Ten steps to Malware Prevention – Part 2
Spyware / Malware Prevention Guide
- 1. Install a Firewall
- 2. Install a Anti-virus software
- 3. Keep Windows happy – Updated & Patched
- 4. The Importance of Backup
- 5. Secure the Browser – Internet Explorer
- 6. Secure the Email Client – Outlook Express
- 7. Activate Real-time Spyware protection
- 8. Use SpywareBlaster
- 9. Use IE-SPYAD
- 10. Use a HOSTS file
Securing your email client is just one of the necessary steps to secure your system against Malware. For most Windows users, an email client means either Outlook Express or Outlook.
Outlook Express is a POP3 and IMAP compatible, free email managment program that comes as part of Internet Explorer. By default it is installed on every Windows computer.
Outlook is a completely different program, an email client and personal information manager rolled into one and part of Microsoft's Office suite.
Check out this page for Securing Your Email client – Outlook Express
Almost all Anti-Spyware programs offer real-time protection. With real-time protection enabled many known Malware programs can be blocked and eliminated before they are installed, helping to stop potential security leaks before a program can run.
Three of the widely used freeware real-time protection solutions are:
SpywareGuard – Formerly Browser Hijack Blaster is a stand alone real-time protection solution from Javacool software, developers of another fine product, SpywareBlaster. It can "catch and block spyware before it is executed (EXE and CAB files supported) with signature-based scanning for known spyware and heuristic/generic detection capabilities to catch new/mutated spyware". Checkout this link on How to download, Install and Setup SpywareGuard
Spybot S & D – Spybot Search and Destroy, primarily a detection and removal tool also comes with a integrated real-time protection called Tea-timer. "It perpetually monitors the processes called/initiated. It immediately detects known malicious processes wanting to start and terminates them giving you some options, how to deal with this process in the future." Checkout this link on How to activate Spybot S & D Teatimer
Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware (Beta) – Also a detection and removal tool that comes with real-time protection module called Real-time security agents. When software is installed or a change is made to your computer, these real time security agents analyze the change and will allow the change if it is known to be safe or block the change if it is known spyware or prompt you for additional action if the software being installed or a change being initiated is unknown to its internal algorithm. Checkout this link on How to activate Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware (Beta) Real-time security agents
SpywareBlaster is a prevention software that protects against ActiveX based Malware installation. It also protects against known tracking cookies being installed in Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and adds thousands of known Malware installing sites to the Restricted sites zone of Internet Explorer.
SpywareBlaster works by preventing an ActiveX control from running in Internet Explorer by setting the kill bit so that the control is never called by Internet Explorer.
SpywareBlaster does not need to be running to provide protection. You can close it after enabling the desired protection settings. You may only need to run it occasionally to download the latest updates. More here on How to effectively prevent Malware using SpywareBlaster
IE-SPYAD by Eric Howes is a Malware blocker for Internet Explorer. It uses a block list in the form of a Windows Registry file to add thousands of known unwanted sites to Internet Explorer's Restricted Sites security zone. This ensures the Websites on the block list are blocked from running ActiveX controls, Java applets, Active scripts or even set cookies or use popups when you surf the net. At the time of writting IE-SPYAD blocks over 8000 sites this way. It adds another layer of protection in addition to those offered by other prevention methods like SpywareBlaster and HOSTS file. Check out this page for How to effectively prevent Malware using IE-SPYAD
What is the HOSTS file?
When surfing the Internet, when you try to access a previously unknown hostname your browser normally first checks the HOSTS file to see if the URL you have entered such as www.google.com or www.amazon.com has an IP address mapped to it before accessing the Domain Name System. "HOSTS files have long since given way to network-based naming systems such as DNS; however, they are still used with specific machines to override such naming systems for testing purposes and special situations".
A custom made HOSTS file containing thousands of dubious URLs can be used to block all kinds of ads, Web bugs, cookies,etc., by stopping your computer from communicating with the ad servers. This way you may only block sites that serve unwanted content or any other site that you choose to block.
The HOSTS file exists in all most all operating systems, including all versions of Windows, Unix, Linux, BeOS, BSD, Macintosh, OS/2 and Netware. Check out this page for more on How to effectively prevent Malware using the HOSTS file
This concludes Spyware / Malware Prevention Tutorial
|Malware Prevention – Hardening Windows Security – Part 1|