Monthly Archives: May 2010

Email Scammers Threaten to Have Me Charged with Money Laundering

image I’m use to receiving scam emails (up to 10 a day), which attempt to entice me into divulging personal information with all sorts of promises of quick money – if only I complete a particular task. A task which always involves me having to spend money.

Generally, these types of emails , while they may be designed to cheat the unwary, are helpful in the extreme; paving the way to illusive riches with a detailed list of easy to follow instructions. The type of email I like to call – “the wolf in sheep’s clothing” email.

But, in a spam scam email I received this morning, the scammers have abandoned this helpful attitude and instead, have resorted to intimidation and threats.

Here are the highlights of this threatening email:

We, office of the international police association (IPA) hereby write to inform you that we caught a diplomatic lady by the name Mrs. Vernon Wallace at (John F Kennedy International Airport ) here in New York with a consignment box filled with United States Dollars.

She said that the consignment box belongs to you and that she was sent by one Edward Luis to deliver the consignment box to your doorstep not knowing that the content of the box is money.

In this regards you are to reassure and prove to us that the money you are about to receive is legal by sending us the Award Ownership Certificate showing that the money is not illegal.

The Award Ownership Certificate must to be secured from the office of the Nigerian Senate President … this is because the fund originated from Nigeria.

Furthermore, we are giving you only but 3 working business days to forward the requested Award Ownership Certificate … if you didn’t come up with the certificate we shall confiscate the funds into World Bank account then charge you for money laundering.

I think these scammers have watched one too many movies.

I know that you won’t be deceived by this type of clumsy attempt to defraud, but you would be surprised how often reasonably intelligent people are. Believe it or not, there are some people, somewhere, who will believe this nonsense.

Be kind to your friends, relatives, and associates, particularly those who are new Internet users, and let them know that there is an epidemic of this types of scam on the Internet. In doing so, you help raise the level of protection for all of us.

As well, ask your friends, relatives, and associates to keep the following tips in mind while on the Internet:

Don’t click links in emails or social networking sites. If they come from a known source, type them on the browser’s address bar. If they come from an untrusted source, simply ignore them.

Don’t open emails that come from untrusted sources.

Don’t run files that you receive via email without making sure of their origin.Keep your computer protected.

Install a security solution and keep it up-to-date.

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Filed under cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, Email, email scams, internet scams, Internet Security Alerts, Online Safety, Phishing, spam, Windows Tips and Tools

Download Paragon’s FREE Rescue Kit Express

Popular guest writer Rick Robinette, has a knack for finding great free applications. Paragon Free Rescue Kit, one of Rick’s latest finds, professionally fixes boot problems as well as retrieves your data when your system fails to boot. It even rescues deleted partitions

During my research and testing of Paragon’s FREE edition of Backup and Recovery, I happened to notice that they also have available for FREE, a Rescue Kit.

To use the FREE Rescue Kit, you must acquire a registration (serial # and product key) from  [ HERE ] . This may sound like a hassle to go through, but this disk, once created, may be helpful in recovering data from your PC when disaster occurs.

Key Features

Worry-Free Data Protection with Paragon’s Bootable Recovery CD

Don’t wait for disaster strike before using Rescue Kit. Burn the software on your CD/DVD and be prepared for any situation.

Easily Fix Boot Problems

Boot Corrector option resolves various problems you may encounter during the system boot process. These problems may be caused by program errors, user mistakes, or become the results of boot virus activity. Boot Corrector allows you to cure the majority of boot problems for Windows Operating System and gives you access to your data!

Rescue Your Data

In case of a system malfunction, caused either by a virus attack or file corruption, you can retrieve valuable information from your disks and copy it to another local drive, partition or save the data to CD/DVD. The File Transfer Wizard helps you to export data as easy and convenient as possible.

Undelete Partition

When simply deleting a partition (without additional wiping) disk management software only removes the references to it in the Partition Table, thus leaving the possibility to recover it later. The Undelete Partitions Wizard enables you to find and recover these partitions. A restored partition will be fully functional, as long as other partitions were not created, moved or exceeded the disk space.

System requirements: Windows Me/2000/XP/Vista/7

Download at:

This is a guest post by Rick Robinette, who brings a background as a security/police officer professional, and as an information technology specialist to the Blogging world.

Why not pay a visit to Rick’s site at What’s On My PC. Like me, you’re sure to become a frequent visitor.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.


