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PC Security Guide - Protection from Viruses, Attacks and Spyware

Patrick Tilsen better known as "Yawgm0th" from our forums has just completed his first guide, which looks deep into PC security in terms of protection and removal. He covers the basics from preventing viruses, cracker attacks, and spyware from becoming part of your life through to the basic and complex methods of removing the threats. This is a must-read guide for beginner to intermediate users and even beyond.
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Patrick Tilsen
Published Wed, Sep 14 2005 11:00 PM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:26 PM CDT
Manufacturer: none

Introduction

IntroductionEver since the advent of the Web in 1990, owners of personal computers with Internet connections have had to worry about the problems it can cause. There had been crackers - also known (erroneously) as hackers - since the 70s, but the real problems started shortly after the web was created.It wasn't long before viruses, trojans, worms and attacks started. Less than a decade later, spyware was rampant and all kinds of viruses were common. Anyone who knew anything had anti-virus software, and some people even had firewalls. As cable, DSL, ISDN, and other forms of broadband became common, the problems worsened. Spyware protection soon became necessary, as well as a good firewall and regular patches from Microsoft.Use a router for improved security - How much? That leads us to modern times, when an unpatched computer running Windows XP with no firewall will get a worm within an hour. The vast majority of PC users only know enough to get anti-virus; most don't know what a firewall is; few know that spyware is as big a threat as viruses, if they know what spyware is at all; finally, only a handful know how to actually fix problems after they've occurred without simply taking their computer to a "professional" or simply reformatting it.By the end of this guide, you should know how to prevent viruses, cracker attacks, and spyware, as well as how to remove viruses and spyware after your computer has already been affected.

Anti-Virus Basics

Anti-Virus BasicsThe simplest and most appropriate way to stop security threats, for most people, is to prevent them. The method which should be (but, sadly, isn't at times) idiot-proof is to just use a program.The most important program you'll need, arguably, is an anti-virus program. This isn't as difficult as some people think, and it isn't as easy as others think. Many people choose not to use anti-virus software because they make the false assumption that it will be expensive or complicated. On the other hand, other people will pick some of the worst anti-virus programs out there for various reasons, such as seeing it on a TV commercial.For those who are worried about something being too expensive or too complicated, get AVG Free Edition. It's one of the best antivirus programs out there and is friendly to both the computer novice and security expert.Use a router for improved security - How much? For those with anti-virus protection already, you might need to make some changes. For starters, if you have two or more anti-virus programs installed on one computer, remove one or both of them. Having multiple anti-virus program can create a number of conflicts and ultimately is more likely to create more problems than solve. Aside from that, some anti-virus programs hog your system resources and slow your computer down immensely. The first that comes to mind is McAfee and the second is the "personal" or "home" editions of Norton Antivirus and Norton Internet Security. The latter in particular is known to cause more problems than it solves. Literally hundreds of users over the last two years have come into the TweakTown Forums complaining of problems eventually proven to be caused by Norton Internet Security. In any case, many commercial anti-virus suites, including the ones I mentioned, use large amounts of RAM and processing power and ought to be replaced.
My personal favorite from experience is Symantec Antivirus Corporate Edition. Although the only theoretical difference between it and Norton should be certain functionality in corporate networks, it seems to work much better than the "home" versions of Symantec products and uses much less resources.Based on what I've seen in forums and real life, there are a number of other products that get the job done pretty well. - Kaspersky seems to be work well and is popular due to its performance in detection rate tests.- Panda also seems to be decent and I rarely see infected systems using it.- PC-Cillin seems okay and performs well in tests, though I must admit I've seen many more machines using PC-Cillin get infected than I have most of the others.- ClamWin is one of the more interesting free ones. It has an extremely effective scanner, however no real-time scanner. This makes it next to useless for the average user, and ineffective in comparison with real-time anti-virus programs.- Free Online ScannersIn addition to the actual programs, you can easily use an online scanner. This is a great thing to do because it gives you multiple sources, which increases the chances of finding a virus. Many popular antivirus software companies provide a free online scan that is equivalent to the program itself. A couple examples include Symantec and Kaspersky.Before I move on, I should mention that these recommendations are all based on my experiences online and with friends, family, and customers in real life. I have chosen to ignore the plethora of anti-virus comparisons that exist on sites such as AV-Test.org. The vast majority of these tests don't measure anything besides detection rate, and even the ones that do don't make up for human experience.

Network Security Basics

Network Security BasicsAside from the various types of viruses and spyware, there are lots of problems that can occur as a direct result of someone else's actions - rather than you visiting a web page with spyware or downloading a program with a virus. There are a number of things that you can and should do to prevent worms, bandwidth theft, network intrusions, and related problems. The simplest and more effective is to get a firewall.Use a router for improved security - How much? You can get a hardware firewall, which can be a router, a PC setup as a router, an onboard hardware firewall (such as that on the nVidia nForce3 and 4 chipsets), or a device which serves no purpose other than being a firewall. If you share your Internet connection among multiple computers, than you almost certainly have a router, which will act as your hardware firewall. However, if you have two PCs using Internet Connection Sharing or an Ad-hoc wireless network, then you are most likely lacking in a hardware firewall.A hardware firewall is suitable for most people's needs and won't cause many problems for most people. With routers and other hardware firewalls, port forwarding can be necessary to run certain programs, especially peer-to-peer file-sharing programs. If you are an inexperienced user but need Bittorrent or something similar, a hardware firewall may cause you problems.

Network Security Basics (cont.)

Network Security Basics (cont.)On top of hardware firewalls, there are software firewalls. A software firewall is quite different from a hardware firewall, but it can provide all the same functionality and more. On top of preventing incoming connections which you haven't prepared for (which is the important part of a firewall), it can also prevent outgoing connections. This is very significant as it can help prevent spyware and viruses from functioning properly, especially trojans. However, the downside is that even the best software firewalls are resource hogs - that is, it'll slow your system down. The only ones that don't use too many system resources are usually lacking in some aspect.Whether or not you should use a software firewall depends on several things. If you are fairly inexperienced, it will probably create as many problems as it prevents. If you are fairly experienced, you probably don't need it. If you have an older system that has little RAM or a slow processor, a software firewall can be a major performance killer. If you already have a hardware firewall and any of this applies to you, it's probably best you don't use a software firewall. However, if you don't have a hardware firewall and you don't wish to spend the money to get one, then you absolutely must use a software firewall. There are several great options.
My personal favorite is ZoneAlarm. It's not a huge resource hog, though it can get bad at times. It has lots of options and a simple user interface that will accommodate users with little experience. It can, like any other software firewall, prevent some needed things like file and print sharing or LAN gaming capabilities. For this reason I recommend users with these types of needs either use a different software firewall, use none at all, or shut off ZA when they need the functionality. ZoneAlarm comes in both free and pay versions, and there are no compelling reasons to get the pay versions.Use a router for improved security - How much? Sygate is very similar to ZoneAlarm and is another one of my favorites. I don't like it as much as ZA, but it will get the job done well. It is also known to have fewer problems with LAN functionality, but that also means it might be more vulnerable to certain things. In any case, if you don't like ZoneAlarm, Sygate is a perfectly suitable alternative. It's also just as free.The firewall I recommend for inexperienced users who don't do much with their PC aside from email, web browsing, and word processing is the built-in Windows XP firewall. It should already be on (unless you disabled it) if you're running Windows XP with Service Pack 2. It can easily be turned on in older versions by going to Start > Settings > Control Panel > Network Connections > Local Area Network/Wireless Local area Network/Internet > Security tab.The one important thing I've found with firewalls even more than with anti-virus software is that they're not worth paying a dime for. The free ones do as good or better than the pay ones.As with anti-virus programs, there are some particularly bad software firewalls. And like with anti-virus, the two I've found most problematic are McAfee and Norton. Because I've the massive amounts of negative experience I've had with them, I recommend against using either.

Spyware Basics

Spyware BasicsOne of the more recent additions to the plethora of Web-caused problems is spyware. Spyware is a very general term that can refer to a lot of things, many of which could be considered viruses or trojans by some definition. The worst type of spyware is that which actually records your personal information - such as your credit card information, email password, address, etc. Thankfully, this is actually the least common of spyware. A more common type of spyware you'll find simply tracks your browsing habits and uses that information for either statistical purposes or to provide you with ads, which leads me to the most common type of spyware, adware. Whenever you see a pop-up (or if your browser or blocker stops it), it's probably spyware.Use a router for improved security - How much? Spyware can infect your computer in a number of ways: It can be a program that you knowingly installed; it can be a cookie in your web browsers; it can be a browser plug-in or ActiveX control you installed, knowingly or not; it can be a program that appeared fine, but installed spyware of some sort without telling you (these programs are known as trojans, by the way). In any case, spyware, like viruses, are often best dealt by simply entrusting a program.
To prevent and remove spyware, I recommend you use either or both of two programs: Ad-Aware SE and Spybot Search and Destroy. Both are free programs that provide excellent scanning abilities which will remove most spyware. You can pay to get some additional preventative properties, but I've found that these are mostly useless and that you'll just be wasting your money. Get one or both programs and update them and scan with them often.

