Online Computer Tips Monthly Newsletter - August 2011
Latest Virus/Security Alerts:
Scareware scammers now going after your PC through your credit card
Scareware scammers are now starting to target credit card users with a new batch of spam emails that falsely alert the recipients that their credit card has been compromised or blocked. The emails are very detailed and look authentic. They attempt to trick the recipients into opening an attached file. Then the file that supposedly contains information on why a card has been blocked executes a program that runs silently in the background on the victim's computer. This program then downloads a fake antivirus software package.
After this scareware software is installed the user will then be bombarded with fake warnings designed to trick them into buying software that doesn't do any good in fighting viruses which most likely don't even exist on the computer. In some cases this rogue antivirus will disable your genuine security software and then can connect to a botnet of other compromised computers.
July's Poll Results:
How big is your home computer monitor?
25" or more
Tip of the Month:
Clean up your Start menu in Windows 7 and Vista
Have you ever noticed that when you click on the Start button in Windows 7 or Vista it shows you your most recently opened programs. Some people think it's kind of messy and may not be too helpful but there is something you can do about it. You can turn off this option so it either shows no recent programs or set it to only show programs you want to be there.
To set this up, right click on your Taskbar and choose Properties. Then go to the Start Menu tab and uncheck the boxes that say Store and display a list of recently opened files and Store and display a list of recently opened programs and click OK. Now every time you click Start you won't see any history of your recently opened programs or files. And if you want to add programs to your start menu that will stay there all the time simply right click the program's icon and choose Pin to Start Menu.
With user defined programs pinned to the Start Menu.
Hot Product of the Month: Toshiba Portable SuperMulti Drive
The Toshiba SuperMulti Drive is perfect for Netbook users who don't have built in CD\DVD drives in their computers. The portable USB powered drive lets you watch movies, install software and burn CDs and DVDs just like you can on your desktop PC.
• Simple and fast installation - easy plug and play operation
• USB powered - no external AC adapter needed
• Fully compatible with most CD and DVD disc formats
• Watch movies, load software and back-up files
Important Windows and Office patches:
22 Patches for Windows and Internet Explorer for August
Microsoft announced it will release 13 security updates this month to patch 22 vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer, Windows, Visio, and Visual Studio. 2 of the 13 bulletins for Patch Tuesday are rated critical which is the highest threat ranking for Microsoft updates. 9 are labeled important and the last 2 are labeled moderate.
All versions of IE will be patched next this month. Windows users will want to pay special attention to the critical Internet Explorer updates because the issues can expose users to drive by download attacks via the browser.
The other critical update planned for August include the latest versions of Microsoft's server software, Windows Server 2008 and Server 2008 R2. Other updates for the month include an update for the .Net framework and Visual Studio 2005 development toolset, and another for Visio.
There is a new airline and hotel booking site that has been getting some attention lately because it gives you just the information you need without the extra junk that other sites throw at you. You can search for flights from multiple airlines at once based on your airport and travel dates. There is even an app for your smartphone that you can download. So check out hipmunk.com and see for yourself.
Reader's Question of the Month:
Installing a new DVD drive in a computer
Jim writes in with a hardware question Question: How do I install a new DVD burner in my PC? Mine went bad and I need to replace it but want to make sure I do it right.
Answer: Installing a DVD in a computer is a pretty easy process but the procedure will differ depending on your computer's configuration. The first thing you need to do is to find out if your DVD drive uses an IDE or SATA connection. An IDE connection will use a wide flat ribbon to connect the drive to the motherboard while a SATA connection will use a thin black wire/cable to make the connection to the motherboard.
Once you figure that out and get the right type of drive then take the drive out of the computer. First of all make sure the computer is off and unplugged and that you ground yourself to prevent and static shock to your computer when you touch it. Your drive may be screwed in on both sides or it may have a quick release lever that allows it to come out without using any tools. You may have to take both sides of the case off to get to the screws. After unplugging the connections from the back of the drive you can take the drive out and slide the new one in, replace the connections and screws if needed and put the case back together. Then plug your computer back in, turn it on and Windows should recognize the new drive without needing to install and drivers.
Hacking group Anonymous threatens to 'kill' Facebook on November 5
The Anonymous Internet hacking group is planning to "kill" Facebook and has announced the date it will attempt to do so. In a YouTube video, the hacking group warns, "Your medium of communication you all so dearly adore will be destroyed." It claimed the social network provides information to government agencies so they can spy on people.
The hacking groups threats against Facebook may be related to their announcement in July that they want to create their own social network called AnonPlus. What's strange is that they made the announcement 3 months in advance giving Facebook time to prepare for it. Plus it has been said that the whole Anonymous group may not be behind the planned attack. A Facebook spokesman declined to comment on the alleged Anonymous plot.
Anonymous has previously attacked large sites and networks such as the U.S. Pentagon, Visa and Amazon.com. Anonymous's most common tactic is to launch distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS) which use scripts to repeatedly access a website, slowing it badly or shutting it down if its servers can't handle the traffic. It is yet to be seen if they can handle a site as large as Facebook.