Monthly Archives: August 2008

Get Rid of IE AntiVirus/Total Secure 2009 – Four Removal Solutions

So there you are surfing the net when you get this popup on your screen: “Your system is infected with dangerous virus! Note: Strongly recommend to install antispyware program to clean your system and avoid total crash of your computer! Click OK to download the antispyware”.

This type of popup announcement is a very powerful motivator. Would you click?

Unfortunately, if you had clicked on this particular popup you would have begun the process of infecting your computer with IEAntiVirus rogue security software, the objective of which is to convince you to pay for the removal of false positives; fake or false malware detection warnings, that this program is designed to install on your machine.

IEAntiVirus, a clone of MalwareBell, FilesSecure and IEDefender was specifically developed to mislead unaware computer users’ into downloading and paying for the “full” version of this bogus software, based on the false malware positives generated by the application. Even if you are tricked into paying for the “full” version, nothing, not even the false warnings will be cleaned from your computer. Total Secure 2009, TotalSecure2009, TotalSecure 2009, is also rogue security software and is a clone of IE AntiVirus. These cyber-crooks never stop it seems!

The message here is: never click on unsolicited invitations to download software of any kind.

You need to be sure that any security application you are considering installing on your computer is recognized as legitimate by industry experts. To do that, visit Spyware Warrior, an excellent web site that will advise you what products work and have a deserved reputation for quality performance.

Generally, reputable anti-spyware software is capable of detecting rogue software if it attempts to install, or on a malware scan. But this is not always the case. Anti-malware programs that rely on a definition database can be behind the curve in recognizing the newest threats.

A good partial solution to this problem is to ensure you have installed, and are running, an anti-malware application such as ThreatFire 3, free from PC Tools. This type of program operates using heuristics, or behavioral analysis, to identify newer threats.

Four Removal Solutions:

Downloading and installing any one of the following free tools will assist you in removing this rogue application. The individuals/companies who wrote and developed these free tools, are to be congratualted for giving back so freely to the Internet community.

Rogue Fix at Internet Inspiration

SmitFraudFix available for download at Geekstogo is a free tool that is continuously updated to assist victims of rogue security applications.

Bleeping Computer is a web site where help is available for many computer related problems, including the removal of rogue software.

Malwarebytes, a reliable anti-malware company has created a free application to help keep you safe and secure. RogueRemover will safely remove a number of rogue security applications.

To regular readers of this site the following will be old and oft repeated advice, but to casual, or inexperienced Internet users, it’s advice that is critical.

What you can do to reduce the chances of infecting your system with rogue security software.

Be careful in downloading freeware or shareware programs. Spyware is occasionally concealed in these programs. Download this type of program only through reputable web sites such as, or sites that you know to be safe.

Consider carefully the inherent risks attached to peer-to-peer (P2P), or file sharing applications.

Install an Internet Browser add-on that provides protection against questionable or unsafe websites. My personal favorite is Web of Trust, an Internet Explorer/FireFox add-on that offers substantial protection against questionable or unsafe websites.

Do not click on unsolicited invitations to download software of any kind.

Additional precautions you can take to protect your computer system:

When surfing the web – Stop. Think. Click

Don’t open unknown email attachments

Don’t run programs of unknown origin

Disable hidden filename extensions

Keep all applications (including your operating system) patched

Turn off your computer or disconnect from the network when not in use

Disable Java, JavaScript, and ActiveX if possible

Disable scripting features in email programs

Make regular backups of critical data

Make a boot disk in case your computer is damaged or compromised

Turn off file and printer sharing on the computer.

Install a personal firewall on the computer.

Install anti-virus/anti-spyware software and ensure it is configured to automatically update when you are connected to the Internet

Ensure the anti-virus software scans all e-mail attachments


Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Free Security Programs, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Interconnectivity, Internet Safety, Internet Safety Tools, internet scams, Malware Advisories, Online Safety, Rogue Software, Software, Spyware - Adware Protection, System Security, trojans, Viruses, Windows Tips and Tools

Barack Obama – His Transsexual Affairs

Come on now, do you really believe Barack Obama has had Transsexual Affairs? Since you ended up on this site, it’s likely you got here by way of a Google search on Barack Obama, and you couldn’t resist the temptation to check this out.

While doing the background work on this article, it came to my attention that other key words (other than sex), used in Google searches to define Obama, are “Muslim”, which he surely is not; and “Religious”, which it appears he is.

Don’t stop reading now because there’s no sex scandal on this page. You need to become aware of the very real dangers involved in following salacious search engine links and the consequences of clicking on embedded links in emails.

The reality is, we are all pretty curious creatures, and knowing this, cyber crooks are now exploiting our natural curiosity relying, more and more, on this aspect of social engineering to create an opportunity designed to drop malicious code, including rootkits, password stealers, Trojan horses, and spam bots on our computers. Malicious code that can lead to identity theft and the theft of your passwords, bank account numbers, and other personal information.

This can be accomplished by directing users’ to infected web search results; the seeding of malicious websites among the top results returned by these engines. When a potential victim visits one of these sites, the chances of downloading malicious code onto the computer by exploiting existing vulnerabilities, is extremely high.

Internet security specialists have known for some time that we can not rely on Internet search engine results to be untainted and free of potential harmful exposure to malware.

Email scams work essentially the same way. The cyber-crooks responsible for these scams are experts at using social engineering as the hook. They rely on the fact that we are indeed a curious species, and we do seem to have an unrelenting interest in scrutinizing the personal lives of politicians.

Now that Obama has been officially nominated to carry the Democrats banner into the upcoming U.S. presidential election, be prepared for a deluge of spam scams perpetrated by cyber-criminals based on his popularity on the one hand, and our need to be titillated on the other hand, to leverage their malicious activities.

Incredible as it seems, billions (that’s right billions), of spam email messages are generated every hour through so called botnets; zombie computers controlled by cyber-criminals.

One such new spam email campaign is already in operation which provides a link which purportedly leads to a video of Barack Obama disclosing his transsexual affairs. Isn’t that why you’re here?

Those that are gullible enough to follow this link will be enticed to download the file – Barack_Obama-videostream.v182.exe – which has been classified as a malware agent – BKDR_AGENT.ABTQ. So the reward in this case, for unwitting users’ who enjoy checking out scandalous content, is the installation of malware onto their systems.

Security experts agree that a significant number of malware infections could be avoided if users stopped opening the types of files that are clearly dangerous. To this point however, this type of dangerous behavior continues despite the warnings.

The Marshal Threat Research and Content Engineering (TRACE) report for the first half of 2008 has just been released, and unhappily it shows that “Cyber criminals are using ‘blended attacks’ to distribute malware and links to hacked websites via email on an unprecedented scale”.

Sustaining this conclusion, the IC³ (Internet Crime Complaint Center) recently stated that these types of attacks against Internet users are occurring with such frequency, that the situation can be called nothing short of “alarming”.

As I have pointed out in the past on this Blog, the following are actions you can take to protect your computer system, your money and your identity:

Install an Internet Browser add-on such as WOT (my personal favorite), which provides detailed test results on a site’s safety; protecting you from security threats including spyware, adware, spam, viruses, browser exploits, and online scams.

As an addition to your existing malware applications, download and install ThreatFire 3 (provided free by PC Tools), which blocks mal-ware, including zero-day threats, by analyzing program behavior and it does a stellar job. This is one of the security applications that forms part of my front line defenses. I have found it to have high success rate at blocking mal-ware based on analysis of behavior.

In addition:

Don’t open unknown email attachments

Don’t run programs of unknown origin

Disable hidden filename extensions

Keep all applications (including your operating system) patched

Turn off your computer or disconnect from the network when not in use

Disable Java, JavaScript, and ActiveX if possible

Disable scripting features in email programs

Make regular backups of critical data

Make a boot disk in case your computer is damaged or compromised

Turn off file and printer sharing on the computer

Install a personal firewall on the computer

Install anti-virus and anti-spyware software and ensure it is configured to automatically update when you are connected to the Internet

Ensure the anti-virus software scans all e-mail attachments

Be proactive when it comes to your computer’s security; make sure you have adequate software based protection to reduce the chances that your machine will become infected.

If you are unsure then checkout “Free Windows Software You Can’t Afford Not to Have”, on this site.


Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Email, Firefox Add-ons, Free Security Programs, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Internet Explorer Add-ons, Internet Safety, Internet Safety Tools, internet scams, Malware Advisories, Online Safety, Safe Surfing, Software, Spyware - Adware Protection, System Security, Viruses, Windows Tips and Tools

Free Image Analyzer 1.30 – Professional Photo Editor

If you’re a geeky photographer, then Image Analyzer 1.30 (latest release – August 30), could be just the program you’ve been searching for. This small (1.24MB), free, advanced, feature-rich image editor, comes complete with serious enhancement and analytical tools.

At the advanced level, this is not a program for the faint of heart, and requires a good understanding of photographic techniques.

While the program includes all the usual features found in most photo editing tools, such as red-eye removal, resizing, rotating, image cropping, image warping, scanner, camera and printer support, the advanced features would generally be used only by sophisticated users, or professional photographers.

A number of my friends, who are advanced users, tell me this program excels at a number of higher level tasks including refocusing an out of focus image. As well, using the fractal interpolation plug-in for resizing, even low resolution images can be printed at larger sizes with acceptable quality.

Since I am not a sophisticated user, in my view, this is a program best left to those who are familiar with, or interested in, the more technical aspects of image analysis/processing.

Considering the high end abilities of this application, it is surprising that it is freeware.

Quick facts:

Automatic brightness, contrast, gamma and saturation adjustment

Build-in conventional and adaptive filters for noise reduction, edge extraction etc.

Retouch tools

Retinex filter for reducing shadows and increasing local contrast

Deconvolution for out-of-focus and motion blur compensation

Easy red-eye removal

User specified filters in spatial and frequency domain

Resize, rotate, crop and warping of images

Scanner, camera and printer support


Read RAS, PNM, PGM, PPM, HIPS and Matlab files

Morphological operations

Color model conversion: RGB, CMY, HSI, Lab, YCbCr, YIQ and PCA

Distance, Fourier and discrete cosine transformation

Math expression module for creating and transforming images

Plug-in system for adding more specialized features

Available Plug-ins:

Microscopic imaging

3D modeling

Batch processing

Fractal interpolation

Add text and vector graphics

Raster Export

TIFF reader

Profile line

PCA Color Stretch

8fb Plug-in Interface

There are additional free graphic software reviews elsewhere on this Blog, including download links. Check out the category Graphic Software on the sidebar.

Requirements: Windows 98/Me/NT/2000/XP/2003 Server/Vista

Download at: or at the developer’s site MeeSoft.


Filed under Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Graphic Software, Image Editors, Multimedia Tools, Photo Tools, Productivity Software, Software, Windows Tips and Tools

Best Free Windows Defragger – Auslogics Disk Defrag

To paraphrase Shakespeare “To defrag or not to defrag; that is the question”. You wouldn’t think that defragging a Hard Drive would be an issue which is open to much debate; but it is.

Fragmentation is caused by creating and deleting files and folders, installing new software, and downloading files from the Internet. When you delete files or folders, the first available empty spaces on the Hard Drive are filled in randomly when you create new files and folders, as you do when you save pics from your camera, install software, save emails, or create documents.

A fairly common point of view holds that defragging a Hard Drive is pointless and provides no measurable increase in system performance.

One example of this type of thinking taken from a forum I visit frequently is as follows: “Disk cleanup is pretty useless, and defragging should only really be done if you recently moved around very large files on your hard disk”. This point of view has some support in the tech community.

On the other hand there is also considerable support for the following point of view: “Disk fragmentation leads to system slowdowns, PC crashes, slow startups and shutdowns”.

So which point of view then is more likely to be accurate given that hard disk fragmentation makes the disk drive heads move more than necessary when reading files which can lead to reduced performance in file input and output?

Despite the fact that it is difficult, if not impossible, to measure an increase in system performance following Hard Drive defragmentation, there is a slight leaning in the tech community toward defragmentation being a positive maintenance process. I support this point of view.

Personally, I defrag with Auslogics Disk Defrag a free disk defragger from Auslogics Software regularly. The program is extremely easy to use, does not require any analysis phase and is faster than most disk defragmentation software I’ve tested in the past, and best of all, it’s free. In my view, it’s one more maintenance process that helps me get the maximum performance from my hardware.

Before you begin a defrag process it’s important to run a program such as CCleaner which will empty your Recycle Bin, Temporary Internet Files folder, and other locations where clutter tends to accumulate on your PC. Alternatively, you can let the application remove temporary files by adjusting program settings accordingly.

As well, you should consider uninstalling any applications you no longer use. Revo Uninstaller is a free utility that will uninstall unneeded applications more thoroughly than the Windows native uninstaller.

Quick facts:

Improve computer performance and stability

Increase your productivity – no more waiting for files to open

Defragment disks in minutes

Disk fragmentation map and detailed fragmentation report

Defragment USB/memory sticks

Two million downloads of this application from CNET, and an average user rating of 4.5 Stars speaks to the value of this small application.

System requirements: Vista/XP/2000/2003, 32-bit and 64-bit and dual-core CPU supported.

Download at:


Filed under Freeware, Hard Drive Maintenance, Slow Computer, Software, System Utilities, USB, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Best Free Advanced Media Player – 5.1 Channel Output!

Tired of Windows Media Player’s weaknesses? Fed up with its 24.5 MB bloated size? Are you unhappy with its outrageous overhead requirements? Then GOM Media Player, (the unusual name stands for Gretech Online Movie Player), may well be the tool you’ve been looking for.

GOM Media Player’s support for a diverse range of file formats, it’s built in Codecs, and its advanced playback capabilities, have made it one of the most downloaded of all Windows Media Player replacements. It is the number one downloaded media player on CNET (, with over 8,146,168 downloads to date.

GOM Media Player is a relatively small (5.57MB) application that can play most encoded video formats including AVI, DAT, FLV, MPEG, DivX, XviD, and more, with its own built-in Codec system.

If you’re the impatient type, GOM Media Player can even play video files that are still in the process of being downloaded. As well, files that have been broken during the downloading process can still be played.

For audio/video files that GOM Media Player can not play due to a missing Codec, (I haven’t found one yet), GOM Media Player will attempt to find one. Once it finds a match, you will be redirected to a download site from which you can download and install the required Codec/s.

A built-in Screen Capture utility allows you to take screenshots of your video directly from GOM Media Player. Using the Burst Capture feature, you can take up to 999 shots continuous screenshots. I love this feature!

This is my personal choice of media player, and I have yet to be disappointed with its performance. I highly recommend this really excellent free application.

Quick facts:

DVD-quality videos with 5.1 channel audio output.

Supports most Codecs (AVI, DAT, MPEG, DivX, FLI using an embedded Codec system

Plays incomplete or damaged AVI file by skipping the damaged frames

Plays Locked Media Files while downloading or sharing


Subtitle, Overlay Mixer features, Keys Remapping, Super speed/High Mode

Play Audio CD

Play Video CD/SVCD/XCD

Enhanced Filter Rendering

Drag-and-drop support

Editable skins

Real-time index rebuilding for AVI files

Unicode support

Advanced Features:

Customizable settings on the control panel

Adjust image brightness, hue, and saturation

Sharpen and add noise to your video

Audio equalizer

Fast forward/rewind using left/right keys

Repeat a section of your video using A-B Repeat feature

System Requirements: Windows Me/2000/XP/2003 Server/Vista

Download at:


Filed under Audio Applications, Audio Software, Freeware, High Definition Video Players, Interconnectivity, Media Player Replacement, Multimedia Tools, Software, Windows Tips and Tools

DriverScanner from Uniblue – Update Your Outdated Drivers

Incredibly, computer products/peripherals are often distributed with under tested device and system drivers, which can cause real mayhem including intermittent system crashes (one of the hardest problems to diagnose), poor system performance, or buggy peripheral performance.

Manufacturers of course, are not slackers when it comes to improving previously released drivers in order to fix bugs, errors and conflicts with other programs, (more common than you may think), or to increase peripheral functionality. For example, my HP home printer has had three improved drivers released in the past two years that have increased stability and functionality somewhat.

If you want to take a trip on the “Frustration Express” then you can try to update your drivers manually. Believe me; you’ll be in for one hell of a ride.

You’ll start by Googling the driver name, then investigation available drivers, many of which will have a disclaimer stating that it was not written specifically for your system/device, you’ll try it – then delete it and then your back to Googling again. Repeat the previous frustrating experience as many times as necessary and you might get lucky.

Uniblue Systems, a Microsoft Gold Certified provider and one of my favorite socially conscious software developers, who are noted in the computer tech community for freely providing, as a public service, the invaluable system tools ProcessLibrary, ProcessQuickLink, and ProcessScanner, has just released a terrific utility that takes care of all these problems for you.

DriverScanner will quickly scan your system, determine the drivers that have updates available, and will download and install the updated drivers which can provide you with increased system stability and more reliable system and peripheral performance. On my test bed system, DriverScanner found, in seconds, seven drivers that needed updating. Considering what I do for a living, and how fastidious I am in system maintenance, I was very impressed.

DriverScanner doesn’t stop there though.

Consider the last time you had to do a full re-install of Windows, (if you haven’t yet you will), and you discovered that the most frustrating part of the process was the installation of all those device drivers. The hassle you had searching high and low for the original install CD’s or worse, spending hours on the Internet tracking down those hard to pin down drivers.

DriverScanner makes it easy to backup and reinstall all your Windows drivers. Using DriverScanner, you simply backup and restore to and from external devices.

This is a great little application that should be part of your system and recovery toolbox.

Quick facts:

Driver scanner engine works via a single click

Identification of drivers requiring an update

Download of updated drivers specific to the hardware and OS

Comprehensive driver download history

Driver backup and restore to and from external devices

Triggering installations of the upgrades

Backup of current drivers and restore feature

Use of restore points as a backup plan in case of faulty drivers

Reporting of defective drivers directly from the interface

Clear and simple to use interface.

This is a great little application that should be part of your recovery toolbox.

Requirements: Windows XP, Vista

Download the trial version at Uniblue


Filed under Backup Applications, Geek Software and Tools, Slow Computer, Software, Software Trial Versions, System Tweaks, System Utilities, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Best Free Software Tools for School – High School/College

School is in and let’s face it, you’ll need to trim your expenses this year and software applications that cost hundreds of dollars are not going to be number one on your list of must haves. Well, they don’t really need to be.

There’s a wealth of tried and tested free software out in the wild blue of the Internet that will meet virtually every need you’re likely to have this school year. Take a look at the following recommended free downloads that will help you communicate, get those assignments done, have some fun, and manage and protect your system while you’re surfing the Internet.

Process those words:


OpenOffice 2 is the leading open-source office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more. It is available in many languages and works on all common computers. It stores all your data in an international open standard format and can also read and write files from other common office software packages including Microsoft Word.


AbiWord is a free light weight word processing program similar to Microsoft Word. It is suitable for a wide variety of word processing tasks.


WordWeb is a one-click English thesaurus and dictionary for Windows that can look up words in almost any program. It works off-line, but can also look up words in web references such as the Wikipedia encyclopedia.

Manipulate and correct your pics – put them online:

FastStone Image Viewer:

This is one of my favorite photo applications, with good reason. It’s not just a viewer, but an image browser, converter, and an editor as well. You’ll find the interface intuitive and very easy to use. This program is loaded with features including, renaming, cropping, color adjustments, lossless JPEG transformation, drop shadow effects, image frames, scanner support, histogram and much more.


IrfanView is a very fast, small, compact and innovative graphic viewer for Windows 9x/ME/NT/2000/XP/2003/Vista. Strange name – terrific application.

Google Picasa:

A free software that helps you locate and organize all the photos on your computer, edit and add effects to your photos with a few simple clicks and share your photos with others through email, prints and on the web.

Play those tunes:


Audacity is free, open source software for recording and editing sounds. It is available for Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems. Definitely the best of breed.


According to Apple this is the world’s best digital music jukebox. Download music, TV shows, movies, and more.


A multimedia player that supports numerous audio and video formats. It also plays streamed video and audio content, live and recorded, authored worldwide.

Watch your fav videos:


Miro is a free application for channels of internet video (also known as ‘video podcasts and video rss). Miro is designed to be easy to use and to give you an elegant full screen viewing experience.


A highly portable multimedia player for various audio and video formats (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, mp3, ogg …) as well as DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols.

Free FLV Converter:

This free software let you search YouTube and dailyMotion videos without opening your browser and you can even watch the videos using the built-in video player.

Free Video To iPhone Converter:

Convert video files to Apple iPhone MP4 video format. Convert the whole movie or select a partition from the movie to convert (trim video).

iPod Video Converter:

Free iPod Video Converter provides an easy and completed way to convert all popular video formats to iPod video.

Better browsing:


FireFox includes tons of useful features such as tabbed browsing, built-in and customizable search bars, a built-in RSS reader and a huge library of extensions developed by thousand of developers.


Opera introduces Speed Dial which vastly improves navigation to your favorite sites. In addition, there’s Fraud protection, anti-phishing detection keeps browsing safe and secure.

Web of Trust (WOT):

WOT is a free Internet Browser add-on (my personal favorite), that has established an impressive 4.5/5.0 star user rating on CNET. WOT tests web sites you are visiting for spyware, spam, viruses, browser exploits, unreliable online shops, phishing, and online scams, helping you avoid unsafe web sites.

Protect your system:

Spyware Doctor Starter Edition:

This free version of the award winning program, with its easy to use interface, is used by millions of people worldwide to protect their computers; it’s reported there are a million+ additional downloads every week.

AVG Anti-Virus:

AVG Anti-Virus Free 8.0 now incorporates protection against spyware through a new combined anti-virus and anti-spyware engine as well as a “safe-searching component” which has been incorporated into the new AVG Internet Security Toolbar. This program scans files on access, on demand, and on schedule and scans email incoming and outgoing. For those on Vista, you’re in luck, it’s Vista-ready

Comodo Firewall Pro:

The definitive free firewall, Comodo Firewall protects your system by defeating hackers and restricting unauthorized programs from accessing the Internet. I have been using this application for 10 months and I continue to feel very secure. It resists being forcibly terminated and it works as well, or better, than any firewall I’ve paid for. This is one I highly recommend. Amazing that it’s free!

Staying in touch:

Windows Live messenger:

The next generation MSN Messenger. It comes with everything that were already available in Messenger, and a new i’m Initiative that makes helping your favorite charity as easy as sending an instant message.


A multi-protocol Instant Messaging client that allows you to use all of your IM accounts at once. Pidgin can work with: AIM, Bonjour, Gadu-Gadu, Google Talk, ICQ, IRC, MSN, Yahoo!, MySpaceIM and many more.


A fully featured, stand-alone, skinnable chat client that supports AIM, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo Messenger, and IRC.

System Tools:


CCleaner is a freeware system optimization, privacy and cleaning tool. It removes unused files from your system – allowing Windows to run faster and freeing up valuable hard disk space. It also cleans traces of your online activities such as your Internet history. Additionally it contains a fully featured registry cleaner. But the best part is that it’s fast; normally taking less than a second to run.

Glary Utilities:

Glary Utilities, a free all-in-one utility, is a terrific collection of system tools and utilities to fix, speed up, maintain and protect your PC. Personal experience with this application for the last 8 months has convinced me that a typical user can really benefit by having this application on their system. With this free program you can tweak, repair, optimize and improve your system’s performance; and its ease of operation makes it ideal for less experienced users.

Revo Uninstaller:

Revo Uninstaller is a superior program to uninstall programs from your computer. This free program with its advanced and fast algorithm scans before, and after you uninstall an application. After the program’s regular uninstaller runs, you can remove additional unnecessary files, folders and registry keys that are usually left over (those “orphaned” registry entries we talked about earlier), on your computer. This feature is a definite plus.

Have a great school year!


Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Audio Applications, Audio Software, Browser add-ons, Browsers, Cell Phone Apps, Firefox, Firefox Add-ons, Free Security Programs, Free Word Processors, Freeware, Graphic Software, High Definition Video Players, Image Editors, Interconnectivity, Internet Explorer Add-ons, Internet Safety, iPod Tips, Media Player Replacement, MS Word Alternatives, Multimedia Tools, Online Photo Editing, Online Photo Storage, Open Source, Photo Tools, Secure File Deletion, Software, Spyware - Adware Protection, Student Help, System File Protection, System Security, Timesaving Tips, Windows Tips and Tools, Writing Aids

I am LOP – I am Adware – I WILL Control Your Computer

I might be adware, but I’m pretty polite; I won’t infect your computer unless you invite me in. But I can count on lots of you doing just that.

I’ll accept your invitation, to infect your system, if you download and install either of two rogue Peer to Peer (P2P) applications currently making the rounds on the Internet. BitRoll-, and Torrent101-4.5.0, are two programs that are used to exchange P2P files that I like to piggyback on.

Just so you know though, I’m pretty lazy so you won’t be able to actually download any files using these bogus applications.

My masters (some might call them cyber-crooks – actually, everyone calls them cyber-crooks), are experts at using false/rogue applications to install malicious code like me.

I’m a pretty neat piece of adware (my masters are pretty smart fellows), since I’ve been designed to display ads from a range of advertisers through pop-up windows, banners ads and so on. Oh, and I’ll automatically switch your Internet Explorer home page to my own search engine. One I particularly like is When searches are made with this engine, the results that you get will be advertising pages that I choose to display.

Just in case you decide that I’m no longer welcome on your computer (that happens to me all the time), I’ll connect every so often to a web page from which I’ll download new files containing variants of myself which will make it difficult to delete all of my active malicious files on your system.

I should tell you that I’m extremely hard to get rid of, and just in case you try to get rid of me, I’ll make over 200+ changes to your Registry Keys. And in case that’s not enough to dissuade you from trying to kick me out, you should know that I have the ability to invite lots of my other adware friends over to party on your system.