Filed under downloads, Free File Recovery Applications, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Hard Drive Problems, Hard Drive Tools, Software, System Utilities, Utilities, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – May 31, 2010

The Procrastinator’s Guide to PC Maintenance – You want to keep your PC running smoothly, your apps updated, and your data safe–but you’re lazy. Here’s how to keep your PC healthy while expending the minimum amount of effort possible.

PCWorld Reviewers’ Favorite Downloads: April 2010 – The reviewers and bloggers of PCWorld see a great deal of software every month. In April, their favorites ran the gamut from the useful to the delightful–and a few that fit both descriptions. From encryption to syncing, from printer utilities to desktop tidiers, from problem-solvers to puzzle games..

Five tips for taking control of Windows Explorer – A few simple tweaks can make Windows Explorer more compatible with your working style and save you time down the road.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

20 Sizzling Summer Video Games – From LEGO Harry Potter to Madden NFL 11 to Lord of the Rings: Aragorn’s Quest to Halo: Reach, here’s a sneak peek at great PC and video games you won’t want to miss this summer.

Five tips for getting the most out of Windows 7 Jump Lists – Once you get used to the new Jump Lists feature, you may be hooked. These tips will help you get started.

The Smart Paranoid’s Guide to Using Google – Google is nearly everyone’s best friend. But have you ever stopped to think about just how much Google knows about you?

Google has mapped every WiFi network in Britain – Google has mapped every wireless network in Britain in order to use the information for commercial purposes, it has emerged.

How do I add hidden international desktop themes to Windows 7? – When you told Windows 7 that you were a resident of the U.S., the operating system hid the other international choices, but I don’t like having my choices arbitrarily limited. There is a relatively simple way to add them to your list of available themes in the Personalization section of the Control Panel, and it starts with a search.

Create an energy use report in Windows 7 with powercfg – With Microsoft Windows 7, you can use a small applet called the Power Configuration Utility. Run from the command line with the right switch, it will create a detailed file that thoroughly examines power usage on your personal computer. Here is how it works.

Off Topic (Sort of):

The dumb get confident, while the intelligent get doubtful – That’s the conclusion that David Dunning and Justin Kruger came to when studying people’s perceptions of their own talents. What has now become known as the Dunning-Kruger effect helps describe why lay people often act as experts and inept politicians get our votes. (submitted by Dar)

This man hasn’t eaten in 70 years …or so he says – The man you see below is Prahlad Jani. He’s being studied by India’s Defense Research Organization, because Jani claims that he hasn’t had anything to eat or drink in 70 years. The Telegraph says Jani is known as a breatharian, i.e. he only needs air to survive. He’s been under observation for six days, and so far has shown no signs of lethargy despite his extreme diet.

Think Geek: Allergic to Stupid People Tee – Wouldn’t it be awesome if stupid people put off something that identified them to your immune system as non-desirable? When the eau de idiot begins wafting your way, your histamines kick in. (submitted by Dar)

Cut grass, set lawnmower landspeed record. Rule Britannia! – The Honour Motorsport-backed Project Runningblade, has claimed a new land speed record for the world’s fastest lawnmower at Pendine Sands in South Wales. (submitted by Dar)

Today’s Quote:

“In the modern world the stupid are cocksure, while the intelligent are full of doubt”

Bertrand Russell (From his essay “The Triumph of Stupidity)”

Today’s Free Downloads:

Stalled Printer Repair – Sometimes print jobs get stuck in the queue, and it’s not always obvious why. It could be the result of a driver issue, it could be because you’re using a Wi-Fi connection to the printer, and so forth. Even more vexing, Windows won’t let you delete a stuck print job, which blocks subsequent items from printing

SkyORB 3D – SkyOrb 3D takes you on a tour of the solar system or the galaxy. This free astronomy program charts the stars, planets, and other celestial objects such as comets and asteroids and lets you navigate through space.

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Comments Off on Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – May 31, 2010

Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

Internet Security: There’s an App for That – Your BRAIN!

image Yes, it’s true! There’s an application designed to help keep you safe on the Internet. And here’s the best part – you don’t have to buy, or download and install this application.

Most Internet users, in my experience, already have this app (some don’t – more about that later), and it works surprisingly well with a computer’s Firewall, Security Applications, and Browser security add-ons.

The Brain is a very efficient Internet safety device, and using it will provide a user with the best protection available while surfing the Internet. There’s a small problem with the Brain though, which might explain its frequent unreliability.

Just as a Firewall needs to be “trained”, to reach the best state of efficiency and protection capabilities, similarly, the Brain app requires “training’”; so that it too, can perform to its maximum potential as an Internet safety device.

Failure to train a software Firewall application, for example, can lead, in many cases, to an erratic and uncertain experience. The untrained Brain app as well, can exhibit parallel behavior.

Sadly, a significant number of Brain apps lack this training and as a result, many computer users fail to recognize the dangers, and threats, the Internet poses to their computers, and to their personal privacy.

So, in order to get the best out of this priceless Internet safety device, it needs to be trained (educated). A good place to start this training process is The Enemy is at the Gate – Common Sense Tips for Internet and System Security, on this site.

This site is hardly alone in offering Internet security and how-to advice to computer users. There are many excellent sites that do just that.

Here are some of my favorites:

Mister Reiner

Paul’s Home Computing Blog

Scoroncocolo Tech Pages

Tech – for Everyone

ThreatFire Research Blog

TTC Shelbyville – Technical Blog

TuneUp (Blog about Windows)

What’s On My PC

Times have changed; cybercriminals are increasingly more knowledgeable, quicker to respond to opportunities, and more relentless than ever in their attempts to separate surfers from their money.

Train that Brain – so that you are aware of the shape of the Internet landscape, and the changes that are occurring, or may occur in that landscape. Now, more than ever, Brain training is a necessity – a prerequisite to protecting yourself and your computer from cybercriminal attack.

Here’s an example of the type of behavior exhibited by users who lack a Brain app:

Sensational news alerts, continue to be one of the most popular methods cyber-crooks use to capture Internet users’ attention; particularly in emails, Google search results, and on social networking sites like Twitter and FaceBook.

When Michael Jackson died, I wrote a piece entitled “Hey Sucker – Read This! Michael Jackson’s Not Dead!”, simply as a test of “curiosity exploitation”.

The results that followed were astonishing – within days, this article was getting 1,000’s of daily hits. Even today, this nonsensical article continues to get hits. Go figure!

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.


Filed under cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, Interconnectivity, Internet Safety, Online Safety, Personal Perspective, System Security, Windows Tips and Tools

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – May 30, 2010

Review: Avast Free Antivirus – Avast Free 5, an A-list freeware antivirus app, provides the same steadfast protection of well-known, pricier antivirus programs. Avast is remarkable for both its effectiveness and arguably providing the most complete free antivirus on the market.

$2.95 – The Price For All Your Personal Details – How safe is your identity in the Internet Age? For a $2.95 a month subscription on, anyone can find your name, age, ethnicity, marital status, religion, politics, address, home phone number, mobile phone number, e-mail address, social networking profiles, photos, videos and blogs.

Researchers find database with 44 million stolen gaming credentials – Researchers from Symantec have discovered a staggeringly large cache of stolen online gaming credentials — some 44 million of them — in a heist where the operators are using a specially crafted Trojan to automatically validate the booty.

5 Chrome Extensions for more Safe and Secure Browsing – No doubt, Google Chrome is a best, fast and secure web browser! But it never hurts to bolster your defenses, and there are plenty of good chrome extensions for doing just that over in the official Google Chrome Extensions Gallery.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Get the Classic Start Menu in Windows 7 with Classic Shell – Bill Detwiler shows you how to get the Classic Start Menu back in Windows 7 using a free program called Classic Shell.

Grab big pics off Google Images the easy way – If you happen to frequent Google’s Images search tool with the intention of grabbing the full-quality version of whatever image you’re looking for, you’ve probably noticed Google makes you jump through some hoops to get there. The good news, is that if you feel like taking some shortcuts, there’s a new Firefox extension that melts away these moral productivity burdens.

Google Chrome 5 (Mac OS X and Linux) – For Windows users, Google Chrome 5 is a minor update; the real news is that with Chrome 5 Google’s browser is finally available for Mac OS X and Linux. After over a year in development, Mac and Linux users can finally experience Chrome speed and sparse design.

What makes a tablet a tablet? (FAQ) – Devices between the traditional smartphone and notebook PC categories occupy a gray area. We break down the differences between several self-proclaimed tablets.

Windows XP Fans Uneasy as OS Nears Retirement – Microsoft will officially retire Windows XP SP2 on July 13. After that date, although it will continue to provide security updates for XP SP3, it will stop issuing patches for the older SP2.

Cloud Computing: Cloud Computing Myths Exposed – As cloud computing goes mainstream and channel opportunities increase, there are still some naysayers out there spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt about how viable and safe cloud computing really is. Channel Insider takes a look at the more prevalent myths about cloud computing and where the truth actually lies.

Off Topic (Sort of):

The Future of Surveillance, When Automated Brains Keep Watch – Finding enough eyeballs to watch thousands of screens simply isn’t practical, yet modern automated systems can fill the gap with a surprising degree of intelligence. The Automated Warning and Response Engine (AWARE) from Abeo Technical Services is one such system. It replaces the traditional banks of screens with a single view.

Transparent Displays: The Awesome Future of LCDs – While the concept of transparent screens is not new but DisplayWeek Show exhibited larger, clearer transparent LCDs. The future of transparent LCD displays is huge.

Leading Louisiana wetlands scientist fired for speaking the truth – The US can’t be destroyed, or even seriously injured, by an external enemy. But it can be – and is – being destroyed from within by its so-called “elites.” (submitted by Dar)

‘Hurt Locker’ downloaders, you’ve been sued – Producers of Oscar-winning film “The Hurt Locker” have made good on a promise to file copyright lawsuits against people who illegally shared the movie via peer-to-peer networks. Voltage Pictures files lawsuits against 5,000 John and Jane Does. Will this trigger new round of copyright lawsuits against public?

Popping pills? Try printing them first – By dissolving a drug’s active ingredients into liquid form, it can be used much like ink, with the drug literally printed onto pills for more exact dosages as well as faster-acting medicines.

Today’s Quote:

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

–    Aristotle

Today’s Free Downloads:

ZoneAlarm Free Firewall 9.2 – ZoneAlarm Firewall Free 9.2 has gotten quieter and more effective, and should be considered an excellent tool for replacing the adequate default Windows firewall with a stronger option that includes better outbound protection, antiphishing guards, and ZoneAlarm’s behavioral detection network.

Ad-Aware Free Anti-Malware 8.2 – One of the first applications built to find and remove malware and spyware, Ad-Aware’s reputation is well-justified. The latest version continues the publisher’s tradition of adroitly addressing user concerns, but isn’t yet perfect.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.


Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

The Internet is NOT Childs Play – Internet Tips for Parents

imageIn the last year,  McAfee Inc., the well known provider of antivirus software and intrusion prevention solutions, released research which indicated that most American mothers rate their teenagers’ online safety, their exposure to drugs and drunk driving, as essentially equal anxiety producing agents.

So, were these mothers concerns justified?

You bet! While it’s true that the Internet can provide a rich educational and cultural experience for children, and teenagers, it is virtually impossible for them not to be exposed to,  “the underbelly of the internet”.

One of the more harmful urban myths, which most adults believe is, we have raised, or are raising a “tech savvy” generation. This “truth” however, should not be taken at face value.

Simply because a teenager is more comfortable with technology than a parent, does not makes a teenager tech savvy. Knowing how to text message, or load a game onto an Xbox, does not make one “tech savvy”. It really is a situation where “they don’t know what they don’t know”, can have serious impact.

I fully understand where this idea of the tech savvy generation comes from – just listen to the mainstream media. The media constantly pontificates on how technically literate today’s young people are. The dichotomy is, these are the same young people whose literacy skills are insufficient to deal with their own education, never mind the complexities the techno world presents.

If you think this is an overstated argument, then consider this: According to a study of more than 19,000 college graduates, conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics, only 31 percent can read a complex book and extrapolate from it. Without doubt, the world of Internet security is the most complex world I have ever inhabited.

Staying safe in today’s techno centric world demands knowledge, and acquiring that knowledge requires that a major effort be made to obtain it. Lacking in appropriate literacy skills makes the job of accumulating that knowledge a difficult undertaking.

It’s no wonder then, that the majority of children, and teenagers, are undereducated when it comes to recognizing the dangers, and threats, that the Internet poses to their personal privacy and safety.

Let me ask you this question – would you drop off your child, or teenager, in a neighborhood where more than half of the buildings were adult stores, and which was potentially full of predators?

In my view, if you allow your child, or younger teenager, to interact with the Internet unsupervised, or without having communicated to your child information concerning potential on-line dangers, this is what you may well be doing.

