By Way of Explanation

I have been involved with the computing scene since before the days of the first PC; so yes, I’ve been around practically since the days of the dinosaurs. Well, at least since the days of the Commodore VIC-20 and the Texas Instrument TI 99/4A (my first “real” computer) back in 1981.

Then, on through the halcyon days of 5.25″ single sided floppies, $800 10 Megabyte Hard Drives, 300 Baud modems, Bulletin Boards and the birth of what we now know as the Internet. It’s been quite a ride!

I started Blogging 12 years ago, (this particular Blog 7+ years ago), and since I’m an Information Technology professional specializing in technologies related to System and Internet security, I focus primarily, but not exclusively, on these issues.

I’m a lover of life, a seeker of truth, and a fighter – not necessarily in that order.   🙂

120 responses to “By Way of Explanation

  1. tony

    Hello there bill,

    Just a few words on your wonderful site that helped me get rid of installed items i no longer want….via revo uninstaller,it works lol,i came across your website by mistake(one i don’t regret i am pleased to say).
    So thank you for a wonderful service you provide and all the wonderful tips too!

    Ps I recently used drivercure which informed me of updates on drivers and software,i find this service too expensive do you know of any alternatives?

    Best wishes

    Tony 🙂

    • Rocky Lastman

      Hi Tony
      DriverMAX is a free utility for driver updates. Works fantastic. The free version has limitation allowing you to download 2 drivers per day. Has a real nice backup/restore function for drivers too.


  2. tony

    Thanks again bill 🙂

    • Sarah M

      Hi Bill, Its Sarah. Spoke with you today. Couldn’t find a place to comment on the windows 8 blog you posted. So helpful and will probably help with my fear and anger lol! Please keep in touch!

      • Hi Sarah,

        Happy to hear that the Win 8 article offered some assistance. 🙂

        BTW, had to make one additional phone call to solve our difficulties. Much appreciate your efforts in all of this.

        I’ll be around – if you need tech help, let me know.

        Have a super day. 🙂



  3. tony

    ccleaner is awsome too bill 🙂

    • Bill Mullins

      Hi Tony,

      Thank you for visiting, and for your kind comments.

      I don’t know of a free application that covers updates on drivers, although
      the web site Software Patch makes manual
      searching reasonably easy.

      To ensure that all applications on your system are up to date (applications
      that are not up to date are a considerable security vulnerability issue), I
      recommend that you download and install Secunia Personal Software
      Inspector(PSI), a
      free application that all users are advised to install.


      • JF

        Hello……I tried to send you an email at

        I was informed there was no such email…….

        The email was regarding a notice that I recieved from “My Faster” stating that it attempted to bill my credit card for a subscription that I had recently purchased, which I did not. It said that my credit card company declined the purchase, (as it should have.)

        Another scam. JF

        • Bill Mullins

          Hi JF,

          Hmm, I have received 79 emails on that account today, and upon receiving your email, I tested that address with no problem.

          Thanks for the info on My Faster, which I have checked out in the meantime. I agree, this site has all the hallmarks of a scam site. Thanks to you, I’ll now take a closer look.


  4. Don Naphen

    Hi Bill; just a few words of “Thanks” for your excellent Blog. I found it by way of Ron Schenone’s “The Blade” a few weeks ago. Your insight and links to utility d/loads have saved the day for me many times over.
    Like yourself, I’ve been active with pc’s since the days of the Vic 20 also! My first “real” pc was a used IBM XT that was donated. Been thru every OS that MicroSoft has come out with. Thanks again for your insight and expertise.


  5. I second — or third or fourth — them all — Bill Mullins provides a great site and service.

  6. Dawn

    Where are you when I get wi fi error messages from those who are ‘in charge’ that the squirrels are eating the lines? Not really . . this is a unique place with unique employees. I have followed your blog every chance I get and it is on my list to check every chance I get online. Many, Many thanks for what I use and what I pass on to friends.

  7. Brad

    hey bill your sites looking good so hows things going its been a while since we talked

  8. Mitz

    Your sound like me…I had a vic 20 etc etc and paid $2,000 for a 286 computer that was a rolls royce…

    Anyway are you interested in exchanging links with my tech websites?

    • Bill Mullins

      Hey Mitz,

      Thanks for the offer – sounds like a good thing.

      You have a very impressive site, and I’ll gladly exchange links and in fact I have now added you.

      Please stay in touch – I’ll bet you have some cool stories from the early days of computing.



  9. tony

    Hi there bill,

    How are you? Fine i hope,thought i would pop by to ask if you know of a soloution to my problem i have while running my pc.
    The thing is i keep getting..FINDQUEST..when i search the net and it times out,when this happens the search engine findquest pos up and have to go back a page to get rid of it,but it still comes back,i have sarched my pc for this hidden piece of rubbish but failed.

    Any suggestions please,thank you bill 🙂


    • Bill Mullins

      Hi Tony,

      It sounds like you have a clicker Trojan on your machine, so try the following.

      Start your computer in “safe” mode and then run your anti-malware applications. If this doesn’t eradicate it – download, install, and then run Advanced SystemCare 3 . This may sound a little strange, but I’ve noticed that this application is very good at removing this type of malware.

      If you still have this malware on board – then download, install and run HiJackThis. Send me a copy of the log this application produces, and we’ll go from there.

