Wednesday, February 24, 2016

2016-02-25 WBKV Talking Points

Stay Safe on the Internet
  1. Always install Operating System updates
  2. Keep your installed applications up-to-date
  3. Do not use the same password at every site
  4. Install and be sure to update your anti-virus software

  5. Additionally install a free anti-malware scanner and use it(!) regularly
  6. Use a firewall (the FW built-in to Windows is good enough!)
  7. Backup your data!
  8. Enable the display of file extensions
  9. Do not open attachments from people you do not know (especially Word files, Locky ransomware travels in Word files! Use MS's Word and Powerpoint viewers to check files)
  10. Delete emails that say you won a contest or a stranger asking for assistance with their inheritance or money transfer
  11. Watch out for online and phone support scams
  12. Ignore and close web pop ups saying your computer is infected or has a problem (use ALT+F4)
  13. Ignore and close web pop ups that pretend to be a Windows alert (use ALT+F4)
  14. Some types of web sites are more dangerous than others
  15. Be extra vigilant when using Peer-To-Peer Software (torrents!)
  16. When installing software, watch for "bundled" tool bars and programs you don't want
  17. Read the End User License Agreement (EULA) Lol, I know!  


Sunday, February 21, 2016

Windows 10 and why I change my recommendation

On 1/17/2014 I wrote on this blog a rant titled: Microsoft Accounts and Windows 8 – A Rant

For Windows 10 this article is just as valid today. I want to quote the main point (emphasis added):
Apple has made an incredible fortune "having access" to all this information about their customers and as I see it Microsoft wants to bake themselves a similar pie, not only get a slice [of this pie of advertisement money]. Once I realized this my reaction was "Big Brother. . . ".
IMHO Windows 10 is a masterpiece of a copy of that pie, even with some improvements; it's main objective is to gather information about and from the user; why else would Microsoft assign a unique "advertising ID" to  every email address that unsuspecting users give them?

As often in this life where there is light there is shadow and vice versa. And besides the "shadow" that I call outright spying there is light:

Technically Windows 10 is a really good operating system.

The main complaints can by now be alleviated with third party programs.
  • The data reporting can reliably be turned off (no more spying!) while the helpful reporting about the inner workings of the system (or failures to do so) remains active.
  • The main menu can look and feel just like your old version of Windows; it can look and
    work just like you were used to from Windows Vista or Windows 7.  
If you want to upgrade to Windows 10, go ahead!
But be warned: When you upgrade to Windows 10 IMHO you have to install and correctly configure the program that turns Windows 10's reporting features OFF! And do NOT give Microsoft your email address, it will be treated as a Microsoft account!

Again, if privacy is of any concern to you then DO NOT give Microsoft your email address! That includes that you should NOT use Skype! We have a free alternatives to Skype that does not require to give your email address to Microsoft.

Remember what I wrote in Windows 10 Settings - What I Recommend (August 8th. 2015):
If you gave the system on first start your email address Microsoft has created on their servers the storage for an immense wealth of information about you that Win10 and it's programs will collect from and about you; and that besides the fact that every email address will have it's unique "advertisement ID" assigned. Guess what that will be used for!

Should you feel asked a bit too much with all this please contact me by email, I can help. An email address to contact me is in non-computer readable format at the end of the Welcome paragraph in the left side bar of my blog.

And if you upgraded and don't like what you see you have four weeks to 30 days (conflicting info from MS!) to revert back to what you had before.

Stay safe.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

2016-02-11 WBKV Talking Points

Today I want to talk only (or mainly) about modern malware and how it gets in our computers.

Pull up this web page and you have the detailed blueprint for today's talk.

The 10 worst offenders are (IMHO #1 is by far the worst one):
  1. Download portals
  2. Fake updates (e.g. Java, Adobe Flash, Yahoo!) 
  3. Installer programs (mainly from download portals)
  4. PuPs downloading and installing more PuPs
  5. Express installation (expressway to an infected computer)
  6. Custom Install abused with confusing EULAs
  7. Home page and search provider changed
  8. Forced install (e.g. Inbox Toolbar)
  9. Other people(!) using your computer (visitors, relatives)
  10. Researching PuPs; do it ONLY in a virtual machine! 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Windows 10 Now FORCED On Your Computer

You have good reasons to stay with Windows 7 or Windows 8.1? If the world were like Microsoft wants it to be you are out of luck, plain and simple.

Since this month Microsoft, true to what they announced in November last year, will only give you a choice to "Upgrade Now" or to "Upgrade later".

There is NO WAY to decline the upgrade, neither only for now or for the future as well. Now, I admit, the latter was wishful thinking anyway.

Since most of my customers call themselves computer illiterate I recommend to stay away from registry editing or similar DIY solutions.

The only comprehensive, user friendly and dependable solution I know of is GWX Control Panel.
Warning: Do NOT click on the title "GWX Control Panel", the name of this program; this would start the download immediately!

Instead I recommend you read through the description and then read the detailed description of how to use the program and of what the program does. Read this even if you don't fully understand all technical details; it will give you a comprehensive overview and make using the program far easier.

After reading these descriptions you should go back to the first page I linked you to above. To the right of the description of GWX Control Panel are two download links, one for an Installer version and one for the Stand-alone version. I prefer the Stand-alone version because installer programs IMHO introduce an unnecessary additional layer of complexity.

I leave it up to you to decide which version you want to download and use.

Stay safe.

Top 10 Ways PUPs Sneak Onto Your Computer. And How To Avoid Them.

Disclaimer: I copied the title literally from this blog post.

And that is all I want to say here; this article is simply a MUST READ if you ever had PuPs installed or had to call me because everything got so slow or whatever problem you had.

95% or more of all computer problems I encounter nowadays are initially caused by a PuP! The authors of these PuPs have gotten very clever and constantly invent new tricks to dupe the unsuspecting computer user.

Only permanent vigilance, caution and attention to detail can ultimately somewhat protect us and our computers. 

Please note the use of the word "somewhat" in the previous paragraph! 

For the first time ever I will directly recommend a piece of commercial security software. 

If you want the IMHO best automatic protection against all kinds of malicious programs including PuPs then you will have to pay some money, currently just shy of $40 per year for a single computer. You find details about Emsisoft Anti-Malware here.

Another disclaimer: I am in no way at all associated with Emsisoft or any of their distributors or resellers!

If you don't want to pay that is fine, you just have to DIY (do it yourself). MSE or Defender in conjunction with Malwarebytes Free will do it just as well but you have to regularly do more yourself.

Whether you want to pay for Emsisoft Anti-Malware or not doesn't really matter, IMHO you simply HAVE TO READ this article.

 Stay safe.