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  1. #11
    Only african to own a PC! Cider's Avatar
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    Jun 2003
    Hmmm, fair enough. I don't think we meant to alienate anyone I was just pointing to the fact that after install XP and going online to do windows updates I haven't been infected. To be honest I don't think my next next skills are different from anyone else.

    Funny side note; This is the same person, who, once I fixed it, wouldn't pay me the money I charged on multiple occasions, and after the second time, I got mad, and said "OK, pay me what you owe me, or I will grab the contract you signed when you told me to fix it! Remember Matt? When you said I need it fixed, I said sure, told you how much, and you signed a contract stating you'd be pay me. It also states if you don't I can take an action I deem necessary to ensure you pay that amount, or more".
    I was always wondering if I should start up my own IT story but then I read this ... I already fight for my salary I don't want to have to do it everyday!

    dredogol: here are some links for your reading if you are going to stay on XP.



    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/967715 > this is a must. if however you dont want to do it then please install this: http://www.pandasecurity.com/homeuse...ds/usbvaccine/

    Also, as Nihil said, your best bet is to get a completely up-to-date XP box and then image it.
    The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.
    Albert Einstein

  2. #12
    Senior Member gore's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Cider; Yea, it is a pain in the ass sometimes to get people to pay. And when it's people related to you, they abuse that fact to the point of no return sometimes. That's why I took precautions in my contracts with family members to ensure I'd be paid.

    Most clients have no problem paying you, because a lot of them, will generally understand, that payment is due at time of completion of any give job. If I was charging a Flat Rate, I'd get paid up front. If I didn't know what I was going to charge because I didn't know how long it would take, which is most of the jobs you'll do, then yea, you have to do the work, and THEN you get paid.

    Again, word your contracts VERY specifically, so that you can take some form of precaution, and ensure you'll be paid properly before they get the machine back.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Alright, my PC is up and running again.
    I ended up having to redo my slipstream CD, because I screwed up one of the settings... took a while to remake after I DBANed my HDDs. XD

    Anyways, Cider, I'll read those 3 links.

    *** EDIT ***

    After reading through those 3 links, it seems I already did all those things prior to reading your links.
    Last edited by dredogol; January 13th, 2012 at 08:45 PM.

  4. #14
    Senior Member nihil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    United Kingdom: Bridlington

    YOU did installs that had no infection, how many REGULAR users have?
    I would say literally millions. By the time XP came out you didn't get an OS CD with a new OEM computer, you got a recovery disk and a recovery partition. When you reinstalled from this, it would turn the Windows firewall on.

    Also, XP was around for two years before the advent of internet worms like Sasser and Blaster that were the cause of this problem. You would not have been infected during that period. IIRC it was these wormas and other such threats that got Microsoft to tweak the firewall and turn it on by default in SP2.

    I don't know if I'd agree with you saying it's "adequate" though... Adequate for the install to be safer? Yes. Adequate in any other way? No.. It only blocks incoming. So basically if you're already back doored, you're still back doored.
    Yes, I meant adequate for the post installation updates. I don't think that the already backdoored concept is relevant as we were talking about a clean install weren't we???

    I always replaced it with something more effective as a firewall, but it was still good enough to protect you from infection when you were doing an install.

    You must also take into account the fact that most "regular" users wouldn't have the confidence to reinstall Windows or even know that was the solution to their problem............... and they never back anything up , so they pretty much have to call in a professional?

    Nihil; When you were doing this sort of thing back in the 80s, did you run into the users like today where if they have to choose a password that isn't found in a dictionary, and can't use their name or initials, they simply write the thing down on a sticky note and stick it on the monitor?
    I think you must mean the 90's, as PCs were very uncommon in the 80's due to their cost. That was the era of mid-range computers and small mainframes using the IBM 5250 dumb terminal or a clone thereof.

    Nobody cared about password strength or whatever back then.............that was down to the user as you were logging into an enclosed network from a dumb terminal............... no internet threats whatsoever.

