10 November 2007

Software utilities for my parents

My parents recently got a nasty trojan called Troj/Dloadr-AQG that installed ldcore.dll and attached it to all (?) running processes. Even after following the otherwise excellent advice of Coding Horror and using Sysinternals invaluable tools, it was too much for me and they had to go to professionals. The fact that the professionals had a tough time cleaning it up made me feel a little better. But not much. Serendipitously, Titus had recently set up a page on his blog aggregating links to software he uses on a new system, so I thought it'd be a good idea to set this page up for my parents.

  • Firefox web browser

    Disable cookies - Select Tools > Options from the menu, in the Options dialog click the Privacy icon, uncheck "Accept cookies from sites". This stops any web page from leaving a cookie on your computer.

    Enable cookies for a specific site - Select Tools > Options from the menu, in the Options dialog click the Privacy icon, click the Exceptions button, under "Address of web site" enter the name of the site (e.g. www.mybank.com).

  • ZoneAlarm firewall, direct download here

    Once installed, this will display a yellow popup for each application that tries to access the internet. This will be annoying for the first day or so, but eventually it learns all of your applications and blocks the spurious ones.

    For example, in the popup shown below, "Opera Internet Browser" is trying to access the internet. Because I know that's safe, I would check "Remember this setting" and click the Allow button. For anything you're unsure of, click the Deny button.


Unless someone recommends otherwise, I say don't bother with anti-virus software (the anti-virus software you had didn't stop this ldcore.dll infection...). Two anti-virus application I've seen people use are avast! and AVG. With a more security-minded browser and firewall, you shouldn't need them. The same goes for anti-spyware software such as Ad-Aware or Hijack This. These are useful utilities for cleanup but not for stopping an attack.

[ posted by sstrader on 10 November 2007 at 6:03:16 PM in Personal ]