Your daily technology class with Professor Randy!!

Randy The Tech Professor

September 13, 2014 at 7:29 pm

Want To Still Use Windows XP? Do This!

Windows XP End Of Life

Hello everyone,

Many of my clients have been using Windows XP forever and they don’t want to buy a new computer or install a new operating system. When Microsoft pulled the plug on Windows XP support last April, I was besieged by client calls asking me what to do.

Most of these clients do simple things on the computer like search the web, send and receive emails, and use some social media. Many are elderly and they really don’t need to buy a new computer nor learn to use windows 8.1.

You can by all means continue to use Windows XP. The XP operating system is  more vulnerable now sans support, but you can eliminate 90% of any threat by doing the following:

1) Don’t use Internet Explorer Browser (the most recent XP Version IE 8 is way outdated, and incredibly vulnerable to all kinds of attacks).

2) Install and only use Google Chrome Browser (much more secure, updated regularly for XP, has Flash built in).

3) Install a good antivirus. I like the free AVAST 2014 but there are several that are good.

4) The absolute number 1 thing that you must do: Don’t run your machine as the Computer Administrator (you’ll give any malware the same “no holds barred” rights that you have). Change your user account to a Limited Account.

Here is how to do it:

a) Start>User Accounts

b) Create a new user account (make it an Administrator account, name it anything you want but different from the original Administrator account, give it a decent password that you’ll remember). You will only use this new account to change your old Administrator account.

c) Log out of your existing (old) Administrator account and log in to the new Administrator account (the one you just created). Change the old (original) Administrator account  to a Limited Account. This is the account that you will now use on a daily basis. Malware can’t install nor execute in this Limited Account.

Enjoy using Windows XP!!

Randy The Tech Professor

 

 

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August 31, 2014 at 11:01 pm

Third Party Program Updates For The Month Of August 2014

Patch Java

 

Randy The Tech Professor: Get Patched As Soon As Possible!

Identifier Vendor/Product Version Affected/Date Released by Vendor/Vulnerability Info./Vendor Severity/Recommendation

APSB14-19 Adobe Reader and Acrobat Windows Adobe Reader/Acrobat
before 11.0.07

Windows Adobe Reader/Acrobat
Before 10.1.10 8/12/2014 Security Bypass Critical: Priority 1/ Upgrade within 72 hours

APSB14-18 Adobe Flash Player Windows/Mac before 14.0.0.176
Linux before 14.0.0.177 8/12/2014  Arbitrary Code Execution Critical: Priority 1/ Upgrade within 72 hours

APSB14-18 Adobe Air Windows/Mac before 14.0.0.178 8/12/2014  Arbitrary Code Execution Critical: Priority 3/ Upgrade within 72 hours

6.1.6/7.0.6 Apple Safari before 6.1.6 and 7.0.6 8/13/2014  Arbitrary Code Execution, Denial of Service Recommended: Upgrade after testing

36.0.1985.143 Google Chrome Windows/Linux/Mac before 36.0.1985.143 8/12/2014  Denial of Service, Information Disclosure Upgrade at admin’s discretion

Best wishes,

Randy The Tech Professor

 

 

 

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July 31, 2014 at 10:26 pm

Third Party Program Updates For The Month Of July 2014

patch 3rd. party softwareHello everyone,

It is not enough anymore to just keep your Operating System updated and patched. Many third party (non Microsoft) programs need constant updating also. If these programs are left unpatched, your system is wide open to attack. Most of the malware attacks that I see in my computer repair business are due to outdated versions of third party applications like the ones shown below. Please take a look at the July 2014 third party updates, and get the most recent versions as soon as you can. A great automatic third party updater can be found here.

Identifier Vendor/ Product Product Version Affected/ Date Released by Vendor/ Vulnerability Info Vendor Severity / Recommendation

CPU 7/14 / Oracle Java SE Java SE 8u5 and earlier,
SE 7u60 and earlier,
SE 6u75 and earlier,
SE 5.0u65 and earlier 7/15/2014 Arbitrary Code Execution Critical: Upgrade to latest release

APSB14-17 / Adobe Flash Player Windows/Mac 14.0.0.145 Linux 11.2.202.394 7/8/2014 Arbitrary Code Execution Critical: Priority 1/ Upgrade within 72 hours

APSB14-17 / Adobe Air Windows/Mac 14.0.0.137 7/8/2014 Arbitrary Code Execution Critical: Priority 3/ Upgrade at admin’s discretion

36.0.1985.125 / Google Chrome Windows/Linux/Mac before 36.0.1985.125 7/16/2014 Denial of Service, Security Bypass Upgrade at admin’s discretion

31/ESR 24.7 / Mozilla Firefox Before 31/ESR 24.7 7/22/2014 Arbitrary Code Execution, Denial of Service, Security Bypass, Recommended: Upgrade after testing

31/ESR 24.7 / Mozilla Thunderbird Before 31/ESR 24.7 7/22/2014 Arbitrary Code Execution, Denial of Service, Security Bypass Recommended: Upgrade after testing

17.0.10.8 / Real Player Windows before 17.0.10.8
Mac before 12.0.1.1738 6/27/2014 Arbitrary Code Execution Recommended: Upgrade after testing

Best wishes,
Randy Knowles

 

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July 26, 2014 at 11:05 am

Have You Heard About The New Windows Virus “Bladabindi” ?

bladabindi virus

Hello everyone,

Please be aware of a new Windows virus that has been identified in India. According to reports it’s quite nasty and will spread.

Dubbed the “Bladabindi,” this is a multi-identity virus that has the capability to fool your firewall by adding itself to the firewall exception list and waltz right in. The malware then targets main systems, like your keyboard, webcam, your browsers and your Windows information.

Bladabindi then siphons your user IDs, passwords, computer name, serial number and country, and steals personal information with no one the wiser. It can also check for camera drivers to record and send video wherever it wants.

This malicious malware is spreading through USB drives. Bladabindi replicates itself into rootware and is disguised under a different icon by the hacker. When the victim clicks on it, it runs the Windows Explorer system as if nothing bad appears to have happened.

Bladabindi has mainly been attacking computers in India, and is currently being tracked by the Computer Emergency Response Team – India (CERT-In). CERT-In is trying to find a way to disable this nasty software, but in the meantime there are a few things you can do to protect your computer.

Scan your computer with a tough anti-virus software and a good cleaner/uninstaller program to determine if it’s even on your computer. If Bladabindi is found, it’s tough but not impossible to remove.

You should also scan and clean any USB or external drives that you use with a USB scanner/cleaner. You should also keep all of your software up to date and patched to beef up security.

As always: Do not click or follow unsolicited email attachments or ads, do not visit untrusted or sketchy sites, use tough passwords, and be vigilant about social media attacks.

Source: The Financial Express

 

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July 16, 2014 at 11:42 am

How I Optimized My New SSD Installation

Samsung Solid State Drive

Hello everyone,

In a previous post I described how I brought an old laptop back to life by installing a new SSD. In this post I would like to describe a few optimization tweaks that I made after the SSD was installed. These four tweaks will increase the performance of any SSD, and bring you even greater satisfaction from your SSD install.

1) Disable any form of scheduled Disk Defragmentation (also never manually defrag an SSD). See here.

2) Disable “Superfetch” (go to run> services.msc)

3) Disable the Windows Search service (go to run> services.msc)

4) Enable TRIM Support (Windows Vista has no TRIM Support).

5) Some techs advocate to stop using the page file if you have enough RAM, but this does not matter to me and I didn’t do it.

Enjoy your SSD!

Best wishes,

Randy The Tech Professor

 

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July 9, 2014 at 11:55 am

How I Rejuvenated My Beloved Older Laptop (By Cloning To An SSD)

Toshiba Satellite L355-S7812

Hello everyone,

In 2008 I bought a beautiful Toshiba laptop (Toshiba Satellite L355-S7812 – 17.1″ – Core 2 Duo T5550 – Vista Home Premium – 3 GB RAM – 200 GB HDD). This computer has served me well for almost six years and I have used it constantly (I’m actually using it right now as I write this post). Along the way I have increased the RAM to 4GB, and added a faster 500 GB SATA Hard Drive. I have also hooked it up to an external 23″ IPS monitor (Dell S2340M). Being a tech geek, I have kept the computer in tip top shape in every way. The machine has never failed me.

A couple of months ago I noticed that the computer seemed to boot up a little slower, and would hang a bit at certain times. Using Speccy, I also noticed that the CPU, Motherboard, and Hard Drive temperatures were somewhat on the high side even though I was using a laptop cooler (Targus Space Saving Lap Chill Mat). Since I loved this laptop, I wasn’t about to part with it. I decided to buy and install an SSD (I have written about SSD’s before: here, here, and here).

I did my research and decided on the 250GB Samsung 840 EVO. It’s a great SSD and the price was right ($130.00). Here is what I did to install the new drive:

1) I installed Apricorn EZ GIG II Cloning Software to the Toshiba laptop (I had cloned before using this software and it just works. I tried using the Samsung Data Migration software and also the EaseUS Todo Backup Free software but they would not do the job).

2) I connected the SSD to the Toshiba laptop (I used the CablesToGo USB 2.0 to IDE or SATA Drive Adapter Cable). I did not have to initialize or format the Samsung SSD.

3) I opened the EZ GIG II Cloning Software and followed the easy prompts (choose the source disk and target disk and begin the clone).

4) When the clone was complete (about an hour and a half in my case), the computer shut down. I then removed the original hard drive from the Toshiba laptop and replaced it with the new SSD.

5) I rebooted the computer and watched as my beloved computer became faster, cooler, quieter, and safer. Maybe I can keep it around for another six years!

In a future post I’ll tell you what I did to optimize the new SSD once I had it up and running.

Best wishes,

Randy The Tech Professor

 

 

 

 

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June 24, 2014 at 8:37 pm

Third Party Program Updates For The Month Of June 2014

third party software

Hello everyone,

It is not enough anymore to just keep your Operating System updated and patched. Many third party (non Microsoft) programs need constant updating also. If these programs are left unpatched, your system is wide open to attack. Most of the malware attacks that I see in my computer repair business are due to outdated versions of third party applications like the ones shown below. Please take a look at the June 2014 third party updates, and get the most recent versions as soon as you can. A great automatic third party updater can be found here.

Identifier Vendor / Product Product Version Affected Date Released by Vendor Vulnerability Info Vendor Severity / My Recommendation

APSB14-16: Adobe Flash Player Windows/Mac 13.0.0.214 and earlier Linux 11.2.202.359 and earlier 6/10/14, Arbitrary code execution> Critical: Priority 1/ Upgrade asap

APSB14-16: Adobe Air Windows/Mac 13.0.0.111 and earlier 6/10/2014, Arbitrary Code execution> Critical: Priority 3/ Upgrade at admin’s discretion

35.0.1916.153: Chrome Windows/Mac/Linux Before 35.0.1916.153 6/10/2014, Denial of Service> Upgrade at admin’s discretion

30: Mozilla Firefox Before Firefox 30 6/10/2014 Arbitrary Code Execution, Denial of Service, Clickjacking> Recommended: Upgrade after testing

ESR 24.6: Mozilla Firefox Before Firefox ESR 24.6 6/10/2014 Arbitrary Code Execution, Denial of Service> Recommended: Upgrade after testing

24.6: Mozilla Thunderbird Before Thunderbird 24.6 6/10/2014 Arbitrary Code Execution,  Denial of Service> Recommended: Upgrade after testing

2.26.1: Mozilla SeaMonkey Before SeaMonkey 6/10/2014 Arbitrary Code Execution, Denial of Service> Recommended: Upgrade after testing

Best wishes,

Randy The Tech Professor

 

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June 14, 2014 at 11:46 am

Computer Repair Tools That I Can’t Live Without (Part 10.7: Utilities On My USB Flash Drive)

AdwCleaner LogoHello everyone,

In the past year and a half or so I’ve repaired over 350 computers. In this series I’m describing the very repair tools that I use daily. If you would like, you can see the entire series (up to this point) by following these links: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7, part 8, part 9, part 10, part 10.1, part 10.2, part 10.3, part 10.4, part 10.5, part 10.6, part 11, and part 12.

Part 10.7: Continuing what I started in part 10, 10.1, 10.2, 10.3, 10.4, 10.5, and 10.6, I’ll continue to show you the repair tools that I have on my USB flash drives and tell you what they are used for. The software tool that I’m describing today is just flat out awesome, and I’ve been using it on every computer that I work on.

Take a look below at some of the malicious programs that I see everyday (In previous posts I’ve mentioned the detection and removal of these programs: here, here, and here).

Shop At Home Toolbar, Inbox Toolbar, Ask Toolbar, MapsGalaxy Toolbar, CouponBar, Babylon Toolbar, VAFMusic4 Toolbar, Snap.do, WebCake, Blekko Search Bar,Yontoo WebSearch Toolbar, Default Tab, SaltarSmart, Win32/AddLyrics, Delta-homes.com (redirect), RegClean Pro, VideoDownloadConverter Firefox Toolbar, UtilityChest Toolbar, TotalRecipe Toolbar, TelevisionFanatic Firefox Toolbar, Shop To Win, Search Protect, Recipe Hub Toolbar, PricePeep for I.E., MyPC Backup, My WebSearch (Popular Screensavers), Marine Aquarium Lite Toolbar, I Want This, Homepage by Mindspark Interactive, Crawler Toolbar, Coupon Alert, Babylon ObjectInstaller, Advanced System Protector, Visual Bee, V9.com, Conduit Search, etc., etc., etc……………….!!

These malicious items cause annoying pop-ups, pop-unders, banners, and coupons. They change Windows start-up settings and Internet browser settings. They change the homepage, redirect browser searches, and generally make  Internet browsing experience hell! They will incessantly try to sell you something. Ultimately they will ruin the computers functionality!

Many of these vicious little programs primarily bundle with third party software, most often freeware and shareware. Many others will gain access to your machine when a pop-up is clicked on. They will rush in in bunches and seem to multiply before your very eyes. Pop-up after pop-up until they drive you crazy!!

BUT HAVE NO FEAR! You can get rid of these creepy critters with the great program AdwCleaner (I always download it from bleepingcomputer.com)

AdwCleaner is a program that searches for and deletes Adware, Toolbars, Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUP), and browser Hijackers from your computer.  By using AdwCleaner you can easily remove many of these types of programs for a better user experience on your computer and while browsing the web.

The types of programs that AdwCleaner targets are typically bundled with free programs that you download from the web.  In many cases when you download and install a program, the install will state that these programs will be installed along with the program you downloaded.  Unless you perform a Custom install, these unwanted programs will automatically be installed on your computer leaving you with extra browser toolbars, adware, and other unwanted programs.  AdwCleaner is designed to search for and remove these types of programs.

Professor Randy says: These malicious programs have no right to ruin your computing experience. Get rid of them by using the great free program AdwCleaner, and enjoy your computing experience once more.

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May 27, 2014 at 6:07 pm

Third Party Program Updates For The Month Of May 2014

     patch
Hello everyone,

It is not enough anymore to just keep your Operating System updated and patched. Many third party (non Microsoft) programs need constant updating also. If these programs are left unpatched, your system is wide open to attack. Most of the malware attacks that I see in my computer repair business are due to outdated versions of third party applications like the ones shown below. Please take a look at the May 2014 third party updates, and get the most recent versions as soon as you can. I have linked to three great automatic updaters. Check them out!

