You are currently browsing posts tagged “ant-virus”

Ransomware Operation Taken Down by Cisco

October 7, 2015 // Posted in General, Main (Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ) |  No Comments

Computer Hi-Jacked?

Computer Hi-Jacked?

A ransomware operation that it is estimated netted $30million a year by installing ransom software on unsuspecting users computers has been disrupted by security researches at Cisco.

The Angler Exploit kit, also known as the hack-by-numbers tool is sold in underground crime forums to people who don’t want to go through the hassle of developing and testing exploits themselves. Angler has the ability to successfully infect an estimated 40 percent of the end users it targets using attack code that surreptitiously exploits vulnerabilities in browsers and browser plugins. In many cases, the security flaws have already been patched, but, in some cases the kits exploit zero-day vulnerabilities for which there is no currently available fix.

A large number of infected users were connecting to servers operated by service provider Limestone Networks. With the co-operation of Limestone and examining some of the servers they found that the single operation was targeting as many as 90,000 users a day.

“This is a significant blow to the emerging hacker economy where ransomware and the black market sale of stolen IP, credit card info and personally identifiable information  are generating hundreds of millions of dollars annually, Talos researchers wrote in a eport about the takedown.

More information at http://talosintel.com/angler-exposed/

Upgrading Windows 7 to Windows 10

July 31, 2015 // Posted in Computer Tips, General, Main (Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ) |  1 Comment

The best one yet

‘The best one yet’??

My experience of upgrading from Win 7 to Windows 10:

 

‘The Best One Yet’ is Microsoft’s claim but is that really true?

Well I was all excited when I received my ‘Update is ready to Install’ message and had already read some of the claims for this important day.

  • Takes about 1 hour to update.
  • Get Cortana for Windows.
  • All your software will be available.
  • We will automatically update your Antivirus Software.
  • The best one yet.

But the problems started well before this day, as Microsoft said you will get an icon in your taskbar to claim and install your free upgrade if your current version is a legal version.

Well that failed straight away as I didn’t get my icon in the task bar. So after some checking, it appeared you had to install an Optional Update from Windows Update, (they said it was automatic), and you had to be running IE 11, mine was IE10, so that wasn’t mentioned. When I installed the optional update and IE11 I did eventually get my update icon in the taskbar. On clicking it said your computer is compatible with Windows 10 and all your software will run with Windows 10. That sounded positive.

Ok the ‘Your Upload is Ready’ button appeared, so I restarted windows to begin the install. After about 30 minutes of no apparent progress, the PC re-booted and there it was, Windows 7, as it was before. That was not expected, I expected a nice new Windows 10.

OK let’s try again.

In order to start again it had to re-download the update files (why, when it already had them), so a 2+ hour wait while it downloaded the 2+GB of files, and the ‘Your Update is ready to install’ again. So off we go.

Again after 30 minutes of what appeared to be doing nothing (but the hard drive light was going crazy), and the PC rebooted and hooray, Windows 7 again.

OK let’s check the update status, “Update failed error code –    failed code 80240020

What is this mysterious error code 80240020 (Why can’t make error messages meaningful, like ‘Could not do this or that’ instead of error Code 80240020?

Ok so it seems an issue with Windows Update so the solution might be to reset Windows Update:

So:

  • went to C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download and deleted everything in the folder (not the folder).
  • open a command prompt with run as administrator and type wuauclt.exe /updatenow and hit enter, then type exit and hit enter again.
  • Go to windows update and The Windows 10 update is downloading again!! Another two hours.

After the download, the ‘Your update is ready’ message again, so another re-boot, 30 minutes of hard drive activity, but this time a message saying ‘Windows is configuring your updates 5%….’ etc. Perhaps this is a good sign?

After about 1 hour (remember Microsoft claiming the Update will take approx 1 hour’? Well we are at about 7 hours now already, and it isn’t because I have a slow machine, I have a Intel quad core processor with each processor running at up to 3.2GHz), another auto reboot and a new screen, looks like we are getting somewhere now, a big circle in the middle of the screen shows the current progress, this stayed on 1% for over 20 minutes. Almost 3 hours and 4 reboots  later 100%, Yay ..

Another re-boot and a new welcome screen, logged in and, and, and just a black screen, better not do anything as the hard drive is doing something, goodness knows what. One hour later windows started (perhaps this is the One Hour Microsoft was talking about?

Then another message ‘We are updating some settings and apps for you’, after another 40 minutes ‘This is taking a little longer than usual – please wait’ , eventually the message changed to ‘Almost there now’ , wait, wait, wait.

Eventually a bright new windows 10 interface. (Looks pretty similar to Win 7, with a few display enhancements, perhaps that was why 7 could be upgraded and not a new install?).

Now the fun begins, remember Microsoft said , we will set up your programs for you and update your current anti-virus software? And they said my programs were all compatible with Win 10. Nuh. Windows 10 removed my antivirus software (AVG) and PC TuneUp (AVG) completely.

Tried a repair on them as they both still appeared in the Add/Remove programs, and although they both said successful, they both failed. So uninstalled both and re-installed, and eventually they are working.

I haven’t yet checked all programs, to see if they are all there, not very confident that they will be.

Ah Hah, just remembered, let’s try out Cortana or whatever it’s called, they say you must have an English System (Check), your region must be set to Uk,US etc (Check set to UK), try to access Cortana, message “You cannot use Cortana in your Region”), I live in Thailand., but my region is set to UK as is my language, and these are the requirements Microsoft says, so it looks as though it looks at your IP address and blocks it on that. So does that mean that if you have active Cortana in the UK if you take a trip to another unsupported region (by IP address) Cortana doesn’t come with you?

Then there’s the new Edge Shop – Can’t get that to work for love nor money, for free items, just keeps saying try again later.

It’s not going well is it?

Then there’s the unconfigurable display interface, the squared forms with no borders etc that are not very elegant or appealing, IMO, and no way to change them like in 7 and earlier versions.

There was another claim about Windows 10 that Microsoft made, ‘it’s Faster’ – Sorry Microsoft – I have to disagree there, it is much slower starting up that Win 7, programs load slower, Win 10 uses much more memory (and 32 bit still not able to use more than 4GB), which means the disk cache is used more and again slows things down.

So I am not that impressed as yet, and certainly think the “The best Yet’ is not a totally true statement.

I will now have a play for a few days and post again once I have fully tested it. Watch this Space!

Steve

 

 

 

 

 

Win7 – 2 ways to stop some of the hangs

September 15, 2014 // Posted in Computer Tips, Tips and Tricks (Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ) |  1 Comment

win7sDo you get hangs in Win 7 and sometimes cannot open programs or click on menu items?

Here is how to fix issues from two sources:

1. 16 Bit Programs – “16 bit programs in Win7?”, I hear you say. Yes believe it or not Windows 7 has several programs that run in 16 Bit mode, particularly some of the message pop-ups used by the system and UAC (User Access Control).

The pop-up from UAC, you know, the one that comes up to say “Do you want to let this program …….”, this often hangs and the program selected doesn’t load, and if you look in Task Manager you will see one or more copies of consent.exe (used by UAC) running but doing nothing, occasionally you may get a message to say ‘Too many 16 Bit programs are running’.

I too, was amazed when I discovered Win7 still used 16 Bit programs, I thought they all disappeared with Windows 98, or at least XP, but no Win 7 still uses them.

Because of that the 16Bit programs rely on the files and buffers settings in the config.sys file (remember that from the Windows98 and XP days). In many installations you will not find a config.sys file in the root folder, or there may be one that is set to hidden and system so you don’t see it in file explorer.

Let’s get back to fixing the hanging by UAC and the not being able to click buttons etc.

Create a new text file in notepad or the like and add the following two lines:

FILES=120
BUFFERS=1000

Then save the file with the name config.sys to your desktop.

Copy the file on the desktop and then in my computer open the root folder on drive C and paste the file.  You may get an “access denied” message.

If this happens you may want to view all hidden and system files to see if config.sys exists, if it does view it in notepad and you may see some text in it, but most likely it will either be empty or just contain FILES=20. If there is other text in there copy it and paste it into the config.sys file you just created on your desktop after the text you added, (remove the FILES=20 and leave the FILES=120 you added) and save the file.

Copy your file again and then select Start > All Programs > Accessories, right click Windows Explorer and select ‘Run As Administrator’ say Yes to the prompt. Browse to the root folder on C and paste the file you copied, you may get a ‘File exists overwrite?” this time say yes to overwrite and you new config.sys file will be in place.

Re-Boot your PC and you should no longer get the hangs when you start a program.

2. AVG Anti-virus and Constant Disk access and high disk queues in resource manager – If you are running AVG Internet Security 2014, you may have noticed that most of the time your hard disk in use light is permanently on and programs become very slow to respond and open or save files. Folders too are slow to open and icons or previews take ages to appear.

I have narrowed this down to AVG antivirus, and have found that after about 3 months following installation, something goes awry in AVG, and it starts constantly accessing the hard drive (Even when scans are not running or the PC is idle), so your hard drive is working it’s socks off and has to queue access by other programs whilst it waits for a break in AVG’s access, this makes your other programs slow and puts excessive load and wear on your hard drive which can lead to hard disk failure, not something you really want.

Here’s my fix, and it works every time for me. (make sure you have your license key ready as you will need it).

  • Download the AVG Full Installer (not the on-line installer) you can get it here http://www.avg.com/ww-en/download
  • Uninstall AVG from Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs.
  • Reboot your PC
  • Install AVG from the file you downloaded.
  • Wait for the updates to install or if they don’t start automatically, Choose Check for Updates.
  • When you see the AVG is up to date, reboot your PC.
  • Next time you use your PC once Win7 has loaded everything and settled down, watch the hard drive light, It hardly ever comes on except when loading a program, saving, or a quick flash every now and again.
  • Your hard drive will now last much longer than it would have done, and is less likely to fail.

Hope you find these useful

regards

Steve

 

 

 

Warning – Do Not Install Winzip Driver Updater

June 27, 2014 // Posted in Computer Tips, General, Main (Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ) |  No Comments

I received an email today from WinZip asking me to download FREE their driver updater program.

Being a winzip user for many years I thought I would give it a try from what I believed to be a reputable company.

However, I soon found out that they are not as reputable as I thought.

Why? I hear you ask.

1. The download was from their own site, and following the install AVG reported that one of the files in the installation pack was Malware that installs an adware program on your PC called MalSign.Systweak.44F, AVG soon fixed and removed the malware. This is not good from what should be a trustworthy supplier.

2. I ran the program to see what drivers could be out of date, The Winzip Driver Updater reported that all 23 drivers were out of date and needed updating, this seemed a little strange as my PC is relatively new and has only had all drivers installed in the past 8-9 months. I thought I would try updating one of the drivers so I could check the version etc., but I could not as the program said I had to pay for a ‘Full’ version to update any out of date drivers. I therefore decided to uninstall the program as I wasn’t going to pay for software that wanted to update all my drivers.

Once I uninstalled it, I tried windows update to see if they found any drivers out of date : Result – No drivers out of date.

Then I tried AVG’s PC Tune Up and guess what : RESULT – ALL Drivers are up to date.

Then I tried ASC’s (Advance System Care) Driver Booster and again guess what: RESULT – You have the latest drivers – no updates needed.

So it is clear to me that Winzip send you a ‘FREE’ download of a program that no matter what drivers you have, say they are all out of date just to get you to buy a version that allegedly updates those ‘out of date’ drivers’.

This is clearly a scam and not what you would expect from what seems to be a reputable company. They clearly are NOT reputable and this type of practice should be able to be punished in law some way, as it is misleading, makes false claims and  promises and is in my opinion,  fruadulant.

You have been warned – don’t get caught out. Use AVG Pc Tune Up or ASC Driver Booster (FREE) instead.

Steve

 

 

 

 

 

Santa has been and gone and you have a new device.

January 2, 2014 // Posted in Computer Tips, General, Main (Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ) |  No Comments

santagiftsYes Santa has been and gone and the festivities are now over.

 

You may have gotten a new device from Santa, but he forgot to include some very important items.

So if you did get a new device, a laptop, home PC, tablet, phone or other mobile device don’t forget to add the following important items:

  • Set up a master pin code or password so that if your device gets stolen or lost, the person that currently has it in their possession cannot use it easily.
  • Install anti-virus and anti-spam software to protect your device. I have tried many different AV programs over the years and I have found the best to be AVG Total Internet Security, it doesn’t add too much overhead to your system, always appears to install correctly first time, is updated automatically very regularly to keep you protected, and gives full protection. On Mobile devices the AVG solution is also very effective and adds additional feature which I will cover a little later.
  • If your new device is a mobile one with GPS, install location software, AVG’s mobile solution has this facility and will allow you to find out where your device is if it is lost or stolen.
  • Again if your device is mobile install remote wiping and locking software, so if your device goes missing you can set it to sound alarms if  someone attempts to use it, you can lock the device and even delete everything on it by issuing a command over the internet. These features are also available in AVG’s mobile solutions.
  • Many mobile devices allow purchase within Apps, make sure you turn these off so that you do not accidentally make purchases.
  • Check your privacy settings in all devices, laptops,PC’s and mobile devices, and make sure you are not sharing something you do not want to.

Protect yourself, as your device will not do it for you without the right additions.

Happy New Year and enjoy your new device safely.

Steve

 

 

The Dummies Guide to being a Moron on the Internet

December 8, 2013 // Posted in General, Main (Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ) |  No Comments

Dummies Guide

Dummies Guide

How to be an absolute moron on the Internet

The Process in 10 Easy Steps

STEP 1

Go to Google, Yahoo and any other free email services and set up hundreds of new email addresses. You will need some that are absolutely meaningless like QwvFHJH@gmail.com and some that will be useful in later steps such as barclaysbank.custserv@hotmail.com.

 

 

STEP 2

Scan internet pages for email addresses, and save them in a database for future steps, or better still set up a web bot to do it for you, it can get them while you are sleeping then.

STEP 3 (Optional)
Write a facebook app and call it something like CityVille or FarmVille or similar, you will be able to get your hands on millions of emails and post to millions of walls once you have got this.
STEP 4

Find some free web hosts and get some web space, get a domain name that means nothing like qtyrew.com and set up some sub domains like paypal.admin.qtyrew.com so they look like they belong to PayPal, banks etc.

STEP 5
Use the email addresses you set up in Step 1 to send emails out to all the addresses you got in step 2, telling them that you have access to millions of dollars and want to get it out of your country and ask them to send their bank details to you. You could also send out some saying you are from a bank or paypal (see how useful that barclaysbank.custserv@hotmail.com is going to be) telling them to enter their login details onto a page you set up on the webspace in STEP 4.   You won’t get many people that fall for it but if just 1 out of a million emails sent does, it must be worth it, yes?
Repeat Step 5 a short while later in case they didn’t reply, and again a short while later, it might work.
STEP 6
Join an affiliate program for a sex site, online drug shop or cheap loans company or the like.
STEP 7
Visit every bulletin board,blog or forum on the Internet, or better still set up a web bot to do it for you, and post links to the sites you are affiliated to. Don’t forget to add your affiliate ID or you won’t get paid if some other moron actually clicks your link and makes a purchase.
STEP 8
Use the affiliate links you got in step 6 in emails to send out to all the addresses you got in step 2. Use a different email address, one of the ones you set up in step 1, to the one you used for other scams and phishes.
STEP 9

Remember that app you set up in Facebook? Well by now it has collected hundreds of email addresses, user names and granted you access to millions of users walls and news feeds. Fill your boots!

