Your daily technology class with Professor Randy!!

Randy The Tech Professor

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 Most of the malware attacks that I see in my computer repair business are due to outdated versions of third party applications like the ones shown below.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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April 28, 2014 at 8:16 pm

Third Party Program Updates For The Month Of April 2014

patch 3rd. party softwareHello everyone,

In this March post (2013), I told you about three great programs that will show you all of your computers third party program vulnerabilities, and then download and install the latest vulnerability fixes. Great stuff!

Speaking of vulnerabilities, here is a chart of the non-MS patches that affected Windows platforms in the current month of April 2014. Get updated asap!

7u55
Oracle Java SE, JavaFX, Java SE Embedded
SE 7u51 and earlier, SE 6u71 and earlier, SE 5.0u61 and earlier, SE Embedded 7u51 and earlier, JavaFX 2.2.51 and earlier
4/18/2014
Data Integrity
Critical: Upgrade to latest release

APSB14-09
Adobe Flash Player
Windows/Mac 12.0.0.77 and earlier Linux 11.2.202.346 and earlier
4/8/2014
Arbitrary Code Execution, Cross Site Scripting, Security Bypass
Critical Priority 1/ Upgrade within 72 hours

APSB14-09
Adobe Air
Android 4.0.0.1628 and earlier
4/8/2014
Arbitrary Code Execution, Security Bypass
Critical: Priority 3/ Upgrade at admin’s discretion

APSB14-12
Adobe Reader Mobile
Android 11.1.3 and earlier
4/14/2014
Arbitrary Code Execution
Critical: Priority 2/ Upgrade within 30 days

34.0.1847.131 and 34.0.1847.132
Google Chrome
Windows/Mac before 34.0.1847.131 Linux before 34.0.1847.132
4/24/2014
Security Bypass, Denial of Service
Recommended: Upgrade after testing

Best wishes,
Randy Knowles

 

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April 19, 2014 at 10:22 am

How I Fixed: “The User Profile Service failed the logon”

user account profile service

Hello everyone,

I got a call the other day from a frantic client. He was an experienced artist and he could not logon to his Windows account. His user account was not accepting his password. Had he lost all of his files?

I went over to his house with my favorite password crackers thinking that it was a password issue. As soon as I saw the dreaded error message “The User Profile Service failed the logon”, I knew that it was not a password problem. This was a bug that required a registry fix.

Here is what I did to fix the issue:

  1. Boot into safe mode
  2. Click on the start button, and type “regedit” into the search bar.
  3. Hit enter to open regedit.
  4. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList
  5. You’ll see two “S-1-5….” folders with long names. One of them will end in “.bak”
  6. Rename the one that does not end in “.bak” to (long string of numbers) “.bad” or “.old”
  7. Remove the “.bak” from the other one.
    • With this folder selected, double click RefCount and type 0 and then click OK.
    • With this folder selected, double click State and type 0 and then click OK.
  8. Reboot the machine, and it should be fixed.

After the machine rebooted, the client typed in his original password and the logon was successful. He looked at me with an expression of relief and gratitude, shook my hand profusely, and paid me a nice fee. I think I’ve just made a customer for life!

Best wishes,

Randy The Tech Professor

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