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  #51  
Old 01-02-2008, 07:15 AM
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skydog skydog is offline
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Re: Virus

What do you mean by limited account? What is an AV program. What is HIPS protection suite? I know infections can affect the functionality of one's operating system, but what other purposes do these infections pose? At the end of the day when I run adware I may end up with 35 cookies that I must erase. What exactly is happening while they are there. If I remove them and they appear again later, is it an accumulated effect?
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  #52  
Old 01-02-2008, 05:31 PM
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Gary Richardson Gary Richardson is offline
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Re: Virus

Windows XP has two types of accounts, (the options are different in Vista) Administrator and Limited and each has different "permissions". An Administrator account can basically do anything including install new files, alter system settings and a whole lot more, whereas a Limited account does not have permission to either change files or alter system settings.

When an infection penetrates your system, it does so with the permissions of the account that was running when it entered. If it is a Limited account, its scope for doing damage is circumscribed by the reduced permissions of that account. Which is why browsing using a Limited account is a much safer option.

Windows accounts however are Administrator by default (not so in Vista), so it's necessary for you to create a Limited account. This is done within Control Panel > User Accounts. (just create a new account and follow the prompts, choosing Limited as the account type)

HIPs is a (Host Infection Protection System), basically it's a process firewall, which controls all process operation within your computer. You use it to make a set of rules permitting or blocking the operation of those processes. It's kind of difficult to describe in just a few words, they require quite a lot of interaction and therefore knowledge of your computer, and because of that I do not recommend them to other than experienced users, though they are very secure.

There have been moves made to simplify their use, but they still require a deal of knowledge to set up and use effectively.

AV is just shorthand for Anti-Virus, sorry forgot not everyone talks this stuff all the time.

As for cookies, all they are is an encrypted text file which contains data set by the issuing site. They usually contain brief profile details including site preferences and sometimes site history records as well. Mostly they are site specific and other sites cannot read the data upon them. Because they are text files they cannot contain active elements, and therefore pose no infection threat.

Some cookies however can be read by more than one site, usually sites within the same commercial group, but some can be read by sites which have come to some form of association. These are flagged by many anti-virus programmes as "spy cookies" and are considered a low level threat, in as much as you may be transmitting details of your browsing behaviour by having them on board. If you're not bothered by this leave them alone, if you are allow your anti-virus to remove them.

Once removed, any new cookies do not have access to the info accumulated by the ones deleted.

Hope this explains things, if you've still any questions just ask, if I can explain further I will.
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  #53  
Old 01-02-2008, 06:04 PM
pixelzombie pixelzombie is offline
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Re: Virus

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Richardson View Post
Y
Good browsing habits are necessary whatever OS you use, which is of course the point I was trying to convey.
i agree, you have to be careful when browsing as that's where the bulk of problems occur as noted by this article:

http://www.wired.com/politics/securi...11/mac_trojan#

so for those on a mac here are some ways to safeguard their machines:

http://www.pocopico.com/rants/osx_hardening.php

http://blog.cocoia.com/2007/03/10/ho...efore-leopard/

the latter deals with some advanced topics so if you're uneasy about some of the information offered it would be best to ask your local mac expert...
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  #54  
Old 01-03-2008, 03:55 AM
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Gary Richardson Gary Richardson is offline
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Re: Virus

Interesting link pixelzombie.

I see the Mac trojan you linked to seems to be associated with Zlob, this is one of the most prevelant infections for Windows (there's a whole number of varieties of it), so if the Mac version has any success you can expect to see a lot, lot more of it very soon.

As you can see, the infection is not auto installed, but is actually installed by conning the User into installing a codec. This same method is used with Windows. Despite it seeming to be an obvious ruse, it's actually been a very effective way of distributing the infection. It's amazing how little some people think before installing things from unknown sources on their computers. That and the distributers of this junk have a very polished sales pitch.

My fear is that because Mac users have traditionally not been targetted, that they may be more ready to install unknown programmes, I hope this does not prove to be the case.

You'll notice that the security advice given for Macs in your other two links bears a deal of similarity to the advice I gave earlier for Windows. Not so surprising really, the two systems despite their many differences also have a great many similarities in function.
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  #55  
Old 01-03-2008, 05:25 AM
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skydog skydog is offline
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Re: Virus

sorry Gary...what is codec?
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  #56  
Old 01-03-2008, 07:21 AM
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Gary Richardson Gary Richardson is offline
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Re: Virus

Codec (Coder/Decoder), a device used to interpret/view data.

Because data comes in a number of different formats, it's necessary to have a codec that's designed for the particular data form the programme uses.

In most cases programmes use a "standard" format, and the codecs are built in, or supplied by an outside "viewer" like Real, Flash, Windows Media Player etc.

However some programmes use non standard file formats, and special codecs may be needed. If this is from a legit manufacturer which you have sought out yourself, it's fine to install them.

However it's a common infection vector as well. You land on a site which has advertised something you want to see, and when you try to view the content you get a pop-up saying you haven't got the required viewer, and that you need to install special software to do so, or it may be sold to you as a plug in for one of the more mainstream viewers.

Whichever way they sell the scam, once you install the codec/plug-in/programme, you're infected.

Any site with content that can't be viewed with the standard viewers should be avoided.
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  #57  
Old 01-03-2008, 01:58 PM
pixelzombie pixelzombie is offline
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Re: Virus

a codec(compressor/decompressor) is a piece of software required to view certain video formats and should only be installed from a reputable source...
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  #58  
Old 01-03-2008, 02:51 PM
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Swampy Swampy is offline
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Re: Virus

Yeah, I wouldn't install something from a port site. LOL
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  #59  
Old 01-03-2008, 05:55 PM
pixelzombie pixelzombie is offline
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Re: Virus

i've also seen sites with sports footage try to get the user to install some sort of codec as well...
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  #60  
Old 01-04-2008, 03:04 PM
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plugsnpixels plugsnpixels is offline
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Re: Virus

Here's an interesting discussion from MacInTouch on the subject. Among the info about Mac-related issues is why Windows users better stay away from Sears (bottom of page)!
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