Wednesday, January 27, 2016

2016-01-28 WBKV Talking Points

Through 20 years of effort, we have successfully trained every computer user
to use passwords that are hard for humans to remember,
but easy for computers to guess.
10 most used passwords in 2015 (truly a list of shame!):
Please, in the interest of privacy and safety, use a password manager and let it create long passwords.
Wifatch virus actively protects its victims from other forms of malware;
It infects routers, not computers;
It is written in the Perl programming language
It targets so far only ARM (83%), MIPS (10%), and SH4 (7%) processors
It connects infected devices to a peer-to-peer network
Basically it only infects devices that are not protected at all in the first place!
A Symantec (Norton) partner company in India uncovered as major player in the all too common technical support scam
Security Suites from AVG and Avast install dangerous browser add-ons!
McAfee and Norton tell Windows 10 users that they better use Internet Explorer, a browser so bad that Microsoft gave up on it!
For years I advise against ALL of the well known “security suites”, free or paid versions, no difference.

"Free" Security programs - For A Price

I stumbled over this article on How-To-Geek.

I wan to save you the hassle and time to read this lengthy article your self and will quote a few selected and IMHO most relevant snippets.

My stance toward the remaining "free" security programs as well as the well known commercial offerings is known; I have expressed this here repeatedly. So let's begin:

  1. Free antivirus applications aren’t what they used to be. Free antivirus companies are now bundling adware, spyware, toolbars, and other junk to make a quick buck.... At one point, free antivirus was just advertising, pushing users to upgrade to the paid products. Now, free antivirus companies are making money through advertising, tracking, and junkware installations.
  2. Comodo ... change[s] your web browser’s search engine to Yahoo! and bundles the GeekBuddy paid tech support software. It also bundles other Comodo products you might not want, including changing your DNS server settings to Comodo’s servers and installing “Chromodo,” a Chromium-based browser made by Comodo. ... As the Comodo-affiliated PrivDog software contained a massive security hole similar to the one Superfish had, there’s a good chance you don’t want a bunch of other Comodo-developed software and services thrown onto your computer.
  3. Lavasoft’s Ad-Aware pushes “Web Protection” that will “secure your online search” by setting SecureSearch as your web browser’s homepage and default search engine. Despite the name, this isn’t actually a security feature. Instead, it just switches your web browser to use a branded search engine that actually uses Yahoo! in the background — this means it’s powered by Bing.
    If you prefer Bing, that’s fine — just use the full Bing website. You’ll have a better experience than using Lavasoft’s rebranded, stripped-down search engine.
  4. Avira encourages you to install “Avira SafeSearch Plus.” This is just a rebranded version of the Ask Toolbar, redirecting your search results through a rebranded version of’s search engine. If you wouldn’t want the Ask Toolbar installed, you wouldn’t want this rebranded version of it installed either.
  5. ZoneAlarm also wants you to enable “ZoneAlarm Search” as your browser’s default homepage and search engine, along with installing a ZoneAlarm toolbar that is - once again - a rebranded version of the Ask Toolbar.
  6.  Panda {Free Antivirus] attempts to install their own browser security toolbar as well as change your browser’s search engine to Yahoo, and its home page to “MyStart,” which is powered by Yahoo. To Panda’s credit, they at least don’t attempt to trick you by offering you a renamed Yahoo search engine or home page.
  7. avast!’s installer also tries to install additional software you might not want. We’ve seen Dropbox offered here in the past, but avast! attempted to install the Google Toolbar when we tried installing it.
    Programs like the Google Toolbar and Dropbox are high-quality software you might actually want, so avast! comes out looking very good compared to the other options here. But even avast! has done done some questionable things in the past — witness the avast! browser extension inserting itself into your online shopping.
  8. AVG has its own suite of obnoxious utilities, including the AVG Security Toolbar, AVG Rewards, AVG Web TuneUp, and SecureSearch.
  9. BitDefender offers a stripped-down free antivirus. ... BitDefender is still pursuing the strategy of attempting to upsell you to the paid product.
  10. MalwareBytes doesn’t attempt to install any extra junk on your computer, although the free version doesn’t offer real-time protection. To their credit, MalwareBytes is offering a free tool that’s useful for manual scans - it even picks up and detects [and removes!] much of the adware other programs install - and encouraging you to pay for a more full-featured product.
    This tool could be quite useful in combination with another antivirus, like Microsoft’s free Windows Defender or Microsoft Security Essentials solution. But it’s not a standalone free antivirus you can depend on, as it lacks the real-time scanning.
 Not too nice a situation out there, right? You either pay up or you have to live mostly with junk you did not want in the first place.

