Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Media Hype about Conficker

The major media outlets are shouting from the mountain top about this horrible virus that will ruin the Internet as we know it. In my opinion, not much will happen April 1. Actually the USA only accounts for 5.8 % of all machines that are compromised. I don't normally watch CBS's 60 Minutes but I stopped when I heard the story about Conficker. If you saw the examples they showed, it is all true. You can get malware on your PC even if you have a firewall and AV.

What people should worry about is what happens after April 1. The criminals behind Conficker don't want the Internet to meltdown. This is how they make their money. And where are these attackers from? Most likely China, Russia, or some other Eastern European country.

Microsoft issued an out of band patch back on 10/23/08 that closed this vulnerability. Do you patch? If not, I preach it. Look up prior posts that I've written about on ways to make you more up to date with security patches. I recommend that you go to Secunia and download their client that helps you keep up to date on Microsoft, Adobe, and many other vendor software.

So when you wake up tomorrow, I'm sure that the Internet will still be there. You will be able to check your FaceBook, Twitter, etc. Not much will change. Just realize that the Internet is full of malware. They really know how to evade security software by morphing so that security vendors can't get a good signature of the virus. The Internet is already full of malware today. It will be full of it tomorrow. Learn to be more secure. Realize that it is a risk to be on the Internet. Learn to accept the risk and have fun.

Stay safe and have a fabulous April Fool's Day.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Holding Your Documents for Ransom

Well we've talked several times over the recent past of the evolution of the rogue anti-virus malware that has been working like a charm. It basically is malware that says your PC has malware and you need to buy their product to clean them. Well those behind these types of attacks have now started a nasty twist. It isn't the first time. This has been done in the past.

They take all your documents in the "My Documents" folder (default doc folder for Windows) and encrypts the files. And for a fee, say $50 they will let you have your documents back. Pretty nasty trick I'd say.

Some of the things we've talked about in the past to combat these is to keep your applications such as your Windows updates current as well as RealPlayer, WinZip, WinAmp, QuickTime, Adobe Reader and Flash, as well as iTunes. Keeping these up to date will not allow the criminal attacker the ability to run code remotely on your PC. Check back on some of my previous posts that help you keep you PC humming along.

Posting this on Sunday and my KU Jayhawks rolled into the Sweet 16 in this year's March Madness tourney. Good luck next weekend guys and lets keep it rolling! ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK!!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Bad Guys Use March Madness as Bait

Leave it to the dirty rotten scoundrels who take advantage of people with current events. In the USA, March Madness is going on and many of you fill out brackets in the office pools. Not knowing all the teams that have been selected, you end up researching on the Internet. Showing up in some of the top Google searches as well as ASK.com are some malicious sites. These booby trapped sites will attack your PC by running exploits against vulnerable applications like PDF, Excel, flash, etc.

The folks over at Websense have the details posted on their site that you need to check out. Just click here to read that story. Trust no one. Be careful what you click on. It may not be what it appears to be.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Adobe Patches Version 9

Adobe has released a patch for the Adobe Reader/Acrobat for their version 9 of the software. Coming soon are patches for versions 7 and 8. If you have version 9, go patch. Stay safe.

Why is MyWindows PC Slow?

I'm often approached by friends and family that they have a PC that is running sluggish. So I thought I would publish a story that explains some of the reasons why this happens.

1) Probably the number one reason a Windows PC starts running slower is because some type of malware (malicious software) has been installed. More than likely you the user does not know this has happened. This is probably the top reason why Windows PC's start to run slower.

2) Another reason Windows PC's start to run slower is because when you purchased the PC, the amount of memory that was installed was not enough and as you purchase more applications to run, it just starts running slower due to lack of memory. You may want to visit www.crucial.com and see about purchasing more memory.

3) Many programs when you install them, have a service that starts up at boot up time. Many times they are not needed and you may want to review those applications that start up at boot time. Adobe, RealPlayer, and others can be eliminated from the start up. You can click this link I wrote on CCleaner. It has a handy tool that shows you what applications start up and gives you an easy way of deleting them.

4) As time goes by, you've installed and uninstalled many applications and sometimes the Windows Registry can get sort of frapped up. Once again, my previous reference to CCleaner, it has a tool that cleans up your registry. Click here for that posting.

5) Another reason that Windows PC's perform sluggish is due to a too intrusive of an Anti-Virus application. OK, I believe that Symantec's AV product is too labor intensive for home users. I personally use AVG's AV. Not as labor intense.

These are just a few reasons that slow Windows PC's. There are others but I consider these as the top ones that you can conentrate on. Stay safe and have a great rest of the week.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Obama Has My E-mail Address!

OK, it really isn't the real President Obama. It is the work of social engineers who are trying to entice you into clicking on links that promise you money from the stimulus bill that was recently signed in to law. Here is my friendly reminder to NEVER click on unsolicited links or attachments. Don't be a fool.

Spammers are always trying to figure out ways to get people to click on there tricks. I actually have 3 identical e-mails from someone purporting to be the president and he has money for me.

Hope your week has started off good and I hear the warm weather is coming! Stay safe.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

ID Theft Up in 2008

That headline shouldn't be much of a shocker. The FTC has gathered statistical information on complaints received. Click here for the link to the original story from CNET. You can see each year it increases.

With data breaches like Heartland Payment Systems will add to those numbers in 2009 so protect yourself as much as you possibly can.

Kansas University Jayhawks put it the big hurt on the Missouri Tigers today. ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK!!!

Stay safe and have a great week this week!