lightweight security for win98

Discussion in 'other anti-malware software' started by dahyippur, Feb 19, 2007.

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  1. dahyippur

    dahyippur Registered Member

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    Hello everyone, ive been fixing some older computers lately for my computer illiterate friends and could use some advice in the security department! Im currently working on a gateway machine w/ 500mhz/198ram/win98se installed, not much to work with here. Resources are practically non-existent, so my priorities for security software are in this order-

    1) lightweight on ram and cpu
    2) little to no user maintenance required automatic/scheduled updates and scans are a must. looking for programs that do the job and stay out of sight.
    3) effective in preventing/removing any malware you might get from browsing the web and using web based email. occasional downloading

    At the moment Im having the some success using Firefox 1.5.9, KIS 6 with web-scan disabled, superantispyware, spywaregaurd and spywareblaster.
    KIS and superantispyware are a little heavier than i would like them to be but they seem relatively light compared to the other apps ive tried. (Im working with a dinosaur here RaWWwr!) Its gotten to the point where im considering skipping on either the antivirus or the antispyware for the sake of keeping precious system resources free for music and browsing. Spyware scanners always seem to turn up more than virus scans so im thinking maybe just a good antispyware program and some on-demand av? o_O i dont know this is getting to be a real pain in the ass!

    question: there wont be much in the way of installations if any on this computer after im done with it, would it be possible to use just a firewall (no AV or AS) to keep out all the badness without any "allow/deny" prompts?
     
  2. TairikuOkami

    TairikuOkami Registered Member

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    Yes, but it depends, if they would be able to use NoScript.
    I would also recommend to set up CCleaner to run at startup.
    If you would set up all rules in firewall, you could disable alerts.
    I would think about using no firewall, if all ports could be closed.
    In that case, there would be no prompts, but it depends on a user.
    If there is a high risk surfer and illiterate, it would not be a good idea.
    Free scanners without process in backround: A-Squared, Cure It, SAS.
     
  3. StevieO

    StevieO Registered Member

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    I would definately run an AV, but only use an AS on demand. I would have recommended AntiVir, but they are ending support for 98 in a few months !!!

    As you said "there wont be much in the way of installations if any on this computer after im done with it" So installing the excellent free Winsonar 2007 XP would prevent any unknown executables from running, including badware. I've been using it for years on 98se computers, highly recommended.

    http://digilander.libero.it/zancart/default.htm

    The previous versions of Zonealarm free like v4.5 are very light and favoured by a lot of people. Still available from Zonelabs or oldversion.com.


    StevieO
     
  4. dahyippur

    dahyippur Registered Member

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    so if i had to choose only 1 memory sucking real-time program, what would offer the most overall protection? firewall, antivirus, or antispyware? this is why i like programs like KIS 6 because they supposedly have all three with minimal system impact. though i dont know how thorough the firewall and antispyware is.
     
  5. ThunderZ

    ThunderZ Registered Member

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    IMO, as recommended by TheTOM_SK, stay with the FW and KIS 6. Add NoScript. Use the AS as on demand only.I think that is about as good as you are going to do for an underpowered PC and an un-learned user.
     
  6. farmerlee

    farmerlee Registered Member

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    For a super lightweight combo i'd recommend avg free + ghostwall combined with firefox + noscript. With ghostwall you can configure the rules then disable the gui so no one can mess with it.

    Another option is ghostwall + system safety monitor free. Configure the computer, configure ssm then disconnect the UI and nothing bad can execute.
     
  7. lodore

    lodore Registered Member

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    hello,
    nod32 is a great av for windows 98 its very light and can be made automatic.
    www.eset.com
    then you could use superantispyware as on demand antisppyware and use firefox with no script.

    you could if you wanted to use ssm free.
    you heard me correctly ssm free does work on windows 98 and ME.
    http://www.syssafety.com/
    Jetico at a firewall
    http://www.jetico.com/
    lodore
     
  8. ejr

    ejr Registered Member

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    You could give them decent protection with:

    1. Avira Antivir (free)...Excellent Antivirus Protection
    2. Spyware Terminator...Great at keeping a PC clean with it's active protections. Mediocre at detection. Also Free
    3. Spyware Blaster
    4. Not sure on the Firewall. Comodo is good but maybe not light enough. PC Tools Fierwall is supposed to be good. Not sure if works with Win 98. Maybe an older version of Zone Alarm Free. Fiewall is the only question I have. If you sit behind a good router, this could be skipped.

    But all of the above could be used by novice users with no problems and provide a pretty high degree of protection. I also don't believe these programs conflict with each other.
     
  9. Mele20

    Mele20 Former Poster

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    I have an almost identical older computer.

    Buy a cheap router and put it behind it. That is the most important thing. Forget a software firewall unless you use an old version of ZA. I believe it was 2.6 of Zone Alarm that was the last lightweight firewall I used on that computer. NOD32 runs fine on 98SE. Another one that uses even less resources is AVS...if it will activate. I can't get AVS to activate and AOL and KAV forum have not been at all helpful. It runs fine but cannot get current definitions because of the activation error. But I can see when I check resources that it uses less than even NOD32 used to use and that was an older version of NOD32. (But I have read that the current version is also light on 98SE).

    If you have 98SE properly tied down and have a good AV it is quite secure. (The opposite is true if the situation was like my current one where I have the 98SE box networked and also have a one year old XP Pro box. In this situation I have file sharing enabled and that makes 98SE very vulnerable if taken out from behind the router. Last time I did that, I had NOD32 active and updated on it, thank goodness, as it got Opaserv within 5 minutes of being on the internet and while not protected by the router. NOD32 caught it).

    Fx works quite well on 98SE and should be used instead of IE. I also have Spyware Blaster for when IE has to be used and Spybot (no Teatimer). That old computer boots with 84% resources free. I also use Script Sentry on it (and my XP computer).
     
  10. ccsito

    ccsito Registered Member

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    Avira plans to stop supporting Windows 98 later this year. From what I read, PC Tools firewall is not supported on Windows 98. LookNStop which is what PC Tools FW was based on does support Windows 98 but it is not free. I have used ZA 6.1.744.001 on a Windows 98 desktop and it has never had a problem running on my machine (it is the last icon to appear on the system tray, so it is a "laggard" and takes up RAM).

    Your choices for free AV, AS, and FW programs are limited (and even more so for Windows 98 users). For AV, there is Antivir (again Windows 98 support is ending soon), Avast, and AVG. There are very few free AS programs that offer realtime protection (Among those are Spyware Terminator, Spyware Guard, Spyware Blaster). For free Firewall programs, those that can use Windows 98, are usually no longer updated- such as Zone Alarm 6.1.744 and earlier versions, Outpost Free 1.0, Sygate, Jetico, and several other lesser known programs. Filseclab is currently supported and does work on Windows 98, but setting it up is not that simple.
     
  11. pcalvert

    pcalvert Registered Member

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    This is a problem that I've also been struggling with. Since Win98 no longer gets security updates, I've thought about getting people to upgrade to Windows 2000 Professional. Unfortunately, it will also lose support from Microsoft in a few years, so it is difficult to justify the cost of upgrading.

    At the moment, I am thinking that Linux might be a good solution. There are number of lightweight Linux distros that should run well on older computers that are still running Windows 98 or Windows ME. In addition, there are flexible Linux distros, like Debian, that can be set up in many different ways-- these can often be used to create a lightweight system.

    Rather than get rid of Win98, my plan is to set up a dual-boot system. That way, if need be, Windows is still available for occasional use. And I plan to emphasize to the users that they should avoid going online while using Windows. I think this could work well since many people only use their computers to browse the web and send/receive e-mail.

    Phil
     
  12. herbalist

    herbalist Guest

    I stopped running a resident AV on my 98 box when AntiVir released version 7. That was about a year ago. My 98 box is no less secure and is much faster without one.

    With vendors either dropping support for 98 or producing apps that are too heavy to run properly on it, those running 98 should consider alternate methods of securing it. The necessary software is still available, all free. One of the best tools is right on the 98 CD, poledit.exe. The free version of SSM can also protect 98 units very well. These combined with a good firewall (like Kerio 2.1.5) and some content filtering for your browser are more than sufficient to protect 98 on the net. An alternate browser also helps, not just from a security standpoint, but from a performance perspective. On my under-powered unit, using IE6 for an extended period drained its limited resources. The Mozilla browsers didn't.

