How to be safe on the Internet?

By pioneerx01 · 13 replies
Dec 17, 2010
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  1. I am "go to guy" for IT for a family who has recently bought new computer about year ago. I have went over there to set it up, installed AVG and Malwarebites, but they keep getting viruses. They just called for third time this year that they are getting all sorts of messages from software I haven't heard of.

    They always end up with bad software on their PC. I am about to have the "being save on internet" speech. I am relatively sure that they install or click on stuff on websites I am sure they should not be on.

    I have AVG and Malwarebites on all my PC's and I have not have a virus/spyware or any other,malware for almost 5-years.

    How can I make sure they don't get more crap on the PC?
  2. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,023   +2,556

    If you have AVG and Malwarebytes installed, then the family is simply stupid or careless if they keep getting viruses and such. I suspect that there's P2P software installed on the machine, with the lure of no cost whatever supplying the malware.

    And don't get me started about Facebook.

    They don't need more software, they need to be given a reality check, and training.
  3. pioneerx01

    pioneerx01 TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 277

    Yeah face-book, that is Pandora box with me too... I don't think they have it.

    There is no P2P that I can see on the PC, plus I do not think they know how to use such things.

    The wife does play a lot of "small" games. I suspect that wherever she is getting them from is causing issues...

    Any thoughts? Is there a "safe" alternative I can recommend?
  4. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,023   +2,556

    I have the AVG free, I download porn all day with it...! (?) I don't have these problems.

    The other thing I'd suggest is moving them to Firefox, and installing the "NoScript" extension. Then a training session with that. If nobody can run cross site script on you, or talk you into installing Active X controls, that should help some. Make sure the browser pop-up blocker is configured properly, although I suspect this crew wants the pop-ups.

    "NoScrip" really cripples the browser, at least until you get the hang of just approving scripts that are necessary, and learning how to avoid the crap that is only going to set tracking cookies. (, Googleanalytics, are no-nos, to name two).

    Spybot SD1.6 has a variation of the "windows hosts file", ("immunization") which will prevent bad, (if known), pages from loading.

    Other than that, I'm not aware of a way of making a computer "***** proof", other than changing the operator.
  5. bobcat

    bobcat TechSpot Paladin Posts: 688   +67

    From what I’ve read, and as you seem to suspect yourself, the old adage applies:

    Most of the time the problem with a computer is in front of it!

    On a more practical note, you don’t mention having a firewall, so you can install e.g. Zone Alarm or Comodo as well, they both have free versions. But if you don’t want their baffling messages to throw users into utter confusion, you’d do better to get the premium version that answers some of its own questions, which is just as well, since nobody else understands them, let alone knowing the answers.

    But what you really need to “install” is some common sense in the users. Unfortunately, that aspect lies beyond the limits of my technical knowledge.

    As you might know, there are counties in which you should boil everything before touching it with your mouth (might be a problem if you want to kiss a girl). In analogy to boiling, you might advise them to scan everything they download before opening it, as a partially working substitute for common sense.

    To cheer you up, I\ve heard of someone whose son followed the advice of a site offering some tempting stuff and temporarily disabled his antivirus that was blocking the download. Well, that temporary disabling assumed a rather more permanent state, since he no longer had a working system for re-enabling it.
  6. JMMD

    JMMD TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 854

    Make sure only software they need or use is installed.
    Make sure everything is up to date.

    Give them a limited user account and have them surf only with sandboxie. That should keep them safe. If that still doesn't, just take the PC away.
  7. pioneerx01

    pioneerx01 TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 277

    I do not really want to put a third party firewall on the PC, as from my past experiences with inexperienced users and firewalls is that they will click on "allow" on every pop up they get from the firewall. And then we will still be where we were to begin with and on top of that they I will have to go through firewall settings to un-allow things.

    They have windows firewall on that is being updated, and for standard user that should be enough. Thoughts?
  8. JMMD

    JMMD TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 854

    Windows Firewall under Windows 7 may be better than what was on XP or Vista so if that's what they're using it may be suitable. I agree they can be a pain.
  9. gwailo247

    gwailo247 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,010   +18

    I think you're on the right track about giving them the speech. Then tell them that your future visits will cost them $50 per hour.

    They'll either learn good surfing habits, or they'll get pissed off at paying you all the money and stop calling you.
  10. pjamme

    pjamme TS Enthusiast Posts: 208


    I would dump the AVG and get Microsoft Security Essentials.
    You said malwarebytes is installed, I don't think the free version is any kind of deterrent until you scan. (after the fact).
    The paid version says:
    Activating the full version unlocks realtime protection, scheduled scanning, and scheduled updating. For consumers and personal use, it is a one time fee of $24.95.
    And they just came out wioth version 1.50.1, plus the paid version automatically updates every day. id on't have the paid version, but would if i had anything other than dialup. (out in the toolies0.

    And as I tell my wife, under no circumstances have anything to do with facebook or AOL.
  11. ravisunny2

    ravisunny2 TS Ambassador Posts: 1,986   +12

    Like the Captain says, there is no of a way of making a computer "***** proof".

    And like gwalio says, tell them that your future visits will cost them $50 per hour.
  12. Rick IE Team

    Rick IE Team TS Rookie

    Hello All,

    If security is a concern, you should make sure you have an up to date browser such IE8 or IE9 for instance. It is my recommendation that you consider downloading and installing the new IE9 Beta. Although much of the news has been about Performance and Web Standards, I would like to remind folks about the Security Features of IE9. Advanced features like SmartScreen Filter, Cross-site Scripting filter, Download Manager, InPrviate browsing, and Tab isolation and recovery, all help to make IE9 a safe trusted browser. As well as the new Tracking Protection, announced 12/7/2010 to help you control 3rd party content. You can read more on the IE Blog at the MSN/IE blog. The new IE9 Beta brings you one of the most secure browsers available today.

    IE Outreach Team
  13. beauty

    beauty TS Rookie Posts: 64

    I am also the go to person for computers for my family. I don't use Facebook or AOL but they do and have had spyware/malware problems in the past that I have had to fix.

    How do sites like Facebook and AOL contribute to this problem? Are the users clicking on things that they shouldn't be?

    I want to be able to give them a talk about internet safety, too so they will quit having problems, but I don't know how this stuff is getting on their computer.

    I have malwarebytes, Norton and spybot installed on their computer. Norton and spybot slow things down so I would like to get rid of them. Any suggestions? Would Microsoft Security Essentials and malwarebytes be enough?
  14. tonylukac

    tonylukac TS Evangelist Posts: 1,374   +69

    Firefox with the adblock plus plugin does the trick for me. When I use Facebook or AOL, I use Linux. Ubuntu (dual boot if necessary) is not too difficult to learn nor install. To partition the hard drive, you can sometimes get Partition Magic free at Fry's if your using xp. Or use the Gparted Linux cd. Google it. For later versions of windows, use Disk Management. And Linux has Firefox! You don't need adblock plus there. Or perhaps you want a Google Chromium OS laptop. They are giving them away free to some. Search this site for the link. Or wait to buy the retail version if you don't feel lucky.

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