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    O/T: Beware - of Spyware

     
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    Harvey Segal
    Site Admin


    Joined: 23 Mar 2004
    Posts: 3147

    PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 12:34 pm    Post subject: O/T: Beware - of Spyware Reply with quote

    Don't find out the hard way.

    Read what happened to me - in today's newsletter.


    SUPERTIPS EZINE

    Issue 99: May 20, 2005
    Harvey Segal, Editor


    Hello SuperTips readers,

    I have a tale of woe for you today.

    Worthy of the following (frowning) smiley.

    Sad

    However the gory details are interspersed with 3 great
    supertips.

    Smile

    And you'll also hear about my BIG decision.


    The woe is that I've spent the last week and more
    battling - and I don't use that term lightly - with
    spyware on my PC.

    It started with my Internet Explorer home page being
    diverted to another site.

    And then came the pop-up ads every few minutes.

    I was not too concerned at this point because - if you
    recall in a previous issue - I had recovered from a
    previous bout of spyware with the help of Adrian Ling's
    spyware book so I thought I would simply run the usual
    antispyware tools.

    But that did not work.

    This called for further reading of Adrian's book which
    then recommended that I look out for a BHO (Browser
    Helper Object).

    Sure enough it was there.

    But I couldn't get rid of it.

    And by now things were getting worse.

    My PC was running VERY slowly. Not surprising - the
    Task Manager said the CPU usage was 100%.

    And I was having temperamental problems with my
    Internet connection. As I write I'm still not sure of
    the cause but here's a way around it which works every
    time. It's today's SuperTip number 1.

    I turn off my PC, modem, router in that order and
    switch them back on again in reverse order - router,
    modem, PC - waiting a minute or so before each one. If
    you don't have a router then turn off PC, then modem
    and switch back on in reverse order.


    After trying all the remaining ideas in the chapter
    about removing spyware I came to the final section
    which Adrian had cleverly anticipated.

    He explains that there are some cases of spyware where,
    when all else fails, you need to call in the experts,
    and the book recommended a forum where you can go for
    help.

    Oh dear, more time lost as I had to sign up at the
    forum and read their FAQs about posting and how to use a
    tool called 'hijack' which would scan my computer and
    provide a report which I would then post at the forum.

    But this lost time was nothing compared to what
    followed.

    Getting up at 3.00 am I was pleased to see notification
    appear of a forum reply.

    When I arrived at the posting I was met by the most
    DAUNTING set of instructions

    It started by saying that there would be a long fix
    ahead and that we would need to go through each of my
    user accounts one by one.

    There then followed pages of instructions.
    Here's a tiny extract.

    ================================================
    Open killbox.exe
    Check the "delete on reboot" option
    click "file"
    Click "paste from clipboard"
    Hit the red button with white X in it
    Yes to delete file, NO to reboot.
    Hit red button again....yes to delete file, NO to reboot.
    Repeat hit red button/yes/no till last file is
    added (perfcii.ini) then Yes to reboot.
    Allow machine to reboot. Please go to safe mode.
    Log into Admin account
    ================================================

    I would loved to have returned to bed at that moment
    but when your livelihood depends on your PC that is not
    an option.

    That first bout kept me plugging away till 9.00am.


    But that was only round 1.

    For the next week there followed round after round.

    Here's an indication of what was involved.

    - running hijack many times with different options
    - logging into and out of different accounts
    - rebooting
    - restarting in safe mode
    - going into DOS
    - downloading and trying different antispyware tools
    - running very long computer scans
    - creating bat files
    - registry changes
    - adding/removing admin privileges


    Some operations required careful attention to detail:
    "Remember to log off other users and return to normal
    mode"

    Some required great care: "Create the batfile but
    DON'T run it from this location. Do NOT modify this
    file"

    Some required a painstaking check for specific
    filenames in a long list.


    So why am I telling you these laborious details ?

    Because by now I had made my big decision - I'll tell you
    in a moment.

    But I'll also mention the frustrations in following
    those instructions.

    I'd find that in safe mode my desktop would have a
    distorted appearance and the icon I needed was off
    screen and out of reach.

    Or I'd go into one account and be unable to access
    information in another.

    But the worst was that these scans would take ages,
    often an hour or more.

    Which leads me to SuperTip number 2.

    The more files you have on your system the longer your
    scans will take. So first remove anything you don't
    need. However those deleted files will end up in the
    Recycle Bin and will still be on your system. So right
    click your Recycle Bin and EMPTY it.


    So - what was this decision I made ?

    It was this.

    == I will NEVER have spyware on my computer again ==

    In that one week I had aged 10 years. It had taken over
    20 rounds - posting results to the forum and waiting
    for further instructions.

    I decided that once the spyware was removed I was going
    to STOP all work on my online business and take every
    possible precaution to stop this happening again.


    I turned to the chapter in Adrian's book about
    Prevention and carried out all the recommendations.

    It involved installing a number of antispyware tools,
    antivirus, a firewall, changes to Internet Explorer
    settings, changes to user accounts and more.

    Fortunately everything was perfectly explained - and
    all the tools were free.


    Now, when I sit back and think how this happened I
    realized that I had minimized the threat of software.

    My reasoning was - I don't open attachments, I don't
    download unknown files. So I'm safe.

    Wrong.

    Warning - it can happen to you just as easily.

    So what can you do about it ?

    Well it's SuperTip number 3.

    Get the ebook "Spyware Secrets Exposed".

    Put aside all your other work.
    Do what it says.

    Now.

    http://www.supertips.com/gurus/adrianling



    Regards
    Harvey
    ------------------------------------------------------
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    Contact details:
    email:hsegal@supertips.com
    snail: Harvey Segal, 158 Morton Way, Southgate,
    London N14 7AL, United Kingdom.

    Copyright (C) 2005 by Harvey Segal, SuperTips

    Newsletter Archives: click HERE


    Last edited by Harvey Segal on Fri Oct 21, 2005 10:15 am; edited 2 times in total
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    WayneB



    Joined: 21 Oct 2004
    Posts: 960

    PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

    I've also read Adrian's book, and I'll agree with Harvey's
    recommendation. There is a lot of very good information in it.
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    coolbreeze



    Joined: 11 May 2005
    Posts: 93

    PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2005 1:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

    i haven't read Adrian's book, but i stopped living IE a long long time ago.

    i currently use a free browser, firewall, antivirus software, and spyware/adware software. (i'm in the process of trying out a new spyware product).

    i haven't been infected in almost a year. i still do the windows updates though.

    Darius
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    coolbreeze



    Joined: 11 May 2005
    Posts: 93

    PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2005 1:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

    Harvey, have you done a complete backup since restoring your pc?
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    Harvey Segal
    Site Admin


    Joined: 23 Mar 2004
    Posts: 3147

    PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2005 5:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

    coolbreeze wrote:
    Harvey, have you done a complete backup since restoring your pc?

    I run an offline backup every night of my main data.

    Harvey
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    mudnik



    Joined: 16 May 2005
    Posts: 153

    PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2005 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

    Now we know why all those spyware stuff are such top sellers at clickbank!
    _________________
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    rwil02



    Joined: 05 Sep 2004
    Posts: 9
    Location: AUCKLAND, New Zealand

    PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2005 9:50 am    Post subject: Great option for Backups Reply with quote

    Harvey Segal wrote:
    coolbreeze wrote:
    Harvey, have you done a complete backup since restoring your pc?

    I run an offline backup every night of my main data.

    Harvey


    Hey Harvey.

    You might want to check out Ghost 9.0. I just got the new version a few months ago.

    You can completely image your hards drives, capable of doing a complete restore of windows, apps and data. That was old news.

    Latest version added in:
    Scheduled backups
    Backups while still in windows, in fact while still using PC.
    Ability to use the backup images as virtual hard drives so you can extract specific files if needed

    Which means that I back up my PC every week to a separate hard drive (should do more often, but it uses up 40GB)

    And then burn the images to DVD for offsite storage.


    I'm looking to get a NAS (network based Hard Drive) with hot swap drives, then I can simply do the backup to a removable drive, swap it for a new one and take it elsewhere in case the house burns down.

    Also, with a couple of options tweaked, you can backup your drives, get a whole new PC (if reasonably similar) and restore to it, with everything in perfect order.
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    Harvey Segal
    Site Admin


    Joined: 23 Mar 2004
    Posts: 3147

    PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2005 9:57 am    Post subject: Re: Great option for Backups Reply with quote

    rwil02 wrote:
    and take it elsewhere in case the house burns down.

