Your daily technology class with Professor Randy!!

Randy The Tech Professor

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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March 24, 2014 at 9:58 pm

Third Party Program Updates For The Month Of March 2014

risks-associated-with-third-party-software-2

Hello everyone,

In this March post (one year ago), 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 March 2014. Get updated asap!

Identifier

Vendor/Product

Product Version Affected

Date Released by Vendor

Vulnerability Info

Vendor
Severity / My Recommendation

iOS 7.1

Apple

BeforeiOS 7.1

3/10/2014

Denial of Service, Data Integrity, Security Bypass, Information Disclosure

Recommended

APSB14-08

Adobe Flash Player

Windows/Mac 12.0.0.70and earlier Linux 11.2.202.341 and earlier

3/11/2014

Security Bypass, Information Disclosure

Important: Priority 2/ Upgrade within 30 days if possible

APSB14-10

Adobe Shockwave Player

Windows/Mac 12.0.9.149and earlier

3/13/2014

Arbitrary Code Execution

Critical: Priority 2/ Upgrade within 30 days if possible

30.0.1750.154

Chrome

Windows before 30.0.1750.154 Mac/Linux before 30.0.1750.152

3/14/2014

Arbitrary Code Execution, Information Disclosure

Recommended: Upgrade after testing

28 ESR 24.4

Mozilla Firefox

BeforeFirefox 28 and ESR 24.4

3/18/2014

Arbitrary Code Execution, Privilege Escalation, Information Disclosure

Recommended: Upgrade after testing

24.4

Mozilla Thunderbird

Before Thunderbird 24.4

3/18/2014

Arbitrary Code Execution, Privilege Escalation, Information Disclosure

Recommended: Upgrade after testing

2.25

Mozilla Seamonkey

Before Seamonkey 2.25

3/18/2014

Arbitrary Code Execution, Privilege Escalation, Information Disclosure

Recommended: Upgrade after testing

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March 14, 2014 at 11:07 pm

How I Removed Thirty One Malware Infections From One Laptop

malware

Hello everyone,

I believe that computer repair techs will always be in demand. The Internet is so full of different types of malware that only a very savvy user can avoid it. Many of the attacks now are through browser hijackers, add-ons and extensions. Consider what just happened to me:

I got a call from a client who said that her laptop was “running slow”. Once I got the laptop to my shop and turned it on, I was surprised that it was even running at all. I could have held an actual clinic for anyone interested in learning how to identify and remove malware. Consider what I identified and removed (a couple of these items are not actually malware, but do slow the computer down and can be replaced with more effective programs):

RegClean Pro, XFINITY Toolbar, Windows Live Toolbar, VideoDownloadConverter Firefox Toolbar, Utility Chest Toolbar, TotalRecipe Toolbar, TelevisionFanatic Firefox Toolbar, Shop To Win, Search Protect, Recipe Hub Toolbar, PricePeep for I.E., MyPC Backup, My Web Search (Popular Screensavers), McAfee Security Scan Plus, Marine Aquarium Lite Toolbar, I Want This, Homepage by Mindspark Interactive, Google Toolbar for I.E., DesktopWeatherAlerts, Crawler Toolbar, Constant Guard Protection Suite, DiskMax 4.56, Coupon Alert, Coupon Printer for Windows, Bing Bar, Babylon Object Installer, Advanced System Protector, Adobe Reader, Norton PC Checkup, Norton Security Suite, Visual Bee.

That’s a lot of “junk” on one laptop. There were also outdated versions of Flash, Java and Shockwave Player. I replaced Adobe Reader with Sumatra PDF, reset System Restore, installed Microsoft Security Essentials, ran Defraggler, changed some Power Options, and had previously ran CCleaner, PureRa, Revo Uninstaller Junk Files Remover, and Gould CleanUp. For good measure I ran CrystalDiskInfo to check the hard drive.

When I returned the laptop the client was amazed at how well it was running and could not understand “how all of that junk got on her computer”. This lack of understanding is why I believe that computer repair techs will always be in demand.

 

 

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February 24, 2014 at 9:02 pm

Third Party Program Updates For The Month Of February 2014

update third party programsHello everyone,

In this March post 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 February 2014. Get updated asap!

