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There is no surefire way to know if your computer is being hacked or rootkitted by some hacker out there, short of keeping it cleanroom by never, ever connecting it to the Internet. However, there are many ways to distinctly reduce the chances of it being compromised.
- Secure your computer. If you already have a full antivirus suite, that is up to date and includes all of the following three components, then skip to step 8. Otherwise, for your computer to be secure you will need to download all of the following which you do not already have;
- Install a firewall to replace the weak windows firewall; Zonealarm works great: ZoneAlarm
- Install an Antivirus scanner with realtime and heuristic scanning; AVG free edition works: AVG
- Install an Antispyware scanner; Spybot S&D works: Spybot
- Disconnect your computer from the Internet when downloads are finished, as it will be vulnerable while we do this next step.
- Go into control panel, and choose add/remove programs. Uninstall any antivirus software you have currently installed (obviously, if you have antivirus software which you are happy with, then leave it installed). This is to avoid antivirus clashes which may render your computer unusable.
- Install all of the required programs. Connect your computer to the Internet again, and allow them to update fully.
- Run the antivirus scanner and antispyware scanners. If anyone has hacked your computer, the malware should be detected, and hopefully the software can remove it. Now your computer should be secure
- Make sure to follow these steps frequently, at least once a week and you should be able to prevent nearly all attacks on your computer, provided you use your computer in a sensible manner. See Tips and warnings for more information and more free security downloads, if you want your computer to be even more of a bastion.
- Other useful things for the security conscious; using Firefox or Opera as your web browser (or any browser other than Internet Explorer, which is infamously known as "Internet Exploder" because of its common malfunctions and vunerabilty to viruses) would result being targeted much less by viruses, as many are directed at Internet Explorer: Firefox Opera
- Consider installing KeyScrambler Personal add on if running Firefox. This add on encrypts your keystrokes to protect your login information from key logging programs. If a hacker has a program inside your computer logging all your keystrokes to steal your passwords, all they will get from password fields on web pages is scrambled garbage. (CAUTION: READ THE USER REVIEWS provided on the addons page for this extension BEFORE you install it.) Mozilla-Addons
- If you want extra security from hackers install HijackThis: HiJackThis It is designed as extra security against homepage hijacking
- Also Comodo BOclean, which is a realtime antimalware scanner which works at registry level to stop malware installs: the BoClean
- The three programs recommended in the first section should be more than adequate provided you are sensible, only install these if you are not as savvy with the Internet.
- Verify that your Anti-Virus software is up-to-date at least once a week if it is the automatically updating type. Check daily if it must be manually updated. Windows will allow a great deal of time to elapse before alerting you that it is out-of-date. Most reputable anti-virus developers release updates every couple of days; more often than that if warranted. It’s a false sense of security running a computer with out-of-date anti-virus definition files.
- If connected to broadband via network card, consider installing a router between the DSL or Cable modem and the computer’s network interface. This will move the public IP address from the computer to the router. The computer will recieve a private IP address (provided by the router) and can not be detected by hackers casually probing. Setting up a router however, is beyond the scope of this wiki.
- Never install something you have downloaded without fully reading the license agreement. Many newer malware programs are effectively legal as they are hidden or packaged with the desirable software and have a license agreement detailing their effects. If you see anything dubious in the license agreement, don’t install.
- Pay attention to the "Agree" boxes when installing software. Blindly agreeing to everything presented can make cleaning out "added bonus" applications difficult, when it could have been much easier to "decline" when installing instead.
- Don’t go to dodgy websites. If you search on google for something, and the description for one of the sites has a lengthy list of irrelevant and unconnected words in it, it’s probably a sham site.
- Don’t install activeX controls from a site you don’t trust.
- Don’t open E-mail "attachments" unless you have spoken to the trusted sender and they have verified that they included the attachment. Just because an E-mail originates from a friend, does not mean his / her computer hasn’t been infected. The virus can spread by sending itself to everyone in the E-mail program contact list, often without the owner even knowing it is happening.
- Don’t run applications or copy content from disks, thumbdrives, CDs, etc. that have been provided by others (including friends); or belong to you if they have previously been connected to another computer, unless scanned with your anti-virus program first. If an infected computer has accessed the data on the media, the data is likely to be infected as well.
- How to Be Safe on the Internet
- How to Absolutely Secure Your Data
- How to Prevent People from Tracking You on the Internet
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