Monday, December 22, 2014

MERRY CHRISTMAS!


MERRY CHRISTMAS!!











Dancing through your drive
 
Killing Trojans while I go
 
Into registries,
 
Where the bastards hide - you know
 
 
Then into startup files
 
Using Autoruns
 
Your sweat drains on for miles
 
And yet I'm having fun!
 
 
 
When I'm finally through
 
Your computer boots like new
 
And because it's Christmas time
 
I've chopped your bill in two
 
 
So keep your "Flash" anew
 
And Adobe "Reader too
 
No matter how much you sip
 
watch that Java script
 
Oh...
 
Jingle Bells
Old PC's smell
If they're filled with dust
 
Use canned air - if you care
or call a "Pro" in if you must
 
 
Jingle Bells
What's that smell?
Your power supply burnt up
What's the reason? Can't you guess
You didn't buy a UPS
 
Merry Christmas!
 
[look for my end-of-year wrap-up soon!]
 
'Nuff Said,
Brian
 
 


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

PATCHES, ONE PATCH TOOK 19 YEARS + ADOBE FLASH PATCHES

REALLY? 19 YEARS?











If you had to pick a company that finally patched a 19 year-old flaw, who would be your top pick? If Microsoft was your choice you picked the winner! Yes, a 19 year-old flaw in the Windows Operating System [from Windows 95 to current Windows OS] which allowed someone to take control of your computer remotely has just been patched!

Along with that, Microsoft has patched 14 other vulnerability issues in their most recent patch download - Make sure you take the time to get this done.




Meanwhile, in Adobe-World, Adobe has released 18 critical patches to it's FLASH product. Please update your Adobe Flash A.S.A.P.

'Nuff Said,
Brian

Sunday, November 9, 2014

WHY PAY YOUR LOCAL PC SHOP $59 FOR TREND MICRO WHEN THEY PAY LESS THAN $20 FOR IT?

GOOD QUESTION











Greed? Because they can get away with it? Because you trust them? Because they trust you not to comparison shop?

Perhaps all of the above and more...

Ask questions and save $$$

'Nuff Said,
Brian

Thursday, October 23, 2014

DID YOUR USB PORT(S) SUDDENLY STOP WORKING?

THIS COULD BE WHY...











 
 
 
On many electronic devices, not just computers, a little chip can be found. It's FTDI's FT232RL and apparently there are an unknown amount of counterfeit chips that have been installed in these devices, including your computer [obviously to save pennies on each chip, but saving manufacturers a lot of money when hundreds of thousands are bought in bulk].
 
What does this chip do? It converts your USB back to a serial port for data to be transferred. It lives a simple life beyond that. A recent Microsoft update [whether intended to or not] shut down any computer USB port which had a counterfeit chip on the motherboard, or an accessory board plugged into the motherboard.
 
I got this information from Hack-A-Day's website along with links to workaround it and get that counterfeit chip back to work.
 
LINK to configuration file
 
LINK to instructions
 
If it seems too technical, and you believe you have the counterfeit chip please consult with your local technical support for help [like myself].
 
'Nuff Said,
Brian
 
 


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

NO SURPRISE - ANOTHER ADOBE FLASH EXPLOIT

"FIESTA"











Update your Adobe Flash ASAP, because a nasty new Flash exploit called "Fiesta" is out, in-the-wild, ready to snag your computer browser. If you're running Windows, or Mac, users should update to Flash Player 15.0.0.189, or 13.0.0.250 if they’re using the extended support release.

You can read the Adobe security bulletin HERE, but let's update your Adobe "Flash" first...

'Nuff Said,
Brian



Thursday, October 16, 2014

ACCOUNT HACKING WILL NEVER END

SO, MAKE IT EASIER FOR YOURSELF









Dropbox was the latest company to have email addresses and passwords exposed, but they won't be the last. Facing reality, you must come to terms with the fact that any Internet company or service will be hacked and it's not a question of "IF", but "WHEN" it will happen. Some preventative maintenance will save you from changing hundred's of passwords should one of your sites/services get hacked.


WHAT CAN YOU DO?