      Good luck.


  10. tony

    Hi bill, 🙂

    Well! What can i say?
    Your advice on downloading advanced system care,seems to have worked,i will let you know in due time bill,would not have known about the download had it not been for you mate,its free and the tools on this are really something else,it cleaned my pc thoroughly and then some,SEEING is believing,WOW!
    It improves security and has added benefits, too numourous to mention here,a big THANK YOU BILL,:)
    YOUR word and knowledge is sound,and i have recommended to a few friends your site and the sound advice you give.
    Anyone reading this for the first time may want to trust bill on problems with you pc,before you try anywhere else,visit bills site first,it’s all you will need 🙂 word up!!!!!


    TONY 🙂

  11. Azziz Mouloud

    Hi Bill

    I have a pc problem! Sometime ago I installed a beta version of an antispyware and since it was slowing my pc I uninstalled it after a couple of hours. When I rebooted and prior to reach my login account I have a blue screen That say
    A program was not found-Skipping autocheck.

    How can I solve it?

    Nice to read that you were at the time when Humans called artificial intellegencies for help and progress.

    My first pc was ZX spectrum + and I missed it since some time because It gaved its soul to his god!

    By the way I am not a programmer but a simple user.

    • Bill Mullins

      Hi Azziz,

      Uninstalling using the Windows Add and Remove applet, often leaves orphaned Registry entries behind that can cause problems. I suggest that you download, install and run Revo Uninstaller, which is noted for removing all entries from the Registry. Read my recent article on Revo – Three Must Have System Tools, which includes a download link to Revo.

      You didn’t mention which application you installed but if Revo doesn’t remove all the entries then go to the application homepage on the Internet and download the application removal tool specific to that application. Norton, for example is best removed with Norton’s uninstall utility.


  12. Azziz Mouloud

    Hi Bill

    First I downloaded autoruns and checked the boot section and I deleted that error message and then I went to regedit.

    Regedit then I followed to

    Right click on SessionManager then I choosed new and gaved the name BootExecute with a value autocheck autochk *

    Rebooted and voila no more lue screen with the message a program was not founf skipping the autocheck.

    I beleive that Beta antispyware deleted my BootExecute registry key!

    • Bill Mullins

      Hey Azziz,

      You certainly know what you’re doing. Well done.

      I don’t often get comments from someone who would know how to manually work with the Registry.


  13. Azziz Mouloud

    Hi Bill
    I myself made a long trip to find how to fix this issu. So once the pc was settled to a normal booting state!!!! So I thought possible someone else can also find this info suitable for his troubleshooting pc.

    This upset can turn quickly to frustration when the problem seems to be impossible to solve, or even to understand. This situation is a familiar face to the most pc users who dont have any expertise in solving problems.

    We dont only learn how to browse web pages but along the time we become pc fixers!!!!


  14. Dave

    Hey Bill,

    I somehow came across your site and absolutely love it. I bought a brand new laptop a few months ago and wanted it to be secure. You had many suggestions but for anti virus i chose Avira-Free and Comodo Firewall. they are still working great and appreciate the suggestions.

    Question- do you have a site search or an area where we can ask a question?

    Thanks again

    • Bill Mullins

      Hi Dave,

      Yes, the site includes a search area, and for those questions that are personal/outside the scope, etc. the email address is

      BTW, you have chosen well with Avira, and Comodo Firewall both are excellent applications. I have review both a number of times.


  15. Pingback: Two items of (possible) interest.. « Tech – for Everyone

  16. Peter


    Do you have a preferred “duplicate file finder” software that you could recommend? I am trying to open up wasted space on my hard drive. Thanks very much.


    • Bill Mullins

      Hi Peter,

      Checkout “Glary Utilities All-in-One Free System Tool”, on my site by clicking this link. You’ll find this application has a great duplicate file finder.Bill

  17. jessekemper

    Hey Bill. Very nice blog and I’ve enjoyed reading a few of your posts. I’m a young IT Student and I’ve just started blogging myself. I’m looking to affiliate and trade links with other blogs. If interested i think we could feed blog readers to each other successfully. If interested my contact info is in my blog at, or just comment as well. Thanks.

  18. Hi Bill. I like you blog and it’s in the same general theme as a blog I just started on external hard drive recovery. I was wondering if we could swap links? Is this possible thanks!

  19. Dave Curtis

    Hi Bill. I have discovered your website after many months of reading about security, freeware, and other general interests. I have a lot of catching up to do on your site. I just wanted to thank you for your expert input about how people rate things on certain web sites, overnight experts I call them. What a laugh. Thank you for the tip about PC Tools Firewall Plus. I have never considered this great tool, but it is great so far. I actually like it better than Look n Stop and Zone Alarm. It is really easy to use for the average person. Thanks again for all your knowledgeable advice. Dave Curtis

    • Bill Mullins

      Love the “overnight experts” reference. Might have to borrow that one. LOL!

      Glad to hear that you have had a good experience with PC Tools Firewall Plus.

      Thanks for stopping by.


  20. Darryl Gittins

    Hi Bill,
    I’ve been following your Blog only for a few weeks now but I’m impressed with the consistent quality and relevance of your posts. I also work with System and Internet security so that focus is especially interesting for me.

    Keep up the great work!

