IP address

My OS is win 7 prof 64 bit and I use Office 2007.  One of my friends emailed me to say that my computer has been hacked and asked me to reformat the system etc.  As I am not that IT techky, it must be thru my IP address.  If my assumption is correct, how and what preventions can I take to resolve this for any hackers to hack into my pc again.  Thank u.
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Thomas Zucker-ScharffConnect With a Mentor Systems AnalystCommented:
I am not even sure you have been hacked.  Did you contact your friend?  If they received an email with either just a link or a malware payload and therefore concluded that it was your system that was hacked , they could be very wrong.  If your email was hacked, that is fairly easy to fix.  If it is a webmail provider, they may have been hacked and your email exposed, in which case you would need to contact them and change your password. If you get email through your ISP, then you should contact them.  There aren't many scenarios I can think of where a rogue email can only mean a hacked local computer, it is generally the email provider (who is that for you?).

If you want to be extra careful, you can download and run Chameleon from malwarebytes.org. Run the svchost file in the chameleon directory, it does the following:
closes any rogue processes
downloads updated definition files for malwarebytes antimalware
runs a MBAM scan

Download it only from here.

Also check out my rootkit article and the free antirootkit tools - you should run at least 3.

AkinsdConnect With a Mentor Network AdministratorCommented:
If your system is already hacked, you need to fix the damages 1st and then prevent your PC.
My guess is your friend is receiving a bunch of spam emails from you. If so, there is a spyware already on your computer that needs to be removed. A complete reinstall of you Windows OS would take care of that as your friend suggested but you'll have to reinstall all the programs you have on it.

You can try updating your antivirus software and do a complete scan.
Also try malwarebytes or superantispyware to remove malware
Don JohnstonConnect With a Mentor InstructorCommented:
I'm going to guess that your computer does not have a public IP address and that even if it does, it's not a registered IP address.  Which means there is no way to determine that your computer has been hacked by using the IP address.

What probably happened is that your friend received an email from your address which contained a virus or malware.

Prevention is the easiest part.  Programs like Malwarebytes, AVG, McAfee and Norton AntiVirus will prevent (or at least warn you) if there are programs or files that are infected.

Once you've been infected, it gets a little more difficult.  Since some malicious files (once installed) will prevent the anti-virus software from finding them.  But it doesn't hurt to try.


Both of these programs have free versions.  But you have to read the install screens carefully to not enable the paid version.
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WatchGuard DNSWatch reduces malware infections by detecting and blocking malicious DNS requests, improving your ability to protect employees from phishing attacks. Learn more about our newest service included in Total Security Suite today!

First thing I would do is contact the friend via telephone and ask if he did in fact send the email.
jegajothyretiredAuthor Commented:
In response to Don, my pc has an IP address, but how do I find out if it is registered, where and how.  thank u for your response.  I tend to agree with your hypothesis that my friends may have received an email with a virus.  Also I always turn off my pc when not in use.  But I do surf the internet a lot.  But any suggestions on how make anyone hard to know my ip address, or can I create dynamic addresses whenever I am on the internet?, any ideas or suggestions.  Ihad Zone Alarm which did an excellent job of preventing Trojans from sending data out, but Microsoft technician said it had downloaded piggy back Apps, and thus uninstalled it.  But I will reinstall once MS have completed their work on my pc.  Thank u again.
Don JohnstonConnect With a Mentor InstructorCommented:
pony10us: Excellent point!!!

jegajothy: If you don't know, you don't have a registered public address.  It's a lot of paper work to get one and you would remember that. :-)

If you go to websites and receive email, your PC is susceptible to viruses and malware.  That's why prevention is so important.

I wouldn't worry about the IP address.  You are most likely getting your public IP address from your ISP using DHCP. As such, you IP address is probably changing fairly often.
jegajothyretiredAuthor Commented:
In response to Jon, u mentioned about prevention.  How do I do that?  If it is by software, what is the name of it, I am thinking of Zone Alarm, but await your response, for suggestions to make my pc safe from hackers and plunderers.  Thank u.
tmoore1962Connect With a Mentor Commented:
Remember your friends email could have been spoofed and the email that you received was entirely bogus unless you have verified the email with a conversation to your friend.  But yes run a disk clean up.  Open up computer right click on the Local disk c: choose properties click on disk clean up.  Open each browser you run and use its cache cleanup / delete then run a full virus scan and a full malwarebytes scan.
Don JohnstonInstructorCommented:
Zone Alarm is a firewall/anti-virus solution.  I haven't used them in years.  Personally, I like separate solutions (windows firewall for a firewall, AVG for anti-virus and MalwareBytes for malware protections).

But that's just my preference.  I'm sure Zone Alarm is a good product.
AaronSystems Administrator & DSTCommented:
I would start by changing all your passwords (emails, bank account access, credit cards, website logins for anything important, paypal etc.) on a different computer from the one you think might be infected.
pony10usConnect With a Mentor Commented:
After reading more of the thread I still believe, and it appears others have also come to the possibility, that your PC has not "been hacked".  I would still ask your friend if they sent you that email and if so, what makes them believe your system was hacked?  

The most likely scenario that I can come up with that would make sense for this to be true:

Your system got a virus. You use Outlook to compose/send/receive email (you said you have office '07) instead of a web based email system that you compose/send/receive through your browser. Outlook got corrupted. You sent an email to your friend that was corrupted.

If you use the browser based scenario then the only other scenario I see is that you sent your friend an email with an attachment that was corrupted or the web based email provider got hacked.

I would follow the instructions provided by others, especially Aaron about changing your passwords, and would also suggest SpyBot for software to install as well as MalwareBytes (mentioned by Thomas).
andreasConnect With a Mentor System AdminCommented:
Im chiming in and also say, its unliekly that the attack to your friends mailbox (the spam mails) came from your PC.

Im guesing an atacker just used your e-mail address as the sender address of his  mailings. They commonly using emails for this they randomly found somewhere.

Its best to call your friend and ask them to mail back the malicious email INCLUDING all the headers, then you can read the received headers, the one most down is the 1st one (attn, it coud have some fake headers, also compare the following line showing the it it gets it from, there should not be any breaks in the chain, if theres a break then assume the first received line which is consistent to the end as the start)

Then check from where the sender IP is. most probably its not from your ISP most likely its even from another country then you are in. Ive seen this many times a month and it NEVER came out that the given senders e-mail adresses system was really hacked.
jegajothyretiredAuthor Commented:
It is soothing to note that I have NOT been hacked.  Thank u for all your inputs,which is very helpful. Thank u and a Very Happy and Prosperous, and a safe computing New Year.  thank u.
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