This guide will be looking at the scanning of malicious files, as well as a guide to anti-viruses & firewalls and a brief introduction to sandboxing and anonymity. So yep, you're in for quite a bit of reading. Grab a drink, maybe a cigarette.
Being secure is important. Just because you call yourself a hacker, it doesn't mean you're immune to attacks towards your computer. Without my anti-virus, I doubt I'd actually be typing this now - I'd probably be searching through my registries and screaming like a chicken on speed. I'm like that.
Not all anti-viruses work the same way. Some anti-virus programs are bad; some are good, and some are just plain useless. We'll be looking at which ones are the best of the best, and which ones are just plain fail.
Being infected with something can also put your friends and family at risk, other users of your computer could be having their login & credit card details stolen without any knowledge of it. Worms can also spread to your email contacts and friends on popular websites such as Facebook.
Downloads & Scanning
For example, you download a program and the poster is claiming that it is a clean botnet controller. If we can this, it will come up with results such as "Win32/RBot" etc.. This means that the file should be what we wanted.
Now, if the botnet-controller scan came up as something like "Win32/trojan.agent.a", we can tell that this is a malicious program that will work against us. This is an example of a download you do not want to use.
All in all, the scan should show results similar to what you were downloading.
You should always be careful what you download. You may often be downloading malicious software without even realizing sometimes. Trust me, this happens to a lot more people
Web-scanners such as "VirusTotal" and "NoVirusThanks" are becoming increasingly popular with the amount of anonymous downloads posted all over the internet.
If you want to scan a file you find suspicious, you can go to either http://virustotal.com or http://novirusthanks.org to do so.
VirusTotal will send samples of the file to the antivirus companies, so this is not recommended if you want to keep your file undetectable.
NoVirusThanks has an "Advanced options" area where you can choose to not distribute your file to the antivirus companies, this is handy for keeping things fully undetectable, but if it's a file you don't trust and don't want yourself or others to be infected by it in the future, I suggest you allow them to distribute it to the antivirus companies. I respect what these websites and the malware fighting websites do, and so should you.
When opening emails, you should also be cautious. Just because it's an email from your friend - it doesn't mean you can trust it! You may see some emails asking you to update your bank details -- your banks should never ask you to do that via email. The details you enter will be sent out to someone who is going to exploit your details, so steer away from these emails.
Worms can be spread via email. For example, you open an email from Bob containing a worm, this worm is then sent to all of your contacts. This is how most worms will work, and it is suggested that you change your emailing service if it could be vulnerable. You can use Microsoft's live hotmail service which is excellent, it will also disable any harmful content from downloading onto your computer. You can find this service at http://mail.live.com
By using a sandbox, everything that is downloaded onto your computer will remain in the sandbox. It will not escape, meaning that malicious downloads cannot harm your computer. Sandboxing is a great way to test whether or not a website can be trusted. I rarely do this, but it's so useful sometimes.
Sandboxing will also protect your cookies, history and cached temporary files from being leaked. Downloads are isolated, meaning that they are trapped and your computer is protected.
Here is a download I posted for Sandboxie v3.32
The main use of a firewall is to prevent incoming traffic, which will stop things like 'telnet' from reaching your connection, and can also stop worms etc. from accessing your network. Firewalls will also block the backdoors that trojans create, so if you find yourself unlucky enough to have a RAT (Remote Access Trojan) on your computer, the backdoor should be blocked by your firewall, Having a firewall does not mean you are secure, many firewalls can be easily disabled or bypassed by malware. Do not think you're secure just because you have a firewall, this is a common misconception with firewalls. Too many people think that by installing a highly popular firewall, they'll instantly be secure against the latest intrusions, but this is not at all true.
you may notice a difference when you get a firewall, but the download speed may remain normal on users with slower speeds. This effect can vary between users, and depends on the connection. It's best to try several firewalls to find out which one suits you best - reviews are personal and will not always be the same for everyone.
One of the favourite firewalls is "ZoneAlarm" which is very popular and has a free version. The paid version is obviously better, but it isn't necessary at all.
If you're using Windows Vista, I'd recommend choosing ZoneAlarm as your firewall. The same goes for XP, but you might want to get your hands on a "BlackIce" crack instead, if possible.
Another great Firewall is "Comodo" which is also free can be found here...
There's a few more tools which I'm sure you'll definetely want to get.
HijackThis is a tool used to scan the areas of your computer which viruses are often located in. It will also scan the registry areas which hold the legitimate programs and, quite often, the infections. It is best not to delete ('fix checked') any entries on HijackThis unless you know what you're doing, as you may be removing something which is a required part of your system.
Another good thing about HijackThis is the fact that it's so lightweight, it uses barely any memory, it's easy to use, and you don't need to keep it running!
This is a great area to check if a process is harmful or not: http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/startups
HijackThis can be found here: http://www.trendsecure.com/portal/en-US/