Your daily technology class with Professor Randy!!

Randy The Tech Professor

November 2, 2013 at 12:37 pm

Third Party Program Updates For October 2013

Hello everyone,

In this March post I told you about a great program 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 past month of October. Get updated asap!

Identifier

Vendor/Product

Product Version Affected

Date Released by Vendor

Vulnerability Info

Vendor
Severity / Our Recommendation

APSB13-25

Adobe Reader and Acrobat XI

For Windows, version 11.0.04. Version 10.1.8 and earlier not affected

10/8/2013

Remote Code – allows remote attackers to execute arbitray code via PDF’s

Critical: Priority 2 / upgrade within 30 days

APSB13-24

Adobe Robohelp

10 for Windows

10/8/2013

Remote Code – allows attackers to execute arbitray code or cause DoS

Critical: Priority 3 (upgrade at admin’s discretion)

6.0

Apple Keynote

OS X Mavericks v10.9 or later

10/22/2013

Requires physical access to machine. Screen may be unlocked if put to sleep while Keynote is in presentation mode

Low: install as needed

11.1.2

Apple iTunes

Windows 7, Vista, and XP SP2 or later

10/23/2013

Possible arbitrary code execution

Recommended

30.0.1599.101

Google Chrome

Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chrome Frame

10/1/2013

50+ security vulnerabilities fixed

Critical: Includes fixes to High priority bugs. Google recommends letting the browser update automatically.

30.0.1599.114

Google Chrome

Linux Only

10/22/2013

1 bug fix, resolves issues installing x32 version

Low: install as needed

7u45

Oracle Java SE, Java FX, Java SE Embedded

SE 7u40 and earlier, SE 6u60 and earlier, SE 5.0u51 and earlier, SE Embedded 7u40 and earlier, JavaFX 2.2.40 and earlier

10/22/2013

50+ security vulnerabilities fixed of which 50 may be remotely exploitable without authentication

Critical: upgrade to latest release

Best wishes,
Randy The Tech Professor

Tags: , ,
comments Comments (0)    -
October 6, 2013 at 12:28 pm

How I Eradicate The Plague Of Toolbars, Browser Highjackers, Add-Ons, and Extensions (Part 1)

webbrowsersearch-homepage

Hello everyone,

Note: Part 2 of this post can be found here

In just the past month I have witnessed a veritable plague in my area of computer repair work. Unwanted items are almost secretly installing themselves to the Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Internet Explorer browsers. Many of my great clients are seniors and they are being “suckered” into installing these unwanted programs.

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! Ultimately they will ruin the computers functionality!

These vicious little programs primarily bundle with third party software, most often freeware and shareware. Once in a while the user may be given the opportunity to decline the offer to install the “piggyback” item, but many times the offer is presented in a manner that attempts to trick the user. Often these malicious programs will install even if declined!

Here is a list of what I’ve eliminated from ten or so machines in the past month (no particular order):

1) Shop At Home Toolbar

2) Inbox Toolbar

3) Ask Toolbar

4) MapsGalaxy Toolbar

5) CouponBar

6) Babylon Toolbar

7) VAFMusic4 Toolbar

8) Snap.do

9) WebCake

10) Blekko Search Bar

11) Yontoo

12) WebSearch Toolbar

13) Default Tab

14) SaltarSmart

15) Win32/AddLyrics

16) Delta-homes.com (redirect)

In my next post I will explain how to rid your computer of these “plagues”.

Professor Randy says: Certain unfriendly entities want to enter your computer without your knowledge. First, be aware or who/what they are, and second, learn how to protect yourself from them!

 

 

 

Tags: , , , ,
comments Comments (0)    -
September 24, 2013 at 8:44 pm

Third Party Program Updates For September 2013

patchmypc-1

Hello everyone,

In this March post I told you about a great program 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 affect Windows platforms in the present month of September. Get updated asap!

Identifier

Vendor/Product

Product Version Affected

Date Released by Vendor

Vulnerability Info

Vendor
Severity / Our Recommendation


APSB13-21

Adobe Flash Player

For Windows,
before 11.8.800.94

9/10/2013

Multiple vulnerabilities

Critical: Priority 1(upgrade within 72 hours)


APSB13-21

Adobe Air

For Windows,
before 3.8.0.1433

9/10/2013

Multiple vulnerabilities

Critical: Priority 3 (upgrade at admin’s discretion)


APSB13-22

Adobe Reader and Acrobat

For Windows,
before 11.0.4

9/10/2013

Multiple vulnerabilities

Critical: Priority 2 (upgrade within 30 days)


APSB13-23

Adobe Shockwave Player For Windows,
before 12.0.3.134

9/10/2013

Multiple vulnerabilities

Critical: Priority 1 (upgrade within 72 hours)

29.0.1547.76

Google Chrome

For Windows before
29.0.1547.76

9/18/2013

No new vulnerability information

Google recomends automatic update

24.0

Mozilla Firefox

Before 24.0

9/17/2013

Multiple High risk vulnerabilties fixed

Critical: upgrade to latest release

24.0

Mozilla Thunderbird

Before 24.0

9/17/2013

Multiple High risk vulnerabilties fixed

Critical: upgrade to latest release

2.21

Mozilla SeaMonkey

Before 2.21

9/17/2013

Multiple High risk vulnerabilties fixed

Critical: upgrade to latest release

Best wishes,

Randy The Tech Professor

Tags: ,
comments Comments (0)    -
August 31, 2013 at 9:19 pm

Third Party Program Updates For August 2013

third party program updates

Hello everyone,

In this March post I told you about a great program 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 affect Windows platforms in the present month of August. Get updated asap!

 

 

Identifier

Vendor/Product

Product Version Affected

Date Released by Vendor

Vulnerability Info

Vendor
Severity / Our Recommendation


APSB13-20

Adobe Digital Editions

For Windows,
before 2.0.1

7/30/2013

Memory corruption could allow remote code

Critical: Priority 3 (patch at admins’ discretion)

27.0.1547.57

Google Chrome

For Windows before
27.0.1547.57

7/11/2013

Multiple high risk vulnerabilities fixed

Critical: upgrade to latest release

23.0

Mozilla Firefox

Before 23

8/6/2013

Multiple High risk vulnerabilties fixed

Critical: upgrade to latest release

17.0.8

Mozilla Thunderbird

Before 17.0.8

8/6/2013

Multiple High risk vulnerabilties fixed

Critical: upgrade to latest release

2.20

Mozilla SeaMonkey

Before 2.20

8/6/2013

Multiple High risk vulnerabilties fixed

Critical: upgrade to latest release

Tags: ,
comments Comments (2)    -
July 25, 2013 at 3:15 pm

How I Fixed: “A Required CD/DVD Drive Device Is Missing” Upon OS Installation

installation error

Hello everyone,

The other day a client gave me her Windows Vista laptop that was in very bad shape. After a quick diagnosis it was apparent that the machine needed a new hard drive. I popped in a nice new 2.5″ Western Digital drive, inserted my Windows Vista Home Premium Upgrade disc (into the CD/DVD ROM drive), rebooted the computer, and we were “off to the races”. This installation was going to be a “snap”.

Not quite!!

After the first two initial screens came up (1: selections for language, time, currency format, and keyboard layout  2: repair a previous installation or “Install Now”), I got the following message:

A required CD/DVD drive device driver is missing. If you have a driver floppy disk, CD, DVD, or USB flash drive, please insert it now.

When I saw this message this is what I did:

1) I hooked up an external USB CD/DVD ROM (like this one) to one of the USB ports,

2) Removed the Vista installation disc from the computers CD/DVD ROM drive,

3) Inserted the Vista installation disc into the external DVD drive ( didn’t have to reboot),

4) Sat back and watched the Vista installation proceed without a hitch! Great stuff!

I’m sure that this same procedure will work with Windows 7 also.

Professor Randy says: Don’t get “bent out of shape” when you see the “A required CD/DVD drive device is missing….” message. Choose the easy way out and continue the installation by inserting the disc into a portable USB external DVD drive.

 

 

 

Tags: , ,
comments Comments (0)    -
July 23, 2013 at 9:07 pm

Third Party Program Updates For The Month Of July

easy patch management

Hello everyone,

In this March post I told you about a great program 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 affect Windows platforms in the present month of July. Get updated asap!

 July 2013

 

Identifier

Vendor/Product

Product Version Affected

Date Released by Vendor

Vulnerability Info

Vendor
Severity / Our Recommendation


APSB13-17

Adobe Flash Player

For Windows,
11.7.700.224 and earlier

7/9/2013

Multiple vulnerabilities

Critical: Patch within 72 Hours

APSB13-18

Adobe Shockwave Player

For Windows,
12.0.2.122 and earlier

7/9/2013

Remote code via memory corruption

Critical: Patch within 72 Hours

APSB13-19

Adobe ColdFusion

ColdFusion 10

7/9/2013

Attacker can call ColdFusion Components (CFC) public methods via WebSockets.

Critical: Patch within 72 Hours

27.0.1500.68

Google Chrome

For Windows before
27.0.1500.68

7/11/2013

Multiple high risk vulnerabilities fixed

Critical: upgrade to latest release

22.0

Mozilla Firefox

Before 22

6/25/2013

Multiple High risk vulnerabilties fixed

Critical: upgrade to latest release

17.0.7

Mozilla Thunderbird

Before 17.0.7

6/25/2013

Multiple High risk vulnerabilties fixed

Critical: upgrade to latest release

2.19

Mozilla SeaMonkey

Before 2.19

7/2/2013

Multiple High risk vulnerabilties fixed

Critical: upgrade to latest release

 

 

Tags: ,
comments Comments (0)    -
July 21, 2013 at 11:58 am

How I Fixed: USB Ports Don’t Work After New OS Installation

driver installation order

Hello everyone,

Note: In this previous post I wrote about proper driver sequence in a Dell machine.

I got a home made computer from a client and the USB ports were not working. The operating system (Windows XP) had just been freshly installed as well as all Windows updates. Everything was working great except for the USB ports.

The motherboard  manufacturer was BIOSTAR, so I went to the BIOSTAR site and looked up the exact motherboard model (P4M800 Pro-M7). I downloaded the appropriate drivers and installed them.

Still no working USB ports!! What is going on here?

Well, don’t ever underestimate the importance of proper driver installation sequence. This is what I had to do:

1) Reinstall Windows XP

2) Go to the BIOSTAR site and install the drivers in this order:

A) Chipset (crucial that you install this driver first)

B) On-Board VGA

C) On-Board LAN

D) On-Board Audio

E) USB 2.0 Controller (this was the driver that was needed to make the USB ports function)

3) Go to Windows Update and download/install all updates from Microsoft

The result? All USB ports worked as they should and the computer worked flawlessly!

Professor Randy says: Install all motherboard drivers in proper sequence before installing any updates from Microsoft. Your computer will function at an optimum level and you will avoid many future glitches.

 

 

 

 

Tags: , ,
comments Comments (0)    -
July 15, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Basic Primer On Computer Infections

        infected-computer

Hello everyone,

On Monday 7/15/2013, I spoke at the local PC Users Group here in Crossville Tennessee (http://www.ppcuginc.com/). The following is the outline that I handed out to everyone present. The outline is intended to cover the basics as it is impossible to cover much more on a single page. I explained various points in much more detail during the actual presentation. I had a great time!

Computer Infections

What is a computer infection?

Malware, short for malicious software, is software used or programmed by
attackers to disrupt computer operation, gather sensitive information, or
gain access to private computer systems. It can appear in the form of
code, scripts, active content, and other software. 'Malware' is a general
term used to refer to a variety of forms of hostile or intrusive software.

Malware includes computer viruses, computer worms, ransomware, trojan
horses, keyloggers, most rootkits, spyware, dishonest adware, malicious
BHOs, and other malicious software.

Basic ways that a computer can become infected:

A) Accepting without reading 
B) Opening e-mail attachments 
C) Not running the latest updates 
D) Pirating software, music, or movies 
E) No antivirus spyware scanner 
F) Downloading infected software

How to protect your computer from becoming infected:

A) Install antivirus and antispyware programs from a trusted source 
B) Update software regularly 
C) Use strong passwords and keep them secret 
D) Never turn off your firewall 
E) Don’t be tricked into downloading malware
F) Use flash drives cautiously

Tools that one can use to help prevent infection:

A) Windows Update 
B) Firewall 
C) Router 
D) Update third party programs (SUMo: http://www.kcsoftwares.com/?sumo) Get the "Lite" version. 
E) Browser Protection (Google Chrome) 
F) Disable browser add-ons (toolbars and extensions) 
G) Revo Uninstaller (remove all toolbars) 
H) Only visit safe websites (WOT: http://www.mywot.com/en/download) 
I) Free antivirus: Microsoft Security Essentials (http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/security-essentials-download)
J) Paid antivirus: ESET NOD32 (http://www.eset.com/us/home/products/antivirus/).

Tools that one can use to remove an infection:

A) Malwarebytes (http://www.malwarebytes.org/products/malwarebytes_free/)
B) HitmanPro (http://www.surfright.nl/en/hitmanpro/) 
C) Comodo Cleaning Essentials(http://www.comodo.com/business-security/network-protection/cleaning_essentials.php)
D) ESET Online Scanner (http://www.eset.com/me/home/products/online-scanner/) 
E) Microsoft Safety Scanner (http://www.microsoft.com/security/scanner/en-us/default.aspx).



Tags: , ,
comments Comments (0)    -
June 1, 2013 at 11:12 pm

Next Generation Microsoft Surface Coming Soon?

        Surface RTHello everyone,

I actually really like the Microsoft Surface (I’m not the only one). It looks like the Surface 2 is on the way! This from Digitimes:

Microsoft will reportedly unveil sequels to its first two Surface tablets at its Build developer conference, which is scheduled to run from June 26th through June 28th. Unnamed sources from Microsoft’s supply chain have told Digitimes as much, and they claim initial components for the Intel-based version of the next-generation Surface began shipping in late 2012. According to the report, the next-generation Surface tablets will be smaller than the current models, with screens measuring between 7 and 9 inches diagonally. An earlier report suggested that Microsoft is developing an “Xbox Surface” gaming tablet with a 7-inch 720p display and an ARM-based Texas Instruments processor, but it is unclear if this gaming device is one of the tablets mentioned in Digitimes’ report.

Professor Randy says: Not many people are “singing the praises” of the Microsoft Surface, but I like it! You may want to check it out and come to your own conclusion.

Tags: ,
comments Comments (0)    -
May 30, 2013 at 5:58 pm

How I Fixed The Dell Inspiron M5030 (Seven Beeps At Startup)

dell inspiron m5030 motherboard.jpg-550x0

Hello everyone,

I’m not one for crazy fixes, but this is what just happened to me:

I picked up a Dell Inspiron M5030 laptop from a client a couple of days ago. I pushed the power button and I saw that the motherboard was getting power, the fans were spinning, but no screen. Then I heard the seven beeps over and over again – continuous seven beeps. I immediately thought video chip because it reminded me of the HP Pavilion dv9000 models of a few years back.

I took the laptop into my bedroom and wrapped it (laptop was on, still beeping, and open) in a towel first and then a blanket (covering up the entire non screen part of the computer). Keys covered, fan outlet covered, everything wrapped in the towel and blanket. No possibility for any type of cooling.

I left the room for twenty minutes while the computer was on and beeping away like crazy. After twenty minutes I unwrapped the laptop and turned it off by pushing the power button. The computer was really hot, and the towel and blanket were quite hot to the touch.

After about ten seconds I powered on the computer and no beeps! The screen came up no problem, and everything worked perfectly. I’ve restarted the machine several times and no more beeps. I’ve cold started the machine several times and no more beeps. Boots up just fine. The build up of heat from the twenty minutes must have produced like a mini-reflow!!

I left it off overnight and in the morning it booted up like a dream! I also turned off all sleep and hibernate modes in the control panel (power options). These modes create heating issues in laptops and will produce problems.

The Inspiron M5030 model has known issues with the cpu and video chip. This fix is most likely temporary but it has given me enough time to backup all of my clients data.

Professor Randy says: Don’t be afraid to try a well-researched “fix” even if a bit unorthodox. If nothing else you’ll learn alot and you’ll feel better for having done all that you can do to repair the machine!!

Tags: , , ,
comments Comments (49)    -