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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Four Things You Have To Do Immediately After You Buy A Windows Machine

Here are 4 things that you have to do immediately after you receive you new windows PC
All of these tools are free so it won't cost you a thing

1 Modify the hosts file
In Windows systems, the Hosts file — simply called "hosts" with no file extension — can generally be found in the directory:
Note that in this directory path, "c:\Windows" is the system's Windows installation directory, which is usually on the "C" drive and located in "\Windows" or "\WINNT" . . . but the directory could be named something else.

Here is a small example of my hosts file #[Win32/PSW.Legendmir] #[Norman.W32/Malware] #[IE-SpyAd] #[Tenebril.TrackingCookie]

The domains and machine names in the file are places I don't want my web browser or other software inside my machine venturing for any reason. Many of these names may look familiar, and you would probably find web browser third-party tracking cookies bearing these domain names if you were to look into most PCs.
So after you modify your hosts file the browser will serve instead of one of these malicious sites
This is a great way to protect your machine and it doesn’t cost a thing

A txt version of the hosts file can be found here ( This file is updated frequently; check once a week and then update your hosts file

2 Get Spybot search and destroy
A must have. What is Spybot - Search & Destroy ?
Spybot - Search & Destroy detects and removes spyware, a relatively new kind of threat not yet covered by common anti-virus applications. Spyware silently tracks your surfing behaviour to create a marketing profile for you that is transmitted without your knowledge to the compilers and sold to advertising companies. If you see new toolbars in your Internet Explorer that you haven't intentionally installed, if your browser crashes inexplicably, or if your home page has been "hijacked" (or changed without your knowledge), your computer is most probably infected with spyware. Even if you don't see the symptoms, your computer may be infected, because more and more spyware is emerging. Spybot-S&D is free, so there's no harm giving it a try to see if something has invaded your computer.

Download it here: ( )

3 Disable JavaScript
Imagine visiting a blog on a social site or checking your email on a portal like Yahoo’s Webmail. While you are reading the Web page JavaScript code is downloaded and executed by your Web browser. It scans your entire home network, detects and determines your Linksys router model number, and then sends commands to the router to turn on wireless networking and turn off all encryption. Now imagine that this happens to 1 million people across the United States in less than 24 hours.
This scenario is no longer one of fiction.
Read the whole article here (

So disable JavaScript and only allow it for sites that you do trust!

4 Use ZonedOut to add bad sites to your restricted zone automatically
Don’t waste your time adding sites to your restricted zone manually, ZonedOut will do it automatically; a whole bunch of known bad sites will be added to your restricted zone
Download it here (

So that's it, I hope it helps you to become more secure. And of course you are already running an anti-virus program right?


Anonymous said...

Or just install Linux.

Anonymous said...

That hosts thing is BAD(tm). If you have a lot of entries in hosts-file, your computer occasionally locks up (DNS entry update).

PeerGuardian is a good tool to block suspicious IP addresses. I also use Privoxy as local browser proxy to filter out all ads, flash animations, suspicious URLs etc.

Most sites require JavaScript so if you turn that off you are in trouble. IMHO JS is pretty safe so you can keep it on.

On the other hand, I have Java disabled in the browser. I only enable it when I really need it and then immediately turn it off.

Anonymous said...

Ditch Inbreed Exploiter and install Firefox.
Ditch Outleak Express and install Thunderbird.
Get a REAL firewall.
Disable Windows Scripting Host.
Get a REAL antivirus (Antivir, etc.).
Stop worrying about JavaScript and LISTEN to the man about *Java*.
And, PLEASE, Dear God, STOP sending those annoying "forwards"!!!