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PC running very slowly after WIN32.TROJAN attack

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PC running very slowly after WIN32.TROJAN attack

Unread postby Alanlid » February 24th, 2007, 7:09 am

While loading audio CD's into iTunes, my PC went crazy. The sound was broken-up and stuttering. I couldn't close iTunes or get a response from the 'shutdown' or 'log-off' buttons, or CTRL-ALT-DEL, so I had to do a hard reset.
The PC (Athlon 64 3500+) booted into XP very slowly. The splash screen was displayed for much longer than usual and the desktop took ages to gradualy build up. I was running AVAST anti virus and the Windows firewall at the time, but the PC is permanently connected to cable broadband via a router so I suspected a virus. I instigated an AVAST thorough scan, but it was running so slowly, two hours later it had only scanned a small percentage of the files. I cancelled AVAST and ran Adaware. This flagged up WIN32.TROJANDOWLOADER.AGENT and WIN32.TROJAN.AGENT, apparently in C:\system volume information\_restore.... AVAST also triggered at the same time. The files were cleaned and he PC re-started. Still running very slowly. I have since tried PCTools Spyware Doctor, Panda Antivirus 2007, Kaspersky, AVG Free and Trojan Hunter (one at a time!). Spyware Doctor reported a Keylogger and some minor threats which were deleted, but the PC is still dead slow. At times, disconneced from the router, Task Manager shows the processor running at 90-100%, mostly attributed to 'System idle process', but at others, the system seems to run fairly normally, but it can't handle sounds without breaking up and stuttering. At other times, the machine will take minutes to respond to a mouse click or key press.
I've had clear thorough scans from Kaspersky, Avast and Adaware.
I'm not sure if it's a virus or a conflict / hardware issue.
I have also taken the drastic step of disabling the system restore function.

I have carried out the recommended tasks and the Hijack This log file is as follows:-

Logfile of HijackThis v1.99.1
Scan saved at 10:51:51, on 24/02/2007
Platform: Windows XP SP2 (WinNT 5.01.2600)
MSIE: Internet Explorer v7.00 (7.00.6000.16414)

Running processes:
C:\WINDOWS\System32\smss.exe
C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\winlogon.exe
C:\WINDOWS\system32\services.exe
C:\WINDOWS\system32\lsass.exe
C:\WINDOWS\system32\Ati2evxx.exe
C:\WINDOWS\system32\svchost.exe
C:\WINDOWS\System32\svchost.exe
C:\WINDOWS\system32\ZoneLabs\vsmon.exe
C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\Ati2evxx.exe
C:\WINDOWS\Explorer.EXE
C:\WINDOWS\system32\spoolsv.exe
C:\Program Files\Grisoft\AVG Anti-Spyware 7.5\guard.exe
C:\PROGRA~1\Grisoft\AVGFRE~1\avgupsvc.exe
C:\WINDOWS\system32\CTSvcCDA.exe
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\EPSON\EPW!3 SSRP\E_S30RP1.EXE
C:\WINDOWS\system32\svchost.exe
C:\Program Files\Hewlett-Packard\HP Share-to-Web\hpgs2wnd.exe
C:\Program Files\Adobe\Photoshop Album Starter Edition\3.0\Apps\apdproxy.exe
C:\Program Files\Java\jre1.5.0_09\bin\jusched.exe
C:\PROGRA~1\Sony\SONICS~1\SsAAD.exe
C:\Program Files\Creative\ShareDLL\CtNotify.exe
C:\Program Files\Hewlett-Packard\HP Share-to-Web\hpgs2wnf.exe
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Real\Update_OB\realsched.exe
C:\Program Files\Roxio\Easy CD Creator 5\DirectCD\DirectCD.exe
C:\Program Files\ATI Technologies\ATI Control Panel\atiptaxx.exe
C:\WINDOWS\SOUNDMAN.EXE
C:\Program Files\QuickTime\qttask.exe
C:\Program Files\Creative\ShareDLL\MediaDet.Exe
C:\Program Files\iTunes\iTunesHelper.exe
C:\Program Files\Zone Labs\ZoneAlarm\zlclient.exe
C:\Program Files\Grisoft\AVG Anti-Spyware 7.5\avgas.exe
C:\Program Files\TrojanHunter 4.6\THGuard.exe
C:\WINDOWS\system32\ctfmon.exe
C:\Program Files\Messenger\msmsgs.exe
C:\Program Files\Serif\GraphicsPlus\GpStart.exe
C:\Program Files\Web Wipe\wwipe.exe
C:\Program Files\OpenOffice.org 2.0\program\soffice.exe
C:\Program Files\OpenOffice.org 2.0\program\soffice.BIN
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Sony Shared\AVLib\SSScsiSV.exe
C:\Program Files\iPod\bin\iPodService.exe
C:\PROGRA~1\Grisoft\AVGFRE~1\avgamsvr.exe
C:\PROGRA~1\Grisoft\AVGFRE~1\avgemc.exe
C:\Program Files\Grisoft\AVG Free\avgcc.exe
C:\Program Files\HijackThis\HijackThis.exe

R0 - HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Start Page = http://www.virginmedia.com/
R1 - HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Default_Page_URL = http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=69157
R1 - HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Default_Search_URL = http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=54896
R1 - HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Search Page = http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=54896
R0 - HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Start Page = http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=69157
R0 - HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Local Page = \blank.htm
R1 - HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings,ProxyOverride = local.,
O2 - BHO: Adobe PDF Reader Link Helper - {06849E9F-C8D7-4D59-B87D-784B7D6BE0B3} - C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat 7.0\ActiveX\AcroIEHelper.dll
O2 - BHO: (no name) - {53707962-6F74-2D53-2644-206D7942484F} - C:\Program Files\Spybot - Search & Destroy\SDHelper.dll
O2 - BHO: SSVHelper Class - {761497BB-D6F0-462C-B6EB-D4DAF1D92D43} - C:\Program Files\Java\jre1.5.0_09\bin\ssv.dll
O2 - BHO: EpsonToolBandKicker Class - {E99421FB-68DD-40F0-B4AC-B7027CAE2F1A} - C:\Program Files\EPSON\EPSON Web-To-Page\EPSON Web-To-Page.dll
O3 - Toolbar: EPSON Web-To-Page - {EE5D279F-081B-4404-994D-C6B60AAEBA6D} - C:\Program Files\EPSON\EPSON Web-To-Page\EPSON Web-To-Page.dll
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [Share-to-Web Namespace Daemon] C:\Program Files\Hewlett-Packard\HP Share-to-Web\hpgs2wnd.exe
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [Adobe Photo Downloader] "C:\Program Files\Adobe\Photoshop Album Starter Edition\3.0\Apps\apdproxy.exe"
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [SunJavaUpdateSched] "C:\Program Files\Java\jre1.5.0_09\bin\jusched.exe"
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [SsAAD.exe] C:\PROGRA~1\Sony\SONICS~1\SsAAD.exe
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [NewsUpd] C:\Program Files\Creative\News\NewsUpd.EXE /q
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [Disc Detector] C:\Program Files\Creative\ShareDLL\CtNotify.exe
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [TkBellExe] "C:\Program Files\Common Files\Real\Update_OB\realsched.exe" -osboot
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [AdaptecDirectCD] "C:\Program Files\Roxio\Easy CD Creator 5\DirectCD\DirectCD.exe"
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [ATIPTA] "C:\Program Files\ATI Technologies\ATI Control Panel\atiptaxx.exe"
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [SoundMan] SOUNDMAN.EXE
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [CreativeMixer] C:\Program Files\Creative\Audio2K\PROGRAM\CTMIX32.EXE /t
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [QuickTime Task] "C:\Program Files\QuickTime\qttask.exe" -atboottime
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [iTunesHelper] "C:\Program Files\iTunes\iTunesHelper.exe"
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [NeroFilterCheck] C:\WINDOWS\system32\NeroCheck.exe
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [LanzarL2007] "C:\DOCUME~1\Alan\LOCALS~1\Temp\{958F4444-3AA2-492D-8A90-763F21A16729}\{D1DA2BA7-2592-4036-9BB2-DCCABDE8DC1A}\..\..\L2007tmp\Setup.exe" /SETUP:"/l0x0009"
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [Zone Labs Client] "C:\Program Files\Zone Labs\ZoneAlarm\zlclient.exe"
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [AVG7_CC] C:\PROGRA~1\Grisoft\AVGFRE~1\avgcc.exe /STARTUP
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [!AVG Anti-Spyware] "C:\Program Files\Grisoft\AVG Anti-Spyware 7.5\avgas.exe" /minimized
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [THGuard] "C:\Program Files\TrojanHunter 4.6\THGuard.exe"
O4 - HKCU\..\Run: [CTFMON.EXE] C:\WINDOWS\system32\ctfmon.exe
O4 - HKCU\..\Run: [MSMSGS] "C:\Program Files\Messenger\msmsgs.exe" /background
O4 - HKCU\..\Run: [EPSON Stylus Photo RX560 Series] C:\WINDOWS\System32\spool\DRIVERS\W32X86\3\E_FATIBPE.EXE /FU "C:\DOCUME~1\Alan\LOCALS~1\Temp\E_S34.tmp" /EF "HKCU"
O4 - Startup: OpenOffice.org 2.0.lnk = C:\Program Files\OpenOffice.org 2.0\program\quickstart.exe
O4 - Startup: progname.lnk = C:\Program Files\Web Wipe\wwipe.exe
O4 - Global Startup: Adobe Gamma Loader.exe.lnk = C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Calibration\Adobe Gamma Loader.exe
O4 - Global Startup: Adobe Reader Speed Launch.lnk = C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat 7.0\Reader\reader_sl.exe
O4 - Global Startup: GraphicsPlus.lnk = C:\Program Files\Serif\GraphicsPlus\GpStart.exe
O4 - Global Startup: Microsoft Office.lnk = C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\OSA9.EXE
O9 - Extra button: (no name) - {08B0E5C0-4FCB-11CF-AAA5-00401C608501} - C:\Program Files\Java\jre1.5.0_09\bin\ssv.dll
O9 - Extra 'Tools' menuitem: Sun Java Console - {08B0E5C0-4FCB-11CF-AAA5-00401C608501} - C:\Program Files\Java\jre1.5.0_09\bin\ssv.dll
O9 - Extra button: (no name) - {e2e2dd38-d088-4134-82b7-f2ba38496583} - %windir%\Network Diagnostic\xpnetdiag.exe (file missing)
O9 - Extra 'Tools' menuitem: @xpsp3res.dll,-20001 - {e2e2dd38-d088-4134-82b7-f2ba38496583} - %windir%\Network Diagnostic\xpnetdiag.exe (file missing)
O9 - Extra button: Messenger - {FB5F1910-F110-11d2-BB9E-00C04F795683} - C:\Program Files\Messenger\msmsgs.exe
O9 - Extra 'Tools' menuitem: Windows Messenger - {FB5F1910-F110-11d2-BB9E-00C04F795683} - C:\Program Files\Messenger\msmsgs.exe
O11 - Options group: [INTERNATIONAL] International*
O16 - DPF: {0A5FD7C5-A45C-49FC-ADB5-9952547D5715} (Creative Software AutoUpdate) - http://creative.com/su/ocx/15015/CTSUEng.cab
O16 - DPF: {4F1E5B1A-2A80-42CA-8532-2D05CB959537} (MSN Photo Upload Tool) - http://spaces.msn.com//PhotoUpload/MsnPUpld.cab
O16 - DPF: {6414512B-B978-451D-A0D8-FCFDF33E833C} (WUWebControl Class) - http://update.microsoft.com/windowsupda ... 7737589593
O16 - DPF: {9A9307A0-7DA4-4DAF-B042-5009F29E09E1} (ActiveScan Installer Class) - http://acs.pandasoftware.com/activescan ... asinst.cab
O16 - DPF: {AF2E62B6-F9E1-4D4F-A10A-9DC8E6DCBCC0} (VideoEgg ActiveX Loader) - http://update.videoegg.com/Install/Wind ... lisher.exe
O16 - DPF: {B38870E4-7ECB-40DA-8C6A-595F0A5519FF} (MsnMessengerSetupDownloadControl Class) - http://messenger.msn.com/download/MsnMe ... loader.cab
O16 - DPF: {F6ACF75C-C32C-447B-9BEF-46B766368D29} (Creative Software AutoUpdate Support Package) - http://creative.com/su/ocx/15021/CTPID.cab
O17 - HKLM\System\CCS\Services\Tcpip\..\{926DF24A-5ECA-4888-AC7E-3D00E9014EA8}: NameServer = 192.168.2.1
O17 - HKLM\System\CCS\Services\Tcpip\..\{CA717514-0EC2-4696-9DD5-42DA20A0AD09}: NameServer = 192.168.2.1
O18 - Protocol: msnim - {828030A1-22C1-4009-854F-8E305202313F} - "C:\PROGRA~1\MSNMES~1\msgrapp.dll" (file missing)
O20 - Winlogon Notify: WgaLogon - C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\WgaLogon.dll
O23 - Service: Ati HotKey Poller - ATI Technologies Inc. - C:\WINDOWS\system32\Ati2evxx.exe
O23 - Service: ATI Smart - Unknown owner - C:\WINDOWS\system32\ati2sgag.exe
O23 - Service: AVG Anti-Spyware Guard - Anti-Malware Development a.s. - C:\Program Files\Grisoft\AVG Anti-Spyware 7.5\guard.exe
O23 - Service: AVG7 Alert Manager Server (Avg7Alrt) - GRISOFT, s.r.o. - C:\PROGRA~1\Grisoft\AVGFRE~1\avgamsvr.exe
O23 - Service: AVG7 Update Service (Avg7UpdSvc) - GRISOFT, s.r.o. - C:\PROGRA~1\Grisoft\AVGFRE~1\avgupsvc.exe
O23 - Service: AVG E-mail Scanner (AVGEMS) - GRISOFT, s.r.o. - C:\PROGRA~1\Grisoft\AVGFRE~1\avgemc.exe
O23 - Service: Creative Service for CDROM Access - Creative Technology Ltd - C:\WINDOWS\system32\CTSvcCDA.exe
O23 - Service: EPSON V3 Service4(01) (EPSON_PM_RPCV4_01) - SEIKO EPSON CORPORATION - C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\EPSON\EPW!3 SSRP\E_S30RP1.EXE
O23 - Service: InstallDriver Table Manager (IDriverT) - Macrovision Corporation - C:\Program Files\Common Files\InstallShield\Driver\11\Intel 32\IDriverT.exe
O23 - Service: iPod Service - Apple Computer, Inc. - C:\Program Files\iPod\bin\iPodService.exe
O23 - Service: MSCSPTISRV - Sony Corporation - C:\Program Files\Common Files\Sony Shared\AVLib\MSCSPTISRV.exe
O23 - Service: PACSPTISVR - Sony Corporation - C:\Program Files\Common Files\Sony Shared\AVLib\PACSPTISVR.exe
O23 - Service: Sony SPTI Service (SPTISRV) - Sony Corporation - C:\Program Files\Common Files\Sony Shared\AVLib\SPTISRV.exe
O23 - Service: SonicStage SCSI Service (SSScsiSV) - Sony Corporation - C:\Program Files\Common Files\Sony Shared\AVLib\SSScsiSV.exe
O23 - Service: TrueVector Internet Monitor (vsmon) - Zone Labs, LLC - C:\WINDOWS\system32\ZoneLabs\vsmon.exe

Any help will be greatly appreciated
Alanlid
Active Member
 
Posts: 2
Joined: February 23rd, 2007, 1:04 pm
Location: Scotland
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Unread postby Vino Rosso » February 24th, 2007, 2:51 pm

Hi Alanlid and welcome to the Malware Removal forums.
My name is Vino Rosso - if it helps, you can call me Vino for short. I would be glad to take a look at your log and help you with solving any malware problems.

HijackThis logs can take a little time to research so please be patient and I'd be grateful if you would note the following:
  • I will working on your Malware issues, this may or may not, solve other issues you have with your machine.
  • The fixes are specific to your problem and should only be used for this issue on this machine.
  • Please continue to review my answers until I tell you your machine appears to be clear. Absence of symptoms does not mean that everything is clear.
  • It's often worth reading through these instructions and printing them for ease of reference.
  • If you don't know or understand something, please don't hesitate to say or ask!! It's better to be sure and safe than sorry.
  • Finally, please reply to this thread. Do not start a new topic.
1 - Temporarily Disable Protection Programs
Certain protection tools may get in the way of the fixes we need to make. Here are a few that need to be disabled during a fix:

a - Disable TrojanHunter Guard
Disable TrojanHunter Guard by right clicking on the icon in your System Tray.
Make sure that the program, TrojanHunter itself, is also closed/not running.
TrojanHunter Guard should be on again when you restart your computer.

