Spam & Security (+Alerts)
yet, just give up - Windows PCs are dead - run Linux or Apple
of the moment: Don't leave the Subject: field empty in emails.
the last couple of days (2018-01-03), there has been a lot of
discussion about a pair of security vulnerabilities nicknamed Spectre and Meltdown. These affect all modern Intel processors, and (in the case of Spectre) many AMD processors and some ARM cores.
Spectre allows an attacker to bypass software checks to read data from
arbitrary locations in the current address space; Meltdown allows an
attacker to read arbitrary data from the operating system kernel’s
address space (which should normally be inaccessible to user programs).
The Raspberry Pi family is immune to this.
'WannaCry' fixes (urgent 2017-05-13):
Manually installable patch for XP and other non-supported OSes can be found at this Microsoft page
Manually installable patch for Windows 7 and later can be found at this Microsoft page
You can be sure more is coming, so stay alert to media and SANS
Note: this exploits SMB1 server (optional) connection
code. In our Win7 Professional installs none of the SMB1, SMB2 or SMB3
options were even present. To be safe, run these patches anyway.
EVER leave your e-mail client
running all the time!
you run Windows (or Wine on Linux), do yourself a
favour and use PopTray (use for
Wine/Linux) or PopTrayU
(use for Windows).
For the most reliable (and supportable) version of PopTrayU go to this download page
and download v5.0.15.
This allows you to keep your
e-mail client closed and will also block unwanted spam (by installing
the example Rules.ini file given here):
|Install PopTray or PopTrayU-
then download our latest PopTray(U) Rules.ini file.
updated: Tuesday, 31-Jul-2018 04:47:04 PDT Size:1.0MB
The Rules file is
frequently tested and then updated. Re-visit here frequently and
download to be rid of
the 'spam of the day'.
Setting up PopTray(U) and Thunderbird
[you can also use BlackList.ptdat & WhiteList.ptdat files on specific e-mail addresses].
entries? Avoid services such as LastPass
Ask yourself: Can I trust them? How long will they be around?
1000 passwords used - avoid them like the Plague.
Why you shouldn't use a
"Cloud" - plus they are
built on wobbly foundations
Current Internet performance Global Internet
Web Traffic SANS "Ouch"
Badware Alerts and Reports
DNS vulnerabilty - check
your ISP's DNS updates - an overview
of the worldwide patching
From here on down, ignore the rest of this
page if you run Linux or *NIX
your Security & “Well Being”:
recommended – essential
– programs carry a 5 tick rating
anti-virus program. NOW.
security tools up to
date EVERY DAY
or your machine
spend at least 15 minutes per day looking after your security
patches and updates for your operating
(not a great idea after August 2013!!)
download free software or purchased software from trusted,
of important files
on a regular basis – don't entrust them to a "Cloud" service.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q. Why is this
page a bit disorganized?
Viruses, spam and
Security have become so inter-connected that to consider each in
almost impossible. Writing a page which covers this subject is a vast
Q. Does that mean
I should install everything on this page?
To be absolutely
sure, yes. Of course, don’t install two anti-virus programs
or two firewalls.
Q. Should I be
constantly on the alert for the latest threats?
yes. Without spending all your time doing it.
prevention measures are in place on your server?
The first thing
an incoming e-mail hits is an absolute brickwall which refuses e-mail
addresses and domains. This blocks very well known spammers. On a daily
this list is updated on the basis of real received spam. Next, the
This is the
highest rated server spam blocker in the industry. Finally, our
special files in
the web site areas prevent spam-bots from harvesting e-mail addresses
automatically from your webpage. Webmasters must not remove
these files, or
this protection will be lost.
Q. How often
should I update my programs?
Whenever and as soon
as you can
do I get so much spam?
With all of these
measures in place, you should see a reduction in spam, especially with
spam-bot blocker. However, spam is growing at at least 10% per month,
latest measures, whatever they are, may seem to do no good.
so much spam, or
why does some of your e-mail “go missing” went sent
longer your e-mail address is in service, the more you will receive.
to attract spam:
sites and sign up for e-mail alerts.
many web sites.
cookies (at the very least it’ll tempt you to
“break the rules”).
address wide open on your website for spam-bots to collect.
somebody you know
catch a virus and flood the internet with your e-mail address from
to “lose” e-mail
sent to others: (trigger spam filters)
an empty Subject
an empty From:
subjects such as
“Check this out”, “Re:”
.scr, .zip and other file types.
a bulk e-mail
service (they break nearly all of these “rules”) - Gmail,
Yahoo, Outlook, etc.
lots of HTML
phrases such as
“click here” or “to unsubscribe”
proprietary e-mail client phrases, such as "Emailing"
spelling and grammar
“acceptable” amount of spam?
Anybody who “plays
by the rules” will still receive spam, probably at the rate
of 2-3 per day i.e.
if you log on on Monday morning you should almost expect there to be
8-10 spam e-mails awaiting you after a weekend off.
Aren’t you a bit anti-Microsoft & other big companies?
Well, yes, but
for good reasons. Ours and our customers findings have been that many
open-source or free versions of anti-virus, firewall, e-mail clients
browsers are superior in speed and performance than
Example: a machine infected with 18 viruses failed to have them
up-to-date versions of McAfee and Norton. AVG detected them and removed
the first pass.
we all know
the faux-pas’ made in security by many of these companies.
Not that open-source
is perfect; but the time from finding a problem to fixing it is often
than in the big corporations.
let’s get on with fixing things!
let’s do your
Virus, Spam & Security Fixes now in one go
and install a firewall. Zone Alarm (don’t
ever go on the
internet without it!) (DON'T USE Comodo)
We have removed two ticks. ZA isn't as good as it used to be.
To update this you can use "C:\Program
Files\Avira\AntiVir Desktop\update.exe" /DM="0" /NOMESSAGEBOX
/receivetimeout=120 in a Scheduled task in Windows.
(running this in
scan mode will take
about 60 mins on a typical system) or AVG
In fact, Windows Firewall now seems
to do quite a good job.
It seems to remove a lot of overhead. A bit
"funky" at boot-time though.
and install Wireshark
(optional - almost certainly too complex for 99% of users)
Scripting Host Stopper
Secure Browser with industry standard plug-ins
Secure e-mail with industry standard plug-ins
Mozilla secure, but you can add calendar
functions and PGP, GPG Enigmail encryption to your messages and
- Microsoft Security Essentials now does a very passable job too.
Don't use Defender (except that's what MSE is called in Win8/8.1). You may need to use
IE or Chrome to fetch it because, for some reason, Firefox doesn't show
the version selection system properly - you may end up with the wrong
with Bayesian filtering
Express, Windows Live, Windows Mail and stop using Internet Explorer
remover – SpyBotS&D To automatically update
this you can use "C:\Program
Files\Spybot - Search & Destroy\SpybotSD.exe" /taskbarhide
/autoupdate /autoclose in a
Scheduled Task in Windows (running in
scan mode will take about 45 mins on a typical system) [don't
. On Win7 and
8 you can use SpybotS&D v2 which has a completely different
Anti-Malware To automatically update this
you can use "C:\Program
Anti-Malware\mbam.exe" /update in a Scheduled Task in
Windows (running in
scan mode will take about 45 mins on a typical system)
REMINDER: I hope you followed the advice to install PopTray at the start of
this page and to NEVER keep your e-mail client open.
can I see
if my machine is sending out spam behind my back?
You can look at Internet activity on your PC. A simple visual proof is
to install NetMeter.
If you see attempts to send out data every few seconds then you might
have a problem.
However, don't be fooled, sometimes you'll see frames every 10s or so.
This can be Microsoft networking trying to reach another machine.
Likewise, you may see the effects of SSID broadcasts from a WiFi system.
To test further, you can download the rather complex
which will give all
the details of what is going on. When you do this, make sure that your
browser, e-mail client and any other programs that talk to the internet
are not running. There may be background jobs such as Real, Apple,
Garmin and Google updates which you aren't aware of.
links - Wilders
(JUST FOR YOUR
AVG anti-virus (free).
– very complex user
Trend Micro anti-virus
Specific removal tools
(just in case your anti-virus tool misses it!) and another
(JUST FOR YOUR
filtering for POP servers
2003-2018 Hintlink. All
CCBot/2.0 (https://commoncrawl.org/faq/) IP Address:
22.214.171.124 Remote Host: