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Old Mar 11, 2010, 6:00 AM   #11
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Joho that is definitely not spam - that is exactly what this thread is for - well done mate - 10/10 advice, I might look into Vega myself.

Thank you for contributing!!!
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Old Mar 11, 2010, 9:16 AM   #12
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Thank you very much Jim for the fast and excellent service. I didn't realise you were dealing with so much spam. I guess that's an unfortunate fact of life theses days. Would implementing one of those character identification tools for new members help?
The software used by spammers is so smart it can recognize most CAPTCHA now (and it's updated on a regular basis), automatically entering the correct responses when registering with forums, sending the same spam to hundreds of forums as desired. Some of the software is so smart it can automatically use the forum search features and find threads related to the products being promoted before posting the spam. It's also not uncommon to see spambot software automatically copying text from other posts to make it look like a real person is posting, with spam in the last part of the post (or in their signature lines).

IOW, it's a lot of work keeping it out of the forums, and consumes a lot of time every day. Video Conversion software is a one of the most frequently promoted product types, with posts usually disguised as tutorials (complete with screen captures and instructions). Of course the software being promoted is commercial in nature (free to download, but that's only for a trial version). I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of it contains malware, too, with the web sites setup to take advantage of "drive by" type vulnerabilities in browsers, plugins and operating systems. Much of the spam comes from overseas, even though you wouldn't suspect that by looking at the English language web sites being promoted. I tend to use Linux most of the time to minimize the risks associated with checking out those types of links.

One thing we could do is require moderator approval for x number of posts when a new member joins to help with the automated spambots being used. But, we'd prefer not to take that approach to minimize any inconvenience to new forum members. Now, what I do a lot of every day is set up filters so that when we get repeat spam for the same sites being promoted, it automatically filters those links (replacing them with asterisks). But, it's still a constant battle as these guys register a lot of different web sites for the same products.
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Old Mar 11, 2010, 9:43 AM   #13
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BTW, if you check the wikipedia page about AVCHD, you'll find some nice information about it, along with lists of some of the products you can use for video conversion and editing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AVCHD
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Old Mar 11, 2010, 10:12 AM   #14
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I am all for simplicity, and am always helping my senior parents with their computer and technology issues. At this point, until the AVCHD market matures, I am quite confident that using the traditional MPEG format should meet most people's requirements, except for recording time.
Hi Greg,....I always appreciate your input. Since you help out your folks on tech stuff, just think of me as the eccentric old uncle that comes to Thanksgiving dinner and drinks too much! We seniors can usually learn things if they are repeated 1000 times!

Once my camera gets here, I will kick it into high gear on the AVCHD. I held off ordering this camera until I actually tried MJPEG in a store and found it totally useful for my purposes. The AVCHD is said to have better sound as well as taking less storage space.

This new AVCHD sticky will probably be very helpful. I'm sure some helpful people have broken the code already and are willing to share the info.

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Old Mar 11, 2010, 10:49 AM   #15
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The software used by spammers is so smart it can recognize most CAPTCHA now (and it's updated on a regular basis), automatically entering the correct responses when registering with forums, sending the same spam to hundreds of forums as desired. Some of the software is so smart it can automatically use the forum search features and find threads related to the products being promoted before posting the spam. It's also not uncommon to see spambot software automatically copying text from other posts to make it look like a real person is posting, with spam in the last part of the post (or in their signature lines).

IOW, it's a lot of work keeping it out of the forums, and consumes a lot of time every day. Video Conversion software is a one of the most frequently promoted product types, with posts usually disguised as tutorials (complete with screen captures and instructions). Of course the software being promoted is commercial in nature (free to download, but that's only for a trial version). I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of it contains malware, too, with the web sites setup to take advantage of "drive by" type vulnerabilities in browsers, plugins and operating systems. Much of the spam comes from overseas, even though you wouldn't suspect that by looking at the English language web sites being promoted. I tend to use Linux most of the time to minimize the risks associated with checking out those types of links.

One thing we could do is require moderator approval for x number of posts when a new member joins to help with the automated spambots being used. But, we'd prefer not to take that approach to minimize any inconvenience to new forum members. Now, what I do a lot of every day is set up filters so that when we get repeat spam for the same sites being promoted, it automatically filters those links (replacing them with asterisks). But, it's still a constant battle as these guys register a lot of different web sites for the same products.
Thanks for the explanation Jim. What about some of the new types of CAPTCHA I have seen that require a human logic answer eg. a basic equation, or "What color is the sky? Or email confirmation before activation?

I use Windows 7, Firefox and AVG Internet Security (which has a browser plug-in link-scanner), long with WOT (Web of trust). In particular I find WOT very effective at stopping drive-by sites, and AVG has also blocked sites on occasion. Probably not as effective overall as Linux, but for an MS ecosystem I feel as comfortable as is possible I guess...always willing to take on board new approaches though.

Last edited by chillgreg; Mar 11, 2010 at 11:14 AM.
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Old Mar 11, 2010, 10:51 AM   #16
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Hi Greg,....I always appreciate your input. Since you help out your folks on tech stuff, just think of me as the eccentric old uncle that comes to Thanksgiving dinner and drinks too much! We seniors can usually learn things if they are repeated 1000 times!

