New To Your Computer and The Internet? Part 1

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by FireDancer, Aug 26, 2003.

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  1. FireDancer

    FireDancer Registered Member

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    I wanted to share a few thoughts and tell with you about my computer experiance. I would like to start off by saying that I am NOT a very computer savy person.. but my story pertains to working to be and maybe help someone just starting out.

    My first contact with a computer was not to long ago and the computer was a 486 with a dial up and a game installed on it. man I just fell in love with it!! (being on the internet) After a while of on-line gaming I decided I wanted to buy a computer of my own but did not know what was good and what was bad.

    I saved my money up and when I felt I had enough I called the local computer store and told the person there what I wanted my computer for. (Internet surfing, Gaming and basic e-mail and chat functions) He recommended a system to me that could be added onto and changed somewhat if I wanted to upgrade. What would I want to possibly upgrade? I just wanted to get online and surf!!!

    After a while of surfing, gaming and chatting I found that I was starting to have problems. Problems that I did not know how to correct, such as viruses, trojans, security breaches and possible hack attacks. I asked myself what was going on? Is this supposed to be happening? What could I do to protect myself? Was I handeling my system right and careing for my now, big investment?

    NO, I was not!!! I wasnt paying attention to security,or viruses. I wasnt paying attention to organization of my system and it's maintenance, but most of all I just wasnt plain ol paying attention!!!! I have found that if you are not paying attention It can get you into alot of trouble... probably more then you bargained for!!!

    In the last few months I have really taken a great interest in my computer. I am currently useing a Athalon 1.1 GHz pc266, 512 megs ram, Maxtor 20Gig HDD, 52X24X52 CD-RW, Microtek 19' Flat screen monitor and it is hooked to the internet with cable modem (behind a LinkSys 4 port router switch).

    This is a big step from a 486 with a dial up, and in as much as many here might think my system isnt the biggest or the fastest.. it is HUGE to me and I want to do everything possible to protect it. I have learned in a very short period of time, it is very importaint to first become familiar with your newly purchased computer.. learn as much about it as you can from the manuals, asking questions of those who are experianced and I can not emphasise enough the word READ...READ...READ!!! In my book a stupid question is only one that is never asked.

    I am still a begginer in the computer world and will be for a long time to come probably, but every little bit of knowledge I aquire form a manual, a computer professional or a help web site adds that much more to my knowledge in helping me to attain compleate control over how my new system operates and understanding what I am doing and why. I struggle every day with teminology and the understanding of how it is applyed and will everyday as the rest of us will....learning is a ongoing procsess and NEVER ends!!!

    Now I would like to share with you what I have learned form others...and hopefully will help others

    When setting up your new system take great care in getting it up and running in a stable enviroment and use the proper tech support givin to you buy the particular company/provider of the system. Keep all reg numbers and usernames/passwords stored safley from damage or prying eyes..you might just need them one day.

    Once your new system is up and running read the manuals and understand your new systems functions and if you dont understand what you read...re read it again and again and again if need be as it will do nothing but bring you more knowledge of your system.

    I would recommend leaving all the system defaults in place until you understand how each setting works and what it's functions are.. This would include your (browser settings/Mail settings) cookie control, activeX and Java control. These three items I have just mentioned are noted below along with my recommendations for controling Ad ware Spyware and maleware.

    Getting the system set up for, internet, installing of software and basic funtional tasks can be a litlle time consumeing...please take great care in doing this. As I wote above, if you do not, it can get you into more trouble then you bargained for!!! And time in setting up properly will bring you a much more enjoyable computer experiance!!! and alot less headaches :)

    You now want to get online.. :) Assuming you allready have a ISP(Internet Service Provider) and depending on what type of connection you will have (Dial Up/Broad band) will determine how you set up your connection. I am useing WIN98SE as a reference here keep in mind differant OS's might have a little bit differant config but all should be close to the same. You should see a "Connect to the internet icon" on your desk top. Double click that and it opens up the Internet wizard, choose the type of connection you will be useing and hit next... follow all the steps that it asks for then hit finish :) At some point the Wizard will ask you if you want to set up a e mail account now? If you do, again follow all steps asked for hit finish and if asked to reboot do so. Now you have your browser and e mail ready to go. if you have problems with this process you can call your local ISP and a tech will walk you through it.

    Now you need to update your system... this is very importaint...

    While connected to the internet go to START>WINDOWS UPDATE this should logg you to Microsofts Update site.. Once there you need to click on "Scan for Updates". The site will automaticlly scan your computer/browser for any possible updates needed. Choose the updates recommended to the left side of the screen and let them install. (Take care in instructions) at each prompt and especially if prompted to reboot. You can always go back and rescan for the rest of the updates again until you are finished getting all of them. I know this might be a timley process but well worth it to insure they install properly, and your system is updated accordingly and you have the latest security patches for your OS.

