Tech – for Everyone

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

Microsoft License Scam?

Folks, a reader wrote and asked me about a phone call they received. The (female) caller claimed to be from Microsoft, and warned the reader that their “Windows license had expired”…

This is a scam. Don’t fall for it. Hang up. And, please, warn your friends and family. As this ‘thread’ says, Microsoft would not call you unsolicited. Nor would they know if any errors existed on your computer.

The article has good information on scams and what you can do. Again, click here to read more.

And thank you Dear Reader for bringing this to my attention.

* * *

Today’s quote:I don’t believe you have to be better than everybody else. I believe you have to be better than you ever thought you could be.” ~ Ken Venturi

Copyright 2007-2015 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

May 3, 2016 Posted by | advice, computers, consumer electronics, cyber crime, Internet scam, Microsoft, Phishing, phraud, security, tech | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cyber-Safe Resumes – cont.

Identity Thieves Targeting Job Seekers

On Wednesday, I posted a letter I received from a reader of this site. The letter described their experience with the risk of Identity Theft that goes along with job seeking online — and how they had created a “cyber-secure resume”, as well as gave links to some very good resources. (See Cyber-safe Resume Gets Noticed).

I was very pleased to see that Kay E.’s letter got a lot of reads, but I was even more pleased when Susan P. Joyce* responded with a note to me — which she has graciously allowed me to post here for my readers.

“Thanks for making this issue more visible. The article on creating a “cyber-safe resume” is one I first wrote and published in 2001. It has been updated since then, but the issue has only become more important over time.

Here’s a working link to that article:

Another important issue, highlighted by this post, is the prevalence of bogus job postings. I’ve also written extensively about that. See this post:

The recession has multiplied the scams, and people need to be very careful using any job board or even “employer” Website – not just when using Craigslist (which is often a good source of jobs).

Here’s a free e-booklet on Using Craigslist to Find a Job –

There are many more articles on this topic on

Be careful out there, and good luck with your job search!”

Folks, if you are (or you know someone who is) in the process of seeking a new job/career, please click here, read, and learn how to “Put the “Safe” in your Cyber-SAFE Resume by modifying the content of your resume! Take control and create your own privacy protection this way, without depending on the Web job site to do it for you. Do this to protect your existing job, if you have one, and your privacy.

* Best of the Web/Top Site for Finding Work is a “Top” or “Best” site for job hunting and careers according to US News & World Report, Forbes, and PC Magazine.

Job-Hunt is dedicated to the millions of people who have had their personal lives disrupted by the loss of a job.

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

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December 18, 2009 Posted by | advice, cyber crime, how to, Internet | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Scareware Targets Macs — MacSweeper

MacSweeper marks the first time a rouge “cleaning tool” has been developed and targeted to Mac users, indicating the platform is gaining enough users that it is catching the attention of malicious code writers, according to security firm F-Secure.

Windows users should already be aware of the rogue antivirus products, which use pop-ups and/or fake ‘scans’ to produce a list of “problems” that sound really scary or important (thus the moniker “scareware) — if you purchase the product to ‘solve’ the issues, your problems have just begun.
This is simply a version targeting Mac users.

Here is a video from F-Secure explaining the details and methods used.

Yes, all you Apple fans.. it’s time to stop thinking you’re immune from hackers, cybercriminals, and malware.

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

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April 11, 2009 Posted by | advice, Apple, computers, cyber crime, hackers, phraud, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments


Folks, after a quiet period, cyber-crooks are once again using Skype to send phishing “chats” in an attempt to defraud you, and infect your machine with their crimeware. So, I am reposting this article. It is the exact same ruse, but the name has changed.

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. *” “” 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 – 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 some of 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. post to jaanix

March 4, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, cyber crime | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Changes in California, coming to you soon

California has the distinct reputation of being a legal trendsetter. We pass laws here that no one else would even consider– and then those laws spread to other states whose High Mucketty-mucks say, “they got away with it in California, why not here?”
Before too long, it finds its way to your state.

Today, a law (passed earlier) comes into effect here in CA that will surely dig some hard-earned cash out of its citizens’ pockets and get it back into the Govt’s hands.. where it can do some good.. like maybe buy some time before insolvency. (California totters on bankruptcy, folks.)
That law is the Hands Free Cellphone Law.

As of today, you cannot use an ordinary, everyday cellphone while driving your car– you must use some device which allows you to keep both hands on the wheel. Those folks under 18 can’t use a cell at all. (And yes, it is one more excuse for them to pull you over: suspicion of violating the new law.)

Of course, sales of bluetooth earpieces is skyrocketing, and the motive for the law is to save lives– some hired “expert” estimated 300 per year. This is what is known as a “win-win” (increase sales and save lives–wow!!!) but is actually a win-win-win.. if you like police states.

But.. this new law won’t save any lives.. as this LA Times article points out. It isn’t where your hands are.. it’s where your head is at.
What would is if all the people out there focused on their driving and didn’t make telephone calls while cruising our roads. I don’t. And I manage.

But how are you going to put that genie back into its bottle?

And why the especially strict under 18? Was some lawmaker P.O.‘ed at his kid the day they wrote it?
Aitch-ee-double toothpicks in a handbasket.

[note: I don’t know how many folks drive while blabbing where you live, but this new law is going to affect everyone in CA.. except me.]

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

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July 1, 2008 Posted by | advice, hardware, iPhone, News, tech | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Is that anti-spyware program really spyware?

Over the 200+ articles I have written, I have tried to help educate people about the dangers we face in this era of ‘always-on’ Internet connections — such as hackers, cyber-criminals, phishing, and malware — and offered advice on how to get protected.
Yesterday, and continuing on into today, I have been assisting a client in trying to rid their machine of malware
(trojans, worms, etc.) infection and to do so short of wiping their drive and starting over. Folks, you do not want to let this stuff onto your machine. Part of this person’s problem was they were tricked into installing a rogue anti-spyware program.. which in fact infected their machine. So I have decided that I will re-post my article on such applications, in case you missed it the first time. Originally titled “25 years since the first virus”, it appeared 9/12/07–

Time marches on.. twenty five years ago a High School freshman wrote the first “true” virus, and distributed it to his friends (via floppy disk) as a practical joke. That the “Elk Cloner” virus was harmless, and the young man went on to become a heavyweight in the computing industry, allows us to bear him no ill will. If it hadn’t have been him, it would’ve been someone else; there were “experimental” viruses written before his.

Those of you who have been around for a while may remember the evolution of viruses: from a harmless prank to system destroyers to profit-centric spyware. Security experts generally agree to the important historical malware events as being as follows: Elk Cloner, 1982; Brain, 1986; Morris, 1988; Melissa, 1999; Love Bug, 2000 (aka ILOVEYOU); Code Red, 2001; Blaster, 2003; and Sasser, 2004. (For a much more complete history of viruses, worms, and trojans, click here.) (Today, we have the Storm worm in the news.)

Today, the business of keeping data and communications safe from viruses and other malware is a $38 billion dollar industry.. and growing. Yes, a lot has changed in twenty five years: I have gray in my hair now, for one.

Tip of the day: Beware of “rogue” anti-spyware programs. There is so much money to be made off of stealing corporate data, identities, and sending spam that the malware writers have created spyware that claims to prevent spyware. You think you’re installing a spyware remover, but you’re not. You are actually installing their malware.
Some claim to give you an anti-spyware scan for free, and they “discover” a critical infection (again bogus) which, if you buy the “Professional” version, they’ll clean up for you. Please, Dear Reader, never fall for this. The quality anti-spyware programs are well-known and are routinely rated and compared by reputable sources like PC World and PC Magazine and C/Net.
[Note: there is an excellent list of know rogue anti-spyware apps posted on Spyware Warrior.]

One such program is currently sending a few people my way for assistance, named Spy Shredder. There is plenty about this nasty on the Internet. Most reputable anti-spyware utilities will detect and remove this (see today’s free link as well) item. The people infected with it (who contacted me) had no protections except an antivirus, and it was kind of hard to feel sorry for them. There is no excuse, in this day and age, to not be running Internet Security programs. Full Internet Security Suites are easy to find that are free after rebate, after all.

For those of you looking here to find out how to remove Spy Shredder, I suggest you click on the word “anti-spyware” in my Tag Cloud, download and run the anti-spyware programs I have suggested in the “Today’s free links” area (always at the bottom of Tech-for Everyone articles), as well as today’s — do not try the manual removal methods found at other websites unless you’re a skilled and experienced Registry editor.

[Update 4/5/08: Bill Mullins has just posted a wonderful article on rogue anti-spyware programs which includes a list of known villians, and a tool useful for removing them (prevention is better, but..). I also recommend looking at his How Fake/Rogue Software Affects Real People]

Today’s free link: SpyCatcher Express from Tenebril. From website:

  • Allows novice PC users to remove aggressive spyware
  • Stops next-generation, mutating spyware
  • Blocks reinstallation of aggressive spyware
  • Removes spyware safely and automatically  
  • Copyright 2007 © Tech Paul, All Right Reserved




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    February 6, 2008 Posted by | advice, anti-spyware, computers, how to, PC, rootkits, security, tech, Windows | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments