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How To Get Rid Of A Hacker??

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Mike Bird

There are some key things to consider.

1) is your computer fully O/S patched?
- this means running Windows Update (or the equivalent apple O/S update) until all critical and suggeseted updates are deployed.

2) is your AntiVirus/Firewall solution updated and correctly configured?
- While norton is a reasonable product any AV/FW solution is only good if it is kept up to date. This means running (or setting auto) update routines.

- its no use if its misconfigured.

It may be worth finding the "reset" option in the AV/FW software and using it to set everything back to the default configuration (which is usually secure) then working your way throught the configuration and setting the options to a "very secure" configuration.

While this may generate a lot of messages and warnings as you start using the system; which you should be considering carefully; the benefit will be a more secure setup.

3) Other applications & Devices

Ensure that things like Adobe Acrobat, Flash Player and Shockwave Player are kept updated.
If you use another browser (Firefox for instance) then again update that.

If you view MEDIA files (movies / audio) on your computer then ensure you are careful when any file prompts you to download CODECS. One vector for viruses is to put a tempting file on the net then try to convince viewers that they need to download a CODEC to view the particular type of encoding in that file.

Remember also that USB memory sticks and even camera memory cards can contain viruses. If its been connected to your computer and the computer is infected. Plugging an infected stick into your computer may well just undo all your work so ensure you configure your AV software to scan removable media devices.


4) Unsolicited files

You've just got an email from a friend suggesting you try out a great program which they've thoughtfully attached. You've got an email from a courier company with an executable attachment that they insist you run to get the package they have on hold from you. You're being invited to open a PDF file to get a chance to win 10,000 USD.

All of the above are likely to be something nasty. If you're in doubt then phone the person up and ask them. Courier companies do not send executable programs via email to schedule deliveries; and lets face it, the majority of advance fraud fee scams on the news should have alerted you to the probablity of these being bogus.

4) Network Security

Remember if you've got a Broadband Router this has likely got a degree of protection build into it. Make sure the router is configured correctly
- ensure your router is not configured to casually permit external connections
- ensure you have not disabled protections against Port Scan

If your router is supplied by your ISP then consider contacting them for advise on checking the configuration. Alternatively if your router is your own purchase then note all settings and then consider a RESET (back to manufacturer's base settings) and then reconfigure it from scratch. Many routers automatically detect broadband configuration directly off the line.

5) WIFI security.
If you don't use WIFI then SWITCH THE FUNCTION OFF ON THE ROUTER.

If you are using it then consider if you need to use it. For instance POWERLINE type devices can provide excellent data connections direct to your router as long as you have a power socket near your desk location.

If you must have WIFI enabled then ensure you setup your router
- To hide the SSID (not broadcast)
- To use a complex password (a mix of Upper/Lower letters, Numbers and at least one ! @ or * or other non-letter character) (ensure you note the password down and store it OFFLINE)
- To use WAP or WAP2 encryption (NOT WEP)

6) ONCE YOU'VE GOT ALL THAT DONE
- Put your computer into SAFE MODE and do a full scan of the computer
- Go and download the freeware versions of tools like Malwarebytes Antimalware and AVG Free and use those to independently check and scan your computer.

From ANOTHER COMPUTER which you have a confidence is clean then change all your passwords. Remember to use complex passwords as per my note on Wifi above.

Now go back to your computer and run those anti virus scan again.
At that point you have a reasonable confidence of having a secure computing environment.