    Also remember that apart from NT4 and 2000, no other Windows desktop OS had a proper password security system. With the others you were administrator as soon as you turned the machine on; the only alternative was to enable the power on password in the BIOS.

    Anyway, I digress, to answer your question, no I haven't seen passwords attached to monitors or PCs (apart from my own ). But I have seen one hell of a lot of machines where the password is blank...................

    Errr......., no, I haven't even heard of TeX macs, but I will certainly take a look.

  5. #15
    Senior Member gore's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    I haven't personally experienced this, but from what I understand, a lot of people have told me that Microsoft, when they were doing Tech Support, and unable to figure out an issue, if they were basic home users, they were told to simply reinstall the OS.

    Now, I haven't personally experienced this, as I've only ever called twice in my life, and both were for things that were their fault, so I can't say anything about this being true, but the people who told me that Microsoft would tell home users to simply reinstall, were not the type who had reasons to lie, and I trusted them.

    As for the password thing; I'm not kidding; I've literally seen passwords and login info stuck on a post it note on everything from Computers to Routers and Packet Tools. I couldn't Believe it....

    I still remember to this day when I was in a Networking Class in College a few years back, we took a trip to a new building that the local Gas Company had just had built, and we looked at their network.

    On their core router, was a sticky note with the admin log in name and password, which was "warmbeer".... Terrible....

    And TexMacs, yes, I do think you'll enjoy it. I'll warn you that TexMacs, thought a VERY amazing Editor, does save files in it's own way, so you'll need to use it to open whatever you make in it, but, it's WELL worth it.

    I know you in some way shape or form trust me, so, I'll say this:

    Go to the TexMacs Web site, download the Windows version, or Linux or BSD, depending on what you're trying it out on, and install it. Once you do, load it up!

    It can do simple text editing obviously, but also, I thought it was AWESOME that it can also handle Mathematics, Physics, Science, and formulas and equations of all sorts. I think you'll be impressed.

    When you go to the main web site, you'll see a couple screen shots showing it doing some amazing things when you consider it's a text editor. The name is taken from Emacs and TeX, and I think you'll appreciate that.

  6. #16
    Senior Member nihil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    United Kingdom: Bridlington
    I haven't personally experienced this, but from what I understand, a lot of people have told me that Microsoft, when they were doing Tech Support, and unable to figure out an issue, if they were basic home users, they were told to simply reinstall the OS.

    Now, I haven't personally experienced this, as I've only ever called twice in my life, and both were for things that were their fault, so I can't say anything about this being true, but the people who told me that Microsoft would tell home users to simply reinstall, were not the type who had reasons to lie, and I trusted them.
    Well, I do know Microsoft's terms and conditions. Unless you buy a retail boxed version (as I do for myself) or have a corporate licence, your support comes from your OEM and NOT from Microsoft. That's because they charge the OEMs far less per copy than they do for retail versions.

    With retail versions you can get the full version or the OEM edition. In the latter case you are responsible for support unless someone at MS is in a good mood.

    The people you mention will have gone to Walmart or wherever and bought an HP, Dell, Compaq, Sony, Fujitsu or whatever. The support number they have been given to call is the OEM's help desk, not Microsoft's.

    As I have mentioned, the OEM will have supplied a recovery partition and recovery disk, although the Compaq I was given for my birthday a couple of years back didn't even have the recovery disk(s), just the instructions on how to burn them yourself

    If you call MS with an OEM version of Windows they will listen to see if you know what you are talking about, and if the problem seems to be a Windows issue rather than PEBCAK. If the issue is of interest then they will help you, if only to gather information for their knowledge base.

    The only exception to this is when you have a problem with Windows updates, as these are the only direct contact that MS has with its OEM customer base.

    Now, when you call your OEM helpdesk, you have a different scenario. The support agent knows that you have a recovery partition, and that reinstalling Windows from it will restore your computer to its original working condition.

    Now, when you consider that most helpdesks are outsourced, and their guys are getting paid or bonuses for the number of tickets they close, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to work out what their favcourite option is going to be?

    Yeah, the reason why I haven't seen passwords on postit notes is probably because they were mostly blank and one blank postit looks just like another............ hot damn! that "security through obscurity" really works

    I will get back to you on TexMacs after I have had a chance to play with it.

  7. #17
    Only african to own a PC! Cider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    As for the password thing; I'm not kidding; I've literally seen passwords and login info stuck on a post it note on everything from Computers to Routers and Packet Tools. I couldn't Believe it....
    ahaha, was at some laywers the other days to do some demos for Panda etc. Anyways, needed admin rights on one of the machines so I phoned the lady who was not in the office and she tells me to look on the side of her case, low and behold there is the username and password for the admin account ...
    The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.
    Albert Einstein

  8. #18
    Senior Member gore's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Windows Update is oddly enough one of the two times I've ever called Microsoft... The first time I ever called, was because I had an issue installing XP on a machine, and it kept saying my License wasn't good, and I knew it was crap, I paid for it myself. After trying to understand WTF the girl was telling me, eventually, she saw I was in the right but didn't want to do much.

    The second time I called, was when that update totally screwed my Wife's Computer up, all because She hadn't had a chance to turn off automatic updates.

    Basically, the update made the machine not boot Windows anymore, so I try the rescue console, which doesn't work, I search online, find something that's supposed to fix this, it doesn't work.

    We call Microsoft, and after the girl finally understands what happened, and tries saying it was something else, she FINALLY admits that this is a known issue.

    So, she says basically it is a known issue with an update, and that we should try this web site's instructions. The exact page I'd gone to 5 hours earlier, which didn't work. When my Wife pointed out I'd done this 5 hours earlier, she said to reinstall period because they didn't know of a fix.

    I got kind of pissed off because we had Data on there we REALLY needed. I used a bootable Linux distro, mounted the drive, opened it up, and used FTP to grab all the Data I could, while using a USB Drive to grab the rest, and once it was done, we reinstalled.

    I haven't ever Honestly had them help me out, and have always had to reinstall if I had a real problem.

    That's the only Windows Update story I have though, so, it's all I have to go on. I still remember it vividly. We were on the phone for over 4 hours, and got sent from manager to manager, and finally we got told after they said to reinstall; "Well, we won't charge you for this call, because it is a known issue, so you don't have to pay for this"....

  9. #19
    Senior Member nihil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    United Kingdom: Bridlington
    I remember you posting about that Windows update a while back. Two of my mates had similar issues..............well it screwed up big time and they had to reinstall. They both had autoupdates enabled and were running other stuff at the time, so I suppose it was some sort of application conflict?

    I never let auto updates run, just do the download and put the little icon in the system tray. I manually launch it when nothing else is running.

    I guess I have seen autoupdates screw up at least a dozen times, and heard about a lot more. There isn't anything you can do except a full reinstall in my experience.

    A more common and insidious variation is when it seems to have updated OK and MS tell you that you have no outstanding updates, but they have not all installed properly

    That can produce all sorts of instability and weird crashes. I use Belarc Advisor, as it scans your MS updates and flags ones that are corrupt. Then you just uninstall the hotfix and manually update.

    I have never bothered to call MS support because I know there are so many possible combinations they won't have any fix other than to start over.

    As for writing down the sysadmin password.............. you should do this and store it in a sealed envelope in the CEO or CFO's safe. Some day someone might put the wires on and let the hammer down on the SysAdmin?

    Or he might just get run over by a short bus?

  10. #20
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Quote Originally Posted by gore View Post
    Dude, I've seen your posts on here, and they are all basically asking the same thing. Now, I admit, the first one we kind of took as a joke since you had a TIME LINE on it... Which, we are NOT going to just adhere to.

    But this one, I'll go into some detail for you, since you aren't basically saying you want the info by a certain date, and you seem to genuinely just want to learn as much as you can, to lock down what you have, the best you can. And I can respect that.

    Luckily for you, unlike the last time, I'm currently NOT in Excruciating Pain because of my back and shoulder and wrist and knee and Arthritis, and thanks to a bunch of Hydrocodone, Two Fentanyl Patches, and some Opana, I'm actually able to concentrate. (This has nothing to do with your post, but if I explain what it takes for me to not be in excruciating pain, it may help everyone understand why I'm in a bad mood sometimes. Anyone who was in THAT much pain, would NOT be chipper....And yes, I do in fact realize, that mixing all those with Hydromorphone, would kill most people. I'm not most people, and the amount of pain I'm in on a daily basis, makes it where I don't even get a buzz from all this stuff mixed together... The fact I don't get all stoned off ALL of that, should give you an idea of how much pain I'm actually in, and it's chronic, and therefore, doesn't go away ever.).

    Now, with explanations out of the way, lets get started:

    OK, first off, I understand you're using Windows XP, Service Pack 3.

    I can NOT stress enough, how badly you need to upgrade, or change OSs period. I used to have to sit and listen to people go on and on about how Windows XP could be totally locked down to a point of good security.

    Those are the same people, of course, who, if they were to do a fresh installation of it, would be infected like a cheap hooker LONG before they finished installing Patches to stop that **** from happening in the first place.

    You on the other hand said you have a CD or something, where you've got Security Patches on the Disc itself, so when you install, you already have some patches. I don't know the number of them you have, but I don't think you'd manage to fit them ALL on CD.

    So first, I think we should go into the Operating System itself, and start there:

    Windows XP, no matter what edition, in insecure as hell. I know, I know, I'm gonna get flamed by people saying that I'm only saying that because I'm a Unix Elitist. That may in fact be true, but it is NOT the reason I'm saying it.

    Windows XP... Lets begin from the start of a typical installation:

    You pop the CD in, install it, and, then, when it finishes, you have a Windows Admin Account that AUTO LOGS YOU IN WITHOUT A PASSWORD! Bad idea, but, not my point, so we'll keep going:

    Say you have a Computer running Windows XP, and you need to re-install the OS. How can you protect yourself in the time it takes to install patches, and your Anti Virus, and your Spybot, and all that, BEFORE the 15 minutes or so it's gonna take before you're back doored like a Back Street Boys back up dancer?

    I used to use Windows XP all the time; I had it on my Laptop, which is what it came with, and, I used it on two of my Desktops, which I dual booted with other OSs.

    Now, once the install is finished, one thing you can try, is what I used to personally do, to try and protect that thing from being back doored right away, or infected with some annoyance:

    Hardware Firewall! Or, Better yet, a "Hardware Security Device". I really don't know JUST how good these things really are, because they may work great, but they may also not work well at all.

    There are a bunch of them on the Market, and a lot of them don't cost much at all. I have one here, which is this:

    "D-LINK DSD-150" and the box says "Total Network Security" and "Secure Spot total Network Security by D-LINK".

    All in one Internet Security for 1 - 4 Computers. Internet Security Adapter. Single Application :

    -Virus Protection
    -Identity Protection
    -Parental Controls
    -Firewall Protection
    -Pop up Blocker
    -SPAM Blocker
    -Spyware Protection
    -Network Reporting

    The box also states - "Protects your Network from Viruses, Worms, and other online Security Threats" and "Prevents your child from downloading and installing unwanted Applications" and "Provides an easy to use Web Based Control Panel for Set Up".

    These used to cost like $100.00, but my Wife and I both saw this, and grabbed one for us, and my Mom, and they were 20.00 when we got it. I figured if nothing else; It was a new piece of Network Hardware to play with.

    This is one way of course you can go about trying to protect your machine while you're installing updates and patches.

    See, Windows XP, from a fresh installation, is going to have a LOT of updates. And considering it only really comes with Internet Explorer, Word Pad, Windows Media Player, and a few other things, that's actually a lot.

    Back in the day, on AntiOnline, people used to argue with me ALL the time how "Well, a fresh install of Linux has this many security patches, and Windows XP has this many"... They were idiots though, because a FULL install of any Linux distro, especially if you're talking about Debian, or SUSE, has like 20,000 + Applications it comes with!

    And they also don't look at what TYPE of Patches and Security holes are being plugged.... If SUSE has 200 Patches (I'm just making up a number there) but they're all just bug fixes or local exploits only, and Windows has 100, but they're all things where the Computer can be "taken over" then it stands to reason, that first off, with Linux you don't have to reboot for patches unless you patch the Kernel itself... Almost EVERY update on Windows, requires you to reboot.

    So, for a Fresh Installation of Windows XP, you have SOME Options to prevent the machine from getting infected BEFORE you've had a chance to lock it down.

    I personally like Hardware based stuff. I mean software Firewalls, and software Packet Filters work and all that, but I like HARDWARE Firewalls and Packet Filters. And it's not like they have to cost a lot. You can go to a Computer Group in your area and get OLD ass 486 Computers, which are REALLY old, and can't run Microsoft based stuff from today, and take that thing, install FreeBSD, Slackware Linux, or, another BSD based OS, and use it as a Firewall, Router, or both. And it won't cost anything in Software, and the 486 will probably cost you 20 dollars.

    So that's one way.

    The main issue, is that you have to actually manage to install Security Patches and fixes from Microsoft, and a lot of them not only require a reboot, some of them, won't let you download ANYTHING but THAT patch, and nothing else, so this is how it goes:

    Run Windows Update, select patches, install, reboot.

    Windows Update again, select a Patch, which then says it has to be installed by itself.... Install, REBOOT.

    Run Windows Update, select as many as you can, install, REBOOT.

    Run Windows update, and continue this vicious circle....

    Eventually, you see the end of the tunnel, and there's only one or two more left! You run Windows Update, install them, Reboot, and run it once more, seeing that NOW YOU HAVE TO INSTALL 10 MORE because they have to patch the patch they screwed up in the first place!

    I've seen this before and I can't even count how many times.... I run Windows Update for my Mom, and see there's only ONE more left. I then install it, reboot, and BANG! There's now 10 more patches, because you have to install patches, then, the others show up, AFTER you install certain ones, because they THEN have to release a patch to fix the patch they released before, because it breaks something else, all for a patch they shouldn't have had to release in the first place because it's something so stupid you can't Believe they even missed it in the first place, but they did, so, you have to install a patch that breaks something, THEN install another patch, to fix what they broke when they tried fixing what was already broken.

    This is why I don't respect almost anyone who uses Windows as a Server. I don't give a damn about having to reboot for a Patch to my Kernel, but having to reboot because of a ****ing Media Player that shouldn't even SHIP with a Server based OS.... WOW..

    Can you imagine having to have the balls to tell a customer "Yes sir, you should install this patch, because the Windows Media Player, which has NO USE on a SERVER OPERATING SYSTEM could allow people to exploit it and get into your machine...

    WOW that would take some balls.

    I installed Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition on a machine, because I wanted to see how it looked and worked. To my utter ****ing HORROR, I saw Windows Media Player patches in Windows Update, and I thought to myself "Who the **** would put a MEDIA PLAYER in a SERVER?????" And then, again, to my utter Horror, I saw that I had to REBOOT for this stupid patch.

    I'm not going to sit here and say Windows has no place, I won't do that. On the Desktop, it works well enough for most people, and they are getting Better. Windows 7 is a GREAT step forward for Microsoft. But Windows Server OSs, are a joke.

    So, with that said, can you get yourself a hardware Firewall? Or, can you get yourself a 386 or 486? Because basically, not only can FreeBSD and Slackware both work on a 486, but, you can always choose to grab a 386, and just use an older yet still supported version of either.

    Also, FreeBSD has a custom version made JUST for Firewalls.



    As you can see from this, you have options if you have the spare hardware. I know of a few people who will find a Pentium based PC (Basically, a 100 MHz Processor machine with like 8 MBs of RAM) and they then, install FreeBSD on it, and set it up as a router and Firewall.

