paranoia or reality

  nyx2k 17:55 07 Jul 03

for years now ive been using a p133 and a 33k modem and absolutely no anti virus, spyware checker or ad blocker and never had any problem.last month i went out and got a new computer and was told to use all the above stuff, which i have done. is it me or are attacks on our computers a daily reality or is it just our paranioa, if so arent we all falling for the companys marketing hype.

  Lead 18:04 07 Jul 03

Sad, but true. If you use email and/or surf the internet on a regular basis, then a firewall is a must, as is some form of spyware checker and anti-virus software.

It's highly unlikely your PC will be targetted specifically, but you may fall victim to a random attack.

Email viruses are common, but their damage can be reduced by the use of anti-virus software and common sense, e.g. don't open messages you are not expecting or look susicious.

Spam can be reducd by setting up a separate email account for on-line forms or purchases. Then only give your personal email address to people you trust, e.g. friends or family. Also, if you do get spammed, never reply, even to remove yourself from a 'supposed' list. You could try software to filter and bounce unsolicited emails, like Mailwasher.

  graham√ 18:05 07 Jul 03

It all depends which sites you visit. Just about every one will put a cookie in your PC. Most are harmless and take up no room at all. Some will include a dialer (that's how it's spelt) which will make premium rate calls without your knowledge. I recommend Cookie Wall to control those.


  nyx2k 18:10 07 Jul 03

i hav avg6 ,no ads and zone alarm free version running but the other day a dialer was inserted onto my machine and it left an icon in my tray, surely my firewall should have stopped this.
in all the years ive been using the computer i never needed it but i suppose its a sign of the times...god i sound old..

  slimpickins 18:11 07 Jul 03

if your computer was being attacked by hackers who wanted to use it as an "anonymisor" or got infected by a virus.

In my opinion, and there's no way of putting this politely, people who don't have an anti-virus program are irresponsible and those who don't have a firewall are ignorant.

  Valvegrid 18:11 07 Jul 03

There is a consensus that virus are written by the A/V companies, but I didn't say that :-)

A lot of it boils down to common sense (not very common I'm afraid). I have also been on the internet for about 7 years and only opened one virus at work due to my own stupidity, it took a long time to live that down in an organisation of 4700 people!.

If you are cafeful and don't open unknown emails you shouldn't have much of a problem, but there's no harm in have these devices running as a backup, it saves a lot of grief in case of finger trouble.


  nyx2k 18:19 07 Jul 03

im beginning to realise ive been lucky all these years but does anybody know how this dialer was added to my tray with my firewall on or is zone alarm free no good

  VoG II 18:24 07 Jul 03

If you still have the dialer use Spybot to remove it click here

  GANDALF <|:-)> 18:25 07 Jul 03

Spyware...this really is a name for the ultra-paranoid. ALL it does is report back your surfing habits to a mother site?...and here is the important bit?...ANONYMOUSLY. This enables advertisers (who PAY for your use of the net) to target their advertising specifically. It is NO different to using your credit/debit cards. Every time one of these is used the location, amount and item is recorded and can be bought by interested parties aka the advertisers and manufacturers. There is no wailing, gnashing and fuss about credit/debit cards and I really fail to see what the fuss about tracker cookies (spyware is far too 'Le Carre') is about.

Contrary to popular belief sites on the net cost shed loads to run and if they had to charge subscriptions then there would be an outcry and gnashing of teeth from those who have the mistaken belief that the net is free. At some point someone has to pay The Man. Advertising keeps the costs down as anyone who has run a professional site will confirm. Complaining about 'spyware' would indicate that the complainant has got rid of all his/her credit/debit cards as well *eyes raise

Firewalls??.they are useful in stopping Trojans dialing out but to be honest, if someone wanted to put a dialer on a computer it would not be rocket science. There are at least 5 programmes that can by-pass firewalls, TooLeaky having the Gibsonmeisters? grudgingly awarded seal of entry. The Cult of the Dead Cows? Back Orifice, cheekily named after Microsoft's? Back Office, could be put on a target computer if one was really trying and the firewall would still be asleep. If a hacker wanted to get onto a home computer a quick scan would reveal that a firewall was being used (no other ports would show up), this would tell the hacker which port to use to enter the computer ;-)). A firewall ONLY makes ports invisible but allows traffic through one open port. If you were a really clever hacker this is the port that you would use although the other ports can still be used although they are invisible.

There is zilch chance of a hacker using a home computer as an anonymous proxy for mailing as, a) it is a real pain and b) using other methods are much, much easier and a lot more difficult to trace or spot.

However, like my computer, most home computers contain utter drivel which is important to the owner but naff all use to the great unwashed. Bank and credit card details can be culled much easier than rooting through turgid files on a home computer. Hacking is not about breaking into home computers, it is about getting onto networks using passwords.


  nyx2k 19:44 07 Jul 03

ive just spybot and it found 411 problems all related to sex dial up lines, all got thru the firewall etc.lucky i got broadband last week and unplugged the phoneline from the computer

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