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  1. Mercurial
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    Mercurial Contributing Member Contributor

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    April Fool's Virus, IP Addresses, and Cookies

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Mercurial, Apr 1, 2009.

    I just heard about this no more than two hours ago --and my computer is now protected, but apparently for the past two years (so I recognize this may be old news, but it's new news to me ;) ) some computer geeks have sent out a dormant virus to erupt on April 1st at 12AM. After using something called Norton AntiVirus Spyware, I'm suppoesd to be safe, but am I the only one who thinks this is totally creepy!? :eek:
    (By the way, this virus is targeted at PCs but Mac and iPhone users are supposed to be cautious too.)

    The software notified me of five dormant viruses in my computer. Five! What?! After researching (because I know very little about computers, let alone viruses or worms --worms are apparently worse than viruses, and this April Fool's thing is a worm-- ), I found out that viruses are spread by opening emails from people you dont know or going to suspicious Web sites, which confuses me. The only emails I open that I dont know the sender are college solicters, and the only Web sites I frequent are common ones --writingforums, of course; Google Search; Facebook... I dont know how I could have gathered five viruses!

    Since I was intrigued, I kept researching and found out about these things called tracking cookies and IP addresses. (This is when I come across as really stupid, I bet.)
    OH. MY. GOD.

    These people can track you using your IP address! They can find out who you are, where you live (or at least where you are in regards to your computer), what Web sites you've been to, and if they're really good, they can hack into your files --like my writing files. Granted, I doubt anyone would hack my computer to read my half-finished stories, but that's so creepy!
    Then, these tracking cookies can tell what Web sites you go to, how often, and when.

    I dont do anything 'wrong' on my computer; I use it for homework, writing, and basic Internet usage, but that freaks me out that someone could, basically, intrude in on my life without me even knowing about it, which was the case with these five, thankfully dormant viruses in my hardware.

    These tracking cookies are apparently used to save log-ins (so this site uses tracking cookies, which creeps me out) and track where you go on the Internet Superhighway --like, the Indystar.com tracks me! I know they dont give a damn about me, but I'm a private person, and I dont like that.

    I know the Internet is all about communication, but isnt privacy kind of a right? :confused:

    It just creeps me out.
     
    cydney likes this.
  2. Agreen
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    Agreen Faceless Man Contributor

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    I've heard of this, even some speculation that it'd do something like delete your hard drive. It's probably overblown, but I updated my firewall and antivirus software- I have too many cds to take the time to put them all back on my computer again.
     
  3. hiddennovelist
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    hiddennovelist Contributing Member Contributor

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    Man, now I feel like I need to go get antivirus software...mine expired, and I just let it because I figured I don't download anything and am not really on the internet a lot. But it sounds like shelling out $40 for the software is better than risking my computer getting wrecked.
     
  4. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    AVG has an awesome free antivirus for download. If you want a free scan over the internet, housecall.trendmicro.com is great as well.

    http://tech.yahoo.com/blogs/null/132464 <-- is an blog contining lots of info regarding the conflicker worm, and several links to scan and see if you are infected. I am clean and safe :) (per microsoft... :| )

    Merc, I do not want to scare you further, so I will not go into details about how massively ---hide under the sheets and wrap your head in foil--- scarry the internet can be.

    99.8% of the worlds population really has nothing to worry about. Don't make any waves an you will be fine. Stay outta /b/ (if you don't understand that, its a good thing) and for the love of God, stop playing on stickam (if you are a 14-18 year old girl).
     
  5. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    Privacy inherently requires security, which inherently requires regulation. Regulation and freedom are inversely related and one hell of a juggling game to balance the two. Granted I think I'm stretching that a bit XD. But, the nature of the internet is one that is very free, and as a result, one where people can abuse it's nature to their own ends. Smart internet use can mitigate your dangers, and most tracking cookies are relatively harmless.

    Companies like to use them to track user behavior and better gear their sites for their user base. A company sees many customers visit their book store site, and also notice many of those user's frequent science fiction fan forums. if there is enough users displaying the pattern they may give science fiction novels a bigger place on their home page to try and draw in those people.

    Of course, that's a fine line. The same technology is relatively easy to abuse but then, the internet is just another way to communicate, like the post office or a telephone. It's not that hard to find where someone lives from their address on their mail or their phone number, so I really don't think it's quite as bad as you might think. Be cautious and ever weary in all aspects of life I say. Don't be paranoid of course but, don't be a silly nilly either. There are many simple little things, many of them behavior or habit related that you can adjust to protect yourself from danger. Not that being careful with your personal information will give you 100% shielding from a serial killer or something, but as I say: "You don't have to run faster than the bear, just faster than the guy behind you." Just make yourself that little but more troublesome to target, most folks who might hurt you will leave and go after someone else. Plenty of idiots in the world.
     
