should
    visit:

    Microsoft Office Updates
    http://office.microsoft.com/
    (and select "downloads")

    You also have hardware on your machine that requires drivers to interface
    with the operating system. You have a video card that allows you to see on
    your screen, a sound card that allows you to hear your PCs sound output and
    so on. Visit those manufacturer web sites for the latest downloadable
    drivers for your hardware/operating system. Always (IMO) get the
    manufacturers hardware driver over any Microsoft offers. On the Windows
    Update site I mentioned earlier, I suggest NOT getting their hardware
    drivers - no matter how tempting. First - how do you know what hardware
    you have in your computer? Invoice or if it is up and working now - take
    inventory:

    Belarc Advisor
    http://belarc.com/free_download.html

    Once you know what you have, what next? Go get the latest driver for your
    hardware/OS from the manufacturer's web page. For example, let's say you
    have an NVidia chipset video card or ATI video card, perhaps a Creative
    Labs sound card or C-Media chipset sound card...

    NVidia Video Card Drivers
    http://www.nvidia.com/content/drivers/drivers.asp

    ATI Video Card Drivers
    http://www.atitech.com/support/driver.html

    Creative Labs Sound Device
    http://us.creative.com/support/downloads/

    C-Media Sound Device
    http://www.cmedia.com.tw/e_download_01.htm

    As for Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Windows XP, Microsoft has made this
    particular patch available in a number of ways. First, there is the
    Windows Update web page above. Then there is a direct download site
    and finally, you can order the FREE CD from Microsoft.

    Direct Download of Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Windows XP
    http://snipurl.com/8bqy

    Order the Free Windows XP SP2 CD
    http://snipurl.com/8umo

    Microsoft also have a bunch of suggestions, some similar to these,
    on how to better protect your Windows system:

    Protect your PC
    http://www.microsoft.com/security/protect/


    FIREWALL
    --------

    Let's say you are up-to-date on the OS (operating system) and you have
    Windows XP.. You should at least turn on the built in firewall. That will
    do a lot to "hide" you from the random bad things flying around the
    Internet. Things like Sasser/Blaster enjoy just sitting out there in
    Cyberspace looking for an unprotected Windows Operating System and jumping
    on it, doing great damage in the process and then using that Unprotected OS
    to continue its dirty work of infecting others. If you have the Windows XP
    FW turned on - default configuration - then they cannot see you! Think of
    it as Internet Stealth Mode at this point. It has other advantages, like
    actually locking the doors you didn't even (likely) know you had. Doing
    this is simple, some helpful tips for the SP2 enabled firewall can be found
    here:

    http://www.microsoft.com/technet/community/columns/cableguy/cg0204.mspx

    If you read through that and look through the pages that are linked from it
    throughout - I think you should have a firm grasp on the basics of the
    Windows XP Firewall as it is today. One thing to note RIGHT NOW - if you
    have AOL, you cannot use this nice firewall that came with your system.
    Thank AOL, not Microsoft. You HAVE to configure another one.. So we
    continue with our session on Firewalls...

    But let's say you DON'T have Windows XP - you have some other OS like
    Windows 95, 98, 98SE, ME, NT, 2000. Well, you don't have the nifty built in
    firewall. My suggestion - upgrade. My next suggestion - look through your
    options. There are lots of free and pay firewalls out there for home users.
    Yes - you will have to decide on your own which to get. Yes, you will have
    to learn (oh no!) to use these firewalls and configure them so they don't
    interfere with what you want to do while continuing to provide the security
    you desire. It's just like anything else you want to protect - you have to
    do something to protect it. Here are some suggested applications. A lot of
    people tout "ZoneAlarm" as being the best alternative to just using the
    Windows XP FW, but truthfully - any of these alternatives are much better
    than the Windows XP FW at what they do - because that is ALL they do.

    ZoneAlarm (Free and up)
    http://snipurl.com/6ohg

    Kerio Personal Firewall (KPF) (Free and up)
    http://www.kerio.com/kpf_download.html

    Outpost Firewall from Agnitum (Free and up)
    http://www.agnitum.com/download/

    Sygate Personal Firewall (Free and up)
    http://smb.sygate.com/buy/download_buy.htm

    Symantec's Norton Personal Firewall (~$25 and up)
    http://www.symantec.com/sabu/nis/npf/

    BlackICE PC Protection ($39.95 and up)
    http://blackice.iss.net/

    Tiny Personal Firewall (~$49.00 and up)
    http://www.tinysoftware.com/

    That list is not complete, but they are good firewall options, every one of
    them. Visit the web pages, read up, ask around if you like - make a
    decision and go with some firewall, any firewall. Also, maintain it.
    Sometimes new holes are discovered in even the best of these products and
    patches are released from the company to remedy this problem. However, if
    you don't get the patches (check the manufacturer web page on occasion),
    then you may never know you have the problem and/or are being used through
    this weakness. Also, don't stack these things. Running more than one
    firewall will not make you safer - it would likely (in fact) negate some
    protection you gleamed from one or the other firewalls you run.


    ANTIVIRUS SOFTWARE
    ------------------

    That's not all. That's one facet of a secure PC, but firewalls don't do
    everything. I saw one person posting on a newsgroup that "they had
    never had a virus and they never run any anti-virus software." Yep - I used
    to believe that way too - viruses were something everyone else seemed to
    get, were they just careless? And for the average joe-user who is careful,
    uses their one to three family computers carefully, never opening unknown
    email attachments, always visiting the same family safe web sites, never
    installing anything that did not come with their computer - maybe, just
    maybe they will never witness a virus. I, however, am a Network Systems
    Administrator. I see that AntiVirus software is an absolute necessity given
    how most people see their computer as a toy/tool and not something
    they should have to maintain and upkeep. After all, they were invented to
    make life easier, right - not add another task to your day. You
    can be as careful as you want - will the next person be as careful? Will
    someone send you unknowingly the email that erases all the pictures of your
    child/childhood? Possibly - why take the chance? ALWAYS RUN ANTIVIRUS
    SOFTWARE and KEEP IT UP TO DATE! Antivirus software comes in so many
    flavors, it's like walking into a Jelly Belly store - which one tastes like
    what?! Well, here are a few choices for you. Some of these are free (isn't
    that nice?) and some are not. Is one better than the other - MAYBE.

    Symantec (Norton) AntiVirus (~$11 and up)
    http://www.symantec.com/nav/nav_9xnt/

    Kaspersky Anti-Virus (~$49.95 and up)
    http://www.kaspersky.com/products.html

    Panda Antivirus Titanium (~$39.95 and up)
    http://www.pandasoftware.com/
    (Free Online Scanner: http://www.pandasoftware.com/activescan/)

    AVG 6.0 Anti-Virus System (Free and up)
    http://www.grisoft.com/

    McAfee VirusScan (~$11 and up)
    http://www.mcafee.com/

    AntiVir (Free and up)
    http://www.free-av.com/

    avast! 4 (Free and up)
    http://www.avast.com/

    Trend Micro (~$49.95 and up)
    http://www.trendmicro.com/en/home/us/personal.htm
    (Free Online Scanner:
    http://housecall.trendmicro.com/housecall/start_corp.asp)

    RAV AntiVirus Online Virus Scan (Free!)
    http://www.ravantivirus.com/scan/

    Did I mention you have to not only install this software, but also keep it
    updated? You do. Some of them (most) have automatic services to help you
    do this - I mean, it's not your job to keep up with the half-dozen or more
    new threats that come out daily, is it? Be sure to keep whichever one you
    choose up to date!


    SPYWARE/ADWARE/POPUPS/HIJACKS
    -----------------------------

    So you must be thinking that the above two things got your back now - you
    are covered, safe and secure in your little fox hole. Wrong! There are
    more bad guys out there. There are annoyances out there you can get without
    trying. Your normal web surfing, maybe a wrong click on a web page, maybe
    just a momentary lack of judgment by installing some software packages
    without doing the research.. And all of a sudden your screen starts filling
    up with advertisements or your Internet seems much slower or your home page
    won't stay what you set it and goes someplace unfamiliar to you. This is
    spyware. There are a whole SLEW of software packages out there to get rid
    of this crud and help prevent reinfection. Some of the products already
    mentioned might even have branched out into this arena. However, there are
    a few applications that seem to be the best at what they do, which is
    eradicating and immunizing your system from this crap. Strangely, the best
    products I have found in this category ARE generally free. That is a trend
    I like. I make donations to some of them, they deserve it!

    Two side-notes: Never think one of these can do the whole job.
    Try the first 5 before coming back and saying "That did not work!"
    Also, you can always visit:
    http://mvps.org/winhelp2002/unwanted.htm
    For more updated information.

    Spybot Search and Destroy (Free!)
    http://www.safer-networking.net/en/download/index.html

    Lavasoft AdAware (Free and up)
    http://www.lavasoft.de/support/download/

    CWShredder (Free!)
    ** No longer updated as of July 29, 2004 - however, still a great
    product and should still be ran **
    http://www.softbasket.com/download/s_8114.shtml

    Hijack This! (Free)
    http://mjc1.com/mirror/hjt/
    ( Tutorial: http://hjt.wizardsofwebsites.com/ )

    SpywareBlaster (Free!)
    http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/sbdownload.html

    IE-SPYAD (Free!)
    https://netfiles.uiuc.edu/ehowes/www/resource.htm

    ToolbarCop (Free!)
    http://www.mvps.org/sramesh2k/toolbarcop.htm

    Bazooka Adware and Spyware Scanner (Free!)
    http://www.kephyr.com/spywarescanner/

    Browser Security Tests
    http://www.jasons-toolbox.com/BrowserSecurity/

    Popup Tester
    http://www.popuptest.com/

    The Cleaner (49.95 and up)
    http://www.moosoft.com/

    That will clean up your machine of the spyware, given that you download and
    install several of them, update them regularly and scan with them when you
    update. Some (like SpywareBlaster and SpyBot Search and Destroy and
    IESPYAD)
    have/are immunization utilities that will help you prevent your PC from
    being
    infected. Use these features!

