Internet/Network Security/COMPUTER LOCKING UP



 I use a Toshiba Laptop with Windows 7 home Premium 32 bit, Mozilla Firefox Browser and I use a Verizon Jetpack Device to connect to the Internet. I was told to use a non Administrators account for security but when I use my non administrator account my computer locks up and also for example: when i go to my yahoo e-mail the check boxes next to the e-mail listings don't show. My computer operates normally when I use an administrator account, however.

  What are the possible problems?

   Thanks, Jim

ANSWER: This doesn't sound proper.  But, given the machine isn't infected it may be hanging when what's running tries to access  something that requires a Admin privileges.  If it were my machine I'd Nuke and Pave.

Other things to try are using a different browser.  Internet Explorer shouldn't be used in any case.  A reason to consider another one, other than reasons related to ActiveX, is its attempts to make sense of incorrect HTML.  For me anyway, this makes results unpredictable.  In your case, this could explain why you see things, then you don't.   

Using a non-admin account should work just like an admin account except  that you'd get a popup asking for permission to do something, every time.  If you don't get this, you may have it disabled so you aren't being asked.  

Does this help?

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------


What do you mean by NUKE AND PAVE?

Another thing that I failed to mention is that I have started to do  business with an Internet store using my Hotmail Address and when I click on one of their E-mail advertisements It connects me automatically to their website.

 Could this be a problem?


ANSWER: Nuke and Pave means doing a byte-wise wipe of the disk drive and reinstalling Windows.  Clicking on email links is discouraged by US-CERT, the Department of Defense, and The Software Engineering Institute.  They can be clicked safely, but I know too many security people who've followed a link they wish they had not.  Always copy emailed links into your browser location/address bar.

This is just an opinion.  Its shared by other security professionals but there are many upper-level business people who prefer not to hear it.

Hope this was helpful.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------


I probably didn't state my follow-up question properly.

I did not click on an e-mail link. I just opened the e-mail and it automatically took me to their site.

I can't reinstall Windows because i don't have a Windows Disc.

 Thanks, Jim

I believe Microsoft's email reader has a configuration option that allows you to enable/disable  script execution in email.  Email readers should not permit script execution under any circumstances because the specifications for email exclude scripted code.  So it shouldn't even be an option.  I've assumed that it is one of the differences between Government versions of Windows and those used by non-government organizations (NGOs).  This is a known vulnerability in Windows.

It sounds like a script, which would have executed when you opened the message, redirected you to the target site.  If it were my machine I'd assume that the machine was scanned, that anything not patched was attacked using a vulnerability-specific attack.  

The good news is that I've found Microsoft support to be stellar.  I can't tell you where to find a phone number but imagine there are several.  Either in a manual (old or current) or on their website.  I've been able to obtain a disc by giving a valid reason for the request.  Not having one is "valid" if the version you're running is licensed.  You'll need to give them that number.   This is usually shown on a decal located underneath laptops or on the case (for desktops), or you'll need to give them the  number that shows up with System information.  (I usually find it by going to Control Panel, then to System Info.)

Also: Several antivirus sites (F-Secure, trendmicro, others) have a web-based tool you can run to scan your computer.  To obtain a list of Antivirus company names or the names of websites that can scan you remotely go here:   For information about virustotal, go here:

Virus Total is not an antivirus tool.

If time permits, and if you try to obtain a disc, please let me know how this goes for you.  

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John Crout


Computer/IS Security, Online Safety, Incident Management


20 years supporting Windows networks and 10 years supporting Linux networks.

Association for Computing Machinery; Information Systems Security Association (ISSA); United States Coast Guard Auxiliary; ISC2; ACM

Master of Public Health in Epidemiology and Biostatistics (Miller School of Medicine); Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering Computer Engineering Option (University of Miami);

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