General Prevention - Be Smart

General Prevention - Be SmartAnti-virus programs, spyware removal programs, and firewalls are the simplest and often most effective ways to prevent security problems from occurring. However, mass adoption of these three has not halted the steady stream of viruses, spyware, and attackers that exists today. Only one person is at fault for this: You.The vast majority of all security problems don't result from having the wrong anti-virus or not having a firewall. They result from the average user's lack of knowledge and many need to learn what should be common sense.- Windows UpdateWindows Update is easily the most useful built-in security feature of Windows. It is a necessity to have the latest updates if you want a secure system. Go to Windowsupdate.com or enable automatic updates now if it isn't already. You can also manually download patches from www.microsoft.com if Windows Update doesn't work for some reason.Windows XP users should have at least Service Pack 1, and many users, especially inexperienced ones, will find Service Pack 2 useful. Getting the latest security patches from Microsoft will help make Internet Explorer and other Microsoft programs more secure, as well as removing the threat of new worms and vulnerabilities which are discovered all the time.- PasswordsIf you have a password to something important, such as a bank account or Paypal account, it's best to change it often. If your computer is compromised and someone gains access to your account, the consequences would be, needless to say, pretty bad. Don't save your important passwords in your browser, and change them on a regular basis.- Web BrowsingPeople need to take much more care when browsing the web. Clicking on the wrong thing or going to the wrong web site is the primary cause of spyware and a common cause of viruses. Here are some basic rules for preventing problems:There ain't no such thing as a free lunch! If you simply have to fill out a survey, get the answer right, shoot the Storm Trooper, or whatever the pop-up says to win a free iPod, then it's a scam. You will not win or in anyway get anything except a nice tracking cookie or some spam after you enter your email address to get the free item. Basically, never go somewhere because there's a claim that you can get something. That should be a reason not to go there, in fact it sound alarm bells in your head.Use a router for improved security - How much? Nudity is often a very bad thing, and I don't just mean if it's someone you don't want to see naked. The vast majority of pornographic web sites will provide you with some sort of spyware. Usually, it will just provide annoying popup ads to other porn sites, but it can also install tracking spyware that can hijack your web browser and even your entire PC. The former is much more likely, but neither are worth risking.Software piracy in and of itself caries more repercussions than the law will ever provide. The vast majority of CD keys/serial numbers and cracked programs are provided by sites that have some spyware. As with pornography, this spyware mostly only provides unwanted pop-up commercials, but it can get worse. Make a particular effort to avoid German sites where available. Germans are known for several things online: Cracking, pornography, piracy, and spyware.Forget that popular commercial jingle; DON'T plug it in. Unless it's a very popular/well-known program or web site, don't install ActiveX controls or plugins. Never install them if they are in any way related to pornography or software piracy. Plugins are the easiest way to hijack a browser and one of the worst types of spyware out there. Feel free to install just about anything from Macromedia, Adobe, Sun Microsystems or Microsoft Corporation - be wary of others, though.
Unless you know exactly what it is, do not run any executable (.exe, .bat, or .msi, for example) unless you're pretty sure you know what it is. Downloading stuff from random sites and running it is a bad idea. The same applies for email attachments - unless you are positive what the attachment is, don't open it - just delete it straight away. This may seem like common sense for some people, but many people take little regard as to what programs they download and run. One little stuff up (program execution) can lead to whole lot of hassles and probably a format of your PC.Cookies may taste good, but they're usually bad. A good way to stop spyware is to simply delete your cookies. If you delete all of them, you'll have to re-enter your passwords and such, but you can delete specific ones, and not others. Cookies are one of the primary access points for spyware, so delete them or at least scan them regularly.Don't Explore the Internet. Microsoft's Internet Explorer should probably be avoided. Due to a mix of poor programming and popularity, it is the single largest security flaw in Windows. Spyware and viruses can easily get in through the aforementioned ActiveX controls, and quite regularly new methods come out that don't even need user interaction in order to infect a PC. I highly recommend use of Mozilla Firefox.

