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QueenMom 04-14-2009 03:57 PM

I Just Don't Get Linux & Need Help
 
Hi - I have a computer that has Linux on it. I've managed to make-do for about a year on it - but I totally just don't get it. (I'm a Windows girl, sorry.) I have figured a lot out on my own, but I'm now stuck with a really big issue.

Without going into all the details, I have reason to believe there is some sort of keystroke program on here. I've searched and searched the board - but I'm still having trouble. I don't understand all the jargon about partitions, packets, blah blah. (Not for lack of trying, I promise.) I don't have the root password and need to change it - then I need to figure out whether there is, in fact, a keystroke program on here. (Or other program used to watch what I'm doing.) I need someone to help in plain English...because I've read the posts about recovering a lost root password and I'm scratching my head even more now. I've seen help for Red Hat and other things - but I'm running Ubuntu. I don't even know if those are the same things. (Don't smack me.)

Is anyone interested in helping me out? Please? This may require some hand holding...just to warn you.

Thanks!
Katherine

i92guboj 04-14-2009 04:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by QueenMom (Post 3508836)
I don't have the root password and need to change it

Ubuntu is a bit particular in this regard. It doesn't let you use the root account, login' in as root is disabled by default. I guess you should be able to use this command to setup a root password, but I am not sure:

Code:

sudo passwd
So you haven't lost the root password or anything and it's not your fault. It's the way that ubuntu comes by default. So, I strongly suggest you not to run the command I gave you above for the time being. Instead, tell us what the real problem is (or what the symptoms are), so we might suggest an alternate course of action.

Quote:

- then I need to figure out whether there is, in fact, a keystroke program on here.
It's certainly not impossible, but highly unlikely. May I ask what makes you think so?

Quote:

I've seen help for Red Hat and other things - but I'm running Ubuntu. I don't even know if those are the same things. (Don't smack me.)
Don't worry, Ubuntu and Red Hat are different distros that do not have anything to do with each other.

acid_kewpie 04-14-2009 04:08 PM

ok. So. you haven't lost the root password as there isn't one. Ubuntu does NOT have one. instead it uses a program called sudo to run root commands as normal users. so whilst someone on redhat would login as root and then run (for example) "fdisk", you'd run "sudo fdisk" as a single command and enter in your *normal* password and it'd then run as root. Simple!

acid_kewpie 04-14-2009 04:10 PM

i92guboj, can you remove mention of setting a root password, please. A broken weird system is much worse than a working weird system. :)

i92guboj 04-14-2009 04:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by acid_kewpie (Post 3508855)
i92guboj, can you remove mention of setting a root password, please. A broken weird system is much worse than a working weird system. :)

Instead, I added a warning not to run it, understandable information is better than obfuscation. Thanks for the warning, you are right that's potentially dangerous.

QueenMom 04-14-2009 04:19 PM

Ok...I think I'm understanding what you guys are saying. lol When I first log in, I have to input a password to even get into Ubuntu. While I was trying to figure out what is going on, I got into the "terminal"? It wanted the root password. That's where I came up with that. (There is Windows - which doesn't work - partitioned on this computer...whatever that means. I hope it means more to you than it does to me.)

I think there is something on this computer for a couple of reasons...1) It's running VERY slow. Slower than it used to. 2) I'll be online, doing my thing, and someone will just randomly start typing letters or numbers. I was on yesterday and couldn't post to my blog because someone kept pressing the letter "v" and wouldn't stop...so I ended up with about 50 rows of v's. This has happened before with various other letters. 3) I'm just out of an abusive relationship - and he installed a remote keylogger before. Twice. The first time it cost me my job. 4) He knows about things I'm not telling him (and he lives in another state and we aren't talking) - and he's never shown psychic abilities before.

So here I sit. Anyone of you very awesome people know what I should do next?

Thanks for helping so quickly!
Katherine

i92guboj 04-14-2009 04:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by QueenMom (Post 3508868)
Ok...I think I'm understanding what you guys are saying. lol When I first log in, I have to input a password to even get into Ubuntu. While I was trying to figure out what is going on, I got into the "terminal"? It wanted the root password. That's where I came up with that. (There is Windows - which doesn't work - partitioned on this computer...whatever that means. I hope it means more to you than it does to me.)

I think there is something on this computer for a couple of reasons...1) It's running VERY slow. Slower than it used to. 2) I'll be online, doing my thing, and someone will just randomly start typing letters or numbers. I was on yesterday and couldn't post to my blog because someone kept pressing the letter "v" and wouldn't stop...so I ended up with about 50 rows of v's. This has happened before with various other letters. 3) I'm just out of an abusive relationship - and he installed a remote keylogger before. Twice. The first time it cost me my job. 4) He knows about things I'm not telling him (and he lives in another state and we aren't talking) - and he's never shown psychic abilities before.

