This mess all started when I got addicted to the Playfish game Restaurant City which yes, is a facebook application.

I recall compiling games for an article (which I think turned into a handful of blurbs but I don’t remember) for the now defunct Computer Games Magazine and I wish I could find it but maybe you’ll have better luck? Anyway, there was a time when you got what you paid for. Now despite your sass–and I’m looking at J-man here–there are some quality games on facebook. The problem arises when you go looking online to maximize your experience, and find some pop up program/tracker/malware/terrorist that kills your computer and just shows you and porn sites. Completely relevant to me, a female.

I was so super pissed that looking up layouts for Restaurant City tables was enough to get a bunch of garbage hacked onto my computer that I completely forgot about The Troops. It was a rookie mistake to shout expletives and then go watch House on DVR until I calmed down enough to try and fix it. In the end I did get that shit off of my computer completely and thoroughly. Yes. I. Did. Here’s how not to get fucked in the ass by stupid random whore programs and shitware that installs itself at every opportunity.

  • I like lists. It’s a true fact. So starting with the first thing you need, this one is so fucking simple it hurts me to watch Mac commercials. GET MOZILLA FIREFOX. Most of your viruses, malware, trojans, tracking cookies, and pop ups are due to stupidly using Microsoft Internet Explorer.
  • Next, this one is both useful, idiot-proof, and helps you extra special more. Install the Google Toolbar. You will have a utility that helps you Google all the time, but more importantly, you will be that much more protected because it has a pop up blocker.
  • Spybot Search & Destroy and Lavasoft Ad-Aware are your two Champions against bullshit on your computer. Just scroll down (and if you haven’t noticed, all the programs I’m listing are completely free and work great). Unless you want to support the developers you can just figure out how to download them without paying anything. Every week or so you should run these scans, and make sure you check for updates. They GET RID of the trash on your machine. Gone. Baleeted.
  • Now that you know how to get rid of trash, you should be able to clean what’s left over. It’s like irradiating your fridge after you clean out one-month-old moussaka, a dead body, and gardening refuse.  Here’s how: CCleaner! It uninstalls programs you can’t find the uninstall button for, it makes your registry all nice, lets you turn off programs that start themselves up when your computer does, and helps you when you’re getting rid of things that just do not belong. I assure you it is paramount to keeping your PC running without the pukey scent of slowdown.
  • So  if you’re advanced (and at this point you are if you have all the other stuff installed) you can move on to AVG Antivirus which is both free, and not circumvented all the time like McAfee and Norton programs. Just keep it updated, scan your system if you get concerned, and all is well. You don’t need to pay for anti-virus software that is awesome.

This should get you started. I still don’t recommend fooling around on ad-supported sites that claim to know how to set you up with the best restaurant layout–I was weak and stupid–but thankfully, I was also prepared.

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4 Responses to “How Not to Get Pwned By Malware”

  1. Derrek Says:

    Yeah, see, on a mac, you don’t need those things. But they are all necessary to keeping a windows machine working for more than 5 minutes. Yep, you can get 10-15 minutes of a crash free existence on a clean windows machine. 😉

    I would recommend Safari for Windows or Opera over Firefox. Firefox is a bit of a pig in terms of performance and memory. Though 3+ is getting much better.


  2. John Says:

    You forgot the 2nd most important security conscious modification to make to your computer. Install NoScript. NoScript is an add-on for Firefox.

    Now you need to explicitly permit any webpage to run scripts. Sure a bunch of sites stop working until you click ‘allow this site’, but it keeps you way safer, on any platform. Honestly, one of the biggest security holes on your machine is the flash player. No attack in the wild that hits a Mac has been performed to date that doesn’t require you to enter your password, I’d be willing to bet the first one to do it will use Flash as the vector though. No Script tamps down access to the flash player making you much safer.

    As an added bonus all ads that make noises or scroll across the webpage you’re trying to read are all dead by default.

    Additionally, I’d recommend keeping your flash player up to date since Adobe does apply patches.


  3. David St. Pierre Says:

    Hey there Tiffers, a nice security style article. I definitely recommend AVG and a Spyware protection program, there are many great ones out there, Spybot and Adaware which you mentioned. I personally use Super Anti Spyware, there’s also Malwarebytes which many people swear by. A few things to ad though if you want to keep your Windows Machine healthy. First of all, and this is a mistake that is made WAY too frequently is that people don’t have a router between there computer and there modem. THIS IS A FUCKING MISTAKE! Spend the $50.00 and get yourself a netgear or linksys router, doesn’t even have to be wireless. The protection it gives you is unreal. It basically makes you invisible on the internet using methods known as NAT (Network Address Translation) and PAT (Port Address Translation). If someone queries your Public IP Address (You get this from your ISP) and they see linksys or netgear, they nod there heads and sigh…defeated. If they see Microsoft Windows they drool. Even if you’re using a MAC, Linux, doesn’t matter. What has more vulnerability? The box that is meant for nothing more than forwarding from one direction to the next or the operating system meant allow file sharing, telnetting, web surfing, gamez playing and all sorts of other neat networkie systems. Bottom line, if you have an unsolicited incoming request from the internet, a router fucking drops it. It doesn’t even give it the curtosy of a No, Bad Puppy response. It just drops it.

    The next thing you need is a firewall. Microsoft XP SP2+ has one built in. Enable it and set it to Do Not Allow Exceptions. Mac has a firewall that is NOT ENABLED BY DEFAULT (Hah! Take that elitest Mac users!) Actually, Mac has many security features not enabled, easy as pie to set them up though. Go to the System Preferences and select Security. Pretty straight forward from there. Linux, depends on the OS you’re running. If you’re a linux user, typically you know linux stuff and can figure it out.

    The next big thing, possibly the biggest thing EVER. (Ok, maybe not as long as Tiff’s list of geeky words). Do Not do regular day-to-day operations on an admin account. Create a new admin account with a password, any password will do to stop most scripts, intruders, etc. Then knock your regular account back to a Limited User account. If you need to Add program, Remove, do administrator type stuff, either Hold shift on a shortcut to the program you need admin access to and hit RUN AS, or log into the admin account do it, then log off. What many people don’t realize is that when you’re on an admin account, everything has the same privileges that you do. That means that viruses can do anything they damn well please. Especially if you don’t have AV software. I think it was PC Magazine that estimated it at 92% of viruses could be stopped by using a basic account. I tip my hat to Mac for being awesome and requiring a password whenever you do anything that messes with the system settings. Then they took it a step forward and wouldn’t allow admin accounts access to system files unless you use root admin privileges. BRILLIANT!

    For more security tips and general awesomeness, check out

    David St. Pierre, PCNewb, LLC.


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Posted by Cake-Pie
Dated: 30th September 2009
Filled Under: Old, Solutions