    The conventional approach to PC security is to block malicious code while allowing everything else to run. The shortcoming to this approach has always been trying to identify and catch all the malicious code. The sheer quantity and endless forms it takes is one of the main reasons that detection software is becoming a heavier load on systems. Securing 98 with the apps and tools mentioned above requires a basic change in the users approach to security. Instead of basing your security strategy on blocking malicious code, a blacklist approach, take the opposite approach. Specify what apps and system components are allowed to run, and block everything else. It's much simpler to enforce a security policy that allows a hundred or so known processes to run that it is to identify and block hundreds of thousands of unwanted processes or code sequences. The policy editor from your 98 CD enables you to set restrictions on what apps are allowed to run. System Safety Monitor can also let you specify what other processes each app is allowed to start, or be started by. Both SSM and the policy editor can lock down critical areas of the system from change by users or malware.

    While some users won't like the idea of being restricted to using a specified set of applications, it isn't as bad as you might think, especially on a 98 unit. If you're running a 98 box, you're already restricted by availability alone. Quite often a new version of an application either won't be compatible with 98 or will be too heavy to run well on it. I can't run the newest version of Yahoo Messenger, version 8.1 but I can run version 5.6, or GAIM. I can't use IE7 but I can use Sea Monkey, the new Mozilla suite. For most any common usage, there's still good software available for 98, much of it free.

    Setting up such a security policy isn't that difficult. If anything, it's a bit time consuming, but it's not really that complicated. The concept behind it is very simple.
    If it can't run, it can't hurt you.
    It's much easier to enjoy your PC and the net when you don't have to worry about your AV missing something.
    Rick
     
  13. Pedro

    Pedro Registered Member

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    Might as well say this: if they don't depend on specific programs that only run on Windows, go GNU/Linux. Free and safe. Really free, they can do what they want, choose what kind of OS they want.
     
  14. herbalist

    herbalist Guest

    Yes, users could install Linux and learn to use it. That has its own problems on 98 boxes, especially if they're using dialup service. I never did find drivers that worked with the modem my box came with. When you have to start learning Linux on terms like that, it's frustrating.

    There's no reason someone with a 98 box has to switch to Linux. At the local computer shop, I picked up a couple used hard drives in the 5-10GB range for about $10 each. They can just as easily add another small hard drive, put Linux on it, and use 98 while they learn Linux. If Linux gives them trouble for whatever reason, they still have a working OS that can be safely used. Why switch when you can have both?
    Rick
     
  15. EASTER.2010

    EASTER.2010 Guest

    Just as an aside to expounding on my most cherished beginnings to the internet and computers in general, 98SE O/S!!!

    I think it bears noting that i was running VISTA!! type transparency 3-D! Thats Right!! On 98's :D Long before Vista and only shortly before XP. LoL

    Mandotate is the 3-D enhancement program that had it's origins in 98, Google for it or check into NeoWin's Forums for it, it is still around and free as always. Vista's Flip/Scroll 3-D demands a heavy penalty on resources and is yet another reason why Vista is as INPRACTIBLE! as it was for Microsoft to abandon 98/Me before FIRST re-writing them and re-releasing them with the improvements their user's/consumers really expected of a so-called high-tech business. :thumbd:

    Although i get plenty of mileage from my XP Pro drive i will never be without my 98 on the other drive to boot to. That O/S gave many their first start like me in all this and also in some instances it can still outperform XP, it is also just like herbalist alludes to, more safe than XP and even more so with HIPS behavior programs that are compatible like SSM.
     
  16. zapjb

    zapjb Registered Member

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    In the past I've worked on a couple dozen computers running either 98se or 95. Can't remember any of them having virii. So if they're not into porn or warez. I wouldn't install an AV of PF. Now I did find plenty of adware & spyware. So I'd install SSD wo teatimer & Adaware. And sorry to say this teach them how to use these 2. Thats it. Don't knock me around too much folks for being the lone desenter. :D
     
  17. EASTER.2010

    EASTER.2010 Guest

    The main problem for me that i found on 98 was IE exploits that crippled and replaced wmplayer.exe 72Kb so i eventually kept a fresh copy of it and whenever that exploit hit (AV Alert!) i simply restore it.

    Now theres an O/S that could have really benefitted from WFP .
     
  18. dw2108

    dw2108 Registered Member

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    It's nice to see a fellow pragmatist; at least Bill Gates did one thing right -- he allowed us MS Policy Editor.

    Dave
     
  19. besafe

    besafe Registered Member

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    You could try setting them up with a virtualization tool that requires no signatures or updates. That might be the lightest solution and maintenance free.
     
