Online Computer Tips Monthly Newsletter - August 2010
Latest Virus/Security Alerts:
Scammers have developed a new way to control your computer remotely
Eastern European criminals ‘harvesting’ thousands of computers across the UK, infected with a special virus allowing them to control the computer and access all sorts of personal information.
The scam all revolves around the Zeus 2 botnet which is a Trojan that sits in your computer system. However, while previous forms of Trojan simply stole your usernames and passwords for certain sites, this botnet goes much further, tracking login information to banks, credit and debit card numbers, account types plus balances, bank statements, browser cookies, client side certificates, login information for email accounts and social networks and even FTP passwords. In fact it even allows the scammers to control your computer system remotely.
The UK has borne the brunt of this particular botnet, accounting for 98% of the affected computers, most likely because we have a particularly developed online banking culture. However, with various forms of Zeus in operation worldwide, the number of infected machines worldwide runs into the millions.
According to Trusteer, a provider of secure browsing services who discovered Zeus 2, the best thing we can do to protect ourselves is to follow the security advice of our individual banks, particularly if they offer secure online banking software, which is specifically designed to defend against malware like Zeus 2.
July's Poll Results:
Do you have your own website?
- 42% No58%
Tip of the Month:
Add frequently used programs to your Vista\Windows 7 Start Menu
Windows offers you many ways to access your programs. For example you can have a shortcut on your desktop, taskbar or under Programs on your start menu. Once nice way to have easy access to frequently used programs is to pin them to the Start Menu as shown below.
This way, every time you click on Start you will have your program shortcuts there for quick access. This will also work for files such as Word documents etc. To do this you can simply drag the file or shortcut to the Windows Orb (start button) and choose Pin to Start menu. For Windows 7 you can right click the shortcut and choose Pin to Start menu.
Hot Product of the Month: Western Digital 1 TB USB 2.0 Desktop External Hard Drive
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Important Windows and Office patches:
Microsoft Scrambles to Squash Bug in Windows Kernel
Microsoft has said it is investigating an unpatched vulnerability in Windows after an Israeli researcher revealed a bug in the operating system's kernel driver. According to Gil Dabah, a researcher from Tel Aviv, the Windows' kernel harbors a heap overflow vulnerability and Microsoft is investigating reports of a possible vulnerability in Windows Kernel.
A successful exploit would allow hackers to execute their attack code in kernel mode, which would then let them infect the PC with malware or pillage any data on the machine. The flaw exists in several versions of Windows, including XP SP3, Server 2003 R2, Vista, Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 SP2.
Microsoft will issue 14 security updates, including 10 for Windows this month. But unless the company found Dabah's flaw on its own, or the vulnerability was reported by another researcher earlier, a fix won't appear until September or later.
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Readers Question of the Month:
How much RAM to use with new processor
Raju writes in with a hardware question Question: I have an Intel core i3 540 processor and an intel 55Tc motherboard. I have used 2GB of DDR3 1333. I want to know if its enough . Kindly let me know the minimum memeory to be used for the above processor.
Answer: The amount of RAM you should use will depend more on what operating system you are using and what you are going to be doing with your computer. If you are going to run Windows XP then 2GB should be fine and you wont notice much of a difference with any more unless you do things like video or photo editing. For Windows 7 you may want to add more RAM. It will run ok with 2 GB but we have found that Windows 7 runs best with 4 GB or more. RAM is pretty cheap these days so its always better to go with more if you have the money.
Google and Verizon Communications have released a proposal that suggests the U.S. Federal Communications Commission should enforce network neutrality rules and fine broadband providers up to $2 million for violations.
Under the proposal, broadband providers could not block or degrade Web traffic, although they could provide "differentiated online" services apart from the public Internet.
The announcement comes after days of rumors and news reports that the two companies had reached an agreement on how Verizon would handle Google's traffic. "There is no business arrangement, and reports that there was a business relationship are false, misleading and incorrect," said Eric Schmidt, Google's chairman and CEO.
Under net neutrality, or open Internet, rules, broadband providers would be prohibited from selectively blocking or slowing Web traffic. The proposal is an effort to "find ways to protect the future openness of the Internet and encourage the rapid deployment of broadband," Davidson and Tauke wrote.