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Online Computer Tips Monthly Newsletter - April 2012

 Posted: March 16, 2012 -

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Latest Virus/Security Alerts:

Macintosh Trojan infects 600,000 Macs

Since there is not a whole lot of virus news this month concerning Windows based PCs, we decided to include a news story about a Mac virus that is making its rounds. It turns out that Macintosh computers are not as safe as Mac owners think they are.

Apparently the Flashback Trojan is back and taking its toll on as many as 600,000 Mac users. The Flashback Trojan is a Russian based virus that was detected in September that disables the computer’s security software right after its downloaded. Then the Trojan sends a message to the attackers control server with an ID number used to identify the infected computer. After that the attacker is able to remotely control the machine. The largest number of infected computers are in the US, UK, Canada and Australia.

Apple has said that they have come out with a fix to protect against the Flashback Trojan but if you haven’t applied the fix, you are still vulnerable. So if you are a Mac user you need to go out and get the update to protect yourself from this virus.

Virus Help
Spyware Help

April's Poll:

Will you upgrade your computer to Windows 8 when it comes out?

March's Poll Results: 
Do you use a cellular internet connection such as 3G on your laptop/netbook?

- 7%
- 93%
Tip of the Month:

Run your favorite browser in private mode

There may be a time when you want to do some "confidential" web browsing and not have your web browser keep track of your history of where you went for that session or keep cookies for any of the sites you go to. Most web browsers allow you to do this pretty easily and then switch back to normal mode when you are done. So here is how you use private browsing in some of the more popular web browsers.

Internet Explorer Private Browsing

For Internet Explorer go to the Tools menu and choose InPrivate Browsing. Once you start InPrivate Browsing, IE will open in a new window and you will see a message that gives you information about what will be happening with your session while using that mode. When you are finished with your session and want to go back to normal mode simply close the open browser window.

Firefox Private Browsing

For Firefox click on Tools and then choose Start Private Browsing. You will be presented with a similar screen telling you what won't be remembered for the browsing session. After you are done you will click on Tools and then Stop Private Browsing to continue where you left off before.

Google's Chrome web browser calls this feature Incognito Mode and to start this mode click the wrench icon on the browser toolbar and then select New incognito window. This will open a new window for private browsing while leaving the other window open for normal browsing.

For Safari click on the gear icon in the browser and choose Private Browsing.

For Opera click on Menu and then on Tabs and Windows and then finally choose either New Private Tab or New Private Window.

All Tips

Hot Product of the Month: Toshiba Dynadock Universal USB Docking Station


If you are a laptop user but like to have a full size keyboard and monitor when you are at your desk then a docking station is what you need to get the job done. Most of the time you need to buy one specifically for your laptop and your laptop may not even have connections for a docking station. Toshiba Dynadock Docking Station lets you connect any Windows based computer to your home or office peripherals using one simple USB cable connection.


  • One USB 3.0 cable connection from your laptop to all your accessories for;
  • USB 2.0 compatible
  • Built-in video card supports 2 monitors up to 2048 x 1152 resolution each
  • HDMI out port built-in for Full 1080 HD video
  • 5.1 channel surround sound via HDMI or 3.5mm audio ports
  • 6 USB ports in total
  • USB 3.0 data transfer speed
  • 2 easy access front USB 3.0 "always on" Sleep & Charge ports to supply power even if your PC is off; charge your phone, camera, MP3 player, etc.
  • Universal compatibility with all Windows based PC brands






Important Windows and Office patches:

Windows, Internet Explorer and Office to be patched in April

In this month's round of patches it appears that there will be 6 security updates to patch 11 bugs in Windows, IE, Office and Microsoft's SQL database server. Updates labeled critical this month will go to Windows, IE and Office and the other leftover updates are listed as important which is the level below critical.

These vulnerabilities can allow attackers to compromise computers and install malware on those machines. One of the bulletins affects many applications such as Office, SQL, BizTalk and Visual Basic which is unusual for one security bulletin. The Internet Explorer patch covers all versions from 6 to 9 on Windows XP, Vista and 7.

More Resources

Interesting site of the Month:

Have you ever wanted to know how to do something but didn't know where to begin looking? One interesting site you may like is called eHow and it offers advice and instructions on how to do a variety of different things. Just search for what you want to know how to do and you should be able to find some helpful advice.

Reader's Question of the Month:

Internet Explorer closes right after opening

Sue writes in with a Windows question
Question: For the last week my daughter has not been able to go online on her HP Laptop. When you do try to go online the internet explorer page comes up for about 2 seconds and then disappears. We have checked everything we could through the HP assistant. The wireless is working and has excellent strength, etc. All scans and tests keep coming back that everything is working properly. The other computers in the house are not having this problem. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Answer: You should try to run Internet Explorer without any add-ons to see if an add-on is causing the problem. Add-ons are extra features added to IE such as Adobe Reader etc. and sometimes they can cause the browser to crash. To open IE with no add-ons click on Start and then All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, and then click Internet Explorer (No Add-ons). You will most likely get a message on a page that says Internet Explorer is currently running without add-ons. From there you can click your Home button to go to your home page and see if you can get IE to stay running while you browse the Internet as a test.

If Internet Explorer works with add-ons disabled then you will have to do some trial and error to figure out what add-on is causing the problem. To see your add-ons, click on Tools and then Manage add-ons and it will bring up your installed add-ons under the Toolbars and Extensions area. From there you can right click on them one at a time and choose Disable and try to start IE normally until you find the one that is causing the problem. To get back to your add-ons to check the next one you will have to start IE with add-ons disabled again so you can get back to the settings.

Another option is to try to do a repair of Internet Explorer which can be done automatically for you by going to this Microsoft Fix It site to download and run the repair tool. It also offers other suggestions you can try such as resetting the IE settings to default or reinstalling IE altogether.

Finally you can try a different web browser to see if you get better results. Firefox is a great browser and many people prefer it over IE. You can have more than one web browser installed at a time and use them both at the same time as well.

All Questions

Tech News of the Month:

Anonymous Hackers attack 500 Chinese government websites

Hacking group anonymous pulled off one of their largest attacks to date when they hacked into hundreds of Chinese government websites to deface their contents. This was in protest to how the Chinese government censors Internet traffic into their country. This attack started on March 30th and still continues with over 500 domains breached with some of them being hit more than once.

There was a particular message posted on many of the sites that read "Your government controls the Internet in your country and strives to filter what it considers a threat for it". There were also warnings about future threats to the Chinese regime itself. The message also offered instructions on how to circumvent China's restrictions on its Internet. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei admitted that the government was the victim of hacking, but he insisted Chinese web surfers are free to express their views. Most have the sites have been restored to their original content but this shows how vulnerable websites can be from outside threats. China is known for blocking social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

Go to The OCT News Blog

Wallpaper of the Month:

Start blooming with these April flower wallpapers

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