b - Disable AVG Anti-Spyware Guard
Please disable AVG Anti-Spyware temporarily, as it may hinder the removal of some HijackThis entries.
Open AVG-AS by double-clicking the icon in the system tray.
In the 'Your security status' section, toggle the Guard realtime protection 'off' by clicking 'active' which will then change the protection status to 'inactive'.
When you reboot, AVG-AS will prompt you as to whether you would like to "Restart the guard?".
Reply 'No' and set it to 'inactive' for the duration of your cleanup. Once your computer has been cleansed of malware you can re-enable the guard.

2 - Run HijackThis Scan and Fix
Start HijackThis and click Do a system scan only
Tick the following entries, if present:
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [LanzarL2007] "C:\DOCUME~1\Alan\LOCALS~1\Temp\{958F4444-3AA2-492D-8A90-763F21A16729}\{D1DA2BA7-2592-4036-9BB2-DCCABDE8DC1A}\..\..\L2007tmp\Setup.exe" /SETUP:"/l0x0009"

Close all windows except HijackThis
Click Fix Checked in HijackThis.

3 - Clean Out Temporary Files
Download ATF Cleaner by Atribune © from >here<
This is a stand-alone program that does not need to be installed. Save it to a convenient location and make a shortcut on your desktop. Using this program will remove temporary files, temporary internet files and cookies from your system, which will mean that any scans will run faster.
  • Make sure that all browser windows are closed
  • Double-click the shortcut on your desktop to run the program.
  • Under Main, choose Select All
  • UNtick Prefetch
  • Click Empty Selected
  • If you use Firefox browser,
    • Click Firefox at the top and choose Select All
    • Click on Empty Selected
    • NOTE: If you would like to keep any saved passwords, please untick that option.
  • If you use Opera browser,
    • Click Opera at the top and choose Select All
    • Click on Empty Selected
    • NOTE: If you would like to keep any saved passwords, please untick that option.
  • Click Exit to close.
4 - Scan With AVG Anti-Spyware
Start AVG Anti-Spyware - Do not run a scan yet.
  • Click the Update icon at the top and under Manual Update click the Start update button.
  • The program will either update or inform you that no update was available.
You will need to change the following settings:
  • Click the Shield icon at the top and under Resident shield is... click active. This should now change to inactive.
  • Click the Update icon and untick the automatic update option.
  • Click the Scanner icon at the top and then click the Settings Tab.
  • Under How to act? click Recommended actions and select Quarantine from the menu.
You can now close AVG Anti-Spyware. Do not scan yet.

You will need to reboot your computer into Safe Mode for the next steps. It would be a good idea for you to print these instructions, as you will not have access to the internet.

Important: If you have an always on connection to the internet, physically disconnect that connection until you are finished with Safe Mode and have rebooted back into normal mode.

5 - Boot to Safe Mode
  • Restart your computer.
  • Continually tap the F8 button as your computer is booting (a menu appears).
  • Use up-arrow key to select Safe Mode and press Enter.
Close all open windows and then start AVG Anti-Spyware, which you downloaded earlier
  • Click on Scanner on the toolbar.
  • Click on the Settings tab.
    • Under How to act? - make sure that Quarantine is selected.
    • Under How to scan? - All checkboxes should be ticked.
    • Under Possibly unwanted software - All checkboxes should be ticked.
    • Under Reports - Select Automatically generate report after every scan and uncheck Only if threats were found.
    • Under What to scan? - Select Scan every file.
  • Click on the Scan tab.
  • Click on Complete System Scan to start the scan process.
  • Let the program scan your computer.
  • When the scan has finished, follow the instructions below:
    • Make sure that Set all elements to: shows Quarantine
    • Important: Click on the Apply all Actions button (*** This must done before saving the report ***)
    • When the program has finished, it will display the message All actions have been applied.
    • Then click the Save Scan Report button.
    • Click the Save Report as button.
    • Save the report to your Desktop.
  • Right-click the AVG Tray Icon and select Exit.
Reboot in Normal Mode.

