Tech – for Everyone

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

Scare Tactics

The shadow Internet economy is worth over $105 billion. Online crime is bigger than the global drugs trade. No country, no person, no business and no government is immune from CyberCrime.

Currently 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 are being ‘hacked’.

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

As this video shows, the user is tricked into (scared into, really) providing their credit card #  to clean infections that weren’t there before they clicked and aren’t really there now.
* 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 these clever programs use the latest techniques to combat removal, and it can be quite tough — if not impossible — to truly remove them.. without formatting your hard-drive.
* For more, please read Is that anti-spyware program really spyware?
* One Website dedicated to combating this epidemic is Spyware Warrior. It has a pretty good list of known rogues, and much more detailed information. Another excellent resource is .
* I have written several How-To’s on protecting yourself from malware, and how to clean your machines as well. to see those titles.

From the new MessageLabs whitepaper. (This eye-opening report provides a disturbing look into the ‘dark’ world of cyber-crime. This link is the online version.. you need to scroll a bit..)

Today’s free download: WOT is a free Internet security addon for your browser. It will help keep you safe(r) 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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October 27, 2008 Posted by | advice, anti-spyware, antivirus, computers, cyber crime, hackers, how to, Internet, Internet scam, News, PC, Phishing, phraud, security, software, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

How the Tech Industry is failing you, Part 2

You do the right things. You only surf to “legitimate” Websites. You never open attachments sent in e-mails without investigating them first. You’ve paid the $29.99 for a year’s worth of protection. Good for you! I salute you.

But, you get infected anyway, and now you’re being told the safest thing to do is wipe your drive and start fresh.

That really, really,.. um,.. what’s the word I’m looking for?.. stinks!
(We here at Tech–for Everyone [me, myself, and I] were sorely tempted to use a word with more tang and, vigorosity.)
And thinking about this makes me Mad As Heck (please see ).

The reason “why” is: we are being sold second-rate crud. It’s been that way for.. well, forever.
Sure, we pay top dollar for it, but it’s half-baked, untested, and has more security holes in it than Swiss cheese. (OK. Some of it is free [or, cheap], but it’s still crud.)

Software, hardware– take your pick.

Let me give you a “for instance”– if you were a big corporation and had a large budget, you could buy a UTM/WSG device to (help) protect your network (Unified Threat Management/Web Security Gateway). This device would include a firewall capable of opening each Internet data packet and scanning it for malware/porn/company secrets/encrypted data/”bad” destinations/you name it, both entering and leaving. It would include a spam/e-mail filter that interactively queries a database of “bad” IP address and URL’s (a service like TrustedSource.org), in real time. The device would also include a built-in antivirus/anti-malware engine.
The device would include all the latest and greatest security technology, and use the latest “Enterprise-grade” security techniques.

I want one of those!!!
Only… I don’t have $30,000 to spend on a box to put in front of my DSL modem.

Here’s my point– it doesn’t cost $30K to make the dang box. It costs, like.. I don’t know, $12? $20?

The reason they can charge $30K is the companies that sell them take on some legal liabilities. The box itself is a power-supply, a circuit board, some RAM, and a few chips.. peanuts.
How about this, security appliance companies, I’ll waive my rights to sue you if I lose data, and you sell me a UTM/WSG for, oh.. say..$39.99. Deal?
Stop laughing. You’ll sell millions of them.
(How many homes are connected to the WWW? )

Or how about you motherboard manufacturers? Why don’t you put a little dedicated RAM, and some EPROM’s on, and build some WSG into your board? Sell a secure mainboard.. for $40 more than a plain-Jane board. Huh? Why not? Maybe a little dedicated AV engine?

Well, I’m running out of space for today. But I’ve got more to say.
When one of you IT Brightboys get smart, and apply my idea(s) to your products, (a secure home WAP. Anyone?) you can mail my commission c/o Tech–for Everyone. (Get it?)

And please think about this, Mr. (or Ms.) “IT” CEO.. if you guys don’t get your acts together, the Internet as we know it is finished. It’s bro-ken. (monosyllables sometimes help.)

Today’s free link: (For a limited time!) My friend and fellow tech writer Bill Mullins has “scooped” me again, and is onto a great one today folks. If you’re running a Windows machine, you really should click here, and read about this download opportunity. Save you $40.

* from http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm

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

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May 10, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, hardware, Internet, security, software, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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