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HOW TO DEFEND YOUR COMPUTER FROM

VIRUSES, HACKERS AND STALKERS

Good Morning,
 

The purpose of this tutorial is to help you, (the good guys and gals), learn how to fight back against those who intentionally send you a virus (the bad guys and gals). Until now, you, I, and our friends have been like a herd of sheep living in fear of the bad guys, but, that's over with! We sheep have a new set of teeth! We have lived in fear of the bad guys and gals sending us a virus. Now it's our turn to fight back! Not only can we detect the viruses, Trojans, (Trojans are programs that give control of your computer to someone else far, far away) , etc., that they send us, making them harmless, but we can now help law enforcement to track down the bad guys and gals, establish a pattern of criminal behavior. We can send the bad guys and gals to jail, and then take them to civil court for damages! So, to all the idiots who THOUGHT they were so smart, THOUGHT they were funny, we've got a nasty surprise for you. It's a man named Bubba, he wants to be your new roommate and he's gonna teach you to dance the Hokey Pokey!

Maybe you think I'm being funny, but I'm not (okay, maybe I am, but this is serious). Recently, the bad guys have started learning how to obtain a virus and then send it to us on purpose. This is not like when a virus is going around and it gets forwarded by accident. These are individuals who go out on the net and research where to procure a virus, how to forward it to people they know (and people they don't) with the intention of harassing you. They think that by sending it using someone else's email address that they are safe (untraceable) and that they can't be caught. Maybe that was true yesterday, but it's not true anymore.

VIRUS

First, let me explain that a virus is a small program that is designed to get your computer to perform a specific task. Unlike the programs that you intentionally installed to perform a specific function (good), virus programs are generally designed to cause damage to your computer/software and then in many cases to use your address book to forward themselves to your friends and family (bad).

EDUCATION

Anyone can receive a virus. Anyone can accidentally forward a virus by mistake. We are not trying to punish those who accidentally forward a virus. Almost everyone that has been on the Internet long enough has done that by mistake. For these people we just want to educate them so they don't download the virus in the first place. (So they don't accidentally forward it to us.) As for the bad guys and gals, this may be the first tutorial of it's kind, because my goal is to help the good people (you), learn how to get those who "intentionally" forward a virus to you sent to prison (Bubba's waiting).

DETECTING VIRUSES

Detecting viruses is easy. You install an anti virus program on your computer (see the list below), you run the anti virus program anytime you are online and you update it every week. If you don't open files/email from people you don't know, it's almost impossible for anyone to download/install a virus on your computer.

ANTIVIRUS PROGRAMS

AVG AntiVirus - Free <----  THis program is much better than Nortons or McAfee's

INSTALLING AN ANTI-VIRUS PROGRAM

Installing an AntiVirus program is pretty simple, you download it, open it (after closing all other programs) and click install. However, there are three things you have to remember. You have to make sure it is "turned on" any time you are on the Internet or reading mail. You have to remember to "update the program" at least once a week so it can look for NEW viruses. Finally, you have to "be smart" enough not to take stupid chances, like reading mail from strangers and then downloading the files because new viruses come out every day (Come on, use your brain. When was the last time a stranger did anything nice for you, lol). Do all of these things and you are safe from most viruses.

RUMORS

Rumors go round and round, but the latest information says that no one on AOL and most others servers can get a virus or Trojan simply by opening an email. The virus is not part of the email, it's inside an attached file. In order for the virus to get into your computer, you have to download and execute it. Additionally, opening embedded emails on AOL and other servers will not give you a virus.

VIRUSES IN INSTANT MESSAGES?

Viruses in instant messages are primarily a big scary rumor (like the one where someone opens an instant message from a stranger and a big dancing chicken pops out on the screen and pecks their computer to death), but in the future virus attacks thru instant messages could be a problem.

TROJANS

Trojans are downloaded like viruses, either by downloading a file attached to an email or by visiting a website. Trojans come in several forms but basically they serve one of two functions. The first, like a virus is to damage your computer. The second is to give access to your computers files, passwords, etc., to someone else at a remote site.

DANGEROUS WEBSITES

You can receive a trojan/virus/spyware/malicious cookies/etc by going to a websites. For instance, many websites send cookies (little pieces of instructions) to your computer (your computer automatically downloads them) so that your computer can get easier access to the site and so that (in some cases) they can track your visits. This is normal and there is nothing wrong with it. However, some sites (especially those sent by Spam) are set up to download a Trojan or virus onto your computer instead of the usual cookie. The best way to protect your computer is to NEVER VISIT A SITE that has been sent to you by a stranger (Spam). Additionally, set the security controls for your computer to medium (On AOL - My AOL, Preferences, WWW, Security, select MEDIUM) which means your computer will ask you before downloading questionable information from websites.