    Ah - but will you ?

    And what a pain to have to do.

    Harvey
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    rwil02



    Joined: 05 Sep 2004
    Posts: 9
    Location: AUCKLAND, New Zealand

    PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2005 10:11 am    Post subject: Re: Great option for Backups Reply with quote

    Harvey Segal wrote:
    rwil02 wrote:
    and take it elsewhere in case the house burns down.

    Ah - but will you ?

    And what a pain to have to do.

    Harvey


    True. If I had 100MB line instead of 256KB, I'd set it up to automatically be transferred, but I figured it would take 6-8 days full line usage.

    More likely by far that a virus or spyware or disk failure would take it out, so we minimise risk. Confused
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    Harvey Segal
    Site Admin


    Joined: 23 Mar 2004
    Posts: 3147

    PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2005 10:30 am    Post subject: Re: Great option for Backups Reply with quote

    rwil02 wrote:

    True. If I had 100MB line instead of 256KB, I'd set it up to automatically be transferred, but I figured it would take 6-8 days full line usage.

    More likely by far that a virus or spyware or disk failure would take it out, so we minimise risk. Confused



    Note - you just need to backup your critical data.

    Once done all subsequent backups are incremental - they
    only upload the changes.

    And yes - virus/spyware/disk failure are more likely
    than your house burning down however here's the
    testimonial I provided for the offsite service I use

    "As a one-man Internet marketer my main fear has always
    been the loss of PC data - which would effectively put
    me out of business. I need to be 100%, not 99%,
    confident that I can restore my system in the case of a
    disaster.

    I've just binned my CD Writer which was the 99%
    solution.

    I now use the 100% solution - Depositit - simple,
    inexpensive, reliable and fast."


    I refer to Deposiit in my latest newsletter below.




    SUPERTIPS EZINE

    Issue 100: May 25, 2005
    Harvey Segal, Editor


    Hello SuperTips readers,

    As the number of issues of this ezine moves into the
    three-figure mark I thought I would take a look at
    three of my favourite products from the past.

    Products which I really LOVE.

    And I thought - what are the best ways to convey the
    value and excellence of a product ?

    Well each product below uses a different method

    1. Glowing testimonials

    2. A video of the product in action

    3. A review by a customer (in this case me) showing
    how he uses the product

    So my tip for today - consider using some of these
    methods for your own or affiliate products.


    Anyway on with the show.


    1. DepositIt

    This is the service which allows me to sleep soundly at
    night as my crucial computer files are automatically
    backed up to a safe place. Otherwise I lie awake
    fretting that I haven't taken my latest backups to
    another location.

    Yes it's no fun being unable to sleep.

    I have a friend who is an insomniac and he's also
    dyslexic and an agnostic - so he lies awake all night
    wondering if there really is a dog.

    But here's a bunch of happy customers with no sleep
    problems.

    http://www.depositit.com/testimonial.shtml

    By the way if you want to join this merry band don't
    order from the site. I have arranged a better deal for
    you here.

    http://www.supertips.com/cgi-bin/b/t.cgi?depositit



    2. XSitePro

    This is a newcomer which I only came across a few weeks
    ago. If you recall I actually met the author at a lunch
    with a few Internet marketers. XSitePro is a website
    building package designed specifically for the Internet
    marketer.

    I've been rapidly (as in two hours) redesigning each of
    my existing minisites with XSitePro and adding articles
    with AdSense at the flick of a switch.

    If you want to see just a fraction of what it can do
    here's the video

    http://www.xsitepro.com/cmd.php?af=259412&u=www
    .xsitepro.com/video.html


    3. easyClick404


    I've lost track of the number of times this tool has
    come to my rescue over the years.

    And I had also lost track of all the ingenious ways I
    have used it.

    So one week I decided to record every such occasion as
    it happened and soon built up a list of 12 profitable
    ways which you can see here

    http://www.supertips.com/gurus/adrianling


    Regards
    Harvey
    ------------------------------------------------------
    Privacy statement: Your address is NEVER
    sold, traded or shared with anyone.

    To subscribe:
    Mailto:ezine@supertips2.com or
    http://www.supertips.com/ezine/

    To unsubscribe:
    Mailto:unsubscribe-ezine@supertips2.com


    Contact details:
    email:hsegal@supertips.com
    snail: Harvey Segal, 158 Morton Way, Southgate,
    London N14 7AL, United Kingdom.

    Copyright (C) 2005 by Harvey Segal, SuperTips
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    windowsxp550



    Joined: 10 Jun 2005
    Posts: 1

    PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2005 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

    Harvey,

    As a computer tech, I have been coming across this same issue on other people's computers with spyware. In each case, the user was using Internet Explorer as their Browser of choice. After some research and some rethinking...it hit me...

    The problem is Definately Internet Explorer. Microsoft made a HUGE mistake when they were designing IE. They integrated it to much with windows. Try this...open internet explorer and type C: what happens? Internet Explorer switches to Windows Explorer and goes right to your C: Drive. What this means is all a hacker/virus/spyware etc has to do, is get get past IE security and they have access to your whole computer(which has been incredibly easy, since Microsoft is so slow to release security Patches...etc). So for Spyware that means that they can code a script of some sort to embed itself into your system....very easily.

    With any other browser (Opera, Mozilla etc...) if they are able to bypass the browser security, they do not have direct access to the rest of the computer.

    Microsoft did realize this huge mistake last year sometime.... Obviously, what they Will Not Do, is Admit this Mistake to the public because in Doing So, it would be essentially Saying to the Public "Don't Use Our Product".

    So Instead they announced that they are planning on releasing IE7 early (which is a First For Microsoft...in the past the only time we got a new version of Internet Explorer was when a new operating system came out...also, with Longhorn, the next version of windows, scheduled to roll out next year, why wouldn't Microsoft just continue with tradition and release IE7 with Longhorn...)

    It's Not a Suprise that they are trying to Keep this mistake as "hush hush" as possible. Especially with the rise of Firefox and other browsers.

    Anyhow, I advise Anyone using Internet Explorer to SWITCH TO ANOTHER BROWSER ASAP. There is no Security patch that will fix IE6, it is a design flaw and will only be fixed with a new version. Using the current version of IE is a HUGE risk....I'm certain that it was responsible for the spyware problems Harvey was experiencing...

    Jason
    _________________
    Finished writing my book, Windows XP POWERUPS.
    Check It Out HERE

    Also, Just Launched My Site, http://www.fixmyxp.com
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    funcareers



    Joined: 22 Apr 2005
    Posts: 7

    PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2005 9:24 pm    Post subject: My-Techguy donates 2c Reply with quote

    Step one: get clean of spyware (use google to find the up to date info)
    Step two: if you must use IE, install the latest Sun Java for Windows(now the default on new XP installs)
    Step 3: uncheck both "install on demand" options (IE-> Tools -> internet options)
    Step 4: install and run spywareblaster (freeware innoculator) javacoolsoftware.com/spywareblaster.html

    Those simple steps will eliminate 95% of all problems. If you want to go one step further, install the free version of any firewall and see what programs are trying to connect to the net (you'll be surprised).

    Lastly, backup, backup , backup. All the people on this forum probably have a good amount of space on their sites/servers - use it! I recommed Handy Backup for Windows, if you are on OSX learn the basics of CronJobs and Rsync, if you're non tech I'm sure there must be an OSX backup prog available -- automate everything, use incremental backups, save your butt.

    For passwords / pins / software keys, use PasswordSafe.com for when your computer blows up or you are away from your machine -- does that ever happen? Smile

    With just those first few simple steps I and my clients have been spyware free for about 18 months, safely backed up and secure.

    Hope that helps someone...

    Steve
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    Jason Moffatt



    Joined: 22 Jun 2005
    Posts: 24
    Location: Mt. Hood Oregon

    PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2005 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

    Isn't there some way we could go "Saudi Arabia" style on the creators of these malicious spywares. Seriously, I don't know how sorry I would feel seeing one of these punks getting stoned in public.

    What a tragedy.
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    radar717



    Joined: 08 Mar 2006
    Posts: 112

    PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2006 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

    Wow! you really went thru a lot of (#^$*#!!.

    Easier solution? - ummmmmm.... CURRENT BACKUPS!!!!

    I got tired of spyware cleans and drive crashes a looooong time. my system is setup with 2 removable IDE drives. The first is my C: drive the 2nd is a 100% identical drive image. I mirror my C: drive to the secondary drive using Copy Commander whenever I've loaded more than I want to re-install.