  21. Bob Slyker

    Hey Bill,

    “Reason number 2011 why WiFi Router encryption is so vital; you may have already seen this story;…”

    Yahoo News 7/13/2011

    Minnesota Wi-Fi hacker gets 18 years in prison for terrorizing neighbors
    By Jeff Hughes | Digital Trends – 19 hrs ago
    Minnesota hacker Barry Ardolf was sentenced to an 18-year term in a federal prison this Tuesday. Ardolf had terrorized a neighboring family for two years through a carefully planned campaign involving a hijacked Wi-Fi network to harass, frame and embarrass the next-door neighbors in every facet of their lives.
    Ardolf’s obsessive passive-aggression was apparently ignited in late 2008 when his neighbors, Matt and Bethany Kostolnik, filed a police report against him. The Kostolniks had a 4-year old son who wandered over to their next-door-neighbors property shortly after moving into the Minnesota suburb of Blaine. Ardolf, 46 and a father of two, had reportedly picked the boy up carried him back to the couple and then kissed the child on the lips. Ardolf was offended when the cops were called and vowed his revenge like every good villain.
    The man, a Medtronic computer technician, downloaded a Wi-Fi hacking program to tear into his neighbors WEP encryption. Ardolf created a fake Myspace page as well as several fake emails for Matt Kostolnik. The hacker then posted child porn on the Myspace page and emailed the same child porn to co-workers at Kostolnik’s law office.
    To top it all off, the Blaine hacker sent death threats to Vice President Joe Biden and other politicians from Kostolnik’s Yahoo account. This granted Kostolnik a visit from the secret service who had traced the emails back to his IP address. One of the emails told Biden, “I swear to God I’m going to kill you!”
    Ardolf’s mischief was detected when a frustrated Kostolnik told bosses he had no clue as to what was going on. The law office hired a firm to poke around the Wi-Fi network and install a packet sniffer to figure it all out. Eventually Ardolf’s name and Comcast account were found which gave the FBI a reason to obtain a search warrant for Ardolf’s house. They found massive evidence that led to the Blaine hacker being slapped with charges for identity theft, making threats against Biden, possession of child pornography as well as distribution of kiddie-porn.
    The FBI also found evidence that Ardolf had staged a similar attack against in a family in Brooklyn Park for parking their cars in front of his house. Ardolf’s charges will tag him with lifetime-sex-offender registration requirements and after his release he’ll be supervised for 20 years. According to the Pioneer Press, he’ll also be restricted when working with computers by his parole officers. The man may have been a nightmare to live next to, but is the 18 years in prison a bit overkill?

    Steven King Scary!!



    • Hi Bob,

      I read that earlier today in the Toronto Star. Absolutely terrifying. I’ll be running this in tomorrow’s Tech Net News.

      The prison sentence is extreme, it seems to me. But then, all American prison sentences seem extreme to me. Canadian sentences, for all crimes, are substantially below those imposed by US courts. Here, Judges are not politicians – they are not elected, but appointed for life. And, mandatory sentences are unheard of – every crime is judged on its specifics. Don’t know if that’s better – but, it’s different.

      As always, I very much appreciate your input.



  22. Hi Bill,

    This is Shane, I saw your blog today, Your Blog is awesome and you are touch with technology from long time.

    I have also a blog which name as, Actually I want to know something about to update, improvement and popularity of my blog. Please suggest something and guide me.

    Thanking You !

    Cheers !!

  23. Hello Bill,
    I am a Nigerian blogger and I have been using gmail without any error or complaint of being attacked by hackers, except the annoying American spammers hawking Viagra and other unsolicited rubbish online. Only my rested WordPress blog 24/7 Nigeria was devilishly hacked many times by hackers who left their contact e-mails.And they were not from Nigeria!

    Fraudsters and other cyber criminals located in other countries have been giving Nigeria a bad name to defame Nigerians since Nigeria is widely known as the origin of e-mail scams known as “419” in our local parlance.

    Name dropping Nigeria from your own deduction and suspicion without thorough investigation and verification is not in good faith. It is a deliberate attempt in sensational tabloid style gossip journalism to attract traffic, rubbish.and tarnish the image of Nigeria.

    Nigerian fraudsters may know how to send scam mails in thousands, but they are not into hacking websites.

    It is necessary to report fraudulent activities, including cyber crimes and notify the appropriate law enforcement agencies and authorities to deal with them. And if you still insist that the hacker is located in Nigeria, then report to the Fraud Prevention Manager, U.S. Consulate General Lagos. Tel: (removed)

    • Yeah, sure. I’m going to take lessons in Internet security from you. NOT! If you read the article properly, then you saw the screen shot showing the Nigerian hacker connection. A picture is worth a 1000 words – no!

      As for tarnishing Nigeria’s reputation – you don’t need my help. Nigerian scammers/spammers have managed to do just that.

      BTW, I’ve removed your “helpful” U.S. Consulate General Lagos telephone number.


  24. Hi sir,

    My name is Andrew Shen, I am a regular reader of your blog As you know, there are many coupons sites on internet, it saves a lot of time and money for us. I just wrote a Coupons Search Engine based Google Custom Search, it searches free coupons, promotional codes, printable coupons from 200+ coupon sites and 5000+ online stores, the URL:

    Coupons Search Engine also has a Chrome Extension, Android App, Firefox Add-on and OpenSearch XML for Firefox/IE/Chrome.

    If you think it’ll be of benefit to your readers, could you like to tell them about my site?

    Thank you for your help and have a good day. 🙂

    Best regards,



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  25. Well Bill I have you beat in that I built my first computer in 1978, a H-8 Heathkit. Now I am realy dating myself. All that aside I saw your artical on System Mechnic Pro. I’ve been using thier product for years and have selected it over Zone Alarm’s suite. Now however I just migrate from Xp to Windows 7. Somewhere along the line when downloading a fresh copy of SM there is a virous imbeded in the download. SM support insists no such thing. SM will find the virous ” F-prot” in it’s own EXE file but by then things get trashed. Files at random, Icon missing, drivers corrupted, etc.

    Have you come across this problem anywhere? I now switched to AVG in the Win 7 machine which appears to have eradicated (F-Prot), but also found (mfc45.dll) corrupted, but there are no hic-ups.

    • Hi Dick,

      I remember the H-8 – it was quite something for its day. I guess that dates us both. 🙂

      With respect to a virus in SM – I’m going to have to go with SM support on this. Tuneup suites (or system tools), often replicate the behavior of malware, and can be flagged as such by aggressive AVs. In fact, when I review this type of application (but, particularly certain system utilities), I generally advise users to be aware of the false positive issue.

      I’ve written more than a few articles discussing false positives, including the latest – OPSWAT’s Metascan Online – A VirusTotal Alternative (August 19, 2011). I think you’ll find this article helpful. You may also wish to read – False Malware Positive? Or Not? How Do You Decide? (May 28, 2010).

      AVG, is often cited as an AV which produces more false positives than most – including showing mfc45.dll as being corrupted – when, in fact, it is not corrupted. Your experience suggests that mfc45.dll is not corrupt, on your system.


  26. Clay Grubbs

    Wanted to email, but couldn’t find one for you. I dabble in computer repair for family and friends. I have an older friend who I just re-installed windows for, and I want to make sure I keep the computer protected. Currently I have ZoneAlarm Free Firewall and AVG. From your last comment, I take it you don’t particularly care for AVG. So what do you suggest I put on this computer?


  27. AVG is good for a freebee, but it’s bloated which slow things down. I used Zonealarm’s free fire wall then swithced to there ZA Suite. Had it for years but over the years tech support had issues. In it’s beginning, it was great, until it was aguired from Steve Gibson by Check Point. The great thing about Steve Gibson ‘s work, everything was written in machine code, now it;s all C, or C++.
    I switched from ZA Suite to Iolo’s System Mechanic Pro. I really liked it until finding the F-brog virous within it’s own download . Thier tech support assured me that was not true. I found the discrepancy by changing the reacursion function from 5 to 9 times. I used Windows Security for a while. Not sure how effective it was as it never found anything.
    Now I am back to using iolo’s SM Pro. Iolo’s SM freebee is like ZA’s freebee for a firewall, but without the virous protection.
    Bottom line, I can’t recomend any particular one. They each have thier own attribs. None are failsafe though.

  28. Val

    PC Online Care

    Great blog… I will follow it!

    I just read your post on PC Online Care from April of this year. My brother, who has significant mental health issues, lives alone, is on a disability pension, and is quite isolated (and therefore quite vulnerable), was taken in by PC Online Care. I bought him a new computer 3 months ago, not an expensive computer, but one good enough for what he uses it for, websurfing, itunes and email. He doesn’t use it enough for it to be full of malware.

    In any event, he was the perfect “victim” for these people to take advantage of. He had difficulty understanding the heavily accented man who called, and just agreed to what the guy wanted because he doesn’t know anything about computers, and got flustered with all the pressure. Initially he was told it would be $48, then by the end of the call it had jumped to $200, he doesn’t know what it was for… extra “services” of some kind. He really can’t afford this!!

    I’m just wondering if you know what his options are at this point? Can he get out of paying this?

    • Hi Val,

      Other than disputing the transaction with his credit card issuer – if, in fact payment was made with a credit card, I’m not sure he has another option. I wish I could offer more helpful advice.


  29. jodie

    Dear editor,
    This is Jodie from SnowFox Software. And I am glad to cooperate with you again. We will announce a 24 Hour Time-limited Giveaway- SnowFox DVD& Video to iPhone Converter on Black Friday . I believe your readers will like this time-limited giveaway,
    and do hope that you could write a post on your website before hand to recommend this time-limited giveaway – SnowFox dvd& video to iphone converter.
    We will put this giveaway on this Page on Nov, 25th, 2011:
    Time-limited Giveaway on facebook Page:

    SnowFox DVD& Video to iPhone Converter is a powerful and easy-to use Video to iPhone Converter and DVD to iPhone Ripper for Windows and Mac user.
    It can rip DVD to iPhone and convert all popular video formats to iPhone supported video formats with fast converting speed. Page:

    Look forward to your kind reply.
    Thanks and Best Regards,

  30. Bob Slyker

    Hey Bill,

    A little FYI you may have seen…


    US FTC to send rebate checks to Malware Victims
    The US Federal Trade Commission has reached a settlement with two individuals connected to Innovative Marketing, Inc. The settlement calls for Mark and Maurice D’Souza to pay $8,272,962 to the FTC and that they may never again engage in business relating software of any kind, legitimate or not.

