Today’s Geek Squeaks – November 13, 2013


WOT – WEB OF TRUST hits the 100 million download mark!!!

IMPORTANT TO KNOW – Did you know that taking a picture with your digital camera, tablet, or smartphone may be revealing the precise location where the picture was taken? Read the article below from TCAT Shelbyville to see why this can come back to haunt you…

NEW FEATURE IN GMAIL now gives you the ability to view attachments and save files directly to Google Drive without ever leaving Gmail

CONNECT YOUR PHONE TO YOUR TV with this slimport HDMI adapter. The phone has to be slimport or MyDP compatible to work. Your phone, in essence, turns your TV into a media center.

Geek Squeaks’ features a round-up of tech products, news, software, apps, wallpapers, articles, you name it;  from my favorite tech web sites… I just plain love tech!

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WOT is celebrating 100.000.000 downloads!

WOT – Web of Trust is a browser add-on (for Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera and Safari) that serves as an aid in helping you determine what sites are safe and what sites potentially are not. I have used WOT since day one, through the thick and thin, and have come to rely on its’ purpose. Congratulation to the WOT team for reaching the 100 million milestone and for the FREE service that is provided to help protect us on the internet.

Watch Video To  See WOT In Action

  • Traffic light style icons guide you find trustworthy links on search engine results, social media, online email, and many popular sites
  • You can leave your own ratings to help other web users stay safe
  • Third-party trusted sources provide technical security
  • It’s fast, free, and easy-to-use
  • Interested to know how the WOT system works? Learn more here

GET IT HERE


Remove EXIF information from your pictures

@ TCAT Shelbyville

Did you know that today’s digital cameras and smartphone cameras will implant into the EXIF data of the picture the lattitude and longitude of where the picture was taken? IMPORTANT – You need to read this article to learn about the consequences of this and what you can do to stop it.

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Most people still don’t know that their tablet, camera or smartphone might be tagging their latitude and longitude.   Why is this dangerous?  It can show the location of where you or your family is at.  It can give away corporate data or information that can harm your corporation… READ MORE


Attachments in Gmail,
now with the power of Google Drive

@ Google | Official Blog

Gmail continues to improve and these recently announced improvements are BIG!

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You’re probably used to downloading email attachments, but each of those files takes time to download, eats up space on your device, and can get buried deep inside your “Downloads” folder. With today’s update to Gmail, you can skip that whole process. Instead, you can view attachments and save files directly to Google Drive without ever leaving Gmail, making it easy to access them later from whatever device you’re on—computer, phone or tablet… READ MORE


Connect SlimPort (or MyDP) Enabled Smartphones And Tablets To TVs, Monitors, Notebooks And Projectors

SlimPort HDMI Adapter

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This HDMI adapter connects SlimPort® or MyDP-enabled smartphones and tablets to TVs, monitors, notebooks and projectors with an HDMI connection. Capable of Full HD resolutions, this adapter displays the content of your mobile device on the big screen for all to share. Enjoy multi- screen productivity with the connection of a simple cable. Unlock the full power of your device for endless productivity and high definition entertainment… CHECK IT OUT HERE


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Today’s Geek Squeaks – September 12, 2013

A summary of Today’s Geek Squeaks:

Squeak #1: If you are looking for a level of protection when browsing the internet, then you may want to use (install) “the new” Web of Trust (WOT). WOT warns users about websites with potential issues. I have used WOT for years; BUT, one problem with WOT was that some sites, honest in nature, were being improperly rated. “The NEW WOT” is to change that. If you don’t know what WOT is, check it out (see below);

Squeak #2: Now this is something to really think about. The same cable that we often use to connect to a computer to charge the phone could be compromising your data; especially, if it is not your computer you are using. Please read the article below from TechNewsWorld (see below);

Squeak #3: If you are into assisting others on their computers, then you need to check out TeamViewer. I use the FREE version of TeamViewer to provide remote support and actually have it setup on my home network to access the desktops on all my PC’s (see below); AND,

Squeak #4:  Today’s featured tech product is something that is very cool and is an example of the future.  It is a smartphone enabled deadbolt, called KEVO (see below)…

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Plan on seeing  a lot more of Geek Squeaks’, featuring a round-up of tech products, news, software, apps, wallpapers, articles, you name it;  from my favorite tech web sites… I just plain love tech!

See An Endless Stream Of Geek Squeaks’ [ HERE ]


Web of Trust – Rating Feature Is Completely Revamped

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Web of Trust (WOT), a crowdsourced website reputation service with over 90 million global downloads, has announced a new version today. The renewed WOT significantly enhances the user experience with improved visibility to reasons behind website reputations.