Identifier

Vendor/Product

Product Version Affected

Date Released by Vendor

Vulnerability Info

Vendor
Severity / My Recommendation

APSB14-07

Adobe Flash Player

Windows/Mac 12.0.0.44 and earlier Linux 11.2.202.336 and earlier

2/20/2014

Arbitrary Code Execution

Critical: Priority 1/ Upgrade within 72 hours if possible

APSB14-07

Adobe Air

Windows/Mac/Android 3.9.0.1390 and earlier

2/20/2014

Arbitrary Code Execution

Critical: Priority 3/Upgrade at admin’s discretion

APSB14-06

Adobe Shockwave Player

Windows/Mac 12.0.7.148 and earlier

2/11/2014

Arbitrary Code Execution, Denial of Service

Critical: Priority 1/ Upgrade within 72 hours if possible

iOS 7.0.6/6.1.6

Apple

Before iOS 7.06 and before iOS 6.1.6

2/21/2014

Data Integrity, Information Disclosure

Recommended

33.0.1750.117

Chrome

Windows/Mac/Linux Before 33.0.1750.117

2/20/2014

Arbitrary Code Execution, Denial of Service, Security Bypass, Information Disclosure

Recommended: Upgrade after testing

27 ESR 24.3

Mozilla Firefox

Before Firefox 27 and ESR 24.3

2/4/2014

Arbitrary Code Execution, Denial of Service, Security Bypass, Information Disclosure

Recommended: Upgrade after testing

24.3

Mozilla Thunderbird

Before Thunderbird 24.3

2/4/2014

Arbitrary Code Execution, Information Disclosure

Recommended: Upgrade after testing

2.24

Mozilla SeaMonkey

Before 2.24

2/4/2014

Arbitrary Code Execution, Denial of Service, Security Bypass, Information Disclosure

Recommended: Upgrade after testing

Best wishes,
Randy The Tech Professor

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January 27, 2014 at 10:17 pm

Third Party Program Updates For The Month Of January 2014

risks-associated-with-third-party-software-2

Hello everyone,

In this March post 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 past month of January 2014. Get updated asap!

Identifier

Vendor/Product

Product Version Affected

Date Released by Vendor

Vulnerability Info

Vendor
Severity / My Recommendation

APSB14-01

Adobe Reader / Adobe Acrobat

Windows/Mac XI 11.0.05 and earlier / X 10.1.8 and earlier

1/14/2014

Arbitrary Code Execution or Denial of Service

Critical: Priority 1/ Upgrade within 72 hours if possible

APSB14-02

Adobe Flash Player

Windows/Mac 11.9.900.170 and earlier / Linux 11.2.202.332 and earlier

1/14/2014

Arbitrary Code Execution

Critical: Priority 1/ Upgrade within 72 hours if possible

APSB14-02

Adobe Air

Windows/Mac 3.9.0.1380 and earlier

1/14/2014

Arbitrary Code Execution

Critical: Priority 3/ Upgrade at admin’s discretion

APSB14-03

Adobe Digital Editions

Windows/Mac 2.01

1/22/2014

Arbitrary Code Execution

Critical: Priority 3/ Upgrade at admin’s discretion

11.1.4

iTunes

Windows/Mac

Prior to 11.1.4

1/22/2014

Arbitrary Code Execution, Denial of Service

Recommended

5.1/2.1

Pages

OSX/iOS prior to Pages 5.1 or 2.1

1/23/2014

Arbitrary Code Execution, Denial of Service

Recommended

7u51

Oracle Java SE, Java FX, Java SE Embedded

SE 7u45 and earlier, SE 6u65 and earlier, SE 5.0u55 and earlier, SE Embedded 7u45 and earlier, JavaFX 2.2.45 and earlier

1/14/2014

36 security vulnerabilities fixed of which 34 may be remotely exploitable without authentication

Critical: Upgrade to latest release

32.0.1700.76and 32.0.1700.77

Chrome

Windows before 32.0.1700.76 Linux/Mac Before 32.0.1700.77

1/14/2014

Denial of service, improper sync, address bar spoofing

Recommended: Upgrade after testing

Best wishes,
Randy The Tech Professor

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January 20, 2014 at 11:41 am

When An SSD Will Not Increase Your Computers Speed

Samsung SSDHello everyone,

The SSD (Solid State Drive) is the greatest invention since “sliced bread”. Installing an SSD can cut boot times down to below ten seconds and open programs so fast that your head will swim! The greatest single speed upgrade for your computer is without doubt the installation of a Solid State Drive.

Yet many people install an SSD, and see little or no speed increase. What’s up?

Take a look at this beautiful Solid State Drive: A super fast SSD indeed, but will your computer  be able to utilize this speed? If your computer motherboard does not have the adequate bus speed, then you will never see the true benefits of your SSD.

It all depends upon what version of SATA ports are on your motherboard. If your motherboard does not have high speed SATA connections (SATA3 at 6Gb/s), then your I/O bus will bog down well before you can experience the speed of the SSD.

If you connect a 6Gb/s capable SSD to a SATA2 port then you will only get 3Gb/s. If you connect a 6Gb/s SSD to a SATA1 port, then your throughput will only be 1.5Gb/s.

If you have an older computer/motherboard and you want to enjoy the incredible speed of an SSD drive, you may be able to add a SATA 3 card. Even better would be to get a PCIe card and connect the SSD to the PCIe bus instead of the SATA bus. When installing an expansion card, please make sure that your motherboard is compatible.

Professor Randy says: An SSD will change your computing life! Just make sure that your motherboard has the correct ports in order to take full advantage of the drive.

 

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