Understanding the potential risks of Internet use and taking pro-active measures can go a long way toward keeping you safe from hackers. Here are some helpful tips on protection and clean up.
First, find out whether your problem is real.
You might have received a virus hoax—a false warning about a computer virus. Typically, the warning arrives in an email or is distributed through a company's internal network. If you get such a message, you can check it out on sites that track hoaxes. Visit Snopes.com or Vmyths.com.
Note: Frontier will never send you an email message requesting that you confirm your email address or password. If you ever receive such a message, it is not from Frontier and should be deleted.
Spammers often use bulk email programs to send out unsolicited messages to lists of email addresses that are often collected without the recipient's knowledge. There are several ways spammers obtain these email addresses.
- Mailing Lists — Many people sign up for mailing lists for newsletters, news alerts, coupons, special offers, and other interests. However, spammers can also sign up for these mailing lists and obtain the email addresses.
- Usenet Posting —Spammers can also use bots to cruise newsgroups on Usenet in order to collect email addresses.
- Coincidence — Your email address may be unique to your Internet Service Provider (ISP), but it may also be used by several other people using different ISPs. Spammers use the front part of email addresses and change the ISP name to create a list of several email addresses.
- Dictionary Attacks — Spammers make educated guesses on email addresses by stringing together common names and words.
Spyware, adware and malware can lead to anything from PC crashes to increased spam to identity theft. These threats are rapidly proliferating and represent a major security and privacy risk. These programs can enter a system in several different ways, such as through everyday web browsing, unauthorized software downloads, peer-to-peer file swapping, email attachments, instant messaging, chat sessions, bundles with legitimate software, hacker web site downloads, and "drive-by" installs from websites.
Here are warning signs that you may have spyware on your computer:
- New toolbars, links or favorites appear in your Internet browser
- Your home page or browser has been changed
- You enter a web address but wind up at a completely different website
- You see pop-up ads even when you're not online
- Your computer is suddenly running much slower
Prevent Spam and Phishing
There are actions that you can take against spam or junk mail:
- If the message that you're receiving contains text along the lines of "click here to be removed from this list"— it is up to you to decide whether or not you unsubscribe or remove yourself from the mailing list.
There are two schools of thought on sending an unsubscribe email. One thought is that by sending the unsubscribe email, you've merely validated your email address in the eyes of the bulk mailer. This can, in turn, allow the bulk mailer to add your email address to other bulk mailing lists. The other thought on sending an unsubscribe email is that it actually does help to reduce the amount of spam messages that you receive.
- If you are a Frontier High-Speed Internet subscriber, consider installing Frontier Multi-Device Security, our security suite that contains an anti-spam component, along with anti-virus and anti-spyware.
For more information regarding our Frontier Secure security software, please visit https://frontier.com/shop/frontier-secure.
- You can mark an email message in your inbox as Junk or Spam, and even prevent future spam from arriving. See the Handle Spam in My Email section at the bottom of this article.
Prevent Malware and Spyware
Even anti-spyware programs can be risky. You can find out which to avoid at www.spywarewarrior.com.
One of the most important things you can do to protect your computer and the data on it from hackers, viruses, worms, and other malware is to keep your system software up to date by running Microsoft's Windows Update feature. Windows Update is the mechanism by which Microsoft provides updates to its operating systems, distributing service packs and critical updates that either fix problems in Windows, or protect against known vulnerabilities in Windows or Internet Explorer.
You should run Windows Update and download all available critical updates at least once a week, or configure Windows Update to run automatically. Another easy way you can update your software is to click the Start button, All Programs, and then click Windows Update.
Important Note: Frontier is not responsible for installing Windows Update on your computer, or any issues your computer may encounter after running a Windows Update.
Anti-virus protection is important because it detects and removes viral threats. However, your computer can be infected with other dangers such as spyware. Anti-spyware software is designed to stop these threats, which have unique properties that can remain hidden on your computer and cause havoc. Frontier Secure® Computer Security combines anti-virus and anti-spyware forces, while detecting and removing a wide range of viruses and spyware threats.
Download Clean-up Tools
One way viruses can make it onto your computer is through an open proxy. A proxy server is a go-between computer that operates between your computer and a main computer. It can store information and filter transmissions from the Internet or a network you are linked to.
An Open Proxy is another matter—it's a proxy that allows your computer to connect with virtually anybody. This can result in a malware attack on your computer in the form of either a virus or worm that can damage or destroy your computer or in the form of spyware that can access your personal information. If you don't know whether proxy software is installed on your PC, be sure to perform updates to your PC's anti-virus and anti-spyware software on a regular basis.
Frontier Secure® Computer Security is composed of anti-virus and anti-spyware products.
With regard to Computer Security, anti-virus, and anti-spyware, we will assist you in:
- investigating the presence of a virus, worm, or Trojans on your computer
- insuring that your computer is protected with anti-virus and anti-spyware software
- installing anti-virus and anti-virus software
- running live updates or updating virus definition files
- removing viruses, worms, or Trojans
We will help you with infected computers that are under your control and have Computer Security, anti-virus, and anti-spyware installed. (Please note: If you are not using or are unable to use Computer Security, anti-virus, and anti-spyware, Frontier is not responsible for the foregoing assistance unless you have purchased a service through Frontier Secure. We strongly recommend that you install and maintain virus protection software and run and install all critical Windows updates.
If you are not a Frontier High-Speed Internet customer or, if for any reason you are not using or are unable to use Computer Security, anti-virus, and anti-spyware, your best defense against viruses is to make sure you have a current version of anti-virus and anti-spyware software installed and enabled. If your computer becomes infected and must be cleaned, there are several anti-virus and anti-spyware companies and their web sites (listed below) offer instructions on how to remove viruses from your system.
- Symantec Security Response
- McAfee Virus Information
- Trend Micro Security Information
Handle Spam in My Email
If you have downloaded spam through a computer-based email program (such as Outlook, Windows Live Mail, Mac Mail, etc.) as opposed to viewing your email in a web browser (such as you may do with your Frontier Webmail or Gmail), here's what to do:
- Go to webmail.frontier.com and log in with your email address and password.
- If you find a message you believe is spam, select the message.
- Then select Spam from the upper left side.
- Select the action that works best for you for messages like this.
Email Virus Scanning
Frontier automatically scans your email for viruses using the latest software. There is no charge for this service.
If you receive an email containing a virus, the email will be returned to the sender along with a "bounce" message containing the following information:
- The fact that a virus has been found.
- The name of the virus.
- Advice on what to do about the virus.
- That the message in question will not be delivered to the intended recipient.
If the message contains a virus that is known to fake or forge the return email address, the message will not be returned to the sender; it will be deleted from our servers.
Frontier restricts and blocks known ports that in the past have allowed for the transfer of spam, viruses, and other malware. The ports are:
25, 135, 137, 138, 139, 445, and 1025
Port 25 restriction will take place on all dynamically assigned blocks, which would include Business Class High-Speed Internet customers when they are using dial-up access.
Blocking on TCP/UDP ports 135, 137, 138, 139, 445, and 1025 has been implemented for Residential and Business Dial-up customers, and Residential High-Speed Internet customers. Business Class High-Speed Internet customers will not be affected by TCP/UDP blocking unless they are using dial-up access.
No blocks will be placed on Business Class High-Speed Internet, Symmetric High-Speed Internet and FrontierNet Direct (T1 or larger) customers.
See below for an explanation of TCP and UDP ports.
TCP and UDP ports allow specific communications between computers, applications and programs.
A port is how a program, computer, application communicates with each other using TCP or UDP.
The ports are broken down into three categories:
- Well Known Ports: Range from 0 through 1023 and are assigned by the IANA (Internet Assigned Number Authority). These are the most commonly used ports.
- Registered Ports: Range from 1024 through 49151 and are listed by the IANA. These ports can be used through normal user processes or executable programs on most computers.
- Dynamic and/or Private Ports: Range from 49152 through 65535.
For a complete list of all the TCP/UDP ports please visit Iana Port numbers.
Why do we do this?
- To protect our customers: We can protect against certain common worms and from dangerous services on our customers' computers that could allow intruders to gain access.
- To protect our upstream bandwidth: If customers overuse their upstream bandwidth by running high-traffic servers or becoming infected with a worm or virus, it can degrade the service of other customers on that node.
- To protect the rest of the Internet: Some blocks prevent our customers from attacking other computers on the Internet. In addition to being in our best interest for protecting our bandwidth, it is our responsibility to prevent abuse of our network.
Below is a table showing common applications that use the ports that will be restricted or blocked.
|Port, Name, Protocol||Description|
|25 (only restricted, not blocked)
smtp (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol)
|SMTP shuttles email from one mail server to another. It has evolved significantly to become much more capable, and much less simple than it was.|
dcom-scm (DCOM Service Control Manager)
|Microsoft's DCOM (Distributed, i.e. networked, COM) Service Control Manager (also known as the RPC Endpoint Mapper) runs on your computer, opens port 135 and listens for incoming requests from clients wishing to locate the ports where DCOM services can be found on your machine.|
netbios-ns (NetBIOS Name Service)
|UDP NetBIOS name query packets are sent to this port, usually on Windows machines but also on any other system running Samba (SMB), to ask the receiving machine to disclose and return its current set of NetBIOS names.|
netbios-dgm (NETBIOS Datagram Service
|UDP NetBIOS datagrams packets are exchanged over this port, usually on Windows machines but also on any other system running Samba (SMB). These UDP NetBIOS datagrams support non-connection oriented file sharing activities.|
netbios-ssn (NETBIOS Session Service)
|TCP NetBIOS connections are made over this port, usually on Windows machines but also on any other system running Samba (SMB). These TCP connections form "NetBIOS sessions" to support connection oriented file sharing activities.|
microsoft-ds (Microsoft Directory Services)
|This port replaces the notorious Windows NetBIOS trio (ports 137–139), for all versions of Windows after NT, as the preferred port for carrying Windows file sharing and many other services.|
blackjack (network blackjack)
|Microsoft operating systems tend to allocate one or more unsuspected, publicly exposed services among the first handful of ports immediately above the end of the service port range (1024+).|
The "Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing" (CAN-SPAM) Act took effect in the United States in January 2004. It does not make spam illegal, but places restrictions on what bulk mail senders can do. If spammers comply, they can send their unsolicited emails. The CAN-SPAM Act does not apply to email sent from outside of the U.S., even though other countries around the world have some measures in place.