  20. herbalist

    herbalist Guest

    As useful as the policy editor is, on 98 boxes it has weaknesses, especially in its application restriction abilities. A user or malware that knows its limitations can easily defeat it.
    user policy restrictions.gif
    Allowed applications are specified by name only. The path to the executable isn't checked. Neither is its authenticity. If Iexplore.exe is an allowed process, any application or malware named Iexplore.exe will also run, regardless of its location. This has long been a commonly used technique by malware writers. On 98 boxes, the policy editor isn't strong enough to use on its own, especially to control applications. I haven't worked with system policy on XP so I don't know if they've fixed these weaknesses. If they haven't, a lot of people have a false sense of security. This is easily tested with a bit of application renaming.
    Rick
     
  21. EASTER.2010

    EASTER.2010 Guest

    It's always heartening for me to see continued 98 and Millenium discussions because it wasn't so really long ago when the masses rushed to XP after it's first official/public release only to discover it was crammed full of microsoft's newest and more available exploitable features, for one, the bloated and mostly unneccessary services as well as other holes very well exploited. A malware's writer showcase no doubt, the same can never been said of 98/Me even with it's own problems.

    The XP default GUI almost made me puke as bad as the 98's gray (dull) one but at least they offered silver & green options if there was any consolation in that. With 98 i could apply several freeware developer's artistic craft's in the form of customizing the window frame etc., to dress things up a tad so far as looking like a high-tech invention goes.

    I think what bugs me most is that 98 customers/users didn't deserve to be abandoned and so rushed to get onto the XP bandwagon as fast as they could get to one. $M was counting on that and it worked, XP is pretty nice and has it's advantages, but for pity's sakes, if $M had simply revisited 98/Me just one last time for a complete rewrite shortly after realizing XP sales success, that would have been the coup de grais so to speak IMO. A major windfall plus loyalty for microsoft, and a renewed desire for microsoft's other compatible or newest creations . Not to mention today's surviving software developers would have had a much wider and more broader market in which to serve then being constrained to just this one-dimensional field of view, aka XP/server systems alone. Yeah i know, now is Vista, i suppose it can now count for some variety.

    As things stand, many have long since turned to Apple (Mac) Systems/Linux and whatever else they can suit their IT needs as well as ease the blow of their trust in anything $M having been so fashionably compromised by them if not entirely deceived. Strong words i know but for good reason no less.
    I still like 98SE and theres plenty i do with mine, plus theres still more left to discover & do with it that keeps my interest reasonably high enough that it continues to be useful, especially network-wise since the introduction of HIPS and chiefly System Safety Monitor which serves to secure it like no AV ever could.

    This might be beating a dead horse but i cannot sit idly by and completely or ever discount 98/Me as not worthy of attention anymore. By stark contrast, it could be said even now, that those old O/S's can not only be (finally) safely secured, thanks mostly in part to HIPS, but also continue to be very useful in many respects as XP is today; minus much less frustrations suffered of XP users. You can read tons of issues that eclipse any you ever thought so overwhelming with XP then 98/Me. Just a little of my impressions of the $M machine.
     
  22. Kees1958

    Kees1958 Registered Member

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    I endorse this. When you feel uncomfartable without AV try Antivir, with the Guard's configuration set to:
    - use smart file extentions
    - scan only at write

    Regards K
     
  23. dw2108

    dw2108 Registered Member

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    Using echo and buffer files, Policy Editor is quite effective on Win 9x/ME systems. If installed through buffer and echo files, Win9x/ME systems cannot be hacked or infected, a mathematical proof of which resides in my publication "Logic in Quotes, Call by quotation" J. Phil Logic, (16) No. 1 Feb. 1987; the problem is, most people resort to AV apps, antispyware apps, etc., before they consider even the use of buffer and echo files.
     
  24. Metal425

    Metal425 Registered Member

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    Nod32, I think they support 98, not sure.
    I haven't had 98 for 8 years..lol
     
  25. dw2108

    dw2108 Registered Member

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    Yes, NOD32 continues to support 95, 98 and ME as their so-called support of Legacy Operating Systems. Norton even continues 9x/ME support, as shall many other vendors. The 95 IS ALIVE group, 98 IS STILL HERE group, and ME LIVES ON group consist in a combined membership of well over -- GET THIS -- 700,000,000 members and even more casual supporters. The "2000/XP/2003/Vista rule the world" misconception is a myth even Microsoft denies.

    Dave HAL
     
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