Tech – for Everyone

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

Sunday Beauty XXXI + Top Security Products

Today’s image is a bit different.. and possibly represents some wishful thinking on my part..

Spring orchard

Click on image to see more by this artist

Photo by El Frito, courtesy of Flickr Commons.

Addenda: Yesterday, I posted a link to an antivirus product review: Top 10 Antivirus Programs for 2011 (review).That review was of for-pay antivirus programs. For those who want to see how free antiviruses stack up, see “Fee vs. Free: Free and Paid Antivirus Programs Compared“.

And for the product review of full security suites, see, “Battle of the Security Superpowers,” which lists PC World’s top security suite picks.

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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February 27, 2011 Posted by | advice, computers, Internet, PC, security, software, tech | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Top 10 Antivirus Programs for 2011 (review)

If you connect it to the Internet, it needs an antivirus, period.

PC World magazine recently published their roundup product review, which lists their top 10 antivirus products: see, Antivirus 2011: Digital Defenders

Today’s new threats demand a new breed of antivirus software. Our lab tests show you which paid antivirus products you can trust, and which ones you should skip.

If you haven’t bought a new version of your antivirus software in a couple of years, now may be a good time to do so. Malware is evolving faster than ever, and the latest generation of antivirus software is better equipped to handle this rapid pace of change. If your antivirus software is a few years old, it may not be able to defend against this on­­slaught effectively, even if you faithfully download new virus definitions. In recent years, the technology that powers antivirus software has changed dramatically: An antivirus package you purchased a few years ago may be able to stop known viruses and other known malware, but brand-new, as-yet unknown viruses can be more dangerous, and newer products do a much better job of stopping them.

I have put a link to this article in my Blogroll. Also in my Blogroll  is PC Magazine’s review: see, Best Antivirus – 2011 (review) (which is written by my ‘go to guy’, Neil Rubenking).

I suggest you look at these two product comparison charts, and assess your current antivirus defense.

But also know, an antivirus is not protection enough. Every computer user should know that there are computing “Good Practices”.. and certain “Do’s & Don’ts”.
For the “do’s“, I have provided readers the basic “common good practices” in what I call my “Top 10 Things You Should Do” list.

Let’s be safe out there people. Don’t become a victim of cybercrime. Use some healthy “paranoid common sense” when online.

Addenda: For those who have trouble with installing Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (or.. Updates in general), see Microsoft notes Windows Update “inconsistencies,” provides fix

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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February 26, 2011 Posted by | advice, anti-spyware, antivirus, computers, hackers, Internet, PC, security, software, tech | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Daily Dose of Tech

It’s a fact: over time, things grow, and expand. The Internet itself is constantly growing, and every day thousands of new websites, blogs, and ‘online services’ appear.

I find it hard to keep up! (As, other things that are constantly growing are my business and my To Do List..) I simply do not have the time to explore them all.. and I bet you don’t either. (As a matter of fact, they say over 1,000 new ‘tech blogs’ are created each month. That’s the kind of market I am in!)

Fortunately, I know a guy.

WOMPC_logo

That “guy” is Rick Robinette, and for over two years now his What’s On My PC… website has been a daily read of mine — one of the half dozen (or less) remaining “daily reads”. I cannot say enough nice things about him; but the reason I am mentioning him to you, Dear Reader, is — he is reporting on the new ‘cloud computing’ developments as they happen, and bringing us the best of this new stuff. As you can see from his list of ‘pages’, below. (With a strong emphasis on free.. which I like!)

His writing is friendly, relaxed, fun, and yes, educational. He enjoys exploring fun and useful small utilities like desktop clocks and weather reports and sticky notes. For proof, here’s a few recent What’s On My PC… articles:

If you are at all interested in free software, useful tips, and/or want to get a feel for this “cloud computing”.. well, now you ‘know a guy’ too. Visit http://whatsonmypc.wordpress.com and find out why I cannot say enough good things about this great online resource.

I am pretty sure that if you do, Rick will become one of your “must reads” too!

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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January 18, 2011 Posted by | cloud computing, computers, Internet, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Beware "The Twelve Scams of Christmas"

McAfee* has revealed their 2010’s “Twelve Scams of Christmas” —

the 12 most dangerous online scams that computer users should be cautious of this holiday season.

Scams continue to be big business for cybercriminals who have their sights set on capitalizing on open hearts and wallets this holiday season,” said Dave Marcus, director of security research for McAfee Labs. “As people jump online to look for deals on gifts and travel, it’s important to recognize common scams to safeguard against theft during the busy season ahead.

Twelve Scams of Christmas:

  1. iPad Offer Scams
    With Apple products topping most shopping lists this holiday season, scammers are busy distributing bogus offers for free iPads. McAfee Labs found that in the spam version of the scam consumers are asked to purchase other products and provide their credit card number to get the free iPad. Of course, victims never receive the iPad or the other items, just the headache of reporting a stolen credit card number. In the social media version of the scam, users take a quiz to win a free iPad and must supply their cell phone number to receive the results. In actuality they are signed up for a cell phone scam that costs $10 a week.
  2. “Help! I’ve Been Robbed” Scam
    This travel scam sends phony distress messages to family and friends requesting that money be wired or transferred so that they can get home. McAfee Labs has seen an increase in this scam and predicts its rise during the busy travel season.
  3. Fake Gift Cards
    Cybercrooks use social media to promote fake gift card offers with the goal of stealing consumers’ information and money, which is then sold to marketers or used for ID theft. One recent Facebook scam offered a “free $1,000 Best Buy gift card” to the first 20,000 people who signed up for a Best Buy fan page, which was a look-a-like. To apply for the gift card they had to provide personal information and take a series of quizzes.
  4. Holiday Job Offers
    As people seek extra cash for gifts this holiday season, Twitter scams offer dangerous links to high-paying, work-at-home jobs that ask for your personal information, such as your email address, home address and Social Security number to apply for the fake job.
  5. “Smishing”
    Cybercrooks are now “smishing,” or sending phishing SMS texts. These texts appear to come from your bank or an online retailer saying that there is something wrong with an account and you have to call a number to verify your account information. In reality, these efforts are merely a ruse to extract valuable personal information from the targets. Cybercrooks know that people are more vulnerable to this scam during the holiday season when consumers are doing more online shopping and checking bank balances frequently.
  6. Suspicious Holiday Rentals
    During peak travel times when consumers often look online for affordable holiday rentals, cybercrooks post fake holiday rental sites that ask for down payments on properties by credit card or wire transfer.
  7. Recession Scams Continue
    Scammers target vulnerable consumers with recession related scams such as pay-in-advance credit schemes. McAfee Labs has seen a significant number of spam emails advertising prequalified, low-interest loans and credit cards if the recipient pays a processing fee, which goes directly into the scammer’s pocket.
  8. Grinch-like Greetings
    E-cards are a convenient and earth-friendly way to send greetings to friends and family, but cybercriminals load fake versions with links to computer viruses and other malware instead of cheer. According to McAfee Labs, computers may start displaying obscene images, pop-up ads, or even start sending cards to contacts that appear to come from you.
  9. Low Price Traps
    Shoppers should be cautious of products offered at prices far below competitors. Cyber scammers use auction sites and fake websites to offer too-good-to-be-true deals with the goal of stealing your money and information.
  10. Charity Scams
    The holidays have historically been a prime time for charity scams since it’s a traditional time for giving, and McAfee Labs predicts that this year is no exception. Common ploys include phone calls and spam e-mails asking you to donate to veterans’ charities, children’s causes and relief funds for the latest catastrophe.
  11. Dangerous Holiday Downloads
    Holiday-themed screensavers, jingles and animations are an easy way for scammers to spread viruses and other computer threats especially when links come from an email or IM that appears to be from a friend.
  12. Hotel and Airport Wi-fi
    During the holidays many people travel and use free wi-fi in places like hotels and airports. This is a tempting time for thieves to hack into networks hoping to find opportunities for theft.

McAfee advises Internet users to follow these five tips to protect their computers and personal information:

  • Stick to well-established and trusted sites that include trust marks (icons or seals from third parties verifying that the site is safe), user reviews and customer support. A reputable trust mark provider will have a live link attached to its trust mark icon, which will take visitors to a verification Web site of the trust mark provider.
  • Do not respond to offers that arrive in a spam email, text or instant message.
  • Preview a link’s web address before you click on it to make sure it is going to an established site. Never download or click anything from an unknown source.
  • Stay away from vendors that offer prices well below the norm. Don’t believe anything that’s too good to be true.
  • Make sure to use trusted wi-fi networks. Don’t check bank accounts or shop online if you’re not sure the network is safe. If you think you may be a victim of cybercrime, visit the McAfee Cybercrime Response Unit to assess your risks and learn what you can do next at the link below.

* About McAfee
McAfee, headquartered in Santa Clara, California, is the world’s largest dedicated security technology company. McAfee delivers proactive and proven solutions and services that help secure systems, networks, and mobile devices around the world, allowing users to safely connect to the Internet, browse and shop the Web more securely. Backed by its unrivaled Global Threat Intelligence, McAfee creates innovative products that empower home users, businesses, the public sector and service providers by enabling them to prove compliance with regulations, protect data, prevent disruptions, identify vulnerabilities, and continuously monitor and improve their security. McAfee secures your digital world.

McAfee is a registered trademark or trademark of McAfee, Inc. or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries. Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others. © 2008 McAfee, Inc. All rights reserved.

References
Cybersafety Resource Portal


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December 10, 2010 Posted by | computers, Internet, Internet scam, News, security, tech | , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Monday | Top Internet Security Suites | Countdown

Well here we are. Monday again. Today, some “miscellany”.

* A reader wrote and suggested that I start a “countdown to the Holidays” feature.. further suggesting that it go something like, “time to get the tree”; “mail 15 cards today”; and such.

While I welcome reader comments and questions and, yes, even suggestions.. I feel in no way obligated to honor each and every request that may come my way. (Some are outright whacky, as you may be able to imagine.)(Seriously, I do “answer my mail”.) Since I am not a huge fan of “countdowns”, and because I did not think of it myself, I am not going to do a “countdown to the Holidays” feature.
But I thank the writer (you know who you are) for their suggestion.

christmas_decorations-tips * There are a mere 18 days until Christmas arrives. Have you hung any decorations yet? Of all the ideas that come to mind about Christmas decorations for your front door, I particularly recommend the Christmas wreath. See, How to Make an Evergreen Wreath

* Loyal readers will have seen me write that the man I turn to for reliable, trustworthy reviews is Neil J. Rubenking (at PC Magazine). This has been true for .. well, as long as I can remember, really. And, Loyal readers will know that I am constantly urging computing safety and security.
Those two things come together, as Neil has just published his The Best Security Suites for 2011

“The security suites for 2011 are almost all available now, though as always a few companies march to a different schedule. If you need a suite today, read our roundup of 16 of the best (and worst) options, from Ad-Aware to Webroot.”

So, if you want to know how the various vendors stack up against each other, there is the place to look. IMHO.

If you are not interested in a “suite”, but simply want to know the best antivirus, he also has written The Best Antivirus Software for 2011

“We’ve reviewed 20 of the best (and worst) premium and free antivirus applications so that you can pick the right one for your needs—because, make no mistake: you need AV.”

I hope you all noticed the last six words of that?

* There are a mere 18 days until Christmas arrives, and we are smack-dab in the middle of the cyber-criminal’s favorite, and most active, time of year. It is the time to redouble your “paranoid common sense” and triple your vigilance for scams, e-mails links, making sure the payment portal is https://, etc.. Let’s all be safe out there!

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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December 6, 2010 Posted by | computers | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Sandboxie License Winners Announced

I consider Sandboxie an essential and primary tool for protecting my machines from cybercrimals.”

Sandboxie’s creator, Ronen Tzur, has graciously and generously donated five licenses to me, to award to my readers. I sincerely thank him for that.

SecurityNowLogo GizmoAward MajorGeeksLogo

Some Benefits of the Isolated Sandbox

  • Secure Web Browsing: Running your Web browser under the protection of Sandboxie means that all malicious software downloaded by the browser is trapped in the sandbox and can be discarded trivially.
  • Enhanced Privacy: Browsing history, cookies, and cached temporary files collected while Web browsing stay in the sandbox and don’t leak into Windows.
  • Secure E-mail: Viruses and other malicious software that might be hiding in your email can’t break out of the sandbox and can’t infect your real system.

To paraphrase: What happens in the sandbox stays in the sandbox.

Note: Sandboxie is NOT a replacement, nor substitute, for traditional anti-Malware (antivirus+anti-Spyware) but is used in conjunction with. I highly recommend that first time users see, Tutorial: Getting Started with Sandboxie. This is a serious security tool and taking the time to learn how it works is well worth it! Using Sandboxie is simple, there’s just a few things to know.

Ronen has always offered this (essential, IMHO) security tool free, for which he has long earned a big tip of my Geek hat. It consistently wins “Best” and “Top” mentions on the reputable download sites, and is one of the few titles I think is worth upgrading to “Pro” (paid). The Sandboxie website is here, try it out yourself!

Without further ado: Congratulations to..

sand_wins

The lucky winners will be sent an e-mail containing their license key, with the subject “Sandboxie Winner”. (You may need to check your Junk folder.)

Again I thank Ronen for making this giveaway possible!

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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July 16, 2010 Posted by | advice, computers, e-mail, Internet, security, software | , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

A Top Site for Finding Work

Best of the Web/Top Site for Finding Work Job-Hunt.org is a “Top” or “Best” site for job hunting and careers according to US News & World Report, Forbes, and PC Magazine.

Job-Hunt is dedicated to the millions of people who have had their personal lives disrupted by the loss of a job.

The Internet Has Changed How We Live Our Lives. How We Communicate. How We Date, Work, Play…

and how we look for work. More and more we go online. And where the people go, that’s where you’ll find the criminals and predators. Please be aware that Identity Thieves have – for some time now – been posting fake job openings, fake employment websites, and various other employment scams online.

Some time ago now, I wrote about “cyber-safe” resumes, and I received a nice letter from Susan P. Joyce at Job-Hunt.org. She reminded us that,

The recession has multiplied the scams, and people need to be very careful using any job board or even “employer” Website – not just when using Craigslist (which is often a good source of jobs).”

Please see the excellent, Job Search Scam Avoidance Guide

Job search scams look very appealing, and even smart people “fall” for them. The result can be loss of the money you do have, trouble with the IRS or other law enforcement agency, and identity theft when your SSN is provided to the fake “employer.”

And if you are (or you know someone who is) in the process of seeking a new job/career, please click here, read, and learn how to “Put the “Safe” in your Cyber-SAFE Resume by modifying the content of your resume! Take control and create your own privacy protection this way, without depending on the Web job site to do it for you. Do this to protect your existing job, if you have one, and your privacy.

Related reading: Cyber-safe Resume Gets Noticed

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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June 5, 2010 Posted by | cyber crime, Internet, security | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments