Tech – for Everyone

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

Warning! The Worst Virus Ever! (Verified by Snopes!)

Folks — I have written articles advising you to immediately delete these types of e-mails, which are inevitably forwarded to us by well-meaning friends and family. There’s one going around right now, warning about “the worst virus ever! (verified by Snopes!)”.
I think I first saw this particular one in 1996.

Please read my article, SEND THIS E-MAIL TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW!, and then please send the link to those friends and family members who show a proclivity to fall for this type of Internet scam. (You know who they are.)

These “warning!” e-mails will contain an image (attachment) which will automatically be downloaded when you open the e-mail (please see, HTML e-mail and image spam) ) which automatically gives the cyber-criminal a matching valid e-mail address and machine/IP address – yours! You don’t need to click any links, you just need to view (open) the message, and the damage is done.

So even though the Subject line may advise “DO NOT DELETE”, go ahead and do so– immediately and unopened. You’ll be protecting your Inbox and Identity. And, need I say it? The “warning” is a bogus fraud, carefully crafted to play off people’s ignorance and fear.

Short version: if you believe these letters, and forward them, you are essentially handing criminals your Contacts list, and your friends and family will get spammed.

Today’s free link: Today’s link is to a bargain shopper’s Website recommended to me by a Loyal Friend and True of Tech–for Everyone. FatWallet.com has the steals, online coupons, price comparisons, and forums you’re looking for.

Copyright 2007-2010 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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February 8, 2010 Posted by | advice, cyber crime, e-mail, Internet scam, phraud, security, spam and junk mail | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Security Alert: Don’t Open PDF Files

New Year, New Attacks Against Adobe

Adobe Zero-Day Flaw Under Attack – Crooks are once again sending e-mails with attachments exploiting the “zero-day” hole in Adobe Reader and Acrobat to install malware on targeted machines. The attacks start with a malicious PDF file that contains the PoisonIvy Trojan, which allows an attacker to gain remote control over an infected PC.

Adobe says it will release an update on January 12th.

To read the full story, please click here.

Today’s free downloads: If you are a bit tired of Adobe, and all of it’s vulnerabilities (tops the charts year after year, after all), I’m afraid there’s not much you can do about Flash Player (for watching YouTube videos, for example) except to remove it and do without videos (and.. animated ads). But you don’t need Reader to open PDF files. I suggest uninstalling Reader and installing some other “reader”.. such as the lightweight (and portable) Sumatra PDF, or the popular Foxit Reader, or PDF-XCHANGE Viewer (also an editor).

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

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January 7, 2010 Posted by | computers, cyber crime, Internet, security | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Worth Repeating – Top Tech Tip #2*

Some time ago I was asked by a reader what my one piece of advice for a non-techie was (Click here to read my reply). That was a good question. A challenging question. Limiting myself to one answer was what I found so difficult.

So today I am going to offer you, Dear Reader, my “Probably The Second Most Important Piece Of Geek Advice For Non-Techies“.

* Leave Registry “Cleaners” Alone *

What happens is this: older computers get slower, and so the owner enters “slow PC” (or, “my computer is slow”, or sumsuch) or “slow internet” into a search engine — where they get sold a computer “optimizer”. What this is – usually – is a “Registry Cleaner”, which promises to “find errors” and fix them.

WOT warnings on "speed up your PC" sites

WOT warnings on "speed up your PC" sites

Sounds good, doesn’t it?

Here’s the real deal — there are two cases (IMHO) when you actually need a reliable Registry cleaner:
1) You’re an experimental sort and you uninstall a lot of 3rd-party (non-Microsoft) programs; like.. you try every new program that comes along. (And you forgot to use Revo to uninstall them when you’re done.)

2) You have just completed a manual malware removal.

That doesn’t describe you? Leave the Registry “cleaner” alone!

Now, my regular readers will remember my mentioning this before, but for the rest of you, here’s why you want to avoid messing with the Registry: and this happens a lot actually, it can kill your machine.

What?!

Yup. Read the user forums. The odds of this increase if you have more than one User Account on your system. Ask yourself this: do you know what the Windows Registry is? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_registry)

Even if a “cleaning” does not kill your machine, no one can convince me that any Registry cleaner – and they have been many over the years – has ever actually sped up their PC. And I am certainly not alone in this opinion.

