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Hi:

My Aunt has written me saying she's getting a bunch of annoying pop-ups. After getting more information, I find she has (at least) Winspy Killer and Virus Heat. I sent her the Malwarebytes freeware to run. A few questions:

What are best practices to follow to keep this stuff off your computer. I suspect that her husband visits game sites (the computer's also cluttered with various game links & programs)?

I'm sure she uses an older version of IE. Would Firefox be better?

Since this has happened several times, should I get her the paid version to install to keep this from happening in the future, rather than her remembering to run it occasionally?

I've never gotten malicious software, so not sure what I've done to prevent it. Do you have to actively click on those pop ups to get them to download? Or do some malicious game sites attach them to otherwise innocuous-seeming parts of the game. I just loaded Firefox 3 beta 5, and its now got a warning for known malicious web sites. Assume that would help???

Many thanks for suggestions.

George

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Hi:

My Aunt has written me saying she's getting a bunch of annoying pop-ups. After getting more information, I find she has (at least) Winspy Killer and Virus Heat. I sent her the Malwarebytes freeware to run. A few questions:

What are best practices to follow to keep this stuff off your computer. I suspect that her husband visits game sites (the computer's also cluttered with various game links & programs)?

Best practices differ according to experience, but first and foremost;

1. Disable ActiveX

2. Disable install on demand (in IE)

3. Install a HOSTS file (there are many to choose from, each with their own merits)

4. Install a system monitor (such as WinPatrol)

5. Ensure a firewall is installed and correctly configured (i.e. Online Armor)

6. Ensure Windows itself is upto date with patches etc

7. Ensure an antivirus application is installed, running and upto date at ALL TIMES

There are many more, and I'm sure someone else will chime in with more detailed information, but these are the basics.

I'm sure she uses an older version of IE. Would Firefox be better?

Only marginally ...... there are risks of infection regardless of the shell being used. If you want to move them to a safer browser, point them to Opera (faster and safer than IE and Firefox, and less hassle).

Since this has happened several times, should I get her the paid version to install to keep this from happening in the future, rather than her remembering to run it occasionally?

I'd recommend cleaning her up first, then decide on whether to purchase the paid version or not afterwards.

I've never gotten malicious software, so not sure what I've done to prevent it. Do you have to actively click on those pop ups to get them to download? Or do some malicious game sites attach them to otherwise innocuous-seeming parts of the game. I just loaded Firefox 3 beta 5, and its now got a warning for known malicious web sites. Assume that would help???

There are far too many ways to get infected to list them all here, but to answer the first, no, you don't have to actively click anything to get infected (these are known as drive-by). Infections can occur both with and without user intervention.

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What are best practices to follow to keep this stuff off your computer.

The venerable old So how did I get infected in the first place?

Secunia Software Inspector

Feature Overview - The Secunia Software Inspector:

* Detects insecure versions of applications installed

* Verifies that all Microsoft patches are applied

* Assists you in updating your system and applications

* Runs through your browser. No installation or download is required.

http://secunia.com/software_inspector
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Many thanks to everyone for your replies. She ran Malawarebytes and found 98 programs identified -- jeez... . I ran it on my machine and it identified 4, though they were all related to one of those weather service add-ons I thought I zapped years ago.

I'll send her a summary of all of your suggestions.

Thanks again!

George

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Hi gdurkee and welcome to Malwarebytes. I would add to this great advice, your Aunt probably should have someone look at a log from the MBAM program and HiJack This! . If MBAM found that many items there is a good chance she may need further attention. We have a forum here and the instructions for pre-posting are at the top of it.

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