Tech – for Everyone

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


Yawn. I Win Another $2,500,000 USD

From:     Johan Hans (
Sent:     Wed 2/04/09 8:29 AM

Ref No.67324/113
Batch No.312/00643374
Ticket/Series No.NL6775489
Amount Won: $2,500,000.00 USD
Attn: Internet User,
This is to formally inform and congratulate you on the result of the
online cyber lotto which was conducted from an exclusive list of 1,000.000
email addresses of individual and corporate bodies selected by an advanced
automated random computer ballot system from the internet.
Your e-mail address emerged as a winner in the category “A” with the
following information enclosed.
You are therefore to receive a cash prize of $2,500,000.00. (Two Million
Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars).
To file in for the processing of your prize winnings, you are advised to
contact our Certified and Accredited claims agent for category “A” winners
with the information below:
MR.   Johan HANS
Phone: 0031-647-372-865
Fax:   0031 847-390-336.
You are advice to provide him with the following information and a copy of
your international passport or driver’s license via email attachment or by
fax for vetting process which is a standard practice just to ensure that
we are dealing with the right individual.
First name:
Last Name:
Telephone/Fax number:
Winning Email:
NOTE: Ensure to quote your Reference Numbers in all your communication
with your claims agent. All winnings must be claimed not later than seven
working days, thereafter unclaimed funds would be included in the next
Congratulations! Thank you for being a user of the World Wide Web.
Yours Faithfully,
Mary Van Dotcha

Lottery Coordinator.

[note: for those of you regular readers.. does this verbage look familiar? I wonder why they all look the same..? You can do a little quick math, and see that I am one lotto-winning son of a gun. I win 2 -3 of these a week! Hey, better to be lucky than good, eh?]

Today’s free link: Malware Tools for Newbie Cyber Criminals This article shows you a hacker’s “kit”, which will help you understand why these spam letters look the same, and why the Internet is in need of a major overhaul…

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

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February 5, 2009 Posted by | advice, cyber crime, e-mail, Internet scam, spam and junk mail | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 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

Some basic security pointers–#1

Is your computer a zombie? You can never be too secure, and neither can your PC. These few steps will go a long way in keeping your private information away from prying eyes, and prevent your machine from being used as a “zombie” by tech-savvy evil doers. (Most owners of zombie PCs are totally unaware that their computers are being used in this way.)

Tip of the day: The two basic steps I will discuss today–password protecting your User Accounts (and requiring logging in), and renaming your Administrator Account–should be prefaced with a quick description of what is, exactly, a strong password.

Strong passwords should be “complex”. That means that they should contain both upper and lower-case letters, special characters (!@#$%^&*(){}[]) and numbers, and be at least eight characters long, and–most definately–not be a word (or name) found in the dictionary. Your passwords (notice the plural. It is not wise to use the same password for everything.) will be easier to remember if you make them into a ‘passphrase’. A equestrian might use a passphrase of 1Lu^h0rsez, for example.

Now that you have a good password, it’s time to require authentication to use your machine. Start by clicking on Start>Control Panel>User Accounts (or Start>Settings>Control Panel>User Accounts. Depending on your version and preference setting). Then click on “Change an account,” and then click on “Create a password for your account.” Enter your password, twice, and if you’ld like, a password “hint” that will remind you (but not clue in the whole world) of your new password. Click “Create password.”

Now, since knowing your User Name is half the battle, click on “Change the way users log on or off.” Deselect (by unchecking the check in the checkbox) “Use the Welcome screen.”

Unbeknownst to most folks, Windows has a hidden Administrator account (this becomes vitally important when troubleshooting failing systems, or when User accounts get “locked out”) named “Administrator”. Hackers are well aware of this, and it is their favorite method of gaining access (and control over) your machine; since they know the User name, all they have to do is guess the password–which by default, and unless you set one, there isn’t one! Remedy this in XP Professional by going to Control Panel>Administrative Tools (you must use Classic View) and clicking on Local Security Policy. Then in the left column click on the plus sign next to Local Policies, and then click the Security Options folder (If you receive a warning about Group Policy, just ignore it) and a series of policies will appear in the right pane. The 4th or 5th one from the top should be “Accounts: Rename administrator account”. Double click on it and a dialogue box will open. Enter a new name, and click Apply, and OK.

In XP Home, the method is to click Start>Run. In the Run dialogue type in “Control userpasswords2” [no quotes] and click OK. From the User Accounts dialogue box, select the Administrator Account and click Properties. Enter the new name in the User Name text box, and click OK.

(For other versions of Windows the methodology is similar, but I recommend Searching Microsoft’s website for the specific steps.)

The last step is to congratulate yourself, because you have just made your computer much, much harder for a determined cracker to penetrate, and practically eliminated access to the casual browser.

Today’s free link: Steve Gibson’s ShieldsUp! This free scan, offered by a true giant in the computer field, analyzes your computer for vulnerabilities coming from the Internet, and tells you how your private data may be visible to outsiders. This link will appeal to the more tech-savvy, and be an eye openning experience for those of you who have not learned about firewalls yet.

Copyright © 2007 Tech Paul. All rights reserved.

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June 9, 2007 Posted by | advice, anti-spyware, antivirus, computers, file system, how to, passwords, PC, privacy, rootkits, security, tech, User mode, Vista, Windows, XP | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments