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Internet Problems: The following tips and suggestions are provided as a community service. The Internet as a whole is in danger of becoming a ship run aground - too overloaded with spam, spyware and scams to be worth using. We hope this information will help turn it around or at least help you find some real solutions until then.

The most pressing need now is for Microsoft to protect the System Registry:

The Windows Registry: Microsoft Windows is megalithic, meaning that it has been written as one very-large interwoven system. Central to everything is the registry. The registry is unprotected. Any program or virus or spyware can alter or delete anything in the registry - at any time.
Here's how to fix it:

Microsoft: Return use of the registry to system only and require programs to keep their own separate settings files, and require user authorization for programs to change the system settings (just like the Mac).
Software Developers: Don't use the system registry for program settings; keep a separate settings file. If you want to see an excellent example of this, look at Skylark's software SFX-3D, and SkyView. This gives the added advantage that programs can be installed simply by copying their folder (just like the Mac).
Older Suggestions:
News! Microsoft listened to us. We've been sending the following information to Microsoft and at least some of it has been addressed in Windows XP Service Pack 2. If you have Windows XP we recommend upgrading to Service Pack 2.

aka. How to fix your PC.

Malicious Email: Because Microsoft allows email to run executable and script attachments by default, email has become the main gaping hole for hackers to enter your computer.
Here's how to fix it:

Microsoft: You need to disable running scripts and executables in all future email software. It's not needed; it causes massive problems; and it's just plain stupid to keep it there. Your current option to prevent opening potentially damaging attachments just doesn't cut it - you need to distinguish executables verses doc, rtf and JPEG files. Give users an option to turn on executables in email if they really have some obscure reason for it, but for everyone else - please shut this gaping wide open door for hackers.
Users: You should never open an executable email attachment. i.e. one that ends in exe, vbs, bat, or com. Scrutinize email attachments carefully; assume they are malicious unless you recognize them.

Spyware: Because Microsoft allows its web browser to download cookies and programs without the user's permission, spyware (software that sends personal information to someone else), malware (malicious downloads), and adware (annoying popups and surreptitious ads) are taking over everyone's computer. Microsoft wants us all to have a Media Center PC on a large flat screen for home entertainment - it's just not going to work if everyone's browser is choked with malware and popups.
Here's how to fix it:
Media Center PC
Microsoft: You need to disable unauthorized downloads by default in all future browsers. Popups should be blocked by default, executable downloads and cookies must all require user permission to download.

Web Authors: No more popups. Just say no! A popular backlash is coming and your site will lose out if you use them.

Users: Download SpyBot (which is free) from http://www.spybot.info and run its Search & Destroy option. Support its author with a donation if you can afford it.

Spyware, adware and malware seldom allow you to remove it via the 'Add and Remove Programs' option.
Now some malware now even locks the Registry so you cannot remove them manually - if you try to use regedit to remove it you'll see the message
"Registry editing has been disabled by the administrator."
To fix this problem, download reglite from http://www.resplendence.com/download and remove the following registry entries:
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER \Software\Microsoft\ Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System]

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \Software\Microsoft\ Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System]
Worms & Hackers: Because Microsoft software is so overgrown (bloated like some ancient jungle vine), it's nearly impossible to make secure. Anyone who's tried to keep up with the Windows Updates has now spent hours and even days downloading and has a harddrive full of 'security fixes'.
Here's how to really fix it:

Microsoft: You need to build a useful firewall into Windows (like ZoneAlarm) and adopt a policy of simplifying rather than adding code from teams of hundreds of programmers.
Users: Download ZoneAlarm (the free version is ok) from http://www.zonelabs.com, install it and keep it running on your PC.

Spam: Because tyrants and criminals have effectively used our constitutional free speech rights against us, we are now swamped with illegal and offensive information we never wanted.
Here's how to fix it:

Microsoft and Internet Software Designers: Build source email verification and unique ID checking into all future email programs.
Users: Be careful who sees your email address. Never enter it online unless you know the company and know that their Internet policy does not allow selling your information.
Write your elected representatives and urge them to legislate against and prosecute spammers. So far, none of the legislation seems to have any teeth.
Internet Companies: Selling email addresses is reprehensible. Just say no!

Malware: Some software looks innocent but is really so full of hooks and hidden ads that it's not worth the trouble.
Here's how to fix it:

Users: Avoid barbed adware like Kazaa, WeatherBug, CoolSearch, etc, etc. It may not want to be deleted, in which case you'll have to search through the registry to remove all traces manually. Get to know the Search feature in regedit.
Internet Companies: Don't advertise barbed adware or malware. Banner ads are ok; Popups and tag-along installs are not.

Scams: An ancient book of Enoch describes Cain's attack on Abel as the beginning of a conspiracy to 'take advantage of another to get gain'. Scams are a pervasive abuse of the Internet with the purpose of stealing other people's property.

An example: A search for Ocular Nutrition as advertised by Paul Harvey results in dozens of scam sites selling it. The correct site is www.hihealth.com and the price should be about $39. Lots of scammers are trying to take money for it or cheap copies at prices raised $40 too high. Is that HiHealth's problem for not getting themselves to the top of the search engines? No! The scammers are taking people's money and shouldn't be allowed to do it.
Here's how to fix it:

Users: Contact your elected representatives to insist that scammers are prosecuted. The Internet was designed, built, and paid for by American taxpayers. We have the right to remove bad guys.
Don't believe emails wanting your money up front to get money later.
Only buy from companies that provide real physical addresses for their business.
Carefully screen companies to which you provide credit card information.
Internet Search Companies: Sites that scam people shouldn't be rewarded with search listings. Please filter out scammers.
An Internet Code of Honor

We follow the following code of honor regarding the Internet and suggest that all other companies that use the Internet should have a similar policy.

I will protect visitors' personal information with everything in my power.

Email addresses will never be used for spam or sold to anyone - ever.

This site will never promote or assist scams, barbed adware, malware or any malicious or deceptive pitch.

This site will never open a popup (or second browser) window unless requested clearly by a visitor.

This site will never download anything to a visitor's computer unless they clearly request it.

This site will never present a window, animation or sub-view without an obvious close button, and never deliver software without a simple and clear uninstall option.

I will do everything in my power to make visitors' Internet experiences pleasant and trouble free. The customer comes first!
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