Sunday, July 27, 2014

A new virus is tearing apart Windows

From Kim Komando:

"A new virus is on the rise, and this one is a doozy.

Dubbed the "Bladabindi," this is a multi-identity virus that has the capability to fool your firewall by adding itself to the firewall exception list and waltz right in. The malware then targets main systems, like your keyboard, webcam, your browsers and your Windows information.

Bladabindi then siphons your user IDs, passwords, computer name, serial number and country, and steals personal information with no one the wiser. It can also check for camera drivers to record and send video wherever it wants.

This malicious malware is spreading through USB drives. Bladabindi replicates itself into rootware and is disguised under a different icon by the hacker. When the victim clicks on it, it runs the Windows Explorer system as if nothing bad appears to have happened.

Bladabindi has mainly been attacking computers in India, and is currently being tracked by the Computer Emergency Response Team - India (CERT-In). CERT-In is trying to find a way to disable this nasty software, but in the meantime there are a few things you can do to protect your computer.

Scan your computer with a tough anti-virus software and a cleaner kit to determine if it's even on your computer. If Bladabindi is found, it's tough but not impossible to remove.

You should also scan and clean any USB or external drives that you use with a USB cleaner. You should also keep all of your software up to date and patched to beef up security.

And, I cannot stress this enough, you must follow the rules of Internet safety to keep your information safe! Do not click or follow unsolicited email attachments or ads, do not visit untrusted or sketchy sites, use tough passwords, and be vigilant about social media attacks
 
You can find more great safety tips here at my Security Center, and you can also use this program as a last resort."

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

I hate Google Chrome

I do not understand the fascination with Google Chrome, Google's attempt to replace Firefox and Internet Explorer as our browser of choice.

Let me say up front that I hate Google Chrome.

It is not just that I don't want Google to know everything I do on my computer. They pretty much own me already, and I am okay with that. I was an early Gmail user. I have several Google blogs. I do recognize Google as the best search engine, and on and on.

Why do I dislike Google's Chrome browser so much?

It's a very small thing. I installed Chrome versions right from the start, version after version, but never found the one feature, available in all other browsers, that I wanted so badly.

What is that feature? It is a simple thing.

Firefox and Internet Explorer allow their users to display a list of their Favorites (IE) or Bookmarks (Firefox) down the left side of the browser window.

Chrome has NEVER offered that simple feature and still does not.

I, along with thousands of others, begged Google to include this bread and butter feature, standard in all other browsers, in online forums or fora if you prefer. The response from Google - none at all.

I think that many of you whose homes I visit or whose laptops get dropped off at my house, have Google Chrome because of the fact that - if you are not careful - you will get it when you download CCleaner, one of the best free little programs I have ever seen. I recommend it to all of you and you should use it weekly.

When you download CCleaner and probably other programs as well, you may see a window offering a download of Google Chrome, and there is ALREADY a check mark in the box that says yes to download it.

Or maybe you are on the google.com web site and there is that very annoying download Google Chrome in the upper right hand corner.

Read the displays. Don't accept a check mark that was put in the box for you. UNCHECK IT! Don't ever click on an icon to download it.

There is nothing to be gained from using it. Most people I visit try to use it because it is there and this leads to much confusion on their parts.

The bottom line is that Google Chrome offers nothing that Firefox and Internet Explorer don't.


Monday, July 14, 2014

MVPS HOSTS File available for July

MVPS HOSTS File Update July-08-2014



The MVPS HOSTS file was recently updated [July-08-2014]
http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.htm
Download: hosts.zip (131 kb)
http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.zip
How To: Download and Extract the HOSTS filehttp://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts2.htm
HOSTS File - Frequently Asked Questionshttp://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hostsfaq.htm
Note: the "text" version makes a great resource for determining possible unwanted connections ...
http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.txt (498 kb)
Get notified when the MVPS HOSTS file is updatedhttp://winhelp2002.mvps.org/updates.htm

Monday, July 7, 2014

Downloading Programs?

If you have a need to download a program, please use http://filehippo.com

I look at so many customer machines where I see what I consider "junk" programs. Many of these come along for a free ride when you download a program you want, but get from some other web site. For years I recommended download.com for downloads, but they have become so unfriendly that I strongly recommend that you switch now to filehippo.com.

Even so, when you download a program, regardless of source, you need to READ the screens that display when installing the program

Why? Here is one example. When downloading ccleaner from filehippo, one of the displays asks if you want to also download and install Google Chrome. I can't tell you how many installations of Google Chrome I have seen and the customes says "I don't know how it got there". I usually do know! The answer is in this paragraph, so READ the installation screens.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The top 10 Windows 8 questions everyone asks

A PC Doc customer just asked me yesterday if I would recommend a new Dell laptop with Windows 7 or with Windows 8. It turns out he has a desktop PC running Windows 7 and did not want to have to learn something new. I couldn't argue with hm on that point. Having 2 Windows 7 machines, I thought, made sense for him.

I am almost sorry I didn't make a pitch for Windows 8. Let me say that our two new (December 2013) Dell laptops are doing very well. Yes, they are different from what we were used to, but it turns out W8 is pretty easy to learn and it is rock solid - in our experience. It is simply a very reliable workhorse. For the record, my desktop is a W7 machine. I like having both because I support customers with both and I need to know both. And, once you get past what we used to call the GUI (graphical user interface) they are pretty much the same.

The customer mentioned above has an XP laptop now, and I cleaned and tuned it for him. It should get him through the summer. It has the same old problems most XP machines have: a slow processor and not enough RAM. His processor clains to be about 1 GHz (986 MHz I think it said), He has 1 GB of RAM and really should spend $40 for the upgrade to its maximum 2 GB, but I doubt the customer will spend the mney. "Good money after bad" or some excuse like that.

So this article I found today on pcworld.com is timely. In short let me say that W8 is rock solid and is here to stay for the foreseeable futire. Users should not shy away from it.

The top 10 Windows 8 questions everyone asks

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

SOS - don't be "Lernered"

Not meaning to be political. but I thought the news about the IRS losing Lois Lerner's e-mail and then later saying the e-mails of 6 other IRS employees had also been lost, was a bit hard to swallow.

I know from experience how much large organizations, but certainly the IRS, keep multiple copies of all computer data. Perhaps the IRS should contact the NSA. Surely they have copies of all of Ms. Lerner's data! This is sorta said tongue in cheek, but the whole mess is just so hard to believe.

Why? Because I use SOS Online Backup (http://www.sosonlinebackup.com/). With SOS I know all of my data is safe and secure on the SOS backup systems in the cloud. I check it periodically and have retrieved data from my backups successfully.

It almost seems impossible to me, but I have been an SOS customer for over 3 years! I mean, the time has just gone by so quickly.

I started with SOS in March of 2011. At first I backed up all of my data on the SOS cloud. I had nearly 100 GB of data so the initial backup process took some time - a matter of days. After that I ran the backup program on a daily basis. It would back up any new data I had created that day. In a matter of months, maybe weeks, I realized that I didn't really have to do this every day and switched to weekly backups. I have been running weekly backuos for years now and am very confident that every photo, every song, every document is backed up in the SOS Cloud, and I know I can retrieve any item in a matter of a minute or less. I have tested this, and the system works.

I know there are other backup services out there. I can only state that SOS works! Give it a try and don't be "Lernered"!