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  1. #1
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    Sometimes the solution is to disable an AV app




    LANGALIST PLUS

    Sometimes the solution is to disable an AV app


    By Fred Langa

    There can be times when anti-malware applications are too aggressive and cause unexpected problems, such as blocking legitimate downloads.
    When simply disabling the anti-malware tools is not enough, harsher remedies might be needed.


    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/langalist-plus/sometimes-the-solution-is-to-disable-an-av-app/ (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

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    Could Be Encrypted Pages Not Saved To Disk

    I had the same problem in IE 9. I had to clear the checkmark under Tools | Internet Options | Advanced | Security | Do Not Save Encrypted Files To Disk.

    I checked that to keep my temp directory in check, but an offshoot was that any downloaded content from HTTPS or other encrypted pages was not saved. As soon as the download finished, the file was deleted! Drove me nutzo for about a month at work (I use Firefox mostly at home, but IE is out standard at work).

    I always shudder when folks go disabling AV programs. :P

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    My favorite is when a user has a problem like this and it turns out they had 2, maybe 3 separate AV programs running at the same time. And a couple separate firewalls too. They seem to figure the more the merrier. And when they do, they're lucky if anything works!

    And then there are those who are sure they know better then the default rules for an AV or firewall. Some guys here probably do, but not most people.

    And those who go through IE settings trying to see how many they can change. Outside of TABS, there are very few that most of us need to play with.

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    Things aren't as they always as they seem. I run VIPRE Antivirus software, but I had MalwareBytes and SuperAntispyWare installed which I would run about once a week. I noticed that it would take up to five minutes for the VIPRE window to open. The support team suggested I look for two programs running. I disabled both from starting automatically, so I "knew" that I had nothing running, but I started looking around the PC and found that AntiSpyWare installed a service. Once I uninstalled the application, VIPRE started running faster and its GUI posted itself within seconds.

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    Regarding in phone GPS apps I'd argue there are several reasons to go with a standalone, dedicated GPS:
    - As you noted, you must have data service to download the map data, although, this can be offset by local storage of maps as long as you don't go too far off the original route.
    - On the several Android phones I've owned I fairly often either have the map app itself crash, the phone spontaneously reboot or the phone lock up and a battery pull is necessary. This happens with Google and NavTeq based apps. My ancient Garmin has never crashed.
    - For CDMA phones, a phone call (incoming or outgoing) interrupts the data service and, therefore, the map data.
    - With a lifetime map upgrade option, which appears to be rapidly becoming standard, age of map data isn't much of a concern. I will admit, though, that updating my Garmin quarterly is a time-consuming and somewhat painful process, a point for cloud based map data.
    - While mostly a personal preference, I still find the Garmin easier and quicker to read than the phone apps. And, yes, I do have a fixed dash mount for my phone while my Garmin is on a beanbag mount.

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    Phone-based GPS maps for free


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    Antivirus — and OS alternatives — for WinME

    Avast! AV also has a free edition that is currently supported on Windows ME. One of our computers is still running ME because of legacy software that would be painful or impossible to replace. Even though we limit contact of that machine to the outside world, we still want to have AV software running, just in case.

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    Article Comment - How safe is Cloud storage of passwords?

    After reading your article on cloud storage of passwords, I wanted to share a simple solution that quite a few of my co-workers and myself use to handle this situation. It may not be for everyone, but it gives us a much warmer feeling that our passwords are secure (work passwords are not stored using this method) AND accessable where ever we find ourselves.

    1) Download and setup the free app Dropbox (https://www.dropbox.com/). Dropbox can be installed on most platforms, including smartphones and other mobile devices. I have it on my phone, work desktop, home PC's, laptop, and Nook Color rooted with Honeycomb.

    2) Download and setup the free app PasswordSafe (http://sourceforge.net/projects/passwordsafe). It uses Twofish encryption (128-bit block size, a key size ranging from 128 to 256 bits). Password Safe runs on Windows, Android-based phones, and even the iPhone platform (pwSafe).

    3) Create a new database and select your Dropbox location. Give your new PasswordSafe a name and then give it a strong password for opening it.

    4) Now, open PasswordSafe from any of your other devices that you did in steps #1 and #2, click on 'Open Password Database' (the [...] icon), navigate to your Dropbox location where you created the new PasswordSafe database, pick the database file you created, click OK, then enter the password to open it.

    POOF! You now have your 'passwords' in the cloud. Well, kinda......

    Suggestion: Periodically back up the PasswordSafe database files to a local location.


    Enjoy!


    David C.
    Last edited by Paladium; 2012-03-22 at 14:27.

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    My former employer used ProtectorPlus for several years. It's legitimate and worked well enough.

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    I'm reasonably certain that Avira does not support anything earlier than XP nowadays. I'm certain that they don't support Win2K any more (if you have an old version that did they're still supplying virus signature updates for it, but they keep offering program updates that download but aren't installed), and I know they dropped program support for Win9x (presumably including ME) around the time that Microsoft support ended (at least for Win98SE) nearly 6 years ago (and while virus signature updates may have continued for a while thereafter I doubt that they still are).

    Multibooting with another operating system and keeping the old operating system isolated from the Internet (then using it for whatever purpose you need it for) is one way to handle the situation - and you can use the anti-malware facilities on the newer system to scan the older system's partition once in a while to ensure that nothing sneaked in.
    Last edited by - bill; 2012-03-25 at 21:28.

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    Quote Originally Posted by - bill View Post
    I'm reasonably certain that Avira does not support anything earlier than XP nowadays. I'm certain that they don't support Win2K any more (if you have an old version that did they're still supplying virus signature updates for it, but they keep offering program updates that download but aren't installed), and I know they dropped program support for Win9x (presumably including ME) around the time that Microsoft support ended (at least for Win98SE) nearly 6 years ago (and while virus signature updates may have continued for a while thereafter I doubt that they still are).

    Multibooting with another operating system and keeping the old operating system isolated from the Internet (then using it for whatever purpose you need it for) is one way to handle the situation - and you can use the anti-malware facilities on the newer system to scan the older system's partition once in a while to ensure that nothing sneaked in.
    Mutlibooting is not a secure alternative. If both OSes are in the same computer, each OS can see and modify each other's files.

    The Linux alternative suggested in the article often works on older hardware, but the learning curve can be steep, and many Web sites do not work with Linux.

    Fred is wrong about the need for a firewall in Linux. When properly configured, Linux has no known in the wild malware which can be transmitted over the Internet and executed locally without user intervention (last I read). Hence, there is no need for a firewall in most Linux distros. Adding a third-party firewall to Linux can in fact slow down performance while offering no security benefits.
    -- Bob Primak --

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobprimak View Post
    The Linux alternative suggested in the article often works on older hardware, but the learning curve can be steep, and many Web sites do not work with Linux.
    Many? Aren't you going back five or ten years to Netscape and Firefox 1.0 days?


    Quote Originally Posted by bobprimak View Post
    Fred is wrong about the need for a firewall in Linux.
    He didn't say you need one, he said you can find plenty.


    Quote Originally Posted by bobprimak View Post
    When properly configured, Linux has no known in the wild malware which can be transmitted over the Internet and executed locally without user intervention (last I read). Hence, there is no need for a firewall in most Linux distros. Adding a third-party firewall to Linux can in fact slow down performance while offering no security benefits.
    Given the steep learning curve, could someone switching from WinME be confident about having configured their new Linux system properly so that they don't need a free firewall?


    Bruce

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobprimak View Post
    Mutlibooting is not a secure alternative. If both OSes are in the same computer, each OS can see and modify each other's files.
    Multibooting is an entirely secure alternative in this situation, Bob. First, the WinME system can't see, let alone modify, the files of any NTFS partition, so unless for some reason you're running FAT32 on your newer Windows system that's just not an issue. Second, the newer system is assumed to be the safer system (that's why you disabled Internet access on the WinME system), so if you can trust it to protect itself it won't be dangerous to the WinME system's partition (and can, as noted, also be used to scan the WinME partition for malware if it's thought that any might have sneaked in).

    Multibooting is pretty secure between Win2K and WinXP as well: while each can see and modify the other's files, you don't encounter the problems of trashing system restore points that you do between XP and Vista/Win7 (XP doesn't have persistent shadow copies in the first place for Win2K to destroy).

    And where you DO want to prevent one system from seeing the other's partition you can often hide the partition (e.g., I hide Win7 partitions from Win2K and WinXP when sharing a disk with them to avoid problems with restore points and persistent shadow copies, and tell Win7 not to create restore points on the partitions used by the earlier systems - note that Win7 seems perfectly happy to have its 'boot' partition hidden, so as long as you've installed it last, so that its 'system' partition is considered to be somewhere else, that works just fine).

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    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Configuring Linux for security isn't Rocket Science. The necessary steps are well publicized. As with anything technical, a new Linux user would be well advised to visit one or more of the online Linux forums and look into a few tutorials. Simply downloading Comodo does not change the need to do this.

    The learning curve alone should stop any idle chatter of just converting old hardware to Linux. For most people, this is not a reasonable thing to do.

    If anyone has ever run Netflix or Comcast Fancast on-demand streaming video service on Linux, please let me know how you did it. Some say iTunes will work on WINE, but I haven't seen it work yet. And then there are several news websites where videos won't play in Linux. The list goes on and on. I suppose if all you do is email and Google searches, you probably don't notice how much of the Web does not work with Linux and has no intention of becoming compatible. (BTW, I do notice that recently, Hulu and Hulu Plus have come on board with Linux versions.)

    What I was saying about a dual boot is that the newer operating system WILL allow something to get through which could infect the older, less secure OS. Windows ME and 2000 cannot write to NTFS, but NTFS systems (XP/Vista/7/8) certainly can write to and infect FAT-32 file systems. It happens all the time.

    It is not a question of IF, but WHEN this will occur. Disconnecting an OS on the same hard drive from the Internet while allowing the other OS to connect to the Internet offers little to no protection for the disconnected OS. An entire hard drive can easily be affected by any flaw in the newer OS security setup, given the types of attack vectors now in the wild. And all Windows security setups eventually do fail.

    The entire hard drive would have to be isolated from the Internet and from all downloaded files in order for the older OS to be safe. No amount of "hiding" can change these facts.
    Last edited by bobprimak; 2012-03-28 at 00:08.
    -- Bob Primak --

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    I think you're confused, Bob. The original question concerned being able to protect a WinME system from malware when few if any good malware-protection products were still runnable in that environment. Using a newer system which IS still supported by good (active, not just demand-scan) security software as an intermediary (e.g., for Internet access) exposes the WinME system to not one whit more danger (and probably considerably less) than it would be exposed to if performing such Internet activity itself using out-of-date (or no) security software, while still allowing you to run the applications on WinME that presumably require it. And as long as the two systems run in separate partitions, the likelihood of the newer system trashing the WinME partition in ANY manner is minimal (even as a result of user error, since no actions performed in the newer system would typically target the WinME partition).

    (By the way, Win2K fully supports NTFS.)

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