6 - Check on status
After you have completed the above, please reboot and provide:
  1. the AVG Anti-Spyware Scan report
  2. a new HijackThis log
  3. and a description of how your PC is behaving - what problems are you now experiencing?
Remember, if you can, it's worth printing these instructions out before you start.

Good Luck
Vino
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Unread postby Alanlid » February 26th, 2007, 2:29 pm

Vino

Thanks for the efforts you have put into your response. However, over the weekend, the situation deteriorated to the point where the machine would no longer boot into windows. Due to family pressure to get the machine running again, I eventually took the decision to replace the hard drive and start afresh.

Needless to say, all is now well, and I am running up to date versions of AVG virus and anti-spyware software and Zone Alarm.

Thanks again for your time and effort.
Alanlid
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Posts: 2
Joined: February 23rd, 2007, 1:04 pm
Location: Scotland

Unread postby Vino Rosso » February 26th, 2007, 3:19 pm

No problems. Sounds extreme but at least you're up and running.

Here's some valuable information that may hopefully stop any reoccurance of your problem.

This is adapted from my general post for the 'All Clean' status :-

Hide your System Files
These files are hidden to avoid accidental deletion so please follow these steps:

Click Start
Open My Computer
Select Tools > Folder Options > Select the View Tab
Uncheck Show hidden files and folders in the Hidden files and folders section
Select Hide protected operating system files (recommended) option
Click OK, OK

Reset your system restore points
This will remove any infected files that may have been backed up by Windows. Should you have any problems following this step, a tutorial is available >here<. Please note that you need Administrator privileges to do the following:

Turn off System Restore
Start > right-click My Computer and select Properties
Click the System Restore tab
Tick Turn off System Restore
Click Apply, and then click OK.

Restart your computer

Turn ON System Restore
Start > Right-click on My Computer and select Properties
Click on the System Restore tab
Click on C: drive then Settings
Untick Turn off System Restore on this drive
OK, OK

Make Internet Explorer more secure
From within Internet Explorer click on the Tools menu and then click on Options.
Click once on the Security tab
Click once on the Internet icon so it becomes highlighted.
Click once on the Custom Level button.
Change the Download signed ActiveX controls to Prompt
Change the Download unsigned ActiveX controls to Disable
Change the Initialise and script ActiveX controls not marked as safe to Disable
Change the Installation of desktop items to Prompt
Change the Launching programs and files in an IFRAME to Prompt
Change the Navigate sub-frames across different domains to Prompt
When all these settings have been made, click on the OK button.
If it prompts you as to whether or not you want to save the settings, press the Yes button.
Next press the Apply button and then the OK to exit the Internet Properties page.

Note: If you are using IE, you may want to consider changing Mozilla FireFox which offers not only better security but it also has more features than IE however remember that you still need to use IE for certain sites like Microsoft Updates.

Windows Updates
Ensure you are registered for Windows updates via Start > right-click on My Computer > Properties > Automatic Updates tab or visit the Microsoft Update site on a regular basis.

Anti-Virus
It is important that your computer has anti-virus software installed and it is updated at least on a weekly basis. Further information and programs can be found >here<

Firewall
Using a Firewall in its default configuration greatly reduces the risk of your computer being hacked. Further information and programs can be found >here<

Hosts File
For added protection you may also like to add a host file, for more information regarding host files read >here<

Anti-Malware Programs (all free)
Next, if they're not already present, I would recommend the download and installation of some or all of the following programs, and the updating of them on a regular basis:
  • Ad-Aware SE - This is a program that scans for and removes known spyware from your machine. >Tutorial<
  • Spybot Search & Destroy - Spybot is a tool like Ad-Aware SE whereas it seeks out and removes known spyware from your machine. >Tutorial<
    These two tools (Ad-Aware & Spybot) are perfect complements to each other as one will most always find something the other missed.
  • Spyware Blaster - By altering your registry, this program stops harmful sites from installing things like ActiveX Controls on your machine.
    >Tutorial<
  • IE_Spyad - Works by placing known "bad" sites into your Internet Explorer "Restricted Zones" prohibiting them from doing potentially problematic things to your computer. >Tutorial<
Safe Computing
Vino
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Unread postby NonSuch » February 28th, 2007, 5:31 pm

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