File Sharing

File SharingPeople who use peer-to-peer networks for purposes of downloading files (music, video, and software being the most common) should be very careful in their actions. Here are some basic rules:- Watch your extensions: When downloading something, pay attention to the file extension. A movie with an .exe extension might not be a movie. It might be a zipped movie, but it might also be a virus. Make sure you use the proper filters when searching for things.- Know your networks: There are many file sharing programs, networks, and standards so avoid the bad ones and use the good ones. Bittorrent is by far the best overall, but it will require a bit more effort and you might not find what you want. Shareaza uses three different networks and doesn't have as many security issues as other networks. In my opinion, it is by far the best P2P network around, short of Bittorrent.
Kazaa used to be the greatest file-sharing network around, if you used the third-party version that didn't have the spyware, anyway. However, it is a mere shadow of its former self and you're about as likely to get a worm from it as a useful file. There are a number of other P2P programs, but most of them just aren't as good or as safe as Shareaza or Bittorrent.- Avoid sharing illegal stuff: Getting sued by the RIAA or MPAA isn't worth the risk. I think it's important to keep file-sharing network in good health by sharing files you download, but be careful.Use a router for improved security - How much? - Leave your firewall and virus on while sharing: Don't turn them off because they interfere with it; that's a good thing. Many file-sharing programs will give you worms just for using them if you don't have an anti-virus program running.- Know the file size: If you're downloading a software program, but it's only six or seven hundred KB in size, it's probably a little virus. Some useful programs can be that small, but for the most part anything that small -- be it movies, music, or software -- it's probably not smart to be downloading.- EmailKnow who your mail is coming from. Don't open attachments unless you're absolutely sure what they are. Check the message body and the sender. Avoid opening emails unless you know who it's from. Also, avoid use of Outlook Express or similar email clients, if it's possible. It's necessary for many addresses, including many work and ISP addresses. However, it's not necessary for something like a Yahoo or MSN address, and it's not necessary to use at all if you don't already have an email address. Outlook Express in particular is the source of many security vulnerabilities, and other mail clients can be just as vulnerable. At the very least, try to choose an antivirus program that scans email.

Advanced Virus and Spyware Removal

Advanced Virus and Spyware RemovalNow we come to the trickiest part: Fixing security threats after it's too late to prevent them. This can be ridiculously easy, or painstakingly hard. After you've read this, it shouldn't be too hard ever again.The first thing to worry about is the symptoms. What's wrong with the computer? Is it slow? Has it been getting lots of popups? Is it doing strange things? Are programs not running properly? Depending on what's wrong, the problem can be completely unrelated to viruses, spyware, and attackers.If a system without antivirus protection or spyware protection is in use, then first install and run an anti-virus program and a spyware removal program. A simple Ad-Aware or AVG scan, I've found, will take care of most or all problems on systems that have neither. If the system has decent AV and Spyware protection, proceed. Also note that much of this assumes a Windows 2000/XP-based machine is in use.- Embedded Viruses and Spyware ProgramsThe first thing you should do when you suspect something is wrong is to open up Task Manager by pressing Ctrl + Alt + Del. The first thing I look at is the number of processes - fewer than twenty is a well-run system. Over twenty can mean there are just lots of programs running, or it can mean there are lots of bad, useless, unnecessary, or harmful programs running. Over 30 usually means the computer is bogged down with viruses, spyware, unnecessary programs, or any combination of the three.Use a router for improved security - How much? When I see over 20, the first thing I do is open up the Microsoft System Configuration Utility (Start > Run > msconfig). Windows 2000 systems don't have it installed by default, but you can either copy it over from XP or Windows 9x, or you can download HijackThis, which will double over as msconfig. You're likely to use HijackThis anyway, so you might as well get it.
Once in msconfig, go over to the Startup tab. The number of entries checked is indicative of how bogged-down the system is. What the entries are is indicative of whether or not the system is infected. At this point, you'll need to figure out what everything is. The best method is to use IANAG's "File Help" section which allows you to search for file names and work out if they are good or bad. You need to do the same with the processes in Task Manager. Sometimes this can be easy, an entry like atievxx.exe isn't too hard to figure out if you're using an ATI video card (BTW, it's unnecessary so you can and should remove it). VPtray in D:\Program Files\Symantec_client_security\symantec antivirus\ is obviously used by Symantec.How fast this part goes takes experience. I can look and almost immediately tell if something is a start-up virus/spyware program. You might need to do some digging around. I'd suggest you look at stuff coming form the Windows folder or stuff coming from no where. For example, there is an unticked process on the msconfig screenshot of my friend's once-bogged-down Gateway. It turned out to be a non-essential process for keyboard functionality, but I've found many viruses that, like it, didn't have a full directory listed. Anyway, any useless entries should be unticked. Any suspected threats should be unticked, then found and deleted from the hard drive. Processes found in Task Manager should also be ended, then deleted from the hard drive. If something in msconfig won't delete, then you try ending its process in task manager and then deleting it. If it's not there or won't end, you have a new problem.

