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Computer crop circles?

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  • Computer crop circles?

    This may seem stupid but,I have notice some unexplained happening with this here computer over the last few years.

    Like the time it first had a virus,I got fed up and shut the thing down(killed the power)and walked away for a week,started it back up and boom! up and running perfect?How did that happen?

    Or the time it kept getting slower and slower and then I just kept screwing with stuff,found this file that didn't look liked it belonged,deleted it and once again back to normal?WTF?

    I am begining to think this thing is possesed
    I just need one more tool,just one!

  • #2
    Speaking of crops, it may have had (or have) a data harvester. These little programs run in the background and snoop around your computer gathering information on your habits and/or sites you visit. When you open an internet connection, it sends the data to a site. Ad-Aware is good at finding these and it's free. They also have free updates.

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    • #3
      Is this how Spammers get your address?

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      • #4
        If you shut down with the power switch or a line cord pull, the system may not have updated the registry and the huge files it saves on power-down.

        That is normally bad, but good if you just got a baddie. If you "pull the plug" before the baddie has gotten into the registry or maybe even saved, you may be free and clear.

        If you power down the regular way, you may just finish its job of embedding itself.

        If you started with computer kits in the 70s as I did, you would have no fear of hitting reset buttons and killing power on computers.....used to have to do that fairly regularly!

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        • #5
          one of the worst things it seems to do is ask a spammer to remove you ... they just send more stuff, there are some legitimate outfits that will remove you, but I never know which ones are real

          Walt
          Walt

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          • #6
            Wierd,

            You probably had one of the many versions of the SoBig virus. For reasons only known to the virus writer each version has an "expiry date". After a certain date it kills itself.
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            • #7
              Perhaps because the the virus writer wasn't a complete and total a##hole.
              Location: North Central Texas

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              • #8
                Data harvester . . .interesting name.
                The latest evolution in virus and most troublesome, you will never see any functional symptoms , it watches, records and uploads the internet addresses you go to and all your keystrokes VOILA has all your passwords and what sitesyou have visited. This data is very small and is sneakily sent out . A bit can be set so that your computer will send out a message similar to an AOL instant message whenever you get online they almost instantly know it. (Usually this is not activated) so deeper manual probing can be done. Usually they just collect data and watch . . . perhaps if your online esperiences are good you will grow to become a larger fish.. .that is do more of your busines online perhaps enter your ss # . The really dangerous virus don't show symptoms kind of like being infected with HIV and not even suspecting it . . .for years.
                Dave

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                • #9
                  Data harvester, usually known as a Keystroke Logger. They are widely available and have some legitimate uses such a keeping track of what your kids are up to online. They are designed to be inconspicuous but can be detected. All but the best will show an unexplained decrease in the number of bytes free on the hard drive when typing on the keyboard. Open Notepad. Check the free space in bytes on C drive. Type some stuff. Close Notepad without saving. Bytes free should remain the same. If it doesn't then something is fishy in Denmark.

                  Other threats are remote control programs such as Back Orfice, Sub Seven and many others. These allow someone to observe what you do on your computer in real time. They can even display your web cam remotely or listen to a mic hooked up to the 'puter.

                  Then you have the common worms. These are not truly viri. A real worm such as MSBlaster, Code Red, Nimda or Slammer do not use e-mail and will not be stopped by antivirus software. They are direct infectors and do not arrive via e-mail. They use direct attack methods using known vulnerabilities in Windows to insert themselves in the system.

                  Then there are Trojan Horses. These are programs that masquerade as something else to insert things like keystroke loggers.

                  There are also hijack programs. One in particular will hijack Internet Explorer and reroute all your net surfing through their servers so they can record everything you do.

                  Then there are the many and varied viruses. These can arrive via e-mail, IM, peer to peer file sharing, ICQ, chatrooms, and any other comm method that allows file transfer. They replicate, many are network aware and will infect any machines they can on a network. Some are really destructive and like the Chernobyl virus will attempt to erase the BIOS chip on the motherboard.

                  Then there are the Blended Threats, which may contain any combination of the above.

                  Then we have the Phisher scams which try to direct you to a phoney exact look-a-like website, say, your bank and watch you try to log in.

                  There are others, too.
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                  • #10
                    Well its agood thing for me I don't keep anything important on the computer,the first lesson I learned.

                    I got Ad-aware and it does work good so long as I run it about six or seven times.

                    I just need one more tool,just one!

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                    • #11
                      You might also add Webwasher to your system. It will keep a lot of pop-ups and flashing ads off your screen as well as filter "web bugs". It will also trap cookies and prohibit "probing" by scrips, etc. You can specify which URL's are good, ok and bad for cookie posting and filtering. Good cookies pass. Ok cookies will be deleted on close (or a term you set). Bad cookies get blocked.

                      What I have noticed is that ebay (and others) use a third party to process some of their cookie munching. So you'll need to add the munchers to the filter list. Works good once you can find where they're comming from.

                      Forgot to mention: I run Ad-Aware at least once a week.

                      [This message has been edited by CCWKen (edited 10-25-2003).]

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                      • #12
                        Evan,,

                        I built a couple of computers from the barebones up, and so I was wondering, are most of the viruses especially the latest ones you talked about, harvesters and such, are they only located in the O,S
                        my question is if I dedicate one drive for innernet transactions only, then maybe everyweek scratch the drive reload windows, will that take care of those kind of viruses, I'm fully aware of all the virus protection programs as well, but will redoing the hard drive take care of those harvesters..?

                        Thanks

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                        • #13
                          DVK,

                          I didn't mean to overly alarm you or others. You just need to be careful and use the appropriate precautions. A good anti-virus program, kept updated and a good firewall program like ZoneAlarm or Tiny firewall is about all you need. Better yet, if you are on a high speed connection then buy a router. This acts as a natural firewall since it translates local network addresses to your outside IP address and effectively hides your computer from the net. This does not have any effect on viruses though.

                          Even with effective antivirus software you must be careful about what you open. Think. For instance, the recent SwenA virus poses as a security bulletin from Microsoft. A lot of people have been fooled by this without stopping to wonder just why would MS be sending them e-mail. How does MS even have their e-mail address?

                          I get tons of spam every day since some of my e-mail addresses have been on web pages since 1995. If I don't recognize the sender or the subject doesn't make complete sense I delete it without a second thought. I run my own mail server with both antivirus and spam filtering. Keep in mind that you will receive viruses from the people you know. They are the ones that have your e-mail address.

                          If you have Win XP check to see if the firewall is turned on. In their infinite wisdom, MS leaves it off by default. Open control panel>network connections and right click on your internet connection. Select Properties. Click the advanced tab and make sure the "Protect my computer..." checkbox is checked. Note: if you are networked to other machines by this same connection this will make your machine unreachable.

                          To answer your question, you could do a clean install with all the needed software installed on C drive. Using a second drive as D you could then point your e-mail store to that drive (Outlook Express, tools>options>maintenance>store folder)

                          You could then use Norton Ghost to make an image of this clean setup on D and easily restore it whenever you want. But, that will wipe out anything on C drive that was created since the image was made.

                          There isn't any need to be that paranoid about things, just be careful.
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