Security

Tue
12
Nov
Dennis Faas's picture

What programs are running in the background?, Part 2

Last week, Stan L. Jr. sent in a question which asked what should be done when a program attempts to suddenly "call home" and request a connection to the Internet. Recall: " A few days ago, I was using my computer when all the sudden, I noticed that ... some program decided that it wanted to access the Internet. I tried to cancel the request to connect to the Internet, but the bugger kept coming back asking for a connection. I then decided to try the "3 finger salute" by pressing CTRL + ALT + DEL at the same time to bring up Task Manager, but no programs were listed here ... (view more)

Thu
07
Nov
Dennis Faas's picture

What programs are running in the background?

Infopackets Reader Stan L. write s: " Dear Dennis, A few days ago, I was using my computer when all the sudden, I noticed that some program decided that it wanted to access the Internet. I tried to cancel the request to connect to the Internet, but ... the bugger kept coming back asking for a connection. I then decided to try the "3 finger salute" by pressing CTRL + ALT + DEL at the same time to bring up Task Manager, but no programs were listed here that seemed to be "out of the ordinary" that might have been attempting to access the Internet. Is there a program which ... (view more)

Wed
06
Nov
Dennis Faas's picture

Using a software firewall and hardware firewall in tandem

Almost a month ago we were knee-deep in discussion with respect to tracking down a hacker. In short, our ongoing discussion probed possibilities and known methods which might be used to track down a hacker, if one ever attempted to hack into *your* ... computer system. RE: Can I track down a Hacker?, Part 1 , and Can I track down a Hacker?, Part 2 . Shortly after Part 2 was released, I received an email from Dan Daily (editor / webmaster) of Danny's Daily . Dan's comments focused on a proposed supposition, which was sent in from John B. in Part 2 of our Discussion . To recap: John suggested to ... (view more)

Thu
31
Oct
Dennis Faas's picture

Internet Explorer 6 Spyware -- Alexa Registry Key, Part 3

I was fortunate enough to receive a message from the Product Manager of Alexa, Geoff Mack. His concerns were about our ongoing discussion of whether or not Internet Explorer contains Alexa Spyware . I'd like to take this time now to share his ... concerns. Geoff writes: " Hello, My name is Geoffrey Mack, Product Manager at Alexa, an Amazon.com company. I am writing to disagree with your assertion that the Alexa Toolbar is spyware. First, it is helpful to define Spyware. The definition is here . In short, Spyware is: software that gets on your machine without your permission, and tracks your ... (view more)

Wed
30
Oct
Dennis Faas's picture

Internat.exe and ptsnoop.exe in my msconfig startup, Part 2

Yesterday's Visitor Feedback of the Gazette addressed why two program files ( internat.exe and ptsnoop.exe ) might be present in the Windows msconfig startup. To be honest with you, I have never encountered these programs before. The name ... "internat.exe" seemed to me that it was a purposely misspelled version of the word "Internet" -- most likely misspelled to dupe users into thinking that it was a friendly Internet-related program. In all likelihood, I thought, the program name "internat.exe" could have been a trojan. I was right. Sort of. As always, I use Google ... (view more)

Tue
29
Oct
Dennis Faas's picture

Internat.exe and ptsnoop.exe in my msconfig startup?

Infopackets Reader 'ZZ' write s: " Dear Dennis, I would like to know what the files "internat.exe" and "ptsnoop.exe" mean. I found them on msconfig/startup tab . Should I clear their checkboxes? " My Response: After searching for those file names ... using the Google search engine, it appears that there are legitimate Windows files (internat.exe and ptsnoop.exe) -- however, there are also files with the same names that carry malicious intent. In short, the trojan file Internat.exe steals passwords and sends them to the trojan creator; the trojan file Ptsnoop attempts ... (view more)

Tue
29
Oct
Dennis Faas's picture

Uninstall MSN Messenger for Windows XP

Similar to ICQ and Yahoo Messenger , MSN Messenger is a chat program that allows you to interact with other people around the world. If my memory serves correct, ICQ is the "Grand Daddy" of all Windows-based chat programs with a graphical user ... interface (GUI), but MSN Messenger and Yahoo Messenger are gaining in popularity. Conveniently, MSN Messenger comes bundled with the Windows XP operating system. Wait a sec -- did I say that was 'convenient'? No it's not. Since I installed Windows XP, MSN Messenger has been in my face multiple times asking me if I want to sign up for an ... (view more)

Thu
24
Oct
Dennis Faas's picture

Internet Explorer 6 Spyware -- Alexa Registry Key, Part 2

I had a few people email me with regards to the Alexa Registry Key (Spyware) that Chris B. submitted yesterday. OK, So is the Alexa registry key Spyware or not? There is much debate . Let me try to outline some of the issues. 1. It has been said ... that the "Spyware" part of the tool will only activate if you choose to use the Alexa tool provided in Internet Explorer. Long story short: you can't activate the Spyware component used in Alexa if you don't use the Alexa tool. You have the ability to change this (see below). 2. Spyware software is considered "Spyware" because ... (view more)

Thu
24
Oct
Dennis Faas's picture

Parental Control Filtering Software, Part 2

This issue of the Gazette is a continuation of yesterday's article, regarding Parental Control Software which is used to block "bad" web sites (pornography, gambling, bad language, nudity, sex, and violence). You know -- all that kind of bad stuff ... we normally see on day-time TV talk shows. Anyway, I decided to test out a highly recommended web-filtering program, called "We-Blocker". The results of that test were mixed . We-Blocker was able to block only a *very small* selection of "bad" web sites. I was able to break through We-Blocker's filtering control and ... (view more)

Wed
23
Oct
Dennis Faas's picture

Parental Control Filtering Software, Part 1

Yesterday's Visitor Feedback posed the question, "where can I get free parental control software that will filter out pornography , gambling, bad language, nudity, sex, and violence?" Since I was unfamiliar with the subject, I decided to ask the ... readers of the Gazette to send me their thoughts. Jeanne A. writes: " Thank you for your great newsletter. In response to your request about parental control software, I use We-Blocker on my kids' computer and it does an excellent job. You can set the level of control and allow or disallow additional sites. Best of all, it's free and ... (view more)

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