Tech – for Everyone

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

Second rogue Facebook app spams ‘friends’

Scoundrels have created another rogue Facebook application, the second to hit the social networking site in less than a week.

In the second attack, Facebook users receive notices that they have supposedly being reported for violation of the social networking site’s terms of service by someone in their friends list. A link on the notification leads to an application called “f a c e b o o k – – closing down!!!” which, post installation, spams all the affected user’s friends with the same message…

Read the rest of this article here.

* Thanks to Lee at Technibble

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

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March 1, 2009 Posted by | advice, cyber crime, hackers, Internet, Internet scam, Web 2.0 | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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

Interview with an ID thief

This CNN special report interviews spammer Jason Carpenter. Though it is dated, it is interesting.

November 29, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, cyber crime, e-mail, hackers, Internet scam, Phishing, phraud, security | , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Protect Your Privacy Online

I have posted several advice articles on computing safety in the past, and I cannot emphasize enough that there are steps you can — and should — take to reduce your risks of Identity Theft and spyware infections.

I have posted these steps for you to take advantage of (free), and I will continue to do so. I encourage you to use my “Search box” widget, or Categories, to find and read past Tech–for Everyone security articles.

Tip of the day: Increase your security and privacy by removing your browsing tracks. All browsers record histories, store copies of the webpages you’ve visited, and to be helpful, store your log on User Names and Passwords, and the answers to forms you’ve filled out. Your machine is programmed to be as fast, efficient, and helpful as it can, and it takes steps you may not be aware of to do this.

For example, your browser will store a “temp” copy of this Webpage in one of many “temporary” folders, and make a note of the time. This is done so that should you return to Tech–for Everyone, your machine can load it from local memory– which is much faster than downloading HTML instructions, text, and graphics and building the page.

Your computer uses the timestamps to determine if there’s been changes to the “source” page, and if there has been, it will download the newer page ‘elements’. This helps to give you the illusion of a “fast Internet”.

Other automatic conveniences that record your personal information are Autocomplete, Autofill, and AutoLogon. This is usually accomplished through the use of cookies. (In spite of what you may have heard, all “cookies” are not “bad”.) Hackers know where to look for all this stored information, and they know how to exploit it. Today I am going to show you how to counteract, and change some of this automatic behavior and help you keep your privacy, well, private.

Start by opening IE and clicking on the down-arrow to the right of the Tools menu and selecting Internet Options. (Loyal readers of this blog will already be familiar with this window.)
iops.jpg

In the “Browsing History” area, click on the “Delete” button. Now a menu window will open…deletehist.jpg
Here you are presented with your choices of what to erase (or to “delete all”) and what not. I recommend getting into the habit of regularly clicking on the first, third, and fourth delete buttons — Temp files, History, and Form data.
[note: Form data is particularly important to erase if you have made an online payment, and/or entered your credit card number. Even if you did so on a Secured site.]

Firefox users can set this to be done automatically each time you end your browser session. Click on “Tools” > “Options” and select the Privacy tab.
ff_opts

Sadly, there is no method to set IE to do this automatically for you (you would need a 3rd party utility for that…see today’s free link) and you must remember to this manually.

You can, however, set IE to erase the “temp” files automatically. Click on the Advanced tab of Internet Options, and scroll down to the Security list of settings. Place a check (select) in the checkbox next to “Empty Temporary Internet files when browser is closed”, as shown below. Then click “Apply”, and “OK”.
advnced.jpg

Today’s free link: the tool I use to erase the digital breadcrumbs on my machines is Absolute Shield Internet Eraser. From site: “AbsoluteShield Internet Eraser protects your privacy by cleaning up all the tracks of your Internet and computer activities. The tool is integrated with IE and it can erase the browser cache, history, cookies, typed URLs, autocomplete list and so on in one click. You can also set the tool to automatically erase those tracks when you quit IE or quit Windows.”

[note: several utility programs have a tracks eraser feature, and so you may have this already… such as if you have Glary Utilities, or CCleaner.]

* Original posting: IE 7 and your privacy, 7/8/07.

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

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November 6, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, Internet, privacy, security, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 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

Apple releases 41 patches for Leopard, Flash

Keeping your software patched and up-to-date is a vital part of safe(r) computing these days. I cannot recommend enthusiastically enough that you enable “automatic” updating wherever and whenever it is offered.
A “patch” (aka “update”) closes ‘holes’ (aka “vulnerabilities”) that hackers are “exploiting” to take control of, or plant malware on, (your) machines.

There is an active exploit out there for the Flash player (Those animations on Webpages) that affects anyone who has not disabled Flash– whether you’re running Windows, Mac, or Linux.
If you like having Flash animations, you should visit this page on the Adobe Website which will analyze your version of Flash Player to see if you need to update.

Mac users should visit Apple Update and get these important updates.

Today’s free link: A repeat today, because you really should know about this free tool: the Secunia Software Inspector will scan your machine’s installed programs and determine if they’re out-of-date, or there’s patches missing– and it will help you resolve the problems it finds.

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

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May 29, 2008 Posted by | advice, Apple, computers, how to, PC, security, software, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s not your fault– how the Tech Industry is failing you

Your computer was infected with pop-up pornography because you visited a popular travel Website to look at hotel room prices in Orlando. And you have a well-known Company’s Internet Security Suite.

Or maybe, because your ISP promised you they’d scan all your e-mails for you, before they got into your Inbox.. you thought they really did, and you also thought that made your e-mail safe. You clicked on a link in one of those e-mails… (it said it was from your Uncle Victor..) and, voilà! Someone’s using your credit card.
In Malaysia.
To buy big-screen TV’s.
Like, six of them.. so far.

Perhaps you did neither of those things. But.. your friends wanna know why you’re sending them all this junk e-mail, and your ISP is threatening to turn you off if you don’t stop sending mass-mailings. Huh?
Turns out, you happen to have CoolProgram 6.0* on your machine, and a cracker has “exploited” the code and turned your machine into a spambot. Your machine has been merrily sending out thousands of e-mail come-ons for generic drugs, male enhancements, and penny stocks… all while you were asleep in bed.

Or you brought home a new digital picture frame…

Does this sound like a bad sci-fi movie to you? It does to me. But, sadly, this is our current reality.

You haven’t done anything wrong (or, really stupid) and you’ve even tried to protect your machine, but you got hijacked anyway.

I, for one, think there’s something seriously wrong with this state of affairs. When I think about the state of the Internet, I start feeling like that guy in the movie.. you know the one..

Why is this happening? Many reasons. Some are:
* Software companies are, to this day, releasing programs which contain insecure code.
* Hardware manufactures don’t include any extra features– like hard-wired security.
* In their rush to bring us new and exciting technology (he who’s first to market, wins), nobody stops and ponders the consequences.. or the vulnerabilities.
* For a long time, nobody took the hackers seriously enough.
* Cost. (I put this last because this can be offset.)

Believe it or not, there are steps the IT Industry can take to remedy a lot of this, and counteract this unsecured Internet. They could be doing much more to combat spam, malware, and hackers. There’s also steps we (us “consumers”) can take as well.. which space restriction has run out of room for today, and I will discuss tomorrow.

To be continued…

Today’s free link: I have recommended other graphics manipulation/image editing tools in the past, and it is only fitting that I give space to another winner: Paint.NET is simply the closest thing to Photoshop I have seen. 5 Star-rated by C/Net.

* Pick a program, any program. “CP 6.0” is simply my generic example.

*** Folks, like my new look? Hate it? Let me know by answering this 1 Question survey Click Here to take survey. ***

To read part 2, click here.

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

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May 9, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, hardware, Internet, PC, security, software, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments