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Having my biennial computer problems, which

by Ziks511 / July 27, 2013 11:05 PM PDT

usually involves days of me groping around for freeware to deal with malware and hijackers and all the rest of the annoying things that bedevil those of us who mess about with computers.

Why, once your browser preferences are set, they remain vulnerable to any piece of software that wants to mess with them, I simply don't understand. I'd think that it would be one of those areas of a computer to be protected from third party invasion, but it never has been. For the last 3 months despite what had previously been adequate protection, my browser has been changed every time I've started the browser on the computer. Periodically both browsers stop working altogether, which is currently my situation. Very, very annoying.

Oh, well, God give me patience.


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Too click-happy?
by Josh K / July 27, 2013 11:59 PM PDT

Most of that stuff can be avoided by simply browsing with a healthy dose of suspicion, and deleting pretty much any e-mail with "Fwd:" in the subject. I also think Firefox has better built-in protections than IE. I don't care much for Opera and Chrome is a joke.

I use a web filtering service called OpenDNS. It's free, and all you need to do is change your router's DNS settings to point to their servers. There's no software to install. You can then filter out adware, hate sites, porn, anything you want.

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Yes, I plead guilty, except for the e-mail thing
by Ziks511 / July 30, 2013 5:59 PM PDT
In reply to: Too click-happy?

I never open unknown e-mails of any sort. They go straight to the CCleaner Shredder.

Thank you very much, Josh, I'll try OpenDNS. It sounds eminently sensible.


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First off, do not use IE for anything but MS updates
by Steven Haninger / July 28, 2013 1:56 AM PDT

Secondly, if you get things straightened out, have your browser delete all history upon exit with the exception of trusted sites that you want to save login credentials. Next, do not directly install programs from the web. Down the full installation file if possible and not the stubs. Have you AV software scan it. When installing such programs, watch carefully for checkboxes that are marked by default to install other pieces of software and particularly those that install as browser tools. As part of a backup plan, I also recommend having a program that will make complete hard drive images that can be stored on another hard drive. These can be used for disaster recovery as well as to get you out of a jam. Make the images as regular intervals and always prior to installing a major piece of software. These images take minutes to make and minutes to restore rather than requiring hours or days of work if you need to start from scratch

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In addition.....
by Josh K / July 28, 2013 10:40 PM PDT

.....whenever installing anything, choose the Custom install option if there is one.

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And be especially watchful with
by Steven Haninger / July 28, 2013 11:06 PM PDT
In reply to: In addition.....

Cnet's download dot com offerings. They are as sneaky as can be. Wink

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(NT) I've gotten caught by them several times. Custom install now
by Ziks511 / July 30, 2013 6:02 PM PDT
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(NT) THAT may well be my worst problem. I will change. Rob
by Ziks511 / July 30, 2013 6:01 PM PDT
In reply to: In addition.....
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Regarding not using IE for anything other than MS updates
by Josh K / July 29, 2013 12:19 AM PDT

My company's intranet has pages that do not render properly (or at all) with any browser other than IE. There are probably still some public websites like that also. To limit my exposure when using them, I use an IE Tab add-in for Firefox, which spoofs the IE rendering engine but still gives you Firefox's security benefits. It doesn't work for everything but it works for a lot of them.

Technically I'm not even supposed to be using Firefox on my work computer (IE is the only company-approved and company-supported browser), but I've been using it for years.

At home we have a Mac and I use Firefox there too, rather than Safari.

Another good Firefox add-in is Adblock Plus, which does exactly what it sounds like it does, and quite well.

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I use Adblock plus

also DNT+ (Do Not Track +). I don't know if DNT does anything but Adblock is definitely worth it. I've been lucky enough to stay clean of pests for years but I also don't tend to go walking around in neighborhoods that don't seem to be safe...profiling of a sort.

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I just checked the FF Extensions site.....
by Josh K / July 29, 2013 2:49 AM PDT
In reply to: I use Adblock plus

.....and found two "Do Not Track" add-ons. One is from AVG and the other is from Abine, Inc. Which one are you using? FF has its own "Do not track" checkbox but I'm not sure how effective it is. Adblock Plus is great because by blocking the ads, not only do you keep yourself safe and declutter your screen, but it frees up bandwidth since a lot of those ads are animated.

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I'm using DNT from Abine
by Steven Haninger / July 29, 2013 3:32 AM PDT

I'm not sure it does anything and FF does have that checkbox as you noted. I might shut it down for a while. I've tried the ad blockers with IE but with very limited success. IE nags me to turn them off claiming they steal bandwidth. IE also has some "Ad choices" function which I can't make work to my satisfaction. I've avoided using Chrome as it's known to be a data miner. They all may be doing that. Everyone has to make a living.

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Disabling third-party cookies.....
by Josh K / July 29, 2013 4:13 AM PDT

.....may come close to what DNT purports to do. Both Firefox and IE give you that option.

IE nags me to turn them off claiming they steal bandwidth.

LOL, that's hilarious. I wonder how many people actually believe that. Remember how installing Internet Explorer would mysteriously cause Netscape to start crashing? Wink

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Hey, I paid money for Netscape
by Steven Haninger / July 29, 2013 4:52 AM PDT

If you've been using the internet since Win 3., you'll know it didn't come with a "socket" to even get to the internet. I paid for Trumpet Winsock and Netscape all to run on a dial-up connection. MS saw that there were already fools out there like me. I still have a Netscape coffee mug...not a crack found in it yet.

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version 2?
by James Denison / July 29, 2013 4:58 AM PDT

I think I might go rummage around downstairs and see if I can find the original box with that in it. More than anything else, it's what sold me on the potential for the internet, even on dialup at 9.6 and then 14.4 Kbps blazing speed.

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I found the disc in jewel case
by James Denison / July 29, 2013 7:01 AM PDT
In reply to: version 2?

but not the box. Probably tossed it.

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Couldn't download much back then
by Steven Haninger / July 29, 2013 7:40 AM PDT

I belonged to some BBS boards and there were time limits and up/download quotas. I don't know how bit Netscape was back then but I know it would take me about an hour to collect what would fill up a 1.44 mb floppy. That meant I tied up my phone and someone else line for that amount of time. I believe I bought Netscape at Best Buy. I downloaded Trumpet Windsock and anted up the shareware price once I got it working. It required writing some sort of script. Getting on line wasn't a one step process with dialup either. I started with a 2400 baud Hayes, moved to a 9600 (which cost an arm and leg) and eventually to a USR Courier that would get me about 51k. At that speed, my wife and I could both be on using ICS. Web sites weren't as graphic intensive then so it didn't seem all that bad. We did end up getting a second land line when our usage increased. Only recently did I give away the old US Robotics modem. I never got that good with the Hayes AT commands and modem strings anyway.

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(NT) DNT from AVG ... Now. Sorry, forgot the old one.
by Ziks511 / July 30, 2013 6:05 PM PDT
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(NT) Me too. Rob
by Ziks511 / July 30, 2013 6:03 PM PDT
In reply to: I use Adblock plus
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(NT) I don't, it's Firefox or Google Chrome for me. RB
by Ziks511 / July 30, 2013 6:00 PM PDT
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Have you ever considered
by James Denison / July 28, 2013 6:17 AM PDT
Mint Linux, Ubuntu, or Kubuntu? Don't even need an antivirus when using them, although Clam AV is available to insure you don't send any infected file that doesn't hurt Linux to a windows user whom it will. If you want to try them out first, order a $12 USB thumbdrive and install the system to it, then boot to it, play around in it. Or can test by installing Oracle's VMware Virtual Box, download a Linux distro ISO file, import into the virtual box program (both are free) and play around with it, get familiar, see if interested.


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Thank you James, sincerely. I'm a chicken when it comes to
by Ziks511 / July 30, 2013 6:14 PM PDT

non-standard OS's I haven't gotten used to.

As note, this only happens about every 2 years or so, and usually takes me 3 days of sorting and dumping files and Erasing Erasing Erasing.

I wrote the original post on a second lap-top I picked up for just this sort of trouble, but I'm typing this one on the laptop which I thought might have seized up completely. After about 3 days of work, It now seems to be functioning just as it once did, though it is loading a little bit slower. I'll take it to the shop and pay them $80 whenever I have it to re-check everything, and to optimize it properly. I'll also have a list of "What the hell is this? and what does it do? and can I get rid of it? Questions.


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by Willy / July 28, 2013 11:51 PM PDT

Since you say your browser(s) change probably the home page or similar suggests you've installed or allowed to have done some malware pgm. to proceed. Further, since it has come back if you've done some corrections then the root of the problem hasn't been detected or cleared yet. You can check Grif's help post on the forums here at:


and find the sticky and use whatever. if you know the problem or have name of the problematic malware, etc., google away for a cure. Just don't fall for XYZ pgm. if too conventionally provided as others jump in and install their own crap. Get from a trusted website or source and allow it to clean away. I agree with pretty much what has already been posted to you, stay away from IE and i tend to use Chrome. If your problem completely get out of hand, then export your bookmarks and totally delete the installed browser, other than IE. Once done, reboot and install the browser from a fresh updated install file and then import bookmarks. Review your setting and config them and save. Hopefully, that clears problems and/or issues. However, do whatever to remove prior to re-installing a browser, then do a browser re-install only have it appears safe. Removing the problem browser may help clean malware that's embedded within it or references it points to. -----Willy Happy

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My thanks to everyone who contributed helpful hints.
by Ziks511 / July 30, 2013 6:20 PM PDT

Situations like this are actually good for me, because they force me to get to work and prove that I actually can solve some of the problems myself. I seem to have done alright but I am going to check out the sites you've suggested, and never run Standard Install again.

You've all been great and I am most appreciative. May the Mad Mojo of Malware fly on past your house without pause.


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