PC Magazine Fighting Spyware, Viruses, and Malware
by Ed Tittel
(2 customer reviews)
Paperback: Friday, December 31, 2004 (John Wiley & Sons)
Think there's no malicious software on your computer? PC Magazine thinks you should think again. Scans by ISPs have revealed as many as twenty-eight spyware programs running on the average home computer like yours. That's a lot of people prying into what's on your PC, and a DSL or cable connection is a virtual welcome mat. But by following Ed Tittel's advice, you can learn how invasions occur, spot an infestation, repair damage that's already done, and slam the door on those who want to hijack your PC along with your wallet. Here's how you can Learn to recognize when a Trojan horse, a virus, adware, or spyware has invaded your PC Get the tools that can cure an infection Dig into the Windows Registry to remove the nastiest of bugs Prevent a recurrence with personal firewalls and protective software Deal with the onslaught of spam Keep your defenses up-to-date Give it the boot If you believe you've caught something and you're willing to kiss everything goodbye that you've added to or changed ... since the last time you booted up your computer ... try this. While Windows is first booting up, hit the F8 key .... Choose the Last Known Good Configuration option, and Windows should boot running the version of the Registry that existed the last time your system booted that is, before you got infected. From Chapter 4
fighting malware, Thursday, August 04, 2005
Tittel can certainly unsettle the reader! He warns of the increasing encroachments against your computer. The biggest single danger is that this might be your home computer. Not a computer at your workplace, for which you might be able to ask a sysadmin for help.
So it's you and Tittel against the 3 menaces. Be aware that the terminology in the text and title may vary from what others use. Often, malware is taken to include viruses. I think he chose to break viruses out separately from malware so that the title would outreach to more people. Malware is still somewhat of a techie term, while spyware and viruses have broader recognition.
Naturally, since we're discussing personal computers, the text tends to focus on those running a Microsoft operating system. But in fact, much of his advice applies to Macs and linux/unix machines. Though users of the former 2 types might take heart in knowing that most viruses or worms won't go after their machines.
Tittel explains that increasingly, it's harder to draw clear lines between malware, spyware and adware. But he shows how to use existing anti-malware products that can scan for these and remove them. These products use combinations of signatures of known malware, and also search for "strange" activity that is typical of malware. However, since new variants of malware are continually being developed and found, you should always download the latest sets of signatures from your vendor, before running the tests.
Tittel also gives a succinct description of phishing. A particularly virulent type of malware that has increased enormously in the last 2 years. He suggests that you scrutinise the links and be very wary of any message that asks for personal information; either in a reply, or in a web page pointed to from that message. Unfortunately, the phishers continue to refine their tactics and many users simply aren't savvy enough to follow Tittel's suggestions. These users may be a minority, but there are enough of them to make this worthwhile for the phishers.
Good Overall Viewpoint, Friday, March 04, 2005
Any of us connected on-line for even a few minutes has probably been the recipient of at least one virus attack.
Not only viruses, but many other kinds of intrusive software would like to come into your machine for its own purpose. This book talks about the major kinds of invasions you might expect and how to prevent them from entering your machine.
Most of us have learned about viruses the hard way, we cought them and then had to learn how to clean the system. Here in one book is a complete introduction to the problem. It covers all the common types of problems a PC is likely to encounter in one place.
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