Re: FireFox *SUCKS*

Discussion in 'Computer Information' started by Paul, Apr 11, 2011.

  1. Paul

    Paul Guest

    family wrote:
    > That so called computer program that goes by the name *firefox* well and
    > truly sucks.
    > It has corrupted our computer beyond belief.
    > Not only did it cause our computer to crash, but rendered it impossible to
    > access the internet.
    > Even the geeks and nerds of tech-support have never known anything like it.
    > Looks like we will be having to buy a new computer before the end of this
    > month.
    > The problem is just impossible for anyone to fix.
    > You can rest assured that our new computer will not have any kind or type of
    > *firefox* programs in it.

    I think we call that "malware" here, as in, you've picked up some malware
    and it's affecting your computer. Any browser can pick up malware. It's
    happened to me, once, and from a reputable web site, that had been hacked.

    Worst case, it's time for "wipe and reload". If you can't make progress
    by doing a "cleaning", using one of the forums that helps with malware, then
    wiping and reloading will fix it.

    In theory, malware could attack firmware devices on a computer, which would
    indeed make the mess difficult to clean up. But your average malware doesn't
    do such things. Only "targeted" malware does stuff like that. If you had
    industrial secrets, or a foreign government wanted something off your computer,
    then all bets are off. But for generic, "I was surfing this porn site and
    then the computer went crazy", regular cleaning techniques may be enough.
    A lot of malware is focused on earning money for the writer, so breaking
    the computer doesn't serve that purpose. If the malware writers wanted,
    they could erase all the files on the computer, but when was the last
    time you heard of malware doing that ? Criminal organizations want to
    make money from what they do, easy money, Lamborghini money. And breaking
    computers is not how you do that.

    To instantly enjoy a working computer again, try a Ubuntu CD. A Linux
    LiveCD allows you to use the computer, browse the internet, and using
    OpenOffice, you might even be able to do some editing of Microsoft Office
    documents. You can use that, until you come up with a solution to the problem,
    or until you do a "wipe and reload". You would download and prepare the CD
    on another computer, and then, boot the computer with the clean CD. Since
    it's a CD, it can't become infected.

    I don't think Firefox is perfect, by any means. Every browser has some kind
    of issue. But malware is more likely to be the underlying cause, than anything
    else. Firefox can be "hardened", by disabling Java and using NoScript to prevent
    some kinds of script execution.

    In terms of malware detection or removal, there are online and offline tools.
    An example of an online tool, is MBAM. By online, that means you boot Windows,
    and you run MBAM within Windows. If it doesn't work in normal mode, you can
    try Safe Mode (press F8 at boot time, for the appropriate menu).

    There are at least a couple offline scanners. Offline means the tool comes with
    its own (clean) OS, and that clean OS is what runs the computer. For example,
    the Kaspersky scanner uses Linux Gentoo as the operating system. It will
    scan any NTFS or FAT32 partitions you can point it at. It will also download
    virus updates just before the scan, at least, as long as your broadband
    Internet connection supports DHCP for getting an IP address. (KAV doesn't
    support dialup modems.) The AV definitions can be quite large, and
    if you were on dialup, and were using an old version of the CD, the
    download could be as much as 100MB. It would take quite a while to
    download 100MB via a dialup connection.

    To prepare that CD, you would:

    1) Find another, clean, operational computer.
    2) Download the tool. It could be around 200MB. In an emergency, you
    could inquire at your local library, and they can help you with a
    one hour booking on one of their computers.
    3) Burn a CD, using a tool that knows how to convert an ISO9660
    file into a bootable CD. The free Imgburn can do that, if
    you can't find anything else to use.
    4) Boot the infected computer with that CD. Using the tick box
    interface, select all the partitions and scan all of them.

    That tool will be able to give you some idea, whether you're as
    clean as you think you are. I think possibly Bitdefender offers
    an offline scanner as well.

    There are some web-based scanners, but I wouldn't give you a
    plug nickel for one of them. And I've used one other offline
    scanner, which didn't seem to be able to detect anything. If you
    need to detect that a scanner is working, put a copy of "EICAR" on the
    drive, on a partition, and see if the scanner takes note of it.
    This is how I verified that KAV was working. The EICAR test
    file is a very short string - short enough you can open
    Notepad and make your own. All scanners should be able to
    detect this. It isn't really "malware", but every virus database
    should recognize this thing. So it proves that a scanner is
    really working. If, for any reason, a scanner had been
    "neutered" (malware can do that when doing online scanning),
    then it wouldn't make note of EICAR on the dialog showing
    the progress of the scan.

    You can also use your Ubuntu CD, to transfer personal or data files
    from the infected hard drive, to an external USB hard drive. If
    you have to wipe everything (using the recovery procedure in
    the manual that came with your computer), having a separate copy
    of your data files will help. Don't forget to save things like
    your email database (PST file, email folders, or whatever).

    A Linux LiveCD, understands computer file systems like EXT2 (a
    Linux type), as well as Windows NTFS and FAT32. They wrote an
    NTFS driver for Linux a number of years ago, and it seems to be
    safe enough, to trust doing reads and writes. It may not be
    "feature complete" in every sense. For example, I don't know
    of a way to do CHKDSK while in Linux. The Linux version has
    a different intention (sets the dirty bit, waits for you to
    run Windows again).

    There is plenty of commercial software to help you out there.
    In the above, I've tried to outline relatively free things
    you can try.

    If a problem cannot be explained by rational means, it's malware.

    Paul, Apr 11, 2011
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