[Guide]Practice regular maintenance, stay bugless & safe

 
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Loving

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 6:29 am    Post subject: [Guide]Practice regular maintenance, stay bugless & safe Reply with quote

Contents

a.) Computer Maintenance
• General Maintenance
- Cleaning your PC
- Clearing your registry
- Clearing IMVU Cache
- Defragmentation
- Backup
- System Restore
- Error Checks

• IMVU Maintenance
- Clearing IMVU's Cache
- Keeping updated

• Windows XP
- Startup Programs
- Performance
- Virtual Memory

• Windows 7
- Startup Programs
- Performance
- Virtual Memory
- System Repair Disk

• Minimum System Requirements (Unofficial)
- Windows XP
- Windows 7
- Mac with OS X 10.5 or 10.6

b.) Safety
i. PC Security
• Web Protection
- Clearing cookies
• Encrypting your passwords
• Form Fillers
• Virtual Environments
• Being suspicious of security threats
• Tools commonly used by hackers
• Recommended Security Softwares
- Free
- Licensed
• Multi-layered protection
• Anti Phishing
- What is Phishing?
- How to Identify Phishing Sites
- Defensive tools

ii. IMVU Security
• Identifying fake staffs
• Identifying official moderators vs frauds
• Learn to use the safety tools
• Fraudulent Resellers
• Registered Resellers
• Best Practices

c.) Internet Connectivity
• Troubleshooting common connectivity problems
• Resolving connectivity problems
• Improving Internet speeds
• Known Issues with Hughsnet

d.) Frequently Asked Questions


Last edited by Loving on Wed Jun 22, 2011 7:14 pm; edited 26 times in total
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Loving

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 6:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Computer Maintenance
General Maintenance

Cleaning your PC

Before starting here, you will need Piriform CCleaner can be downloaded for free.

CCleaner is a useful program to cleanup your computer from junk and clear your clogged up registry. Learn how to use it as it is very user friendly.

i. Cleaning your PC using CCleaner
1.) Open ccleaner, click on the button "cleaner" and make sure all the boxes are checked except under the "Advanced" category list.
2.) Click Analyze and it will scan your computer and list out every single rubbish. Only rubbish that you dont need and is unreadable by you instead dumped personally by your computer is displayed.
3.) Click Run cleaner and it will delete them, you will be surprised on how much space you have gained back.

ii. Clearing your registry with CCleaner
A clogged up registry prevents programs from running the way it should be. Because registry is a medium of communication between your program to the hardware of your pc. It helps your program speak with your hardware. Sometimes, bugs in IMVU are caused by clogged up registry.
1.) Open ccleaner, click on the button "registry" and make sure all the boxes are ticked.
2.) Click "scan for issues" and after scanning click "fix selected issues".
3.) CCleaner will prompt you to save a complete backup of your registry, so accept it and save it.
4.) Click fix all selected issues next when they prompt you again.

De-fragmentation
Run defragmentation once every month depending on how much files you have. Its a must to run it once every month if your hardisk has occupied 60% of the total space.

Backup
Yes, backup is very important. When you are 100% sure your IMVU is working as it is supposed to save all data into a pendrive.
1.) Go to C:Users>[User name]>AppDataRoaming...
2.) Find for a folder name "IMVU Client". Copy it. Save into your pendrive.

In future, when you feel there is something wrong in IMVU, Like abnormal termination, crashes, lag, avi's not showing up. Restore the backup you have made previously.
1.) Paste the backup into
C:Users>[User name]>AppDataRoaming...
2.) Open the folder, and find for IMVUClient. Right click it, press Send to Desktop (Create Shortcut)

Similarly you should also back up your computer. You will need a blank CD to do this.
1.) Start >> Control Panel >> "View by small icons" >> Backup & Restore
2.) Click on "Set up backup", then please wait while windows backup starts.
3.) Select where do you want to save your backup. Windows will only recommend a drive that has sufficient storage. I strongly recommend however you backup your files to an external storage.
4.) Click on Next, then tick "Let Windows Choose", click Next.
5.) Insert a blank CD, then click "Save Settings and backup".

System Restore

In a case whereby your computer is acting strangely, you can restore your settings to the last known stable date. This can save your time and money in repairing your computer.

1.) Firstly, you need to enable System Restore.
Right click on "My Computer" and click properties, >> System Protection
2.) Select your primary hard disk (will be labeled as System), click on "Configure"
2.) Ensure that you have "Restore system settings and previous versions of files", then click Apply.
3.) Click on "Apply".

If however this does not resolve the issue, you will need to perform the next level of restoration. This restoration replaces your Windows from a last stable known backup. Remember in the previous steps you burnt a CD? Yes take that CD, and insert it into your CD drive.

1. Click Start, then click Restart.
2. When windows restarts, pay attention to what is happening. After BIOS has checked your hardware, it will then check the computer for bootable files. During this time, the screen will be black and only showing an _ (underscore) which will be blinking. Get ready to enter your key to initiate Restore system image next you will see as below :


Simply wait for windows to load from the bootable disk, then follow the wizard provided.

Error Checks

During your lifetime of using your computer you may experience times where you did not turn of your computer properly, or improper shutdowns during electricity surges. Well during these times, Windows did not manage to safely shutdown your computer. This leaves your hardisk with errors.

When programs frequently crash, Windows dumps small memory on to your hardisk. These errors buildup degrading the integrity of your hardisk files. It is important to run a chkdsk at least once a month to ensure that bad sectors of your hardisk is repaired.

To run the chkdsk utility:
1. Open My Computer , right click on C: Drive and click "Properties"
2. Click on the "Tools" tab and under Error-checking click "Check Now"
3. Ensure that you have both "Automatically fix file system errors" and "Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors" ticked. Then click "Start".

Windows can only run the chkdsk during boot, as it needs exclusive access to the system directory. This means that a command will run the chkdsk before Windows has started. This consists of 5 phases.


Last edited by Loving on Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:01 am; edited 6 times in total
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Loving

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 2:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

IMVU Maintenance

Yes, it has come to the stage whereby you even need to maintain your IMVU account. I dont mean scrubbing your account with detergent. What I mean is that you need to clear IMVU's Cache regularly. It doesnt clear itself.

Clearing IMVU's cache

What is IMVU's cache for?
A cache is a collection of data used by IMVU for faster access for products you wear, bought, often wore outfits, and other miscellaneous data. It sounds like a good thing right? Yes its good in a way so that you dont need to re-wear your clothes over and over each time you start IMVU.

However, as you continue to use IMVU client frequently by frequently changing outfits, frequently purchasing them. This cache builds up faster then a garbage dump site. And what will now happen is, IMVU starts to slow down. Why? Because imagine you were sent to a warehouse with piles of files. Its like finding a needle in a hay stack. So its good practice to clear them at least once a month depending on how frequently you use it,
1.) Open your client, press settings and go to advanced
2.) Scroll right to the bottom and click "Clear IMVU Cache"
3.) Restart IMVU
4.) Wear back all your clothes, or retrieve them from your "Saved Outfits"

By clearing your cache regularly, you are not only making IMVU less laggy but also prevents it from getting buggy.

i. Location of the cache (For manual cleaning)

See how much your cache has accumulated by going to this directory.

Windows 7 & Vista
Quote:

C:Users\Username\AppDataRoaming\IMVUAssetCache
C:Users\Username\AppDataRoaming\IMVUPixmapCache
C:Users\Username\AppDataRoaming\IMVUHttpCache


Windows XP
Quote:

C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\IMVU





Press Ctrl+A and right click, press properties to check its size. You can delete them by going to the files above one by one, then press Ctrl + A to select all then right click to delete.

Please note that if you cant find the directory above you need to enable hidden files and folders. Instructions for enabling viewing of hidden files and folders are provided below,


Keeping updated

IMVU has the capability of updating its client when a update is available. After you click update, IMVU will run a streaming installer to download the update into a temporary location and automatically installing when complete.

This is done neatly and does not leave traces of the installer on your computer. However, there are known issues with this. If your internet connectivity is poor or in some cases using WIFI to download, the streaming installer will download and install but will not update.

Keeping yourself updated with the latest installers helps you have quick access to the installer when you face a problems with IMVU. For example, if IMVU keeps crashing or if there are issues with it, you can quickly reinstall IMVU by having local access to the installers.

1. Go to My Documents, and create a new folder called "IMVU Installers"
2. Go to : http://www.imvu.com/download.php and download the latest version. The latest version will be on the bottom of the list.
3. Save the installer into the folder "IMVU Installer".

Over time, you will have a list of installers. Lets say that you are unhappy with a current update, you can at any time revert to a previous version.


Last edited by Loving on Mon Jul 23, 2012 10:44 pm; edited 12 times in total
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 4:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Windows XP - Speeding it up!

Startup programs

Windows XP generally takes a minute longer to start compared to Windows 7 but is definitely faster than Vista. However as you continue to install programs after programs without realizing your computer will slow down.

Why does this happen? The answer is simple. Some programs inserts itself into a list called the "Startup programs". This means that during Windows starts, these programs are given priority to start with Windows.

Periodically, you should check this list and clear them regularly. Having less programs to startup gives you immediate access to your computer the moment it starts.

1.) Press Start, click "Run" type "msconfig" a window should pop out.
2.) Click on "Startup"

3.) Untick everything, except things related to antiviruses.
4.) Click on Apply, but do not click Close. Continue to the next section of this guide

Disabling Unwanted Services

Windows XP has a long list of totally crappy useless services that are on. But you never use it EVER. Pointless isnt it? Disabling services lessens the load to your processor and RAM.

1.) Under the msconfig utility (from previous) click "Services".

2.) Untick the following
Arrow Windows Image Acquisition (WIA) - Note: Do not disable this if your pc/laptop has a printer or scanner.
Arrow Uninterruptible Power Supply - Do not disable this if you are a laptop user, or a pc user using backup generators / batteries.
Arrow Telnet - Can be used by hackers to forcefully gain control of your pc.
Arrow System Restore Service - This is used to record your usage. Good in Windows 7, but in Windows XP it is very vulnerable to viruses.
Arrow Remote Registry - Another reason why people rather use Apple, this totally useless service allows hackers to modify your registry. Dangerous to enable this at all.
Arrow Remote Desktop Help Session Manager - Does not work properly in XP, 99.99% of the people in the world has never touched this program. Why enable it?
Arrow NetMeeting Remote Desktop Sharing - Same as above, useless.

Performance

Windows XP comes with a package of graphical animations that will use up your system resource. Most of the users still use XP because their hardware is already out dated. Because of this, the graphical features can actually put some weight on your computer. Disable the things that you dont need!


1. Press Start, right click on "My Computer" and click "Properties". "System Properties" window should pop out.
2. Click on the "Advanced" tab, under the "Performance section" click "Settings. A window "Performance Options" should pop out.
3. There will be 3 tabs, "visual effects, advanced, and data execution prevention". Under the Visual Effects tab, tick "Adjust for best performance". Click Apply.

Virtual Memory - Optimizing your memory!

What exactly is Virtual Memory? The virtual memory exists to provide users with an additional number of memory once the Random Access Memory has reached to a low level. Windows automatically does this in the foreground so you cant check this process.

However, by default Windows only automatically allocates 1GB of memory. This can be insufficient to run IMVU when it takes up so much resources. You will need to manually allocate a set number of memory to be used as Virtual Memory.

1. Based on the Performance Section window, click "Advanced"
2. Under the "Virtual Memory" section click "Change".

3. Under the "custom settings" change the initial size (MB) to 1024MB and the maximum size (MB) to 2056MB.
4. Click on the button "Set" then click "OK", then in the "Performance Option" window click Apply.

Congratulations now you have additional 1GB RAM and 2GBRAM (emergencies). Remember they are only "Virtual Memory" provided so that your system will still have a memory to access when your RAM has dropped.


Last edited by Loving on Wed Jun 22, 2011 7:32 pm; edited 8 times in total
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 12:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Windows 7 - Speeding it up!
Note: Although Windows Vista is slightly different (Different kernel), Windows Vista users can still use this guide to tune their system.

If you are using Windows 7, then congratulations. Windows 7 has a more revamped kernel. Because of this, you will notice your computer can start faster and even shutdown faster.

However, just like any computer.. Speed depends primarily on your hardware. If your hardware supports it, you can enjoy Windows 7 at its fullest with no sacrifice at speed. This guide is for those who are using older hardwares and cant afford to use Windows 7 at its fullest.

Startup Programs

Windows 7 starts program differently then Windows XP. It has a feature called "delayed startup" which allows Windows to start FIRST and then allow programs to startup along later. This only helps if your computer has a faster processor and RAM with more pin (DDR2, DDR3).

For older computers you will be probably using DDR1 which is a legacy RAM slot. And for those using DDR2 with only 2GB amount of RAM you wont be expecting much results in starting time.

Lets look at how to disable startup programs in Windows 7:

1. Click Start, type in the searchbar "msconfig", click on Enter
2. The "System Configuration" window will load.
3. You will see several tabs above, click on "Startup"

4. Disable everything except any antivirus softwares. Note that if you disable sidebar.exe you are disabling desktop widgets.
5. Click on Apply, and wait for system restart.
6. When system restarts, the "System Configuration utility" will load. Tick "Do not show this again" and click OK.

Performance

Lets look at how to fine tune your OS so that you can better utilize your hardware for your applications especially for IMVU. IMVU relies heavily on your graphic card. Windows 7 comes with features like Aero Glass anad Aero Peek that can interfere with IMVU in graphic cards.

Medium Graphics : Hardware Criteria
- Graphic cards with less than 512 MB of RAM
- Graphic card from intel such as Intel Graphics Media Accelerator which have an older WDDM version. The latest version is 1.1
- Processors which are using either Intel Dual Core Processors below 2.0 Ghz, or AMD processors with similar attributes.

1. Right click on your desktop, and click "Personalize".
2. In the personalization Windows, look under "Basic and High Contrast Themes" then select "Windows 7 Basic".
3. The screen will gray out and you will need to wait for awhile for changes to be applied.

Lower Graphics : Hardware Criteria
- Users who are using graphic cards with less than 256MB of RAM
- Users who are using Intel Graphics Media Accelerator that does not support WDDM or have a lower WDDM version.
- Users who are using Intel Atom, Pentium 4, Intel Dual Core with 1.66Ghz and below or AMD processors with similar attributes.

1. Right click on your desktop, and click "Personalize".
2. In the personalization Windows, look under "Basic and High Contrast Themes" then select "Windows 7 Classic".
3. The screen will gray out and you will need to wait for awhile for changes to be applied.

*Windows Vista users with either hardware criteria should be using "Windows Classic". To use Windows Vista you need to have a good combination of hardware*

Virtual Memory

In Windows 7 and Vista, Microsoft has provided multiple options for users with low memory. The memory usage in Windows 7 is much higher than Windows XP. This leaves very little room for IMVU, but luckily Windows comes with the same Virtual Memory option that was available in Windows XP.

1. Right click on "My Computer", on the left most tab you will see "Control Panel Home".
2. Click on "Advanced System Settings".
3. At the Performance section, click on "Settings".
4. Click on the "Advanced" tab.
5. At the "Virtual Memory" section, click on "Change".
6. Select "Custom Size" and configure the values as following:



Notes:
- You can configure the values as much as you want. But, do not set an initial size less than 1024 MB and the maximum size must not be less than 2056MB.
- For users with lower hard disk space, you can create virtual memory in multiple hardisks. Simply select the hardisk drive from the list to configure.

Windows 7 & Vista Ready Boost

This is a new function made available to Windows Vista and Windows 7 users only. But take note that this feature was improved in Windows 7. This feature works almost the same way as Virtual Memory but better.

This works by allowing a flash memory to cache random services in Windows. The performance is 80~100 times faster than using hard drives.

Requirements:
- A flash memory that supports Ready Boost technology. For a list of compatible flash drives that supports Ready Boost can be found here.
- Minimum storage capacity of 250MB, a maximum storage of 4GB (Windows Vista). The maximum limiter was removed in Windows 7

Installation:
1. Insert your flash drive into your USB port. It is recommended that you connect this flash drive to a USB port located at the back of your CPU. Connecting it to the front reduces its performance.
2. Windows will ask :

3. Click on "Speed up my system"
4. In the "Drive Properties" window click "Dedicate this device to ReadyBoost".


Notes:
- If you plan to use this flash drive as a personal storage, click on "Use this device" instead.
- If you plan to use this flash drive as a personal storage, it is best to follow the size Windows recommends and not simply slide the bar all the way to the left.
- Clicking "Dedicate this device to ready boost" uses all of the available memory on your flash drive.

System Repair Disk

If your windows cant start, because of corruption do not panic! Luckily in Windows 7 & Vista, Microsoft has provided capabilities of creating a System Repair Disc. This can be especially valuable when all other solutions are exhausted and can save your time from formatting the entire computer.

1.) Click Start, search for "repair"
2.) Click "Create a system repair disc", you will need a minimum of 700MB CD-R. Follow the wizard provided.

Notes:
- This is not to be used if your computer is infected with a virus!


Last edited by Loving on Wed Jun 22, 2011 7:39 pm; edited 5 times in total
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 02, 2010 6:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Minimum System Requirements for IMVU

This is not the official requirements specified by IMVU. IMVU's official system requirements can be found : here. The information provided here is however my opinion/recommendations as a user.

Windows 7 and Vista
[Minimum]
Processor: Dual Core Intel or AMD Athlon X2
RAM: 2GB DDR2
Graphics: Intel Media Graphics Accelerator 256MB RAM
Hardisk : Space is not important, but it must be at least 6000rpm. 6000rpm and below are from laptops.

[Recommended]
Processor : any Quad core processor.
RAM: 4GB RAM DDR2 or DDR3 (Best)
Graphics: NVidia or ATI Radeon cards with 512mb of RAM or higher.
Hardisk: 7200rpm and above

Windows XP
[Minimum]
Processor: Pentium 4 3.0Ghz
RAM: 1GB DDR1
Graphics: Intel Media Accelerator
Hardisk: Anything, as long its not outdated


[Recommended]
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo
RAM: 1GB DDR2 or 2GB DDR2
Graphics: NVidia works best in XP
Hardisk: 7200rpm


Mac OSX 10.5 or 10.6
[Minimum]
Processor: Intel processors above 1.66Ghz
RAM: 2 GB RAM
Graphics : Intel GMA 950 video card

[Recommended]
Processor : any Quad core processors
RAM: 4 GB
Graphics : NVidia or ATI Radeon cards with 512mb of RAM or higher.


Last edited by Loving on Wed Jun 22, 2011 7:40 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2010 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Safety - Security Guide
Security in IMVU is a necessity. One of the biggest fear in IMVU is being hacked. People spend real money here. Defending yourselves, and awareness is absolutely prudent.

i. PC Security

Web Protection
For Mozilla and IE users,

1.) Download the addon WOT, web of trust and install them.
2.) Register on first use.

Protection : Tells you which web has prying eyes, tools used by hackers, and immediately warns you as you enter the page.
Note: Try your very best to avoid using IE. IE is a virus's best friend. Until today, even IE 8 is buggy, too many loopholes, slow and prone to crashes.

Other browser security solutions
1.) Flashblock Blocks unwanted flash advertistments that may mislead you or contain viruses
2.) NoScript Blocks scripts that may be used to identify you or cheat you.
3.) FoxyProxy Hides your IP, useful when visiting unknown scam wesbites or during a time when a scammer askes you to check out a website

Notes:
- NoScripts can interfere with the IMVU offer, scripts are used to check if you have completed the requirements of the offer. You can however add them into your whitelist.
- Web of Trust does not block viruses, or blocks sites. It only warns you of dangerous sites.

Clearing cookies

Always clear your cookies after you have finished using IMVU's web feature before entering to unknown websites. You can clear all your cookies at once by using piriform ccleaner (free) or even manually from the browser Tools. Mozilla users may use the plugin BetterPrivacy.

Protection: Hackers use cookies to get information from you that can be used in "reverse engineering". Reverse engineering is one of the many methods used to hack user accounts.

Although some cookies can be deleted manually, some cookies do not get removed. You will need 3rd party tools to remove them such as piriform ccleaner.

BetterPrivacy blocks such undeletable cookies that hackers use called "super cookies".

Encrypting your passwords
Your own password can be encrypted yourself. Encrypting passwords makes it harder for hackers to use "brute force" to get your password. It also makes it harder for hackers to decipher your passwords.

Example :
Code:
123WoRd@turkey
makes it harder for computer programs to decipher. For best results use a combination of letters, numbers, special characters and must at least have a minimum of 8 characters in total.

You can calculate your password strength using this link : http://www.passwordmeter.com/

Notes:
- The password strength meter does not record your keystrokes, it simply calculates the strength based on variables. It does not transmit your keystrokes over the internet.
- Although it is generally safe to use that tool, it is best to scramble the combination of characters before setting it at your password.
- Use that tool for guidance purposes only!


Form Fillers
Products like Norton Internet Security 2010, BitDefender Total Security 2010, Kaspersky Internet Security 2010 provide web form fillers. You fill up "login cards" that are stored in security vaults locally in 128bit encryption (unreadable). What it does is, it writes the login id and password in IMVU login page automatically. And is unretrievable using hacking methods.

Protection: Hackers use keyloggers, and even are able to "sniff" information you send over the internet. Such information can be used against you. Form fillers prevents that from happening.

Virtual Environment
Sometimes you may download programs from the internet. Some of this programs you may be unsure of such as crapy toolbars that you download from Completing Offers. Sometimes these toolbars are malicious. They steal information from you without your consent such as which web you visit, number of times visited and etc... This information can be stolen by the hackers too and be used against you.

1.) Download Sandboxie.
2.) Install it, it will automatically work with your current security programs.

Protection : Sandboxie is a free virtual environment. When you run programs such as browsers, unknown programs, that could damage your computer... in virtual environment the damage can be reversed as the pc running it is virtual. So if you see that the program is behaving suspiciously you can immediately kill the program and no damage was done to your pc. This can help you identify programs used by hackers and prevent the damage in the first place.

To run a program in virtual environment,
1.) Right click the program
2.) Click run in sandbox.

Being suspicious of security threats

The following are suspicious activities of your computer that requires your attention:
- CPU Usage above 50% on idle
- Accessing your email is not possible in all email servers (hotmail, gmail, yahoo, AIM and others)
- Task Manager is disabled (Ctrl + Alt + Del)
- Enabling viewing of hidden files is not available, folder options is not visible.
- msconfig.exe is disabled
- Accessing your security software crashes or hangs Windows
- Googling any of these keywords : "Antivirus, security, malwarebytes,malware, microsoft" returns the "Try Again" page
- Unknown popups in Windows
- Internet Explorer opens a link by itself
- Firefox opens a link by itself
- Installing any security softwares pops an error "Access denied'.

If your computer faces one or more of the above, you are probably infected by a malware. This is very difficult to remove. And cleaning them in Windows is NOT possible. To resolve this issue, you can either format your computer, or run Malwarebytes in safemode.

Tools Commonly Used by Hackers
All these programs can be downloaded for free at a legal website. I shall not mention it here. And in case you are wondering, I am not a hacker. These are basically general knowledge and is learnt in computer software engineering courses.

1.) BruteForce , a program that can crack passwords and id.
Solution : Encrypt your password
2.) PacketEditor , a program that can edit packets sent to their advantage. Example product priced 1000credits. The hacker can pay nothing by editing the packets to falsely tell the server that it was bought.
Solution: Depends on what IMVU will do, currently they have not doing anything.
3.) Keyloggers, theres two types. Commercial and illegal. Both can be used against you. The illegal ones are the dangerous ones.
Solution: Do not open unknown emails, download unknown programs and scan your pc regularly. Note that certain security products such as Avast, Umbrella cannot detect these risks
4.) CookieStealer, steals your cookies.
Solution: Clean your cookie cache regularly
5.) Zombie , makes your pc act as a host and be controlled by the hacker without your consent and without you knowing anything.
Solution: Do not open unknown emails, download unknown programs and scan your pc regularly. Note that certain security products such as Avast, Umbrella cannot detect these risks
6.) Worms, can be sent by a hacker to hook itself to IMVU. Cant be removed manually. Can cause serious damages.
Solution : I cant give any solution to this other then using the products i mentioned below.
7.) Reverse DNS, a technique used by hackers to obtain your system information.
Solution: Enable NAT (Network Address Translation) on your Wifi/modem router's settings.

Based on the tools above used, zombies, keyloggers and worms are client sided. Meaning it can be avoided by using good security softwares. But the remaining tools are used by hackers on their side to their victims.



Recommended Security Softwares

• Free Security Software & Combinations
- Avast Free + Comodo Firewall only
- AVG Free + Comodo Firewall only
- Avira anti virus free

• Licensed Security Software
- Kaspersky Internet Security 2011
- Norton Internet Security 2011

Notes:
- Do not use more than one Anti virus software or firewall software.
- Not all free anti virus softwares are compatible with other free firewalls, the combinations given above are tested and have no performance degradation.
- Internet Security licensed softwares comes with both antivirus and firewall capabilities thus a combination is not necessary.


Multi-Layer Protection System (5 Layers)

Layer 1
OpenDNS protecting you against DNS hacking, or hacking which is done outside your computer. Guide on installing OpenDNS : here

Layer 1 prevents hackers from gaining access or exploiting the first vulnerability which is through your "Domain Name System"

Layer 2
A very strong firewall, I recommend Norton Internet Security 2010 ~ 2011 or Kaspersky Internet Security 2010 ~ 2011. Free ones I recommend would be Comodo Firewall.

Layer 2 prevents hackers from pushing or sneaking viruses through your INTERNET. This also prevents programs from communicating with the "bad guys".

Layer 3
1. Web browsing protection: Web Of Trust, NoScript, Flashblock, Norton Browser Plugin OR Kaspersky Browser Plugin.
2. Avoid Internet Explorer at all costs. [Edited: 12/04/2011]
3. Keep up to date with adobe flash, and Mozilla Firefox.

Layer 3 prevents viruses from coming through as you surf the net

Layer 4
Self Discipline:
1. Say no to any toolbars
2. Follow Web Of Trust's warning and guidelines. Green means safe, Yellow means moderately safe, Red means Dangerous and malicious and Grey means unknown site.
3. Say no to unknown sites, red sites, and yellow sites
4. Scan computer for viruses weekly
5. Keep Windows up to date
6. Make it a habit to clear EVERYTHING from firefox when it closes.
7. Logging in ONLY with onscreen keyboard.
8. Alpha-numeric passwords which consists of both alphabets and numbers thatshould be replaced regularly (Monthly is recommended).

Layer 5
This layer consists of a very good antivirus program. As I recommended earlier either Norton Internet Security 2010~2011 or Kaspersky Internet Security 2010 ~ 2011 is most recommended. Avast is also capable of doing this.

The last layer is basically the front line defense. If any viruses managed to go through all 4 layers, layer 5 should be able to isolate (quarantine) or forcefully remove it (reboot-delete).


Last edited by Loving on Sat Dec 03, 2011 8:43 pm; edited 11 times in total
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Loving

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Joined: 28 Nov 2009
Posts: 5593

PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2010 8:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anti Phishing

I am posting this in regards to the recent increase of people being scammed by fake staffs that cheats users into entering phishing websites.

What is Phishing?

Phishing comes from the term fishing whereby a website can be disguised into a legitimate website to obtain credit card information, and account information similarly to a fisherman fishing for fish using a bait. The latest update by IMVU prevents users from typing out the password in the client but often people are mislead by entering websites provided by the scammers.

How to Identify
1.) Legitimate online transaction websites has a small lock at the bottom right side of the browser showing 128 bit encryption ~ 256 bit encryption
2.) Fake websites normally are not registered under a domain eg imvu.com, gmail.com and usually hosted on other domains. Registered domains are governed under a law whereas fake websites are hosted elsewhere and use 3rd party names.
3.) Never provide credit card details on websites that are not secure example http://
always check and ensure they are using https (secure hyper text transfer protocol).
4.) Always ensure the service is at the same domain it started. Example if you are using IMVU the domain should be imvu.com. Any other domain besides that claiming to be IMVU are considered as fake.





Defensive tools


1. Web Of Trust (Automatically shows a red circular image when you enter a phishing site)
2. Norton Save Web ( Automatically shows an X symbol when entering a phishing site
3. OpenDNS (Instructions provided below)

What is DNS?

DNS stands for domain name server whereby it converts names into ip address. The DNS service provided by your Internet Service Provider is considered very basic and offers no protection against web threats (phishing, malware, pornography and etc..)

How to use OpenDNS

OpenDNS is a free service that protects user passively (takes 0% resource from your computer) from threats such as phishing, malware, adult sites, DNS hacks, and customizable sites to be blocked.

