February 21st, 2004, 04:58 PM
Stop IE hijacking before it happens
The incidence of sleazy web sites taking over people's browsers and homepages being hijacked has been steadily increasing. Chosen search engines being changed to "pay per click" substitutions with useless information, getting pop up ads, often pornographic in nature, even when the browser is closed, infection with spyware programs or toolbars that refuse to go away, porn sites being added to "Favorites" ...
Many are aware of programs, such as Adaware and Spybot, to clean up messes of this kind. But with new threats appearing almost daily, and new methods to disguise their identity & add-ons to thwart removal it's very difficult to keep up. Other methods are often needed to clean this stuff out. The thing is it's usually not that difficult to prevent much, if not most of this in the first place. Many people already have taken steps to protect themselves and their computers. But as new users are booting up every day, and some of us may still have some "tweaking" to do, I thought that this might be helpful.
You can batten down the hatches a bit to prevent this from happening. In Internet Explorer, go to Tools | Internet Options | Advanced. Under Browsing uncheck both "Enable install on demand" entries. It's a more secure way to browse the web. Unchecking them makes it impossible for web pages you browse to run or install programs on your computer without first asking your permission via a dialog box.
You should read the contents carefully and click the "Cancel" or "No" button unless you're sure that it's something that you have requested. Make absolutely sure that you're not agreeing to the installation of spyware, advertising pop-up generators or other nuisances, or to change your startpage to beebopaloola.com or something similar.
Also, click Tools | Internet Options, go to the Security tab and click the Custom Level button. In the ActiveX section:
This way when a web site attempts to run an ActiveX program you will be asked for permission, whether you want ActiveX objects to be executed and whether you want software to be installed.
- Set Download signed ActiveX controls to "Prompt"
- Set Download unsigned ActiveX controls to "Prompt"
- Set Initialize and script ActiveX controls not marked as safe to "Disable".
Javacool's SpywareBlaster doesn't scan and clean for spyware, it PREVENTS it from ever being installed. By setting a "kill bit" for spyware ActiveX controls, SpywareBlaster can prevent the installation of any spyware ActiveX controls from a webpage. Download and install, download the latest updates, and you'll see a list of all spyware programs covered by the program . Press Select All, then Protect Against Checked Items. Also be sure to have it check for updates often.
- In the Microsoft VM section, set Java Permissions to "High safety"
- In the Miscellaneous section, set Installation of desk top items to "Prompt"
Another program by Javacool is SpywareGuard. It can provide real-time protection against spyware.
By no means a comprehensive list. The "internet options" settings are kind of an "at least" thing to do ... but being proactive is really the way to go here.
Last edited by discogail; February 21st, 2004 at 05:02 PM.
July 27th, 2004, 07:33 AM
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