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One of the main reasons people get infected in the first place is that they are not practicing Safe Internet. You practice Safe Internet when you educate yourself on how to properly use the Internet through the use of security tools and good practice. Knowing how you can get infected and what types of files and sites to avoid will be the most crucial step in keeping your computer malware free. The reality is that the majority of people who are infected with malware are ones who click on things they shouldn't be clicking on. Whether these things are files or sites it doesn't really matter. If something is out to get you, and you click on it, it most likely will. Below are a list of simple precautions to take to keep your computer clean and running securely: 1. If you receive an attachment from someone you do not know, DO NOT OPEN IT! Simple as that. Opening attachments from people you do not know is a very common method for viruses or worms to infect your computer. 2. If you receive an attachment and it ends with a .exe, .com, .bat, or .pif do not open the attachment unless you know for a fact that it is clean. For the casual computer user, you will almost never receive a valid attachment of this type. 3. If you receive an attachment from someone you know, and it looks suspicious, then it probably is. The email could be from someone you know infected with a malware that is trying to infect everyone in their address book. 4. If you are browsing the Internet and a popup appears saying that you are infected, ignore it!. These are, as far as I am concerned, scams that are being used to scare you into purchasing a piece of software. 5. Another tactic to fool you on the web is when a site displays a popup that looks like a normal Windows message or alert. When you click on them, though, they instead bring you to another site that is trying to push a product on you. We suggest that you close these windows by clicking on the X instead of the OK button. Alternatively, you can check to see if it's a real alert by right-clicking on the window. If there is a menu that comes up saying Add to Favorites... you know it's a fake. 6. Do not go to adult sites. I know this may bother some of you, but the fact is that a large amount of malware is pushed through these types of sites. I am not saying all adult sites do this, but a lot do. 7. When using an Instant Messaging program be cautious about clicking on links people send to you. It is not uncommon for infections to send a message to everyone in the infected person's contact list that contains a link to an infection. Instead when you receive a message that contains a link, message back to the person asking if it is legit before you click on it. 8. Stay away from Crack sites! , the downloads from these sites are typically overrun with infections. 9. Be careful of what you download off of web sites and Peer-2-Peer networks. Some sites disguise malware as legitimate software to trick you into installing them and Peer-2-Peer networks are crawling with it. If you want to download a piece of software a from a site, and are not sure if they are legitimate, you can use McAfee Siteadvisor to look up info on the site. 10. DO NOT INSTALL any software without first reading the End User License Agreement, otherwise known as the EULA. A tactic that some developers use is to offer their software for free, but have spyware and other programs you do not want bundled with it. This is where they make their money. By reading the agreement there is a good chance you can spot this and not install the software. 11. Scan everything don't be ignorant heres a common phrase we see on the qss forum (internet cafe) Untested, unscanned Visit Microsoft's Windows Update Site Frequently It is important that you visit http://www.windowsupdate.com regularly. This will ensure your computer has always the latest security updates available installed on your computer. If there are new updates to install, install them immediately, reboot your computer, and revisit the site until there are no more critical updates. Use an AntiVirus Software It is very important that your computer has an anti-virus software running on your machine. This alone can save you a lot of trouble with malware in the future. More than one AntiVirus Antivirus programs work by using an actual virus to detect another one on your computer. So, if you have more than one piece of software running at the same time, each program will think the other is a virus. The two or more programs will conflict in many ways Update your AntiVirus Software It is imperative that you update your Antivirus software at least once a week (Even more if you wish). If you do not update your antivirus software then it will not be able to catch any of the new variants that may come out. If you use a commercial antivirus program you must make sure you keep renewing your subscription. Otherwise, once your subscription runs out, you may not be able to update the programs virus definitions. Make sure your applications have all of their updates It is also possible for other programs on your computer to have security vulnerability that can allow malware to infect you. Therefore, it is also a good idea to check for the latest versions of commonly installed applications that are regularly patched to fix vulnerabilities. Use a Firewall I can not stress how important it is that you use a Firewall on your computer. Without a firewall your computer is susceptible to being hacked and taken over. I am very serious about this and see it happen almost every day with my clients. Simply using a Firewall in its default configuration can lower your risk greatly. Install an AntiSpyware Program Recommended, and free, AntiSpyware programs are Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, SuperAntiSpyware, Spybot - Search and Destroy, and Ad-Aware Personal. Installing these programs will provide spyware & hijacker protection on your computer alongside your virus protection. You should scan your computer with an AntiSpyware program on a regular basis just as you would an antivirus software. Not Original Work Thanks Tomy
