Tech – for Everyone

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

UPS Delivery Failure … Not

I regret to inform you that the good old “UPS scam” (phishing e-mail) is still alive and well (Sometimes it’s FedEx..) …

UPSproblem

but the good news is that the spam filters are getting better at catching them.

Note the “paperclip”? Opening that e-mail would automatically put me on the Global Suckers List.. and maybe plant malware on my computer.

If I was expecting a delivery via UPS, and I was really worried there might be a problem, I would go directly to the UPS website.. or call them. Don’t be a sucker. Don’t open. Don’t click the link!

Copyright 2007-2010 © Tech Paul. All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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March 5, 2010 Posted by | advice, Internet scam, security, spam and junk mail | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Managing Your Inbox*

One of the very first things I do in the process of starting my day is I check my e-mail Inboxes. 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 cell phones. 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.

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 niece 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.

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.

Note: I just have to add.. be very leery of e-mail attachments, and don’t ‘open’ them from people you don’t know. And I know you’ve heard this a million times — never click the link. Type the URL into your browser, it is easy to make them look like they go one place, and they really go someplace else.

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

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May 7, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, e-mail, how to, Internet, security, spam and junk mail | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Our Modern Nightmare – Zombie Attack

It’s like we woke up inside a horror movie– we are under attack by zombies.

Night of the Living Dead

Yes. It’s true. Real life is imitating art (if you’re willing to call Night of the Living Dead “art”). We really are under attack by zombies– only our zombies aren’t trying to eat our flesh, they are trying to sell us bootleg Ph@rmacuticals and cheap V1@gra, fake Rolex watches, and steal our identities. [note in the photo how the zombie is reaching for the wallet?]

In real life, our zombies can’t claw at us directly and they don’t have teeth. Our zombies are computers. Our computers. And they attack via e-mail and the Internet. Like the zombies in Night, they spread the zombie disease by infection. Differently, our zombies aren’t mindless; they’re controlled by villains (aka “cyber-criminals”).

Yes. Your computer may be a zombie, and odds are you wouldn’t know.

If it isn’t a zombie (yet), it is constantly under the attack of infection via the Internet. An unprotected computer, connected to the Internet, will be infected within 8 minutes (12 seconds in a recent test).
90 to 95% of all Internet traffic traveling the wires is zombie-generated junk e-mail that’s either a fraud attempt or (and?) loaded with malware– the “attack”.

How did this happen? Well, part of it is the Tech Industry’s fault (see, How the Tech Industry is Failing You), either unintentionally, or through lack of foresight, or through willful negligence and the rush to market. Security either wasn’t considered, or it was too expensive.
Nobody predicted the nerdy hackers evolving into the organized, well-financed, Mafia-style criminal gangs of today.
And they put too-powerful, fully-capable machines into the hands of the unwashed masses– us.
The rest of it is our fault.

* We let our antivirus expire and, every day, close the warning.
* We think we’ve just won the British Lottery.
* We still run Windows 98 because we’re “comfortable with it”.
* We cannot resist ‘free’ pornography.
* We cannot be bothered with those REALLY ANNOYING little windows that pop open at the worst times and tell us that a “newer version is available.”
* When someone tries to tell us about our machines, they start using big words in a funny language and we ‘tune out’.
* We believe that everything computer-related should be free, so we download cracked (aka “pirated”) software, bootleg music and video, and we don’t care who or where it comes from.

I could go on and on and on (and on, believe me!).

Yes.. we are our own worst enemies. But, you don’t have to be a part of the problem. And you don’t have to learn a big word-filled foreign language (aka “Geek speak”) to avoid the zombie attack.

Today’s free link: I have put together a list of proactive steps every computer user should know.. a checklist. In it you will find links to free, safe, and effective methods for protecting your computer, and keeping it safe. Please look over, Top 10 Things You Should Do To Your Computer. And then do us all a favor, pass the list on to your friends who have computers.

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

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November 11, 2008 Posted by | advice, antivirus, computers, cyber crime, e-mail, hackers, Internet, Internet scam, Phishing, security, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

! READ AND REPLY

This urgent (“flagged with a red “!”) e-mail slipped into my Inbox. The Subject was READ AND REPLY.

Sir/Madam
I am a lawyer and legal representative to a high profile client within the international community that requires your experience and assistance in the investment of her inherited funds,should this transaction be of interest to you contact me for more.
Best regards,
Dominic Chambers

Hmmm… curious. I suspect this is scam spam (mainly because I have never, ever, made an investment or inquired about investing). But some of the usual elements are missing.. and it did make it past my spam filters.. and it is marked “urgent”…

Maybe this high-profile, international lady wants to invest her money in me?
That could be kewl. I like money.

Tip(s) of the day: Don’t even think about responding to e-mails like these; and better yet, don’t even open e-mail from unknown sources.. doing so can/will mark your e-mail address as a “live” person, and get your name on junkmail lists (which spammers trade with each other) and you’ll get even more spam than you already do. I don’t care if they’re marked “Urgent” or not– resist the temptation.

Secondly, please read my article Managing your email: eliminating junk and learn a few techniques for spam reduction.

And thirdly, why do dumb scammers send dumb scam e-mails? Because a few ________ people respond, and get hoodwinked. Don’t be part of the problem.

Today’s free link: A recent building project had me using an old 3D drawing program that I first downloaded years ago, and so I went looking to see what apps available now. I discovered the simply fabulous Google SketchUp, and after watching a couple of animated tutorials, I knocked out my design in no time at all.

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

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July 14, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, cyber crime, e-mail, Internet scam, security, spam and junk mail, tech | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment