YOU CAN DOWNLOAD A PRE-RELEASE VERSION HERE
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
When choosing a UPS, make sure it has enough Volt Amps to keep your equipment going long enough for you to power them off. Try to get one that Isolates EMF and/or RF interference, and one that also has a feature called A.V.R. [ better known as Automatic Voltage Regulation].
AVR technology stabilizes the AC voltage and maintains a safe voltage level without switching to battery-mode. This conserves battery life, and delivers cleaner AC power to connected equipment. The UPS should be considered a necessary part of any home computer network.
Monday, February 27, 2012
I've mentioned this before, but keep your anti-virus software up-to-date. When I say "Keep your anti-virus updated", I'm not just talking about updating your current AV engine, but update/upgrade to the newest anti-virus engine. If you're still under a current subscription it could actually be free. Last year my wife and I upgraded to Norton 360 Ver.5, and last week I received a pop-up telling me I could get the newest AV engine (version 6) for free. I practice what I preach so yes, I closed the pop-up and then opened up my Norton 360, went to the last drop down window to the right (SUPPORT) and clicked on "Check for new version". Sure enough, version 6 was there and we're running it now.
If you don't use Microsoft Outlook, the Symantec Spam filter wouldn't do you much good, but always be aware of emails from people you don't know with subject lines that read (examples) "Family Reunion 2012 info", or emails from the BBB (Better Business Bureau),increasingly the IRS and Intuit [example from this mornings email - "Download your Intuit.com Invoice"] and especially - strange emails with attachments. I know you'll be tempted to open it up just to see what is says, but sometimes that's all it takes to have your computer infected these days.
To be redundant: If you do click on a pop-up for and Adobe product, pay attention to your computer when it asks you if you really want to install this because usually it will include the URL and if says firstname.lastname@example.org, it's probably a ruse. And what's the "Golden Rule"? Go to directly to that companies website to download updates.
Sunday, February 26, 2012
As you can see from the chart above, while there were some viruses related to I-Phones, etc. The largest and most consistant jumps dealt with the "Droids". And in December, from the mouths of McAfee came these words "iOS users seem to be much safer than Android fans". This could flip-flop in 2012 very easily, but if you've noticed, there are several anti-virus apps for a variety of phones this year trying to stem the tide.
I suspect that mobile platform OS's will continue to rise this year because (IMHO) they never expected it to happen too soon. Whatever phone you chosen, just be careful on the next App you dowload.
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Java exploits target user logins
New tool reveals app conduct serving ads and collecting info
I know there are plenty of computers in homes that are 5-10 years old and haven't had one backup made. One day, those computers will have a terrible hard drive crash and lose all of their data.
"Data" can mean a variety of things to the computer owner, but when it comes to saving it the number one pick are photos. Why? digital cameras have no negatives to get reprints. Music is usually second, followed by typical word, excel-type files.
There are plenty of small footprint but large drive capacity external backup drives out there, and some users will buy them and actually make a backup, maybe even two backups - then forget about it.
In the Gulf coast of Texas we face many variables and I had a terrible thought one night: "What if we get our computers and backups stolen, or worse, a fire or Hurricane destroys the place - what good would my backups be then?"
I still backup my data, but I also use Carbonite, the online backup service. Naturally I wouldn't trust the security of anything that calls itself "The Cloud", but for pictures and music, I have no issues. Once you've done a backup, you can configure it to backup as necessary. Example No.1 - You haven't added or subtracted any files on your computer in two weeks, thus, no need to backup. Example No.2 - You just opened a word document and added a sentence or two, then saved it. Carbonite takes that file and replaces it with the older file in their "Cloud".
No, I don't get any kickbacks from Carbonite - I just know a good deal when I see one, and paying around $60/year to have my photo's and music safely backed up off-site, allows me to sleep a little better. How well are you sleeping tonight....?
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
DDR3 DRAM prices will continue to fall and possibly stabilize in the second half, analysts said.
Users aren't patching problem-plagued remote access program; up to 5K point-of-sale systems at risk
Facebook account hijacked?
Facebook is set to announce new security features today that will let people set passwords for third-party apps and get help from friends when they can't get into their account.Read the full article on Cnet.com HERE.
Hacker steals one million user logins from YouPorn website
Spanks site admins for lax security
"A million logins for the hugely popular YouPorn sex site appear to have been leaked after a hacker chanced upon an URL linking to a user list apparently left exposed for several years...."
Read more HERE
Monday, February 20, 2012
Saturday, February 18, 2012
"Trusteer, a Boston-based in-browser web security vendor, issued a warning this week about the return "with a vengeance" of "Shylock," a polymorphic financial malware variant the company discovered last September that is now showing up again in end-user machines.
It is aimed primarily at global financial institutions. Trusteer code-named it Shylock because, "every new build bundles random excerpts from Shakespeare's 'The Merchant of Venice' in its binary," according to a blog post by Trusteer CTO Amit Klein. (See also "How to Remove Malware from Your Windows PC.")"
Read more about it here on PCW.
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Patches Google-reported XSS flaw hackers now exploiting in targeted attacks
"Computerworld - Adobe on Wednesday patched seven critical vulnerabilities in Flash Player, including one reported by Google researchers that hackers are using in "active targeted attacks." The bug attackers have been exploiting is a cross-site scripting (XSS) flaw in the Flash Player plug-in used by Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE)...." Read the whole story here.
This news comes from Computerworld, in an article posted today. I would suggest you go to the Adobe website and download the Flash patch.
WHICH ROUTER IS THE ROUTER FOR YOU?
5 years or so ago it would be a no-brainer - any wifi router that could connect you to the Internet would be fine. But at this point and time you have to really figure out what you want this router to do.
I would suggest:
- Determine what wireless devices are G or below
- Determine how many are "N" capable
- Put it down (on paper) along with the things you want to do via wireless, and then come up with a list of potential candidates.
Everything that is 1011.b - G operates in the 2.4GHz frequency band. "N" will work there as well, however, if your "N" devices are for streaming video content, you should consider what you really require.
Most wifi routers were only 2.4GHz, but recently almost any manufacturer that makes wireless routers also have (at the higher price spectrum) dual-band routers. These are great (IMHO) because it allows laptops, etc. to operated in the 2.4GHz range, while leaving the 5GHz "N" devices to wide open spaces that transmit further with little traffic.
My wife and I use a dual-band router for the exact reasons I just mentioned. We can connect to the Internet via "G" (2.4) with our laptops, while streaming video on the "N" (5) bandwidth, and everyone is happy.
The moral of this story is to do some homework before going out to purchase a wireless router so you can make a better decision.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Integrated suite secures desktop and mobile endpoints
"Symantec today released an updated version of its Norton 360 desktop and mobile security software, while also rolling out a new licensing arrangement for combined PC, Mac and Android use.
In addition, the company announced a novel plan for a new kind of customer support called "Norton One" that involves individualised unlimited assistance for customers who are mystified by computers, security and software, if they're willing to pay the annual membership fee.."
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Software vendors fail to stem tide of security flaws, report shows
Admins overwhelmed by scale of patching task
"Many of the software industry's top vendors are still struggling to reduce the number of vulnerabilities across all classes of products, an analysis of 2011’s flaw figures by research company Secunia has revealed...." Read more of this article here.
Ticketmaster subsidiary urges those who fell for scam to 'contact card issue immediately'
"on February 12, issued a statement advising customers not to click the link after they had received up to four emails with the subject 'Action Required: Update Your PDF Application'"
Monday, February 13, 2012
Inventories won't be back to normal until later this year
Firefox 10 is third straight release needing follow-on patch
Microsoft, Adobe, and Java aren't the only ones having to push out patches to fix a bug or security hole in as recent release by Firefox joins the club. In March of 2011 they went from FireFox 3.6 to version 4. They are on version 10 now, which, when I checked last week still did not support my Norton Internet Security 2012 add-in. It is noteworthy to say that they still support Windows XP users, while Microsoft has cut the rope with Internet Explorer 8. Read more about this patch via this link to ComputerWorld.
Saturday, February 11, 2012
Yes, those rascals are at it again (and they should be); trying to patch security holes and bugs related to the OS (Operating System) and IE (Internet Explorer). 4 patches are "Critical", and some apply to Server 2008 R2. Read more about it at this link for Computer World.
WHAT'S YOUR PASSWORD (S)??
It's easy to use the same password for every online account you use, because it's so easy to remember. But what if you get hacked? Or your computer is infected with a keystroke logger? Well then, the Hacker will know your password for all accounts.
Whenever I do virus cleanups, I recommend that the user change all of their online passwords (online banking, amazon, ebay, facebook, etc.) and see the spirit of life drip off their faces like an oil painting subjected to intense heat [ed. - not a pretty sight]. And finally I give them some good ideas about selecting new passwords. One approach, which I like quite a bit, is to substitute alpha characters for numerical:
- o = 0 (zero)
- i = 1
- l = 1
- S = $
I also recommend using a phrase or sentence you are familiar with for a password. Take the sentence "I have rats in the attic" and using the formula above your password becomes "1haverat$1ntheatt1c" (you can always add a $ or ! before and after each password as well to make it even more secure).
How can you remember all of these? For home users - write them down. Some places like Office Depot sell actual "Password Pads" so you can write down your login name and password. Norton Internet 2012 offers an encrypted password locker which is great for storing these. To get into the locker, a user must know the locker password (which I suggest it to be highly secure, i.e.- not the name of your pet, child, etc.). It's a beginning, and I know....it sounds difficult - but after using my formula above, it only took me a few weeks to memorize it. Good luck on securing your passwords, and safe web surfing to all -
Friday, February 10, 2012
And Valentines Day is no exception. Beware of those emails with subject lines like: "Buy her a dozen roses for $8", or of similar nature. Even if it appears to come from a legitimate source, check the email headers and REPLY TO information before you go clicking on a link within the email.
EXAMPLE: Did you get an email from FTD? Make sure it really is from FTD by hovering your mouse over the link (and not clicking) to see just where it's taking you. There are many people out to get your personal information and I suggest you read an article on TECHWORLD!
Thursday, February 9, 2012
How to Tell if a Link Is Safe Without Clicking on It
Here's what to do with a link that looks suspicious.
I'm including a how-to from PC-World, however I have to say that if you owned either Norton 360 v5, or Symantec Internet Security 2012 you would have a much more successful and safe searching experience. When you search for something (say via GOOGLE) Norton actually checks out the links and the links on the site of that link and posts little colored dots by each link: Green (Everything looks good), Orange (The website is basically okay, but there are a few suspicious links on it) and finally Red (DON'T GO THERE). Subscriptions really aren't that expensive if you consider the cost of virus removal, loss of data, or Identity theft, but...'Nuff Said on that, here's the link to the PC-WORLD article!
Either here, or on one of my security emails I wrote about "ZEUS" and how it was the next worst thing to happen to consumers, and not to my surprise I found a recent article (today) which explains how it is growing, and going after on-line banking customers.
Citadel banking virus adopts open source development
Read the article on the link above for complete details.
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Antivirus software powerless to stop data breach attacks, study finds....
"In 100 percent of the incidents, malware undetectable by a representative sample of antivirus products was found to be the root cause of what had happened, typically entering an organisation via an employee’s PC."
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
You do not have to click on anything - it can happen just viewing a web page, or, you may get a fake pop-up telling you there is a new java, flash, adobe reader update available, click on it and get infected. This virus completely destroys your operating system to the point where you have to have your drive re-formatted and a new OS installed. Previous versions mainly infected Windows XP systems. This version attacks XP, VISTA, and Windows 7 (32 and 64bit versions).
Here is my advice:
If you get one of those "Pop-ups" telling you there is an update available, close them. Then go directly to that software's website (example: www.adobe.com for Reader and Flash) and download the latest update. Adobe Reader is at Version 10x.x, Flash, 11x.x.
(a link to Adobe can be found on the right side of this Blog)
Things you can do now:
Make sure your PC is setup to install Windows critical and security updates, and make sure that your computer is "ON" for the updated to be applied. I usually choose "Download Updates, and let me know" so I can install them as soon as possible. You might have to reboot your PC after the updates have been installed. Installing your Windows updates are super critical. XP users should all have Service Pack 3 on their systems by now, but you'd be surprised how many I find still using Service Pack 2.
If you need to use Java make sure you install Java updates and go to Java.com, download and install the latest version of Java.
Install the latest version of Adobe Reader and Adobe Flash from their website - NOT a pop-up.
If you are on XP and still using Internet Explorer 6 - upgrade to I.E.8 (please)
Buy a new Anti-Virus every year. Download it, buy it from SLPC, or go to the store, just do it. 95% of the new clients I meet believe they have the latest antivirus because they are renewing their antivirus subscription. This is not true. They are simply receiving antivirus database updates, not program updates [A good example of this is when I find someone running Adobe Reader 8, and when updates arrive they are for version 8, even though the current version is 10]. Some antivirus applications may do program updates automatically, however I rarely see this. If you want an Antivirus / Antimalware that works really well right out of the box then buy Symantec’s Norton Internet Security 2012. This was recently rated Number 1 by PC Magazine, PC World, Cnet, and many other technical websites. It will not slow your computer down like some of their competitors.
Buy an external hard drive for backups, or subscribe to Carbonite "Online Backup". Out of the many PC's which were formatted last week with no data recovery, one customer was okay with that because all of their data was on Carbonite and it was a simple matter for the customer to restore the files back to the PC. Without a backup it would have been a disaster. If you stop and think of all the digital photos you have on your PC, most of which have no negatives to recover from - it's a no brainer.
Should you become infected, shutdown your PC immediately - do not leave it on, call us, and keep the PC "off" until we arrive.
I know what it's like to lose your data, and considering this new viral strain I wanted to keep you informed and secure. I hope these tips help, and of course, surf the Web safely -