The new WOT prompts users to provide specific reasons for their website ratings. Users rating a site are requested to select at least one reason – labeled as a ‘category’ – to explain their rating… READ MORE

GET WEB OF TRUST HERE


LockedUSB Keeps Devices Safe While They Charge

@TechNewsWorld

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LockedUSB is a small firewall adapter that plugs into a USB charging port. The smartphone cable plugs into the device, securing data lines and preventing automatic data syncs from taking place… READ MORE


TeamViewer – All-In-One Software For Remote Support

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TeamViewer is a simple and fast solution for remote control, desktop sharing and file transfer that works behind any firewall and NAT proxy… GET IT HERE


With Kevo Your Smartphone Literally Becomes a Key

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With Kevo, your Smartphone is now your key. No more fumbling for your keys. Keep your phone in your pocket or purse and just touch the lock to open. No Smartphone? No Problem. Enjoy the same touch to open convenience with the fob… CHECK IT OUT HERE


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[SUPER BLOGROLL][GE GEEK][DOWNLOADS][TECH NEWS]

Wallpaper of the Week (#99)

A very nice Christmas Wallpaper to help get you into the spirit…

To Get This Wallpaper [ CLICK HERE ]

Christmas Wallpaper

Windows 7 (and 8) Users: If you are using Windows 7 (or 8), did you know you can create a desktop background slideshow to show off your pictures and wallpaper images?  To learn how to use this feature [CLICK HERE] .

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GEEK BONUS AREA

Internet Security Predictions

You Need to Prepare Your Own VPN Now

Data and File Backup Guide

TECH DEALS

Laptops, Tablets & Netbooks

Desktops & Servers

Computer Accessories & Peripherals

Computer Parts & Components

Software

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Provide Real-Time FREE Protection For Your Home Or Small Business PC

If you are looking for a security software option, that is FREE; that is easy to understand and use; that uses minimal system resources; and is engineered by a company that we are all familiar with, then Microsoft Security Essentials is a good choice.

You will see me here on the blog pushing this software on a regular basis. It is a layer of defense that I have installed on all of my PCs; not because it is FREE, but because it does the job.

Microsoft Security Essentials

Microsoft Security Essentials is a free* download from Microsoft that is simple to install, easy to use, and always kept up-to-date so you can be assured your PC is protected by the latest technology.

Microsoft Security Essentials runs quietly and efficiently in the background so you’re free to use your Windows-based PC the way you want—without interruptions or long computer wait times.

Before installing Microsoft Security Essentials, we recommend that you uninstall other antivirus software already running on your PC. Running more than one antivirus program at the same time can potentially cause conflicts that affect PC performance.

** IMPORTANT **  –  When changing security software on your PC from one brand to another, it is very important that you completely uninstall the security software you intend to remove. The uninstaller built into windows will not cut it. I highly recommend you either visit the software maker’s site to get information to uninstall the product or use a third party uninstaller such as AppRemover.

The free AppRemover utility enables the thorough uninstallation of security applications like antivirus and antispyware from your computer. Remove computer stress. Simply, cleanly and effectively.

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GEEK BONUS AREA

Technology News, Software, Apps, Wallpapers, Tech Products and MORE… Featuring the NEW Norton Internet Security 2013

The New Myspace

Practical Tips to Help You Install a Motherboard

Internet Security:Microsoft Fighting The Good Fight

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Gold Box: New Deals. Every Day.

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HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: An Internet Security Blog For Home Based Computer Users and Experts Alike

As a retired Information Technology Manager, that was surrounded by people in a State Government healthcare setting, at a time when networks and the internet were just starting to ramp up, there was a very valuable lesson that I learned along the way.

I learned to never talk over the heads of my user base by using computer, internet, or network terms (or lingo) to suppress their learning or make them feel I was above their level of comprehension. I looked at the job as; I was the coach and my user base was the team. When the internet and my network started to mature, the lessons (and education to my users and myself) paid off and actually served as a physical layer of protection to keep my network safe.

Following my career as an IT Manager, my user base changed to that of the home computer user (i.e. readers of this blog, friends and family) where explaining things to people, in understandable terms, is even more important.

One of the hardest topics out there today to explain is internet security and cybercrime. It is a topic that is not easily comprehended, unless you have expertise; and, explaining internet security and cybercrime to others (such as the home computer user) is something that is very challenging to do.

Internet Security

Myself, I have learned to depend on blogs such as Bill Mullin’s Weblog – Tech Thoughts and Tech Paul’s –Tech for Everyone to keep myself aware and alert. You will find that bloggers, such as these, make it personal and have that ability to get it across in teaching you how to protect your computer and yourself.

There is another blog, that I intentionally did not mention above, that now exclusively specializes in internet security and cybercrime. The reason for that is that the name of the blog, authored by Paul Lubic, Jr, has changed from Paul’s Home Computing Blog to the more appropriate title of Paul’s Internet Security Blog. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you bookmark this site.

Paul initially started out his blog by specializing in sharing tips, techniques and advice on home computers and the home computing environment. His blog eventually evolved into what his real specialty is and that is the topic of Internet Security. Paul has been in the technology field for over 40 years and has held positions as programmer, IT Security Manager, and Chief Information Officer. His great love is in cyber-security where he worked with the U.S. Commonwealth of Virginia in the area of cyber-terror prevention and preparedness.

DO NOT let his credentials lead you to believe that he is going to talk over your head when it comes to internet security and cybercrime. It is quite the contrary. Paul Lubic, Jr. possesses the same traits that myself, Bill Mullins’, and Tech Paul possess; and, that is to explain things in a manner that you can understand and that you will ultimately will benefit from.  NOTE:  Be sure to check out Paul’s ever growing List of Terms .

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Today’s Technology News, Software, Apps, Wallpapers, Tech Products and MORE…

Please Download Your Ticket

The Right Way To Respond To A Fake “Confirm PayPal Account” Phishing Email

Will Your Facebook Status Updates Come Back To Bite You?

Malwarebytes Pro Anti-Malware Lifetime

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Tech-for Everyone – Sandboxie Lifetime License Giveaway

TechPaul, at Tech-for Everyone, is running a (5)-five license giveaway (contest drawing) for the software package called Sandboxie. The “cool factor” here is that if you win one of the licenses for Sandboxie, it is for lifetime! To enter the contest, simply visit Tech-for Everyone [click here], scroll to the bottom of the page and leave a comment. Your name and email will be required in order for the license to be sent to you, should you win.

Sandboxie

What the heck is Sandboxie?

Folks, I would not live without Sandboxie. With Sandboxie installed on your PC you can run applications, like your web browser, in an isolated “protected” space on your PC. For example, occasionally I will run my web browser (e.g. Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer) in Sandboxie. As a result, if I would happen to come in contact with any malware while on the internet, my PC would be protected because I was running my browser within Sandboxie.  Basically any application you run in the sandbox, stays in the sandbox. It is a great utility to have in place for testing software.

I had a friend recently who became obsessed with playing an online game on a site that he claimed was messing with his PC.  Of course I tried to tell him to move on; however, I knew that would not happen. Instead, I had him run his browser within Sandboxie.  Any malicious or suspicious content, from that point on, that was hitting his PC, remained in the Sandbox.

I’m telling you, from a tech and security standpoint, this is great software.  When I saw TechPaul’s post on this giveaway, I jumped right on it with the hope I would be lucky enough to get one of those lifetime licenses.

You can enter the contest for the Sandboxie License Giveaway [HERE] .

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Newsletter with info to protect your PC…

I was reviewing the April ‘09 edition of the Web of Trust (WOT) newsletter and noticed that “What’s On My PC…” was reflected in the newsletter as a supporter of  Web of Trust (WOT)… I encourage you to download and read this newsletter, due that it offers important information on how you can make your internet experience much safer.  Thank you Web of Trust…

You can download the newsletter [ HERE ]

WOT Newsletter

If you are new to the Web of Trust (WOT)…  In summary WOT will help you stay safe when surfing the Internet.  It is an installation (browser add-on) that will make your internet browsing experience a safe experience.

  • Over 3 million users
  • Ratings for over 21 million websites
  • WOT safety ratings appear beside search results in Google, Yahoo!, Live Search, Wikipedia, digg, …
  • WOT warns you about dangerous links in Gmail, Windows Live Hotmail, and Yahoo! Mail
  • Read comments about websites from other users
  • The WOT browser addon is light, easy to use, and updates automatically
  • Option to block sites that are not safe for children

Past articles about the “Web of Trust” on “What’s On My PC…”

Web of Trust (WOT) – New Version Available

“FREE” Internet Browsing Protection…

“WOT” is NEW…

“WOT” to trust; “WOT” not to trust!

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Geek Squeaks’ of the Week (#4)

Geek Squeaks'

How to Install a Program that is an ISO – TTC Shelbyville

PSI to the Rescue – Tech-for Everyone

Disable Avira Notifier – Tech Thoughts

Bursting Security Bubble – Rarst.net

Malwarebytes – Anti Malware Software – Piyada’s World

Harmless Geek Pranks for a Little April Fooling – LifeHacker

Paragon Drive Backup – Free Program – Free PC Security

McAfee Stinger Conficker Edition – Evilfantasy’s Blog

Spyware Terminator v2.5 – Crazy World of G

My Dream Blackberry: Storm With Trackball – Confessions of a Freeware Junkie

Face.com – Facebook face recognition app – Carol’s Vault

Conficker Tips from Windowssecrets.com – AskBillFirst

“1 of Friends Awaiting Your Response” Email – 411 Spyware.com

Microsoft Buys Yahoo! – TechJaws

How to use a Blackberry Smartphone with a cheap “Pay As You Go” mobile phone plan… – What’s On My PC…

Geek Squeaks are random “hot” topic links (called “squeaks”) from various credible sources (called “geeks”) and may appear on the blog at any time.  Many of the topics are creations from fellow bloggers or software authors who have actively participated (e.g. link exchanges, comments, etc…) with “What’s On My PC…”.  If you are interested in a link exchange please leave a comment below.

