Security and privacy information for the web surfer.
Prepared by Jon Berg <jon.berg|a|turtlemeat.com>
Your computer can be infected by programs called adware (unsolicited advertising), spyware (recording your surfing activity to sell your information). Those programs come from many sources, webpages can make you install them unknowingly, or popular software like Kazaa can install them onto your computer.
Very important : your hosts file can be hacked and modified
- Windows 98: c:\windows\hosts
By editing this file they can steal traffic from any site they want, they can block your access to any site, or they can add advertising (popup(s), dialers) to them. To hack your hosts file cheaters only have to have you visit their page. You don't have to click anywhere on the page, you don't have to install anything, it is a very malicious hack; you will not even notice that a flaw in your computer settings has just been exploited...
Open your hosts file (it has no extention) with notepad. It should contain only this line :
If you see other domain names below it, it has been changed illegally. Just delete everything but 127.0.0.1 localhost. Save the file and close it, and you should be fine again. If you are unsure, you can simply delete the file from your hard drive, it will be ok. I have heard that making your file read-only can protect you, but I am unsure.
If you really don't understand how to do this, or if you want a more advanced protection against this problem and others, read the next topic.
Free anti adware and spyware tool : Spybot, Search & Destroy
It is very easy of use and will remove most of the adware, spyware and dialers from your computer. It will also tell you if your hosts file has been hacked and will automatically remove invalid entries. Even if your computer is fine, I highly recommend you to download and install Spybot, because if your hosts file happens to be hacked in the future, you might not even be able to access this page again.
Free Spyware Protection Software : SpywareGuard
Visit their page to find more information and download the program, for free! (donate to them if you like it)
Update your Windows system and IE browser
Keep your browser up to date, visit https://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/default.asp and get the latest version and patches for MS Internet Explorer.
Go to https://windowsupdate.microsoft.com/ and download the latest upgrades and security patches for Windows systems.
If you update regularly you can really avoid a lot of surfing problems.
Tricks and Free Popups-Killer
You might find some windows that you cannot close with AFT+F4, try another shortcut : control + w. If you still can't close them, use control + ALT + Suppr to open the task manager to select and kill the application manually.
But, if you prefer, we found that Google, the world #1 search engine has included a great popups-killer ability with its latest toolbar, Google Bar. With it you will be able to stop popups entirely, or allow popups only from specific sites (white list). Best of all, it is 100% free, and does not require any signup.
Installation is extremely easy and only takes a few seconds. go to Google Bar's Homepage and install it.And for a detailed help regarding their popups-blocker ability, just visit their page.
Web (webmastering) Mix Computer related text