Stopping Malware and A Decent Browser.

There were a bunch of emails about the AntiSpam stuff. It seems some of you were having difficulties with some of the installs. So here is a much expanded post (but not yet perfect). Sorry it’s so long but there is a fair bit to cover.

You may want to run off a dead tree printout of this as it will give you somewhere to make notes on any differences that you find (these programs are updated all the time). Oh yeah, get a deck of cards, yep playing cards, some of the disk scans below take awhile and NO you cannot pop up Solitaire while you are waiting. Besides there a a couple of reboots which will mess up your game scores.

OK, it’s show time.

1: Install AVG Anti-Virus

AVG Anti-Virus by Grisoft is one of my three favourite AV products and if you don’t want to spring the bucks for VET (which is my all time favourite) then this is the program for you. AVG has a free version for anyone to use and offers free updates. If you were paying for a Norton or McAfee subscription, save your money and install AVG.

Go to http://free.grisoft.com and on the left side, press “Get AVG Free”.
Scroll down and at the bottom where it (currently) says

AVG Free Edition installation files
File…………………………………………..Version
avg71free_362a652.exe……………7.362

Download the .EXE file (It’s around 15M so get out those playing cards)

Install it. Just press NEXT a lot.
After it is installed, it will ask a bunch of stuff, like “Check for Updates”, go ahead and do this and then a full system scan

(THIS IS NON NEGOTIABLE. JUST DO IT).

I have never found a need to make rescue floppies, but if you’re paranoid, go for it.
Once that has finished scanning and removing any viruses it may find

Go to Scheduler and hit “Scheduled Tasks” at the bottom.
On this screen, you will find 2 items, an Update and a Scan.
Select a time when your computer is on but no one is on it.
For instance, if you work from 9am-5pm from Monday to Friday, and no one else will be using your computer, schedule a scan between those hours. And YES the computer does have to on for it to run.
Make sure you perform an update before you scan, so that when you scan you can scan with the latest updates to find viruses with.
Press “Edit Schedule” to change any of these settings.
Then minimize AVG, it will sit in your toolbar, much like McAfee or Norton and scan files you open, download, or otherwise access.

AVG has a mail scanner built into it also. On the main screen, press “Email Scanner”.
By default, right after installation AVG mail scanner runs in fully automatic mode, it does not require any further configuration.

There is a PDF at http://free.grisoft.cz/softw/70free/doc/avg_fre_ref_en_70_12.pdf

REBOOT YOUR PC NOW. Before you continue.

One down lots to go.

2: Install Spybot: Search and Destroy

Spybot: Search and Destroy is a spyware scanner and cleaner that is also completely free (although they can always use a donation) and I have found is pretty damn good at removing spyware. Download it from

http://www.safer-networking.org/en/download/index.html

Don’t download it from anywhere else, there have been reports of versions released by other people claiming to by spybot and it has caused major problems on computers.You can download from any of their mirrors.

Once it is downloaded…
Install it by pressing next a few times, however, when it gets to the screen for additional tasks, make sure “TeaTimer” stays unchecked, there are also reports that it has caused some problems.

Then run spybot at the end of install.

It will pop up with a warning message saying removing spyware could cause some software to be disabled, just press Ok (in this case this is a good thing).

It will then pop up with a small box at the top left corner, just keep pressing next to skip everything until you see a button that says “Start Using the Program”

On the left, go to Update and download the latest definitions from them, press “Search for Updates”, then put a check mark beside everything at the bottom and press “Download Updates”.

It should close and reopen spybot now.

On the Left, go to Immunize, it will pop up with a dialogue saying how well protected you are as it is, press OK, then Immunize. At the bottom, hit “Enable permanent blocking of bad addresses in IE” and select whether you would be asked each time, or to block silently (I prefer blocked silently)

Now, to scan your machine to see whats out there. (Time for the cards again)

Hit “Search and Destroy” on the left, then press “Check for Problems”.

Now go take a break and get yourself a coffee and break out the cards or something while this scans.
Its important not to touch your computer while it scans cause it could freeze Spybot.

After the scan is complete, the progress bar along the bottom will disappear and you will have the option of fixing the spyware problems by pressing “Fix Selected Problems”.
Some problems cannot be fixed right away and you will be prompted to run this on reboot, go ahead and reboot your computer and follow the same instructions.
While removing some spyware, you may get many error messages consisting of “Write Protected File” or “File Not Found” because spybot is removing some files that active spyware is using, just keep pressing OK and ignore those errors.

REBOOT YOUR PC NOW. Before you continue.

3: Install Ad-Aware (this may be considered optional)

Whether we like Spybot (as fab as it is) or not, it’s not perfect, and it doesn’t remove all spyware (send him a few more donations).
So I use another free solution for killing spyware, its called Ad-Aware Personal by Lavasoft.
Go to http://www.lavasoftusa.com/software/adaware/ and download Ad-Aware Personal Edition.
Install it with the same procedure we used in Spybot’s Installation (Press NEXT a lot).
At the last screen, you can deselect “Show the Help File”, but leave the other things checked.
Ad-Aware will now scan your system to find any spyware, again, go continue your caffeine addiction and get the cards out again.

After Ad-Aware has finished scanning, you will hear a noise of some sorts.
Press “next” at the bottom to view your results.
Be careful at this screen, make sure you select all objects it found by right clicking on one of the objects and pressing “Select all Objects”, then press next.
When it asks if its ok, press “Ok” and it will remove some more spyware from your system.
You may now close Ad-Aware.

4: Install SpywareBlaster

SpywareBlaster is a piece of software developed by “JavaCoolSoftware”. It is available at http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/spywareblaster.html

Download it and install it. It will protect your computer from contracting a majority of spyware ever again if you ever surf the internet with Internet Explorer (Which, by the way is highly unrecommended). Install using the same procedure stated above (Just Press Next A lot) .

It will pop up with a dialogue box telling you some stuff about how it works and stuff, press next to get through it all. On the left side, press “Updates” and along the top, press “Check for Updates” and allow it to download and update itself. Now press “Protection” on the left side and press “Enable All Protection”.

This will block certain sites that have tracking cookies and spyware on them, and will also protect your system from spyware

OK that covers the basics and you will have blown the best part of an afternoon. As long as you keep the programs updated

Now onto the contentious stuff.

Install Mozilla Firefox. (For me this is Mandatory)

For the 3 people out there who haven’t heard of Firefox. It is an open-source web browser available http://www.mozilla.org

Download the latest release and install it, set it as your default browser, and don’t go back to IE unless you really start to run into problems on a couple of websites (this is happening less and less)
To get Java and Flash working under Firefox, go to a java or flash website and it will automatically install the plugin. Java installation can sometimes get a tad weird installing like this, so you may have to do it manually. If you do, first go to Tools -> Options and on the left press “Web Features”, then press the “Allowed Sites” button next to “Allow web sites to install software” and add www.java.com to the “Allowed sites” list, then go to java.com and install it.

If Firefox doesn’t do it for you have a look at Opera (just try to kick the IE habit).

Sidebar: Google Toolbar.
Whether you are using IE or Firefox, the only toolbar I would allow on my system is the Google toolbar.
If you are using IE, it helps get rid of popup ads and has some really convenient searching abilities.
http://www.google.com/options/index.html and it’s currently down in the bottom right.

(Some of this was based on Adam Wenner’s notes).

UPDATE: This is now a “permanent page”. Click on PAGES (over on the right hand menu) and look for “Stopping Malware”.

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