Friday, February 14, 2014

Crypto Locker

There is a new virus that encrypts your files. It is so important that you have a backup of all your files to make this an annoyance rather then a complete loss of your files. CryptoLocker ransomware - see how it works, learn about prevention, cleanup and recovery This article explains how the CryptoLocker ransomware works, including a short...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Acessing the Internet - Browsers 2011

Last month the big security event CanSecWest happened. Every year there is also a competition to see who can break in to a computer by hacking the Internet browser (Internet explorer, Firefox etc.). $15,000 going to the first person to break in.

Apple computers stock Internet browser, Safari was taken down in 5 seconds. Internet Explorer 8 took part of a day. Chrome from google, and Firefox from the Mozilla group were never hacked in the 3 days of the show. The new Internet Explorer 9 was released to late for the test. It is not available except to Vista and Windows 7 users.

Firefox is still the best overall way to surf the Internet in my opinion. It is solid and tank like in its use. I do find that I use Chrome more and more and it is becoming a true contender for favorite Internet browser. I still have a fond place for Opera in my toolbox. Opera is sleek and full featured. It is also a must have when you find yourself with a slow Internet connection. Opera has it's own servers that compress content to speed it's delivery to your desktop.

The MAIN thing is Internet Explorer is not safe compared to the others out there. Give Firefox or Chrome a spin...

PS Chrome is being developed into a stand alone Operating System (replace windows), can't wait to see that.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Buy a new PC?

Operating System

Windows 7 with a 64 bit version is what you will generally get with a new PC. It is different from what you are used to but it is the future of  Windows.  XP will be getting less and less support in the future.

Now we will get to what you need to know that gives you the most bang for the buck.

How much memory do you need.
I think 2 gigabytes is the minimum you will need. Many units come with 4 gb.  If possible get 4 or more gigabytes

How big a hardrive?
For average use a 250 gb drive is fine. Have some music files? Then 500 gb might be better. Video or your favorite TV shows? 500 gb or more depending on how many hours of video you are going to store. The cost of a hardrive is pretty cheap.

How much processor power?
Much depends on what you use your PC for.
Is your primary use is email and surfing the web – then a dual core or better processor is going to be adequate for now.   Most new processors are dual core or 2 processors on one chip with quad core available. Speed ratings are becoming pointless except to compare speed within the processor line itself, like core duo or x2. Email me if you need a further explanation.

If you are a heavy duty game player, use a lot of video applications, or just have a need for speed, then you are in the quad core category. You know who you are. Unless you need to have cutting edge equipment and are willing to live with the problems of having the latest you can save a lot of money by building what you need.
So, Do think you might be ready for ...

One last thing to think about is buying a Apple Macintosh or Windows based machine.
A Mac is slightly more expensive than a Windows based machine but is much easier to use, rarely gets a virus and comes with most things you need. If most people used Mac's I would not repair many computers. Also Mac's have switched to Intel processors which means that you can run a copy of windows on a Mac. This was never possible before. With software you can now run Windows from inside a Mac which will really make things interesting.
What this comes down to is, unless you use a special windows only program on your computer you should look at a Mac  to see if it is you.
I do not use Mac's or Windows for myself. I use Linux which is a free software system that appeals to power users and people who like to tinker with computers. It is becoming more mainstream and could save you quite a bit of money. Ubuntu is a very easy to use Linux distribution that is free. I only use Windows for a few minor things having to do with my repair business.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Having Antivirus Does not Stop Malware

In a recent study of computers that went to a antivirus site it was found that almost a third of the computers with up to date Antivirus software had become infected.

What does this mean to you... It means that even though you think your are protected, you can and do still get virus's that work there way into your system.  What makes this worse is that once one of them gets in it tends to let others in as well.
I find it more and more difficult to protect your Windows computer.  Please read my other articles here about security and be vigilant.  Some signs....

  • A icon shows up in your bottom right screen that you have not seen before.
  • A program tells you that you have numerous viruses.
  • Your computer seems to be slowing down or locking up unexpectedly.

It does not matter whether you paid for the software or are using a free version.  No single antivirus can protect you from the constant barrage of bugs being sent your way.

So what are you to do...
Keep your antivirus up to date.  Watch your computers behavior and get help quick if you suspect you have a problem.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


It has been a busy few weeks and the nasties on the internet are just getting more complex and hard to detect.  It is often the other trouble makers getting in on ports opened up by the first nasty that gives it away.  So with that lets take a look at…

Passwords -Why
For someone taking over your machine passwords to your credit card and or bank account is the prize.  With these and some personal information your identity is free for the taking.  But passwords are that which we are all horrible at keeping track of and remembering.

I first want to focus on what is a quality password.  The best passwords have numbers, letters (UPPER and lower) and special charectors (*&^%$#^”+).  The also are not words one would find in the dictionary.  A really great password would look like this  G*Lw^x2fJ1m^iB*-g+”:  this would take forever to break, but you would have to write it down to remember it which leaves it vunerable.
Also it would be quite a pain to type in.

So the first thing I would reccomend is a password manager.  There are many available and most are quite good.  I have settled on keepass since it runs on all my devices (win, linux, win mobile) and it is free.  With a password manager you just need to remember one password. I like to use my single password by using one that I can easily remember of seven or more charectors (numbers and lowercase letters).  I first type this in and then I type it in again… but the second time I hold down the shift key.  By doing this on the main keypad my numbers will put out special charectors.

An example
How about the address of your cousin in another state that for some reason you always remember
Lets say it  is “2689 SE Cousin St”.  So I would type
2689secousin – then holding down the shift key – @^*(SECOUSIN – So the total effect is
2869secousin@^*(SECOUSIN  This is a 192 bit password and no one would have time to crack it.

Of course if they have physical access to the data they will get it by other means.  But  by using a password manager you can protect your accounts and slow down anyone trying to get at your data via a user/password account.    Most password managers will generate random passwords for you.  I do not know any of my passwords except the one that gets me into my password database.


Internet Explorer - Microsoft

Update January 27, 2010
Last month Internet Explorer had a vulnerability that allowed "Google" and many other large companies to be hacked.  The German government recommended that people quit using Internet Explorer.  The attack appears to have been sponsored in China.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Conficker Worm is a Real Threat

Conficker has received it's instructions and is starting to mutate. It is not only going to try to sell you virus removal software. It will OPEN up your computer to other bad things and disable your current anti-virus software.

How do I know if I have it?

Go here to get more info - Conficker Work Group

If you can read the chart you are not infected. If you are infected you need to get off the internet and get help to remove it.