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Web of Trust (WOT) – New Version Available

I was just telling someone today, that one of the best protections out there for internet users is the “Web of Trust” (WOT). If you use Firefox or Internet Explorer as your internet browser, you definitely need to install the Web of Trust (WOT) addon. The installation is very easy and it is FREE.  I have written about this application in the past and will continue to be an advocate of this product. Web of Trust (WOT) warns you before you interact with a risky website. It helps you stop the bad guy at the front door; not after the bad guy is already in your PC and your security software is going bonkers.

Web of Trust (WOT)

Today I learned that a new version has been released:

“Web of Trust, the popular safe-surfing tool for browsers, has introduced a new version with protection options to suit every web-surfing habit. Adults and experienced users who prefer “Light” protection receive only a simple alert notifying them of sites with a poor reputation, whereas selecting “Maximum Safety” will prevent a risky page from loading. Parents with young children can choose the “Parental Control” mode which blocks inappropriate sites like pornography.” – Source: Web of Trust

The new version offers you, the user, control over the levels of protection you desire:

Web of Trust

Folks, if you do not have this addon installed, then you are playing Russian routlette with your mouse. The more people we can get onboard with this type of protection, the safer the internet will become. Stop the bad guys before they get in the front door.

Please visit the “Web of Trust” web site [ CLICK HERE ] to learn more and to install this FREE browser addon that you will not regret.

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Tech Thoughts – Your Internet Source for Daily Security Alerts …

If you are someone who likes to remain current of prevailing security threats on the internet, then you need to visit and bookmark “Bill Mullin’s Weblog – Tech Thoughts”. Bill recently started posting “Tech Thoughts – Daily Security Alerts” which is an invaluable resource to anyone that is a regular visitor to the internet.

www.billmullins.wordpress.com

Tech Thoughts - Click here to vist

If you are already a regular visitor to his blog, you will already know that he is an expert at sniffing out trouble and ultimately posting solutions to problems that he knows that users need to know. His writings are composed in such a manner that they are easily understood; even by people who are new to computers. His ability to blast out articles of importance, that are globally recognized and read, is a big task that is not supplemented by any monetary means.

Bill’s blog recently surpassed one million visitors to his blog, which is a telltale sign of just how important the information is that he posts; and a telltale sign of just how many people he has influenced.

Thank you Bill Mullin’s
for making the internet a safer place for us all.


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“FREE” Internet Browsing Protection…

When surfing the internet and interacting with websites that you may be unfamiliar with, you are at a risk of becoming a victim of theft, fraud, spyware, spam, viruses, etc. You are really at the mercy of a mouse click. One click and gotcha… We see text on the screen and take it as gospel and really do not know what lies behind that text. It is our nature to believe the written word and for some reason when we hear the word “internet” we look at it as a protective or secure technology; and as a higher trusting authority. It is everything but that.

The internet crime rate has went from that of Mayberry (Andy Griffith and Barney), where one bullet was sufficient; TO, CSI (Crime Scene Investigators) where you get hit (are victimized) and then you are trying to figure out what happened, how it happened and who did it. The internet environment, as we know it today, is an environment of victimization and defense. The fixes (defenses) occur usually after a person or entity has been victimized. The defenses or layers of protection we put into place are our anti-virus, anti-spyware, ant-malware software;  firewalls; software updates, etc… These defense measures, if updated properly, take over and attempt to detect or block the threat.  The problem with this is that the “threat” has to actually hit home (on our PC’s), before it is detected.

If you are someone who surf’s the internet on a regular basis; how would you like a layer of protection, that is easily managed within the confines of your browser (i.e. Internet Explorer, Firefox), that will allow you to visually see what web sites are rated safe or unsafe, before the threat hits home? This layer of protection, that I am a strong advocate of is, the layer of protection that is provided by Web of Trust (WOT).

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WOT’s color-coded icons show you ratings for 21 million websites – green to go, yellow for caution and red to stop – helping you avoid the dangerous sites. WOT is “FREE”, very easy to install (as an Internet Explorer and Firefox plugin) and most importantly, very easy to use. Web of Trust (WOT) is a community driven service where users (like you and me) are the binding force behind each of the web site ratings.  At the time of this writing, WOT had collected ratings for over 21 million web sites.

Check out the WOT demo video below and find out how WOT will help you stay safe when surfing the Internet.

I hope that I have you convinced with installing this added layer of protection.  It only makes sense that you do…


WOT - Get It Here

 

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Cyber-Crooks are using jealousy to trick you…

Bill Mullins, who maintains the blog “Tech Thoughts”, wrote a very interesting article titled, Jealous?  Cyber-crooks have your number” (see clips below). For some reason this article, by Bill, really jumped out at me due to the deceptive tactic, he points out, that cyber-crooks are using to trick people. This one is a good one and is crafted in such a way that it could even trick a seasoned computer user. I strongly encourage all my readers to read the article to protect yourself from this deceptive tactic (click on any of the links below) and to learn from Bill simple safeguards you can put into place.  It demonstrates how cyber-crooks are using a “human emotion” to trick us.  As I always say, “believe nothing and verify everything”…

clipped from billmullins.wordpress.com

Bill Mullins’ Weblog – Tech Thoughts

Jealous? Cyber-crooks Have Your Number

Jealousy_by_EvilTelephone

Jealousy is a human emotion that surrounds us. Arguably, it is an experience with which we are all familiar.

It’s no surprise then, that Cyber-crooks are now using jealousy as a social engineering email hook, to entice potential victims to click on an email containing enclosed links which can lead to the installation of a banking Trojan on the computer.

“Hello,

I apologize for my frankness. I’m sorry for not being able to speak to you in person, but I can only talk to you via email and I feel obliged to notify you to open your eyes, you are being betrayed.

I know it is difficult to prove, but every picture tells a story, I’ll send you these pictures so that you can see it with your own eyes. Take care…big hug

From a good friend who is very fond of you

View photos here”

Get Clipmarks – The easiest way to email text, images and videos you find on the web.

Sent with Clipmarks

 

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Uninstalling and Installing AntiVirus Software…

Antivirus software are complex programs designed to identify, neutralize or eliminate malicious content that invade your computer.  Many people over a period of time will change from one brand of antivirus software to another.  Antivirus software is big business and today there are many flavors and options available. 

For example; There are (3)-three “FREE (for personal use)” reputable antivirus packages that are widely recognized (see below).  I prefer any one of these over the major brand antivirus software packages due they are light on system resources, and are not bloated.   As a matter of fact, I cannot remember ever having a commercial (paid for) version of an antivirus program on any of my computers at home.  

 

Avast

 

Avira AntiVir

 

AVG

The points of this article is to educate you to the fact that there are FREE antivirus software options available and that follow-up research may be required to “completely” uninstall (remove) antivirus software from your system in the event you desire to install another antivirus program.

Antivirus software, when running on your system, is hooked into many areas (i.e. registry, file system, resident memory, etc…) and uninstalling it can leave debris behind that can cause other systemic issues.  Antiviruses are like viruses; they can be hard to get rid of…  To prove my point, I researched (9)-nine antivirus programs and found that every one of them had supplemental removal instructions or tools, in addition to following the typical Add/Remove console process found in Windows. I have listed the sites below for convenience and reference.  During this research I also found that locating this information was often buried deep in their sites and was not readily accessible.

Antivirus Programs
Uninstall Information & Links


Norton Removal Tool – The Norton Removal Tool uninstalls all Norton 2009/2008/2007/2006/2005/2004/2003 products, Norton 360 and Norton SystemWorks 12.0 from your computer. If you use ACT! or WinFAX, back up those databases before you proceed.

McAfee Consumer Products Removal tool (MCPR.exe) – uninstall or reinstall supported McAfee consumer products using the McAfee Consumer Products Removal tool (MCPR.exe)

Avast! uninstall utility – Sometimes it´s not possible to uninstall avast! the standard way – using the ADD/REMOVE PROGRAMS in control panel. In this case, you can use our uninstallation utility aswClear.

Avira AntiVir -Normally the Avira Registry Cleaner removes all entries that were created by AntiVir. In this way, it prepares your system for the installation of a new AntiVir version.

BitDefender Uninstall Tool – There are two methods of uninstalling BitDefender from your computer: using the system tools and using the special uninstall tool provided by BitDefender.

Kaspersky’s Antivirus Removal Tool – Some errors might occur when deleting Kaspersky Anti-Virus product via Start > Control Panel > Add\Remove Programs. As a result the program will not be uninstalled or will be partially uninstalled.  The removal tool is required to remove a variety of their products.

F-Secure Internet Security (and antivirus) – Should you decide to uninstall, F-Secure does not provide its own uninstaller. You must use the Microsoft uninstaller found in Add and Remove Programs within the Command Console. After a reboot we found no Registry files, but we did find several program and log files in an F-Secure directory tree on the root drive.

Trend Micro Antivirus –  Trend Micro Support to remove Trend Antivirus plus AntiSpyware from my computer?

AVG – Open the directory with AVG Free Edition installed in and run the SETUP.EXE file or download the current installation file of AVG Free Edition from here and run it to start installation process. A window with following options will be displayed during the installation process: Add/Remove Components, Repair installation or Uninstall

 

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Online Fraud – How to avoid being a participant…

FRAUD – deceiving another in order to damage them (for personal gain).  Fraud is a crime of deception where you decide to be a participant or not.  Online fraud comes in many flavors; from deceiving emails to deceiving software.

Are you a participant? 

In order for fraud to take place, the perpetrator must attract the participation of the victim.  This is usually done through trickery; ultimately for financial gain.  Computers and the internet have made it very easy for fraud to take place.  It is not limited to just our national borders, but is an international (worldwide) problem of great magnitude. You never see the perpetrator in cyberspace. They are invisible to us, and as a result, recouping your identity or any financial losses can be next to impossible.

Several examples:

  1. To provide a powerful example of how fraud can lead to identity theft, I encourage you to preview this video clip, “An Interview With An ID Thief”,  at Tech-for everyone [click here].
     
  2. One of the most common fraudulent methods out there right now are the rogue security applications that trick you into buying security software.  As an example, see this article [click here] ,composed by Bill Mullins-Tech Thoughts, on a rogue security application called “Personal Defender 2009”.
     
  3. Other fraudulent methods are through email.  As an example, a very seasoned computer friend of mine recently received the following email with the subject line: “Beloved (In Good Faith)” – (click graphic below for screenshot).  You would not believe how many people fall for this type of email.

 

Click to Enlarge

Fraud Email - Click to Enlarge

How not to participate…

If it is something that shows up on that computer monitor screen unsolicited (that you did not ask for), be very, very skeptical…  I know our computers prompt us for updates, etc…  but, if you are not sure of what you are doing, DO NOT PARTICIPATE.  If you are skeptical about an email you received and there is instructions or pleading for you to provide information, DO NOT PARTICIPATE.  If you are solicited in any manner, where money or account information is being requested, DO NOT PARTICIPATE

Tips from the FBI – Cyber Investigations Unit

Do not respond to unsolicited (spam) e-mail.

Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as officials soliciting via e-mail for donations.

Do not click on links contained within an unsolicited e-mail.

Be cautious of e-mail claiming to contain pictures in attached files, as the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders.

To ensure contributions are received and used for intended purposes, make contributions directly to known organizations rather than relying on others to make the donation on your behalf.

Validate the legitimacy of the organization by directly accessing the recognized charity or aid organization’s website rather than following an alleged link to the site.

Attempt to verify the legitimacy of the non-profit status of the organization by using various Internet-based resources, which also may assist in confirming the actual existence of the organization.

Do not provide personal or financial information to anyone who solicits contributions: providing such information may compromise your identity and make you vulnerable to identity theft.

Where to report…

United States Processing ServiceLocal Level – I always tell people to start at their local level (i.e. State Police). Reason for this is that you can actually talk to a human being face-to-face, in a quick manner, to tell your story. If anything, psychologically, it will help.  For example, I had a friend that purchased a diamond ring on ebay for several thousand dollars and they received a “bolt”…  We contacted the State Police and believe it or not, the perpetrator was tracked down and charged; however, my friend ate the loss.

 

 

Internet Crime Complaint CenterInternet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) – Their mission is to serve as a vehicle to receive, develop, and refer criminal complaints regarding the rapidly expanding arena of cyber crime.  IC3 is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA).

 

 

 

United State Postal Inspection ServiceUnited States Postal Inspection Service – To file a complaint with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service if you suspect you are a victim of mail fraud.  If you have been victimized online, by fraudulent means, there may be instances where it could involve the actual mailing of money, checks, documents, etc… via “snail mail”.

 

 

 

 

Federal Trade CommissionFederal Trade Commission –   To file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission if you suspect you are a victim of fraud.

 

 

 

 

 

Bottomline

When it comes to computers and the internet;

“Believe Nothing and Verify Everything”

 

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Secunia – Personal Software Inspector (protect your PC from software vulnerabilites)…

Maintaining updates to software on your computer is critical to the overall health of your system and for your protection.  The people who dwell on the “underbelly of the internet” devote their efforts to finding vulnerabilities in software to use against you (i.e. identity theft to automatic installation of viruses, trojans, keyloggers, or other code).  Granted, in all appearances, the popular software programs are the primary targets; however, do not let this make you complacent. A vulnerability can be found in any software that will allow a criminal hacker to use it against you to penetrate your system. I know it is very frustrating that every time you turn around you have to update something, but the software vendors take great effort in identifying the vulnerabilities and providing the updates to protect you.   

I recently did a post titled, “Too many software updates?”, which featured software (UpdateStar) that was geared toward performing an analysis (scan) of your computer and listing those software packages on your system that needed updating.  Today, by chance, I came across another software update scanner, called Secunia PSI (Personal Software Inspector) that is different in the aspect that it is a “security tool” with the sole purpose of helping you secure your computer from software vulnerabilities. 

Secunia

Securnia PSI is not a tool designed to tell you when your system has already been compromised.  It is a prevention tool that can monitor your system for insecure software installations, notify you when an insecure application is installed, and even provide you with detailed instructions for updating the application when available.  Secunia PSI is software in development and is currently being published as a “release candidate” (Version 0.9.0.6 Release Candidate 4 – RC4, 13th November 2008).

The first time you perform a scan with Secunia PSI, it will take approximately a minute to complete the scan and produce results that will list the insecure program(s), a threat rating and the solution (which is the actual download link for the program update).  Another feature is that there are 2-(two) GUI (graphical user interfaces) to select from. By default, the program starts in a “Basic” interface mode.  You can enter the “Advanced” interface mode, by clicking on the “Advanced” link at the top right corner of the application window.  The “Advanced” mode provides a whole range  of information (see list below).

 

Basic Interface Mode
Scan In Progress
(click to enlarge)

Secunia

 

Advanced Interface Mode
(click to enlarge) 

Secunia PSI

 

The “Advanced” mode tabs provides the following information:

Overview Tab – provides a summary of the scan to include a system score, last full system scan, state of all of the programs, and a pie-chart program overview.

Insecure Tab – displays programs that the Secunia PSI has detected on your computer for which there are known security updates available.

End-of-Life Tab – displays programs that the Secunia PSI has detected on your computer, which the vendor no longer supports.

Patched Programs Tab – displays programs that the Secunia PSI has detected on your computer for which there are no known security updates available.

Scan Tab – detects programs installed on your computer and determine whether any of them are missing any security related updates (Insecure), or whether the vendor has stopped supporting the product (End-of-Life).

Settings Tab – provided options to change the behaviour of the Secunia PSI using the PSI Settings. NOTE:  You have an option to “Start Secunia PSI on boot” and to “Enable Program Monitoring”.  Both of these setting I unchecked and have opted to perform manual scanning.

Secunia Profile Tab – form is provided to allow you to create and update an online Secunia profile.

Feedback & Support – form is provided to let Secunia know what you think about the Secunia PSI

I found Secunia to be quite good in identifying the software on my system (including external drives).  It should also be noted that Secunia also provides a FREE online version of the scanner called Secunia OSI (Online Software Inspector) and a commercial version of the scanner called Secunia NSI (Network Software Inspector).

 

UPDATE 11/25/2008

The Secunia PSI has gone Final.  Following this post, Secunia contacted me and advised that Secunia PSI has come out of testing.  Version 1.0 has been officially released.  You can get the new version by clicking on “Get It Here”

  Secunia PSI

 

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“WOT” is NEW…

Recently I posted an article “WOT to trust; WOT not to trust…” which highlighted the “FREE” internet security addon for your browser called WOT (Web of Trust).  WOT is a FREE downloadable browser add-on for Internet Explorer and Firefox that will warn you when you are about to interact with a risky web site.  If you desire to see how WOT works, [Click Here] to see a demo.

WOT - Web of Trust

Today I received exciting news from WOT headquarters that a new feature has been added:

WOT has added the top three web-based email services – Google Gmail, Windows Live Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail, to its free security protection. WOT checks links embedded in email and warns users of dangerous websites to help them avoid spyware, spam, phishing, identity theft and other Internet scams, before they risk clicking.  A demo is provided below to show you how WOT can protect you in Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail:


 

[Click Here to see the PRESS RELEASE]

 

If you have not done so, I strongly urge you to take advantage of the WOT addon and the protection it provides.

  • WOT has been downloaded by over 1.8 million users
  • Information on over 20.7 million websites
  • Based on WOT statistics, 1 out of 20 sites is dangerous
  • WOT users can contribute by rating and commenting on websites
  • WOT partners with a number of trusted sources, such as PhishTank, TRUSTe, hpHosts, DNS-BH Malware Domain list and Artists Against 419

GET IT HERE - WOT

 

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Protect yourself against FAKE Anti-Virus and FAKE Anti-Spyware Software…

A day does not go by that I do not read about, and/or have someone contact me about, the FAKE anti-virus software or FAKE anti-spyware software programs that are rampantly infecting people’s PC’s.

It seems that the designers of these rogue and malicious software programs have found their niche on the underbelly of the internet and are apparently too criminal in nature to use those talents to benefit the good of the internet. What they are doing, in essence, is breaking into your PC, with criminal intent to extract something from you (through extortion and ID Theft). It is really no different than someone breaking into your home.

The rogue anti-virus software and anti-spyware software I am referring to is the type where you are on the internet and all of the sudden an alert pops up informing you that your PC has been infected by a virus or spyware; OR you turn on your PC and find that your desktop background is gone and a message is displayed indicating your PC is infected. The alerts look very official and real, and will even replicate a Microsoft Security alert or a brand name security product. The objective is to scare you into buying something that you think is real. Most people attempt to close the rogue application and the problem only worsens and becomes a nuisance that will not go away. If you are seeing it on your screen, you have already been infected. I’ve seen the infection of these things actually snowball and increasingly get worse. As a matter of fact, even after cleaning a PC of the infection, I personally would be real hesitant in putting out any personal information (i.e. credit card, banking, passwords) until I was absolutely sure that all remnants have been eradicated. Removal of these rogue programs are very difficult.

How is this happening to people?

It is happening by the “click” of the mouse through a variety of channels. It all happens pretty much the same way, no matter the channel. The user interacts, the system becomes infected with a Trojan downloader (that connects to the internet and downloads other Trojans) and/or becomes infected with a Trojan dropper (a program designed to install malware such as FAKE software). The common channels for malware are:

  • Spam, Chain and Scam Email
  • Search Engine Results (that leads to an infected “hacked” web page)
  • Porn Sites
  • Gaming Sites
  • Software Pirating Sites
  • Screensaver and Wallpaper Sites
  • Community Social Sites
  • File Sharing
  • Torrents
  • Shady Forums
  • Instant Messaging

What can be done to prevent or stop this?