Send out links using the affiliate links you got in step 8 to all of their news feeds, with a message something like ‘This user Likes xxxx. Click the link to view’.
What the hell, you might as well send emails like you sent in step 5, to all of these too, got to have half a chance with these, after all they were dumb enough to use your app!
STEP 10
After all this, if you haven’t made any money, and frankly, there’s not much chance you will, but at least you’ve pissed off a lot of people, and that’s probably the police at your door now, you could always try and sell all the email addresses you have gleaned to some other moron who’s thinking of trying the same things.
Hope you enjoy.
Steve

CloudFlare and Your Web Site

July 12, 2013 // Posted in Main, Tips and Tricks (Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ) |  No Comments

CloudFlare

CloudFlare *
and your Web Site

Have you been given the option by your host to install CloudFlare Security on your WebSpace?

 

 

Are you now getting problems with javascripts not working, or some php pages not working correctly?
If the answer to the above questions is Yes, then it appears that the problem with your scripts not working or your php pages not working correctly may be down to CloudFlare.
While trying to solve the same issues for a friend on her site, it was identified that there was nothing wrong with the php code or javascript code as the same pages worked fine on other servers.
Further investigation revealed that something was affecting the headers being processed by the php engine. Some php code requires that the php pages code is the first thing processed by the php engine, and on looking at error logs on the server, the error was ‘cannot send header code on page xxx.php, header already sent’.
The obvious reasons for this were checked, code was correct and in the right place as the first line in the php page, the file had was not saved as utf-8 with BOM, so something else was affecting the page headers.
CloudFlare was switched off and everything started working fine again. It appears that CloudFlare may be adding it’s own headers to pages before they are processed by the php engine and that was what was causing the pages not to perform correctly.

* CloudFlare orange cloud logo is a trademark of CloudFlare, Inc and is acknowledged as such.

 

Short URLs good or bad

May 24, 2013 // Posted in Computer Tips (Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ) |  1 Comment

First of all for those of you that do not know what a shortened URL is, here’s a quick explanation.

A shortened URL allows users to shorten, share, and often track links (web addresses). Reducing the URL length makes sharing easier. For example the shortened link http://bit.ly/steverblog would actually take you to my blog on MyOpera at http://my.opera.com/SteveRiches/blog/, and http://bit.ly/b3hHHs would actually take you to one of my web sites http://www.richosoft.co.uk/.

Shortened URL’s can be obtained for FREE from places like http://bit.ly, and others. Some like bit.ly, will also offer tracking statistics on your shortened URL’s. This allows you to see what site the visitor was referred by, how many people have clicked this URL, where they came from, what browser they were using and much more.

OK, so I have have a shortened URL for my page. What use is it to me or my friends, colleagues or business contacts?

  •     When Tweeting on Twitter, I can save characters in my tweet by reducing the length of a link to my website that I wish to include, but the viewer can still reach the long link address in one click.
  •     When sending an email and including my web address, I can shorten any link to my website, making the email less cluttered, and if it is a very long web address, avoid the viewer having to cut and paste the address because it wouldn’t fit on one line in the email.
  •     I can get extensive tracking statistics. (see above)
  •     I don’t have to type long web addresses into emails, tweets and facebook posts, reducing the possibility of typing errors.
  •     Links look tidier.

So much for the benefits what are the possible problems?

When you click the link http://bit.ly/b3hHHs you do not know where it is going to take you, whereas when you see the link http://www.richosoft.co.uk/, you can be pretty certain you are going to the RichoSoft site.
http://bit.ly/b3hHHs could be taking you to a porn site, phishing site, malware distribution site or some other un-desirable site.

ADVICE
My advice to you is to only click shortened links if you are confident that the source is genuine and the link valid. Some big companies use shortened links including companies like The BBC, Opera and big retail organisations, and the links they may send you, or post on twitter can usually be trusted.