Advanced Virus and Spyware Removal (cont.)

Advanced Virus and Spyware Removal (cont.)The first thing you should do is open up Services.msc (Start > Run > Services.msc). Look around in here and I'd suggest you look at http://www.blackviper.com to see if any services aren't part of Windows.
Now it's up to you to figure out whether it's part of a legitimate program, or if it's a virus embedded as a Windows service. This can be tricky, so how fast it goes also takes experience. I once found one called "Network Security Service." The name was quite the misnomer, as it was a virus add-on preventing me from deleting a startup executable of the virus. Things like that are what you're looking for. If you find one, first right-click on it and click "properties" on the context menu. Then, disable it. Finally, stop it. This should be done regardless of whether or not you find a virus in msconfig and/or Task Manager. If you can't get all of the suspected processes turned off and deleted, it's time for a new option.Use a router for improved security - How much? Memorize, write down, or put in a text file the locations of the files needing deletion. Restart the computer and get into Safe Mode by pressing F8 before the machine starts to boot into Windows. Once in Safe Mode, you should be able to delete the offending files. After you're sure you've deleted everything and removed all of the services and msconfig entries, restart again and go back into normal mode. If you still have the symptoms, the process, the service, the startup entry, or any combination of those, then things get more complicated.The next step is to get a Windows XP or 2000 CD. You'll need to restart the computer and boot to the CD. Eventually, you'll get to the screen shown in the picture. Choose the option with the red square around it. The Recovery Console will ask you to log in to an installation. In most cases, the correct choice will be C:\WINNT or C:\Windows and then you will then be asked for the Administrator password and if you are running XP Home edition, it should be blank. If you're running XP Pro, 2000 Pro, 2000 Server, or 2003 Server, you better know what it is.
After you're in, you should type "listsvc" without quotes and press enter. This will begin to list the services installed, just like services.msc. Unlike services.msc, this won't allow any of them to be hidden, so even the virus' service(s) will be shown. The complicated part is figuring out what is what. The best way to do it is to compare the list to an unaffected computer's services list and figure out what is likely a virus. After you've figured out which one it is, you'll need to type "disable [service name]" to disable the service. If you've followed these steps and haven't screwed up, the machine should be rid of any pesky viruses.

Advanced Virus and Spyware Removal (cont.)

Advanced Virus and Spyware Removal (cont.)Now that you know how to deal with viruses and spyware embedded as startup entries and Windows services, it's time to focus on fixing some of the more traditional spyware (since technically the majority of the threats found in msconfig and services.msc will be viruses, not spyware).- Browser Hijacking and Pop-up AdsIf a computer has a lot of pop-ups or is displaying a lot of strange search results - especially if the search results indicate that they know something about you - your browser is likely "hijacked." This can be much more serious than a bad virus because something other than your computer might be at stake.To start with, run a traditional spyware removal program such as Ad-Aware SE or Spybot Search and Destroy, as we mentioned before. If things are bad enough, problems will likely persist after the scans are done. The next program to use is CWShredder. This will remove a number of browser hijacks known as Cool Web Search.Use a router for improved security - How much? After CWShredder, HijackThis should be run. HijackThis is more difficult to explain, and you will have to figure out some of it on your own. Read the descriptions of the items it collects and figure out whether or not they are potential threats. If you have something like an Adobe Acrobat plug-in showing up, it's fine. If you have some sort of registry entry that redirects searches to a certain site, that's something that ought to be removed. Unfortunately, this is a skill you must pick up, and no guide can help you. If you find yourself in a situation with HijackThis, feel free to save a log and post on our forums.- Other SpywareSome spyware is less evasive, but more trojan-like. You might install a program, and it may even have a function. However, it might also give you ads, track your web browsing, or even use your personal information. Many popular programs are low-risk spyware - a few examples include the old Kazaa, Weatherbug, and WildTangent.Guess how you remove these? Go to Start > Settings > Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs. Find the program and uninstall it. Another place user-installed spyware is often located is %systemroot%\Downloaded program files (which will likely be C:\Windows\Downloaded program files or C:\WINNT\Downloaded program files). If you find something suspicious looking in there, feel free to uninstall it.- Drastic MeasuresIf a computer doesn't have anything worth saving and you think fixing it will be too time consuming, it can be better to simply reformat it and reinstall Windows. I did this once when one of my friends had over 130 processes running in task manager. Also, if the computer contains extremely important information, it might be best to just back it up and reformat. Removing viruses is never a sure thing unless the hard drive is completely reformatted, so it may not be worth the risk in mission-critical situations. If you simply can't fix a computer, reformat it.