How much do you know about where your child goes on the Internet?

What social networking sites does your child subscribes to?

Who are their online friends and acquaintances?

What does your child post online and where is it posted?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you are not alone. Recent statistics make it clear that fully 80% of parents don’t know.

It’s easy to see why this knowledge gap exists; since reports indicate 8 of out of 10 parents give their children unrestricted access to the Internet, without implementing parental control settings.

Additional study statistics:

Providing personal information to online strangers – 52 per cent of teens in the study reported having done so.

Providing a photograph, or a physical description, to online strangers – 34 per cent of teenage girls in the study, reported having done so.

Clearing the browser cache so that their Internet history cannot be tracked – 32 per cent of the teenagers in the study, reported having done so.

I found the most surprising and troubling statistic to be; 16 per cent of the teenagers involved in the McAfee study, indicated they had developed social networking profiles and Email addresses, which they had hidden from their parents.

So what’s a concerned parent to do?

fbi_logo 2

You can bring yourself and your teenager up to speed on online safety, by taking the “McAfee/Comcast Cyber Summer Safety Challenge”. You might be surprised at what you can learn.

Then, follow the advice offered by the FBI in the United States, which lists some of the most important positive actions, you as a parent, can take to reduce your teenagers possible victimization on the Internet.

According to the FBI, the following are some of the most important positive actions, you as a parent, can take to reduce your child’s possible victimization on the Internet.

Communicate, and talk to your child about potential on-line dangers.

Spend time with your children on-line. Have them teach you about their favorite on-line destinations.

Keep the computer in a common room in the house, not in your child’s bedroom.

Utilize parental controls provided by your service provider and/or blocking software.

Since computer-sex offenders are a very real danger on the Internet, the FBI suggests that you instruct your children to:

Never arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone they met on- line.

Never upload (post) pictures of themselves onto the Internet or an on-line service to people they do not personally know.

Never give out identifying information such as their name, home address, school name, or telephone number.

Never download pictures from an unknown source; there is a good chance there could be sexually explicit images.

Never respond to messages or bulletin board postings that are suggestive, obscene, belligerent, or harassing.

Parental Control Bar 2

An important aspect of ensuring that your child is safe while using the Internet, (recommended by child safety experts/organizations), is the installation of parental control software.

Parental controls will provide you with the advantage of being able to:

Block access to materials (text and pictures) identified as inappropriate for kids.

Permit access only to materials specifically approved as safe for kids.

Specify what types of materials are appropriate for your child.

Monitor your child’s activity on the Internet by storing names of sites and/or snapshots of material seen by your child on the computer for you to view later.

Set different restrictions for each family member.

Limit results of an Internet search to content appropriate for kids

Enforce time limits set by parents.

If your operating system does not offer parental control features, and you would like to implement this, then check out my review, on this site, of a free application offered by, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing free and effective Internet control tools – “Free Internet Child Protection – Parental Control Bar”.

An additional problematic issues is, the issue of sex, tech and teens; more precisely – teenaged sexting. For information on this current issue, please read “Sexting – A Real Problem or an Overreaction?” on this site.

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Filed under Child Safety Internet, cybercrime, Free Surveillance Applications, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Internet Safety for Children, Internet Safety for Teenagers, Internet Safety Tools, Online Safety, Parenting Help, Sexting, social networking, Windows Tips and Tools

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – May 29, 2010

CNET: Windows Starter Kit – The Windows Starter Kit is a collection of some of the best and most essential freeware to get your new PC going. From browsers to productivity to utilities, we cover all the bases.

CNET: Utilities Starter Kit – The Utilities Starter Kit for Windows is a collection of some of the best freeware tools to replace and enhance core Windows tasks. Defraggers, system cleaners, uninstallers, Task Manager replacements, launchers, and disk space managers all have a place here.

Take control of the Windows XP pagefile – When the Pagefile is fragmented, your computer’s performance can suffer. Here are a few techniques you can use to better manage this beast.

Five tips for desktop malware first responders – These steps may be routine for full time malware warriors, but network security is only one duty among many for the typical SMB network administrator.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Why Open Source Makes Sense: Scientifically Proven – When the task at hand is a mundane and a repetitive task, money is a perfect incentive. However, when the task requires “rudimentary cognitive” skills, money, it turns out, isn’t the best incentive. This makes perfect sense when we look at the amazing open source projects out there.

