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  #41  
Old 12-26-2007, 08:36 AM
Gary Richardson's Avatar
Gary Richardson Gary Richardson is offline
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Re: Virus

Hi Dennis,

The default settings for NoScript are fine, though you can customise them if you wish. I have Flash blocked as well, but then I visit some rather "risky" sites when I'm researching Malware (yes they can use Flash as an "in" to your system). If you have this set you'll get a notification if a Flash object tries to open, you can right click it and select to let it run from the NoScript menu if you think it's OK.

When you land on a site if you look in your taskbar there will be an icon (red circle with a diagonal line through it and a blue S inside), this indicates that scripts are disabled for that site, because of this some site functions will not work.

Once you've established a site is OK such as for here at RetouchPRO, you simply right click the icon and select Allow or Temporarily Allow as you require. Allow will permit scripts on that site on a permanent basis, Temporarily Allow will allow scripts for your current session only.

Right click on the icon and select Options and you can customise which site options you wish to block, you can also view the list of sites you've allowed.

A site can be removed from the Whitelist (allowed sites) if you no longer wish to give them script permissions, or alternatively you can visit the site then Forbid it using the right-click menu.

Skydog,

For IE6, the following settings will improve security (but you may find the number of prompts you get a little inconvenient), personally if you're going to use IE as your browser I'd just upgrade to IE7 where the default settings are more secure. IE7 also has tabbed browsing which is a distinct improvement. Most of the teething problems with earlier renditions of IE7 have now been resolved so you shouldn't have any issues with it.

For IE6
  • From within Internet Explorer click on Tools > Options > Security > Internet > Custom Level.
  • Make sure these options are set as follows:
    • Download signed ActiveX controls to Prompt
    • Download unsigned ActiveX controls to Disable
    • Initialize and script ActiveX controls not marked as safe to Disable
    • Java permissions to High Safety
    • Installation of desktop items to Prompt
    • Launching programs and files in an IFRAME to Prompt
    • 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.
  • Press the Apply button and then the OK to exit the Internet Properties page.

Last edited by Gary Richardson; 12-26-2007 at 09:00 AM.
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  #42  
Old 12-26-2007, 07:37 PM
pixelzombie pixelzombie is offline
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Re: Virus

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Richardson View Post
Hi plugsnpixels,

Macs OS is not in and of itself secure, no OS is, but you are right that you are highly unlikely to come across any infections.

The simple answer is that the bad guys just don't write them for Macs because there is insufficient payback for them.

Modern malware is written by highly skilled and educated professional programmers, it has long ceased to be the activity of kiddies in their bedrooms, but is organised by well funded criminal gangs. The reason being that they can make huge amounts of cash from these activities, in some cases running into billions of dollars.

Were they to be interested in Macs, then there is absolutely no doubt that they could develop infections to penetrate their defences. However they want the biggest return for their effort, and that means targeting Windows, a system that is much more prevalent and with which they are so far more familiar.
it is true that no OS is completely secure, but Windows so much easier to break into and create problems for..a lot of the well know virus' were written by teenagers just learning to program..Apple has always made it as difficult as possible for a virus to infect the mac and that is the main reason you don't see a lot of malware being written for the mac, it can be done but by the time a person aquires such knowledge and skill they could have a very rewarding job as a programmer..there may not be a lot of money in writing malware for the mac, but i'm sure there is some hack out there that would love the notoriety of creating the 1st virus that actually did some serious damage on the mac platform...
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  #43  
Old 12-27-2007, 04:01 AM
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Gary Richardson Gary Richardson is offline
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Re: Virus

Quote:
Originally Posted by pixelzombie View Post
it is true that no OS is completely secure, but Windows so much easier to break into and create problems for..
Macs are no more difficult to hack than Vista, but there are already Vista infections because it's a more popular OS than those on Macs.


Quote:
a lot of the well know virus' were written by teenagers just learning to program.
Practically no modern viruses are written by teenagers, they are written by criminals who wish to make money from you.

Quote:
Apple has always made it as difficult as possible for a virus to infect the mac and that is the main reason you don't see a lot of malware being written for the mac, it can be done but by the time a person aquires such knowledge and skill they could have a very rewarding job as a programmer.
Macs may have once been more difficult to penetrate than Windows, but that is not the case now. The rewards from computer crime far exceed those that can be made legitimately. The guys writing modern infection codes are not at all interested in Notoriety, cash is what motivates them and nothing else.

You can hold to your naive belief that Macs are secure because of their design if you wish, but it really is not the case. Their true security is due to the paucity of their number and little else.

Like most Mac users, I don't expect you to believe me, and I sincerely hope you continue to have infection free browsing.
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  #44  
Old 12-28-2007, 04:30 AM
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Gary Richardson Gary Richardson is offline
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Re: Virus

For those who don't think Macs have any vulnerabilities, this might make interesting reading.

http://blogs.zdnet.com/security/?p=758
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  #45  
Old 12-28-2007, 02:30 PM
pixelzombie pixelzombie is offline
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Re: Virus

that report relies on reports from the actual companies themselves, not what has been discovered by an independent party...
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  #46  
Old 12-28-2007, 03:24 PM
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Gary Richardson Gary Richardson is offline
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Re: Virus

From what I read the statistics were supplied by Secunia http://secunia.com/ an independent 3rd party vendor.

Secunia compiles its statistics from a wide range of sources inside the security community and has reporting facilities that anyone can use.
http://secunia.com/report_vulnerability/

But whatever the source the vulnerabilities exist, and if you think they are known to only a small circle of programmers employed by Microsoft and Apple then I'm afraid you are being seriously optimistic.

Historically most vulnerabilities have not been discovered by the writers of programmes, but by external "testers", some with benevolent intentions, many with entirely different motives.

My intention with posting these statistics is not to show that Macs are prone to infection, but to show that if malware writers wished to target them, then they would have no more problems crafting an infection for that OS than they have creating something to run on Windows.

But you believe what you wish, I've said all I intend to on the subject.
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  #47  
Old 12-28-2007, 03:45 PM
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Swampy Swampy is offline
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Re: Virus

Gary, I would never say that a Mac or OSX is not vulnerable to any malware. The important thing is exploitation. To date, no one has exploited the vulnerabilities for the Mac. Small user base, little "joy".. who knows why, but the fact remains, the Mac is "safer".
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  #48  
Old 12-29-2007, 02:51 AM
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Gary Richardson Gary Richardson is offline
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Re: Virus

You'll get no argument from me about the number of infections you're likely to come across if you use a Mac, though I wouldn't use the words safer, just less targeted.

I can't give statistics as to the level of exploitation of Macs vulnerabilities, as I don't deal with that OS. I don't think we can for sure say they have not been exploited, only that you are highly unlikely to come across an infection if using a Mac. However since the modern trend is to Rootkit infections to hide them from users, it is quite possible that there are infected Macs out there that are not being reported as such.

Good browsing habits are necessary whatever OS you use, which is of course the point I was trying to convey.
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  #49  
Old 01-01-2008, 09:39 PM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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Re: Virus

gary, i know java can be used to create malicious invasion of one's computer, but how about some of the other things we are asked to click on from time to time, like scripts, activex and cookies? can any of those be used to invade our windows machines?

also, you might make mention of winpatrol for a good anti-install defense.
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  #50  
Old 01-02-2008, 03:00 AM
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Gary Richardson Gary Richardson is offline
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Re: Virus

Hi Craig,

Both scripts and Active-X can be used as vectors to install infection, as can Flash and other such presentations. It's because Firefox does not support Active-X that many consider it a safer browser, but really that's not the case. The guys who write modern infections usually install a great deal of flexibility into the infection "warhead", and if one method fails they usually have a number of alternative methods to try.

If the account you're using to browse has Administrator privileges, then a script is able to do pretty much anything it wants. Scripting tools are very powerful, and if there's no need to escalate privileges, then the sky's the limit.

With a Limited account it's a different story, and although the infection can make initial contact, it is more difficult (but not impossible) for you to get a full infection. Your AV programmes will usually have a much greater chance of protecting you if you're browsing using a Limited account.

Cookies cannot infect you. Though many are flagged as "spy cookies" by AV programmes, all this really means is that the cookie flagged contains information that can be read by sites other than the one that installed it. Some people see that as an invasion of privacy as they can't control just exactly who sees the data.

WinPatrol is indeed a very useful utility to have, the newest versions have a great deal of inbuilt functionality. I had a Scottie in my taskbar for quite some time, only disposing of it when I installed a full HIPS protection suite (two programmes doing similar things is always a likely source of conflict).

Last edited by Gary Richardson; 01-02-2008 at 03:06 AM.
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