Its basically a one time installation and it works for a lifetime:

1.) Before anything, you must backup your old DNS settings in a case whereby you wish to revert back to your old DNS. To do that you need to open your Network Sharing Center (Windows 7)

Start >> Control Panel >> Change View By to "Category" >> Network Sharing Center
a.) You will see a button called Connections: Local Area Connections
b.) In the pop up window click on "Properties"
c.) Single left click on Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPV4) then click properties.
d.) A sub window will open (View example - here) then take a screen shot of the current settings. Keep the screen shot somewhere safe.

2.) Next go to http://www.opendns.com/start/ and sign up for OpenDNS basic.
3.) Follow the instructions provided in by opendns at the website.

Once openDNS has been activated you can now surf websites safely. Some of the benefits are:

a. Parents can now passively control websites that can be viewed by your child
b. Phishing websites are automatically blocked
c. Protection from DNS hacks
d. Lets you surf the net 30% faster than your conventional DNS given by your Internet Service Provider.
e. Zero impact on computer performance or network speeds

4.) In any case you are unhappy with it and you wish to revert back to your old DNS, simply refer to the settings you took from the screenshot.


Last edited by Loving on Wed Jun 22, 2011 8:51 am; edited 4 times in total
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Loving

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Joined: 28 Nov 2009
Posts: 5593

PostPosted: Sat Jun 26, 2010 6:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ii. IMVU Security

Besides protecting your computers from threats you must also protect your IMVU account. Learn how to do so in this section of the guide.

Identifying Fake IMVU Staffs

Fake IMVU staffs are users who impersonate IMVU Staffs. They may appear to look like a staff but learn how to catch them, read here for more info!

What do these fake staffs want? All they want is to take ownership of your account. They will try any means of deceiving you into releasing your passwords either in client, in message, in email or in a 3rd party website.

Remember! Fake IMVU staffs are mostly ordinary users who may not have a professional degree. They have poor grammar, spelling mistakes and lack patience. Most importantly, IMVU staffs will never personally come and have a chat with you (They dont have the time!) and they never ask your passwords.

Identifying Official Moderators vs Frauds

Official forum moderators are ordinary users given power to moderate the forums ONLY. We dont have any access to user accounts because we are registered users like you! Just like any ordinary users, forum moderators chat, purchase from catalog, make friends, stalk homepages Wink . But NEVER EVER will any moderator ask for your password!

Normally all staffs has a MOD badge this is because they have admin access in the forums. Sometimes you may meet fake forum moderators approaching you to ask for your passwords. Learn to say NO! Just report them!

Learn to use the safety tools

IMVU has provided several means of protecting yourself against scammers like fake staffs, fake mods, frauds and many more. Learn how to use them all in this section.

i. Reporting a Chat

Fake staffs and mods often approach you during chat. Yes they will greet you and make you feel all great! They congratulate you and make you feel special Very Happy But wait!! They ask for your password? They want you to visit another site? They allegedly claim to be generous in giving you large portions of credits or VIP, AP schemes that are too good to be true?

1. First laugh hysterically (In your heart) Laughing
2. Without further delays, right click their avatar and click on the Safety button. Then REPORT THIS USER!


ii. Reporting a message

Woke up this morning to read something so totally awesome!! Yes you are receiving large portions of credits, lifetime VIP, and AP for your loyalty to IMVU. Wow oh woww!! Before you do your victory dance, remember IMVU is not generous! Check to see if the staff sending you this has a watermark that will appear on messages and MUST appear on the avatar card.





No watermark?? Then dont think twice, say awwww and REPORT THIS MESSAGE.





iii. Reporting a Pulse Message

Lets not forget pulse!




Fraudulent Resellers

Just like fake staffs, there are also fraudulent resellers. Geez when will they stop? Anyways, they have the same mentality but with different goals. Fraudulent resellers wants your money by cheating you into buying them.

Here is a compiled list of fraudulent resellers :
List of Fraudulent Resellers (Forum Post).

Registered Resellers

IMVU only allows registered resellers to resell credits. Registered resellers have agreed to abide by given guidelines specified by IMVU but are not directly affiliated with IMVU. You can find out who are the registered resellers of IMVU by visiting the site below.

List of registered resellers :
http://imvucreditresellers.com/

What if you happen to meet an unknown reseller? Copy the link to their site and paste them into a pm and you can pm the link to any moderators or staff. We will then verify and update the fraudulent list of resellers.

**DO NOT PURCHASE FROM A FRAUD**

Best Practices

1. Keep your IMVU account email and your personal email separate
2. Keep your IMVU account email to yourself, do not share it with anyone.
3. Change your passwords regularly, and encrypt your passwords.
4. If you need to login your IMVU account on a public computer, use Windows On Screen Keyboard.
Start >> Accessories >> Compatibility >> On Screen Keyboard
5. Never open emails from an unknown sender, never accept files from an unknown sender.
6. If you need to visit a suspicious link be it a homepage, pulse message or even tinyurl, run your browser in Sandboxie first!
7. Never open 3rd party links sent by strangers during chat.
8. Always check the domain of a page during login, and buying credits, and credits store. IMVU's domain is imvu.com.
9. Always check WOT rating during login, IMVU's login page is rated green because it is a known site. If you see the WOT rating as a ? question mark then that is most likely a phishing site and not IMVU's site.