I love to monitor your system’s processes, and I can even play with your security applications making them ineffective. Once I’ve done that, I can unleash my keylogger to capture your key strokes and just for fun, I might even scan your email address book so that I can bug your friends.

In my spare time I’m going to look around your operating system for vulnerabilities, because I’m pretty certain, that like many people, you haven’t installed the latest updates nor have you updated your security applications, like you’re supposed to.

Hey man, I’m here for a long, long visit, so think carefully before you offer me that invitation.

Have a good day now.

Elsewhere on this Blog you can read an article on free anti-malware programs, including anti-virus software, and you can download those that may suit your needs.


Filed under Freeware, Interconnectivity, Malware Advisories, Online Safety, Peer to Peer, Rogue Software, Safe Surfing, Software, Spyware - Adware Protection, System File Protection, System Security, trojans, Viruses, Windows Tips and Tools

Peer to Peer (P2P) File Sharing – Risks You Need to Know!

Every day, millions of computer users share files online. Whether it is music, games, or software, file-sharing can provide computer users with access to a wealth of information.

All that’s required to participate in Peer to Peer file sharing is the installation of the necessary file sharing software such as LimeWire, FrostWire, or Ares, that connects your computer to an informal network of other computers running file sharing software.

Millions of users could be connected to each other through this type of software at any one time. File sharing applications are often free, and easily accessible as a download on the Internet.

Sounds promising, right? Maybe; but make sure that you consider the trade-offs and the very real risks involved. The number of times I have been called upon to rescue a friend’s computer because of system damage caused by peer to peer downloading, has convinced me to give this form of file sharing, on public file-sharing networks, an automatic “thumbs down”.

Risk factors

Privacy: When you are connected to file-sharing programs, you may unintentionally allow others to copy confidential files you did not intend to share. So be sure to setup the file-sharing software very carefully. If you don’t check the proper settings when you install the software, you could allow access not just to the files you intend to share, but also to other information on your hard drive. Information such as your tax returns, email messages, medical records, photos, and other personal and financial documents.

It’s extremely important to be aware of the files that you place in, or download to, your shared folder. Don’t put information in your shared folder that you don’t want to share with others. Your shared folder is the folder that is shared automatically with others on peer to peer file sharing networks.

Copyright Issues: You may knowingly, or otherwise, download material that is protected by copyright laws and find yourself caught up in legal issues. Can this really happen? You bet.

Copyright infringement can result in significant monetary damages, fines, and even criminal penalties. Some statistics suggest as many as 70% of young people between the ages of 9 – 14, regularly download copyrighted digital music. I f you are a parent, you bear the ultimate responsibility for this illegal activity.

Adult Content: Again, if you are a parent you may not be aware that their children have downloaded file-sharing software on the family computer, and that they may have exchanged games, videos, music, pornography, or other material that may be unsuitable for them. It’s not unusual for other peoples’ files to be mislabeled, and you or your children, can unintentionally download these files.

Elsewhere in this Blog you can read an article on child safety on the Internet, and download a free parental control program that comes highly recommended.

Go to: Free Internet Child Protection – Parental Control Bar.

Spyware: There’s a good chance that the file-sharing program you’re using has installed other software known as spyware to your computer’s operating system. Spyware monitors a user’s browsing habits and then sends that data to third parties. Frequently the user gets ads based on the information that the spyware has collected and forwarded to these third parties. I can assure you that spyware can be difficult to detect and remove.

Before you use any file-sharing program, you should buy, or download free software, that can help prevent the downloading or installation of spyware, or help to detect it on your hard drive if it has been installed.

Elsewhere on this Blog you can read an article on free anti-malware programs, including anti-virus software, and you can download those that may suit your needs.

Go to: Free Windows Software You Can’t Afford Not to Have!

Viruses: Use and update your anti-virus software regularly. Files you download could be mislabeled, hiding a virus or other unwanted content. Use anti-virus software to protect your computer from viruses you might pick up from other users through the file-sharing program. Generally, your virus filter should prevent your computer from receiving possibly destructive files. While downloading, you should avoid files with extensions such as .exe, .scr, .lnk, .bat, .vbs, .dll, .bin, and .cmd.

Default Closing Behavior: It is critical that you close your connection after you have finished using the software. In some instances, closing the file-sharing program window does not actually close your connection to the network. That allows file-sharing to continue and will increase your security risk. Be sure to turn off this feature in the programs “preferences” setting. What’s more, some file-sharing programs automatically run every time you turn on your computer. As a preventive measure, you should adjust the file-sharing program’s controls to prevent the file-sharing program from automatically starting.

For more on the potential dangers involved in peer to peer file sharing, check out the FBI’s web site.

If you decide peer to peer file sharing is for you, the following free applications are spyware free when downloaded from reputable download sites such as, or

LimeWire: Download at

Ares: Download at

FrostWire: Download at


Filed under Free Security Programs, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Internet Safety, Internet Safety for Children, Internet Safety Tools, Malware Advisories, Online Safety, Parenting Help, Peer to Peer, Privacy, Software, Spyware - Adware Protection, System Security, trojans, Viruses, Windows Tips and Tools

Domestic Violence – Hi-Tech Spousal Abuse

The U.S. Office on Violence against Women (OVW) defines domestic violence as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic violence can take many forms, including physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional, economic, and psychological abuse.

This article is gender neutral; clearly both men and women can be victims of domestic violence and abusive behavior.

Most of us would agree that new technology is, in most cases, unbiased. It is how we implement technology that establishes its value, and impacts any ethical questions that surrounds its use. It is clear that virtually all technologies, if used improperly, can be used to cause damage.

Over the past year I have reviewed several computer monitoring and keylogger products which I must admit, I had not considered could be misused as an aid in spousal abuse until it was brought to my attention. I suppose I shouldn’t have been quite as surprised as I was; after all many of these products are advertised as a method to detect a cheating spouse.

Curious about this, I Googled “cheating spouse” and I was surprised to see over 900,000 hits. More surprising was the number of hits on “keyloggers for cheating spouse”; over 95,000.

Probing further, I discovered that this type of technology is now pervasive in spousal abuse. According to Anna Stepanov, manager of the Anti-Spyware program at McAfee Avert Labs, “Using spyware for surveillance in cases of domestic abuse is a serious matter.”

Stepanov, who is also the author of a report entitled Spyware: A Morphing Campaign, which describes current spyware trends that includes domestic abuse states, “Monitoring a victim’s online, cell phone, or general computing activity is of more value than ever in controlling or hurting a victim.”

Cindy Southworth, technology director at the National Network to End Domestic Violence commenting on this issue has stated “With spyware, if the victim is thinking about leaving, all that is captured. If the victim looks for plane tickets, shelters, a new apartment, it all shows up in the computer logs.”

Since spyware is now an issue in domestic abuse the agency cautions those in an abusive relationship not to use their home computer for these kinds of tasks.

All of this has now been compounded by the news that the misuse of GPS technology by abusive individuals is now rampant. GPS can be used to track a victim by transmitting coordinates that result in the generation of a web page that maps the victim’s location.

The U.S. National Network to End Domestic Violence suggests the following to computer users, to reduce the impact of this type of abuse.

Internet Safety Tips for Abused Women

If you are in danger, please try to use a safer computer that someone abusive does not have direct or remote hacking access to.

If you think your activities are being monitored, they probably are. Abusive people are often controlling and want to know your every move. You don’t need to be a computer programmer or have special skills to monitor someone’s computer and Internet activities – anyone can do it and there are many ways to monitor with programs like Spyware, keystroke loggers and hacking tools.

It is not possible to delete or clear all the “footprints” of your computer or online activities. If you are being monitored, it may be dangerous to change your computer behaviors such as suddenly deleting your entire Internet history if that is not your regular habit.

If you think you may be monitored on your home computer, be careful how you use your computer since an abuser might become suspicious. You may want to keep using the monitored computer for normal activities, such as looking up the weather or recipes. Use a safer computer to research an escape plan, look for new jobs or apartments, bus tickets, or ask for help.

Email and Instant/Text Messaging (IM) are not safe or confidential ways to talk to someone about the danger or abuse in your life. If possible, please call a hotline instead. If you use email or IM, please use a safer computer and an account your abuser does not know about.

Computers can store a lot of private information about what you look at via the Internet, the emails and instant messages you send, internet-based phone and IP-TTY calls you make, web-based purchases and banking, and many other activities. It might be safer to use a computer in a public library, at a community technology center (CTC), at a trusted friend’s house, or an Internet Café.


Filed under Anti-Keyloggers, Domestic Violence, Email, Interconnectivity, Internet Safety, Living Life, Online Safety, Personal Perspective, Safe Surfing, Spousal Abuse, Surveillance, Windows Tips and Tools