  1. If you don't already have a password manager that comes within security software you already have [i.e. - like Norton 360, or Symantec Internet Security] - then get one. This will allow you to make senseless/almost endless passwords like Cb!f1$4!hY&568zZ!432One! that aren't easy to guess/crack, AND...
  2. Make each password different for every website you visit that requires a password so when a website/service is hacked you only have to change one password instead of a "Buttload", along with...
  3. Create a backup of your password manager list with includes the website, login name and password, so should it be corrupted or otherwise unusable you can still retrieve your list.
Password managers usually work the same way - You'll have a master password to open the vault, and then when you go to a website that has your logon name and password it will fill it in automatically.

In the "Vault" used by Norton 360 you can actually use it like your favorites and scroll down to the site you want to log into, click on it and the browser takes you to the website and logs you into it with your credentials.

When the vault is closed, you can access it, and most vaults have some sort of encryption used on the data held inside them. Every time you change a password you should make a new backup of the password manager/vault data to keep it as accurate and up-to-date as possible.

'Nuff Said,
Brian


Thursday, September 25, 2014

SHELL SHOCKED...

CAN YOU BE "BASHED"?











Yup, the word is out - there's a bug, possibly worse than websites with "Heartbleed". This affects computers running Linux, UNIX, which include web-servers running that OS as well as Mac's, and the bug is called "Shellshock".


PHOTO CREDIT: B.WOODBURY/SECURITYDAZE
 
 
This comes from a part of the Linux/UNIX code called "Bash", and according to Kaspersky labs there is a computer "worm" already "In the wild" trying to take advantage of this.
 
You may not own a MAC of Linux computer and feel pretty safe, but do you have a website? Unless you specifically picked "Windows Server" to host your website then it's probably on a Linux or Unix server.
 
And it's not just your servers, or computers you have to worry about - most wireless routers and webcams run a version of Linux as well.
 
While you'll find many articles about this on the web, here is a link to one from PC World's website, HERE.
 
Red Hat issued some patches late yesterday but according to those who looked at them, they were incomplete and still left you vulnerable. I guess we'll see how this plays out in the coming weeks...
 
'Nuff Said,
 


Monday, September 22, 2014

IS IT AS SIMPLE AS AN iPHONE 6 VS. SAMSUNG?

"Umm....NO"











In recent "corners" of the computer world, some folks are knocking the iPhone 6 as not going as far as it could, thus being thumped by Samsung's latest model. I suppose if you were comparing feature-by-feature it could be true, but when you get down to it the OS [Operating System] has a lot to do with your choice in choosing your next smartphone.

First, I'd like to briefly touch on the features of the new camera in the iPhone 6. Yes, it's still an 8mp camera, but mega pixels aren't everything. On my photography Blog, I offered a quick analogy about this saying -

"While working at Compaq HQ [circa 1990] there was buzz about the new video graphics coming from the new line of computers and monitors. At that time manufacturers were in a race to beat their competition with higher screen resolution, but the word around our cubicles was that there wasn't an increase in resolution,  just in colors.

This new setup would offer 256 colors, but none of us were really excited by this news - until we got to see it for ourselves. It blew the competition away, so while Apple's changes may not be as radical as that, nonetheless, the internal camera has new features added to it that makes a difference in the end result while maintaining the same mega-pixel count..."


[You'll find a link to that Blog post that has a review of the camera features by someone who got a chance to check the iPhone 6 series camera, including photos taken by it as well].

And camera and other things aside, with IOS8, the iPhone 6 will have deep integration with MAC's that are able to run the new OS "Yosemite".

But enough about that...

The glaring fact remains that the Android OS is still plagued by security issues that open your phone to all sorts of Malware when compared to Apple's IOS [which doesn't, mostly having to do with Apple's firm grip on the App's which are found on their App store vs. the sloppy manor taken by Android based operating system App store security measures].

Even several years ago anti-virus companies were saying that their were more attacks on the Android OS phone/tablets vs. Apple's IOS, like Symantec in a yearly report:

"Android has a 72 percent market share with Apple® iOS a distant second with 14 percent,
according to Gartner.

As a result of its market share and more
open development environment, Android is the main target for mobile threats."
 