SPYWARE

A new trend in marketing has been the installation of cookies that contain spyware. This spyware actually monitors your computer usage, what websites you visit, etc., and then sends that information back to the company that installed the spyware on your computer. They then use that information to try to sell you things, send you Spam advertisements or even sell your information to other companies involved in spamming. What's more, some hackers have set up websites to install spyware (via cookies) in their visitors computers.

BLOCK SPYWARE

What can you do to block SpyWare? Install firewalls (more on firewalls later), clean out your cookies, etc., and oh yes, install the free little program below that will find and block spyware on you computer.

Adware - Free Program   Blocks Spyware programs (cookies) that are downloaded onto your computer when you visit websites (programs are designed to send information to advertisers.)

VIRUSES CAN SEND THEMSELVES TO PEOPLE IN YOUR ADDRESS BOOK

One of the most common ways that viruses are spread - is when you accidentally download a virus onto your computer, and then it 'reads' your address book. After the virus reads your address book, it sends a mass email to everyone in the address book. The email contains a note from you in the subject line (Hey - How ya doing, or I'm sending you some pictures, or check out this cool website, or something along those lines). The email also has an attached file (a copy of the virus) or a link to a website (if you click the link you will probably download a virus). When the person receiving the virus sees the mail, they may trust it because it's coming from a friend, coworker or family member (you). They open the file (or visit the website). Now, they get a virus, which then emails everyone in their address book.

YOU CAN PREVENT A VIRUS FROM SENDING ITSELF TO YOUR FRIENDS

There is an easy way to prevent your computer from forwarding itself to everyone you know. Most servers won't let you send a mass mail if one of the addresses you try to send to (on their server) is an incorrect address. The server blocks sending any mail until you fix the problem. For instance, let's say you are on AOL, you are trying to send mail to 500 of your closest friends, but one of them (another AOL member) has changed their address or closed their account. AOL blocks the mail, tells you that such and such is "NOT A KNOWN MEMBER" and nothing happens until you delete that person from the outgoing email and try to resend. In other words, if there is an unknown member in your address book, you can't send mail until you delete that person from the outgoing mail. Normally, you delete this person from your address book, resend the mail and all is well. But lets stop for a minute. This error (unknown member) can actually be used to your benefit. No one, not you, not a stranger, not even a virus can send mail from your address book without first deleting this "NOT A KNOWN MEMBER" from your address book. If a virus tries to send mass mail from your address book, the "NOT A KNOWN MEMBER" actually prevents the server (AOL in this case) from sending the email (the one with the virus attached and intended for all your friends, family, and coworkers). So how can we use this to our advantage?

PUT AN "UNKNOWN MEMBER" INTO YOUR ADDRESS BOOK

The simplest way to prevent a virus from mass mailing everyone in your address book is to intentionally add an "unknown member" to your address book. For instance, on AOL you could add an AOL member named "UNKNOWN MEMBER" to your address book. If the virus tried to send a message to everyone in your address book, UNKNOWN MEMBER would come up as an "unknown member" and AOL would prevent your computer from sending mail

"The following problems occurred while trying to process your request - UNKNOWN MEMBER is an unknown member"

I tried it... It worked... Unfortunately, some idiot (after reading this tutorial) will go and make themselves become UNKNOWN MEMBER@aol.com (lol), so, they will get mail from you ,if you use that as your blocking name. I suggest adding something that begins with "1's and 0's" as it will show up as the first item in your address book (makes it quick to find and delete when you want to send mail).
Note: Real AOL email addresses cannot begin with a number. It will protect you from viruses sending mail from your address book. If a virus tries, one of the addresses they try to send to will come up as an "unknown member."

FIND OUT IF AN ATTACHED FILE IS A VIRUS OR NOT

If you are unsure if an attached file is a virus or is actually from a friend, you can run it through Anti-virus software, etc., or you can forward it to uce@ftc.gov (without downloading the attachment) and generally within a few minutes they will send you back a message telling you if this is a virus or not. If they do not respond, do NOT assume there is no virus. During mass virus attacks they may run behind in checking their mail and responding.

uce@ftc.gov

SPOOFING

Protecting yourself from catching a virus isn't enough anymore, now, some of the bad guys and gals have come up with a new twist. It's called spoofing. Basically they send out emails pretending to be you! Maybe they've seen your email address in an email that they received by forward, maybe it was on a website, or maybe they know you personally. Whatever the case, they send out an email pretending to be you (to the receiver it looks like your address), they attach a virus to the email, and then they send it to your friends. The goal of this type of harassment is two fold. They want to hurt someone by sending them a virus and then they want to hurt you by making people think that YOU sent the virus.


