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Do I have to buy yet another security tool

by dennisond / February 8, 2006 12:28 AM PST

This is a new model HP Pavilion w/512 RAM and Windows XP, I already have Norton Anti-Virus, Firewall, AOL 9.0 Security Edition w/ spyware protection, Spybot,Adaware, and Spy Subtract. With a clean slate, I can get on the internet, check my mail, read the CNET Forums, and maybe shop a bit on Walmart.com or Tiger Direct and log off. I then hit spy subtract and there are 4 to 6 tracking cookies on my computer. The nice lady at AOL said just don't click on any links and my resonse to this is why did I buy this machine if I can't use it. All these security programs are turning a machine that was a rocket into a mud turtle.
Please advise.

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Why not use IE 6's cookie blocker?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 8, 2006 1:00 AM PST

Then you won't have the cookies.

In closing, cookies are not a known security risk.

Bob

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What might work
by joe_smith / February 8, 2006 1:22 AM PST

Is using a web browser like Mozilla Firefox, where you can set it to delete all cookies when you close the browser. That way, there's no issues regarding tracking cookies, which are a pretty mild threat I might add.

What I do, is pretty simple to avoid this sort of garbage. First, I only use Internet Explorer to get new Windows updates, period. I try and avoid using any programs that rely on Internet Explorer as well, so Office, Outlook Express, Windows Media Player and plenty of others. I do use Weather Watcher, but the only other decent alternative is the spyware laden Weatherbug. I use Mozilla Firefox instead, and if I come across a site that won't work with Firefox, I move on without so much as a second thought. There are plenty of other great free or low cost replacements to most of Microsoft's stuff, such as OpenOffice for MS Office.

That makes the risk of spyware getting onto my system virtually nil. I use my wonderful new D-Link GWL-4300's firewall for filtering out unwanted probes of my system. If you're using dialup, that may not be possible, but XP's built in firewall will probably suffice just as well as Norton's. Anyone who tells you XP's firewall is inbound only is mistaken as well. A few lazy tech journalists mistakenly stated that, and sadly most people today just blindly trust reporters to get everything right. It was never true, XP's firewall has always been in/out, it's just pre-SP2 it was pretty difficult to configure outbound rules. It's something to think about when it comes time to renew the update subscription for Norton's firewall product.

There are also some pretty good free virus scanners out there. I normally use AVG Free, which I like a lot, but have been trying Avast lately. Aside from a few minor annoyances, it seems to be pretty good about not sucking up much in the way of resources. It can be a little too attention starved for my taste, but for some people that's a good thing.

Of course if you REALLY want to be free of all this stuff, your only real option involves no longer using Windows. I'm planning on getting a nice PowerMac someday (hopefully) soon. It offers most of the benefits of Linux (the other major option) -- stability, performance, customization -- with most of the benefits of Windows -- most of the little details are handled for you, hardware tends to "just work" -- in a single nice package. I also don't really need to worry about having a virus scanner installed, OS X comes with the excellent ipfw BSD firewall. If you want to keep using Windows, having all those various programs is just a fact of life.

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A free suggestion...
by John.Wilkinson / February 8, 2006 1:34 AM PST

You've pretty much covered all of your bases security wise, but there is one thing I would like to suggest...download and install the free program Spyware Blaster. It does not run in the background like other security apps so it won't slow down your system. What it does do is customize your browser and computer settings to automatically block cookies and ActiveX controls that are known to be unwanted and potentailly dangerous. It won't prevent them all, but it should catch most of them, leaving AdAware and Spy Subtract with little work to do. All you have to do is run it every couple of weeks to update the block lists.

Hope this helps,
John


P.S. I'm glad you didn't take the AOL rep's advice...otherwise you would never have read this reply. Happy

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Thanks for the advice
by dennisond / February 8, 2006 8:37 AM PST
In reply to: A free suggestion...

I think I'll try the program you provided to link up to and as soon as I get the nerve up I am going to uninstall AOL. When I took it off of my old 98se PC, it felt like I had given it a shot of nitrous. I bet it is going to be a nightmare to get completely of the XP OS as it was pretty rough to get completely off the old. Got any ideas about this-pass it on. Thanks for this forum as it is one of the few places to figure out PC issues without someone on the other end trying to sell you something.

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Removing the beast...
by John.Wilkinson / February 8, 2006 10:16 AM PST
In reply to: Thanks for the advice

AOL is one nasty hunk of software if you ask me, and I refuse to install it on my system after problems with it years ago. I'd use the standard uninstaller(s) through add/remove, then delete the root folders in C:\Program Files, then clean up any remains with CCleaner and RegCleaner (both are free). For more advice, click here for a previous thread on the subject.

Good luck.
John


P.S. I almost forgot my little bit: For just $19.95 you can get this new MoneyWaster...it slices, it dices... Devil

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Clicked on link you provided, check below please
by dennisond / February 9, 2006 7:40 AM PST
In reply to: A free suggestion...