  6. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    Okay, you guys are scaring me now. I guess it's a good thing I don't know what Kyle's talking about. ... I was just told to make sure you can get to microsoft.com and norton.com as one way to check if you've been hit w/the conflicker virus.
     
  7. apathykills
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    apathykills Contributing Member

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    If you want to you can disable cookies on your computer. However this will mean you will have to log in every time you enter a site (among other things).

    Over all yes there is a transparency to you logging into a site, at the same time there is a transparency to you going anywhere and doing anything.

    There are usually traffic cameras in most intersections, so there are countless records of your actual self and not just your computer. Not to mention that wherever you go there is someone or something seeing you be there.

    In that respect cookies are no different then a store clerk that remembers your name.

    Just keep yourself protected, wipe you cookie folder every now and again, and be careful.

    You my friend just broke rules one and two.
     
  8. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    Rules are made to be broken.
     
  9. ManicParroT
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    ManicParroT Contributing Member

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    You seem to be confusing cookies and exploits. Exploits are weaknesses in your computer's security - bugs in the code of your browser or your OS, maybe - that allow people to break into your computer. You can avoid them by being fully patched and up to date, using a firewall and avoiding suspect sites and email attachments.

    Cookies are, as you say, tracking devices. The rest of the thread explains how you can handle them, but cookies don't generally allow people to break into your computer, or they wouldn't be used by so many sites.
     
  10. Neha
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    Neha Beyond Infinity. Contributor

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    Actually it's not just the computer geniuses and hackers who can trace you...with the right software(you can find it ANYWHERE on the net) anyone can trace IP-adresses. You're computer's got so many weak-spots you'd be suprised. That's why even though Trojan horses aren't essentially viruses, they're counted in that category because it's mostly thanks to them that one can access a vulnerable backdoor. That's what firewalls are supposed to protect us from. They reduce external visibilty but provide enough scope to access files on the web. Worms can't get into your computer unless you activate them, and it's not necessary that just because a mailer bot declares that an email is virus free, it doesn't have any virus. Download attachments only from trusted senders and NEVER open anything in your spam folder unless you're expecting that mail. Aside from emails, try not to download stuff from anywhere and everywhere-including youtube.
    The best thing of-course is to keep your cache cookie registry clear, even if you HAVE to log in everytime. That's better in the long run. And you should clear your history and temporary files regularly too.
     
  11. KP Williams
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    KP Williams Contributing Member

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    I suspect it's just a scheme to get people to update their virus protection. The fact that it's supposed to go live today, of all days, raises a red flag.

    Then again, it could be true and the people behind this chose today precisely because they hoped people would come to this conclusion and not do anything about it. Who knows. Eh, this computer's pretty much trash anyway, so I won't be too heartbroken if something happens to kill it completely. :p
     
  12. becca
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    becca New Member Contributor

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    I agree this might all be an overraction. There have been tracking cookies forever, worms forever, and viruses forever. Being that you just learned what they are and what they do prolly just freaked you out.

    Try to keep your virus protection up to date, and run it like once a week. Delete your cookies, temp Internet files, passwords, etc. out of your browser, about once a week, and you should be alright.

    I almost always have one tracking cookie when I do a virus scan (once a week). I don't know what site I pick it up on, doesn't really bother me because it isn't there long enought o learn anything major. :)
     
  13. Castlesofsand
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    Castlesofsand Banned

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    actually this one isn't a hoax, but as you mentioned its good to clean everything, scan and such regardless to the truth of any hoax. I believe this one is rooted in china, though they can come from anywhere.

    update/scan/remove

    sad how it is sometimes out here lol
     
  14. Xeno
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    Xeno Mad and Bitey Contributor

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    Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you: BULLGAURD ANTI-VIRUS. :D

    This thing is brilliant! It routinely scans my computer and every so often pops up and says:

    "Bullguard has found a virus. Bullguard has DELETED the virus. Don't worry, I've got your back." :D

    I'm PROTECTED.
     
  15. hiddennovelist
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    hiddennovelist Contributing Member Contributor

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    Does it really say "don't orry, I've got your back"? Because if so, I'm buying it.

    And ho do you delete tracking cookies?
     
  16. Xeno
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    Xeno Mad and Bitey Contributor

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    Lol. No, it doesn't.
     