    The FTC says it will disperse the funds to the 320,000 known victims of Innovative Marketing’s scareware rogues. If distributed evenly, this works out to around $25 per victim.

    It is unclear which specific rogue variants the settlement covers or if it covers them all. Innovative Marketing, Inc. is known to be behind these rogue security products:
    MS Antivirus
    XP Antivirus
    Vitae Antivirus
    Windows Antivirus
    Win Antivirus
    Antivirus Pro
    Antivirus Action
    Antivirus Pro 2009
    Antivirus 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 360
    AntiMalware GO
    Internet Antivirus Plus
    System Antivirus
    Spyware Guard 2008 and 2009
    Spyware Protect 2009
    Winweb Security 2008
    System Security
    Malware Defender 2009
    Ultimate Antivirus2008
    Vista Antivirus
    General Antivirus
    Antispyware 2008
    XP AntiSpyware 2008, 2009, and 2010
    Antivirus Vista 2010
    Real Antivirus
    Antivirus XP Pro
    Antivirus Soft
    Antispyware Soft
    Antivirus System PRO
    Antivirus Live
    Vista Anti Malware 2010
    Internet Security 2010
    XP Antivirus Pro
    Security Tool
    Total Security.

    If you get an e-mail purporting to be a communication from the FTC about your refund, proceed with caution since scammers will undoubtedly try to use this as a pretense.

    Further reading:
    FTC Announcement
    Original Settlement Agreement(PDF)
    If you think you might be eligible, contact the FTC here:



    • Hi Bob,

      My spam settings got ya – sorry about that.

      I did see that, thank you. But, what’s more relevant is – those who follow comments (and, there are many), will now get to see this.

      How cool is that?

      Really appreciate you passing this on.



  31. Kevin Jay

    Hey Bill, Myself Kevin. I just want to share you something about “OnlinePCCare” as I am one of the victim of these guys. I have done a little bit of research about them and found that they have launched few more sites like onlinepccare & supportonclick. The names of those sites are: , Joinmein ,, …these all sites are the products of Pecon Software Limited. Please create an awareness in the people that not to believe on them. They are Tech Frauds. Thanks a lot.

  32. Kevin Jay

    Hello Bill, this is Kevin once again, I have found a new update from Pecon Software. They have launched their YOUTUBE CHANNEL: .. they are creating one more SPAM . these guys are such a “S.O.B” . Please create an aware and make it within a blog. These guys deserve a lesson. Hit them hard.. What do you say?

  33. meg

    I feel over whelmed by the lack of choices available for anyone who wants to use the internet but maintain privacy. Cancelled my FB account, can’t understand my new gmail privacy options. (Seems that I need to manually delete every advertiser who appears in my sidebar) It’s big brother everywhere. Is there an alternative or should I just give in for the sake of communicating with my children (ages 23 -30)?

    • Hi Meg,

      No, you don’t have to give in. There are a great number of free tools (add-ons, or extensions), which can be added to your Browser (both Firefox and Chrome), specifically designed to enhance your privacy.

      It can be difficult for users to determine which ones to consider adding – the choices seem unlimited – so, take a look at this article – Updated: An IT Professional’s Must Have Firefox and Chrome Add-ons

      We have a right to privacy on the Internet, and elsewhere. Unfortunately, we live in a world in which, we’re forced to fight for it. Please, never give in.


  34. billy roy

    hi,bill,have you ever reviewed ,linux based,zorin OS,as an alternative to windows. ?

  35. Bob Slyker

    Hey Bill,

    A recent article about a Hacker FAIL (you probably caught it).

    Suspected Anonymous Hacker Busted By FBI Thanks To A Racy Photo

    Higinio O. Ochoa, 30, is a Linux administrator by day, but by night he’s accused of being part of the group “CabinCr3w,” an affiliate of the hacktivist organization Anonymous.
    According to Gizmodo, Ochoa allegedly used the Twitter handle @Anonw0rmer to link to a site boasting personal information on law enforcement officials, along with a picture of a young women in a low-cut shirt that read, “PwNd by w0rmer & CabinCr3w.”
    The FBI found the image in February and checked the exchangeable image file format, or EXIF data, for evidence. EXIF data is information that a digital camera imprints onto an image.

    To quote Professor Ping
    “Genius is mysterious”




    • Hi Bob,

      Lol! I hadn’t heard this – too funny. Thanks. I’ll post this into tomorrow’s TNN.

      I can’t understand, given this fellow’s hacking skills, why he wouldn’t be aware of the EXIF data, which is easily removable.

      Karma is a strange beast I guess. It certainly lined him up. 🙂



  36. Lee

    Hi Bill, please see the email I just sent you about a possible giveaway of Lookeen on Tech Thoughts. Cheers.

  37. Bob Slyker

    Hey Bill,

    This article (I think) is right in your wheel house of www insecurity.
    ‘Likejacking’: Spammers Hit Social Media
    By Olga Kharif on May 24, 2012

    (Spammers create as many as 40 percent of the accounts on social-media sites)

    Michelle Espinoza thought a single photo was going to ruin her business. It was an image of one of the pearl cuff bracelets she designs that showed up on Pinterest, a site where users create virtual bulletin boards, grouping images in categories—whether it be chocolate desserts or bohemian jewelry. For 10 days in April, anybody who clicked on the photo ended up watching pornography or unwittingly downloading a virus. “I can’t gauge how many customers I lost,” says Espinoza, a resident of Santa Rosa Beach, Fla. “But I did have people messaging me asking, ‘Are you linked to spam?’ I was just distraught.”

    When Pinterest debuted two years ago, e-mail was the format of choice for spam peddling diets, sexual enhancement, and get-rich scams. Better filters have since banished many of the unwanted missives from in-boxes. Instead, scammers are turning to social media sites that are often poorly equipped to deal with the influx. “Social spam can be a lot more effective than e-mail spam,” says Mark Risher, chief executive officer of Impermium, which sells anti-spam software. “The bad guys are taking to this with great abandon.”

    Spammers create as many as 40 percent of the accounts on social-media sites, according to Risher. About 8 percent of messages sent via social pages are spam, approximately twice the volume of six months ago, he says. Spammers use the sharing features on social sites to spread their messages. Click on a spammer’s link on Facebook (FB), and it may ask you to “like” or “share” a page, or to allow an app to gain access to your profile.

    Facebook and Twitter have hired programmers and security specialists to deflect the flotsam. “Tens of millions of dollars are spent on our site-integrity systems, including hundreds of full-time employees,” says Facebook spokesman Frederic Wolens.

    In January, Facebook sued advertising network Adscend Media, accusing it of sending unsolicited messages to Facebook users. A typical lure cited in the suit: “You will be SHOCKED when you see this video. Simply “Like” this page to see the video.” By clicking on a link, some users may unwittingly “like” the spam, a practice security experts call “likejacking.” At least 280,214 users were tricked into interacting with spam. About 80 percent of Adscend’s monthly revenue of $1.2 million comes from Facebook scams, according to the suit. Adscend denied the allegations and settled the case this month for $100,000. The company did not respond to e-mailed requests for comment.

    Twitter last month sued spam software makers Skootle and JL4 Web Solutions, plus five individuals, claiming that they were responsible for spam that resulted in some users canceling accounts. Twitter, in the suit, said it spent more than $700,000 to combat spam attacks by the defendants. Skootle has denied wrongdoing. JL4 has yet to respond to the complaint.

    Pinterest encourages users to form a virtual neighborhood watch and report spam before it spreads. Last month the site put up a blog post urging visitors to use its “Report Pin” button to tag spam.

    On Pinterest, spam often lurks in the embedded links attached to photos, making it tricky for users to spot. Espinoza, the jewelry maker, said she contacted the company at least 10 times in as many days before the fraudulent links tied to images of her bracelets were banished. Pinterest declined to make executives available for an interview. “Our engineers are actively working to manage issues as they arise and are revisiting the nature of public feeds on the site to make it harder for fake or harmful content to get into them,” said a spokesperson in an e-mailed statement.

    The bottom line: Largely exiled from e-mail, spammers are invading Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social networks.

    Kharif is a reporter for Bloomberg News and Bloomberg Businessweek in Portland, Ore.

    Surfers; hello! Never leave shore without a lifeguard! (ha-ha!)

    Scary Stuff.



  38. Bob Slyker

    Hey Bill,

    The DNSchanger drop dead date is fast approaching for anyone who has not checked their PC. Here is a reminder from a Canadian site today.

    Thousands could lose internet access on July 9 due to virus

    The FBI established temporary ‘clean’ DNS servers in place of bad ones so that computers infected with DNSChanger wouldn’t suddenly be cut off from the internet.



  39. HNNEWS

    Bill, I have bad news. You’re a victim of the sale of Just click on their logo on your site, which should go to your registration page (with your MCN listing) there but it now goes to the main page.

    Check out our article –,544671for all the bad news and you might want to warn your readers as well.

  40. Edson Carlos Borges

    Hi Bill. I love your blog ! Congratulations from Brazil.

  41. Hi Bill, I have found your blog after searching in WP and it is amazing. Please Continue TNN!

  42. Bob Slyker

    Hey Bill,

    (FYI) You may have seen; but… “FBI Moneypak Virus”

    There is a bit of web “buzz” about a disconcerting ransomware;
    Here is a link:

    Here Is The Site Text @
    Scammers use ‘FBI virus’ to demand money
    2012-08-09 23:02

    Washington – The FBI warned computer users on Thursday to ignore a fake message, purportedly from its officers, that freezes people’s screens and demands that they pay a fine for visiting inappropriate websites.

    “We’re getting inundated with complaints,” said Donna Gregory from the US Internet Crime Complaint Centre, referring to the virus known as Reveton ransomware, which has hit users in the US and globally.

    “Some people have actually paid the so-called fine,” she said, describing the virus as “drive-by malware” that installs itself when a user clicks on a compromised website and issues a message saying a federal law has been broken.

    “The bogus message goes on to say that the user’s internet address was identified by the FBI or the Department of Justice’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section as having been associated with child pornography sites or other illegal online activity,” the FBI said in a statement.

    “To unlock their machines, users are required to pay a fine using a prepaid money card service,” it said, accompanied by reports from victims who had paid fines of $200.

    The Internet Crime Complaint Centre is a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Centre and it was launched in 2000 to allow people to report cyber crimes to US law enforcement.

    Gregory, however, said there is no easy fix for users whose computers have been infected.

    “Unlike other viruses, Reveton freezes your computer and stops it in its tracks. And the average user will not be able to easily remove the malware,” she said.

    Bleeping Computer has a detailed removal procedure here:



  43. Bob

    Hey Bill,

    The Black Helicopter Folks are at it again

    ‘Google for spies’ draws ire from rights groups

    ‘Hold That Thought!’ …No, really!

    A multinational security firm has secretly developed software capable of tracking people’s movements and predicting future behaviour by mining data from social networking websites.

    A video obtained by the Guardian reveals how an “extreme-scale analytics” system created by Raytheon, the world’s fifth largest defence contractor, can gather vast amounts of information about people from websites including Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare.

    Raytheon says it has not sold the software – named Riot, or Rapid Information Overlay Technology – to any clients. But the Massachusetts-based company has acknowledged the technology was shared with US government and industry as part of a joint research and development effort, in 2010, to help build a national security system capable of analysing “trillions of entities” from cyberspace…

    …In December, Riot was featured in a new patent Raytheon is pursuing for a system to gather data on people from social networks, blogs and other sources to identify whether they might be a security risk.

    Complete Article:

    It May Be Time To Shop Around For Another Planet To Call,
    Home Sweet Home



  44. Hello,

    This is Wendy, the webmaster of . I found your website by Google and think it will be great to exchange link with you. You website performs very well in contents and other aspects that we care about, and I will be honored if you are willing to add my website as your partner. Of course, it also will be great if you choose to write a review or give away for my software but not exchange links (I will provide a bunch of free keys for you).

    I will link to your site on my homepage or as sitelink (or homepage or blogroll):

    If you are interested, please let me know which cooperation you prefer, so we can discuss the next operation. Thanks and wait for your reply.

    Kind regards,
    Wendy Rose

  45. Hello Bill,
    The way to prevent computer disasters is to prepare for one before it happens.
    The following video might make that easier for any one interested in taking some preventative measures:

  46. Just wondering if you use Symantec Workspace Virtualization Admin? It used to be called Altiris SVS, before Symantec bought it. Free for personal, non-business use. It’s a shame that it is not more widely used and well-known. In a nutshell, it allows you to install software programs in virtual layers. For me, it really adds a lot of fun to computing. With it, you can install programs right and left with no worry about clogging up your system. There are very few reviews that have been written about it. I would really like to see your review of it.

  47. Hey Bill

    Any thoughts on the new Time Capsule units from Apple? Have you had a play with them yet? Some of our clients have been wondering whether its worth upgrading, supposedly its a better unit wireless speed wise but we haven’t tried it yet.


  48. Alice

    Hi Bill!
    I am currently in my final year at University, studying Forensic Computing. I am writing my dissertation on ways to predict Session IDs, I would love to know if you had any insight on this? Or any advice on wheres best to go?

    My first aim is to establish different techniques used to predict session IDs, i currently have found Brute Force techniques, looking for patterns and using automated tools such as Burp Suite.

    Your blog is amazing! Its a shame i have only just found it in my final year but it is very interesting and helpful!


  49. wow! I’m really glad I found your blog now…interesting I must say and I’m happy to actually read a blog from some one who has been in the computer field for so long…Thanks and God bless

  50. Hi Bill. I have recently joined ClickBank with one of my new Software Utilities. It is called Super Drivers Updater. Could you join us as an Affiliate here. We have varieties for Affiliate Networks. Please visit https://www.supersystemutiliti

    Kind Regards,
    Prabhakar Kumar

  51. Reg Rawlins

    Hi Bill. I just read you short bio and I think we must be kin. Back in the early eightys my first computer was a Coleco Adam. You may remember the cousin of the cabbage patch doll. Ostensibly a dedicated word processor and game machine, it was this computer that gave me my start with CP/M OS, Basic programming, and even 8080 assembly language programming! Later came my first IBM clone, a souped up XP computer I bought second hand with a 20 mb hard drive. Windows 2.1 was installed as an optional DOS shell. Autocad, DBase3+, and a lot of other interesting things helped catapult my interest in all things computer. Today, like you, I’m using my thirty plus years of accumulated knowledge and experience to educate and assist others.
    It’s great to connect from time to time with others of our ilk. Thanks for all your work and the insights that you share.
    Reg Rawlins
    Brampton, Canada

    • Hi Reg,

      Brothers under the skin, by the sounds of it. 🙂

      Ah, the Coleco Adam – an amazing piece of technology for the time – stylish, relatively compact – it just looked good (great?). I had a few friends go on into graphic design after starting out with an Adam (stepping up to a Mac).

      It’s really good to hear from you as well, since we have such similar backgrounds. Over time, I’d be happy to introduce you to a few of the “old timers” like us, who hang around here. The quality, and the sheer volume of technical data that those of us who are pre-Jurrasic have managed to accumulate is powerful, and I congratulate you on your drive to share this with others. Kudos to you. 🙂

      Stay in touch, Reg.



  52. Anima


    Just a note on this article – “IObit’s Advanced SystemCare Free 3.7 DOES NOT Install Spyware”. This article is a bit old, but I think you should be vindicated. I chanced on it after searching “IObit Advanced Care malware spyware” in an effort to fix my system from the program calling itself IObit Advanced Care that installed itself through trickery and wreaked havoc (including but not limited to disabling my browsers). I am not certain that it was their authentic program that installed itself (or something pretending to be it) but I do think you deserve credit!

    • Hi Anima,

      Actually, the article is correct – I was responsible for a fundamental error in assessing the referenced application.

      I have no way of knowing of course, but I suspect the application you installed was in fact a malware counterfeit (as per your suggestion).

      Thanks for the support. 🙂



  53. Bob

    Hey Bill,

    …Long time

    This was to scary to not mention


    Google eavesdropping tool installed on computers without permission

    Privacy campaigners and open source developers are up in arms over the secret installing of Google software which is capable of listening in on conversations held in front of a computer.

    First spotted by open source developers, the Chromium browser – the open source basis for Google’s Chrome – began remotely installing audio-snooping code that was capable of listening to users.

    It was designed to support Chrome’s new “OK, Google” hotword detection – which makes the computer respond when you talk to it – but was installed, and, some users have claimed, it is activated on computers without their permission.

    “Without consent, Google’s code had downloaded a black box of code that

    – according to itself – had turned on the microphone and was actively listening to your room,”

    said Rick Falkvinge, the Pirate party founder, in a blog post. “Which means that your computer had been stealth configured to send what was being said in your room to somebody else, to a private company in another country, without your consent or knowledge, an audio transmission triggered by … an unknown and unverifiable set of conditions.”

    Google to exclude ‘revenge porn’ from internet searches
    Read more
    The feature is installed by default as part of Google’s Chrome browser. But open source advocates are up in arms about it also being installed with the open source variant Chromium, because the listening code is considered to be “black box”, not part of the open source audit process.

    “We don’t know and can’t know what this black box does,” said Falkvinge.

    Opt-in or opt-out
    Google responded to complaints via its developer boards. It said: “While we do download the hotword module on startup, we do not activate it unless you opt in to hotwording.”

    However, reports from developers indicate otherwise.

    After having identified Chromium as the culprit, developer Ofer Zelig said in a blog post: “While I was working I thought ‘I’m noticing that an LED goes on and off, on the corner of my eyesight [webcam]’. And after a few times when it just seemed weird, I sat to watch for it and saw it happening. Every few seconds or so.”

    Google also blamed the Linux distribution Debian for downloading the non-open source component with Chromium automatically, rather than Google Chrome.

    “The key here is that Chromium is not a Google product. We do not directly distribute it, or make any guarantees with respect to compliance with various open source policies,” Google developer mgiuca said.

    WOW! …can we ever get our privacy back? Short answer [not in our lifetime]

    …I know, I Know

    “If You’re Trying to Cheer me up … It ain’t working



    • Hi Bob,

      A long, long, long time – great to hear from you. 🙂 I’ve run with this in today’s column.

      I’m not in the least surprised with this revelation – just another manipulative and underhanded breach of Google’s BS “DON’T BE EVIL” disclaimer.

      We’ve a long way to go – but, there are signs of increased resistance to corporate spying. Young people especially seem to be picking up the pace of resistance to the “lets throw it at the wall and see if it sticks” privacy policies of the Googles and Facebooks.



  54. dranlifez

    Hi Bill, nice to see ur smile, i just want u to know that and thats all 🙂

  55. Don Naphen

    Hi Bill and long time since I said “hello”. I had to finally bite the bullet and invest in a new pc (Acer Laptop) after my ancient Gateway died. Thank God you’re still alive and well as I needed your archives to reinstall some apps and also discovered a new one .. Slim Computer! W O W !! It did in a few minutes what would have taken hours to remove the usual bloatware, crap ware, etc. etc. Also found “Wireless Network Watcher” which has been a long time invaluable tool for me.

    Thanks for everything my friend. Hope this finds you well. Live long and prosper!

    Don Naphen

    • Hi Don,

      Yep, still kicking the can down the road. 🙂

      The Slim line of apps is worth investigating – glad to see you found Slim Computer useful.

      Great to hear from you (don’t stay away so long :))



  56. bob

    Hey, where are the updates? It has been awhile.

  57. Jerry Chance

    Hello Bill

    Like other followers we haven’t seen anything on your website since 2nd December 2015. As an avid reader of your excellent site, I have to say we are missing you. I am particularly worried whether you are alright or perhaps suffering from a chronic illness etc. Please let us know what’s happening to you and hopefully put our minds at rest.

    Love, Light and Peace


  58. SE


    Everything alright? Concerned that there have been no updates in almost two months and not a peep.


    Hey Bill,

    You worried us all “A LOT” …well-wishes & Prayers sent your way [not sure where you stand on that concept [no matter] my/our faith creates the required power, it’s in the manual, to bring about healing]

    Be well, take good-care of yourself… You got a lot of blogging left in you



  60. I’ll Be Back – best news I’ve heard all day.

  61. Dave Terrell

    Welcome back. I hope your health is good. Your blog is both diverse and insightful and has given me one place to read what interests me, since my late dad told me about it a few years ago.. Thanks for returning.

    • Thank you Dave. Except for the odd bit of tiredness, I’m still kicking the can down the road.

      I’m gratified that you find it worthwhile to drop by. Someone close to me once remarked – “I just don’t have time to read it all, Bill.” But as you point out, the idea is to read topics of interest. 🙂



  62. RandiO

    WoooHooo! About time! You first hooked us, then you disappeared! I sure missed your rantings and my education. I hope you are never going MIA on me again. Bon Santé!

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