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Badmovies.org Forum  |  Other Topics  |  Off Topic Discussion  |  Being Safe Online « previous next »
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Author Topic: Being Safe Online  (Read 2988 times)
Andrew
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« on: November 19, 2006, 10:15:34 PM »

Hey everybody, Ash's recent post about spyware made me think about safe Internet surfing.  These days, it is far too easy for a malicious website (or banner, or message board post) to affect your computer.  So, some quick suggestions to keep your computer safe while online.  Anyone with good info feel free to chime in.

First, keep your computer up to date with security patches.  Windows 2000 and XP work pretty well with Microsoft Update.  Microsoft tends to release one batch of updates per month, often between the 10th to 18th.

http://update.microsoft.com/microsoftupdate/v6/default.aspx?ln=en-us

Most Linux users will know this, but tools like AutoRPM and even Cpanel can be used to keep Linux and Linux servers updated with new versions of software/RPMs.

Second, I really have to suggest moving away from Internet Explorer if you can. I keep it on my computer, for testing the site, but also to access websites that require you to use IE (which is a stupid way to design something).  My current browser is Firefox.

http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/

Users, keep those security zones and trusted sites set to levels that make you seem paranoid!

Keep your Java up to date.  Sun's Java program is used a lot on websites, often to provide functionality, but it can be used to do things that should not work.  The latest version is your best bet, as Sun tries to keep those holes patched.

http://java.sun.com/javase/downloads/index.jsp

Always keep an updated antivirus program on your computer.  I use Norton, which seems to be pretty stable and does not give me problems.  Also, use either a hardware or software firewall.  Many wireless routers now come with firewall functionality as part of their functions.  I believe that zone alarm is still free:

http://www.zonelabs.com/store/content/home.jsp

Use AdAware Personal or another spyware detector and check your computer often:

http://www.lavasoftusa.com/software/adaware/

I cannot stress enough the next point:  do not go click-crazy when something strange pops up as you are visiting a website.  If you get a strange pop-up box, close it (by using the X in the corner, not by clicking anyway inside).  If it keeps coming back, then go and disable javascript and java, then close it.  If that is too technical, then control-alt-delete and end process your browser.

As a catch-all, the US Cert site's tips for cyber security:

http://www.us-cert.gov/cas/tips/


« Last Edit: November 20, 2006, 07:51:41 AM by Andrew » Logged

Andrew Borntreger
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Ash
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« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2006, 10:51:59 PM »

This recent spyware issue was a rarity for me.
I keep my p.c. locked down pretty good.
I always keep Java updated and I run AVG Free Edition anti-virus.
Also, I run AdAware and Spybot at least once a week and I make sure to keep them both updated regularly.
On top of that, I run Spywareblaster in the background which prevents websites from installing spyware and other nasty items on my computer.
I also occasionally run HijackThis.
So this spyware infiltration came as a big surprise.

I've been mulling over whether to switch to Firefox.
All of my friends use it and they're always trying to get me to install it.
But now with the new version of Internet Explorer out, it seems it offers more security comparable to that of Firefox though I haven't installed it yet.


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ulthar
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« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2006, 11:58:43 PM »


I cannot stress enough the next point:  do not go click-crazy when something strange pops up as you are visiting a website.


I'd like to add to this last point with a comment on phishing, which is more email/spam related than surfing but it IS similar.  Do NOT respond to unsolicited emails that are suspicious, PERIOD.  Especially the "click here to remove" links, and links that SAY they are from E-Bay or your Bank.  ALWAYS hover your mouse over a link and check the status bar of your browser to see where the link points to.  If it is gobbledegook that does not look like the site in the link, don't click it.

Quote from: Ashthecat

I've been mulling over whether to switch to Firefox.
All of my friends use it and they're always trying to get me to install it.
But now with the new version of Internet Explorer out, it seems it offers more security comparable to that of Firefox though I haven't installed it yet.


Ash, do yourself, and the ENTIRE Internet a favor and dump IE IMMEDIATELY.  I'll be happy to share with you some of the technical back-end reasons to not trust IE, but in summary: IE is part of Windows.  It is "integrated" with the operating system.  Malware that "owns" IE "owns" the whole computer.  Period.

With Firefox (or any other non-integrated browser), you get a benefit analogous to biodiversity in a natural ecosystem.  A malicious piece of software can infect your browser, but that's all it can infect.  Put another way, IE crashes often crash the whole computer, but a Firefox crash is remedied by simply closing Firefox. 

Firefox has also been designed with security in place from the get-go, not as bolt-on aftermarket kruft meant to close the barn door after the horse has fled.  Firefox is w3c compliant and IE is so far from compliance it is a joke.

As for the new version?  Well, like I said; do yourself a favor and use a third party browser.  With Firefox being free, why take the chance that IE 7 is the same old piece of CRAP that all the other versions have been?  Also, it is well known that Version 7 does not really improve the w3c compliance.
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