A thief is on my computers. - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 11-20-2019, 10:41 AM Thread Starter
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A thief is on my computers.

I have three computers, two laptops, and a desktop. Two weeks ago I was hoodwinked into letting this guy on my computer and he wants $250 to get rid of him and of course, I said no. We are going to get my wife a new computer because hers is very old. It still has Vista on it. My question is what can I do to get rid of this thief and keep this from happening again?

Thanks for any help. Don

Don in Murfreesboro, TN.
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post #2 of 26 Old 11-20-2019, 12:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hawkeye10 View Post
I have three computers, two laptops, and a desktop. Two weeks ago I was hoodwinked into letting this guy on my computer and he wants $250 to get rid of him and of course, I said no. We are going to get my wife a new computer because hers is very old. It still has Vista on it. My question is what can I do to get rid of this thief and keep this from happening again?

Thanks for any help. Don
Damage is done at this point, the only way to get rid of him is to wipe the machine.

Best way to keep it from happening again is to practice saying this word, NO.

Anytime someone wants you to confirm something, allow something, share something, anything, say NO. No is always the first, and almost always the right answer. When you don't say no, they get you...

For the new system you might look at the small format machines. I was looking at a couple on Woot yesterday, a Dell, and a Lenovo, both were under $200 and would be great internet machines. That did not include monitor/KB/mouse.

Here is an HP that is similar:

https://computers.woot.com/offers/hp...lnd_cat_pc_4_8
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post #3 of 26 Old 11-20-2019, 01:42 PM
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backup pics and docs, reformat or replace
seriously... your still running vista?

as far as not letting it happen again?
never click on a link you don't trust
never open an email you don't trust
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post #4 of 26 Old 11-20-2019, 01:53 PM
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Vista is an unsupported OS and as such in not secure. The only thing to do with this system is to reformat and install a current supported OS.

As you have learned the main threat to computer users is social engineering. Read about how hackers use social engineering to gain access to your systems. Here is a link to how it works... https://www.tripwire.com/state-of-se...watch-out-for/
The link is safe. Tripwire is a respected company in cyber security.

Last edited by Kerrys; 11-20-2019 at 01:56 PM.
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post #5 of 26 Old 11-20-2019, 05:34 PM
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I run the imaging software Acronis on my primary computer. It keeps am image of my entire computer on an external hard drive. It can also image to the cloud. If anything goes wrong with this computer it can be totally replaced in a matter of hours.


In addition I keep all important data files doubly backed up on USB drives that are kept locked in a fireproof safe.


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post #6 of 26 Old 11-21-2019, 01:30 AM
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I have been building and servicing computers since 1986 when there was no windows or internet. I used windows for years because that's what all the software was engineered for. I switched to Linux years ago and absolutely love it! There is very little difference in the interface and it is as secure as you get.

Mother is the necessity of most invention.
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post #7 of 26 Old 11-21-2019, 07:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by homestd View Post
I have been building and servicing computers since 1986 when there was no windows or internet. I used windows for years because that's what all the software was engineered for. I switched to Linux years ago and absolutely love it! There is very little difference in the interface and it is as secure as you get.

But, there are very few programs available for it.


George
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post #8 of 26 Old 11-21-2019, 08:53 AM
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But, there are very few programs available for it.


George

Not so George...Microsoft even jumped on the bandwagon last year with it's acquisition of GitHub an open source coding site.

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post #9 of 26 Old 11-21-2019, 10:19 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the help guys. My daughter is coming over this weekend and look at it. One thing I don't understand is I am using this computer that has a virus on it. It is running like it always did but I know it has a virus. Don't worry I will not post any links.

Don in Murfreesboro, TN.
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post #10 of 26 Old 11-21-2019, 10:48 AM
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I still run vista, on an 11 year old HP laptop.
I have my security set to medium high, it has to ask permission before ANY program can run.
But most of all, I dont visit x rated sites and I never let anyone near it who isnt kin.
I have to admit this might be the last year for this machine, purely because so many programmes dont recognise it any more. I even have trouble with some utube videos.
But never had a virus on it, and it has never crashed (more than I can say for the wifes 5 year old laptop that started running windows 8, =2 crashes, moved to 8.1 = 2 crashes, and now windows 10 = no crashes but so hard to get it to do anything that it might as well crash weekly!)

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post #11 of 26 Old 11-21-2019, 12:59 PM
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Vista, Windows XP, and earlier versions of Windows are no longer supported with security updates from Microsoft. Windows 7 will no longer be supported by Microsoft on 14 January 2020!!

When Microsoft releases an update for the currently supported versions of Windows, attackers look at the update to see if they can figure out the vulnerabilities it fixes and how to exploit them.

-> The problem is that approximately 1/3 of newly fixed vulnerabilities also apply to older, unsupported versions of Windows. Computers running those older versions of Windows never receive the fixes, turning them into sweet, juicy targets for attackers.

I wish I had a magic wand that would help people with these issues. In an ideal world, we would all run current, fully updated computers, maintain regular backups, and floss our teeth.

Some people are good at maintaining their cars with regular tire pressure and brake pad checks, oil and air filter changes, etc. etc. etc. Some people just drive their cars without putting in the effort, then complain when things go wrong or break. It is not much different with home computers. It takes a certain mindset, coupled with a willingness to learn and put in effort to keep your computers and personal data safe.
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post #12 of 26 Old 11-21-2019, 04:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by homestd View Post
Not so George...Microsoft even jumped on the bandwagon last year with it's acquisition of GitHub an open source coding site.

Just saying that I am wrong does not give us any information. That is easy.


A list of popular, major programs that are compatible with Linus would be good. eg. Quicken, Turbo Tax, Acronis, Norton, Adobe Photoshop, and others like this.


Many people reading this have never even heard of Linus. You might explain just what it is and why you say it is so secure.


George
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post #13 of 26 Old 11-21-2019, 04:31 PM
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I could be wrong but .....

Once a hacker has your IP address, they can get into you computers....?

Also once you allow them to be inside your computer's operating system they can read all your files and see all your password...?


I'd say it time for a new computer like I did when that happened to me. I got new ones, Dells. An open box "All in One" an a reman "All in one" .Huge monitors and the system is built right in behind it. I love them. Diagonal measurement is about 24" speakers are bad. Windows 10 works well. I run Fire Fox and Googlw Chrone with good results, I use AVG for maintenance. It's a touch screen as well but I use a mouse and key board.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #14 of 26 Old 11-21-2019, 06:48 PM
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This is the wrong place to teach about computers and networking, but I can address a few specific points. There is a lot of misinformation and erroneous assumptions here. I will try to write in a way that everyone can understand, so I ask technical people to be forgiving about "simple" terminology.

* Once a Hacker Knows Your IP Address...
@woodnthings is wrong. If a hacker knows your IP address, they should not be able to get into your computer, period.

Hackers are constantly scanning and attacking your IP address; you are unaware of it. In the past, whenever I had a friend who was expecting a baby, I would "open a port" on my internet connection and collect all the usernames that they tried. I ordered the list by numbers of attempts, and gave it to my friends as baby name suggestions, reminding them not to name their baby "root", "admin", "test", or "postgres" which are usually near the top of the list. The last time I ran it, Cyrus, Richard, Michael, Cary, Mike, and Carlos were the most popular "real" names the attackers tried.

-> IMPORTANT: I did not do anything to indicate that the port was open. The hackers found my IP address and noticed the open port on their own. It would take only a few days to collect the names from hundreds and sometimes thousands of attempts.

* Linux:
The "other" operating system is called Linux, not Linus. (Linus Torvalds is the person who invented Linux). Linux is free for all to use. There are thousands (millions?) of free programs that you can run on Linux, and many of them have similar features to their commercial counterparts. I won't try to name matching equivalents for GeorgeC's list. For examples, LibreOffice is a popular replacement for Microsoft Office, and GIMP is used in place of Photoshop. Acronis runs on Linux directly, but there are freeware backup solutions for Linux too. One major exception is US tax software, but fortunately the major tax software companies offer online versions that you can run from nearly any browser, including the one that comes with Linux (usually FireFox).

You are already running Linux and don't realize it. It is everywhere. It is in nearly all of your appliances. The Android operating system in your phone is based on Linux. Most websites run on Linux servers, not Windows, and that probably includes this one. The list goes on.

-> If you are struggling with Microsoft Windows, then Linux is probably not for you. There is definitely a learning curve, and it will be confusing at first, like any new thing. Still, if all you do is basic stuff like web browsing, email, word processing, spreadsheets, etc., then Linux could be the answer for you. I would search for something like "Getting started with Linux" and try to avoid being overwhelmed with options and details.

I am not sure that I would agree with assertions that Linux is more or less secure than Windows. That's a debate for a different forum. What I will say is that WHATEVER operating system you are running, you should keep it current.

* I Don't Visit X-Rated Websites, So My Vulnerable OS is Safe. I Never Had a Virus ...
If you are running an unsupported operating system and using the internet, then you are not safe. I wonder how anyone can feel certain that their computer is not infected, despite whatever third-party products they may have installed. Everybody starts out telling me that their computers are clean and safe. I have some small experience in this area.

...

Sorry, but I have to go. I hope this helps.
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post #15 of 26 Old 11-21-2019, 08:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _Ogre View Post
backup pics and docs, reformat or replace
seriously... your still running vista?

as far as not letting it happen again?
never click on a link you don't trust
never open an email you don't trust
Add to those....don't know. When I got my first computer, this was advice from my son. When in doubt, don't!

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post #16 of 26 Old 11-21-2019, 09:45 PM
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Thanks Tool Agnostic...You took the words right out my mouth except you said it better than I could have.
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post #17 of 26 Old 11-21-2019, 10:19 PM
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I'm offering to pay for my grandchildren's college education as long as they major in computer security and minor in elder care.
post #18 of 26 Old 11-22-2019, 01:03 AM
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Lot's of typos here.....

of course I can't edit them on my post above and I don't want to leave them without corrections, so here's the "good" version:


Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
Once a hacker has your IP address, they can get into you(r) computers....?

Also once you allow them to be inside your computer's operating system they can read all your files and see all your password...?


I'd say it's time for a new computer like I did when that happened to me. I got new ones, Dells. An open box "All in One" an a reman "All in one". Huge monitors and the system is built right in behind it. I love them. Diagonal measurement is about 24" speakers are (not) bad. Windows 10 works well. I run Fire Fox and Google Chrome with good results, I use AVG for maintenance. It's a touch screen as well but I use a mouse and key board.

The "all in one" requires the same space as the monitor, so no need for a tower like a older desk top. They were around $500.00 or so each at the time I got them.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #19 of 26 Old 11-22-2019, 09:35 AM
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Good post @Tool Agnostic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tool Agnostic View Post
I am not sure that I would agree with assertions that Linux is more or less secure than Windows. That's a debate for a different forum. What I will say is that WHATEVER operating system you are running, you should keep it current.
"Back in the day" there was a big difference in the security between the Linux and Windows OS. These days, MS has done a good job catching Windows up with security, and releasing patches to rectify problems quickly. Linux still has a very small percentage of the OS market, and the percentage of knowledgeable users is much higher, so it's not quite as juicy a target as other OS. With it's recent easy to install and use versions, it's gaining popularity in general population. And with it's popularity will surely follow more attacks and discovered vulnerabilities.

It's also important to know that it's not just the OS that's vulnerable. When you install a piece of software, say Firefox or Chrome, or your favorite tax software that communicates with a public server, you potentially open yourself up to other avenues of attack. You can't always blame the OS.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tool Agnostic View Post
* I Don't Visit X-Rated Websites, So My Vulnerable OS is Safe. I Never Had a Virus ...
If you are running an unsupported operating system and using the internet, then you are not safe. I wonder how anyone can feel certain that their computer is not infected, despite whatever third-party products they may have installed. Everybody starts out telling me that their computers are clean and safe. I have some small experience in this area.
Modern viruses and malware are designed to be discrete, antivirus software is always behind, and antivirus software definitions never contain ALL of the viruses. You could easily be infected and never, ever know it.
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post #20 of 26 Old 11-22-2019, 10:58 AM
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Good post, @AwesomeOpossum74. Thank you for sharing the additional information. I can confirm that everything in his post is correct and adds helpful clarification and additional information.

Awesome is awesome. He knows his stuff. :-)
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