General discussion

Is this a real threat

I keep getting messages from windows vista security saying rogue malware intrusion and security threats, that my pc is infected with 30 varieties of trojans and viruses. I have Zone Alarm and iv carried out a complete scan of all files with AVG and found nothing but the windows security messages will not go away. Any explanations please?

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Do you mean

Vista Internet Security 2010 or similar? The exact words are important.

If yes, then it is a real threat. That message itself is false, and is generated by malware pretending to be security utilities for virus and malware.

Follow the instructions given in the guidance at BleepingComputer.

Just a note. You mention both ZoneAlarm and AVG. If the version of ZoneAlarm you have also includes anti-virus scanning, then you do not need both installed. Having two anti-virus scanners installed can lead to conflict and performance issues.


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Yes and no

Yes and no. Yes it's a threat, but no you're not likely infected with all of those things.

What you've done, is show how just because you have an AV program and firewall, it doesn't mean you're 100% safe. If you're foolish enough to be using Internet Explorer, you still have to contend with malware, which is more or less the exclusive domain of Internet Explorer. All of this just proves what people (should) have been telling you for ages now: YOU are the primary line of defense in your system's security. If you do ill advised things like use Internet Explorer, file sharing programs, or run your mouth off on the wrong forums or chat rooms, you WILL have problems. What you're seeing is likely just the smoke proving there's a fire you haven't found yet. One that's probably been burning for quite a while now.

Once you've cleaned up your current mess, I'd strongly advise paying close attention to the do and don't list I'll post at the end of this message if you want to keep from going through this current process, of reacting to threats after the fact, repeatedly.

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And it would help

And it would help if I actually put in the tips I mentioned.


The more of these suggestions you follow, the fewer problems you should have. They won't solve any existing problems you have, but if you follow them all you should be able to avoid virtually all problems in the future.

Things you should NOT do
1: Use Internet Explorer (1)
2: Use any browser based on Internet Explorer (e.g. Maxathon and MSN Explorer)
3: Use Outlook or Outlook Express (2)
4: Open email attachments you haven't manually scanned with your virus scanner
5: Open email attachments you were not expecting, no matter who they appear to be from
6: Respond to spam messages, including using unsubscribe links
7: Visit questionable websites (e.g. porn, warez, hacking)
8: Poke unnecessary holes in your firewall by clicking "Allow" every time some program requests access to the Internet (3)
9: Click directly on links in email messages
10: Use file sharing or P2P programs
11: Use pirated programs

Things you SHOULD do
1: Use a non-IE or IE based browser (4)
2: Always have an up to date virus scanner running (5)
3: Always have a firewall running (6)
4: Install all the latest security updates (7)(Cool(9)
5: Delete all unsolicited emails containing attachments without reading
6: Manually scan all email attachments with your virus scanner, regardless of whether it's supposed to be done automatically
7: Copy and paste URLs from email messages into your web browser
8: Inspect links copied and pasted into your web browser to ensure they don't seem to contain a second/different address
9: Establish a regular backup regimen (10)(11)
10: Make regular checks of your backup media to ensure it is still good (12)

Being a considerate Internet user & other online tips
1: Do not send attachments in emails (13)(14)
2: Do not use stationary or any other kind of special formatting in emails (13)
3: Do not TYPE IN ALL CAPS (15)
4: Avoid texting speak or "l33t speak" (16)
5: Do not poke sleeping bears (17)
6: Do not use registry cleaners/fixers/optimizers (1Cool(19)

Offline tips and suggestions
1: Avoid buying Acer, HP. Compaq, Gateway, and eMachines computers (20)(21)(22)(23)
2: Avoid sub-$500 systems that aren't netbooks or part of some limited time price promotion (24)