Randy The Tech Professor

Please check out these links:

http://www.kcsoftwares.com/?sumo

http://cleansofts.org/view/update-notifier.html

http://secunia.com/vulnerability_scanning/personal/

Identifier

Vendor/Product

Product Version Affected

Date Released by Vendor

Vulnerability Info

Vendor
Severity / My Recommendation

APSB14-11

Adobe Illustrator

Windows CS6 (Subscription) 16.2.0 and earlier

(Non- Subscription)

16.0.3 and earlier

Mac CS6 (Subscription) 16.2.1 and earlier

(Non-Subscription) 16.0.4 and earlier

5/13/2014

Arbitrary Code Execution

Critical:  Priority 3/ Upgrade at admin’s discretion

APSB14-14

Adobe Flash

Windows/Mac 13.0.0.206 and earlier

Linux 11.2.202.356 and earlier

5/13/2014

Arbitrary Code Execution

Critical: Priority 1/ Upgrade within 72 hours

APSB14-14

Adobe Air

Windows/Mac 13.0.0.83

and earlier

5/13/2014

Arbitrary Code Execution

Critical: Priority 3/ Upgrade at admin’s discretion

APSB14-15

Adobe Reader/Acrobat

Windows/Mac Reader/Acrobat XI 11.0.0.6 and earlier

Reader/Acrobat X 10.1.9 and earlier  

5/08/2014

Arbitrary Code Execution, Denial of Service

Critical: Priority 1/ Upgrade within 72 hours

iTunes 11.2

Apple

Windows before 11.2 

5/15/2014

Security Bypass

Recommended

iTunes 11.2.1

Apple

Mac before 11.2.1

5/16/2014

Security Bypass

Recommended

35.0.1916.114

Chrome

Windows/Mac/Linux before 54.0.1916.114

5/20/2014

Information Disclosure, Denial of Service, Cross Site Scripting, UI Spoofing

Recommended: Upgrade after testing

29/ESR 24.5

Mozilla Firefox

Before Firefox 29/ESR 24.5

4/29/2014

Arbitrary Code Execution, Denial of Service, Cross Site Scripting, Security Bypass

Recommended: Upgrade after testing

24.5

Mozilla Thunderbird

Before Thunderbird 24.5

4/29/2014

Arbitrary Code Execution, Denial of Service, Cross Site Scripting, Security Bypass

Recommended: Upgrade after testing

2.26

Mozilla Seamonkey

Before Seamonkey 2.26

4/29/2014

Arbitrary Code Execution, Denial of Service, Cross Site Scripting, Security Bypass

Recommended: Upgrade after testing

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May 5, 2014 at 7:51 pm

Beware Of The PayPal “Account Review” Email Scam

paypal email scam

Hello everyone

I received this email today. Looks good doesn’t it? Well, it’s a total scam! If you get an email like this do not even think about opening the attachment. Hackers will try to use scare tactics on you so that you click without thinking. Stay calm and don’t be fooled!

Keep in mind that scammers often use scare tactics to try to get you to react without thinking. – See more at: http://www.scamtrends.com/tag/paypal-review-department/#sthash.ZNE07DIU.dpuf
Keep in mind that scammers often use scare tactics to try to get you to react without thinking. – See more at: http://www.scamtrends.com/tag/paypal-review-department/#sthash.ZNE07DIU.dpuf
Keep in mind that scammers often use scare tactics to try to get you to react without thinking. – See more at: http://www.scamtrends.com/tag/paypal-review-department/#sthash.ZNE07DIU.dpuf

Dear Valued Customer,

Our Account Protection System recently detected an issue with your account.

There was an unusual activity on the credit card linked to your PayPal
account. Our security team suspects that an unauthorized user tried to access
your account without your consent.

Your account have been temporarily limited. We understand this may be
frustrating and inconvenient for you.

What to do next:

Please download the attachment in this email and simply open it so that
you are able to proceed with the verification process. Please fill in the required
fields after you have opened the attachment.

We apologize for any inconvenience that may have been caused.

Sincerely,

Copyright © 1999-2014 PayPal. All rights reserved.

Best wishes,
Randy Knowles

 

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