Once my camera gets here, I will kick it into high gear on the AVCHD. I held off ordering this camera until I actually tried MJPEG in a store and found it totally useful for my purposes. The AVCHD is said to have better sound as well as taking less storage space.

This new AVCHD sticky will probably be very helpful. I'm sure some helpful people have broken the code already and are willing to share the info.

Uncle Jack
Hi Uncle Jack

How smart is Steve's? They even have "Senior Member" under your name...
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Old Mar 11, 2010, 11:23 AM   #17
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Thanks for the explanation Jim. What about some of the new types of CAPTCHA I have seen that require a human logic answer eg. a basic equation, or "What color is the sky?
There are some newer plugins designed to do that kind of thing. Here is one example:

http://www.vbulletin.org/forum/showthread.php?t=124828

Of course, given how "intelligent" some new software is becoming (image recognition, ability to pass queries to search engines to get responses, etc.), once a newer type of verification is implemented, it's probably only a matter of time before the spammers have a way around it in an automated fashion. Not all spam is automated either (humans typing the posts instead).

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I use Windows 7, Firefox and AVG Internet Security (which has a browser plug-in link-scanner), long with WOT (Web of trust).
I'm not familiar with WOT. But, from what I can tell from a quick search about it, it's probably using a list type approach. I use something similar (finjan), which also incorporates code analysis for pages visited (versus relying on a list of known malicious sites alone):

http://securebrowsing.finjan.com/

I also use services like Wepawet to analyze web pages for malicious code on a URL by URL basis when I suspect something is amiss:

http://wepawet.iseclab.org/index.php

But, none of them are that effective for new vulnerabilities, as they just don't know what to look for yet.

As for AVG, I quit using it some time back, as it just doesn't seem to work very well, given the huge volume of new malware strains coming out every day. I've seen malware that's ran totally undetected for more than a year on PCs protected by AVG before problems were found by scanning with another product (including some very nasty trojans).

It's not very good at detecting new malware either. For example, the last AV Comparatives tests showed it only detected 49% of the new malware samples they used. See the graphs on page 5:

http://www.av-comparatives.org/image...c_report24.pdf

Avira is what I've got installed on my Windows partitions right now, as it's leading the pack in new malware detection. None of them are very good at it, including Avira. But, it seems to be the "best of the bunch" for right now. Note that Avira's false positives are a bit higher, but i'd rather have an occasional false positive than a malware infested PC.

Of course, even with it's much better detection rates compared to AVG, that still means that over 25% of new malware could still "slip through". So, that's not very encouraging. But, it's a heck of a lot better than most of them in that area.

I also use a variety of other products to augment it. For example, I like the "Teatimer" feature in Spybot S&D, because it updates the hosts files with known malicious sites to block browser access, and lets you know if a program is doing something suspicious like trying to change the registry, so you can allow or deny the changes. Ditto for finjan (which also incorporates code analysis of pages visited to help minimize your risks.

I also scan my windows partitions with other products like Malwarebytes on a regular basis, as well as scan them while running in Linux using yet more products like F-Prot.

The problem is that so much new malware is coming out that the malware prevention products can't keep up with it (hence, even the best of them like Avira still can't catch around 25% of new strains coming out). There's just too much delay from when new malware hits until the scanners know what to look for, and once installed, malware can more easily evade detection (especially in the case of root kits and boot sector viruses, with some of it able to evade detection unless you boot into a known clean operating system to perform the scans, versus trying to find the malware after booting into an infected operating system).

For example, Panda Labs saw more than 25 Million new strains of malware in 2009 alone, more than in all of it's 20 year history prior to 2009 combined. The last report I saw indicated they were seeing some 55,000 new strains of malware *every day*.

I also run any new Windows software I want to try through http://www.virustotal.com (where it scans it with over 40 different malware scanning products and gives you the results). But, even then, something can slip through.

Basically, I try not to run Windows anymore than necessary to minimize my risk, as there are just too many criminals looking to steal your data now. So, I run under Linux the vast majority of the time.
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Old Mar 11, 2010, 12:07 PM   #18
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i have also switched from AVG to Avira. and run malwarebytes and Spybot at regular intervals.
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Old Mar 11, 2010, 12:46 PM   #19
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I am using Microsoft Security Essentials ( before that I was using Avira) as
well as PC Tools Firewall Plus. I also frequently do a scan with Malwarebytes
and SuperAntiSpyware. As for browsing: I too use Firefox and WOT but also
use the following add-ons: Adblock Plus, Flashblock, NoScript as well as
BetterPrivacy.
We live in a dangerous and infected world
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Old Mar 11, 2010, 1:07 PM   #20
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i have also switched from AVG to Avira. and run malwarebytes and Spybot at regular intervals.
malwarebytes is really good. I've seen it find very serious problems that most anti-malware products missed. But, none of them are perfect, as there are just too many (and very sophisticated) malware strains coming out now compared to a few years back (where most of the malware was only a nuisance, versus very serious criminals trying to steal your data as is the case with much of the malware being propagated today).
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