  17. lilix morgan
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    lilix morgan Contributing Member

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    ... -is confused-

    ... -again, is confused-
     
  18. lilix morgan
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    lilix morgan Contributing Member

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    Same. I get at least one or two when I scan my computer (usually every month, but my dad does it weekly, sometimes daily, too, if he feels wary). Dunno where I pick it up from, but whatever. It's gone later.
     
  19. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    Depends on your browser where the option is. Most have a means of deleting cookies. Some sites even do it for you (when you log out of your WF.org account, it deletes all the WF cookies automatically. At least that's what it says).
     
  20. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    Cookies are really not that dangerous (in the grand scheme of things)
     
  21. Mercurial
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    Mercurial Contributing Member Contributor

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    Okay, firstly, I just Googled Trojan Horses --of the five viruses my computer had, three of them were Trojan Horses-- and good gosh! :eek: Where the heck did I pick up these things?

    People are being so helpful with the tracking cookies and IP addresses and how to protect yourself, but I'm curious what your idea of protecting yourself might be. :)

    Okay, I dont know what stickam is, but I went to the /b/ thing (4chan or something, right?) once when someone directed me there. That place is ludicrous (I never went back; I have better and honestly nicer things to do with my time), but could I have accidently picked up viruses there? Geez!

    And, as to your first comment, I'd actually like to know. :) I'm a little girl from nowhere who isnt very radical nor am I up to anything that would likely incriminate me, but no one likes to be screwed with, and I dont like the idea that someone can get into my computer (I keep a lot of personal information like bank statements and identification tools in a specific folder, for example, and I have other private documents in another).

    I just found out how susceptable I am to hacking / viruses / creepy computer stuff when a friend of mine hacked into mine for fun and asked me about one of my photos. She said it was really hard to do, and time consuming usually, so I shouldnt worry about it, but apparently that didnt stop her from purchasing another IP address --one from Belgium. I dont know why she has it nor do I want to know. :p
     
  22. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    Things like what happened to Kenny Glenn (age 13). In a nut shell, he anonymously posted a video of himself abusing a cat on You tube. An internet vigilante group scoured Myspace and Facebook until they were able to match the background images in the video to background images in personal photographs.

    Kenny's personal information were then tossed up onto the internet with orders to ruin his life. The police were also contacted and given all the details. Kenny is current awaiting trial.

    Or Chris Forcand, who THOUGHT he was chatting with a 13 year old girl, but instead was chatting with a group of bored guys on the internet. After he was no longer entertaining, all information, logs, videos, EVERYTHING was sent to the RCMP and he was arrested.

    Or Harold Charles Turner, a white supremacist radio host who picked a fight he should not have, and had his life ruined in many, many ways.


    Long ago, as a simple demonstration, I took a friend of my brother's and emailed her (at her request, she was curious how scary the internet is) her full name, address, phone number, school she attends, aerial photos of her neighborhood, detailed escape routes, and other fun stuff. I started with a name and zip code.
     
  23. The Freshmaker
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    The Freshmaker <insert obscure pop culture reference> Contributor

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    Tracking cookies...aren't that big of a deal? I mean, you should clear them now and then. But if you aren't going to any bad sites, you shouldn't have a problem.

    I thought this was going to be about the Conficker worm. Wasn't that supposed to update itself today? The Internet didn't explode, so whatever it did couldn't have been that bad.
     
  24. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    Conficker went LIVE today. It constantly looks for new instructions on what to do, from a variety of random websites. There is no way to know WHAT it will do or when. When/if the creators will Conficker to go hostile, it will. Until then it's totally dormant.
     
  25. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    Information about someone is easy to get. Just don't make it easier: posting name, address, location, etc. Vague details are fine but don't go fine. Whenever people ask me where I live, I say US. If it's someone I've known awhile, I might go into more detail, but never will I give my full name, birthday, or address. That's just stupid. Don't walk with a sign saying "Over here I'm easy to target." Don't be liberal with your personal info and your much safer because there is inevitably someone much more liberal than you out there who is easier to target. Natural selection at work.

    Never download from sites you don't know, don't click on pop ups, never open spam email, be careful what you say in chat rooms, that sort of thing.

    For example at your house (Slightly off topic): Put up a beware of dogs sign even if you have no dog. A burglar looking for a house to stake might go right by you just seeing the sign. If you have a nice car and a cheap car put the nice one in the garage and the cheap one in the front. Lock your doors and windows, don't keep high hedges, make your house visible from roads and too neighbors. Some careful gardening and a few slights of hand can really help in boosting your security, especially when neighbors don't do any of them!

    Of course, nothing beats a security system with cameras, motion sensing lights, and a 20 foot cyborg with mini-guns but there are cheap or even free things that can subtly make you less vulnerable.
     

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