Also whatever link you see in an email or internet page, be aware that you might not actually be going to the site shown, eg: Click this link: http://www.bbc.co.uk

Where did it take you?    Did you see the BBC home page?   You now see what I mean?

In most browsers today, you can preview where the link is really taking you by first hovering over the link and checking out the status bar,  some email clients do the same or similar. So before clicking a link check it out first.

How to remember many Strong Passwords

May 24, 2013 // Posted in Computer Tips (Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ) |  No Comments

We all use the Internet more and more, and now regularly visit many sites that require a password.

Strong Passwords are Good

Strong Passwords are Good

 

But how do you remember so many different passwords as it is best to set a different password for each site?
You can do this effectively by:

 

 

  1. Write just part of your password down, or store in a file, or on your mobile phone. But what if someone steals my phone or computer or finds my paper? That is OK, because you are only writing down part of your password, and they will not know what site it refers to, as we will see in a moment.
  2. Create STRONG passwords with letters, numbers and non-alphanumeric characters, and keep them as long as possible. Mix upper and lower case characters. This way they cannot be guessed. Never use your date of birth, or house number/post code or name in your password, as people can get these off the Internet in places like Facebook etc.
  3. Now you need to create your passwords:
  • Think of a PIN that you will always remember, 3 ,4 or 5 characters long, something like  3478# or 8#7 or 23&4.
  • For each web site you need a password for create a code that helps you remember what site it is for e.g.,  FBk for facebook, RSoF for RichoSoft, TWit for Twitter etc.Next add some random characters  e.g., 4556, or zc98@.  Use different random characters for each password.

    These you write down, save in a file or store in your phone. Anyone finding these would not know what they refer to, and the password is not complete anyway, so would not work.

You now have passwords that look like this:

FBk298745+C
RSoFhgTf89%F
TWitBV65W_u

 

  • Next we use your PIN. Decide whether your PIN will be at the beginning or end of your password, and when using the passwords add  your PIN, to this position. So if we had a pin 3478#  our passwords above  would become:
FBk298745+C3478#
RSoFhgTf89%F3478#
TWitBV65W_u3478#
OR
3478#FBk298745+C
3478#RSoFhgTf89%F
3478#TWitBV65W_u
  • These full passwords are the ones to use on the sites, and now we have STRONG passwords that cannot possibly be guessed, and you only need to remember the PIN Part and whether it is at the front or back. The rest is written down or saved  so you do not forget it. By having a different password for each site, if someone does actually find out one of your passwords the others are totally safe.

Keeping your Computer Secure

May 24, 2013 // Posted in Computer Tips (Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ) |  No Comments

Nowadays more and more people are using their computers for all kinds of communication, Internet, Social Networks, Banking, Shopping, Chatting and live video and phone calls.  But the more we do, the more risk becomes from hackers, and attackers.

Whilst some of these are simply trying to inconvenience you by maliciously infecting your PC, others are trying to get your personal information and to access your bank accounts. These are doing what is called ‘phishing’.

Computer Security

Computer Security

So what can you do to minimise the risk?

Install a complete Internet  Online Security Package, one that contains a firewall, anti-virus, anti-fishing, anti-spam and ID protection, such as McAfee Internet Security Suite. It’s a good idea to get one that also checks web pages as you go them for suspicious activity. Make sure you have automatic updates switched on to keep the virus patterns etc. Up to date.

Always make backups of your important files, pictures and documents on DVD or external hard drive, and store it safely away from your PC.

Make sure you are running genuine Windows Software (If this is your OS), and switch on automatic updates to keep your PC up to date with the latest security patches.

Check your Browser’s settings, and select the maximum level of security.

Do NOT open email attachments without checking them for viruses, and if they are not from someone you trust, delete them!

Do NOT follow any links in emails asking you to reset, reconfirm or update you bank account details. Banks do not send this kind of email, so it is surely phishing, delete them!

Create a Boot and recovery disk for your PC, in case it becomes infected viruses and will no longer start up, some Security Software will create this for you automatically.

Turn off your computer and/or disconnect from your network, when it is not in use.

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