    Unfortunately, although that will lessen your popups on the Internet/while
    you are online, it won't eliminate them. I have looked at a lot of options,
    seen a lot of them used in production with people who seem to attract popups
    like a plague, and I only have one suggestion that end up serving double
    duty (search engine and popup stopper in one):

    The Google Toolbar (Free!)
    http://toolbar.google.com/

    Yeah - it adds a bar to your Internet Explorer - but its a useful one. You
    can search from there anytime with one of the best search engines on the
    planet (IMO.) And the fact it stops most popups - wow - BONUS! If you
    don't like that suggestion, then I am just going to say you go to
    www.google.com and search for other options. Please notice that Windows XP
    SP2 does help stop popups as well. Another option is to use an alternative
    Web browser. I suggest "Mozilla Firefox", as it has some great features
    and is very easy to use:

    Mozilla Firefox
    http://www.mozilla.org/products/firefox/

    One more suggestion, although I will suggest this in a way later, is to
    disable your Windows Messenger service. This service is not used frequently
    (if at all) by the normal home user and in cooperation with a good firewall,
    is generally unnecessary. Microsoft has instructions on how to do this for
    Windows XP here:

    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/pro/using/howto/communicate/stopspam.asp


    SPAM EMAIL/JUNK MAIL
    --------------------

    This one can get annoying, just like the rest. You get 50 emails in one
    sitting and 2 of them you wanted. NICE! (Not.) What can you do? Well,
    although there are services out there to help you, some email
    servers/services that actually do lower your spam with features built into
    their servers - I still like the methods that let you be the end-decision
    maker on what is spam and what isn't. If these things worked perfectly, we
    wouldn't need people and then there would be no spam anyway - vicious
    circle, eh? Anyway - I have two products to suggest to you, look at them
    and see if either of them suite your needs. Again, if they don't, Google is
    free and available for your perusal.

    SpamBayes (Free!)
    http://spambayes.sourceforge.net/

    Spamihilator (Free!)
    http://www.spamihilator.com/

    As I said, those are not your only options, but are reliable ones I have
    seen function for hundreds+ people.


    DISABLE (Set to Manual) UNUSED SERVICE/STARTUP APPS
    ---------------------------------------------------

    I might get arguments on putting this one here, but it's my spill. There are
    lots of services on your PC that are probably turned on by default you don't
    use. Why have them on? Check out these web pages to see what all of the
    services you might find on your computer are and set them according to your
    personal needs. Be CAREFUL what you set to manual, and take heed and write
    down as you change things! Also, don't expect a large performance increase
    or anything - especially on today's 2+ GHz machines, however - I look at
    each
    service you set to manual as one less service you have to worry about
    someone exploiting. A year ago, I would have thought the Windows Messenger
    service to be pretty safe, now I recommend (with addition of a firewall)
    that most home users disable it! Yeah - this is another one you have to
    work for, but your computer may speed up and/or be more secure because you
    took the time. And if you document what you do as you do it, next time, it
    goes MUCH faster! (or if you have to go back and re-enable things..)

    Task List Programs
    http://www.answersthatwork.com/Tasklist_pages/tasklist.htm

    Black Viper's Service List and Opinions (XP)
    http://www.blackviper.com/WinXP/servicecfg.htm

    Processes in Windows NT/2000/XP
    http://www.reger24.de/prozesse/

    There are also applications that AREN'T services that startup when you start
    up the computer/logon. One of the better description on how to handle these
    I have found here:

    Startups
    http://www.pacs-portal.co.uk/startup_content.php


    That's it. A small booklet on how to keep your computer secure, clean of
    scum and more user friendly. I am SURE I missed something, almost as I am
    sure you won't read all of it (anyone for that matter.) However, I also
    know that someone who followed all of the advice above would also have less
    problems with their PC, less problems with viruses, less problems with spam,
    fewer problems with spyware and better performance than someone who didn't.

    Hope it helps.
     
    Shenan Stanley, Oct 12, 2004
    #4
  5. IslandBK

    G Guest

    New computers often include some spyware attached to the free/demo
    programs the company preinstalled. Some spyware is okay if it really
    benefits your needs but I usually remove it.

    Norton is new at blocking spyware (although I think they bought out a
    spyware removal company) so there may be no reviews on its effectiveness.

    g-w
     
    G, Oct 12, 2004
    #5
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