Online Computer Tips Monthly Newsletter - July 2011
Latest Virus/Security Alerts:
New Skype "Vishing" attacks
There is a new form of a phishing attack taking place for users of the popular Skype internet calling software. Skype uses VoIP (Voice over IP) to make calls via the internet and that's where the name Vishing comes from.
This is how it works: While Skype users are online they will get an automated voice message saying that their computer was checked and that a fatal virus was found. Then they will be provided with a link to a website that is supposed to fix the virus. This website is actually a malicious website setup by the attackers. When the user goes there they will unknowingly download malicious software disguised as security updates or antivirus tools. This malicious software will try to trick them into providing personal information that can be used to break into financial, social networking and other accounts.
If you get this kind of message simply hang up the phone call to end the conversation. Then block the user and report the incident to Skype. Skype also suggests changing your account settings so that you can only receive calls from people on your contact list and so on.
June's Poll Results:
How much RAM do you have in your computer?
3GB - 4GB
5GB or more
Tip of the Month:
Use a Sticky Note on Your Desktop
Are you one of those people who have multiple sticky notes covering every available inch of space on your monitor? If you are running Windows 7 then you are in luck because it comes with a built in sticky note program.
To access the sticky notes program simply click on Start and then type in sticky notes in the search box and press enter. Now you will have a blank sticky note on your screen that you can use for reminders and so on. If you click on the + on the top right you can add a new sticky note. Right clicking the note will give you options such as changing the color and copying/pasting text. Clicking the X will close and delete the note. When you reboot your computer you sticky notes will be there when you log in again although we have seen some cases where they don't so make sure you don't have any critical information on them.
Windows Vista has a similar feature that you can use with the Windows Sidebar but it's not as cool as the Windows 7 version.
Hot Product of the Month:Western Digital WD TV Live Plus 1080p HD Media Player
Play media from your home network and the Internet on your HDTV. You can also access your Netflix account and other premium content. Don't confine your movies, music, and photos to your small computer screen. Experience them as big as life on your TV in Full-HD 1080p with WD TV Live Plus HD media player.
Full-HD video playback and navigation - up to 1080p
Stream Netflix and other online media
Play almost any type of media file
Access media anywhere on your home network
Supports DVD Navigation
Important Windows and Office patches:
Patch for Critical Bluetooth Flaw in Windows 7 and Vista
Microsoft released four security bulletins with patches for 22 vulnerabilities with only 1 of the 22 vulnerabilities rated as critical.
The Bluetooth critical flaw lays in the Windows Bluetooth Stack which is the driver that enables Windows to connect with Bluetooth devices. It may be possible for an attacker to remotely compromise and gain access to a vulnerable system using its Bluetooth networking. Keep in mind that this vulnerability only affects computers with Bluetooth capability.
Joshua Talbot, Security Intelligence Manager at Symantec Security Response, explains, "An attacker would exploit this by sending specific malicious data to the targeted computer while establishing a Bluetooth connection". This would then grant the attacker complete access to the computer without any notification to warn the targeted user that the attacker has connected to their computer via Bluetooth. This bug requires that Bluetooth on a PC be set in discoverable mode which is not the default setting. It's unlikely this flaw could be used in a widespread attack because an attacker would have to be within Bluetooth range of the computer which is about 30 feet.
If you use Windows Update or Microsoft Update then you should get the patch rolled out to your computer.
Do you need to know the meaning or pronunciation of a word but don't have access to a dictionary? Then check out Dictionary.com and simply type in the word you want to define and get the definition as well as an audible pronunciation
Reader's Question of the Month:
Having 2 different types of hard drives in one computer
Brian writes in with a hardware question Question: Can you use both a SATA and IDE hard drives in the same computer?
Answer: Yes it is possible to use both a SATA and IDE hard drive in the same computer assuming your have both types of controllers. Newer comptuers are starting to phase out the IDE controllers in favor of SATA controllers because they are faster and you can have more than 4 SATA devices in a computer compared to IDE. Many new motherboards will still have 1 IDE controller for backwards comparability. If your need more IDE ports then you can install an IDE controller card into a PCI or PCI-E slot for more ports. When using both types of drives just make sure to set your hard drive settings to reflect which type of drive you want to be your primary drive in the BIOS.
Microsoft leaks its possible Tulalip social network plans
It appears that Microsoft is working on what may be a social search application called Tulalip to compete with Google Social Search and the new Google+ social networking site. The Microsoft site was discovered when the splash page for the site was leaked on Socl.com. The internal Microsoft project appears to be an application, based on a link that says Tulalip is an experimental app to let users update your profile and post tweets for you.
From what has been discovered so far, this will most likely be a venture into social search with Bing running the show. The home page reads "With Tulalip you can Find what you need and Share what you know easier than ever". Tulalip is also the name of a Native American tribe located near Redmond, Washington, where Microsoft is based.
One interesting thing is that there are Facebook and Twitter log in fields on the Tulalip page. This may show that Tulalip will be a light foray into social networking rather than a heavy duty Microsoft experience. Microsoft's search engine Bing already integrates with Facebook to show you what your friends have liked and improve people search. The teaser page has since been pulled and Microsoft swears it was an accident but we shall see.