First, I'm going to tell you that it's easy to fake an email address. I'm not going to tell you how (why help the bad guys and gals), but the process of sending an email to make it look like it came from someone else's email address is actually pretty simple. Don't ask me how. Just take my word for it. There are people who can send an email and make it APPEAR as though it came from your email account. That's the bad news.

GOOD NEWS

The good news is, although it was difficult in the past to get someone arrested for sending fake email messages and viruses from what appears to be your email address, now it's much simpler. New laws have been passed, Internet stalking laws, computer harassment laws, etc. New law enforcement agencies such as the COMPUTER CRIMES DIVISION now have, among others, the specific responsibility for arresting Internet stalkers and those who intentionally send out viruses. Add to this, that since the attack on the World Trade Center, the FBI has been instructed by the Director (Thomas Ridge) of the new Homeland Security office, to treat those who create and intentionally forward viruses as though they were acting as terrorists and, well..., lets just say that the scales have been tipped and the bad guys are about to take a big fall.

WHO SENT YOU THAT EMAIL?

The first step in identifying that someone is sending you a virus is noticing some of the most common clues (most virus senders are real amateurs). For instance, a stranger sends you a note asking you to look at a website, but instead of giving you a URL (Internet address) or hyperlink, they send you an attached file (Most commonly a .zip file) to download. Um hello, wake up and smell the coffee. There are several clues here all ready. First, it was a stranger that sent the email. When was the last time a stranger did something nice for you? Now compare that to how many times some scumball has sent you a Spam that was trying to rip you off? Enough said. But there are other clues. For instance, the sender could have sent a URL or hyperlink but instead attached a .zip file? Does this make sense? Think about it. If they sent you an email with a URL or hyperlink it would only take a second to send you the email. But since they sent you an attached .zip file it means that they probably spent several minutes uploading the file. Why would they go to all that trouble when sending a hyperlink or URL is so much easier and faster? There's only one reason. The .zip file contains a virus.

(Note, not all .zip files are viruses, but if a stranger sends you one I suggest deleting it)

WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS EMAIL?

Okay, here's another clue that something is wrong... Lets say that two people (BaddTeddy and SlobBoy) were sending each other emails on AOL. The receiver would simply see the others name (BaddTeddy or SlobBoy) in the FROM on the email. Nothing after it. Just the name.

For instance
FROM: SlobBoy

But if one day BaddTeddy receives an email that says
FROM - SlobBoy@aol.com"

BaddTeddy needs to be suspicious! Why is SlobBoy's name followed by @aol.com? It's possible that SlobBoy is working off of AOL but it is also possible that someone else is PRETENDING to be SlobBoy, and they weren't smart enough to hide the @aol.com. The clue here is that something is different. If something looks wrong, delete the mail.

FILE TYPES

Another way to protect yourself is to understand file types. Know that .Bmp, .GIF and .JPG are pictures, that .Txt is a text file like on AOL, .Doc is usually something that has been typed, and .HTML is used in both email and as web pages. Learning the file types helps you understand when something is a fake.
For example:

frog.JPG <--- is a picture of a frog

frog.txt <---- is a letter about a frog

frog.txt.jpg <---this is a virus (because it has TWO extensions)

The clue here is that files normally have only one extension.___, and that any file with more than one extension is most likely a virus. I have personally received nearly a hundred files that have had this double extension or one that says ______.doc.pcx, which is also a virus. If a file has a strange or double extension, don't take a chance. Delete it!

EMAILS WITH HYPERLINKS
(TROJANS IN DISGUISE)

Also, some strangers will send emails with hyperlinks to websites and when you click on the link, you could end up at a site with a Trojan waiting to steal your password. They disguise these links sometimes as a removal link to not receive any more mail from them. Some hyperlinks take you to sites that automatically dial up a 900 number and before you can disconnect, you'll find your phone bill MUCH higher than normal and wonder where that 900 number came from. The phone company will not take the charges off. My advice is to call your local phone company and ask them to place a block on all 900 numbers. It's free of charge.

DON'T REPLY TO SPAM

One of the most common tricks of spammers is to use a button at the bottom saying click here to get off our mailing list. A few honestly mean it. The rest are actually doing one of the following. Sending you to their website via what you thought was an email link (it may be an advertisement or a Trojan). Collecting your name as an ACTIVE name (you showed them you actually read Spam by asking them to remove you) and then selling your name to other companies, in which case now you will get ten times as much Spam.


