reply to post by zatara
I do not know if these rumours are facts but it is said that Microsoft has some secret code in their Windows software which enable themn to monitor
your computer activities.
No, but it does check for activation (depending on your OS version) and does indeed "phone home" but "nothing uniquely identifiable" is shared.
One of my questions is...is Microsoft capable doing this no matter what firewall you have installed?
Yes and no. They can't bypass your firewall, but they can potentially piggyback on normal traffic back to Microsoft. Your router / firewall would
show traffic back to Microsoft but not what that traffic actually is.
If I am correct you can see this activity in the TaskManager.
No, only malware from the early 90s will show up there, everything else will be hidden from you, and will not appear in your task manager. Now, some
processes might show up in your process list, but they, unless you are talking some 12 year old kid, will be disguised as normal processes.
What you can do about that is, educate yourself on the services and programs you have running that should be running, and keep an eye on anything that
pops up out of the blue. A free program called "tcp process port linker" can help you identify ports being used by processes and will usually show
a more detailed report of active process than windows does. You can, with the right knowledge, verify processes are what they say they are by the
port they are using. (do not confuse these ports with ports you'd open on your router)
Another sign, by process alone, is cpu and memory usage. Sometimes a questionable process will be there disguised as a normal windows process, but is
using considerably more cpu cycles than it should be.
I won't comment on firewall software as there is no "best" solution. Almost anything is better than the windows built in firewall, but even that
is better than nothing.
A few tips.... (you'll have to google for specific instructions)
find and backup your "hosts" file, keep an eye on this as plenty of malware messes with this causing browser redirects.
Disable autorun feature on everything. All of it. Yes, you will have to click the DVD icon when you insert a disk, or click the USB icon when
plugging in an external drive, but it will save you countless hours if you encounter an AUTORUN based attack.
Keep as up to date with patches as you possibly can, by the time a patch is out, someone has already found a way to exploit the hole they patched, do
not be lazy with this.
Do not try to "double up" on antivirus or firewall programs, 1 of each, 1 anti virus, 1 firewall. You might also look into free web based virus
scans like "bitdefender" as they are updated constantly, and are not stored on your browser so a virus can't affect it the same way as if it was a
locally installed application.
If you run a home network or office network, do some light reading on routers and IP logs, keep a list of "approved" client machines by IP, hostname
On your router, enable MAC based filtering and only allow the MAC addresses of your known machines. This means you will manually add each new machine
to the router MAC access list, but it also throws another step in the "hack". It's not fool proof, spoofing a MAC is step #2 in hacking a network.
But the more barriers you create, the less likely they will bother with you.
When dealing with routers, WPA2 minimum, Long pass phrase, no dictionary words, no "1337" speak, and "salt" it with alternate characters like
#%&*. the longer and more random the password, the harder it is to "crack" and with that, you aren't cracking anything, WPA2 requires either a
bruteforce (every possible combination of characters, could take a hundred million years to complete) or use a dictionary attack, meaning you already
have the password stored in a list of words that you run against the router.
Disable "SSID broadcast" on the router so it doesn't show up for everyone unless they are using hacktool type network scanners. (this means you
have to specify the SSID (network name) on the client when connecting for the first time, it won't appear in your network list)
but the best possible advice is:
Fire fox with a script blocker like "yesscript" or "noscript" disabling all scripts globally and allowing them on a site by site basis. 90% of
your potential infections disappear right there.
After that, don't stray onto the free nudes websites, and never ever click one of those "100 free smilies" popups.