GF Tech Class Guest Lesson: Viruses, Adware, Spyware and You!

Merc

Certified Shitlord
V.I.P.
#1
(All quoted information is from Wikipedia)

Hello computer world, this is Constantine logging in from the eastern seaboard here with a special guest edition of dDave's GF Tech Lessons. Today, we'll be talking about something I believe more and more people are confronted with but have no idea how to handle: malware.

Malware, also known as Malicious Software, is software designed to infiltrate or damage a computer system without the owner's informed consent. The term is a portmanteau of the words malicious and software. The expression is a general term used by computer professionals to mean a variety of forms of hostile, intrusive, or annoying software or program code. Many normal computer users are however still unfamiliar with the term, and most never use it. Instead, "computer virus" is incorrectly used in common parlance and even in the media to describe all kinds of malware, though not all malware are viruses.


Software is considered malware based on the perceived intent of the creator rather than any particular features. Malware includes computer viruses, worms, trojan horses, most rootkits, spyware, dishonest adware, and other malicious and unwanted software. In law, malware is sometimes known as a computer contaminant, for instance in the legal codes of several American states, including California and West Virginia.

Your three main concerns are:



Adware is advertising software that floods your computer with ads and pop ups. It can significantly slow and harm your computer. It is the most common malware you'll encounter.


Spyware tracks your computer usage and attempts to hijack or steal information. It allows the spyware's master to see what you're searching, what you're typing, or what you have on your computer. Some advertisers use these programs to better advertise to customers.


Viruses range from annoying to downright devastating. They've caused millions of dollars of damage in the past to entire networks. Viruses infiltrate your computer, multiply and do different things depending on how they're programmed. They can delete information, replace it, or alter the system. They can even spread to other computers via email or messenger programs.



Malware represents one of those facets of humankind we've yet to understand. Most malware simply exists for advertising purposes, companies trying to learn your surfing and shopping habits so they can advertise even better. Yet, there exists a good amount of it that serves only one purpose: to destroy and steal. Whether it's identity theft or just some nut enjoying your misery over lost vacation photos, malware of the lowest order is out there.



I'm not so much concerned today with telling and teaching you the technical aspects of malware, but how to avoid, detect, and fix it.



The simplest analogy, one you've probably heard before, is that computers are like the human body. They are susceptable to disease and sickness varying by the amount of protection they have and the routine maintenance done on them.


If you don't shower for days, chances are you'll stink and most likely get sick



Computer equivalent: Routine system clean ups. As you surf the net, listen to music, download files, and play games, junk files build up. Every few days, a defragmenting is a good idea. This will most likely be explained in a future Tech Lesson, so I won't cover it just yet. Also cleaning out your internet cache will not only speed the computer up slightly, but it will prevent malicious cookies from infiltrating your system.


cookies are used for authenticating, session tracking (state maintenance), and maintaining specific information about users, such as site preferences or the contents of their electronic shopping carts.
If you don't take medicine when you need it, you'll get sicker and possibly suffer serious consequences.


If your computer begins to slow down, or pop ups show up when you're not surfing the net, or your computer is being just plain weird, you should run a malware check. Some of the best programs are as follows:


Lavasoft's Ad-Aware Free Edition - Incredible free software that will keep your computer in top shape. Highly acclaimed and available in stronger pay versions, Ad-Aware is THE anti-spyware and malware program of the day.



Spybot Search and Destroy - A great partner to Ad Aware, Spybot S&D tends to pick up infections Ad Aware does not. Spybot also immunizes your internet browsing against certain cookies. Another highly acclaimed program, check it out, it's free!



Webroot SpySweeper - One of my personal preferences, Webroot does an awesome job of removing and fixing virus related problems. It's also available in most major electronic stores (Best Buy, Circuit City, or places like Target and Walmart). Try a free trial today!



AVG Free Antivirus - An internet favorite and user choice, AVG provies unrivaled power for a free product. Also available in a pay version AVG offers great virus killing power with little resource hogging. Download the free version but trust me, you'll be buying it soon after!


If you don't excercise and eat right, you'll slow down


Without a steady diet of reliable programs and upgrades, your computer will not be able to keep up with the world and net around it and unlike you and I, a computer can't go for a jog to get itself into shape. At least once every year, upgrade some memory and data storage capacity on your computer to keep it running at an optimal level. Internet connections are getting faster, but slower computers cannot handle them. Memory allows your computer to run more programs at once (think of having increased "brain" capacity so you could think about more at once!) and data storage offers more space so that the computer has more room to work with (stuffing a small car with camping gear sucks, using a truck or SUV works best!).



Malware Threats


Virus makers and advertisers are two entirely different entities. Advertisers will typically get you throw shady websites. If you are a frequent surfer, it's probably a good idea to scan after each session to be safe. Yes, it's true, simply by clicking onto a site, you can be infected, so try to stick to safe sites. Also, surf with Firefox, never Internet Explorer. Imagine driving through Iraq, wouldn't you rather drive in a tank?



Emails are common attack spots. Most email services offer spam protection, but they're not guaranteed. Do not open emails from people don't know, no matter how many inches it will add to your penis or how much money king Juju wants to give you. Basically, safely traversing any connection to the web is a solid idea.


A big new trend is to disguise viruses by calling them AntiVirus programs. Pretty evil, eh? That's right, these people trick you into thinking you're getting free protection when all they're really doing is stealing information from you. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it is. Fork over some cash and buy a good antivirus program (aside from the ones listed above, of course!). Check here for some good selections:


PC World's Top 10 Antivirus Softwares (2006)


That's it for now! Remember, surf safe and strong! If you think you have a malware of sorts do not panic! Use an antivirus scanner along with an ad/spyware scanner (like Ad Aware) and check out your computer. Do not try and fix things yourself if you are not 100% comfortable! Computers can be difficult, especially sick ones, so be patient. Hope this was helpful! Go download/buy an antivirus and/or malware detection program now!



