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Computer System Security

These days there are so many cyber criminals waiting to rip you off. The vast majority of PC users have no understanding of their systems and the threats within, they just want to boot up and play, but any infected PC is a threat to all who come into contact with it. A good sign of infection is when you wish to use a large global site such as Twitter, Yahoo, Facebook or any of the poker, gaming or casino sites and you have connection problems. These sites have hundreds of thousands of visitors from all round the world at any one time. They control access by routers, so you connect to the router and then the router connects you to the site. These routers have system security software and will disconnect you if you have nasty software on your PC. Sometimes it may be an inadequacy of your Information Service Provider (ISP) that breaks a connection but an infected PC is more likely. CB has, therefore provided on this page a full tried and tested security software solution. All the software is free and has been proven over the last 15 years, although some programs have been used for a lesser amount of time as they are newly developed to counter newer threats. Download and install each package in the order it is given. As you do this, you must take out your old software (AVG is a good free anti-virus, download it, install it, update it and THEN remove any other anti-virus you have as some similar packages can interfere with each others operation). If you have any problems, use the feedback and CB will assist you. Here it is:

     Firstly, if you have a suspected virus, do not try to back up any data, you will only back up any virus you may have, if you are infected, you have lost everything Download and install AVG Free antivirus which does a good job. It is a bit of a memory hog but once installed it looks after its own update automatically on boot up and it writes a guarantee certificate into every email you send telling the recipient that it is virus free.  Download and install Zone Alarm as it is so much better than anything else on the market then
turn off windows firewall. Zone Alarm also warns of any received email that has a bug in it. You have to update it manually (about once a week) as CB does not like its auto-update feature. Next is Spybot which finds and kills malware and adware. This has to be manually updated. Spybot is the most aggressive malware killer I know. It also has Teatimer which gives you control over the system registry. It asks you to allow or disallow every new registry entry when you install/uninstall software. All software (including virus/malware etc.) MUST enter itself in the registry to run effectively, therefore, if Teatimer suddenly asks you to allow an entry and you have not just installed or uninstalled any software then it is a bug. Close all programs and run Spybot scan and fix all problems then scan with AVG. The next one is Trend Micro's Hijackthis. Download and install then run that and it lists all programs associated with your browser. Any that you do not recognise, check and fix them. This ensures your browser is not hijacked, which is what happens when you are taken over as a botnet and used to send spam mail or worse. Now you need Rootkit Hook Analyser. This scans and any program shown in red has hooked into and infected your rootkit. It will show about 30 entries from Zone Alarm which all read "True Vector Services", and is a program called vsdatant.sys. Leave these there but check and fix any others. Last of all, go to Trend and download and install RUBotted which is a free program. It monitors your PC against being taken over and used as part of a botnet. By now you have a clean machine. then get AML Free Registry Cleaner. This lists all redundant registry entries. Delete them all. The worst thing here is you may have to re-install some software package but I never have had to. That also applies to Hijack, where if you take out something in error some package may have to be re-installed. After you run AML, your PC should run a lot faster. an AVG scan should be done once a week or more, same with spybot and remember to manually update spybot twice a week. Also, with Spybot you should immunise the system after all scans are run and any cleaning is done. This protects all your files from a linked infection (where the end of file marker is replaced with a pointer to the infecting file). If you go this way you will never get anything which cannot be dealt with, there are too many security programs watching your system.

       Finally, be very careful at choosing passwords, especially for online use. It is easier to have just one so you can remember it but this leaves you wide open to cyber criminals so vary them. The best password will be 10 characters or more, have a combination of upper and lower case letters and will also contain 2 or more numbers and maybe an underscore or hyphen. Always be happy to change your password, it is better to be safe than sorry.  Be aware that some web sites will not accept the underscore or hyphen and these sites are living back in the 20th century, some banks are like this. All web sites will tell you they have the best security possible but just look at ebay, recently hacked and now sending out emails telling their users to reset their passwords. What this means is reset your password for EVERY site you use as the criminals now have one of your passwords either to use or to sell on to other criminals. Your master passwords are the one you need to enter when you boot up your PC and a different one you use to access your emails. Never use these for any other access to web sites etc, always have a different password for such access.  Windows 8 or 8.1 users will find that you are obliged to sign up to the Microsoft store and after  you have done this, you will see that your password that you use to log on to your PC will now be the password you entered for the Microsoft store access. Yes, that means that any Microsoft employee with permissions to access the passwords can access your PC at will and you will not know they have done this. It basically opens your PC to access all mthe time you are connected to the internet so you are open to the spies at the NSA and GCHQ, which is why CB uses Linux and NOT anything written by Microsoft.

        You should save this page and print it out so you have these recommendations at hand to refer to as you install the packages. Good luck!

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The JSC Group March 2006