So what should you do to speed up a machine that has slowed down over time? Well, you already have the tools you need to “optimize” and rejuvenate your PC. Please read Four Vital Tools You Already Have… But Might Not Know About. There you will find the answers! And, guess what? They’re free. (Probably why they’re not advertised, eh?)

… and if you’re the type who is not going to click the link and actually read more, and are just itching to download something, well, the safe and effective Registry cleaner CCleaner will do this for you for free. As will the free Glary Utilities, or the free Advanced Windows Care, and you won’t find user forums filled with complains of wrecked systems, if you should use one of those.
Fair enough?

[Note: BEFORE making any changes to the Registry, please read (and follow) this Microsoft article: How to back up and restore the registry in Windows]

* Orig post: 08/19/09

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

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December 12, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, performance | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gmail — Automated Phishing Detection

Google’s Gmail is currently testing a service designed to alert Gmail users to messages that appear to be phishing attacks.

Gmail phishing alert

These phishing alerts operate automatically, much like spam filtering. Gmail’s spam filters automatically divert messages that are suspected of being unwanted messages into ‘Spam’. Similarly, Gmail’s phishing alerts automatically display warnings with messages we suspect are phishing attacks so you know to exercise caution before providing any personal information. (for more details, click here)

Important: You should always be wary of any message that asks for your personal information, or messages that refer you to a webpage asking for personal information.

(You might want to think about how Gmail could do this ‘detecting’…)

If you aren’t quite sure what to look for when you suspect an e-mail might be one of these cybercrime ploys, this brief video can help.

To Detect Phishing

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

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October 30, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, cyber crime, e-mail, Google, how to, Internet scam, Phishing, phraud, security, spam and junk mail | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cybercriminals Target Clueless Vacationers

laptop_beach “This guy doesn’t know it, but he’s putty in the hands of cybercriminals. The newest trend in Internet fraud is “vacation hacking,” a sinister sort of tourist trap.

Cybercriminals are targeting travelers by creating phony Wi-Fi hot spots in airports, in hotels, and even aboard airliners.

Vacationers on their way to fun in the sun, or already there, think they’re using designated Wi-Fi access points. But instead, they’re signing on to fraudulent networks and hand-delivering everything on their laptops to the crooks*.”

Please click here to read the rest of this story, and find out what you need to know before you use public “hotspots”.

* emphasis mine.

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

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July 20, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, cyber crime, Internet, News, Portable Computing, security, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Skype Phishing Returns*

Chat Message Scares Reader Into Installing Malware

Folks, after a brief quiet period, criminals are once again using Skype to send phishing “chats” in an attempt to defraud you. So, I am re-posting this article. It is the exact same ruse I first warned of last year, but the name has changed.
This attack will reappear every so often with a slightly different name and URL…

Yesterday a Skype chat window opened on my machine, and presented me with a dire warning from someone named “Software Update” “Registry Scan Online®” Today’s flavor. 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 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” “Registry Scan Online ®”  Today’s flavor doesn’t exist.
*http://www.onlinemonitor.info” “http://www.registryscan.com” Today’s flavor 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, and social networking communications.]

[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: Pirated Windows 7 leads to malware, botnet

Today’s free downloads(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.

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

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May 13, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, cyber crime | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

FWD: BIG VIRUS WARNING!

Folks I have written articles advising you to immediately delete, unopened, these types of e-mail, which are inevitably forwarded to us by well-meaning friends and family.
There’s one going around right now, warning about “the worst virus ever”, and another about a Hallmark e-card.

Please read, SEND THIS E-MAIL TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW!, and then please forward it to those friends and family members who show a proclivity to be helpful and concerned — and fall for this scam. (You know who they are.)

These e-mails will contain an image (attachment) which will automatically be downloaded and displayed when you open the e-mail — please see, HTML e-mail and image spam (repost) — which automatically gives the cyber-criminal a matching valid e-mail address and machine/IP address– yours.

You don’t need to click any links, you just need to view the message, and the damage is done.

So even though the Subject line may advise DO NOT DELETE, go ahead and do so– immediately and unopened. You’ll be protecting your Inbox and Identity.
And, need I say it? The “warning” is a bogus fraud, carefully crafted to play off people’s ignorance and fear.

Today’s free link: Today’s link is to a bargain shopper’s Website recommended to me by a Loyal Friend and True of Tech–for Everyone. FatWallet.com has the steals, online coupons, price comparisons, and forums you’re looking for.

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

March 4, 2009 Posted by | advice, cyber crime, e-mail | , , , , , | Leave a comment