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1. Overview, Sources and Threats of Malware
2. Preventing Intrusions
3. Suggested Programs to Install on Your Computer

Preventing Intrusions

Preventing Intrusions from E-Mail
  • IOCC offers the Postini service to reduce the viruses received via e-mail. When you subscribe to this service, your e-mail is scanned for viruses before messages are delivered to your computer, and any suspect messages are placed in quarantine. The filters also help remove unwanted junk mail. Learn more about Postini and e-mail security.
  • Turn off any "preview" option on your mail client. In order for a mail client to let you see the message before you open it into a separate window, it must open the message. Doing so allows the execution of any malware component.
  • There are many scams running on the internet. Be suspicious of e-mail messages asking you to furnish financial or personal data, commonly called phishing and pharming. Avoid clicking links in e-mail data to financial web sites, instead type in the address in the "location" or "address" bar of your web browser.
  • Run anti-virus and anti-spyware software on your computer. See the list on the next page.

Preventing Intrusions from Web Browsing
  • Un-requested popup windows are not only annoying, but also potentially dangerous to your system, since many contain automatic downloading routines that install malware on your computer.
  • For your protection, follow the advise of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's US-CERT at Carnegie Mellon University in their June 29, 2004 Vulnerability Note VU#713878 and switch AWAY from Internet Explorer to a different web browser, such as Firefox. These browsers stop popup windows, let you control cookies and logins, and assist with many other privacy and security issues.
  • Beware of popup windows from programs you've never heard about, usually appearing when you boot your computer or shortly afterward, informing you of viruses on your computer and then prompting you to pay money. This is spyware!
  • Run anti-virus and anti-spyware software on your computer. See the list, below.
  • Read the Securing Your Web Browser article at US-CERT.

Intrusions from Other Sources
  • Preventing Intrusions from Vulnerabilities in Applications
    • Any program or application you add to your computer that has internet capabilities is subject to having vulnerabilities that can give outsiders access to your computer.
    • All the chat programs such as MSN Messenger and Yahoo Messenger and the hundreds of other services are subject to problems.
    • Be sure to install the most recent version of these clients immediately upon their release.
  • Prevent Intrusions from Media You Place Into Your Computer
    • Years ago, most viruses spread after inserting floppy diskettes into the computer. Even though floppy diskettes are seldom used, other removable media such as CDs and DVDs, USB memory devices, digital memory cards can contain malware. Many malware components are designed to propagate through networks.
    • Run anti-virus and anti-spyware software on your computer. See the list, below.
  • Read the Understanding Hidden Threats: Corrupted Software Files article at US-CERT.

Correcting Problems Caused by Operating Systems
  • The Windows operating system is the target of may malware attacks because it is the most widely distributed operating system and because it was initially released with large numbers of security vulnerabilities.
  • Windows XP Users: Service Pack 2 is an extremely important upgrade to fix many security problems. It's about 250MB, so you may want to order a CD-ROM (free). There are many additional updates since then.
  • Windows Update: Usually Start | Windows Update from your computer or visit Windows Update (requires Internet Explorer 5 or later) has updates for Windows versions still supported by Microsoft. Many versions of Windows also support automatic updates, including downloading of updates in the background.
  • Microsoft publishes security fixes on the second Tuesday of each month. Be sure to check for updates and security fixes around that time.

Note: If you are not comfortable with the virus and spyware removal procedures, and Pinnacle Computers provide the services at reasonable rates. Give us a call.

1. Overview, Sources and Threats of Malware
2. Preventing Intrusions
3. Suggested Programs to Install on Your Computer

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