Malware uses copyright threats to blackmail victims – Trojan software publishes user’s internet history and demands money. Once downloaded, the malware opens a registration screen for the game demanding personal information while scanning the computer’s user account, domain and computer name, operating system version, clipboard content, file use history and Internet Explorer favorites. (submitted by Rod)

Feds Bust $100 Mil Scareware Crew – Federal authorities say they have cracked open a cybercrime gang that allegedly duped tens of thousands of consumers into paying more than $100 million for worthless antivirus protection, priced from $30 to $70.

Survey: Business PCs Brimming with Malware – Application whitelisting company Bit9 is saying something IT admins already know: corporate and government PC users need to do a better job of protecting their computers from malware.

BP Twitter Account Hacked – Oil giant BP suffered further embarrassment after its official Twitter account was hacked. Pranksters purloined the @BP_America Twitter account to write “Terry is now in charge of operation Top Kill, work will recommence after we find a XXL wetsuit.

10 Burning Questions About Google TV – Google unveiled Google TV May 20 at the Google I/O developer’s conference, triggering more questions than answers. Some include: How much will it cost? What about support from cable providers? What about advertising?

May 31 Is ‘Quit Facebook Day’. Are You In? – Let’s face it: Facebook hit critical mass and the mainstream a while ago. According to the site itself, there are over 400 million active users, and 50 percent of them visit on any given day. Even my brother-in-law’s 91-year-old grandma is on Facebook. Now that’s mainstream.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Remember Those? A Trip Through Technology Then and Now – Remember when mobile phones were too big to fit in your pocket, and you had to pull up the antenna to get a signal? What about that daisy wheel printer, or that DEC Rainbow that could boot in multiple OSes including DOS.

Lifehacker: Become the Memorial Day Grill Master – Memorial Day marks the start of the serious grilling season, and there’s no better weekend to try your hand at outdoor cooking, or bolster your established grill-master game. Here’s a look at some pointers on getting the right gear, turning out great meals, and even preparing for uncooperative weather.

The Bulletin Humor & Funny Pics Collection – A Quick Fix for Despondency (submitted by Dar)

Traffic lights that stop your car? – Waiting at long traffic lights is frustrating enough without having to waste gas money and needlessly pollute the air. But IBM has an interesting solution in mind. Last week the company submitted a patent application for a traffic light that stops and starts cars automatically.

7 Ways Computer Glitches Can, and Have, Ruined Your Day – Computer glitches are one of the annoyances of modern society. Even when you factor out the people creating viruses and other scams, pure human error can turn two hours of work on a big project into a blue screen of death in fractions of a second. But losing a report is small potatoes to other things that can happen when computers fail…

Today’s Quote:

“There is never enough time, unless you’re serving it.”

–   Malcolm Forbes

Today’s Free Downloads:

IrfanView – IrfanView is a fast and compact image viewer/converter that supports file formats and features. Features include: multi-language support, Thumbnail option, Painting, slideshow, toolbar skins, fast directory browsing, batch conversion/editing, multipage editing, and more.

Eusing Free Registry Cleaner – Eusing Free Registry Cleaner is a free registry repair software that allows you to safely clean and repair registry problems with a few simple mouse clicks.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

Comments Off on Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – May 29, 2010

Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

False Malware Positive? Or Not? How Do You Decide?

imageYou’ve run your primary anti-malware application, and up pops a notice advising you that you have an infection. But since you’re an aware computer user, you launch both your secondary malware scanners in sequence and – surprise! According to your secondary scanners you are not infected.

But, you’re aware that anti-malware programs that rely on a definition database to identify malware files, can often be behind the curve in recognizing the newest threats.

So, decision time. Do you then trust your primary anti-malware application and attempt removal, or instead, do you trust the results produced by your secondary scanners, and leave well enough alone?

In reality, you’re not really limited to just these two choices. There is another option open to you.

If you’re worried about a specific file, here’s an interesting twist on free Online scanners– you can have any specific computer file (files are restricted to a maximum of 10 megabytes), scanned for nasties by thirty five plus diverse online scanners, all in one go, through VirusTotal.

To take advantage of this service, simply upload a file, that you’re uncertain of, to Virus Total, or as an alternative submit your suspicious file to Virus Total by email. What could be simpler?


The following graphics indicate just how efficient this free service is.

Received Files/Infected Files (Last 24 Hours) May 28, 2010:

This image shows the number of files that have been detected as infected (red) among the total number of files received within the last 24 hours (clean ones marked in blue).

Received Files / Infected Files (Last 24 Hours)

Top 10 Infected Files (Last 24 Hours), May 28, 2010:

This image shows the list of the most-uploaded infected files received within the last 24 hours.

Top 10 of Infected Files

Quick facts:

Free, independent service

Use of multiple antivirus engines

Real-time automatic updates of virus signatures

Detailed results from each antivirus engine

Real time global statistics

Keep in mind, this service is not a substitute for an appropriate local defense system, including a firewall (either software or hardware), and a sound and effective anti-malware application.

Upload your suspicious file/s to: Virus Total

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.


Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Freeware, Malware Reports, Online Malware Scanners, Utilities, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Download ZoneAlarm Free Firewall 2010 – Windows 7 Compatible

image ZoneAlarm Free was the first Firewall I ever installed to a personal system, and that was back in the dark ages of 1996. It wasn’t until 2009 that I was reluctantly forced to move away from the world’s most popular free Firewall, since Windows 7 was not yet supported.

Happily, Windows 7  is now supported, and I’ve jumped at the chance to reinstall my absolute all time favorite free Firewall.

Here’s why:

In my 14 years of experience with ZoneAlarm Free, never once has it let me down.

It’s the least intrusive free Firewall that I’m aware of – Firewalls that demand attention every 5 minutes drive me crazy!

It provides strong inbound intrusion detection, coupled with strong outbound protection. Outbound protection is an absolute “must have” today, since the botnet threat continues to escalate. ZoneAlarm will prohibit botnet connections.

ZoneAlarm’s “stealth mode” keeps my computer invisible on the Internet. If I can’t be seen by cybercriminals, my risk exposure is reduced substantially.

ZoneAlarm Free continuously monitors Internet activity through its True Vector Internet Monitor, and notifies me with an alert if it detects an unsafe, or disallowed activity.

On the reinstall it installed easily, set up quickly, and has not caused any conflicts with my machine – despite my sometimes esoteric running requirements.

The default settings are well thought out, and provide excellent protection for less experience users particularly – and despite the hype put out by media, most computer user can be classified as having limited system experience.

Experienced users on the other hand, can tinker to their hearts content, customizing and tweaking the application to meet their specific requirements.

Fast facts:

DefenseNet – Leverages real-time threat data from community of millions of users to detect and block the latest attacks.

Inbound Firewall Protection – Stops hackers and other intrusions by making your PC invisible online.

Outbound Firewall Protection – Blocks spyware, botnets, and other malware from sending your personal data out to the Internet.

Quiet and Automatic – Runs in the background, un-noticed and out of the way, with rare alerts.

Anti-phishing and Site Check – Toolbar blocks fraudulent websites including those that trick you into entering personal data.

Identity Guard – Provides credit scores and recovery services to secure your identity online and offline.

Works with all Antivirus – Compatible with antivirus software, such as AVG and Norton Antivirus.

The program settings screen is definitely new user friendly, as the following graphic illustrates.


The graphic below illustrates  a security popup since a new application is seeking first time access to the Internet. Users have the opportunity to allow, disallow, and with a checkbox tick, have ZoneAlarm automatically remember the response.


The activity log can be particularly valuable for more experienced users.


If you are a casual computer user, ZoneAlarm Free is definitely worth considering as a new Firewall installation, or as a replacement for a current Firewall that is not meeting your expectations.

System Requirements: Windows 7 (32-bit/64-bit ), Vista, XP SP2 or SP3.

Download at:

Note: Test your existing Firewall at Steve Gibson’s site – ShieldsUP! If your current Firewall is not in stealth mode (this test will confirm it), and if it can’t be forced into stealth mode, then you should consider changing your Firewall application.

Note: If you are currently running Windows Firewall, then installation and setup is a breeze since you have the opportunity to turn off this Firewall. On the other hand, if you are running another Firewall, it’s important that you uninstall
this application (use the applications built-in uninstaller), before installing ZoneAlarm Free. I mention this as a precaution only, since it’s as likely that you won’t encounter any difficulties. But……..

If your current Firewall does not include a built-in uninstaller, then use Revo Uninstaller which will delete the application including the applicable Registry entries.