Adding:
 
"Android dominates the malware landscape with 97 percent of new threats"
 
 
 
It is not the market share alone which accounts for the huge disproportionate ratio of Malware between Android's OS and Apple's IOS, but because Android App's were available from websites other than the official Android App website, as well as the fact [apparently] App's weren't screened as thoroughly as IOS App's - which can only come through Apple's iTunes official App store.
 
You can do the legwork for the rest of this [I've reported about steady/huge yearly increases in Android Malware vs. Apple for years. I may be incorrect, but I don't believe that since I've been tracking this, the increase in Android OS Malware has never been less than 200% each year, and close to 400% in 2013 vs. under 30% each year for Apple's IOS] by checking my previous posts during the last few years, but while comparing an Android smartphone vs. the Apple smartphone you really have to take into consideration the amount of threats you are opening yourself up to as well.
 
I'm not saying the iPhone's IOS is perfect [far from it], but they (Apple) do run a tighter rein on the App's that make it into the App Store.
 
Recent Android Malware news:
 
Android bug lets apps make rogue phone calls
 
Android, Bitcoin top malware targets, McAfee reports
 
Rare text message worm targets Android devices
 
File-encrypting Android ransomware's extortion attempts mimic FBI-themed alerts typically found on Windows computers.
 
F-Secure's report on Android based Malware
 
New crimeware tool Dendroid makes it easier to create Android malware
 
 
There is more to find, some of which I may have already posted about, but it took about 5 minutes to do a search and find the articles above. Once again, Apple's IOS is NOT bullet-proof, but thanks to [so far, at this point] Apple's stringent App-checking, Android users [phone, tablet, phablet] continue to be easy marks, and no matter which phone/OS you choose, make sure that you have a anti-virus program running on it -
 
'Nuff Said,
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

LONG OVERDUE UPDATES AND NEWS

SORRY FOR THE DELAY...












Yeah, I know, it's been awhile and I've been occupied by non-Blog issues but felt it was time to let you in on things you probably already know - so let's start off with the latest:


By now everyone has heard about Home Depot's data breach [much like Target], and it being the biggest breach yet.

This may or may not be true. It's the biggest one we've been told about, but who knows about the ones that are still secret?

One thing is clear - this isn't the last BIG data breach we'll hear about in the future and I don't see an end to this type of hack soon, so be careful and keep an eye on your bank accounts and credit reports!

Apple had some unwanted press about popular people having private photos taken from their iCloud accounts, and let's be honest - if you have some publicly embarrassing photos around the last thing in the world you'd want to ever do is upload them to any cloud, PERIOD.

PC WORLD's website had an interesting article about lax security and sloppy coding on some popular Android Apps, which if you own something "Android" you should take a look at [ed. - just an FYI, turn your speaker down or mute it as like many other websites, this one has a real annoying commercial that starts playing].


FireEye's blog has a nice bit about "Mass-producing Cyber Attacks", picture [credit: FireEye] below:



























But don't leave that blog yet, because there's more...



If you scroll down a little further in their blog you'll see a post about how Mac's aren't as bullet-proof as their owner's believe them to be.

You hardly ever heard of a MAC-Attack in the past was do to the low percentage of MAC users in the world. With the MAC and it's OS becoming more broadly accepted, and adding to the wild popularity of the iPhone/iPad IOS, you'll read or hear about more virus/malware attacks against them. Please - BUY SOME ANTI-VIRUS PROTECTION!


NETFLIX

NETFLIX is dealing with a phishing scam via email that lures their customers to a fake Netflix site in hopes of stealing your credentials and other information [mind you, it's nothing to do with their website, but your gullibility to click on a suspicious email link] - BEWARE! This information came from the friendly folks that write the Malwarebytes Blog!

















'Nuff Said,

Brian



Monday, August 25, 2014

CHARGE YOUR iPHONE, iPAD, JUMP YOUR CAR TOO?

YES - IT'S TRUE!








MAXMADE® 11000mAh Dual USB Power Bank/Car Jump Starter Made of 400A-Peak-Current LiFePO4 Battery Up to 15 Ignition Times at Full Charge Perfect for Starting Your Car in Emergency with Ultra-bright LED Flashlight And Dual USB Output Also Charge for Apple and Android smartphones, tablets, and other USB-charged devices (White).













  • Convenient and Powerful, combines a battery charger, a car jump starter and a LED flashlight altogether into one compact design that you can easily fit into your pocket or backpack.


  • Super high capacity 11000mAh Power Bank offers super fast charge output through dual USB ports (5V-2A and 5V-1A) allow for simultaneous charging of your iPad, iPhone, Android, and more at high speed. Jump Start Your Vehicle Without All the Hassle - Comes with a jumper cable cord that easily plugs into the battery booster.


  • Adopted with advanced intelligent circuitry and multiple security protection design: protection for overcharge, overvoltage, overcurrent, and short-circuit. Built-in ultra-bright LED flashlight; 4 LED indicators reveal the battery level; Toolkit Package designed to carry all the accessories together for convenience.


  • Easy to Recharge -You can charge the battery with the included AC adapter in any standard wall outlet and you can also charge with the included cigarette lighter car charger in your vehicle when you're on the go.


  • Package includes: MAXMADE 11000mAh Car Jump Starter External Battery, Micro USB Charging Cable, Car Charger, Power Adapter, Ignition Power Cord, Leather Toolkit Bag, Instruction Manual. CE/FCC/ROHS approval.

  • Currently @ Amazon.com for $59.99!!

    Product Description

    Color: White
     
    The perfect combo of power bank and car jump starter aims to be your ideal driving companion. 4 LED Lights monitoring battery level with LED Flashlight and Car Jump Starter function. Made of high-rate LiFePo4 Batteries, durable for heavy current discharging and easily jumpstart a car with drained battery.

    PROCLAIM: Multiple times of jumpstarting a car WON'T cut down the lifespan of this LiFePO4 Battery.



    Compatibility -Compatible with all Apple and Android smartphones, tablets, and other USB-charged devices;

     -Compatible with all cars with 12V Battery:
    Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Honda Civic, Nissan Altma, Toyota Corolla/Matrix, Ford Fusion, Chevrolet Cruze, Hyundai Elantra, Ford Focus, Hyundai Sonata, Chevrolet Malibu, Volkswagen Jetta/Jetta Sedan/Jetta SportWagen, Toyota Prius2/Prius Sedan/Prius Plug-In, Kia Optima, Chevrolet Impala, Nissan Sentra, Chrysler 200, Kia Soul, Nissan Versa, Subaru Outback, BMW 3-Series/4-Series3, Volkswagen Passat, Mazda 3, Dodge Avenger, Dodge Charger, Chevrolet Sonic, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Dodge Dart, Chevrolet Camaro, etc.

    Specifications
    - Capacity: 11000mAh
    - Input: DC 15V-1.5A
    - Output: DC 5V-2.1A/1A; 12V (Car Jump Starter)
    - Starting Current: 200A
    - Peak Current:400A
    - Lifespan: over 500 times
    - Operating Temperature: -20℃-60℃
    - Dimension: 155x76x29(LxWxH)mm

    What's in the Box
    - 1 x MAXMADE 11000mAh Car Jump Starter External Battery
    - 1 x Micro USB Charging Cable
    - 1 x Car Charger
    - 1 x Power Adapter
    - 1 x Ignition Power Cord
    - 1 x Leather Toolkit Bag
    - 1 x Instruction Manual


    Yep, I had to get one too... [You can't have enough backup battery storage for charging your "STUFF", not to mention - your car]

    'Nuff Said,

    Brian

    Friday, August 22, 2014

    UPS AND MORE - 08/22/14 NOTES

    FRIDAY NOTES











    Everyone has heard about the security breach at select UPS stores [yep, some in Texas too] and you too may get the oft seen "CONGRATULATIONS! YOU'VE BEEN SCAMMED" list [as a reminder, should you receive such an email it could be real, or it could be person or persons unknown trying to take advantage of a bad situation and make it worse].

    Eventually all of us at one time or another will have our information breached through a 3rd party [i.e. - "Target", "Specs", "UPS", "Michaels", etc.] so buff up your passwords now and make sure you're not using the same email/password combination on a bunch-0-websites [if so, change that now], and when you have some spare time you could already be working on a new password list for all of your logins so when it does happen - you'll be ready!


    SPEAKING OF ANTI-VIRUS SOFTWARE

    What?? Yes, it's my brute force method of changing the subject to anti-virus software! This is the time of year when next year's anti-virus is either out, or coming out soon, and vendors are dumping the old version [2014] at great prices. For example, it's not uncommon to find some or all of the "TOP FIVE" anti-virus maker multiple computer versions at fantastic pricing ----> Under $30, or even $20 for 3 or more computers.

    So if you're running [for example] Norton 360's 2012 version and have just been paying $60 each year to renew it, and it's just about time to renew again [ed. - "Renew", name that movie...] then it would be much better to cover the 2 or 3 computers you have all at once for one low price.


    THE "BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH" [BSOD]

    If you're a Windows 7 user and are suddenly getting the infamous BSOD, then it's most likely due to a Windows update you just received. Check out Microsoft Security Bulletin MS14-045 now, and - have a great weekend...

    'Nuff Said,
    Brian

    Thursday, August 21, 2014

    G-R-E-A-T PRINTER DEAL

    I NEVER CAN GET THAT "TONY-THE-TIGER" VOICE INTO A PRINTED "G-R-E-A-T"
     
     
     
     
     
    School is starting [or has started in some areas] and maybe you have someone going to college and in need of a printer, or maybe you're in the market for one? Here's a deal that I would find hard to pass up:
     
     
     
     
    This is the CANON "PIXMA" MX472 AIO [all-in-one] inkjet printer. It will print, scan, copy, fax AND it's wireless, AND, it supports "air print". "So", you ask, "What's the BIG deal about this? There are a lot of printers that do this...."
     
     
    The DEAL is in it's SALE PRICE of
     
     
    $44.99
     
     
    You'll find it on Amazon's website right now!
     
     
    'Nuff Said,
     
     

    Thursday, August 14, 2014

    SALE ON KASPERSKY'S INTERNET SECURITY FOR PC'S

    FOR 3 PC'S











    The downloadable version of Kaspersky's Internet Security for PC's [ 1 year / 3 PC's] has a great price right now @ AMAZON for only $19.99!!



    So if your current Anti-virus product is about to expire, and you have more than 1 computer - you should check it out. If you ask a small computer repair business about your decision, expect them [in some cases] to call it "Junk", or "Not very good", and then plug the only anti-virus they sell.

    Hogwash! Kaspersky is a very good/well respected anti-virus company that is often in the lead when finding new threats.

    'Nuff Said,
    Brian

    Wednesday, August 6, 2014

    SECURITY AND - PUT YOUR OUTLOOK ON A DIET!


    I GUESS YOU'VE HEARD THE NEWS...








    Those crafty Russians have accumulated over 1.2 billion user names/passwords, along with 500,000 email addresses! But it's nothing new [ed. - the "Russians"], as I've told you in person that the greatest threat comes from Russia and it's old [or possibly re-grouped] regions like the Ukraine.

    As to not create a panic, which seems to me like the horse is already out of the barn, the websites who have been hacked are not being released to the public. All I hear is "they" recommend people change their passwords, and because many users continue to use the same password for multiple accounts it means "they" are suggesting you change them all - once again, for at least the 3rd time this year alone.

    SUGGESTION

    Use a password manager. It keeps each login name and password you use for each website in it's encrypted vault [meaning you can make the password as obscure as you want because you don't have to remember it]. The vault is "Closed" until you open it with one special password known only to you.

    I've read reviews on various password manager/vaults and suggest you do the same before choosing one. The one I use comes with Norton 360 [i.e. - I know, certain companies will tell you Norton has issues, but I've been using them for over 15 years now and I'm a happy camper. I also use Trend Micro, but I don't believe it has a password vault], and it saves me a lot of looking for that darn "Book-0-Passwords" to get into my bank, or Amazon, or whatever other websites I use.

    As for putting Outlook on a diet, here is an earlier Blog post from one of my other Blogs -

    As you know I have several computers at my disposal. One computer was setup with the same email accounts in Outlook that I have on my main computer, and I duplicated my actions:

    • Created archive folders and moved email I wanted to keep into those folders
    • Deleted Junk Mail in the "Junk Mail" folder
    • Deleted emails I read, or had no intention of reading in my in-box
    • Occasionally deleted my "Deleted Mail" box

    And I let this  go on for 2 years... 

    When a human gains too much weight/size and goes on a diet, along with exercise, usually you'll see results. If you look at your main Outlook .PST file you'll find that even if you deleted 20,000 messages, the .PST file size remains the same, and this can cause Outlook to act a bit odd at times.

    Don't freak out - that's the way Outlook works [oddly enough]...

    Looking at my test computer, my main Outlook .PST file size was about 1.8GB in size, yet I knew I moved many items during those 2 years into Archive folders, as well as deleting a "Ton-0-Spam", so I followed the prescribed file size loss treatment:
    1. I went into my Program Files, and under Microsoft Office 12 (2007) I found SCANPST. I ran this on my Outlook.PST file [with Outlook closed] and it found 37 errors which it repaired.
    2. Next step was to open Outlook and:
      • Go to TOOLS, then ACCOUNT SETTINGS
      • Once that window opened up I selected the Tab marked "Data Files" and selected "Personal Folders" one of which was labeled Outlook.PST
      • In the next window I verified the folder I picked was truly selected and then -
      • Clicked the "Compact Now" tab - and then I waited [and waited].
    This was an older, slower computer with 2 years worth of emails but it started this process at 1.8GB in file size and ended up at a slim/trim 929mb size! The Outlook on that computer runs much better now and I've eliminated the bloated space, but keep in mind that I ran the ScanPst program first, and also checked my hard drive to make sure that there weren't any issues before proceeding.

    If you use Outlook, maybe it's time you took a look at how big your Outlook .PST file is and do some file size reduction as well. Different operating systems keep .PST files in different places [ed. - and some folks specifically put them in a particular folder], but the easiest way to find out where your outlook.pst file is located is to Google "Where is my Outlook.PST file stored in Windows "X"? [ed. - "X" being Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7, etc.].

    'Nuff Said,
    Brian

    Thursday, July 31, 2014

    FAKE APPLE E-MAIL SCAM


    DON'T LET THAT EMAIL FOOL YOU!!






    There are always email schemes running amok in the world; they can be from Banks, Ebay, Amazon - just about anywhere. Here is one I just received, with the subject line: "Apple ID temporarily locked".



















    Always be suspicious, for example, this email supposedly comes from Apple.Uk and I'm not in the UK. If you hover over the email address links, it just shows your email [again], but when hovering over:

    >Validate My Apple/iCloud Account Details

    You'd see a long line of HTTP lingo that doesn't really send you to Apple.

    Remember, ALWAYS be suspicious of emails of this nature. As you can see, my Norton Anti-Virus pegged it as SPAM correctly.

    'Nuff Said,
    Brian

    Monday, July 28, 2014

    MY COMPUTER IS DEAD


    OR, "MY PC WON'T TURN ON"










    These are but only two examples of how the customer explains an issue. Obviously there are several things you can check:
    • Are there any lights or fan noises coming from the computer?
    • Is the power "ON" LED lit on your screen?
    • When you power up your PC does it display the "Splash" screen? Example: If you own a Dell computer when it's first powered on a large DELL appears on the screen with a status bar just below it indicated boot progress. If you get this, your PC is not dead.
    • If your PC has no lights or noises, check to make sure the power cord is firmly inserted into the computer power supply
      • Or, if it's plugged into a power strip, and other devices are working, try plugging it into another outlet
      • If the screen has no indications of power, unplug then replug the power cord back into the monitor itself.
      • Also, try the other end of the plug and make sure it's firmly connected and/or try another plug.
    Many times there actually is something on the screen. It will be black, very often displaying "No bootable device found" in small white letters. This could mean your hard drive has failed, or, if the computer is set to BOOT TO CD DRIVE first, and you have a blank CD/DVD, music or game cd in that drive it won't go any further. 

    Likewise, if for some reason it was set to boot to USB drive, and you have a non-bootable USB flash stick inserted, you could get the same problem.

    If you do some trouble-shooting as listed above, you could possible save yourself a service call, or at the least, be able to answer the questions asked of you by the technician on the other end of the phone -

    'Nuff Said,
    Brian

    Sunday, July 27, 2014

    WHAT? I CAN'T GET BRIAN??


    ANY NEWS IS ALWAYS GOOD NEWS FOR MY RESIDENTIAL CUSTOMERS





    Sugarlandpc and I have parted ways. I've known for some time that they've been pushing more into the business realm, while at the same time I've enjoyed the personal contact, conversations, and relationships I built on the residential end of the business. 

    They've always been clear on their direction into having more business accounts than residential. I suppose some of you have felt a change this year with certain area codes getting charges for travel to your home.

    MY PICTURE/BIO BEFORE I DISAPPEAR FROM THEIR WEBSITE
    During a service call I had last Monday morning, as I worked on the customers computer, I talked with my customer [as I usually do] and somehow "soldering" was mentioned, and she told me how she had loved to solder - in fact, during World War II she soldered resistors and capacitors into bomber dashboard instrument controls! 

    Another call down near Galveston led me to a customer named "Leonard", who, as it turned out had won an Emmy for his work in television, and was also a Ham radio operator, like myself. Leo and I are now good friends as well!

    It's calls like these that have solidified my love for helping those at home. I never know what I'll learn from my next customer, and while they end up with a virus free computer when my car pulls away from the curb, I often learn a bit about history. A slice of someone's time/history that I never would have know about otherwise.

    Does this mean you cannot get residential support by me any longer? Of course not! I'm still here, available to help your needs -


    Regards,
    Brian 

    Saturday, July 26, 2014

    DRIVE BY MALWARE


    HOW IT WORKS









    I've addressed many of these same issues from time-to-time, until some of you are probably sick of seeing it, but the problem isn't going away - it's increasing in size!

    DOES THIS LOOK FAMILIAR?
    A recent [and excellent] post on Malwarebytes blog helps bring everything into focus and I suggest you give it a read! Here is an excerpt:

    UpdateNowPro.com is distributing Software Updater. Air Installer is an install manager that will manage the installation of the selected software. In addition to managing the installation of your selected software, this install manager will make recommendations for additional free software that you may be interested in. Additional software may include toolbars, browser add-ons, game applications, anti-virus applications and other types of applications. You are not required to install any additional software to receive your selected software. You can completely remove the program at any time in Windows ‘Add/Remove Programs’. At the time of downloading you accept the Terms and Privacy Policy.

    In other words, the program they want you to download bundles other applications, something we know all too well.

    You can read this Blog post HERE.

    Regards,
    Brian

    Thursday, July 24, 2014

    NEED A GREAT ANTI-VIRUS FOR MULTIPLE PLATFORMS?

    WEBROOT SECURE ANYWHERE
    INTERNET SECURITY COMPLETE









    As I've often said, there is NO magic bullet [ed. - Anti-virus] that will stop 100% of the threats you will encounter via the Internet, but if you stick with one of the highly rated companies, you're in the right ball park! 

    Lately I've been somewhat distressed while at a residence for virus cleanup and hear that someone [for example] said -  "You should get rid of your Norton product - it's trash", when they still had 200 days of protection left which they had paid for. Nonsense.





    Whether via the Webroot website, or Amazon you can pick up an excellent deal on their multi-platform [Windows/Mac/Tablet/Cellphone] best selling edition that covers 5 devices, for the wonderful price of:

    $29.99

    Should you ever get this sort of advice, please feel free to contact me for a balanced opinion, which, if you've read my Blog's long enough, I know that you know you won't get a line of BS like that -

    'Nuff Said,
    Brian

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014

    EBAY'S "StubHub" VICTIM OF HUGE CYBER CRIME RIP-OFF

    LITTLE DETAILS NOW










    Apparently Ebay's StubHub online ticket resale service has been the victim of a huge/wide-cyber crime scheme which has been under investigation for about a year now. 

    Only a few details have been leaked about the operation but Authorities involved in the investigation and arrests will be making a press announcement sometime later today -

    'Nuff Said,
    Brian

    Tuesday, July 8, 2014

    83


    83 WHAT?









    In the last 45 days or so we know that Microsoft has patched 83 flaws in it's Internet Explorer; and that's a LOT of patching [59 of those were last month's total]. Microsoft wants everyone to use Internet Explorer as their main gateway to the Internet, but for some reason they can't get it right.

    24 IE updates were from this Tuesday's Microsoft patch day, and take particular note if you are using Firefox, Opera, Safari, or any Internet Explorer under 10 - go directly, immediately to Adobe and update your FLASH to avoid a terrible credential stealing flaw. Stop reading this and do it now.

    Taking a quote from an article by Gregg Keizer:

    "This issue is definitely in the wild with public exploit code," warned Ross Barrett, senior manager of security engineering at Rapid7, in an email. "Flash users should patch immediately."

    'Nuff Said,
    Brian

    Wednesday, June 25, 2014

    IN NEED OF A DECENT ANTI-VIRUS, CHEAP?

    THEN HURRY AND ACT NOW!










    Amazon "Deal-of-the-day" is Norton Internet Security, 1 user w/3 licenses [3 computers] for the low price of $18.99.

    Tuesday, June 24, 2014

    AND YOU THOUGHT WINTER WAS THE SEASON TO CATCH A VIRUS?


    YUP - A DIFFERENT SORT OF VIRUS








    This isn't a "Toe-may-toe/Toe-mah-toe" story, more of a tomato/potato post. Summer is officially here, and unless you live in one of those all-year-round school systems, your kids are home for the summer; infecting your household computers with viruses.

    In the virus killing business, summer is like "Christmas for retailers", and business is always good because the people who write malware get better with each version they update [ed. - a practice I'd like to see Microsoft adapt with all of their updates: "get better"].

    As mentioned before, you can't rely solely on your anti-virus alone to protect you. Recently, Symantec's Senior VP of Information Security, Bryan Dye made some eye opening comments like:

    "According to Dye’s estimates, traditional cybersecurity methods catch more than 45 percent of threats. The problem, he says, is that anti-virus alone is insufficient." [Source: Fortune Article]

    Granted, this is coming from a company whose revenue was 7% lower the first quarter of this year vs. last year, but nonetheless he spoke the truth. I can't remember the last time telling a customer that all they needed was an anti-virus product. Usually I'll add:
    • Use a Malware cleaning utility like Malwarebytes [and remember to run it at least once a month - preferably twice]
    • Keep Flash, Adobe Reader, AIR, and JAVA updated via their websites ONLY.
    • Possibly use a good ad-ware cleaner
    • And recently, using Malwarebytes Anti-exploit program, which runs in your browser. [Yes, there's a FREE version of that one too]. It was just announced about ten days ago.
    My list could be a lot longer but I realize that most users will only keep up with one or two of the other options because it's too much like work. Most of us just want to come home at the end of the day and catch up on some news, Blogs, and email. 

    Most desktops are so full of files, folders, and icons it's easy to miss the tell-tale signs of infections like: "MyPC-Backup", "PC-Optimizer", or "24 x 7". And when the browser finally opens with several more toolbars running across the browser, it's just shrugged off.

    Because it is summer, and the kids are using computers all day long, it would help if you did two things:
    1. Make sure they have an account that is separate from yours, and your account has a password they don't know.
    2. Make their account a STANDARD or LIMITED user, with limits the ability as to what they can install on the computer, whether they're aware it's being done or not.
    3. I'll add this third item to my list: Unless you really have to let them use your computer - DON'T. Go out and buy a $350 Windows 8 laptop to mess up; not the computer you do your banking or home-business work with.
    This in itself will help you out quite a bit, and although you'll get tired of repeated requests to install something for them, try to resist giving their account full privileges.

    As reported in an earlier post, while the folks who brought us "Zeus" and "Cryptolocker" had been busted and their operation shutdown, it doesn't mean that it's safe to go into the water again.

    Recently a customer was on the receiving end of an encrypting virus. Every file he double-clicked on told him it was encrypted and that he'd have to pay a hefty fee to get those files un-encrypted. Another good reason to have Carbonite...
     

    'Nuff Said,
    Brian