So here I sit. Anyone of you very awesome people know what I should do next?

Thanks for helping so quickly!
Katherine

Do you have any valuable information in your computer that you wish to save?

For what you say there's absolutely no way to make sure that your computer isn't compromised unless you reformat it and install a new OS from scratch.

The random key repetition can happen because of faulty hardware as well. But if you are not confident that the OS is clean the best is to rebuild the house from the ground.

QueenMom 04-14-2009 04:24 PM

I'm sorry to post again - but I just thought of some things I should clear up. 1) The keyloggers were not on this computer/system. 2) When I sign onto the computer, the password I'm entering is the user password. 3) Before installing any updates I have to enter my password. I'm assuming that is normal for Ubuntu? (BTW - HE built this computer for me...if that helps without me spelling anything out.)

Thanks again,
Katherine

QueenMom 04-14-2009 04:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by i92guboj (Post 3508876)
Do you have any valuable information in your computer that you wish to save?

For what you say there's absolutely no way to make sure that your computer isn't compromised unless you reformat it and install a new OS from scratch.

<gasp> That's like telling you, you need to come parent my wild children...without help! I can't think of anything scarier...and have no clue where I would even start with that.

I think you just gave me a heart attack. I wouldn't know how to do that with Windows - and definitely not with Linus. When I said I had figured out some things, I meant that Kooka was for scanning and digiKam would get my pictures off my camera. Maybe I made it sound like I'm better at this than I am??

To answer your question, I have pictures and a few documents - but not much. Couldn't I save those to a disk? I've tried to minimize what I do on the computer while I'm stuck with this one.

i92guboj 04-14-2009 04:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by QueenMom (Post 3508883)
<gasp> That's like telling you, you need to come parent my wild children...without help! I can't think of anything scarier...and have no clue where I would even start with that.

I think you just gave me a heart attack. I wouldn't know how to do that with Windows - and definitely not with Linus. When I said I had figured out some things, I meant that Kooka was for scanning and digiKam would get my pictures off my camera. Maybe I made it sound like I'm better at this than I am??

Just relax, and be patient :) It's not that difficult as it might sound. However it would help to have someone at your side that knows a bit about partitions and such, even if it's just a Windows user. So he can help you to follow the instructions we give here.

I'll try to use the most mundane speech I can, if you feel I or anyone else goes too techie here, please, don't hesitate to ask for further clarification in a more plain speech.

I suggest you to download a live linux distribution. A live distro (for short) is a whole OS that you can run from a cd. We can use this to make a backup of any important data that you might have in your hard disk. Once that data is out and safe, we can start to worry about the rest.

Running a live distro will have the advantage that you can be sure that your OS is clean, and that your backups will also be clean and ok. In the way, you can use the livecd to test your network connection and see if it will be automatically detected once you install a new OS, which will be an important thing to be able to get further assistance once you start the quest to install a new OS. ;)

I don't know much about easy-to-use live distros, so probably someone around can suggest better ideas. But I know that a lot of people use knoppix for these purposes:

http://www.knopper.net/knoppix/

You have to downloads this ISO image:

ftp://ftp.kernel.org/pub/dist/knoppi...9-02-08-EN.iso

And then you need to burn it to a cd. Make sure that in your cd burning program you select "burn image" or something similar, and not just burn files, otherwise it won't work. We can give further info on how to correctly burn it if you tell us what program are you using to burn cds in linux. Famous ones are brasero and k3b these days. There's also a nero for linux.

PS: Then you would need to boot the livecd so you know you are on a secure environment where you can do the backups without worrying about being spied or whatever. But one step at a time. First we need to burn the ISO :p

pixellany 04-14-2009 04:54 PM

I'm not going to get into this---except to reinforce one point: Work on one problem at a time.

XavierP 04-14-2009 05:36 PM

Can I suggest that you contact a local Linux User Group? Not trying to offload you here, but you may be better in these early days by meeting with someone who can talk you through changes.

From your location in your profile, I think these may be local to you:
http://insflug.nova.es/
http://slug.ctv.es/

These groups are volunteers who will readily give their time to help new users get into Linux. They will also hold your hand through a reinstall of your OS.

mark_alfred 04-14-2009 06:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by QueenMom (Post 3508836)
Without going into all the details, I have reason to believe there is some sort of keystroke program on here. [...] I need to figure out whether there is, in fact, a keystroke program on here. (Or other program used to watch what I'm doing.)
Thanks!
Katherine

Your computer sometimes starts typing a letter (IE, vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv etc) non-stop, fouling up your computer usage. A few things are possible. Perhaps, as you say, there is a "keystroke program" on there. Perhaps there's a program allowing an outside user to have access to your desktop (IE, your ex-partner). Perhaps it's infected by some sort of virus or malware (very unlikely, though). Or, and most likely, there's crumbs of food in your keyboard that stick sometimes.

So, let's start with the easy stuff. Turn your keyboard (or laptop) upside down, and give it a few good whacks. Likely, a bunch of crumbs will come out of it. Keep doing this for a minute or two.

Having done that, make your computer secure. Install a firewall. See Ubuntu firewall help page. There are other tips at the Ubuntu safety page for you to check out.

You could also install antivirus software. I use ClamAV on my Debian system, which presumably is available for Ubuntu as well. Avscan is the gui (graphical user interface) for this, though I simply run clamscan in the terminal. I don't know if Ubuntu has Avscan (admittedly, Debian used to have this, but no longer does). Anyway, see Ubuntu ClamAV info page, for information on using ClamAV.

Good luck in ridding yourself of annoying repetitive keystroke causers within your computer. And congratulations on having dumped your annoying abusive ex-boyfriend.

maresmasb 04-15-2009 06:07 AM

The problem with the repeated keystrokes can be caused by the keyboard itself. Today's cheapo or ultra-designed keyboards sometimes stuck - I have experienced this a few times as well, though it has always been the same keys.

Ubuntu is a nice intro system, but some of it's concepts (like the things around root) will get you confused when reading common Linux and Unix documentation. My advice is to switch to some of the more traditional mainstream distributions like Fedora, Debian, Suse or Slackware. You have to learn some core UNIX concepts on the long term anyway, so rather use a system that goes with the standards.

It seem to be the best approach to re-install a new system. Make sure that you create a backup of your home directory. There are a lot of possibilities of re-installing a system and keeping the old home directory, or doing tricky re-partitioning - but these tasks are difficult and dangerous for newbies, so just make a backup to some external storage device and run a clean install of Linux.

To keep yourself updated check these sites:
http://www.howtoforge.org
http://www.tldp.org
or simply Google for infos.

alan_ri 04-15-2009 08:24 AM

There's Ubuntu live cd available here.It would be good to know if you have 32 or 64 bit machine,you can check that in the terminal with command:
Code:

uname -m
If you see i686,download 32 bit version,if you don't download the other one.
You'll probably need to set your machine to boot from a cd,to do that when you power on your machine hit F11 or similar button (you should see the options on the screen) and set BIOS to boot from a cd.Put cd in the drive and hit <Enter>.
For burning iso images in Ubuntu I recommend Gnome Baker.It's in the repos.Use Synaptic to get it and burn the image at low speed,4x will be ok.
If you don't want Windows anymore,while installing choose an option to use entire hard disk,format it with ext3 filesystem and install GRUB on the MBR.
Everything else that you'll need to do about this new installation should be simple,even for a newbie like you.
Good luck and have fun!

schneidz 04-15-2009 01:32 PM

if you have a 2 gb usb thumbdrive and your pc can boot from usb, my recomendation is fedora live usb.
_______________

i googled and i cant find how to install it in ubuntu...

mark_alfred 04-15-2009 01:52 PM

Hmm. It seems various posters here advocate reinstalling your entire system. Uhg. Such overkill. That was usually the remedy that Windows users in the past resorted to for "solving" problems*. Linux users should not adopt such inane "remedies". But I digress.

As I said in my former post, try these things first:
  • clean your keyboard
  • install a firewall
  • install an antivirus program
  • read the safety and security tips on the Ubuntu website
See my previous post for more details, and links, for doing this.

If problems continue, then sure, reinstall Ubuntu (or another distro). Installing Ubuntu (or another distro) is not too difficult.

_________
*Windows users now just go and buy a whole new computer when they've got an issue -- such a waste.

jphilput 04-15-2009 02:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mark_alfred (Post 3510015)
Hmm. It seems various posters here advocate reinstalling your entire system. Uhg. Such overkill. That was usually the remedy that Windows users in the past resorted to for "solving" problems*. Linux users should not adopt such inane "remedies". But I digress.

Actually, reinstalling the operating system is considered a best practice when dealing with an unknown malware infection. While the problems here may not be malware related, the behavior described, and the fact that the ex is the one who installed and configured the machine lead me to believe that an OS reinstall is reasonable.

I think that the best suggestions so far are the ones that advocate going to the local LUG(s) for assistance.

ppeev 04-15-2009 04:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by QueenMom (Post 3508836)
I need to figure out whether there is, in fact, a keystroke program on here. (Or other program used to watch what I'm doing.)

If this was a windows questions forum and you were asking this I would tell you that the chance of your computer being infected with such software is very big, especially when downloading screensavers from suspicious sites. But with linux I really doubt you can have this problem.

XavierP 04-15-2009 05:25 PM

Not so, especially if the person who installed the system may be the sort of person who would install a keystroke logger.

wabbalee 04-15-2009 06:45 PM

I agree, with regards to the guy who originally installed this computer's OS, a clean install of (K)Ubuntu would be the quickest easiest and safest option alongside a visit or two to the local LUG. you will come out feeling like an expert!

wabbalee 04-15-2009 06:49 PM

oh and try this: http://www.ubuntupocketguide.com/download.html
some good and easy reading material.

stratotak 04-15-2009 11:17 PM

Installing Linux isnt really that hard..If you stick with one of the distro's with training wheels.Like Ubuntu,OpenSuse,Mandrivia,PCLinux...If I can figure it out anyone can..According to my ex-girl friend..Im legally retarded..lol..

mark_alfred 04-16-2009 02:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by stratotak (Post 3510481)
Installing Linux isnt really that hard..If you stick with one of the distro's with training wheels.Like Ubuntu,OpenSuse,Mandrivia,PCLinux.

Backing up a current system, then installing a new system, and subsequently, with the backup, customising the new set up to have the same personal value that the old set up had, is an effort. In fact, given that good practices such as installing an antivirus program, installing a firewall, keeping a system up to date, and cleaning a keyboard to remove potential jams, would have to be done regardless of whether one reinstalls a system or not, I don't see a particular advantage to reinstalling. So, until it's been determined that the computer's OS is irreparably damaged, it makes sense to first enact the aforementioned good practises for maintaining a healthy system.

XavierP 04-16-2009 02:33 PM

While, in principle, I agree with all of you that hardening beats a reinstall, at this point in time the whole system is completely untrustworthy - it was installed by someone who may have reason to install an OS which is unsafe. The only way to restore confidence in the OS is for it to be reinstalled and the hardened.

stratotak 04-16-2009 06:40 PM

Sometimes its just easier and less of a headache to just erase the chalkboard and start from scratch...

wabbalee 04-16-2009 07:01 PM

I agree with Stratotak, time wise you could have a working and most of all, clean system in less than an hour. let's not confuse (or even scare) a potential new linux user here and stick to basics.

moreover, we have been posting away here, I think we should wait and see what QueenMom has to say to all this.

QueenMom, are you still with us?

Daniel_hates_ubuntu 04-16-2009 07:20 PM

lol
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by QueenMom (Post 3508868)
Ok...I think I'm understanding what you guys are saying. lol When I first log in, I have to input a password to even get into Ubuntu. While I was trying to figure out what is going on, I got into the "terminal"? It wanted the root password. That's where I came up with that. (There is Windows - which doesn't work - partitioned on this computer...whatever that means. I hope it means more to you than it does to me.)

lol, Partitioned means exapmle:

windows on one half of the hard drive and ubuntu on another half but only one hard drive.

and windows (because its not designed to) can't see uBuntu.

And terminal is sorta the same thing as command line in windows.

why doesnt windows work? (could it be ntldr is missing? uBuntu often screws up ntldr)

demonbladenet 04-16-2009 07:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Daniel_hates_ubuntu (Post 3511615)
lol, Partitioned means exapmle:

windows on one half of the hard drive and ubuntu on another half but only one hard drive.

and windows (because its not designed to) can't see uBuntu.

And terminal is sorta the same thing as command line in windows.

why doesnt windows work? (could it be ntldr is missing? uBuntu often screws up ntldr)

I had the same problem .My solution involved a much more drastic but perfect solution. If you are using SATA HDDs then buy a little piece of hardware that allows you to swap HHDs. Put Linux on a new HDD and then swap it with the Windows HDD (with system off) I am using a 250 gig drive for my Linux distro so i have ample room for Linux only apps.any drives that carry only data (video,music.pics etc.) are still accessible.Of course any files on the Windows HDD aren't. Therefore I suggest you put at least 2HDDs in your system ,plus the swap bay and a second drive

wabbalee 04-16-2009 08:54 PM

Quote:

why doesnt windows work? (could it be ntldr is missing? uBuntu often screws up ntldr)
sorry, but that is simply not true; I have installed Ubuntu on numerous systems alongside with windows, for people who want to see what Linux is about without losing their Oh so precious windos, and I have NEVER come across Ubuntu stirring up a windows install more than it already was in the first place.

of course you need to take the proper steps before you start, defragmenting windows' system drive (C:\ mostly but not always) beforehand is a must if you are installing on the same physical drive and need to resize and repartition it.

but we are deviating from the topic here..

AsusDave 04-16-2009 09:22 PM

I have to concur with the opinions of many others here and suggest a complete re-install. You only need to look to Law #3 of the 10 Laws of Computer Security and possibly #6 as the ex set-up the box.

Good luck with whatever you go with.

Dave

pixellany 04-16-2009 09:50 PM

Ummmmmm---anyone notice that OP is long gone? Based on similar incidents, I'd guess she will not be back......

mark_alfred 04-17-2009 01:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pixellany (Post 3511719)
Ummmmmm---anyone notice that OP is long gone? Based on similar incidents, I'd guess she will not be back......

You're probably right there.

I had similar occurrences on my computer a short while back, that being some erratic behaviour where a letter would type repeatedly, or where lines of text would be deleted (as if the delete button was pressed.) Given that I've used my computer for years, and configured it to my liking, there was no way I was going to reinstall. So, I went about fixing it. There were a lotta crumbs in the keyboard. And, further, there were a few broken executables, and some potential viruses that I found when I put a virus scanner on the computer (ClamAV). So, I dealt with it, and the issues seem to have gone away.

Mind you, in the OP's case, I do agree that reinstalling makes perfect sense. After all, this would free up space that the broken Windows partition is taking up. Still, I feel that it's usually best to try and fix a system before reinstalling.

QueenMom 04-18-2009 01:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mark_alfred (Post 3508988)
Your computer sometimes starts typing a letter (IE, vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv etc) non-stop, fouling up your computer usage. A few things are possible. Perhaps, as you say, there is a "keystroke program" on there. Perhaps there's a program allowing an outside user to have access to your desktop (IE, your ex-partner). Perhaps it's infected by some sort of virus or malware (very unlikely, though). Or, and most likely, there's crumbs of food in your keyboard that stick sometimes.

So, let's start with the easy stuff. Turn your keyboard (or laptop) upside down, and give it a few good whacks. Likely, a bunch of crumbs will come out of it. Keep doing this for a minute or two.

EDIT

Good luck in ridding yourself of annoying repetitive keystroke causers within your computer. And congratulations on having dumped your annoying abusive ex-boyfriend.

Thank you for those tips - I originally thought the same thing regarding the crumbs, etc (especially with 3 kids) - but I've cleaned the keyboard with canned air, then washed the whole thing, then tried 2 other keyboards I have. I still encounter the same problem - in fact, it happened just a little while ago. Sometimes it's so bad I can't even type and just have to shut the computer down - sometimes it happens at particular times to make me "feel" like it's just a little sign or something, like a note to let me know he's there. (Creepy, isn't it?)

I apologize for disappearing for a few days - life interference. I was also waiting for a call back from a friend of mine who knows all about computers and I was hoping he could hold my hand...no such luck. He knows nothing about Linux either.

I have read thru most of the posts and am now unsure as to how to proceed. Is it ok to continue seeking help from you guys - or is it preferable I find the local group? I don't want to monopolize anyone's time or efforts, nor do I want to overstep my bounds. Am I looking for more help than is appropriate to ask for in this forum?

I really do appreciate all the input - and thank you, mark_alfred, for the kind words. :) I'm going to go through and begin following the instructions - if I'm not overstepping my bounds. If someone would please answer that question, I'd appreciate it. (I don't want to start following the instructions you guys have so gracefully provided - only to get halfway thru and find out I really shouldn't have asked for this much help.) :)

And what are the Laws of Computer Security? Told you...I'm a dork. ;)

Thanks again!
Katherine

QueenMom 04-18-2009 01:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wabbalee (Post 3511602)
I agree with Stratotak, time wise you could have a working and most of all, clean system in less than an hour. let's not confuse (or even scare) a potential new linux user here and stick to basics.

moreover, we have been posting away here, I think we should wait and see what QueenMom has to say to all this.

QueenMom, are you still with us?

I am, wabbalee, thank you. I am trying to make sense of some of the posts. This is what I've come up with:

~ Ex is a really bad apple. He used to be a cop and I found out he's using a friend's login/password (who is still a cop) to access info about me and my family from some database available only to law enforcement and that genre. Everything he finds, he's using against my family. (Not anything bad, just making sure I know he's got the info - like my parent's divorce decree from the early '80s.)
~ Ex knows I know nothing about Linux - which is why he installed it. Then I would have to go to him for help. There is some keyword installed when you try to get into the terminal - and it won't let me do anything without it. I have my own username set up on this computer - I have to enter a password to even get on the Ubuntu side.
~ Windows used to work - but I'm guessing that he used such a small part of the hard drive for Windows that it got filled up with info (because that is what I used until I couldn't access it anymore) and just won't even load now. I was having problems downloading things when I was using that part of the system, always getting a message that there wasn't enough memory and I needed to clean it up. (Which I did repeatedly, but didn't help.) I don't even try to access that part anymore and have just decided that is lost information.
~ I have installed all packet information (I hope that is what it's called) when the little symbol shows up that updates are ready. I'm confident the system is up-to-date.
~ With the talk about installing antivirus, etc, that there is nothing like that installed on here. Hits me as extremely strange, since the ex was always super concerned and vigilant about keeping that stuff up-to-date and running a full system scan every week. In fact, he was maniacal about it.
~ I've already addressed the possible keyboard issue...I'm confident it isn't a keyboard issue.
~ He installed a keylogger twice before - and it ran in my Windows background without me having a clue it was there. CCleaner just happened to catch it once, which is how I located it.
~ He knows I know nothing about this - so he thinks he can install whatever and I would never know it's there.
~ I know he used to have a remote login program on my system - for when I needed "help". I uninstalled it when I stumbled across the log and realized he'd been on my system frequently - and I hadn't been asking him for help (or didn't know he was there).
~ I do have several documents on here I need to save (and pictures) - but it definitely wouldn't be a daunting task. I haven't saved so much to this computer that I couldn't function without it - and if it means keeping him out of my life, I would much rather do whatever is necessary to have a clean, safe machine that he can't access. I want to get on and not worry whether he's watching everything I do. It isn't that I'm doing anything bad - I just think it would be nice.
~ I have no clue what demonbladenet is saying. I'm sorry!

Sorry for the longest post in history - just trying to answer questions/provide information all at once. What a mess.

mark_alfred 04-18-2009 02:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by QueenMom (Post 3512944)
~ I do have several documents on here I need to save (and pictures) - but it definitely wouldn't be a daunting task. I haven't saved so much to this computer that I couldn't function without it - and if it means keeping him out of my life, I would much rather do whatever is necessary to have a clean, safe machine that he can't access.

Well, that settles it. Get your usb-drive, and save your documents and pictures. Then, get an Ubuntu install disc, and format the entire drive and install. If the computer has access to the internet (high speed), then no problem. The install is practically automatic.

About installing Linux: I used to work in a shelter for homeless adults, whom I helped to find subsidised housing. I also helped some of them get second hand donated computers, and taught them how to install and use Debian Linux (another distro that's similar to Ubuntu). NONE of my clients knew squat about computers, but even they had no problems with this process (due to how easy it is). Installing Linux is basically this: get the cdrom, put it in the machine, answer "yes" when it asks if you wish to install, agree to its default suggestions, and then a functional computer with an awesome secure operating system is born.

mark_alfred 04-18-2009 03:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by QueenMom (Post 3512927)
And what are the Laws of Computer Security? Told you...I'm a dork. ;)

I'm not sure. I'm only familiar with the laws of computer nerdity.

i92guboj 04-18-2009 03:44 AM

Computer security comes in layers, hoping that at least one of the layers will stop the attacker. There's no perfect single solution. But good habits are your best ally. For a starter, you only need to worry about a couple of things: don't run services you are not going to be using, use a simple firewall and never run as the root user unless you really need to (only for administrative tasks).

In ubuntu all should be configured out of the box with safe enough defaults, and you can't login as root, so you shouldn't really have to worry about that. Once you reinstall your system will be clean.

QueenMom 04-18-2009 05:36 AM

Yay! You guys are so awesome...thank you for all this help. I will start pulling stuff off in a little while then. Before I do, I have 2 questions.

1) Can anything I'm going to pull off be infected? It's just some pictures and a couple of .doc documents.

2) About this install disk...is that the same thing that was referred to as a "live distro"? Is this what I download at
http://www.knopper.net/knoppix/

You have to downloads this ISO image:

ftp://ftp.kernel.org/pub/dist/knoppi...9-02-08-EN.iso

as pointed out by i92guboj? Or do I need to get some sort of other disk?

And I don't know if it matters, but when the computer boots it says "Ubuntu" - and when I have to sign in it says "KBuntu". Are they basically the same? And will redoing this get rid of the Windows partition on this machine?

Thank you so much you guys.

i92guboj 04-18-2009 06:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by QueenMom (Post 3513047)
Yay! You guys are so awesome...thank you for all this help. I will start pulling stuff off in a little while then. Before I do, I have 2 questions.

1) Can anything I'm going to pull off be infected? It's just some pictures and a couple of .doc documents.

The pictures should be safe. Documents... it depends. I know that MS-Word, for example, is vulnerable to macro-ing. Word documents can contain macros. But I am not sure about what's the scope of the threat. And I am not sure if Open Office (which is what you will be using in Linux to substitute MS-Office) is also vulnerable to these (it all depends whether it's fully compatible or not with MS-Word macros.

Quote:

2) About this install disk...is that the same thing that was referred to as a "live distro"? Is this what I download at
http://www.knopper.net/knoppix/

You have to downloads this ISO image:

ftp://ftp.kernel.org/pub/dist/knoppi...9-02-08-EN.iso

as pointed out by i92guboj? Or do I need to get some sort of other disk?
I suggested that as a mean to have a portable system that you could use to operate without being compromised while you managed to install a new OS. You probably don't want to use it as your regular OS. Instead, you need to download the Ubuntu installation disks, if that's the linux flavor that you want to use. You can fetch those here:

http://www.ubuntu.com/getubuntu/download

Quote:

And I don't know if it matters, but when the computer boots it says "Ubuntu" - and when I have to sign in it says "KBuntu". Are they basically the same?
Ubuntu and kubuntu are basically the same thing, just with a different default desktop. Ubuntu uses gnome and kubuntu uses kde. Either of them will work the same basically. And you can install an alternate desktop in whatever distro, so at the end of the day they are the same thing.

Both desktops can do basically the same things, using one of the other is mostly a matter of personal preference.

Quote:

And will redoing this get rid of the Windows partition on this machine?
The installer should provide an option to repartition the disk, but I am not familiar with the ubuntu installer. Probably someone around can answer that better than me.

rich_c 04-18-2009 07:31 AM

If you're not too sure about the whole downloading an ISO and burning it to a CD, you could always use this method of getting a CD.

XavierP 04-18-2009 08:41 AM

As to whether you should continue asking questions here or go to a LUG, the answer is to do both. Having someone there to help you is invaluable for those little issues that may come up and can be fixed quickly. It will also give you some peace of mind that you know what has been done and how it has been done. On the other hand, LQ is 24/7 and has thousands of people here who can offer advice.

mark_alfred 04-18-2009 06:23 PM

Please open a terminal (konsole, gnome-terminal, or xterm) and enter the following command (without quotes): "uname -r -m". This will tell us what version of Linux you're running, and what CPU processor you've got. Also, if you could open the text file /etc/apt/sources.list, and copy and paste it here, then we would know for sure what distro we're dealing with. Then, perhaps, we could better focus our assistance.

stratotak 04-18-2009 10:43 PM

If your going to install Ubuntu..Id recommend you read up on it..
https://help.ubuntu.com/8.10/install...386/index.html
And if there are things you dont understand or need further explanation..you can ask here..

Quote:

I have read thru most of the posts and am now unsure as to how to proceed. Is it ok to continue seeking help from you guys - or is it preferable I find the local group? I don't want to monopolize anyone's time or efforts, nor do I want to overstep my bounds. Am I looking for more help than is appropriate to ask for in this forum?
that is the whole point to a forum like this..for people to come and ask for and receive help..ask as many questions as you want..

schneidz 04-19-2009 12:14 AM

quick question: does your pc have the ability to write cd's ?
if so, what software do you use to write cd's ?
(with this info, someone mite know the process to create a bootable install disk.)
---
also, you mentioned a broken windows system. do you still have the windows install cd ? perhaps you can use that to repair your windows partition if that is your preferance ?

wabbalee 04-19-2009 09:20 AM

Ex seems to be an expert at the art of spying, reason enough to reinstall an OS for me. personally, I would not worry about Knoppix now. Instead, if you are running KUbuntu (like myself atm), you are somewhat familiar with that already and I think you should stick with that for now.
we are at the brink of a new (K)Ubuntu release (only days away) I would even suggest to stay with the version you have now, but that is up to you.

one way to see what KDE version you are using is to click on:
'the K at bottom left' then on 'SystemSettings' and then in the menu bar on 'Help-> About KDE'
you can now read the version of the KDE release. if it is version 3.5.x you are most likely using KUbuntu 8.04 alias 'Hardy Herron' or in short just 'Hardy'
The Ubuntu developers have thought of an interesting naming scheme for their releases and they are all named after African (I think so anyway) animals.

With the KUbuntu cd you can initially let it load into 'live' mode. I think it will do that automatically if you boot with the cd in you drive. Once the live cd has fully loaded you can access your windows partition by clicking on the icon called 'System Menu' right next to the big 'K' at the bottom left and then click on 'Storage Media' you will now see all drives that are attached (or built in) to the system. (May be you can do that even now in your current system, but I don't know what ex did with regards to passwords)

But first you will have to get yourself a copy. One way is to do what rich_c suggested in his post, but you will have to wait sometime before you get the actual disk. i92guboj suggests a Ubuntu link (post #40), which uses the GNOME desktop environment, which is excellent but I think you have KUbuntu which uses KDE and therefore looks and feels different as i92guboj also said. not harder just different.

btw, I am answerring this post offline as I have a 16hr shift at work (no internet here), so I apologise if I am suggesting anything here that's been suggested by someone else already. I will post this when I get home at midnight, the last post when I read this was from the moderator XavierP post number #42 on page #3.

If you want to stick with your current version, you will have to download the 'iso' file for it. (you will need to download an 'iso' anyway regardless) If you wish to stay with the same version we need you to answer what I previously suggested on how to find out which KDE version you use so we can provide the download link to the 'iso' for you. Then once you have downloaded the 'iso', burning it to a disc is as simple as inserting a blank CD in your burner;
right click on the just downloaded iso-> Actions-> Write CD Image with K3b.
give it some time to do its thing and click the 'start' button that appears in the window that pops up. I assume you have KUbuntu.

After succesful burning leave the CD in your drive and reboot your machine, if your computer now boots up exactly like it always has then report back here and we will have to help you setup your computer's BIOS to boot from cd first. This is where XavierP's suggestion of finding your local LUG can come in handy, but we could resolve it here as well. but may be ex just left it to boot of cd...

speaking of long posts...

mark_alfred 04-19-2009 02:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by QueenMom (Post 3513047)
Yay! You guys are so awesome...thank you for all this help. I will start pulling stuff off in a little while then. Before I do, I have 2 questions.

1) Can anything I'm going to pull off be infected? It's just some pictures and a couple of .doc documents.

Just pull off the stuff, and then later you can scan the usb-drive from the newly installed OS on your computer. Do you have files, such as documents and pictures, on the broken Windows partition that you wish to save? Unless something is seriously wrong with that partition, you should be able to mount it from within Linux, and copy files from it to your usb-drive. Usually there are icons/launchers on the desktop for mounting a computer's partitions, but if not, within your file-manager (Konqueror or Nautilus, or Rox Filer) go to the directory "/media" (or the directory "/mnt"), and you should see mount points that you can right-click on to access the Windows partition.

Also, do you have address files from daytimer and/or email programs that you'd like to save? You can export these files to the usb-drive, and then import them later in your newly set up operating system. Most daytimer and email programs allow for exporting files, for backup. This is true too of web browsers, and bookmark files.

Good luck

mark_alfred 04-19-2009 03:24 PM

devil's advocate
 
The suggestions thus far have been 1.) to attempt to fix your current operating system (Kubuntu?) via scanning it and tightening security on it, and 2.) declaring it irrevocably compromised, and thus reinstalling a flavour of Linux on it.

Given the title of thread, "I Just Don't Get Linux & Need Help", if you've got some money, you may wish to consider buying a new computer with Windows. New computers are reasonably cheap, and if you're getting high speed, most providers will set you up with malware and virus scanners, thus saving yourself the trouble. After all, given that a lot of the really useful open source free software is now available in both Linux AND Windows format, that no longer is an argument for using Linux. And, if Linux can so easily be breached (even by some ex-cop, never mind a computer specialist), and if getting security in Linux means having to join user groups, and configure firewalls, virus scanners, and even reinstall entire operating systems, then, really, who needs it?

XavierP 04-19-2009 03:32 PM

The issue is not that it was breached, but that it was set up in such a way as to make it insecure. The keylogger is not believed to be on there because the system was left insecure. it is believed to be on there because the person who installed the OS also installed the keylogger. No system is proof against maliciousness from the installer.

stratotak 04-19-2009 03:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mark_alfred (Post 3514332)
The suggestions thus far have been 1.) to attempt to fix your current operating system (Kubuntu?) via scanning it and tightening security on it, and 2.) declaring it irrevocably compromised, and thus reinstalling a flavour of Linux on it.

Given the title of thread, "I Just Don't Get Linux & Need Help", if you've got some money, you may wish to consider buying a new computer with Windows. New computers are reasonably cheap, and if you're getting high speed, most providers will set you up with malware and virus scanners, thus saving yourself the trouble. After all, given that a lot of the really useful open source free software is now available in both Linux AND Windows format, that no longer is an argument for using Linux. And, if Linux can so easily be breached (even by some ex-cop, never mind a computer specialist), and if getting security in Linux means having to join user groups, and configure firewalls, virus scanners, and even reinstall entire operating systems, then, really, who needs it?

Thats a little like saying you have a car with a flat tire,rather than learn to change the flat tire..just go head and buy a new car..lol..


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