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General Security Information - How to tighten Security Settings and Warnings


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Cookiegal's Avatar
Administrator & Malware Removal Specialist with 95,240 posts.
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Join Date: Aug 2003
01-Aug-2007, 01:51 PM #1
General Security Information - How to tighten Security Settings and Warnings
This is copied by dvk01's post in the Malware Removal/HijackThis forum.

This advice is reposted from the advice given by Tony Klein, the acknowledged spyware & malware expert who supports many forums on the net.

I have added a few minor updates to it

You usually get infected because your security settings are too low.

Here are a number of recommendations that will help tighten them, and which will contribute to making you a less likely victim:

1) Watch what you download!
Many freeware programs, and P2P programs like Grokster, Imesh, Kazaa and others are amongst the most notorious, come with an enormous amount of bundled spyware that will eat system resources, slow down your system, clash with other installed software, or just plain crash your browser or even Windows itself.

2) Go to IE > Tools > Windows Update > Product Updates, and install ALL Security Updates listed.
It's important to always keep current with the latest security fixes from Microsoft. Install those patches for Internet Explorer, and make sure your installation of Java VM is up-to-date. There are some well known security bugs with Microsoft Java VM which are exploited regularly by browser hijackers.

3) Go to Internet Options/Security/Internet, press 'default level', then OK.
Now press "Custom Level."
In the ActiveX section, set the first two options ("Download signed and unsigned ActiveX controls) to 'prompt', and 'Initialize and Script ActiveX controls not marked as safe" to 'disable'.

Now you will be asked whether you want ActiveX objects to be executed and whether you want software to be installed.
Sites that you know for sure are above suspicion can be moved to the Trusted Zone in Internet Option/security.

So why is activex so dangerous that you have to increase the security for it?
When your browser runs an activex control, it is running an executable program. It's no different from doubleclicking an exe file on your hard drive.
Would you run just any random file downloaded off a web site without knowing what it is and what it does?

And some more advice:

4) Install SpywareBlaster. It will protect you from all spy/foistware in its database by blocking installation of their ActiveX objects.
Download and install, download the latest updates, and you'll see a list of all spyware programs covered by the program (NOTE: this is NOT spyware found on your computer)
Press "select all", then "kill all checked", and you're done.
The spyware that you told Spywareblaster to set the "kill bit" for won't be a hazard to you any longer.
Although it won't protect you from every form of spyware known to man, it is a very potent extra layer of protection.
Don't forget to check for updates every week or so.

Let's also not forget that SpyBot Search and Destroy has the Immunize feature which works roughly the same way.
It can't hurt to use both.

5) Another brilliant program by Javacool we recommend is SpywareGuard.
It provides a degree of real-time protection solution against spyware that is a great addition to SpywareBlaster's protection method.

An anti-virus program scans files before you open them and prevents execution if a virus is detected - SpywareGuard does the same thing, but for spyware! And you can easily have an anti-virus program running alongside SpywareGuard. It now also features Download Protection and Browser Hijacking Protection!

6) IE-SPYAD puts over 5000 sites in your restricted zone, so you'll be protected when you visit innocent-looking sites that aren't actually innocent at all.

7) The IE hosts file blocks ads, banners, cookies, web bugs, and even most hijackers. This is accomplished by blocking the Server that supplies these little gems.
Example - the following entry 127.0.0.1 ad.doubleclick.net blocks all files supplied by the DoubleClick Server to the web page you are viewing. This also prevents the server from tracking your movements.It Now includes most major parasites, hijackers and unwanted Search Engines!
In many cases this can speed the loading of web pages by not having to wait for these ads, banners, hit counters, etc. to load.
This also helps to protect your Privacy by blocking servers that track your viewing habits, known as "click-thru tracking".

However as time has progressed the focus of this project has changed from blocking ads/banners to protecting the user from the many parasites that now exist on the Internet. It doesn't serve much purpose if you block the ad banner from displaying, but get hijacked by a parasite from an evil script or download contained on the web site. The object is to surf faster while preserving your Safety, Security and Privacy.

Incidentally, another site with an enormous amount of information on computer security, and which is well worth a visit is http://www.wilderssecurity.com/

If you are using XP or windows 2000 or 2003 then this application will also help a lot to prevent hijacking
https://www.prevx.com

And make sure your Antivirus and firewall is switched on and kept updated
__________________
Microsoft MVP - Consumer Security

Last edited by Cookiegal; 08-Mar-2013 at 05:01 PM..
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