Wireless Network Security

Wireless Network SecurityWireless networking has been growing more and more popular lately because it can greatly ease the job of networking and makes laptops more portable. However, wireless networking presents a major security risk that people should be aware of and try to fix.Use a router for improved security - How much? In this section, I'll explain some thing you can do to help make your wireless network more secure.- Wired Equivalent PrivacyWired Equivalent Privacy, or WEP, is probably the most commonly used form of security for wireless networks. It provides encryption that prevents people from logging onto your wireless network without the proper authority. However, a WEP key can be cracked. This doesn't mean they're useless, however. If your wireless hardware doesn't support WPA, WEP is better than nothing. To use a WEP key, simply go into your router's/access point's setup page (which varies based on your router/AP; see your router's manual) and set one up. Then, go to each wireless device and set them to automatically log on using the WEP key.I'm making this sound simpler than it is because I can't give in-depth directions without knowing everyone's specific hardware.
- Wireless Protected AccessWPA is similar to WEP in that it's encryption that will help keep your wireless network free of intruders. However, cracking a WPA key requires more skill and often more time. No attacker will bother to crack a home network using WPA, because it's simply not worth the effort. Setting up WPA is similar to setting up WEP; if you can't figure it out on your own with the help of your router or access point's documentation you'll need to get help in the forums.- Media Access Control (MAC) Address FilteringOne of the best security precautions you can take, regardless of what hardware you have, is MAC address filtering. This will prevent computers that don't have a certain unique sort of I.D. in their wireless devices from connecting to your router. A MAC address can be spoofed, but it's more reliable than WEP and there's rarely a reason not to do it. MAC filtering is a little easier to do than WEP and WPA. You simply go into your router\AP's setup page and find the section for MAC filtering.You then need to find the MAC address of every wireless device that will be used. To do this, you can look at several things: You can look at the devices themselves; most devices have their MAC printed right on them or you can go to the computers with wireless devices and go to Start > Run > CMD > ipconfig/all. This will tell you the MAC address of every network device on the machine, so make sure you get the wireless one. Finally, you can find the area of the router where it lists computers connected to it (it's usually called "attached devices" or something similar). This will list every attached machine by name and list its MAC address.
Anyway, after you've found the MAC addresses, you simply enter them all into the allowed addresses and enable MAC filtering. The exact pages and buttons vary from device to device, but MAC filtering should be easy enough that you can figure it out on your own.
Conclusion and LinksAfter reading through this rather extensive guide, you should now have a good idea of how to properly secure a computer and even fix a compromised one.Just in case you forgot or can't find them, here is a list of links to good security programs and resources and ones we mentioned throughout this guide:IANAG File Help - http://www.iamnotageek.com/a/file_info.phpAVG Free Edition - http://free.grisoft.com/doc/2/lng/us/tpl/v5Zone Alarm - http://www.zonelabs.com/store/content/company/products/znalm/freeDownload.jspSygate Personal Firewall - http://smb.sygate.com/products/spf_standard.htmAd-Aware SE - http://www.lavasoftusa.com/software/adaware/Spybot Search and Destroy - http://www.safer-networking.org/en/download/Windows Update - http://www.windowsupdate.comHijackThis - http://www.spywareinfo.com/~merijn/downloads.html CWShredder - http://www.intermute.com/spysubtract/cwshredder_download.htmlSpyware and Adware Removal Guide @ TweakTown - https://www.tweaktown.com/document.php?dType=guide&dId=713

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