Online Computer Tips Monthly Newsletter - December 2011
December 14, 2011
Latest Virus/Security Alerts:
Amazon.com shoppers need to watch out for holiday phishing scams
With all the holiday shopping going on this time of the year you need to make sure to watch out for scammers when shopping online. Amazon.com is one of the biggest online retailers with millions of customers making purchases all the time. Security company Sophos reported that cybercriminals have widely spammed out a phishing attack via email. These scammers, posing as Amazon.com reps are trying to get their victims to hand over their personal information.
The fraudulent email tells its recipients that their account will soon be expiring and will be deactivated unless they take action by downloading an attached form which actually contains the Trojan Phish-AZ virus. After downloading the attachment the recipient will be presented with a form that asks for personal information such as name, address, phone number, date of birth and credit card information. It is a policy of Amazon.com not to ever ask for a credit card or any other security information.
There are several things you can look for to try and tell if an email is a scam:
• It asks you to take immediate action
• Similar looking email addresses to the real thing. These addresses may look the same but if you look closely you will notice differences in name, domain or other attributes.
• They are trying to scare you into taking action by way of threats if you don't.
• Asks you to click on links or download attachments
• Many grammar or spelling errors within the email.
• The email goes right to your spam folder.
• If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
November's Poll Results:
Do you think tablets will eventually replace the personal computer?
Yes - 22%
Tip of the Month:
Making your Start Menu icons smaller in Windows 7
Starting with Windows XP, Microsoft changed the Windows Start menu to where your most recently used programs appear right when you click on Start. You also have the option to pin your favorite programs to the start menu for easy access. Of course you had the option to go back to the "Classic" Start menu if you didn't like this new way of doing things. That was until Windows 7 came out and won't let you go back to the Classic Start menu.
If you like the newer Start menu format but find that you don't have enough room for all your shortcuts then it's possible to make the Start menu icons smaller so you can fit more on your Start menu list.
To do this simply right click on a blank area of your Taskbar and choose Properties. Then click on the Start Menu tab and then the Customize button. Scroll down until you see the check box that says Use large icons near the bottom and uncheck the box and click OK and then OK again and now you will have smaller icons on your Start menu.
Hot Product of the Month: Corsair Cooling Hydro-Series Liquid CPU Cooler
The Corsair Hydro Series H60 allows you to keep your processor cool using liquid cooling technology. The H60 brings amazing new technologies to CPU cooling while keeping it affordable at the same time. If you like to overclock your processor then you need to be able to keep it cool and liquid cooling does the job.
Micro channel cold plate design more efficiently transfers heat
120mm fan optimizes static pressure and airflow while delivering low noise levels
Uses Fluorinated Ethylene Propylene tubing to significantly reduce evaporation of coolant, providing an MTBF of over 50,000 hours
Pre applied thermal compound
Quick and easy installation brackets
5 year warranty and lifetime access to Corsair's technical support
Includes mounting hardware compatible with all modern CPU socket designs
Important Windows and Office patches:
14 Bulletins for Final Patch Tuesday of the Year
Microsoft has issued 14 bulletins covering 20 vulnerabilities for December's patch Tuesday. The most critical patches are for Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7
3 of the bulletins are categorized as critical while the other 11 patches are categorized as important
Almost every modern version of Windows will receive some type of patch this month:
Windows XP: 3 Critical and 3 Important patches
Windows Vista: 2 Critical and 2 Important patches
Windows 7: 1 Critical and 3 Important patches
Windows Server 2003: 2 Critical and 3 Important patches
Windows Server 2008: 1 Critical and 2 Important patches
Windows Server 2008 R2: 1 Critical and 2 Important
Internet Explorer versions 6 through 9 all received low to important patches.
Office 2003, 2007, and 2010 received 2 or 3 Important bulletins each.
Office for Mac 2004, 2008, and 2011 received 1 Important patch each.
Microsoft PowerPoint Viewer 2007 and Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 each received 1 Important patch as well.
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Reader's Question of the Month:
Illegal copy of Windows message after having it worked on
Ken writes in with a Windows question Question: I had my computer debugged 2 months ago and it was running great. Now it won't load Windows and the message says I have an illegal copy.
Answer: Have you tried to re-activate Windows? This is assuming you can log on at all. If so then go right click on Computer and choose Properties. Then on the bottom of the window click the link that says Change product key and enter the key from your Windows sticker that should be on the side of your case. If you don't have a sticker then see if you have a copy of your Vista DVD handy and it may be on there.
What might have happened is the people who worked on your computer may have re-loaded Windows with their own key or some other invalid key that didn't go with your computer. If you cant get into Windows to load then you may have to call Microsoft and have them validate your key assuming you can find it and get you back on your computer.
Google Invests $300 Million in New China Data Center
Google has recently announced that it will be spending around $300 million to develop a new data center in Hong Kong. Google says the reason for this is to increase user access speed for the company's various products in Asia. This comes after Google's prior issues with China involving censorship issues where Google didn't back down when told to block certain content from coming into China. Google made peace with China without having to give in to their demands but did make some changes to make the government happy.
This new data center will be around 300,000 square feet in the Tseung Kwan O Industrial Estate in Kowloon and will house thousands of computers and employ 25 workers. It won't be fully operational until early 2013 although they already broke ground on the site.
Google released a statement saying, "Building this data center in Hong Kong is an exciting step for us. More new Internet users are coming online every day here in Asia than anywhere else in the world… At a long-term investment cost reaching $300 million, this data center will be one of the most efficient and environmentally friendly in Asia, built to the same high standard we use around the world."
Google also has plans to build data centers in Singapore and Taiwan in the near future. Google currently has 6 data centers in the United States and two in Europe.