    BOWSER/E-MAIL SETUP:
    You browser/e mail is set up at a default level to log onto the net you can set these both up for higher secuity(Default isMedium setting) to help prevent any malicious ware from entering your system. I would recommend leaving all default settings in place until you get familiar with your system/settings functions and what they control. If you set security to high or disable some settings you might not be able to view certain web sites or use certain funtions within the system its self. This would fall under, cookie control, activX and java permission. If you are ever prompted by something you are not sure of tell it NO. then refer to manual or Tech advise or better yet http://www.wilderssecurity.com/ or You can usually get help from your ISP (Internet Service Provider) techs with minor settings to get you started.

    INSTALLATION/REMOVAL OF PROGRAMS/SOFTWARE:
    If you are considering installing new software take care in the intallation process and always make sure as many running processes are shut down as possible (other programs/scanners/firewalls/AV's) you might have as it might cause a conflict with the install. When un-installing software ALWAYS use the ADD/REMOVE PROGRAMS UTILITY as this will uninstall most or all of the software cleanly. Unfortuantly some software does not un-install compleatly and that is just due to the design of the program. To un-install software START>SETTINGS>CONTROL PANEL>ADD REMOVE PROGRAMS> (locate the program you want un-installed and highlight it) click on remove, you should get a prompt, Are you sure you want to remove this program?..remeber if your not, say NO. Once the software is un-installed I suggest a reboot.

    FIREWALLS:
    You will need to consider useing a fire wall on your system giving you the ability to control what comes in and goes out of your new system. In short a fire wall will control all of your UDP/TCP protocalls inbound and outbound for your programs and your ISP. Even shorter... It will keep the Hackers out! and let the necessary connections to be made to be able to browse the net as well as let your apps connect for updates ect... My recommendations would be these fire walls listed below as a firewall is a MUST today on the net!!!!
    For Begginers I would start off with a fire wall that would just allow and deny programs to accsess the net (not rule specific)

    Sygate Free http://smb.sygate.com/buy/download_buy.htm

    Zone Alarm Firewall Free http://www.zonelabs.com/store/content/company/products/znalm/freeDownload.jsp
    once you get comfortable with a firewall and understand how it works, if you need a bit more security, as far as rules go I would look into the links below these are just a few.

    Sygate Pro (not free) find out about it here http://soho.sygate.com/default.htm

    Kerio 2.1.5 Firewall http://www.uksecurityonline.com/products/pfirewalls.php this program is fully customizable in all aspects. A very good product in my opinion (I use this)

    Look N Stop FireWall http://www.wilderssecurity.info/ this particular firewall I am not familiar with but have read on it and it rates very high marks. Note I do not belive this is a free program I am sure you can get a evaluation version for trial. (more technical)

    In todays internet setting you need a good security system such as a firewall.. please again take note of all instructions and care to follow them. My opinion is a Firewall is a MUST for anyone on the net today!!!

    SPYWARE/ADWARE/MALEWARE:
    Once you have all your nessecary updates and have chossen a firewall I would recommend getting set up for basic security, such as maleware spyware and ad ware prevention as well. This will intail the installation of a few free software programs. If you allready have software that you prefer thats great!! If you dont I will make a few recommendations to get you started. I feel these are a must to keep help the nastys out of your system.

    Ad Ware 6.0 http://www.lavasoftusa.com
    SpyBot S&D http://spybot.eon.net.au/
    SpywareBlaster http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/spywareblaster.html

    The above freeware should get you started in controling the possible tracking your surfing habits, the abuse of your Internet connection by sending this data to a third party, profiling your shopping preferences, hijacking of your browser start page or pages, alter important system files, and can do this without your knowledge or permission. The security and privacy implications of these exploits should be quite obvious and undesirable on any system.

    ANTIVIRUS/TROJAN/WORM PROTECTION:
    Antivirus/Trojan and Worm protection is a absolute must this day in age and is a must for any system. My recommendations would be to get the best possible software available that you can afford. With the spread of viruses, trojans and worms today, and at a very rapid rate of growth everyday, the internet is not a safe place and even the average user needs to protect him/her self at all costs!! My recommendations are below and please note they are just a few available that I have used, as there are many more then I could possibly list or know about.

    NOD32v2 http://www.nod32.com/home/home.htm this is not a free program but for the money it is worth every penny!!! as it is the most powerfull AV scanner today. (I use this registerd) you can use the link above and trial it for 30 days.

    AVG 6.0 http://www.grisoft.com/us/us_dwnl_free.php This is a freeware Av and is a good product and uses a auto update... very reliable!!