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Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Free Anti-malware Software, Free Firewalls, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Internet Safety Tools, Online Safety, Software, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – May 28, 2010

Freeware Files: Five Unexpected Automation Apps for Windows! – There are a ton of apps out there that you can use to automate something you do on your PC. I mean, that’s the central conceit of software development as a whole, correct? To somehow ease the time burden it takes one to do a particular task in what would otherwise be a manual, labor-intensive process?

Pentagon: Let Us Secure Your Network or Face Wild West Alone – Companies that operate critical infrastructures and do not voluntarily allow the federal government to install monitoring software on their networks to detect possible cyber attacks would face the “wild” internet on their own and place us all at risk…

6 things Microsoft needs to do before I’ll take Windows seriously – Security in the Windows world is, well, a joke. And I’m not just talking about XP. I’m talking Vista and yes, even Microsoft’s darling Windows 7. Basically put, in the hurricane of spyware, malware, adware, trojans, and viruses that is the World Wide Web, taking Windows out into that storm is like driving a convertible in the deluge with all the doors propped wide open and the top down. (submitted by Dar)

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Microsoft Researchers Propose Privacy Sensor ‘Widget’ – Researchers from Microsoft have come up with a sensor widget concept that provides alerts and lets users control and monitor exactly what other users see from their webcams, microphones, and other live data streams.

Linux Mint 9: A Fresh Spin on Ubuntu – What’s the big deal about Linux Mint and why is it so popular among Linux users? It’s because that it includes a number of improvements and tweaks that aren’t set up out-of-the-box in the base Ubuntu distribution.

REVIEW: Emsisoft Anti-Malware 5.0 – In testing Emsisoft Anti-Malware is good at finding viruses but poor at cleaning them up; worse, it IDs too many legit apps as malware.

6 Privacy Fixes Facebook Must Make – Facebook is in trouble, but the solution isn’t particularly complicated. Here are a handful of ways Zuckerberg and Co. can get out of the headlines by letting users retake control of their privacy.

Microsoft warns on Windows 7 upgrade tool – Parallels, known for using virtualization to solve consumer problems, thought it had a surefire new use for its technology. There was only one problem: the way the product works runs afoul of Microsoft’s license rules, at least for most users.

Anti-Clickjacking Defenses ‘Busted’ In Top Websites – New research easily bypasses popular frame-busting technique.

Easy Online Backup – Backup that saves your files off-site is one cloud computing service everyone should consider. Here are a handful of our most recent online backup reviews.

The Foolproof method for remembering passwords? – Even if you develop a great lineup of passwords, that being ones you can actually remember, your success is fleeting. This is because you are always being instructed to regularly change your passwords. I’m beginning to wonder if passwords are worth the effort.

Seven antivirus solutions for Windows Mobile and Symbian – If you’re using a Windows Mobile or Symbian device, you’re no stranger to the risk of viruses or malware on your handset. Here are seven mobile antivirus solutions to consider.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Are we living in the future now? – With multi-touch displays everywhere we look, and now flexible displays, are we truly living in the future?

What if we all got electric cars? – Right now there are a few thousand electric cars, Houseman said, but with the Nissan Leaf — which has a waiting list of 130,000 — the Chevy Volt and other new models coming, we could have several hundred thousand electric cars and hybrids by this time next year.

Web TV gadgets through the ages (images) – We take a look at where Internet-enabled television has been in the past few years.

Take a People-Free Photo in a Crowded Place – You’re at a popular location and you really would love a photo of the place without all the people in the way. Looks like you’re out of luck and you should just buy a postcard, right? Not with this clever trick.

Today’s Quote:

“What would I do if I had only six months to live? I’d type faster.”

–     Isaac Asimov

Today’s Free Downloads:

Giveaway of the Day – Cleanse Uninstaller Pro 6.5 – Cleanse Uninstaller Pro is the advanced uninstaller that finds and removes even the most stubborn software. Using the Auto Find uninstall software function all you have to do is drag and drop the program’s icon you want to uninstall onto Cleanse Uninstallers icon and Cleanse will Auto Find the program in the uninstall list and start the advanced uninstall process. (Offer expires 12 am PT).

Animals – Animals is a Windows 7 theme that wildlife lovers will appreciate. It includes a wallpaper slide show with ten high-quality animal photos (dolphins, leopards, a cute wolf cub, and so on) and replaces your boring Windows alert tones with animal calls that will really get your attention.

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Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News