Basic System Maintenance Following are some basic system maintenance steps that will help to keep your system running smoothly; in many cases they will actually cure some common performance related problems. You should undertake to carry out the steps in the order that I have listed them, so before you start, be sure to download HD Valet - a drive cleanup utility that removes temporary, unneeded and 'junk' files from your hard drive. It is highly configurable, and will aid you greatly in the clean up of your drive. You can download it here. 1. Empty your internet cache. For users of Internet Explorer: * Close all instances of your browser. * Open Control Panel and double click on Internet Options. * In the General tab, in the section where it says Temporary Internet Files, press the button marked Delete Files. * In the dialog box that pops up, place a check mark in the box Delete all offline content. This removes all subfolders that are created in the Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5 folder. For users of Netscape or Mozilla: * From the menu bar, choose Edit / Preferences / Advanced / Cache. * Press the Clear cache button. For Mozilla Firebird/Firefox: * From the menu bar, choose Tools / Options / Privacy / Cache. * Press the Clear button. For Opera users: * From the menu bar, choose File / Preferences / History and Cache. * Press Empty Now. 2. Clean up unnecessary files from your hard drive 3. "My Documents": Make sure that you do not have too many files, folders and sub-folders in 'My Documents'. Create new folders outside of 'My Documents' and move stuff to the new folders. The 'My Documents' folder is a special system folder, and there is a known issue in Windows, where too many files/folders within it can cause your system to become very sluggish. 'My Documents' is what's known as a "Shell Object" - based on an "environment" concept. It is actually a special Shell Object, called a Shell Folder. Shell Folders are not real folders, but they do point to real folders on the hard drive - think of them as a special kind of shortcut. 'My Documents' is not the only kind of Shell Object - others can be created, too. The 'Internet Explorer' on the desktop is a Shell Object, though NOT a Shell Folder. The idea of Shell Folders is to have all user files available from a common location. The registry's entry for the personal "environment" of 'My Documents' is not a true folder, as I have said, rather it is a "NameSpace" that can actually point anywhere (not just c:\my documents). As far as Windows is concerned, 'My Documents' resides in the registry only; the physical location and contents has to be enumerated continually by the registry. With a large registry and many files and folders in the "physical" location of 'My Documents', it is very easy for Windows to become bogged down or sluggish, particularly under heavy load. Note that this does not mean that Windows WILL get bogged down, only that it can. There is NO magical number of files or folders that might result in a sluggish system. Some systems will run absolutely fine with many folders and many MBs in 'My Documents', while others will groan with relatively few. This information is aimed at those who may experience a slowdown, or general sluggishness in Windows, and Windows Explorer in particular. It is just one thing to keep in mind when troubleshooting a slow system. 4. Clean up your registry (loads of good registry cleaners in the cafe) or try * http://www.ccleaner.com/ 5. Streamline your startups. Take some time to study the following web pages to determine what programs you have running at startup, what is necessary and what you can disable. Wherever possible, use the preferences or options of the application involved to prevent it running at startup. This is important, because msconfig is designed as a diagnostics tool, and may not prevent items from running permanently. Where there is no option within the program, you can try using msconfig - which will work in many cases. To do this, press the Start button and choose 'Run'. In the Run box type msconfig and press [Enter]. Choose the Startup tab and you will see a list of items. Be sure to only uncheck those items you are sure can be disabled, or have confirmed with the following lists. * http://www.sysinfo.org/startuplist.php * http://www.3feetunde...artup/list.html * http://www.greatis.c...appdatabase.htm For the adventurous amongst you, but particularly for troubleshooting purposes, following is a list of possible startup locations. Otherwise, you may skip directly to item 6. WARNING: Editing the registry incorrectly can result in your operating system failing to function. Do this only if you are confident, and be sure to back up your registry first, or create a restore point, in case something should go wrong. What YOU do with this information is YOUR responsibility, and YOURS alone. List of possible startup locations. * REGISTRY: HKLM = HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE HKCU = HKEY_CURRENT_USER HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce\ HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnceEx\ HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunServices\ HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunServicesOnce\ HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run\ HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ShellServiceObjectDelayLoad\ HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer\Run\ HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows (AppInit_DLLs) HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon (Userinit) HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon (Shell) HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\Notify\ HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\System (Scripts) HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce\ HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnceEx\ HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunServices\ HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunServicesOnce\ HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run\ HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer\Run\ HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System (Shell) HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows (Run) HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows (Load) HKCU\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\System (Scripts) * Services HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\ * Browser Helper Objects HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\explorer\Browser Helper Objects\ * Active Setup Stub Keys (These are disabled if there is a twin in HKCU) HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Active Setup\Installed Components\ * ICQ Agent Autostart HKCU\Software\Mirabilis\ICQ\Agent\Apps * STARTUP FOLDERS: Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\Startup Documents and Settings\[user name]\Start Menu\Programs\Startup Documents and Settings\Administrator\Start Menu\Programs\Startup Documents and Settings\Default User\Start Menu\Programs\Startup WinNT\Profiles\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\Startup WinNT\Profiles\[user name]\Start Menu\Programs\Startup WinNT\Profiles\Administrator\Start Menu\Programs\Startup WinNT\Profiles\Default User\Start Menu\Programs\Startup Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup Windows\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\Startup WinME\Start Menu\Programs\Startup WinME\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\Startup * OTHER MEANS: WINDOWS\win.ini Start= Run= WINDOWS\system.ini Shell= Scrnsave.exe= Drivers= Config.sys Autoexec.bat Dosstart.bat Task Scheduler 6. TEMP Folder: Reboot and immediately empty your "Windows\Temp" folder - or "Documents and Settings\[username]\Local Settings\Temp" for Windows XP users. Note that emptying the Temp folder is quite safe, but only following a reboot. This is because applications and setup routines store working files in the temp folder, and setup routines in particular, often need to finish their cleanup process after a reboot. It also ensures that you don't delete a temporary file that may be needed by an application that is currently running, with the possibility of loosing work. Here are some possible TEMP folder locations. * Your system may vary: [Drive]:\Windows\Temp [Drive]:\Documents and Settings\[user Name]\Local Settings\Temp [Drive]:\Documents and Settings\Default User\Local Settings\Temp [Drive]:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\Local Settings\Temp [Drive]:\Documents and Settings\LocalService\Local Settings\Temp [Drive]:\Documents and Settings\NetworkService\Local Settings\Temp * Windows Update temporary folder: [Drive]:\WUTemp [Drive]:\Windows\WUTemp [Drive]:\Program Files\WindowsUpdate\V4\temp 7. Empty your recycle bin. You'd be surprised how many people fail to empty their recycle bin regularly, and it can grow to many megabytes, or even gigabytes! If you have Norton Protected Recycle Bin installed, empty that, too. Right click on the recycle bin and you will see the options available to you. 8. Scandisk and defrag your hard drive. 9. Keep your system well maintained by following these few simple steps. You may be surprised at the difference a clean system can make Monthly Maintenance thanks DeathDealer The reoccurring function of system maintenance is something we broadcast via e-mail to all employees at a regular interval as a reminder to spruce up their systems. This e-mail is entitled "Monthly Maintenance." Here is a description of its operation. 1. Create a folder in the start menu\programs list. 2. Press the Start key 3. Right-click Programs\select Open to get this view 4. Notice the red outlined address bar which will show the location. *PC ID* would be whomever is signed into the machine at the time. 5. Right click the blank space in the right pane & select "New" & "Folder." 6. The folder icon will look just like the others, for instance "Accessories." 7. Rename the folder "Monthly Maintenance." 8. Next, add the short-cuts for two of the functions that tomy mentioned; 1) Disk Cleanup, 2) Disk Defragmenter. These are located in the directory on the left under the Accessories directory that says System Tools. They are just short-cuts, the actual programs are elsewhere, so just cut & paste them from the left pane to the right. 9. The Windows Update short-cut is usually in system tools & can also be moved as well, although many just use the browser toolbar to do it. Options abound, grin. 10. Finally add a text file of the list of tasks to run on the first day or first weekend of the month. ~~Update Windows ~~Update Office ~~Clear data in Firefox (step one above in tomy's guide) ~~Clear data in IE (step one above in tomy's guide) ~~Update/Full Scan AntiSpyware ~~Update/Full Scan Antivirus ~~Disk Cleanup ~~Scan Disk ~~Defrag ~~Backup: My Documents, media (videos, music, art), bookmarks, current mail, address book 11. Depending on the size of the hard drive, Antivirus Full Scan, Scan Disk & Defrag will take upwards of 45 minutes for each task. While one can still run their machine during AV & Defrag scan, it might be slowed down. Scan Disk will only run after restart & will not allow system use until it is complete. 12. The other variation is an amended version for a weekly full scan of the Antivirus & the AntiSpyware to be sure nothing was missed by the auto-detector. And as always, scan all downloads manually once they are complete to be safe. Not Original Work Thanks- Tomy