REMEMBER MANY SPAMMERS ARE THIEVES

Still not convinced about Spam? Remember, many spammers are using stolen email accounts to send you mail, they could be using this Spam email to steal your account password, and many of them are using someone else's name to send you junk mail. Do you really want to buy anything from someone who advertises using a stolen identity?

HACKERS

If you want to protect your computer, you have more to worry about than just viruses. You also need to make sure that you are protected from stalkers, websites that install malicious cookies, hackers and more. I'm not going to spend a lot of time to explain 'how' they do it. Why teach the bad guys new tricks. Instead I'm going to make some suggestions on what you can do to protect yourself and why you need to install firewalls, etc...

WHY DO YOU NEED PROTECTION?

Each time you log onto the Internet, whether you are visiting your favorite websites or reading email, your computer is given a temporary DNS number (Domain Name Server) (For example 62.58.123) that is essentially identifies the path (address) that your computer will use for sending and receiving information.

Hackers have programs that can search randomly for DNS numbers that are in use. If they find a DNS number in use (For instance yours) they can then use it to access your company, and even download programs onto your computer than can alert them anytime you are online and grant them instant access to all your files.

That's one way that hackers access your computer, there are many others such as Trojans, back doors, etc., but rather than explain how they work I'm simply going to give you a list of suggested protection software to choose from.

PROTECT YOUR COMPUTER FROM HACKERS

Are you protected?

Block Spyware!
Adware - Free Program
Blocks Spyware programs

INSTALL A FIREWALL!
Zone Alarm
- Free

Norton Firewall and AntiVirus

If you identify a stalker, hacker, spammer and want more information on them try;
McAfee.com - Visual Trace makes it easier for you to provide proof to law enforcement when pressing charges.

NOTE OF CAUTION ABOUT FIREWALL PROGRAMS

Many programs 'say' that they block hackers from entering your computer, but the reality is that many of these programs (especially hacked programs or programs from small time companies) are actually used by hackers as a backdoor into your computer. When it comes to firewalls, etc., I recommend purchasing them from a reputable company such as McAfee's, Norton's, ZoneAlarm, etc... rather than trying to take the cheap approach. In fact, some of the small time programs actually give you false alerts, fakes, intended to make you feel that the program is doing it's job. When it comes to firewalls, use only the best.

HOW TO PUT INTENTIONAL VIRUS SENDERS IN JAIL

So far you've learned how to look for strange email addresses, weird file names, how to install an Anti-virus program, etc., but the one thing you haven't learned (yet) is how to deal with someone who is intentionally sending you emails with viruses attached. I'm not talking about someone who accidentally forwarded you an email with a virus attached. I'm talking about going after those who for whatever reason are intentionally either sending you viruses or using your screen name to send viruses to others. The rest of the tutorials is a how-to guide for putting these jerks in jail.

STALKERS GOING HIGH TECH

Stalking has taken a new twist of late. Now stalkers think they can go high tech. They think that they can anonymously send viruses to anyone they want (you). They think that they can hack into your computer with or without your knowledge and get away with it. Basically they think they can terrorize you and their is nothing you can do about it. Wrong.

HOW TO PUT STALKERS IN JAIL <---Tutorial on how to catch a stalker and put them behind bars

TRACKING DOWN STALKERS THAT EMAIL YOU VIRUSES

Tracking down those that intentionally send you viruses isn't as hard as it sounds. First, it's probably somebody you know. In fact, you may know them as several different people online. Many stalkers pretend to be your friend under one or more screen names, and then stalk you using one or more other names. You may actually be asking one of your friends for advice on how to deal with the stalker, later only to find out that this so called friend was the stalker using a different name. The best way to find the stalker is to start looking at who seems to be to helpful and offering too much advice about what to do about the stalker. Also find out who else is being stalked. Compare notes with them. Maybe they are being stalked by the same person. But, keep in mind that many stalkers pretend to be being stalked themselves to throw off suspicion. In other words, that helpful online friend that is being stalked may actually be the stalker. Maybe, Maybe not, but think about it. By using common sense you can get a pretty good idea of who might be stalking you. If you are receiving viruses, and you believe that these viruses were specifically sent to you, ask your friends what viruses they have received, what the subject line said, etc... By comparing notes you may find out who the stalker is...

HIGH TECH EMAIL TRACKING

There are two things I recommend you do when you receive a virus, first send it to uce@ftc.gov so that the government can tell you what the virus is and so that they have a copy of the email on file (keep the email you receive back from them as proof) and the second is to use an email tracking program, such as McAfee's Visual Trace to identify where the emails are coming from.

McAfee.com - Visual Trace
Here's How It Works:

Enter a URL, e-mail address, hostname or IP address. McAfee Visual Trace gives you:

1) The name of the organization that is registered to the network at each node IP

2) Such organization's phone number and e-mail address

3) The physical address of the originating server

4) Easy-to-read world and topographic maps show node locations all along the route, with relative response times and network names.

Basically, it will show you the city and state the email came from, and the path from sender to receiver.

DEFEAT THE SPOOFER

Remember we talked about spoofing? That's when someone used a false email address in the FROM box on the email. Kind of like signing someone else's name on the email. Well, this program defeats that. It shows you where the real sender lives/works. You can then provide this information to the police/FBI.

TRACK DOWN HACKERS

Earlier I showed you many firewall programs, etc., that are deigned to block hackers from entering your computer. What I didn't ell you at the time is that these programs also offer you an identifier for each hacking attempt. Basically an IP Address. The problem with IP addresses is that most of us don't know how to use them to person they belong to. A few of the programs listed offer you a way to track down the IP address and basically find out who the hacker is, but there is a second way. The same program, McAfee's Visual Trace that you use to track down the sender of an email, can also tell you the same information about hackers.

McAfee.com - Visual Trace
(the following is copied from McAfee's Website
Incredible detective utility based on technology used by the FBI to track down malicious hackers, identify serial spammers, and thwart online fraud. Visual Trace is like Caller ID for your PC. It's the perfect complement to anti-hacker defense like firewalls, intrusion detection systems, log files and port monitors.

Turn the tables on hackers - When they attack your firewall, McAfee Visual Trace pinpoints the suspected perpetrator, honing in on their probable location, network registration information and identity of their service provider -- server by server. Now you have the proof to alert authorities, ISPs and anti-hacking organizations.

CONTACTING THE POLICE

After you have identified the person who is intentionally sending you viruses. Attempting to hack your computer, stalking you etc., (or even if your not sure who it is) your next step is contacting law enforcement. Chances are if you contact the local police they won't know how to help. You can try, but most of them simply are not trained in dealing with Internet crimes. So who should you call?

COMPUTER CRIMES DIVISION

The Computer Crimes Division (CCD) was started about three years ago to fight Internet crime. It specializes in online stalkers, harassment, fraud and child pornography on the net. Each state has a main computer crimes office, and I suggest contacting them directly, or contacting your State Attorney Generals office and asking them to contact the CCD for you (The CCD works for the State Attorney Generals Office).

STALKERS CANT FOOL THE CCD

Stalkers may be able to fool newbies on the net, but they can't fool the CCD, FBI etc. The Computer Crimes Division can do what the local police can't. They can track down criminals (and that's what we are talking about here, state and federal crimes) across state lines and have them arrested. For instance, if I am in Florida, and someone tries to stalk me from California, I can contact the Florida CCD, they track the hacker/stalker back to California, they contact the California CCD and the California CCD then puts a wire tap on phone lines and cable lines of the hacker/stalkers home or office. Once they show a pattern of criminal behavior the CCD or the FBI makes an arrest.

Computer Crimes Division

Attorney Generals

FBI

Dept Of Justice

IS IT A CRIME?

Many stalkers don't stop and think about the consequence of their actions. They don't think about the fact that there are many new state and federal laws designed to put them in jail. They don't think about the fact that there are new agencies like the CCD designed to help catch them. They don't think about the fact that they can be charged with several state and federal crimes at the same time. Intentionally sending a virus is a federal crime with a jail term of up to 20 years. Stalking and harassment are state crimes with jail terms up to five years. Hacking is both a state and federal crime with jail terms ranging from six months to 20 years. They don't think about people like me sitting here writing this tutorial for you. They don't think about a million of you forwarding this to their friends. But the one thing they seem to forget about the most is that this isn't just the Internet, that this is also real life, that if they don't stop, that they could be spending years in a small square cage of metal, no TV, no Internet, no anything, and the only person to talk to is some guy named Bubba who's twice their size and all Bubba wants to do is dance.

Online Listing Of All State, Federal And International Laws

Send this tutorial to all your friends. The best defense is to let the bad guys know that if they mess with you, Bubba's waiting...

Great Bigg Teddy Bear Huggs...
BaddTeddy and the Knights Of Kindness

RELATED SUBJECTS
TUTORIAL INDEX COMPUTER BASICS VIRUSES SPAM RUMORS MAIN INDEX

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