I clicked on the Spy Blaster you provided, and ended up with Spy Doctor, it ran the free scan and plowed up a list of 64 snakes including 1 Trojan. When it closed, prompted that if I wanted this mess fixed pay up. I was afraid not to, so I paid up $40 and it cleaned the slate. As it works continuosly, what can I get rid of and where in the sam hill was Norton Personal Firewall when the trojan got through. I'm just sick of Microsoft and the next one I get will be a Mac

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Whoah...
by John.Wilkinson / February 9, 2006 8:41 AM PST

Some things need cleared up here:

* ''Spy Blaster'' is not an anti-spyware product I'm aware of. Some refer to SpywareBlaster as ''Spy Blaster'', while others use that term to mean SpyBot Search and Destroy.

* The link I provided was to SpywareBlaster.

* Spyware Blaster is from Javacool Software and is completely free with no strings attached. They do not link to any other security products, so the one you downloaded (and paid for) could not have been through the link I provided.

* Spy Doctor is not a trustworthy program...it has been on and off blacklists and rogue program lists for quite some time. If you have it installed I'd suggest removing it immediately and scanning with legitimate products.

* Spyware Doctor by PC Tools is the legitimate antispyware program that Spy Doctor feeds off of. (People mistake Spy Doctor for Spyware Doctor due to the latter's popularity.)

Now, it's very important for you to verify which of these programs you have installed and from where you downloaded and purchased it.
-------------------------------------------------------
As to Norton firewall, it's debatable. Firewalls are designed to prevent hackers from accessing your system remotely and pests on your system from calling out. (It's basically a bouncer at your front door that determines who's allowed to come and go.) Viri, trojans, and other malware usually slip in with other files and programs you download, and that's something a firewall does not cover. (You gave the bouncer permission to let the guy in...he's not searching the guy's pockets for rats.)

This is where you should be careful of what you download, and make sure you scan it with your antivirus immediately after downloading it if there's any question as to the validity of the file or the source. (Your AV should find any rats.) Your AV and antispyware apps should also be set for real-time scanning, so that if a piece of malware does launch it will be stopped and cleaned by your security software.

Thus, while it's possible your firewall was sleeping on the job, it's more likely it snuck in with a VIP, so don't fire your bouncer just yet. (You could give another, such as the free ZoneAlarm firewall, a run through though.)

Hope this helps clear it up and be sure to shout back with the name of that program your downloaded.

John

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It is Spyware Doctor by PC tools
by dennisond / February 9, 2006 10:37 AM PST
In reply to: Whoah...

My apologies for the improper referral. I did click directly on the Spyware Blaster link and downloaded on CNET Downloads.com I somehow got diverted to Spyware Doctor but that may be a good thing. I was supposedly clean when I got on line and this mess was what they found. My question now is what all can I get rid of-AOL Spyware Protection and Spy Subtract obviously aren't worth poop and this program (Spyware Doctor) operates continously. The Trojan came in on Freeze.com as part of a free screen saver that my daughter downloaded. I had uninstalled the program a while back because the screen saver would come on while I was watching movies and the DVD would have to be restarted.
I also bought the backup CD and I was wondering if I could install on the old Win 98 computer. I think I'm still going to buy a Mac.

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Sounds OK then..
by John.Wilkinson / February 9, 2006 1:44 PM PST

With so many nasty programs being named similarly to legitimate products, it can become tedious making sure of the exact product name and source. Since it is Spyware Doctor (Cnet's download.com advertises it, so that's probably how you ran across it), I'd:

* Keep Norton firewall, or another one, running.
* Keep Norton AV, or another one, running for real-time protection, and do weekly or biweekly scans with it.
* Use Spyware Doctor as your real-time scanner.
* Kill off AOL, including their spyware protection.
* With Spyware Doctor, I'd feel comfortable removing Spy Subtract, which isn't as good, IMO.
* Keep SpyBot and AdAware installed for occasional scans, but disable TeaTimer (SpyBot's real-time protection).
* Still download SpywareBlaster...for a program that doesn't run in the background and only requires 2.5MB of space on your HD, it's definately worth having.
--------------------
As to installing Spyware Doctor on your other computer running Windows 98, you can't do so unless you purchase a multi-computer license. (PC Tools Software charges $29.95 for one computer and $49.90 for two.) Thus, legally and technically that wouldn't be an option at this time. However, you could move Spy Subtract over to it if you wanted.

Hope this helps,
John

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sign of the times
by bobbygee / February 9, 2006 8:01 AM PST

Hi there--
Unfortunately being secure is a must. If you run syware programmes such as Microsoft's Antispyware and
Spybot Search & Destroy-Adware programmes such as Adware SE Personal-Anti Virus programmes such as Mcfee and have a firewall enabled you should be safe.
An addition you could also install ALL SEEING EYE - START UP MONITOR - SPYWARE DOCTOR. Of course these will slow down your system but I think it's worth it.

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