Question

How to secure Windows 8 Against Backtrack and Similar..?

Hi all,

Wondering if there are any experts ut there who can assist me with locking down my Windows 8.1 PC.

I'm currently running a standard, subscription-based Firewall/Antivirus and have a host of security programs running on the machine.

I'd be interested to know where to look and what programs to use to secure my machine against advanced hacking attempts such as from Backtrack and other similar software.

- How does this software gain access to the machine?

- What ports/services can I close/disable?

- What programs can be used to scan deeper layers of the OS (Kernel, Registry, etc.) for evidence of previous, successful hacking attempts implanting 'backdoor' software?

- What can I do to anonymise myself online to keep all internet activities completely private, from my ISP and malicious parties intent on spying?

- Any further security advice not specifically covered by the topics above.

I'm very serious about maintaining online privacy and keeping a clean, secure machine. I'm willing to do the search-engine research (already months of it under my belt) and work very hard at locking my internet privacy down and hardening my PC as much as possible to prevent, or at least detect, all snooping attempts made.

I'm running a host of programs to monitor TCP/IP connections so can easily bring up programs 'listening' on ports and view their PIDs etc.

Hopefully, with your expert assistance I'll be able to ensure that any work or research done on my computer remains completely private and confidential.

Much appreciated.

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Answer
The way I read Backtrack is I use it on your PC.

If you are allowing me physical access then the game is over. You've allowed me to install almost anything including a hardware keylogger which for most folk is undetectable.

Why are you giving me such access?

As to your work and research, the only way to be sure it's safe is to use an non-internet connected machine. That's how the Game of Thrones keeps it tight.
http://www.theverge.com/2014/5/14/5716232/george-r-r-martin-uses-dos-wordstar-to-write

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Answer
Some Thoughts...

As to how such things get on your computer....Usually, the user gives it access by clicking on a link or downloading email and opening the wrong attachment.

Your firewall should close all ports necessary for blocking various access routes.

To do some deeper scanning for spyware, etc., click on the link below and follow the steps to the letter.

“Expand” the post titled: "Please try this" at the link below:
http://www.cnet.com/forums/post/f742c795-5881-433b-a29b-6d758efe5cd3/

As to making your self "invisible" on the internet, don't bother. If the military, banks, and all the other important companies in the world can get hacked, so can you.. Unless, of course, you want to disconnect from the online world and stay off the internet.

But remember "Only YOU can prevent forest fires"... In other words, it's your surfing, email, and internet habits that allow such malware to infect the machine. YOU are the best prevention tool for stopping such. Learn about safe computing by reading about the topic online.

Hope this helps.

Grif

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Anything more specific?

Would anyone know where I could find an advanced hacker or security expert to describe the entrance vectors to hacking a computer?

While I'm aware it's almost impossible to be 100% hack-proof, being aware of the vectors of attack, and especially KNOWING when you've been compromised and HOW they achieved this is far, far better than being a victim without knowing or not knowing if you're under attack.

I've carried out the advice in the above link.

Further information or ideas would be useful.

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There are now many vectors, but we remain the best vector.

You seen to think that the computer is where the hacking is going on. For instance Dridex.
Read https://grahamcluley.com/2015/10/security-problem/

Since the PC is a personal computer all you ever need to do is to ask the user to take some action, download this and install that or change a setting.

-> You lead with Backtrack which you let me onto your PC to run. That was the vector. Are you going to close that vector up?

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I Thought That WAS Specific

It seems like you've got a fairly good handle on many of the ways a computer can become infected. You've already got a firewall and an antivirus running.... Plus, the link I provided will give you an excellent method for routinely checking the machine for spyware programs. Anything more than that

As a system admin to a small government agency, I was involved in securing all our computers against attack but as to giving you "entrance vectors to hacking a computer", let's just say that's against forum policies. If you actually want to learn to be a expert in intrusions (hacking), you'll have to go elsewhere. Simply stated though, such information takes frequent education about such methods because it changes constantly. I'ts YOU that makes the difference on a personal computer. Keep up the good work and never stop checking this forum, and others such as Wilder's, etc. for the newest exploits out there.

Hope this helps.

Grif

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Keep sending me ideas if you can...

@R. Proffitt:

It's all well and good with articles that directly blame the user as the weak point in internet security but I'm following accepted security wisdom.

I'm starting to think the fault really doesn't lie with me. I've been researching every security article major search engines throw up at me (barring the very heavily technical stuff, much of the terminology of which I am unqualified to interpret).

I'm starting to think the parties that are deliberately publicizing my internet activity are located in 'official' channels. For example, my phone network operator or Internet Service Provider.

Given I'm not building a bomb, plotting to kill anyone or referencing illegal pornography my ISP shouldn't have a right to inspect my internet activity.

A few more details about why this makes me suspicious:

I live in a densely populated urban area. A capital city, and I'm located close to its center.

Each day, to test the privacy of my internet connection, and the scrutiny that it's under, I'll look up a website with contents that represent a rare or 'don't see this every day' kind of subject.

Almost without fail, within 15 minutes to an hour of me walking out the door, I'll lock eyes with someone directly representative of the contents of my web search.

Either someone has put a bug on my phone line, my router's firmware is hacked (my ISP won't let me refresh the firmware... can't get a new router with an internet connection that isn't private... that would inform my 'stalker' as to the exact make and model to compromise) or someone at my ISP either has a personal dislike against me or is somehow profiting from me being unable to claim my right to privacy.

Regardless, any and ALL advice on what to do, if you can mentally put yourself in my situation, would be appreciated. I've probably thought of it already but perhaps someone will give me a new way of thinking that might help me lose my 'stalker(s)' or make myself prohibitively resource-inefficient for them to continue such behavior.

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So will you run TAILS?

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