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Privacy & Security Issues
These also apply to Windows 98.

One of the things that spins me up the fastest is hidden programs that are installed by the "browser" version supplied an ISP, that report what they call "connection quality" issues back to their servers.  Supposedly, these are for the purpose of helping them improve your service and connectivity.  Another sore point, is what they call Spyware programs that monitor your internet activity ( and who knows what else ) for the purposes of "demographics."  I guess that means they can be more creative in selecting what pop up adds appear when I'm surfing the Net.   Some of these get in your PC when surfing the net and some even ask if you want to install their handy little "utility."  Listed below are a few I've come across and a couple of sites with some great software that will root out the "spies."  Some you have to find and uninstall yourself.



Young folks, don't try anything on your Parents' computer without permission.

Image opens a new window.  The Close Page button brings you back.

Google Icon  Google Search | Yahoo Icon Yahoo Search | AltaVista Icon AltaVista Search

Cool Web Shredder Icon, Copyright Spyware Info
Go get it

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Get rid of CoolWebSearch browser hijacker
This is another browser hijacker making it's rounds on the internet these days.
There is a remover tool named Cool Web Shredder you can download and run
to restore Internet Explorer.

HijackThis Icon Copyright Spyware Info
Go get it

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Removing Browser Hijackers
Ever visited a website and had home page reset, or had Internet Explorer slow down so much
that it takes forever for pages to load.  Download and run HijackThis a great free utility.
Be careful what you remove though.

Visit

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Prevent Shockwave from accessing your Microphone, Webcam and Hard Drive
When you install the Macromedia Shockwave player, it automatically grants itself access to your Microphone and Webcam if installed, and allocates storage space on your hard drive.    To change the settings, right click on a Flash image and click the Settings tab.  Click Image to see how to disable it, or click Visit to go to the Macromedia page that explains it.

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Set Outlook Express to automatically empty the Deleted messages folder
Ever shut down and then wonder if you emptied your deleted messages folder because there's one you don't want anyone to read, or maybe one that contained a possible virus.  You can set outlook Express to automatically empty the folder when you shut it down.   Click Tools > Options and then Maintenance and check the box: "Empty messages from the deleted items folder on exit"

LavaSoft AdAware Icon
Go get it

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AdAware
It can be used in windows 95, however the "installer" for the SE version won't run on Windows 95.  So the trick is, install it in a machine with a newer version of Windows and then simply copy the Lavasoft folder from C:\Program Files and place it in C:\Program Files on the 95 machine.  Then create a Desktop shortcut to AdAware.exe and Bingo, it will run in Windows 95. The reason to do this is that there are no longer updates provided for older versions.


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Secure your Clipboard
When you are on-line, it is possible for a web site to read the contents of your clipboard.  To prevent this from happening, go to Internet Explorer, Tools Internet Options, click the Security tab and then click Custom level.  In the security Settings panel, scroll down to Scripting and make sure that "Allow paste operations" is set to Prompt.

autostart.gif (1371 bytes)
Go get it
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Autostart Explorer
Autostart Explorer by Magnus Mischel will show you any and all programs that are automatically launched when you start your computer.  It's free for personal use, and is one of the nicest utilities I've seen in quite a while.

ExploiterStat Icon
Go get it
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Monitor your computer's "Internet Activity" with XploiterStat
A great little free utility by Simon Steed, that monitors IP addresses and ports they are using.  Can be configured to save a log file to be viewed later, and also to warn you if a program tries to access a "forbidden" port.

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Force Windows and Internet Explorer to ask "Permission"
With all of the "bad" things floating around the internet these days, it's a good idea to make windows and IE ask "permission" to download files and or install them. If you've ever checked the "Always trust" box IE will download files with out asking. To restore the feature, Right click the IE icon, click properties and then Content. then click the Publishers or Certificates tabs and take the little Image tour.

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Slow down or stop Spam E-mail
Some "web sites" ( for lack of a better word ) use a java script routine to determine your "Default" e-mail address when you visit their "sites," and it doesn't matter if Outlook Express is running or not, as they pull it out of your registry.  To stop this, create a "Bogus" e-mail address so if they do get one it won't be real.  To do this, in an Outlook window click Tools and then Accounts and follow the steps shown in the little tour that starts when you click Image on the left.  Just remember you MUST make sure to select a valid "From:" address from the drop down menu in the "From:" box each time you open the New mail window after you install this "Tweak."
( This tweak appears in both Privacy and Outlook )

Grisoft AVG Icon
Go get it


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Anti Virus protection
I believe there are two kinds of computers, those that have had a virus and those that will.  I made it several years without any Anti Virus software by following all of the "rules," but when I got hit it was format and reinstall time.  There are several free anti virus programs available, but the one that seems to work the best on this old slow computer is AVG by Grisoft. It has an auto update feature and there is NO doubt in your mind when it detects a possible virus.  Make sure you enable the Outlook Express plug in. ( Note: I am not a reseller for Grisoft. )

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Use sounds to tell you when programs open and close.
Trying to figure out if you have "unknown" programs running in the background?   Use the Open program and Close program sound events to tell you.  As Windows is running, every time a program starts or stops Windows can play a sound to let you know.   Go to Control Panel, Sounds and select a sound for each event.

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The importance of Scandisk and Defrag
You're done surfing the internet and answering e-mails, you've emptied your Deleted e-mails, dumped  the Temporary Internet and History files, and emptied the Recycle Bin.  Everything should be all clean and secure right? Think again!  If you haven't run Scandisk and Defrag, check out what a program named File Revival can see on your computer.  Clicking Image will show you a Windows view and a File Revival view of an "empty" Recycle bin.

grc.gif (217 bytes)

Visit

Gibson Research
A great site dealing with security and Privacy & Security issues.  Stop on by and read the articles about Steve Gibson and his warnings to a major software company about the security issues that he found in their latest version, before it went on sale to the public.  They also have a service named "Shields Up" that will scan your computer and warn you of any vulnerabilities.

AnalogX DHCP Fix Icon
Go get it

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DSL and Cable Modem Security
Some DSL and cable modem programs enable DHCP ( Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol ) when they are installed, which from a few articles I've read can pose a security problem for Windows 95/98 machines.  I stumbled upon this while visiting AnalogX and immediately downloaded and ran their fix, and sure enough my machine was not "secure."   This free fix only needs to be run one time.

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Instant Messaging Security
A popular ( and my favorite ) IM program has a nice file sharing utility.  However if you designate the wrong directory or your hard drive as the "sharing folder," a malicious user can read every file on your computer.  I would also recommend that you make sure it is set to "Ask Permission" before sending and receiving files.

Modem Icon animated by 95 Is alive

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Display your modem status
Set your computer so that it displays the modem status indicator in the system tray. This is an easy way to monitor when your computer is communicating with the "Net."   If the indicator is blinking away when you think your computer is "idle," it is an indication of Spyware or another "background" program transferring data between your computer and some remote server.  It is set either in device manager by clicking on the modem entry and then properties, or right clicking on the modem in Dial Up Networking and then click properties.. ( For AOL  users this can't be done as the feature has been intentionally disabled via your install disk. )

AnalogX netStat Live Icon, animated by 95 Is alive
Go get it


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Monitor your Internet activity with Netstat Live.
Not even AOL can stop you from using this one.  Another free goodie from AnalogX, this utility monitors your computers' Internet activity with an enhanced version of the DOS level netstat command I mentioned in the connections section.  It will run in the background with the icon you see on the left placed in the System Tray next to the clock, with colors changing depending upon network activity.  I consider it an extremely useful little tool.

To be continued....
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This page was last updated on December 16, 2015.