Don't despair, a good, time proven free solution is available since about 2009.

For now over 13 years I "fix" my customer's home computers by removing all sorts of viruses and other malicious or obnoxious software. Most of my customers call themselves "computer illiterate". All of them have lived safely with mostly little or no manual effort.

The only malware infections happen now when someone "falls" for a social engineering trick; that is in effect when the customer for a moment was inattentive. And hat is just a human weakness, I know from my very own experience.

If you want to know details about this solution plese drop me a personal email; thank you.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

2016-01-14 WBKV Talking Points

For the normal home user: Upgrade to Windows 10 will be enforced by January!
Only two ways around:
1. Change Windows Update Settings. Not recommended because permanent user involvement required.
2. Use GWX Control Panel. See my blog Jan. 3
rd. 2016

AVG installs an extension in Google Chrome that opens computers to malware. DO NOT use Google Chrome and/or AVG “security products! See my blog Jan. 3rd. 2016
First ransomware written in Java discovered. Please uninstall all Java. To my knowledge only still offers games written in Java.

Using Internet Explorer version 10 or older? Update it now! Support runs out NOW!
Better: Finally make the switch to Mozilla Firefox browser.

And a very recent true horror story about Dell's technical support and their willingness to handle a warranty case.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

How to avoid Windows 10

Are you tired of Microsoft's permanent nagging to upgrade to Windows 10?

Do you want to avoid the computer world's biggest and most openly staged attempt to get the greatest data collection system world-wide set up?

Then here is THE solution - as far as I know and as of January 3rd 2016.

Download GWX Control Panel from this web page. I recommend to use the portable version called "Stand-alone" and please read the program author's user guide.

You best start GWX Control Panel [GWXcpl] in administrator mode, that means you right click on the program file and the click on "Run as administrator".

The GWXcpl windows looks like similar to this:
I can not show you an EXACT picture because I have no computer that is still unprotected from Windows 10 upgrades.

 On your computer the upper part will have different contents; I believe it is very self explanatory.

In the lower part you will probably see instead of *n these text entries:
*1  Disable 'Get Windows 10 App' ...
*2  Delete Windows 10 Download Folders
*3  Prevent Automatic Windows 10 Upgrades
*4  Delete Windows 10 Programs
  I recommend to at least click on Disable "Get Windows 10 App' ..." and on "Prevent Automatic Windows 10 Upgrades". Whether you want to delete Windows 10 files and/or folders is up to you; on older computers with less than 320GB large disk drives it seems to be a good idea to free up the space. And don't forget to reboot when you are asked to even if it means that you may have to run GWXcpl more than once.

Feel free to ask any uestions you might have, preferably by email.

Stay safe.

AVG + Google Chrome = TROUBLE

Happy and healthy New Year to everybody!
... It's the first post in 2016 ...

The title describes the newest formula for disaster.

For years I have advised against using Google Chrome as your primary web browser.

For years I have advised against using AVG's free "security" programs.

Now this combination has become a wide open barn door for malicious software and/or viruses to take over your computer. You can read more about the details here.

If you use AVG I recommend to uninstall it and instead rely on Microsoft's Defender respectively Security Essentials in Windows 7. If you run into problems when you uninstall AVG you find AVG's special removal programs here. Take care to download the correct "bittedness" version for your version of Windows.

I you use Google Chrome I recommend to install Mozilla's Firefox browser; in Firefox you need to install two extensions or add-ons:
  1. Adblock Plus and  
  2. WOT (Web Of Trust)
After you install Firefox go to the Bookmarks manager (Bookmarks, Show All Bookmarks. Import and Backup, Import Data from Another Browser, select Google Chrome) and import bookmarks ONLY! When you have your bookmarks in Firefox please uninstall Google Chrome.

That plus some applied common sense is all you need to be and stay safe on the Internet.

If you want to do more against eventual advertisement malware and so called PUPs then download THE FREE version from here. Install Malwarebytes only AFTER you read this article about how to install and use it correctly.

Stay safe!