Tech – for Everyone

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

Skype Chats Use Scare Tactics To Install Rogues

Chat Message Tries To Scare You Into Installing Malware

Folks, after a brief quiet period, criminals are once again using Skype to send phishing “chats” in an attempt to defraud you. So, I am re-posting this article. It is the exact same ruse I first warned of over a year ago, but the names are changed.
(This attack will reappear every so often with a slightly different name and URL…)

Yesterday a Skype chat window opened on my machine, and presented me with a dire warning from someone named “Software Update” “Registry Scan Online®” Today’s flavor. It said that “WINDOWS REQUIRES IMMEDIATE ATTENTION” and, it provided me with a solution.  SkypeCon

(Click on image to see large version)

Please, folks, tell me you have spotted this for what it is. Please tell me that you knew –instantly– that this is a cybercrime attempt; that it is Phraud-ulent.

Please tell me that you know what will happen if the link provided in this message is clicked; and, please, please, please tell me you would never click the link.

Just in case you aren’t sure:
* “Software Update” | “Registry Scan Online ®” | Today’s flavor doesn’t exist.
* “www.onlinemonitor.info” | “www.registryscan.com” | Today’s flavor is not registered in ARIN (the registry of Internet addresses).
* clicking the link will allow scripts to run, and/or take you to a poisoned Website which will install malware on your machine, or/and it may take you to a site that will sell you a rogue anti-spyware program
(please read my article, Is that antispyware program really spyware).

* Microsoft DOES NOT alert you via Instant Messaging. No legitimate company does. Period. Ever.
This is a classic example of a hacker’s attempt to get you to click their link.

All of this so they can rip you off. It’s their full time job.

Please point your less-savvy friends and family to this article and educate them to the dangers of spam (unsolicited) messages and tell them– NEVER CLICK THE LINK.
[Note: while this article directly references the VoIP client Skype, you may see this type of thing in other Instant Messaging/Chat programs, and social networking communications.]

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

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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November 14, 2009 Posted by | computers, cyber crime, hackers, Internet, Internet scam, News, Phishing, phraud, security, tech, VoIP | Leave a comment

Skype Users Beware

Folks, if you use the very popular VoIP program Skype – as I do – you need to be aware of some recent cybercriminal activities. These bogus ‘alerts’ try to trick you into installing malware on your machine (which will bypass your security).

1) The fake “Windows needs immediate attention” attack is active again. Please see, Skype — “Windows Requires Immediate Attention”.. Not!

2) There’s a new attempt – using a trojan and a pretend ‘add-on’ – to steal your account information. Please see, SpySkype.C Trojan Wants to Talk to You! by Internet Security blogger Bill Mullins.

Please alert your friends and family (who use Skype) to these “social engineering” scams too.

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

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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January 31, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, cyber crime, hackers, Internet scam, News, PC, Phishing, phraud, privacy, security, software, tech, VoIP | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Collection of Tips for E-mail

One of the very first things I do in the process of starting my day is I check my e-mail Inbox(es). It is as much a part of my routine as my morning cup of coffee. This morning, it struck me that you do not have to be a computer geek to realize and appreciate that electronic communication has become an important — if not vital — part of our lives. And that it has changed the way we live.

If you will pardon a little self-indulgent reminiscing, I would like to tell you in a before-and-after manner, that I am old enough to well-remember what it was like in the days before email, Instant Messaging, and cellphones. In my High School years there simply were no such things. (There were no ATM machines either, if you can imagine that.)

When I wanted to find out what my friends were up to, I picked up a Slimline telephone (with cord) and tried to catch them before they left, but I usually had to track them down by “making the rounds”, in person, of our ‘hangouts’…which put a lot of miles on my 10-speed bike. (No obesity here.)

Besides ‘Ma’ Bell, the other method of communicating was the mail, now known as “snail mail”. How we ever got along back then is beyond me.

Today the speed at which I transmit written correspondence is limited only by how frequently the recipient checks their Inbox. My pals answer their phones no matter where they are (or their voicemail does) or what they’re doing.. who doesn’t carry a cellphone? I not only talk to my neice and nephew out on the East Coast, but I can see them via “videoconferencing” (free). Or I can “chat” with IM, no matter the miles of separation (also free).

But of all these modern methods, I rely the most on email. Email is the main way I stay informed and in contact with my friends and kinfolk, and the same is probably true for you.
(For kicks, I challenge you to a little test: how long can you ignore your Inbox before it irritates? Could you take a week’s vacation… and never check it?)

Because I am an “email guy”, I am perhaps overly aware of the negatives of email. I am peeved by spam, alarmed by phishing, nervous about privacy, and paranoid about hackers and e-criminals. I have written a few articles on these ‘negatives’ and how to combat them, and my “Tip of the day” today is; if you have not read them, to consider clicking on the following links.
Managing your email: eliminating the junk

Managing junk mail in Outlook/Thunderbird
They ARE reading your mail

How to block ads
Simple e-mail encryption

It is my hope that the knowledge you find there will make using the modern miracle of electronic communication a safer and more pleasant experience.

Today’s free download: If you are considering building your own website, or are interested in free WYSIWYG web-authoring tools, a nice tool is the free version of Web Easy Professional, by V-Comm.

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

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October 30, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, e-mail, how to, IM, Internet, security, tech, tweaks, VoIP | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 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…
SkypePhish2

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 abuse@skype.net – 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 nunnof@your.biz].
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

Free Long-distance*

Phew, what a morning! I have been troubleshooting practically since I got out of my nice, warm bed. But, I don’t mind: it’s what I do for a living.

This morning, as I was thinking about what to write today (and helping people with their technical troubles), it occurred to me what a tremendous boon two particular technologies are — namely, Remote Assistance, and VoIP/teleconferencing. I simply could not run my business (shameless plug: my online repair shop, Aplus Computer Aid) without them.

Remote Assistance allows me to view my client’s computer screen (and if they permit it, issue mouse and keyboard commands) just as if I were sitting in front of it… basically “transporting” me, across any number of miles, to their computer via the magic of the Internet. This is truly amazing stuff, if you think on it some and.. it saves me quite a bit on gas.

Instead of saying into the telephone, “Okay, what do you see now?” and then trying to decipher the client’s response.. I see on my screen exactly what they see. This saves so much time (and, my client’s money) and miscommunication that a repair that might take an hour can be accomplished in fifteen minutes. Yes, amazing stuff.

But to get to the title of today’s article and the other “distance-eliminating” technology, let’s switch gears to IP telephony (aka “VoIP“). Regular readers of this series know that I am out here on the Lefty Coast, and that I have a young niece and nephew on the other coast — roughly 3,000 miles away.
Loyal Friends and True also know that I do not like to fly.

In the golden olden days, this East Coast/Lefty Coast situation would lead to  large long-distance phone bills and occasional cross-country drives. But thanks to VoIP, and webcams, I can not only talk with (and see) my niece and nephew, but I can do so for free.
Yes, amazing stuff.

What makes this so neat/cool/awesome is (in my mind, anyway) the “webcam”. These cameras (that often look like a plastic tennis ball) can be had for as little as $15 retail, and they make all the difference. Most new notebook computers come with cameras built-in.

These little video devices do a good job at letting you see and be seen, and even the cheap ones have pretty good resolution. No.. you cannot get a hug over a webcam, but you can see a smile.

So if you have a computer, and you have the Internet (how else would you be reading this article?), and you have loved ones who live farther away than next door.. and you don’t have VoIP and a webcam.. what are you waiting for? Get on the bus!
Buy a webcam, insert (and run) the Install CD, and then plug the camera into a USB port. It is basically that simple. Buy one for your loved one’s house — if they don’t already have one — too.

Then, you’ll need some way to contact them (“call” them) and start your Internet visit. If you are already using an Instant Messenger (IM) to “chat” with them, then you already have the method. Most, if not all IMs have video capability as well as “phone” (or “voice”). [Click View >Options if you have difficulty finding these features.] Typically, you have to pay a fee (“subscribe”) to use the phone/voice.

Today’s free link(s): To avoid those fees, both you and your loved ones can download a VoIP client — such as Skype or SightSpeed. You will then set up an account, in very much a similar manner as you do opening a free email account (Hotmail, GMail, Yahoo Mail, etc.).. you set up a User Name/password. Then you add Contacts, or “Search For” contacts, again in a manner very similar to email.
Once configured — and it really isn’t hard — a visit with a distant friend is only a click away. Thanks for listening, and have a great weekend.

[update: a reader wanted to know how the make the video window larger in Skype; right-click on the video image and from the choice select either “Windowed Mode” (my reco) or “Full screen”.]

*Original posting 12/27/07

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

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September 19, 2008 Posted by | add device, advice, computers, digital Video, gadgets, hardware, how to, IM, Internet, kids and the Internet, PC, tech, VoIP, webcams | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Skype — “Windows Requires Immediate Attention”.. Not!

Folks, after a quiet period, cyber-crooks are once again using Skype to send phishing “chats” in an attempt to defraud you. So, I am reposting this article. It is the exact same ruse, but the name has changed. It will reappear every so often with a slightly different name and URL…

Yesterday a “chat” window (Skype) opened on my machine, and presented me with a dire warning from someone named “Software Update” “Registry Scan Online®”. It said that “WINDOWS REQUIRES IMMEDIATE ATTENTION” and, it provided me with a solution.  SkypeCon

(Click on image to see large version)

Please, folks, tell me you have spotted this for what it is. Please tell me that you knew –instantly– that this is a cyber-crime attempt; that it is Phraud-ulent.

Please tell me that you know what will happen if the link provided in this message is clicked; and, please, please, please tell me you would never click the link.

Just in case you aren’t sure:
* “Software Update” “Registry Scan Online ®” doesn’t exist.
*http://www.onlinemonitor.info” “www.registryscan.com” is not registered in ARIN (the registry of Internet addresses).
* clicking the link will allow scripts to run, and/or take you to a poisoned Website which will install malware on your machine, or/and it may take you to a site that will sell you a rogue anti-spyware program (please read my article, Is that antispyware program really spyware).
* Microsoft DOES NOT alert you via Instant Messaging. No legitimate company does. Period. Ever. This is a classic example of a hacker’s attempt to get you to click their link.

All of this so they can rip you off. It’s their full time job.

Please point your less-savvy friends and family to this article and educate them to the dangers of spam (unsolicited) messages and tell them– NEVER CLICK THE LINK.
[Note: while this article directly references the VoIP client Skype, you may see this type of thing in other Instant Messaging/Chat programs.]

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

Today’s free link(s): I have assembled on my Website a collection of links to the best free anti-malware programs to help you prevent infection.. and clean up if you’ve been infected. To see them, click here.

Also, Bill Mullins has posted a very complete tutorial, Think You Have A Virus?– Some Solutions, which is quite probably the best one-stop lesson on malware I have ever run across. (I also recommend his How Fake/Rogue Software Affects Real People.)

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

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September 12, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, cyber crime, hackers, how to, IM, Internet scam, PC, Phishing, phraud, security, tech, VoIP, Windows | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Skype phishing installs spyware*

Folks, after a quiet period, cyber-criminals are once again using Skype to send phishing “chats” in an attempt to defraud you. So, I am reposting this article…
Yesterday a “chat” window (Skype) opened on my machine, and presented me with a dire warning from someone named “Software Update”. It said that “WINDOWS REQUIRES IMMEDIATE ATTENTION” and, it provided me with a solution.
SkypePhish
(Click on image to see large version)

Please, folks, tell me you have spotted this for what it is.

Please tell me that you knew –instantly– that this is a cybercrime attempt.. that it is Phraud-ulent.

Please tell me that you know what will happen if the link provided in this message is clicked; and, please, please, please tell me you would never click the link.

Just in case you aren’t sure…
* “Software Update” doesn’t exist.
* “www.onlinemonitor.info” is not registered in ARIN (the registry of Internet addresses)
* clicking the link will allow scripts to run and/or take you to a poisoned Website which will install malware on your machine.. or/and, it may take you to a site that will sell you a rogue antispyware program (please read my article, Is that antispyware program really spyware).. all of this so that the hacker can take control of your machine.
* Microsoft DOES NOT alert you via Instant Messaging. No legitimate company does.

This is a classic example of a hacker’s attempt to get you to click their link. Please point your less-savvy friends and family to this article and educate them to the dangers of spam (unsolicited) messages and tell them–
NEVER CLICK THE LINK.
[Note: while this article directly referrence the VoIP client Skype, you may see this type of thing in other Instant Messaging/Chat programs.]

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

Today’s free link(s): I have assembled on my Website a collection of links to the best free anti-malware programs to help you prevent infection.. and clean up if you’ve been infected. To see them, click here. Also, Bill Mullins has posted a very complete tutorial, Think You Have A Virus?– Some Solutions, which is quite probably the best one-stop lesson on malware I have ever run across. (I also recommend his How Fake/Rogue Software Affects Real People.)

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

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July 31, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, cyber crime, Internet scam, PC, Phishing, phraud, security, tech, VoIP | , , , , , , | 3 Comments