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Memory stick security?

Posted on 2005-04-25
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Last Modified: 2010-05-18
A friend has been having problems with pop up windows etc. and has used a few differnet anti-virus programs but viruses still get to her computer. She took it to a shop and they said they were going to put in a memory stick to help solve the problem. Just how does memory stick security work? Is an anti-virus program and firewall still needed? Thanks for any help.
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Question by:patchar
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Rich Rumble earned 1000 total points
ID: 13861626
The most overlooked issue I find, here on EE and with friends and family with reguard to virus removal is that they don't read the full instructions for removing viri on XP and winME machines. You have to turn off system restore, THEN remove the pest/viri. Otherwise upon reboot M$ will place the viri back on your machine. AV product's cannot access the system restore files/folders to remove the viri.

http://vil.nai.com/vil/SystemHelpDocs/DisableSysRestore.htm

Now what the people at the shop were probably doing was using a memory stick that had an AV product on it, to remove the viri. This is preffered over installing an AV product and charging the customer for the software. If your friends machine was XP or winME then let's hope the folks at this shop knew to turn off system restore.

Also, pop-ups are not typically cause by viri, this is usually spy-ware. And system restore should also be turned off if using XP or winME BEFORE removing any spy-ware also. The memory stick can hold ton's of data, so it's safe to assume that they had Ad-Aware or any of the dozens of other anti-spyware programs out there.

Futrue prevention:
To avoid getting spy-ware, activeX in M$ IE should be disabled, or better yet, a browser that doesn't support activeX such as FireFox should be used. In addition, running your computer as an Admin for day to day tasks is against Security Best Practices. Users aren't typically aware of what privledge they are running at, so it's no real surprize. For day-2-day computer activities people should use an account in the "Users" group, or at the maximum the "power users" group. You can use a progam like RunAs to run a setup program or install software. Right-Click the setup icon or what have you, and select RunAs... and then enter the admin name and password- otherwise you will have to log out, and log back in as the admin to install or adminster the machine.

AV and firewall are essential to M$ users at large... and I think they should always be on a users PC, espically if they don't know much about the internet. Phishing scams and other types of "professional" looking/sounding information can easily trick just about anyone. And if your using IE and don't keep up with patches your subject to these nasties everyday.

Run windows update once a day, it can be scheduled to automatically run. update AV dat's everyday, as well as run nightly scan's on the pc. Anti-spyware should also be run daily, but if you use a browser like FireFox you will need to run anti-spyware far less if at all. Ad-Aware is my recommendation for anti-spyware.
-rich
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by:fixnix
ID: 13861815
Could also have been an exceptionally lame shop offering to sell & install an additional RAM stick with the idea that the computer slowed down due to lack of memory.  Hopefully that was not what they were trying to do since that would be a blatant ripoff and not addressing the actual problem at all.

Chances are that what rich described above is the case...but if the shop smelled a sucker and started "fixing" the problem by selling RAM (knowing full well she'd come back saying something like "I think it helped a little, but I still get all these popups"...at which point they could say "Oh, well you must have had more problems, and we can fix those, too...buy this and that and blah blah blah for as much as they could take her for over the next visits)....tell her to avoid that shop forever!
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