Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

It Said I Was Infected

There is an epidemic of fake anti-malware software on the Internet– which is collectively called “rogue anti-malware

Marketed under hundreds of different names, such as VirusRemover 2008 and Antivirus XP 2009, this type of rogue software scares people by giving false alarms, and then tries to deceive them into paying for removal of non-existing malware.

This video (produced by the good folks at WOT*) shows what happens when a legitimate site gets infected and redirected to one of these bogus anti-malware scams.
Yes, folks, legitimate websites.

The people behind this scourge use many different ways to try to entice you to click– realistic pop-up windows appear, offers of “free trials” arrive in e-mail, and “free scan” buttons on legit-looking ‘fight malware’ websites, etc..

As this video shows, the user is tricked into (scared into, really) providing their credit card # (oops.. might want to cancel that card..) to clean infections that weren’t there before they clicked.
* The ‘false positives’ are not “cleaned” BUT, more adware and spyware is installed.
* A good percentage of my calls at Aplus Computer Aid are folks needing help with getting rid of these rogues. Because they use the latest techniques to combat removal, and it can be quite tough.. if not impossible.. to remove them without formatting your hard-drive.
* Is that anti-spyware program really spyware?
* A Website dedicated to combating this epidemic is Spyware Warrior. It has a pretty good list of known rogues, and much more detailed information.

Today’s free download:  WOT is a free Internet security addon for your browser. It will keep you safe from online scams, identity theft, spyware, spam, viruses and unreliable shopping sites. WOT warns you before you interact with a risky Website. It’s easy and it’s free.

  • Ratings for over 20 million websites
  • Downloaded 1 million times
  • The WOT browser addon is light and updates automatically
  • WOT rating icons appear beside search results in Google, Yahoo!, Wikipedia, Gmail, etc.
  • Settings can be customized to better protect your family
  • WOT Security Scorecard shows rating details and user comments

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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September 30, 2008 Posted by | advice, anti-spyware, antivirus, computers, cyber crime, Firefox, hackers, how to, Internet scam, PC, phraud, ransomware, security, software, spam and junk mail, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

PayPal — Your account has been violated !!!

New, scary e-mail subject line.. Same bogus scam. (This one can slip past filters)

Clicking the link will take you to a realistic-looking but completely fake PayPal login page.

September 29, 2008 Posted by | advice, cyber crime, e-mail, hackers, Internet scam, Phishing, phraud, security, spam and junk mail | 2 Comments

I’m Really Looking For New Friends

There is a *new* phishing method being employed on chat clients such as Skype. The cyber-criminals really, really, really want you to click on the links they send, so…

They spam messages posing as young men and women who are “really just looking for new friends”.
It is similar to a “make a new Buddy” request, so don’t be fooled.

This is really just a ‘sex’ twist on the ‘fear’-based social engineering ploy I warned you about here, Skype- “Windows Requires Immediate Attention!”

I am too tired of this game to backtrack this hyperlink, so I can’t tell you if responding to this chat will try to install spyware on your machine, try to sell you a “rogue anti-malware program”, or both..
I will simply say — once again — never click the link.

I got six of these this weekend.. Wow! I’m popular, all of a sudden.

[addenda: Peter Parkes (Skype Blogger) wrote and asked me to remind my readers to, quote, “Please report users who send these messages to – that will help us to block them where appropriate.”]

Today’s free link: You are probably familiar with anonymous e-mail addresses, used when filling out forms on Websites (so you can gain access) to protect your privacy and cut down on junk mail. It is becoming more and more common for your ISP to provide you with some [I always just use].
Internet Security blogger Bill Mullins posted a nice article this same type of service, except it is ‘temporary’ private telephone numbers (and he reviews two of them) here, Free Anonymous Phone Numbers for Online Safety

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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September 29, 2008 Posted by | advice, anti-spyware, computers, cyber crime, e-mail, hackers, how to, IM, Internet, Internet scam, kids and the Internet, News, Phishing, phraud, security, spam and junk mail, tech, VoIP | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Block IFRAME For Added Protection

If you are interested in Tech, and visit Websites such as this one, it will not be very long before you read about Firefox. (In fact just this week I posted an article.) And, it won’t be long before you see NoScript mentioned. Odds are, you already have.

NoScript is a small program you download and add ‘into’ Firefox to enhance its functionality (these small programs are known variously as “add-ons”, “plug-ins”, and “extensions”– different words for the same concept.)

NoScript gets mentioned in the Tech media a lot because it is a security tool that automatically “blocks” (prevents from running) certain web page ‘elements’ (scripts) — Java, Flash, JavaScript, and XSS– from running unlesNSOptss you click the Option button and select “Allow”, or “Temporarily allow”.

Which puts you in control, and goes a long ways toward preventing “drive-by downloads“, and other malicious Internet attacks and activity from occurring should you happen to visit a Website which has been .
(I don’t mean to depress you, but the current state of the Internet is so insecure that this can be, literally, any Website.)

By default, NoScript is a powerful tool (to read the NoScript “About” page, ) and for many people is the primary reason they have made the switch to Firefox.
(I’ll let you in on a little secret; it is one way to measure a user’s “savvy”.. look for a Firefox icon.)

Tip of the day: Enhance your NoScript protection by turning on the IFRAME blocker feature.
IFRAMES are another dynamic Web element that cyber-criminals are now using as an “attack vector” (aka “method”) with great success. Like the scripts mentioned above, IFrame attacks can happen invisibly and automatically. Oh, the joys of Web 2.0!

1) In Firefox, click on “Tools”, then “Add-ons”
2) Scroll ’till you find NoScript, and click the “Options” button. (If you have not yet installed NoScript, click the “Get Add-ons” icon in the upper-left.)
3) Click on the Plugins tab. Place a check in the “Forbid <IFRAME>” checkbox.

That’s it. You’re done. Now when you visit a site that uses IFrames, you will have to approve them (aka “whitelist”) before they’ll appear.

[Note: the scripts and tools (Web 2.0 “features”) mentioned in this article are NOT in themselves bad or dangerous, and it is thanks to them that the Web is such a rich and interactive environment.. but, in the wrong hands they can — and are — being used with criminal intent.]

Today’s free link: One of the more disturbing (outright alarming, if you ask me) hacker uses of IFrame attacks is the alteration of Search Engine results (Yes, you can’t truly trust Google, Yahoo!, or MSN anymore) and Internet Security blogger Bill Mullins has posted an excellent article on this subject, Fake/Redirected Search Results – Consequences for You

* Firefox users: Update 3.0.3 available today.

Copyright © 2007-8 Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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September 27, 2008 Posted by | advice, anti-spyware, browsers, computers, cyber crime, Firefox, hackers, how to, Internet, PC, security, software, tech, Web 2.0 | , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Fraud Prevention Tips

Follow these tips to help protect yourself from fraud.

  • Carry only necessary information with you. Leave your social security card and unused credits cards at home in a safe and secure location.
  • Make photocopies of vital information you carry regularly and store them in a secure place, such as a safety deposit box.
  • Do not provide your Social Security number unless absolutely necessary.
  • Replace paper invoices, statements and checks with electronic versions, if offered by your employer, bank, utility provider or merchant.
  • Shred documents containing personal or financial information before discarding. Most fraud and identity theft incidents happen as a result of mail and garbage theft.
  • Review your credit report at least once a year, looking for suspicious or unknown transactions. You can get a free credit report once a year from each of the three major credit bureaus at For a small fee you can obtain a copy at any time directly from:
  • Place outgoing mail in a U.S. Postal Service mailbox to reduce the chance of mail theft.
  • Promptly retrieve incoming mail to limit the opportunity for theft.
  • Know your billing and statement cycles. Contact the company’s customer service department if you stop receiving your regular bill or statement.

Today’s free download: I found this list on the . This site is a valuable public service that contains much useful advice, such as “How Fraudsters Operate”, “How To Protect Yourself”, and “Online, Mobile, Computer and Email Security Tips”. It is a free education, so check it out.

Copyright © 2007-8 Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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September 26, 2008 Posted by | advice, cyber crime, e-mail, how to, Internet scam, phraud, privacy, security | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

My Homework Is Missing!*

There have been occasions when I was not paying attention, and I saved (and/or downloaded) a file to some location I didn’t intend. What’s worse, I wasn’t watching closely enough to notice what and where that location was, and the file was effectively gone. Of course, my misplaced file wasn’t really gone … I just had to find it again. That’s when a desktop Search tool comes to my rescue.
Sometimes, though, the search comes up ’empty’, or otherwise produces unhelpful results, and that’s what I want to address today.

