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Online Computer Tips Monthly Newsletter - December 2010

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Latest Virus/Security Alerts:

Smartphone scams gaining traction

The exploding popularity of mobile devices and their many software applications is already being exploited by those out to steal personal information.

"We think 2011 is the year of the threat to the mobile device, particularly the mobile app," said Dave DeWalt, chief executive of McAfee Inc. security software. "There's an ecosystem of application developers who are building applications with the sole purpose of downloading to a mobile environment, making it very viral and then actually stealing from you," he said.

Games are particularly vulnerable to malware because they are the most shared, social-network oriented mobile applications, and players enter personal information on their sites.

Dan Shey of New York-based ABI Research said it's up to an app store or website to ensure that their software applications aren't concealing some form of malware.

He said the "Sexy Space" Trojan, disguised as a legitimate application, was introduced in 2009 and had a valid certificate from the Symbian operating system that was issued to a company in China before its true purpose was discovered. It let attackers send a link via text message to a malicious website, prompting a mobile to download the worm. Then, it would send similar text messages to all contacts listed on the phone.

Shey predicts the biggest threats to smartphones and tablets in 2011 will be phishing attacks. These will lure people to fake websites and trick them into giving away credit card and bank account numbers, user names and passwords.

Symantec's Marc Fossi said there will be enough smartphones and mobile devices with common operating systems that cyber criminals will create malicious code that targets them.

"While we haven't seen a lot of specific threats directed at these devices, I think that we're getting closer to that sort of tipping point," said Fossi, manager of development at Symantec Security Response in Calgary.

By mid-2010, more than 300 vulnerabilities were reported on Apple's iPhone, Fossi said, noting it's the same software that the iPad tablet uses.


Full Story

Virus Help
Spyware Help

December's Poll:

Do you use a smpartphone such as an iPhone or Droid?

November's Poll Results:
Would you rather have someone come to your house to repair your PC or drop it off for service?

Have someone come over - 45%

Tip of the Month:

Add the Home button to your Google Chrome web browser

You may have noticed that the Google Chrome web browser doesn’t have a Home button on the toolbar like most other web browsers. It is not shown by default but is very easy to add to the toolbar.

  • Open Google Chrome.
  • Click on the wrench icon on the toolbar and then select Options.
  • Go to the Basics tab and then go to the Home page section and check the Show Home button checkbox and then click the Close button.


All Tips

Hot Product of the Month: Apricorn Aegis Padlock 500 GB USB 2.0 128-bit Encrypted Portable External Hard Drive


Apricorn’s Aegis Padlock Secure USB Drive with 128-bit hardware encryption is ideal for workplace environments or business travel. The easy to use keypad and software free, cross compatible design enables you to access the drive with your own unique PIN. It features real time encryption, keeping your data safe even if the hard drive is removed from its enclosure and is compatible with any operating system.


  • Hardware Encrypted Drive - Real-time 128-bit or 256-bit AES encryption seamlessly encrypts all data on the drive
  • Bus powered - Bus powered from standard USB Port
  • Ideal for IT departments looking to secure their mobile users, by allowing setup of administrator access to the drive
  • Integrated USB cable
  • Worry free 3 year warranty





Important Windows and Office patches:

Office 2010 Service Pack 1 (SP1) Beta Debuts by the End of 2010

Invitations have already been sent out to a select pool of Beta testers that are close to the software giant. Early adopters are invited to participate in a very exclusive testing program for Office 2010 SP1 Beta but also for SharePoint 2010 Beta.

Microsoft does not specify when exactly it plans to allow testers access to Office 2010 SP1 Beta and SharePoint 2010 SP1 Beta. Still, it appears that testers will get their hands on the Beta bits sometime ahead of 2011, in the next couple of months.“Service Packs contain product updates since the product released. We would like to invite you to participate in the private testing of that service pack,” Microsoft added in its invitation to Beeta testers.

Office 2010 (SP1) shoud be out in early 2011.


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More Resources

Interesting site of the Month:

Search multiple search engines at once including Google, Yahoo!, Bing and Ask with the Dogpile search engine.

Reader's Question of the Month:

Strange symbols appear on the page when printing

Denny writes in with a troubleshooting question
Question: When printing several symbols appear at the top left margin. The symbols appear only on the first page of printing. Sometimes the symbols appear on a separate page, followed by the desired printing on the second page.

Answer: Do these symbols appear no matter what program you are printing from or only a certain one? If it happens no matter what then it sounds like possible printer driver corruption. This is an easy fix since you can go to your printer manufacturers website and download a new driver and update your computer. If its only with a certain program such as Word then it could be a font issue with your default Word font. Try to select all text by pressing Ctrl-a and then changing everything to a different font. Then you can either change your default Word font or try and find a new copy of the font file that is corrupt.

All Questions

Tech News of the Month:

Intel and others announce the end of VGA

An Industry consortium is pushing HDMI and DisplayPort to become the standard display connector come 2015. Phasing out old technology is incredibly difficult because of this demand for legacy standards. It has been only recently that motherboards without floppy drive controllers have become the norm.

Overnight Intel announced that just such a convocation had sentenced analog displays - aka D-Sub or VGA connections - to a 2015 death. Backing Intel in the move are AMD, Dell, Lenovo as well as. Samsung and other major display manufacturers will stop supporting VGA and similar technologys on their panels.

More importantly, all the players have settled on HDMI and DisplayPort to support as future standards. DVI is effectively redundant because the display component of HDMI is DVI. So with this move most consumers will be able to connect to future monitors and displays via a DVI adapter and an HDMI cable.

AMD has been including this on its graphics cards for some time but has been stifled by monitor manufacturers’ reluctance to include the technology. Now that a date has been given for the end of VGA we should start to see DisplayPort on a wider range of products.

Full Story

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Wallpaper of the Month:

Get in the spirit with these holiday wallpapers

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