  • Using the list above, avoid any site or service that is not credible or morally wrong OR any site or service where you are randomly and directly interacting with other people (that you do not know). I know this may sound rather drastic, but believe me, it works!
  • Monitor the internet activity of your children and set firm rules and limits. The majority of infections occur in households where children and teenagers have very liberal access to the internet; AND please do not be lured by the myth that our children are computer savvy. Don’t let the children teach you; educate yourself and teach your children.
  • Ensure your PC is equipped with at least the basics of layered protection (i.e. firewall is “on”; windows updates are maintained; anti-virus, anti-spyware, and anti-malware are installed, etc.).

What resources are there available to remove these infections?

If it is obvious that your PC has been hooked by one of these FAKE anti-virus or anti-spyware alerts, the first thing I tell people is to write down what they are seeing on the screen (i.e. name of the software, is there an icon showing up in the taskbar tray, etc…). It is imperative to identify and describe the issue in order to research and find credible removal instructions. The second thing is, do not attempt to use your mouse to interact with the alert. Shut down your PC and if connected to a network, unhook the network cable. Contact your tech support person; or if you are technically savvy, research the issue for removal instructions using another PC.

The resources that I use to educate myself and assist other people with the removal of these FAKE anti-virus and anti-spyware are:

S!Ri.URZ – Use this blog site to search for and identify what you may be seeing on your screen. If you are successful, you will be instructed to use a program called SmitFraudFix to remove the infection.

 

SmitFraudFix – Tool utilized for the removal of a variety of the FAKE malware that we are now being bombarded with.

 

Spyware Techie – Another blog site that will assist you with searching for and identifying malware

 

Microsoft Malware Protection Center – A Microsoft blog dedicated to researching malware and providing detailed statistics and graphs of what is going on out there.

 

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware – Can detect and remove malware that even the most well known anti-virus and anti-malware applications fail to detect. Can download and use for FREE. The realtime protection, scheduled scanning, and scheduled updating is not activated in the FREE version. I have this installed on my PC and I periodically run the scanner as part of my normal maintenance routine.

 

SUPERAntiSpywareDetect and Remove Spyware, Adware, Malware, Trojans, Dialers, Worms, KeyLoggers, HiJackers, Parasites, Rootkits and many other types of threats. A FREE and Professional version are available. I also have this installed on my PC and I periodically run the scanner as part of my normal maintenance routine.

 

Tech Thoughts – Awesome source for Security and System Tools and Tips. Software Reviews, News, Views, Downloads and Links. If something out there is a threat to us all, Bill will be writing about it.

 

Tech-for Everyone – Another awesome source for how-to’s and tricks & tips and general computing advice.

 

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“WOT” to trust; “WOT” not to trust!

Knowing what to trust OR what not to trust when searching for and visiting web sites can be a very difficult task. The risks are innumerable (i.e. adware, browser exploits, fraud, malware, phlishing, spam, spyware, etc.); but there is a solution that will help keep you safe online and it is called “WOT“. WOT is an acronym for “Web of Trust“. WOT is a FREE downloadable browser add-on for Internet Explorer and Firefox that will warn you when you are about to interact with a risky web site. It helps you make an educated decision about a web site’s reputation and whether you should interact with the site or not. WOT is based on a rating system where the ratings are a compilation of reviews, from trusted sources and from everyday users like us, to assess the reputation of web sites. WOT uses four categories which it bases the ratings: Trustworthiness, Vendor Reliability, Privacy and Child Safety.

At the time of this posting, WOT had accumulated ratings for over 20.6 million web sites. You can freely download “WOT without registering; however by registering with WOT, you are given access to advanced features of the system, such as customizing protection levels and blocking access to dangerous web sites.

Before explaining to you how WOT works, it is important to stress that WOT is only one layer of protection and should also be used to complement other security practices and layers (i.e. firewall turned “on; anti-virus, anti-spyware, and anti-malware applications are installed and routinely updated; Windows updates are maintained; moral browsing habits, etc.).  

My personal opinion of WOT: “surfing without it is like playing Russian Roulette in your web browser”.

WOT - Web of Trust

HOW “WOT” WORKS

[CLICK HERE] for online demo

I deliberately performed a search for “wallpaper” using the Google search engine. To educate my readers, “screensaver” and “wallpaper” sites are notorious for rogue downloads that can contain spyware, trojan viruses and malware. Reflected below you can see a sample of the search results. Next to the results you will see the color coded ratings and you will notice that I deliberately placed my mouse pointer over one of the “red” symbols at which a dialogue box appeared giving me a good idea that the site I was about to visit was in the “red” in all categories.

 

WHAT DO THE SYMBOLS MEAN

 

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU ACTUALLY VISIT A RISKY WEBSITE

Should you visit a potentially risky web site, WOT will cause the browser window to darken and a warning will appear. It is at this point is where you make the educated decision to proceed to the site, whitelist the site or acquire additional details.

 

GET IT HERE - (WOT) WEB OF TRUST

 

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