Tip of the day: Find that file by using the proper search tool, properly. Windows comes with a built-in search tool, and there are “better” tools available (usually as free downloads) as well. But let’s start with the tool you already have. Windows Search is located in your Start menu (Start >Search) and is the magnifying glass icon.
If you cannot see a Search/magnifying glass: right-click on a blank area of your Taskbar and select Properties. Now click the Start Menu tab and click on the “Customize” button and select the Advanced tab. Scroll down and place a check in the box marked “Search”, as shown below.


Launch the Search tool and click on the “All files and folders” option in the “What do you want to search for?” area, and then — and here’s the trick — click on the “more advanced options” down arrow, and place a check in the top three checkboxes.

Adv_Search There are several “hidden” folders in the Windows filing system and it’s possible your file was moved into one of these (particularly downloaded emails) and if that happened, it will not show up in a “normal” search. Selecting the subfolders option ensures that your search is as thorough as possible. Now enter the file name and click the “Search” button and enjoy the cute antics of the animated ‘search puppy’.

Bonus tip of the day: Often, I cannot remember the exact, or complete, name of the file, and that’s when the use of the wildcard symbol becomes very useful. Windows uses the “*” to represent “any”.

Let’s say, for sake of example, that I found a neat picture of a rose on the Internet (not copyrighted, of course!) and downloaded it. The actual file name is “DSCredrose16.jpg”, and being the incredible complex and super-busy human that I am … I download it to someplace other than where I expected. Searching for “rose.jpg”, in this case, produced no results (sometimes it will).

If I use wildcards, I don’t have to worry about an exact match. Typing in “*rose*.jpg” (no quotes) will find it, because I told the search to ‘match’ any letters before the characters r-o-s-e and any characters after them as well, and to show me only pictures.

If I’m not certain the picture was a JPEG, and that it might be a GIFF, or a TIFF, or a PNG, or a Photoshop picture (.psd), or a bitmap (.bmp) …I substitute a wildcard for .jpg, like this: “*rose*.*”.
If I type *.* into the search for box, I will get a list of every file on my machine — because I told it to ‘match’ every file name, and every file type.

Bonus bonus tip: Last night I was able to play Hero when my sister called begging me to help her “find” my niece’s homework assignment. Normal Search techniques were only showing very old (early) versions of the project, and so they were scared that all their hours of hard work had vanished.

If you look just below the “Look in: Local Hard Drives” drop-down, you will see in bold “When was it modified?” This allows you to search by date (or date ranges). I used this to limit the search to just yesterday’s activity. I quickly found the missing school project– it had been Saved to a browser’s obscure “Temp” folder (because it had been e-mailed, and she had “Opened” it instead of “Save”-ing a copy to her Desktop).

Today’s free link(s): If you want a faster/better/more capable desktop search tool than the one built into Windows XP (and if you spend a lot of time searching for files on your machines, you may), the top three downloads are Microsoft’s Windows Desktop Search, Google Desktop search, and Copernic. I must warn you that there are some privacy and security issues revolving around Google Desktop that may or may not remain valid — that debate still lingers. I can also tell you that Copernic is the geek’s choice.

* Original post: 7/26/07

Copyright © 2007-8. Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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September 25, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, e-mail, file system, how to, missing files, PC, searching, tech, wildcards, Windows | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Firefox 3.0.2 now available

Tip of the day: Mozilla has released a new update for its extremely popular Firefox Web browser. This update closes two “critical” security holes, and fixes several bugz (for details, click here), and I suggest Firefox 3 users get and apply the update.

Today’s free download(s): Folks, we here at T4E Headquarters encourage you to give an “alternative” browser a test drive if you have not already done so. (‘Export’ your Favorites/Bookmarks to a .htm file, and then ‘Import’ them into the new browser.) Without question Firefox is the most popular alternative to IE– and with good reason considering the multitude of capabilities you can enjoy when you discover Firefox Add-ons. Go on, give it a try, visit the download page here.

Also, we strongly advise you keep all the programs updated with the latest patches. Visit the for a quick scan: “The Secunia Online Software Inspector, or short OSI, is a fast way to scan your PC for the most common programs and vulnerabilities, thus checking if your PC has a minimum security baseline against known patched vulnerabilities.” [note: you can also download the more robust Personal Inspector here too]

* Since this post, 3.0.3 has become available.

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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September 24, 2008 Posted by | advice, browsers, computers, Firefox, Internet, News, PC, security, software, tech | , , , , , | 2 Comments