Tag Archives: free solutions

Top 10 Security Threats – How to Handle Them

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#10 Spam Mail

Electronic junk mail or junk newsgroup postings. Some people define spam even more generally as any unsolicited e-mail. However, if a long-lost brother finds your e-mail address and sends you a message, this could hardly be called spam, even though it’s unsolicited. Real spam is generally e-mail advertising for some product sent to a mailing list or newsgroup.

 

Don’t:

  • click on unsubscribed links
  • publish your work email address on any web site or discussion forum
  • unsubscribe immediately
  • reply to spam
  • buy anything from spammers

Do:

  • use a separate email address to sign up for newsletters, and online posting
  • purchase anti-spam software, which blocks 97 percent to 99 percent of spam

 

#9 Phishing Mail

Phishing is the act of sending an e-mail to a user falsely claiming to be an established legitimate enterprise in an attempt to scam the user into surrendering private information that will be used for identity theft. The e-mail directs the user to visit a Web site where they are asked to update personal information, such as passwords and credit card, social security, and bank account numbers, that the legitimate organization already has. The Web site, however, is bogus and set up only to steal the user’s information.

  • if you think you’ve received a phishing e-mail message, do not respond to it.
  • report suspicious e-mail
  • don’t click links in e-mail messages
  • type addresses directly into your browser or use your personal bookmarks
  • check the security certificate before you enter personal or financial information into a Web Site
  • don’t enter personal or financial information into pop-up windows
  • use the latest products and services to help warn and protect you from online scams
  • update your computer software

 

#8 Wireless Attacks

This form of wireless assault is generally an attack on WEP, the link-layer security protocol for 802.11b wireless networks.

  • to insure you don’t get attacked use your router’s WPA/WEP encryption

 

#7 Hacker Attack

Computers are the perfect playground for hackers. Computers, and computer networks, are vast treasure troves of secret knowledge. The Internet is an immense landscape of undiscovered information. Despite the number of hackers in cyber space the following is generally true.

  • it is very unlikely that your individual computer will be attacked directly.
  • it is critical however, that you have installed and run a full anti-malware suite

Free anti-malware suites:

Avast! 4 Home Edition

This anti virus app is a real fighter, scanning files on demand and on access, including email attachments. Let’s you know when it detects mal-ware through its shield function. An important feature is a boot-time scan option which removes mal-ware that can’t be remove any other way.
http://www.avast.com/

AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition

Similarly, this program scans files on access, on demand, and on schedule. Scans email; incoming and outgoing. For those on Vista, your in luck, it’s Vista-ready. I have been using this application since its release and it now forms part of my front line defenses. I recommend this one highly. www.free.grisoft.com

#6 Web Exploits

Microsoft Internet Explorer is the world’s most popular web browser and is installed by default on every Microsoft Windows system. Unpatched or older versions of Internet Explorer contain multiple vulnerabilities that can lead to memory corruption, spoofing and execution of arbitrary scripts or code.

  • it’s important that you keep Automatic Updates on so that your system can be patched as it becomes necessary

 

#5 Adware

Adware is a form of spyware that collects information about the user in order to display advertisements in the user’s Web browser based on the information it collects from the user’s browsing patterns. Adware pops up ads that are at the very least, annoying.

  • up-to-date anti-spyware is the solution

Free Adware solutions:

Ad-Aware 2007

In my view, Ad-Aware 2007 Free is the best free spyware and adware remover available. It does a relatively good job of protecting against known data-mining, Trojans, dialers, malware, browser hijackers and tracking components. The only downside with the free version is real-time protection is not included. www.lavasoftusa.com

#4 Viruses

A computer virus is a computer program that can copy itself and infect a computer without permission or the knowledge of the user. However, the term “virus” is commonly used to refer to many different types of malware programs. The original virus may modify the copies, or the copies may modify themselves.

  • install anti-virus software that can detect and eliminate known viruses after the computer downloads or runs the executable
  • add a non-signature anti-malware program to help with brand-new threats

PC Tools’ ThreatFire 3 blocks malware (including zero-day threats) by analyzing program behavior, and it does a better job than many signature-based products. Add its free protection to your security arsenal. http://www.pctools.com/

#3 Spyware/Trojans

Spyware can be classified as software that covertly gathers user information through the user’s Internet connection without his or her knowledge, usually for advertising purposes. Spyware applications are typically bundled as a hidden component of freeware or shareware programs that can be downloaded from the Internet. However, it should be noted that the majority of shareware and freeware applications do not come with spyware.

Once installed, the spyware monitors user activity on the Internet and transmits that information in the background to someone else. Spyware can also gather information about e-mail addresses and even passwords and credit card numbers.

A Trojan Horse is a destructive program that masquerades as a benign application. Unlike viruses, Trojan horses do not replicate themselves but they can be just as destructive. One of the most insidious types of Trojan horse is a program that claims to rid your computer of viruses but instead introduces viruses onto your computer.

  • updated anti-spyware applications plus a non-signature anti-malware application should keep out, or remove these threats.

 

#2 Identity Theft

Identity theft is a crime in which criminals impersonate individuals, for financial gain. Today you often need to reveal personal bits of information about yourself, such as social security numbers, a signature, name, address, phone numbers, and even banking and credit card information. If a thief is able to access this personal information, he or she can use it to commit fraud in your name.

With this information the thief could do things such as apply for loans or new credit card accounts. They can then request a billing address change and run up your existing credit card without you knowledge. They can also use counterfeit checks and debit cards, or authorize electronic transfers in your name, to wipe out your bank account.

  • a full-powered security suite should block all computer-related avenues for identity theft

 

#1 Social Engineering

Social engineering is the act of obtaining or attempting to obtain otherwise secure data by conning an individual into revealing secure information. Social engineering is successful because its victims innately want to trust other people and are naturally helpful.

  • the number one threat to your computer’s security is—you!
  • use common sense
  • don’t take programs from strangers
  • don’t go to “iffy” Web sites
  • if your security software pops up a warning, READ IT before you take action

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Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Malware Advisories, Online Safety, Safe Surfing, Windows Tips and Tools

Computer Slowing Down? – Checkout These Free Solutions to System Slowdowns

 

A Cluttered Registry

The longer you use Windows, the more cluttered your registry can become, especially if you regularly install and uninstall software. Many applications, on being uninstalled, leave behind “orphan” registry entries. They don’t remove all traces of themselves; causing problems such as sluggish performance, system lockups, or a bloated registry that takes longer to load on startup. The easiest way to clean your registry is to use a free registry cleaner, such as RegSeeker. With the click of a button, RegSeeker will scan your registry for these fragmented files, and safely remove them.

Download: http://www.hoverdesk.net/freeware.htm

Full Hard Drive

A full hard drive will not function efficiently. You require at least 2 – 3MB of free space for programs to run smoothly. If you lack this much free space, you should uninstall unused programs on your primary drive. A superior program to uninstall programs from your computer is Revo Uninstaller. This free program with its advanced and fast algorithm scans before, and after you uninstall an application.

After the program’s regular uninstaller runs, you can remove additional unnecessary files, folders and registry keys that are usually left over (those “orphaned” registry entries we talked about earlier), on your computer. This feature is a definite plus.

Download: http://www.revouninstaller.com/

Not Enough Memory

It’s important to have enough memory on your computer to keep programs running smoothly. Current recommendations are that you have at least 512MB on your PC, although at this point, 1GB seems to be a safer bet. If you need to upgrade your RAM, check your local retail ads for sales. You can usually get a RAM upgrade at a great price.

Alternatively, you can run a free memory manager such as FreeRam XP Pro to free and optimize your computer’s RAM (Random Access Memory). The result is an increase in system performance and productivity. The application automatically configures itself for ease of use and also features advanced options and customizability. FreeRAM XP Pro has been designed to be easy to use yet highly customizable by computer novices and experts alike. I have been using this application for several years, and I am delighted with its performance.

Download: http://www.majorgeeks.com/download.php?det=1670

Too Many Start-Up Programs

When you boot your computer, there may be a number of programs that start automatically. These programs impact your computer’s available processing capacity and memory usage, and can slow it down dramatically. In all probability, you don’t need all of these programs to automatically start when you boot your computer.

Autoruns is a free utility, which has the most comprehensive knowledge of auto-starting locations of any startup monitor and shows you what programs are configured to run during system boot up or login, and shows you the entries in the order Windows processes them.

These programs include ones in your startup folder, Run, RunOnce, and other Registry keys. You can configure Autoruns to show other locations, including Explorer shell extensions, toolbars, browser helper objects, Winlogon notifications, auto-start services, and much more. Autoruns goes considerably beyond the MSConfig utility bundled with Windows Me and XP.

Download: http://autoruns.en.softonic.com/

Spyware and Malicious Programs

The most common complaint about spyware is that it slows down the operating system. As spyware accumulates on a computer, performance can grind to a dismal halt. Combating spyware starts with learning to recognize its presence and understanding its impact on system resources.

Recognizing when spyware is installed on a computer system and removing it promptly is the best method of protecting computers from catastrophic problems caused by spyware. There are many free applications available to help you recognize, control and remove spyware, adware, Trojans, and other malicious malware/programs that can infect and slowdown your system. Here are some that I recommend.

SpyBot Search and Destroy: http://www.safer-networking.org/

AdAware: http://www.lavasoftusa.com/

AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition: www.free.grisoft.com

SpyCatcher Express: www.tenebril.com

ThreatFire 3: www.threatfire.com

Comodo Firewall: www.comodogroup.com

 

 

 

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Filed under Windows Tips and Tools