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andrew

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I frequently end up removing spyware from an XP at home. It reappears or new things appear despite innoculation etc. My kids use MSN for chatting and email. I can't help feeling MSN knows ways around any security systems to deliver spyware. It may not be the very evil stuff but it slows everything down and certainly hinders the wireless connection. Just wondered whether anyone noticed similar happenings.

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Hi,

I have the same issue on my kid's PC. In spite of tweaking security settings, installing any and all patches, educating and re-educating them, having ZoneAlarm plus AVG plus SpyBot plus Ad-aware, every Monday morning I still need to do a clean up job on their computer.

 

They all have Messenger and AIM and Yahoo messenger, and they do all the standard kid stuff. It's not MSN or Yahoo or AIM that's the problem, it's the kids. They surf around and will always get hit. Not just them either... myself as well. I'll do a search for something on Google, and hit the wrong link, and bam. It doesn't happen as much to me as it does to them, but even one adware install makes me feel like I've had a pie thrown in my face!

 

In my opinion, MSN doesn't need adware affiliate commission, it's the smaller webmasters who are trying to make money that put these things into their websites. Look at Overpro - $500 bonus, just for signing up?! Some of these smaller webmasters may never generate enough unique installs to qualify for that bonus, but with that offer dangling, it becomes all too tempting for someone who either doesn't care or doesn't know enough about the side effects of adware not to sign up.

 

Again, just my opinion. I've added a rotating chore to the kids to do adware cleanup on the PC, but I've resigned myself to the Monday-morning registry and HijackThis log scan to see what's been left behind. The joys of modern parenting :)

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Well if they get it from cookies and not from downloading programs (most common are p2p, games, movies, adult content, emulators and roms, any popup download that comes up without you clicking something, any toolbar extensions, about 40% (estimate) of spyware removers) then do this.

 

Open IE Explorer --> Tools --> Privacy --> Advanced (button, not tab)

 

Select "Override automatic cookie handling"

Select "Block" on both first and third party cookies

(NOTE: some security transactions such as Paypal and other online CC billing websites require cookies, also cookies save your login and password to websites, so if you need this then allow first-party cookies)

 

Then go to Tools --> Reset Web Settings (including homepage) and click Yes.

 

If they still get it or you think that they are getting it still, and they are not downloading malicious programs themselves, there is a likely chance that your computer lets them download this without knowing. There are two ways I know that this happens, one I will tell you how to fix, the other is using Active X which I do not know much about - but maybe ask someone how to make sure Active X is not hurting you.

 

Open IE Explorer and go to Tools --> Internet Options --> Advanced

 

make sure the following are NOT checked:

 

Enable install on demand (internet explorer)

Enable install on demand (other)

Enable 3rd party browser extensions

(What this does is makes you click YES or NO for anything that prompts your computer to install a program, so no programs can sneak by without you veryfying them first)

 

 

after this restart your computer.

 

Also Ad-aware and Spyware seek and destroy didn't find 10 different programs I found with SpySweeper so you may want to download spyspweeper too.

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Since you use XP, why not set your kids in a limited user account and password protect the admin account. The can game, chat, and even download, but they won't be able to install. This will give you a chance to see what it is they want to install before it gets installed on the computer. Very few malwares will be able to install on a limited user account. This includes CWS and other drive by hijacks. If something does install, the best way to get rid of it is to delete that account and create a new limited user account. It's very simple and fast and you don't have to spend hours looking for where this malware is. The only place it can be is in that account, so just delete it and start fresh.

 

gds

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set your kids in a limited user account and password protect the admin account. 

That's exactly what I've done, much to their protests. They, being between the ages of 13-16, believe they know everything about the world, adware included, and are horribly offended at this outrageous human rights violation imposed on them. :)

 

What still gets in, despite a lockdown, imported bad sites, tweaked IE settings, etc, are some of the 'milder' things, like the aforementioned Overpro. I do really appreciate the suggestion of adding Spysweeper though. I have heard about that and definitely will add that as well.

 

Right now the order I do things in is:

 

1.) Make sure AVG is updated, run a scan, reboot if anything found (rarely)

2.) Come here, run the X-cleaner, reboot if anything is found (often)

3.) Update & run Ad-aware, reboot if anything is found (often)

4.) Update & run Spybot S&D, reboot if anything is found (sometimes)

5.) run regedit and check to see if there's anything left behind

 

I think I'll add Spysweeper between step 4 and 5, however.

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I think that your best protection is... NEVER, NEVER, NEVER use IE at all. Download and install the latest version of Mozilla. Click on Edit prefences & security and set up your security the way you want. Now purchase and install Pest patrol. It's worth the money. For me it sure seems like Pest Patrol finds EVERYTHING. Properly installed and set up it check for key loggers every boot. Hope this helps.

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