Tech – for Everyone

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

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

Share this post :

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

“WINDOWS REQUIRES IMMEDIATE ATTENTION”

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. *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 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

A New Twist…

Folks — a couple of quick “must read”:

BEWARE of “ScanVirus” – A “FAKE” Cloud Anti-Virus Service

“With the wave of cloud apps appearing on the internet, I knew it would be a matter of time before malware would find its’ way into the cloud…”

Twitter and the dangers of clickjacking

Twitter users are, well, a-twitter about an innocent but indicative joke that some clever person just played on half the Twitterverse.

February 14, 2009 Posted by | advice, anti-spyware, antivirus, computers, cyber crime, hackers, Internet, News, security, software, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Share this post :

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

It Said I Was Infected

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.

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

As this video shows, the user is tricked into (scared into, really) providing their credit card # (oops.. might want to cancel that card..) to clean infections that weren’t there before they clicked.
* 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 they use the latest techniques to combat removal, and it can be quite tough.. if not impossible.. to remove them without formatting your hard-drive.
* Is that anti-spyware program really spyware?
* A Website dedicated to combating this epidemic is Spyware Warrior. It has a pretty good list of known rogues, and much more detailed information.

Today’s free download:  WOT is a free Internet security addon for your browser. It will keep you safe 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

Share this post :

September 30, 2008 Posted by | advice, anti-spyware, antivirus, computers, cyber crime, Firefox, hackers, how to, Internet scam, PC, phraud, ransomware, security, software, spam and junk mail, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 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

Share this post :

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

Geek+Spyware*

I want to apologize to you in advance for a word I will use in this blog from time to time, and that word is “geek.”

When I was a boy–many years ago now–“geek” was a completely pejorative and insulting word. A “geek” was typically a socially inept, small, quiet, know-it-all (who usually wore glasses) kid who couldn’t connect his bat with the softest-thrown baseball or catch a football to save his life…and he used big words all the time. Perhaps in your day you referred to ‘him’ as a Pointdexter, nerd, dork, or wimp. Back then there was no doubt or question about it–“geek” was a put-down: a derogatory statement. Period.

Today, I proudly declare: I am a geek. When I do, I am not broadcasting my pride in my inability to catch a football. (I can catch; and, even throw a tight spiral.) I am saying that I’m “into” computers and electronic gadgets, and I know a little about how they work.

At some point and time our common usage of the word “geek” has changed. It is no longer used strictly as a ‘slam’ and a put-down (however, if that is your intent, I believe the other words I listed above are still 100% negative…although Bill Gates may have softened the word “nerd” some…). If, in the course of reading this blog, you see me use the word “geek”–please rest assured that I am always using it with the nicest of meanings. I even use “geek” as a compliment. Really.

Tip of the day: A reader mentioned in a comment to yesterday’s post on defragmention that spyware, if it gets onto and runs on your machine, will cause it to (amongst other unpleasant things!) suffer performance degradation and make it run slower. I intend to spend a fair amount of time discussing malware, and spyware in particular, and how you can combat and remove it. I will return to this topic in the future. But for today I just want to make this point: If you connect to the Web, you need to run anti-spyware programs. Notice I that I wrote programs. Plural.

That fact is, no one anti-spyware application is 100% effective at stopping and removing spyware. There are many anti-spyware programs available and some are more effective than others. Some are great at stopping keylogger’s but fall down when it comes to Trojan Horses, and others are visa-versa…as an example. So I strongly recommend running two anti-spyware’s, in the hopes that one will catch what the other missed. (There are many free anti-spyware applications [and some are adware disguised as anti-spyware, (called “rogue apps“)] available. For my more detailed descriptions and a fuller listing of free anti-spyware tools, click here.) I cannot stress to you strongly enough to install and run some kind of anti-spyware program…and preferably, two. In that vein, today I will provide not one, but two, Today’s free links.

Today’s free link #1: AdAware SE Personal from Lavasoft. “Ad-Aware 2007 Free remains the most popular anti-spyware product for computer users around the world, with nearly one million downloads every week. Our free anti-spyware version provides you with advanced protection against spyware…”

Today’s free link #2: SpyCatcher Express from Tenebril. From site: “Allows novice PC users to remove aggressive spyware . Stops next-generation, mutating spyware. Blocks reinstallation of aggressive spyware. Removes spyware safely and automatically.”

*Original posting 6/13/07

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

Share this post :

 

May 2, 2008 Posted by | advice, anti-spyware, computers, how to, Internet, PC, ransomware, rootkits, security, tech, Windows | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments