Monday, May 11, 2015

MVPS HOSTS file for May available now

The MVPS HOSTS file should be an integral part of your Windows security. It will keep you, or anyone using your machine, from going to known problem web sites. A new version comes out once a month and I always try to make sure I have the latest. Did I mention it is FREE?

You can download it from here: http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.htm

The current version became available on May 5. On the above page, right click on hosts.zip and select Save Link As and download it (I recommend downloading to your Desktop because you will use this file and delete it after you install the current version). Once downloaded to your desktop, right click on the zipped folder and select Extract All. This will create another folder named HOSTS. Open up that folder by double-clicking on it and then right click on the file MVPS.bat, and select "run as administrator". The new HOSTS file will then be installed, replacing our old HOSTS file (yes, you will always have one, even on a new machine, since an empty and useless HOSTS file already exists on your system). The blue window that next appears will inform you that the new file has been installed.

Lastly delete both of the HOSTS folders on your desktop. They have served their purpose and are no longer needed..

Thursday, May 7, 2015

New fast-spreading virus destroys PCs

Okay, it's true: I get a lot from the Kim Komando web site, and you should too. Visit it every day at komando.com.

Today's post here:

"There's dangerous new malware out there called Rombertik that could steal your personal information and destroy your PC. If you try to get rid of it, the malware could trap your computer in an endless reboot cycle.

Rombertik usually infects computers using a malicious file attached to a phishing email. In some cases, this email is designed to look like a message from Microsoft. The malware can steal login credentials and other information you enter into websites.

Rombertik also checks to see if it's being analyzed or if other programs are trying to delete it. If it detects this kind of activity, it will try to delete a file called the Master Boot Record (MBR). This can cause your computer to go into an endless restart cycle when it is turned off and turned back on. The malware also has some other tricks up its sleeve.

One involves writing a byte of data to memory 960 million times to overwhelm analysis tools that try to spot malware by logging system activity.

Since it's extremely difficult to get rid of, the best way to protect yourself from Rombertik is to avoid it altogether. You can do that by knowing how to spot phishing emails so you don't open them. Click here to see a phishing email example and learn more about how to spot them.

And, remember, never open an email attachment from a sender you don't know. It's most likely filled with malicious software that can harm your computer.

If you're computer is infected by Rombertik, you'll likely lose valuable data. If the malware successfully deletes the MBR file on your computer, you will have to reinstall the Windows operating system."

Monday, May 4, 2015

Windows 7 still a safe alternative to Windows 8

I am not sure why anyone would shy away from Windows 8 at this point, but there is still the opportunity to buy a Windows 7 machine if that is your preference. I saw this article on USA Today.

Q. My Windows 7 desktop died; is it wise to buy a new model with Win 7 if I can find one? I'd rather not have to relearn software after switching to Windows 8.

A. Some two and a half years after Windows 8's arrival, Microsoft's earlier desktop operating system remains easy to find on new computers if you're flexible in your hardware choices.

HP's site, for example, lists eight desktop configurations available with Windows 7 vs. 35 with Windows 8; among laptops, 68 versions come with Win 8 against 31 with its predecessor. Those numbers obscure how the top computer vendor in the USA offers at least one model in most of its product lines — Envy, Pavilion, EliteBook and so on — with either Microsoft release.

At Dell, ranked second in market-research firm IDC's latest data, a similar pattern prevails with laptops. Although you have far more choices with Windows 8 than 7 — 101 choices on the menu compared with 29 — choosing the older software still gives you choices among Dell's major product lines.

With Dell desktops, opting for Windows 7 will exclude that manufacturer's all-in-one designs.

At Lenovo, fourth in IDC's ranking after Apple, specifying Windows 7 on a laptop also requires compromises. Not only does its site list only 19 laptops with Win 7 vs. 100 with Win 8, you have to forgo more advanced models such as its Yoga and Flex series.

This selection does not represent a huge shift from what I found in late 2012, not long after Windows 8's debut.

Microsoft's support of Windows 7 has changed since then, but it's not as big of a deal as it might seem. Although that 2009-vintage operating system exited "mainstream support" Jan. 13, all that means in practice is that Microsoft's updates to Windows 7 will consist only of security fixes, not new features. Those security patches will keep coming until Jan. 14, 2020, the scheduled end of "extended support" for Win 7.

That leaves potential Windows 7 shoppers few reasons to worry, Directions on Microsoft analyst Wes Miller wrote in an email.

"They can buy a Windows 7 Professional PC today and receive security fixes for almost four and a half years," he said. "I also don't expect vendors to drop support for Windows 7 anytime soon — it's extremely popular with consumers and business."

Microsoft's Internet Explorer will get left behind — the Redmond, Wash., firm is retiring that browser in favor of a new app called Microsoft Edge that will ship with the upcoming Windows 10. Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox can easily take IE's place. Since both still support Windows XP, you can expect Windows 7 to remain welcome at both browsers for years to come.

Don't rule out upgrading to Windows 10 from 7 when that ships this year. It should look much more like Windows as you've known it, including a streamlined version of the traditional Start menu. It will be a free upgrade from Win 7 as well as Win 8.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

April HOSTS File Available Now

Your HOSTS file can provide you with an extra level of protection from the known bad guys. I download and install this every month (to get the latest updates). It takes just a minute, (start to finish) and is definitely worth the time. You can find the latest version here:

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Kim Komamdo's web site

I look at Kim Komando's web site every day. Every day I see new things that I am interested in. You should so the same. I am nowhere near the prolific writer I once was. This is obvious when you look at this blog. I used to be very faithful to it and there were times when I was posting daily. No more.

Do yourself a favor and go to Kim's web site. Bookmark it if you haven't already, and then make it a daily stop. Whereas at the top of my game I might post one item a day, Kim posts many new items every day. My advice: GO THERE! If you have questions on something you see there, feel free to write me for an opinion or clarification or assistance. If I can help, I will.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

10 things the Galaxy S6 can do that the iPhone 6 can’t

I am just getting used to my Apple iPhone, which I love. Then along comes articles like this! This is from bgr.com. If you are a Samsung Galaxy user, check this out and feel good that you waited!

Galaxy S6 Vs iPhone 6

Beginning in two weeks on April 10th, we’re in store for an epic battle of the sixes. Apple’s iPhone 6 burst onto the scene this past September and helped Apple rack up more profit in the holiday quarter than any other company has ever earned in a three-month period. iPhone 6 sales are still going strong according to estimates, but the phone will finally see some real competition next month when the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge hit store shelves.

All three of these phones are fantastic options, but there are a few key features on Samsung’s new handsets that could make iPhone 6 owners a bit jealous. In this post, you’ll find 10 of the most impressive things the Galaxy S6 can do that Apple’s latest iPhone can’t.



Sunday, March 22, 2015

5 ways to test your computer's security

More good stuff from guess who? Yup, Kim Komando. She has been at this a long time and has had great success. She apparently has grown to the point where she has a top notch technical staff - in addition to herself - who spend time researching things that seem to apply to all of us. And most of what she publishes on her web site seems to be very timely. I recommend a daily visit to her web site.

5 ways to test your computer's security

 "You can't turn on the news without hearing about some scary new computer security problem. Just in 2015, we've already had major Windows security flaws, Adobe Flash security flaws, Lenovo's Superfish scandal and more.

That doesn't even include the threats that are always out there, such as hackers, snoopers, viruses, phishing attacks, and I could go on. If you don't think computer security is a big deal, think again.

So you've grabbed some great security software for your system. You've encrypted your Wi-Fi network to keep out criminals. Maybe you know the latest information about using the Adobe Flash plugin safely.

Those are all good things, and I highly recommend them, but the big question is whether it worked. Is your computer and information really safe?

If you don't test your security, you might have a wrong setting or unpatched flaws and never know it. Companies regularly hire hackers to test their security for them. Fortunately, you can do it yourself for free."