Tag: technical support

Scam of The Day!

Scam of the day!

Every day someone somewhere tries to embezzle money from someone.  If not some Nigerian trying to get your bank account number so they can give you free money, than someone somewhere through e-mail tries to get the unsuspecting, to click on a link that is not what they think it is.

Through the years I have received e-mails from all sorts of alleged government agencies telling me that I need to click here to resolve some complaint.

If you have a business like I do, and you have a website, you are more vulnerably because you are more visible.

As I have explained to people for years, the government would not contact you via e-mail.  Still I get computers in here that have been infected by someone clicking before thinking.

Today I got a rather unique e-mail from PayPal or so it would seem.

Looking at the e-mail notification one thing pops out at me immediately in that, it is flagged urgent.  PayPal does not flag things as urgent.  The perpetrator of this hoax wants to get my attention.  Secondly I have set up rules which automatically move certain e-mails from certain people. Upon receipt they are put into a specified folder arranged by who they are and where the e-mail is from.  This was my second clue that something was amiss, as this was in my Inbox, not in the folder where it should be.  So why didn’t the rule work, it was not from PayPal.

Looking at the e-mail itself, it looks fairly normal at first glance.  Notice it says that I sent $149 dollars for a watch to someone on eBay and that the shipping address is somewhere in New York.

I do purchase things on eBay, as do a lot of people, and it would not be unlike me to buy a watch for a $149.  Firstly, I did not buy a watch so now I am looking at this e-mail a little more closely and see that it is to be shipped to someone in New York!

Someone not paying too much attention to this would quickly see the link that offers you “dispute resolution” and then click upon it.  That is the gotcha and most likely the intent of this ruse. They want you to click on the link. Hovering over the link you will quickly notice that it does not go to PayPal or eBay.

Looking at the link, I really have no idea where it would take me or what it would do to my computer, if anything.  The trick here is not to be a victim of some nefarious person or people.  It may very well be a link to some website that tries to sell you something and they are driving traffic to it by disreputable means.  It could however be a link to some site which will infect your computer with some type of Trojan or malware or both.

One other trick that I will share with you is this.  As well as having good anti-virus software running and updated at all times, have a user account set up that does not allow administrative privileges on your machine.  Use that account for your normal daily computer use and only use the administrative account when adding or changing hardware and or software on your computer.  The virus and or malware may very well be limited to whatever rights that the user that got it, has.  If the user has no rights to modify the way a program behaves, the virus might be limited to those rights as well.

Remember that not all anti-virus software will protect you from all attempts to hijack your computer.   Not all viruses are created equally. The more sophisticated the virus, the more intelligence or (computer smarts) on the part of the user is necessary.

-Best to you and those that you care about!


Which Anti Virus Software is the Best?

Selecting an anti virus software today is like trying to look at a watermelon in the store and telling how it is going to taste without opening it up. This is also the question that I get asked most frequently.

Not all software is the same and that holds true with the virus itself.

When I evaluate anti virus software I look for several things. Firstly what can I find in the way of reviews on the internet? Try to find independent reviews vs. going to their website.

Amazon frequently has reviews of products.

From a technical stand point I want to know what size footprint it has. When I say footprint I want to know how much of my available memory is it going to chew up and I want to know how much CPU is it going to use. There are several anti virus software’s out there that literally will stop you from using your machine while they scan, update etc. Ideally this type of software should run at a lower priority when you need the resources of your machine. To me there is nothing more frustrating than needing to check your e-mail and the anti virus software among other software takes over your machine for the first 30 minutes doing updates, scans and what have you.

Here is the biggie, will it catch everything?

Sadly there is no silver bullet. Some software makers have a lot of resources to pour into updates and research as well as the ability to quickly push out updates to their customers on an as needed basis. Software like Trend Micro has an easy way to upload suspicious files for them to analyze.

Another thing to look at with software is technical support. How much will you need, what do people say about their support and how much will it cost?

I have been in IT since before there were viruses. I fought the first virus which got out onto our network of several hundred employees through a shared file brought in by an employee on a floppy disk. I say that to set the stage for the different iterations of anti virus software out there. The first company on the scene was McAfee. PcTools was picked up by Symantic and over the last few years there have been many players enter into the game.

My personal favorite as of this moment is EsetNode32. That could change tomorrow as they may rest on their laurels or have a policy change of some sort which would affect the quality of their product. That is the same for all companies.

I see a lot of computers that have been infiltrated. While they all have some sort of protection, free software seems the most susceptible to attacks, MailWare and other forms of infections.

While free is better than none, I would certainly budget anti virus software into my computer needs.

TIP: Go to the store and purchase it in the box vs. getting it online. Do this even for the renewal. One can almost always find it on sale going to the office supply store or even Wal-Mart. Purchasing it online usually involves a third party which makes money off of the sale as well. You pay a price for convenience and it could be as much as 100% more than you would pay in the store. In the below URL’s you can gain quick access to the different brands that I am personally familiar with. Several ranking sites will rank these differently so do your research and roll the dice.

This blog in no way constitutes any type or warrantee or guarantee of usability or protection against the hackers either expressed or implied. While I have had good fortune with Eset, your mileage may vary and I will be held harmless, in the event that your results are not what mine have been.

What you do on the internet and who sends you e-mail may put your computer in less risk or more risk than me. There are independent labs out there that evaluate different software so you might search them out as well. The trick is make sure that they are independent and do not have any dog in the fight. The problem there however is obvious; if they don’t have a dog in the fight, why do the work and give it away? Do your own research. Consumer reports frequently look at this topic as well.









-Best and Happy Computing