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19: Computer Security
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Figure 1918
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A spyware pop-up browser window, disguised as a Windows alert
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anywhere inside of a pop-up browser window, even if it looks just like a Windows alert window or DOS command-line prompt as I just mentioned, it s probably fake and the Close button is likely a hyperlink Instead, use other means to close the window, such as pressing ALT-F4 or right-clicking the browser window s icon on the taskbar and selecting Close You can also install spyware detection and removal software on your system and run it regularly Let s look at how to do that Removing Spyware Some spyware makers are reputable enough to include a routine for uninstalling their software Gator, for instance, makes it fairly easy to get rid of their programs just use the Windows Add/ Remove Programs applet in the Control Panel Others, however, aren t quite so cooperative In fact, because spyware is so well, sneaky it s entirely possible that your system already has some installed that you don t even know about How do you find out Windows comes with Windows Defender, a fine tool for catching most spyware but it s not perfect The better solution is to back up Windows Defender with a second spyware removal program There are several on the market, but two that I highly recommend are Lavasoft s Ad-Aware (Figure 1919) and PepiMK s Spybot Search & Destroy Both of these applications work exactly as advertised They detect and delete spyware of all sorts hidden files and folders, cookies, registry keys and values, you name it Ad-Aware is free for personal use, while Spybot
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Figure 1919
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Search & Destroy is shareware (Figure 1920) Many times I ve used both programs at the same time because one tends to catch what the other misses
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If you haven t done this already, do it now Go to wwwspybotinfo and download the latest copy of Spybot Search & Destroy Install it on your computer and run it Did it find any spyware that slipped in past your defenses
Grayware
Some programs, called grayware , are not destructive in and of themselves, but they leach bandwidth in networks and can turn a speedy machine into a doddering shell of a modern computer These programs are called grayware because some people consider them beneficial They might even be beneficial in the right setting The primary example of grayware is the highly popular peer-to-peer file-sharing programs, such as Bittorrent Peer-to-peer file-sharing programs enable a lot of users to upload portions of files on demand so that other users can download them By splitting the load to many computers, the overall demand on a single computer is light The problem is that if you have a tight network with lots of traffic and suddenly you have a bunch of that bandwidth hogged by uploading and downloading files, then your network performance can degrade badly overall So, is the grayware bad Only in
Figure 1920
Spybot Search & Destroy
19: Computer Security
some environments You need to judge each network or computer according to the situation
Knowledge is Power
The best way to keep from having to deal with malware and grayware is education It s your job as the IT person to talk to users, especially the ones whose systems you ve just spent the last hour cleaning of nasties, about how to avoid these programs Show them samples of dangerous e-mails they should not open, Web sites to avoid, and the types of programs they should not install and use on the network Any user who understands the risks of questionable actions on their computers will usually do the right thing and stay away from malware
Firewalls
Firewalls are an essential tool in the fight against malicious programs on the Internet Firewalls are devices or software that protect an internal network from unauthorized access to and from the Internet at large Hardware firewalls protect networks using a number of methods, such as hiding IP addresses and blocking TCP/IP ports Most SOHO networks use a hardware firewall, such as the Linksys router in Figure 1921 These devices do a great job Windows XP comes with an excellent software firewall, called the Windows Firewall (Figure 1922) It can also handle the heavy lifting of port blocking, security logging, and more You can access the Windows Firewall by opening the Windows Firewall applet in the Control Panel If you re running the Control Panel in Category view, click the Security Center icon (Figure 1923),and then click the Windows Firewall option in the Windows Security Center dialog box Figure 1924 illustrates the Exceptions tab on the Windows Firewall, showing the applications allowed to use the TCP/IP ports on my computer
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