Last edited by Loving on Wed Jun 22, 2011 7:20 pm; edited 7 times in total
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Loving

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Joined: 28 Nov 2009
Posts: 5593

PostPosted: Sat Aug 21, 2010 2:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Internet Connectivity

This section of the guide explains how you can fix common internet issues, and improving internet speeds.

i. Troubleshooting common connectivity problems

1.) I cannot surf the internet

- Check and see if your ADSL router has the Ethernet light stable, DSL light stable, and Internet light stable. If the DSL light is blinking or off there is a problem with your phone line. If the Internet light is OFF, you are not connected. Contact your ISP provider

- Check to see if you have an IP address
Click start, and type in cmd. In the command prompt window. Type:
Code:

ipconfig /all


Look for "Ethernet adapter Local Area Connection" and ensure that your IP address, subnet mask, and default gateway contains an address. If they dont there could be something wrong with your Network Interface Card.

2.) I cannot login to IMVU
- Temporarily disable your firewall and attempt to login again. If you can connect to IMVU, contact your system administrator and ask permission to allow IMVU.
- Ping to imvu.com to check if your computer can communicate with IMVU. Note down how many percent of packet is dropped.

3.) Socket error
- You are probably under a proxy. IMVU can not login under proxy. Contact your network administrator.


ii. Solving connectivity problems
This will help you renew your IP address so that the server can call you again.
1.) Open cmd.exe following the steps above.
2.) Type in the black box
Code:

ipconfig /release

3.) Once step 2 is complete type:
Code:

ipconfig /renew

4.) Run IMVU again.

iii. Improving internet speeds
By default when you buy your computer, Microsoft & MAC have limited numbers of simultaneous connections to ONE server or MANY. The default in Windows XP is 10 and in Windows 7 they increased it to 21. This is actually very little and sometimes you are not getting what you have paid for.

Just imagine 2 highways. Highway A has 10 lanes and 50 alternate routes to the destination. Highway B has only 2 lanes and only 10 alternate route to the destination. If you were driving, highway A would be least congested. This section of my guide will help you configure your internet to Highway A.

1.) First you need to download TCP Optimizer (free) at: http://www.speedguide.net/downloads.php
2.) Download it, no installation is required. Open the program

3.) Move the scroll bar towards your connection speed bandwith. Be sure to follow the bandwidth you have paid for. Example if you paid for a 10mbps connection from your ISP, push the scrollbar to 10000kpbs. Usually ISP provides up to 1.0mbps.
(Note 1mb = 1000kb)
4.) Click on the radio button "optimal settings"
5.) Be sure not to meddle with any other settings, changes, or change any numbers, press "Apply Changes"
6.) It will modify your registry and change the simultaneous connections to 500 and it will also back up your registry just in case.

Now you will notice, websites load way faster, downloading speeds has gone way higher, IMVU products loads way faster.

TCP Optimizer does NOT open firewall ports. It just optimizes your settings so that it will work more efficiently.

<<<Edit - should this program fail to have the desired effect and actually do the opposite, you can reset back to the original settings.
When you make changes with this program it saves a back up of your original network settings. To role back, click File - restore backed up settings. Then choose the earliest back up file in the list (should have a name like firstbackup.spg.) run the restore. Now turn off the computer and your modem and router. Wait a minute, turn modem and router back on, then wait a minute and turn PC back on. - Auntiepjl>>>

iv. Known issues with Hughesnet

Hughesnet is an Internet service provider that which provides internet connectivity solutions through satellite services. It comes with a feature called "Turbo Page" which works by caching pages you frequently visit so that it can load the page faster without relying on the internet.

The problem is, IMVU's page requires two way comunication with the server. This is needed to perform tasks like replying messages, surfing through the catalog, editing your homepage and many more. Because of this, caching IMVU's page will not work. Users using Hughesnet will commonly face login issues and are advised to turn off the Turbo Page feature to resolve this issue.

How to disable turbo page:
1. Open your internet browser, and type in 192.168.0.1
2. When the HughesNet configuration appears look for "Turbo Page" and disable that.


This should resolve your login issue.

**Credits to GemAirLily and TonyTitan for providing these information on resolving Hughesnet issues. Original post : here**


Last edited by Loving on Wed Jun 22, 2011 7:48 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Loving

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Joined: 28 Nov 2009
Posts: 5593

PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 6:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frequently Asked Questions

[Reserved for questions and answers]

If you have any questions, you can always pm me. I will try my level best to try to answer you. Frequently asked questions will be updated into this list.
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