    With FreeBSD, you can REALLY cut this thing down to almost nothing, with relative ease I might add, and basically, make it so that you only install the Software you actually need to run this thing, and during an installation of FreeBSD, it actually asks you if you'd like it to be a Gateway, and other stuff like that, and, of course, if you'd like to start the services to do this. So it's actually quite simple. And it won't cost you NEARLY what it would for a REAL hardware Firewall.

    And because you'll have such a bare bones system, updating it and installing Patches is simple; There aren't that many you'd need. And of course; Because it's FreeBSD, installing extra stuff you need LATER, is a breeze.

    So, for the fresh install problem, I'd say this is one way to go.

    I myself keep two hardware parts in front of all my machines, and that allows me to get things patched before anything gets in.

    Then, there's the part where you've now installed the OS, and have some patches installed, but, what do you do? Should you install patches first?

    Well, I personally keep a CD around for this sort of thing; I basically grabbed a bunch of software, like Spybot, and AVG, and a couple other things I know I want installed quickly, and, because of the fact that you can get 7-Zip totally Free of Charge, and, put the installer on CD, you can make an Archive, and Compress it, and fit WAY more.

    PeaZIP, TugZIP, and any other 7-Zip based product, which are all free I might add, have Compression that makes the ZIP Software from other companies, look like crap.

    I can Copy all the files I want to back up, and stick them in a directory, and then Compress that directory, and have it about half the size it normally is. And you can do better than that too!

    So, I take my CD, install Spybot, update it, and then, I use the Immunization feature, assuring my Web Browsers are safer, and of course, there's Teapot to watch over the System, which also put another step in your journey to security.

    A lot of people I know, think Security is a Program, or a couple Programs, and that's simply not true; It's a PROCESS. You can't lock down every machine every time the right way; You'll eventually have time constraints that don't allow this.

    Now, what can YOU do?

    Well, I'm not the only one who's told you that XP is NOT the best choice. I don't know what your financial situation is, but if you can, do this:

    Upgrade to Windows 7 ASAP. Windows 7 is one of the best OSs Microsoft have ever came out with. I HIGHLY recommend you do this ASAP.

    If you currently can not afford to do this, maybe switch to something else. Do you HAVE to use Windows XP? Is there something stopping you from using another OS?

    FreeBSD isn't exactly known for being newbie friendly, so I won't tell you to run out and do that; Not knowing a thing about Unix, will possibly back fire.

    But there IS something called PC-BSD! THIS is an OS that is VERY easy to use, and doesn't expect you to know anything! So you may want to look into PC-BSD:

    http://www.pcbsd.org/ <-- That's the main PC-BSD Web Site. You can learn more about it, and start looking into it. It's BSD, so you know it can be easily locked down, and the Installation, is VERY easy. Easier than Windows even. It's a GUI based installer, and it's a nice one.

    http://www.pcbsd.org/pcbsd <---- This is more or less a way to look at what it can do based on your needs.

    http://www.pcbsd.org/documentation <--- That's the Documentation section.

    http://www.pcbsd.org/about <---- This is where you can find more info about it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PC-BSD <--- Again, more information.

    http://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=pcbsd <---- This is a good place to look as well, because it not only have info about it, but, there are links to reviews and other stuff.

    After reading your other post, and seeing that you used to work on Solaris, I think you'll like BSD even more.

    Anyway, basically, everything you asked about, can in fact happen. Encryption can be broken. I mean, back in the day, it was pretty much something not well known from what I understand, and Admins were finding out the hard way that you could download a password file, and basically crack the encryption without much effort.

    Before I make this post into a 300 page book, I'll just ask:

    Do you have any plans for upgrades?
    What are your current needs for the Operating System?
    Is there something that keeps you on Windows XP?
    ty bud i have an old p4 box sitting here i think im gonna do that with ,with my laptop ,android phone ,and client computers being on my network security is more important than ever
    im a Steve Wozniak in a bill gates world

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