    Windows NEVER sees this second drive. Normally itz disconnected/off so itz safe from viruses and wear and tear. if i load something that screws me up i just swap and image in reverse - restoring my C: to unblemished condition.

    Usually after I update the 2nd C: image I use that drive as my C: that way I occasionally swap the working C: drive to save wear and tear. this system has been running for years in this config and I've crashed - virused - you name it.

    I dont even sweat it - i just swap (i always image IDE 0-->>1), dupe the good image and keep going. NO WORRIES EVER! Find a geek and make ur system crashproof - then you'll get to laugh at peeps that panic over crashes, viruses and other computer mishaps.

    also removable are nice when shipping cause you can remove the drives from the computer and pack them seperately. (i actually buy new pillows, peanuts, etc.. - you could prob football my ship box and not hurt the drives) - My C: get the Prez treatment. each drive ships seperately. sometimes i even hand carry these babies and mail the computer.

    My D: is a RAID 5 this CANT CRASH! - in raid 5 if a drive fails - YOU NEVER STOP WORKING!!! you just replace the bad drive and keep working while the system rebuilds the new drive. - i've had a couple D: crashes and never lost 1 byte. itz all data so really no viruse worries.

    I baby the RAID drives too during shipping but theyre crashproof anyway so as long as only one gets zapped i'm cool.

    If ur computer and data is ur life get with program NOW!
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    Harvey Segal
    Site Admin


    Joined: 23 Mar 2004
    Posts: 3147

    PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2006 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

    radar717 wrote:
    If ur computer and data is ur life get with program NOW!


    Thanks for the suggestions - however it's almost a year now since I made
    this post and I'm pleased to say I've not had spyware problems since.

    Just two questions about your solution

    1. Is it possible that you might copy infected files to the
    2nd drive

    radar717 wrote:

    if i load something that screws me up i just swap and image in reverse

    2. Can this be achieved alternatively by a System restore ?


    Harvey
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    radar717



    Joined: 08 Mar 2006
    Posts: 112

    PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2006 12:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

    restore points arent bulletproof. ever tried to roll your system back when you need it to work flawlessly? prob works about 80% of time but that 20%.......

    ya itz possible (infection) but usually before i do a image - i'll run adaware to clear any cookies. xp registry smoker to kill any hanging reg entries and any other utility of the month i like (norton disk doctor, speed disk, etc.) usually i'm prob nearly 99%+ confident that my system is running stable, nice, clean and fast when i do an image. never had a problem yet.

    that way when i restore i'm rolling back to a point where my system was rock-solid. i dont have to update the image too often since d: has the data. c: only has basically windows, programs and files i dont care about on it.

    and as xtra protection - i sometimes use a backup programs to save a file backup to a d:/backups dir. (never had to use one yet but they dont take long to make and worst case i crash - reload windows - restore backup file from the RAID)

    i dont have faith in restore points. they cant take you back to a pre-infected state. just seems like a restore of a windows registry backup. i've tried em to get rid of software instead of remove programs and had em NOT work.

    if you use computers a lot you can tell when your system is running like a dream. IMAGE THAT and snack happy!!!

    PS: Also the ability to crash, get infected or whatever and simply swap drives and be running flawlessly in the time frame of a reboot is PRICELESS!! (thatz the reason i dont like mirrored drives - they can protect you from crashes but any virus will infect both drives - thatz not possible with my solution, my rescue drive is safely OFFLINE)
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    Oliver



    Joined: 27 Jun 2004
    Posts: 188

    PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

    About 6 months ago I was running a couple anti spyware software and I still got infected with an adware program that kept giving me popups even when I was offline. I started reading alot about that anti spyware software and found out they only remove about 80-90% of the spyware/adware out there.

    I contacted the company I bought one of my anti spyware products from (the other one I used was free) and they basically said they couldn't help me. I got really mad because I thought I purchased the software to stay free from spyware and I wasn't.

    I found one software that removed it. I think I uploaded a report or something and they gave me an update that removed the popups in the same day. I know this sounds like an ad but this was the only thing that solved my problem: www.spyzooka.com But its too bad they dont use CB for their affiliate processor. That was the only one I was able to find that will actually guarantee your problem is solved. Of course, Im sure some other companies will probably rip off their removal guarantee idea sooner or later.
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