This topic is now open to discussion. Do you have any problems you think may be malware related? Ask here! Have a suggestion for software? Tell it here!


A reivew of the article I wrote would be great, too!
 

dDave

Guardian of the Light
V.I.P.
#2
Personally I have been using Ad-Aware for quite some time now, thanks for the recommendations on spyware protection.

I learned a lot from this including what adware, spyware, and viruses are exactly. This article is written very well.
 

Doc

Trust me, I'm The Doctor.
V.I.P.
#3
Awesome job, Cons. I'd like to add a little bit to it, though.

My personal recommendations is the combination of Ad-Aware, Spybot, and Avast! anti-virus. Avast covers viruses very well, and Ad-Aware and Spybot take care of every bit of malware that can get to your computer. Avast! even takes care of it, too. I'm not sure how much Avast costs, but I like it a lot more than I did AVG or Norton.
 

Merc

Certified Shitlord
V.I.P.
#4
Avast! was okay, I wasn't a big fan. Also, anyone here use Norton or McAfee? I hate 'em. They're massive resource hogs and they don't catch adware or spyware.
 

dDave

Guardian of the Light
V.I.P.
#5
Avast! was okay, I wasn't a big fan. Also, anyone here use Norton or McAfee? I hate 'em. They're massive resource hogs and they don't catch adware or spyware.
I used to have norton like 2 years ago, didn't really like it, all it did was bother you every time you tried to do something and tried to block games like warcraft or starcraft i remember at one poitn it was even blocking microsoft office, you'd think that they would be smarter than that.:rolleyes:

I didn't notice any benefits of it, the subscription definitely isn't worth it.

I also had webroot spysweeper until my computer crashed then I rebuilt it into a computer that i use now i liked that a lot better it actually found stuff and made your computer faster overall.
 

Doc

Trust me, I'm The Doctor.
V.I.P.
#6
The newest Norton is supposed to pick up spyware but I refuse to use it at this point. I've given it many tries and I just can't get past the resources it takes up and all of the unnecessary filters running constantly.
 

Merc

Certified Shitlord
V.I.P.
#7
I know it drives me fucking insane. You try to open Solitaire and it warns you of virus activity. Having Norton is like having 100 twitchy cops on meth guard your bathroom.
 
#8
Lavasoft's Ad-Aware Free Edition - Incredible free software that will keep your computer in top shape. Highly acclaimed and available in stronger pay versions, Ad-Aware is THE anti-spyware and malware program of the day.



Spybot Search and Destroy - A great partner to Ad Aware, Spybot S&D tends to pick up infections Ad Aware does not. Spybot also immunizes your internet browsing against certain cookies. Another highly acclaimed program, check it out, it's free!



Webroot SpySweeper - One of my personal preferences, Webroot does an awesome job of removing and fixing virus related problems. It's also available in most major electronic stores (Best Buy, Circuit City, or places like Target and Walmart). Try a free trial today!



AVG Free Antivirus - An internet favorite and user choice, AVG provies unrivaled power for a free product. Also available in a pay version AVG offers great virus killing power with little resource hogging. Download the free version but trust me, you'll be buying it soon after!
I have these on both my old and new computers and my old computer was Windows ME and they were a huge help and they found lots of junk that I deleted

I also have SpySubtract which I like alot and I also use CrapCleaner which also deletes left over files from previously uninstalled programs and software and it only takes less than a minute to use
CCleaner - Home
 

ComicFitz

Registered Member
#9
I don't know much about this stuff and I was talked into buying Norton, by the way you guys talk about it, it was a bad idea. I have about 220 days left on my subscription.
I also had SpywareStop, but my subscription has just run out.

Should I renew the SpywareStop or do you all have a better you use?

Also, I use internet explorer, so should I switch to Firefox?

Basically, my computer works fine in the beginning, but will start to slow down the longer I'm on it. At some point It feels like I have dial up and sometimes it will even freeze up and I will have to restart the computer.
BTW, I have a Dell Dimension 2400 about 5 years old, maybe it's time for a new computer all together?

I just want it to stop running slow
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dDave

Guardian of the Light
V.I.P.
#10
I don't know much about this stuff and I was talked into buying Norton, by the way you guys talk about it, it was a bad idea. I have about 220 days left on my subscription.
I also had SpywareStop, but my subscription has just run out.

Should I renew the SpywareStop or do you all have a better you use?

Also, I use internet explorer, so should I switch to Firefox?

Basically, my computer works fine in the beginning, but will start to slow down the longer I'm on it. At some point It feels like I have dial up and sometimes it will even freeze up and I will have to restart the computer.
BTW, I have a Dell Dimension 2400 about 5 years old, maybe it's time for a new computer all together?

I just want it to stop running slow
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After hitting "Post Quick Reply" it took about a minute to go through.

Alright here's what to do.

First switch to firefox.
Mozilla | Firefox web browser & Thunderbird email client

then get ad-aware
Download Redirect - Lavasoft

then get AVG 8.0
AVG Free - Download AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition for Windows XP and Vista

then after that get easycleaner (this will help you fix your registry)
Official ToniArts software pages



after scanning your computer with each of those programs then your computer should be significantly faster.

AVG is recognized by windows XP as an antispyware program and let me tell you it works great. (just be sure to change it so it doesn't pop up every 5 minutes, ask me if you can't figure it out). Anotehr great feature of this program is it's link scanner, if you search for something in google (or yahoo) then this program will automatically scan each and every link and tell you if it's ok or not (this is marked by a green star)

Firefox is the best web browser I think, it's faster than IE and it is less prone to viruses, not to mention that it's not as grainy as IE.
 
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