(1) Sadly sometimes this is unavoidable, so only use IE when the site absolutely will not work with any other browser and you cannot get that information/service anywhere else, and only use IE for that one specific site.
(2) Outlook and Outlook Express are very insecure, and basically invite spam. The jury is still out on Vista's Windows Mail, but given Microsoft's history with email programs, extreme caution is advised. Possible replacements include Mozilla Thunderbird, Eudora, The Bat, and dozens of others.
(3) When it doubt over whether or not to allow some program, use Google to find out what it is and whether or not it needs access to the Internet. Otherwise, denying access is the safest course of action, since you can always change the rule later.
(4) On Windows your options include: Mozilla Firefox, Seamonkey, Opera, Flock, Chrome, and Safari. I would personally recommend Firefox with the NoScript extension for added security, but it the important thing is to pick one and use it instead of IE.
(5) AVG Free and Avast are available if you need a decent free virus scanner
(6) XP/Vista's firewall is probably good enough for 99% of all Windows users, but other options include ZoneAlarm, Outpost Firewall, and Comodo. If you have a router with a firewall built into it, there is no need for any of the aforementioned firewalls to be running.
(7) Microsoft's usual system is to release security updates every second Tuesday of the month.
(Cool Use of Windows Update on Windows operating systems prior to Windows Vista requires Internet Explorer, and is thus a valid exception to the "No IE" rule.
(9) Service packs should ALWAYS be installed. They frequently contain security updates that will ONLY be found in that service pack.
(10) You can go with a full fledged backup program, or simply copying important files onto a CD/DVD/Flash drive.
(11) I'd recommend a tiered backup system. For example, you might have 5 rewritable DVDs, and every day you burn your backup onto a new disc. On the 6th day, you erase the disc for Day #1 for your backup, and so on so that you have multiple backups should one disc ever go bad.
(12) Replace rewritable CDs and DVDs approximately every 3-6 months.
(13) These dramatically increase the size of email messages (2-3X minimum) and clog up email servers already straining to cope with the flood of spam pouring in daily.
(14) If you want to share photos with friends/family, upload them to some photo sharing site like Flickr or Google's Picasa Web and then send people a link to that particular photo gallery.
(15) This is considered to be the same as SHOUTING and many people find it to be hard to read along with highly annoying.
(16) Unless the goal is to make yourself look like a pre-adolescent girl, or someone overcompensating for their gross inadequacies, and you don't want people to take you seriously.
(17) Most REAL hackers are quite content to leave you alone unless you make them take notice of you. No dinky little software firewall or consumer grade router is going to keep them out of your system. So do not go to some hacker website or chat room and start shooting your mouth off unless you're prepared to accept the consequences
(1Cool Most of these programs are scams, and sell you something you don't need. Most of them report non-issues in an attempt to boost the number of "issues". Sometimes using these programs can lead to a non-functioning computer.
(19) The Windows registry is not some mystical black box of untapped performance tweaks for Windows, that will lead to untold improvements in system performance. Most of the tweaks will lead to very modest performance gains of 1-2% tops, and probably less than 10% all combined. There is also a good chance that you will render your system unbootable if you make a mistake when editing. Registry default settings are set that way for a reason. Just do yourself a favor, and forget you ever heard of the Windows registry unless you are a computer programmer/debugger and your job requires knowledge of the registry.
(20) Acer now owns Gateway and eMachines
(21) HP owns Compaq
(22) Hardware failures seem far more common with these brands than can be considered normal
(23) These companies use cheap labor in Asian countries were working conditions are often what would be considered sweat shops, and are run by brutal dictatorships, which you are supporting by buying from these companies
(24) If you just do some simple math, and realize that the cost of individual components like the CPU are around 25-33% of the total retail cost of the system, and everyone involved in the making and selling of the system is looking to make a profit, how much money can they possibly be making on each system. And if you're only making a few pennies on every system, how much quality control do you really think is going to go into the manufacturing process?

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Or check out Linux - free forever, and more secure....

Yes its a threat - if it didn't get reported by AVG
or Zonealarm, why trust the message? Its a HOAX.

Check out Linux - many different flavors are out there,
free for download, free forever. I recommend Ubuntu.
Research it, visit forums, learn about it. Unless your
a heavy 'gamer', it could be the answer. Free now,
free next month, free 10 years from now. Too good to
be true ??? See here :

It costs nothing to try, and you can install it dual-boot
mode on your present system....and never touch your
Win-crash installation.

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I just have to say

I just have to say, that posts like these may be well intentioned, but you're not doing the Linux "cause" any favors with them. In fact, you're setting them back each and every time someone reads this, thinks it comes off like a used car salesman's sales pitch, and are turned off to the idea.

Suggesting Linux as an alternative might be fine when the situation warrants it. A person might be upset with Windows, saying they are looking for alternatives, or maybe whatever they're trying to accomplish could be done easily with Linux and not so much Windows. But suggesting that Linux is the cure for nearly every problem someone has with a computer is a real disservice to them, and the Linux "cause".

Truth is, Linux requires people learn a whole different way of thinking compared to Windows, and while that may be perfectly fine for you and me, others are not interested. This is not a situation where trying to promote Linux is welcome or helpful in any way, and saying things like "Win-crash installation" just makes you sound childish.

I've been using Linux off and on for about 15 years now. It's a great system in a lot of ways, but it still has a long ways to go in other areas. Let's not do it any disservices by trying to gloss over it's flaws while exaggerating it's good points.

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Clemmy57 -

Sorry to try to inform you of other options...nevermind Linux -
forget you ever saw my first post.....

Jimmy Greystone - I have been fighting Windows since 3.1,
and its always been the same story. Patch, new hole, patch, patch,
patch.....then finally "we won't support your OS any longer, please
buy the newer version (for $100-150). Then the process starts all
over again. Viruses weren't much of a problem until Win95 or so, but
the trend caught on quick, much to our dismay. Idle hands with
computer savvy began to exploit all the holes in "the software".

I never insisted Clemmy57 MUST install Linux - I said "research it,
read the forums", etc. As for your statements of -

"Linux is the cure for nearly every problem someone has with a computer is a real disservice to them"

And ..."you're not doing the Linux "cause" any favors"....

....Never did I say that Linux was the be-all-end-all, now did I?

As for doing Linux a "disservice' by mentioning it - I think not.
I'm betting "Clemmy57" hadn't even heard of Linux until this post -

(How 'bout it, Clemmy ???? Had you heard of it ???)

IMHO, every person who becomes aware that an alternative exists to
the current de-facto OS is another possible user. More users
equals more feedback equals better software.

Most of my clients are 50+ who use their machines mostly for

1. Internet
2. E-mail

Beyond that, they don't care much. And many have older
machines they 'try' to run newer OS's on, like Win XP on a
12 year old PC. Boots up in, oh, 15 minutes. I install Puppy
Linux on it, and they can't believe the speed. Happy customers
are repeat customers. And. much to my dismay, hardly any
call-backs about problems......hard to keep making money
in this biz if this trend continues.....

Jimmy - never meant to start a flame-war with you....just felt
I was stepped on a little hard for trying to introduce someone
to Linux.........

Clemmy - Jimmys suggestions are spot-on - take them to the bank.

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