    TDS3 is a very comprehensive Trojan hunter and it is easy to use and compliments any system to the fullest. You can get a evaluation version here for 30 days with manual updates. http://www.diamondcs.com.au/ as well as a whole lot of support by the DiamonCS team
    at Wilderssecuity.com :)
     
  2. FireDancer

    FireDancer Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2003
    Posts:
    316
    Part 2

    CONTROLING YOUR DOWNLOADS:
    In as much as we all like to download new products/programs and try them out I would recommend when downloading a product/program
    that you take care in knowing who you are downloading from. If you can not verify if this is a secure site or not, then at least use your new arsenal of tools that I have recommended above to scan your product/program/files with your AV to insure it is not infected with malicious code or contaning a virus before running it. This would also be inclusive of ALL of your recieved e mails. scan them before opening.E mail is the number one cause of one catching a virus today! I never accept any thing in my mail with more then 50kb in size and if I dont know the sender I DO NOT EVER open attachments. Just DELETE it!!! I KNOW THIS FROM EXPERIANCE as I have had a multitude of viruses from lack of attention or better yet knowing what I was doing.

    KEEPING YOUR SOFTWARE UPDATED:
    Keeping your software updated especialy your AV, Spyware, maleware, and adware programs is very importaint to you and your system it will help to insure you are protected the fullest on your system and save you alot of headaches in the furure. lack of updating will get you into trouble!!!! Eventually you will pay some sort of consiquince for your lack of updateing! And it is not a matter of IF you get a virus or a trojan it will be a matter of WHEN!!!!

    MAINTENANCE:
    I would recommend cleaning out your temp internet files at least once a day to make sure you get rid of all the nastys stored there and to help you get into a routine of doing it. I would run a scan disk once a week to do the same, and depending on your useage of your system run a defrag at least once every 2 weeks or so.
    START>PROGRAMS>ACCESORIES>SYSTEM TOOLS> for all the mentioned mantenence above , disk clean up, degrag and scan disk. This will help you keep your system clean and running smooth.

    FINAL NOTES:
    These suggestions are a few basics to get you on your way and there not very technical but, I felt if I could just help just one person that is starting out even a little bit, it will all be worth it. As I say again I am by no means a computer guru but I have learned a few hard lessons and am learning some really good ones too! There are many people out there to help you all you have to do is ask...remember the only stupid question is the one that is never asked. Maybe some of the experts will chime in and give there thought and views..to further help you :), and maybe even correct some of what I have said here. I have become more in tune with my systems needs and some of it's functions..as well as what is needed to protect it.

    I have a long way to go yet as far as the inner workings of my system but I will keep working on it!!! I hope I have been a help as I know that this is not a more technical post it was meant to be a starting point for a basic setup and routine for a beginner and what is needed to start protecting thier investment. I will leave the more technical stuff to the pros at http://www.wilderssecurity.com/ For more routine advise please read this wonderfull post by ROOT on how to back up your system and getting into a maintence routine.

    http://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=3677

    Here are a couple more help sites that I know of below.

    http://www.windowsbbs.com/
    http://www.dslreports.com/forum/security,1
    http://www.blarp.com/home_security.htm


    Regards,
    FireDancer
     
  3. FireDancer

    FireDancer Registered Member

    Joined:
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    Posts:
    316
    I am sorry it seems a couple of links are not working :( my appoligies


    FD
     
  4. Tassie_Devils

    Tassie_Devils Global Moderator

    Joined:
    May 8, 2002
    Posts:
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    Location:
    State Queensland, Australia
    HI Firedancer :)

    I see you are a passionate person when it comes to trying to learn about your system/security/general help in the above posts. :cool:

    Just wanted to say nice posts. ;)

    Cheers, TAS
     
  5. FireDancer

    FireDancer Registered Member

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    Thanks Tas,

    Just hope I wasnt to far off on anything :)

    Very Best Regards,
    FireDancer :)
     
  6. Pieter_Arntz

    Pieter_Arntz Spyware Veteran

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Netherlands
    Nice job, Fire Dancer. :cool:

    I took the liberty of repairing the broken links. Hope you don't mind.

    Regards,

    Pieter
     
  7. FireDancer

    FireDancer Registered Member

    Joined:
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    Posts:
    316
    Hi Pieter,

    Thanks for the fixxing... and the pat on the back :)

    Regards,
    FireDancer
     
  8. the Tester

    the Tester Registered Member

    Joined:
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    The Gateway to the Blue Hills,WI.
    Have a karma cookie on me FireDancer. ;)

    A lot of what you experienced sounds familiar!
    Chat rooms and malware in general.Chat rooms can be a zoo!

    Excellent posts!
    Regards,
    the Tester.
     
  9. FireDancer

    FireDancer Registered Member

    Joined:
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    Posts:
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    Thank you all,

    I just hope i am able to help somebody getting started...
    cus I had no help :) till I came here and thanks for the cookie it was yummy :)


    Very best regards,
    FireDancer
     
  10. Peaches4U

    Peaches4U Registered Member

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    Location:
    At my computer
    Excellent write up FireDancer ... my how familiar it all sounds ... been there, done that and still learning every day. However, I take pride in personally helping out others as much as I can. The most frequent statement I get from newbies I know is "what can anyone possibly want in my computer - there is nothing there"? or "if it isn't broken why do I have to fix it?". :rolleyes: hence I begin to educate and hopefully all sinks in. It is through forums such as these, that I have become educated to my current needs. Thanks to everyone. :cool:
     
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