Category Archives for Current News

Spyware Doctor Review

The paragraph below has been copied straight from the Spyware Doctor website. The paragraph will be used as a principle to review the truths of the program.

 

Spyware Doctor is a top-rated malware & spyware removal utility that detects, removes and protects your PC from thousands of potential spyware, adware, trojans, keyloggers, spybots and tracking threats. Protect your privacy and computing habits from prying eyes and virtual trespassers with the help of Spyware Doctor.”

 

One thing you immediately notice upon installing the Spyware Doctor is the ease of updating the program. After you install and open the program you are prompted to run the Smart Update feature. This insures that you have the latest version of Spyware Doctor at all times. After the updating is complete you are free to open and use the program.

Download Spyware Doctor

Spyware Doctor Update

Spyware Doctor Update

 

Before you begin using Spyware Doctor you may be interested in reviewing the Spyware Doctor Quick Start Guide. This is an overview of the most common tools used in Spyware Doctor. The guide shows the buttons of the interface and what each does or represents. The guide also lets you know about the navigation of Spyware Doctor and how to use the Smart Update feature. If you need further assistance on Spyware Doctor you can use their Help option for more detailed information.

 

The main screen, or the interface, of Spyware Doctor is easy to understand and use. The simplicity is refreshing but also can leave you wanting more. I do enjoy all of the numbers and facts listed under System Status on the interface. For example, when the subscription expires or when your last scan was done. I like that it is very obvious as to whether your protection is on or off, too.

Spyware Doctor Scan

Spyware Doctor Scan

 

A really great thing about this program is that you are still able to run and operate other programs and such of your computer WHILE running the scan of Spyware Doctor. All too often your computer slows down drastically when a search or scan of this nature is being done. With some, you might as well start the scan and leave the computer until it finishes, but not with this particular program.

 

Don’t let the straightforward name fool you, Spyware Doctor does much more than watch out for simple spyware. This program uses IntelliGuard to immunize your computer against malicious ActiveX objects. Spyware Doctor will also rid tracking cookies, Trojans, dialers and keyloggers from your PC while IntelliGuard is in the active stage.

 

I have noted many great features of Spyware Doctor and overall I think it’s a great program to use. This program is not only something I now, personally use, but something I also recommend to any and all PC users. The value of your dollar goes so far when using Spyware Doctor to prevent horrible things from happening to your computer that it would be crazy not to be safe and get this program.

Download Spyware Doctor

 

 

Ultimate PC Secrets

I just read a good book thats shows many tips for speeding up computers. Ultimate PC Secrets is the name and it comes packed with page after page of optimization tricks. I read thru the entire thing and even this old dog learned a few new tricks.

Download Ultimate PC Secrets

I highly suggest any pc users grab a copy and check it out.

Have a great day
Patrick

Windows xp sp3

Although xp has been proven to be one of the better operating systems written by Microsoft there of course are updates and changes which still need to be addressed.

Some of the changes included in xp sp3 have been implemented in there own individual update packages previously, but are now included in the encompassing sp3 pack. This will provide a one time update solution for those who are like me on many of Microsofts’ patches.. a little weary.

I most curious to test the latest service pack to see how performance compares with Vista sp1; which at least with xpsp2 the xp operating system has proven to out perform Vista.

The service pack has been released on TechNet and made available in an admin pack, but has yet to be released on the Windows Update site.

Of course many of you know my feelings on jumping out there and immediately grabbing the latest updates. This isn’t to say I will not grab it for testing. I’m just always the cautious one when implementing in a production environment. This does include you individual users……at least those who consider their data valuable.

Considering this I have as well fallen into a comfort zone when it comes to the xp operating system and my confidence in it, even still I will muster the strength to be patient.

Of course right now the big buzz is being generated by all the sites guessing when the service pack will be made available to the update service. I will not even venture to even guess. Besides I am more interested in the buzz it will create after the release. Yes that was me chuckling in the background!

Botnets

Spammers and hackers today are very sophisticated when it comes to covering their tracks. Instead of sending spam or using their own computers to attack an orginization or individual they now employee Botnets.

 A Botnet is a collection of computers (that have been hacked and taken over) which a remote user can use to execute operations such as spam, DOS attacks and other types of mailicious activities.

To quote another article I recently read: “Joe St. Sauver, manager of security programs at the Internet2 networking consortium and the University of Oregon, said there are 5 million to 5.5 million botnets in active rotation at any time.”

Article: Botnets Running Rampant Neal Weinberg, Network World care of PC World

The best way to help prevent this from occuring for an end user is to keep your operating system up to date; Always have an updated virus software running (with a scheduled scan enabled weekly); Employee a good firewall.

I understand many of the computers that are part of Botnets are generally not an end user machines, but rather machines hosted in a public environment such as libraries, campuses and other public domains. Is there no IT staff available to monitor these networks?

Generally speaking the case is that the IT department is so understaffed, overworked, and under budgeted they simply don’t have the time or the money to implement the proper equipment which can detect and prevent this from occuring. That is if they have an IT department at all.

Look…We all know how to prevent most of this from occuring. I am by no means saying it will ever stop, because anything that can be secured can be hacked (it’s all a matter of time), but lets atleast try to secure our own computers.

If you would like more information on how you can secure your computer please follow this link to a previous article over best security practices I previously wrote. I hope it helps.

Is Microsoft Giving up on Vista?

 The buzz here lately around the tech shop deals with whether in fact Microsoft is giving up on Windows Vista and all it’s problems.

No definite answer has been given, but as Reuters reports Bill Gates was touting Windows 7 which he stated is slated for release in the next year or so.

As with my earlier blogs we already know according to reports that Windows xp sp1 and sp2 out perform Windows Vista in a side by side comparison. Not to mention how users feel about all of the headaches…I mean changes such as the User Account Control.

The only thing I would like to know is how Microsoft is going to compensate the million or so users that have sunk two to four hundred dollars into an operating system that may end of life before it ever got going?

No wait! That isn’t the only question I have. What about all us admins and technicians that have sunk thousands of dollars into Microsoft’s training and MSITPRO certification for Vista? This will undoubtedly be very frustrating if we receive the typical Microsoft response.

No wonder Microsoft is losing market share to Linux and Apple…I know I’m not going to stand for being treated like that. Not only as a customer but as an admin and technician.

Hmmm! Maybe I will just get my Mac certification rather then spending thousands of my hard earned money on Microsoft products and training just to have them decide they made a mistake.

Despite all my ranting you can bet my ear will be to the ground on this one. Lets see how it plays out.

Microsoft Vista Update Causes Continual Reboot

Microsoft recently (At the end of February) released a patch to fix issues with one of the Windows Vista installation software features.

When installed the patch (ID number 937287 which is still available for download) causes some systems to continually reboot themselves in an un-ending loop.

Of course who would have ever thought that Microsoft wouldn’t get it right? Microsoft stated the problem seems to only affect “a small number” of the more than 100 million Vista users. In my opinion thats still to many (especially if you are one of the affected users).

Do not threat though! Microsoft is offering assistance with this issue. Of course the contact information isn’t posted on the front page of the main web site so I figured I would offer it here for anyone who may need it.

Please if you know anyone affected by this issue pass the following information to them. Microsoft is offering assistance at the following toll free number 866/727-2338.

Just another reason to wait on installing those wonderful Microsoft updates.

Microsoft update buzz

I recently read an article which was somewhat hazy. The article related to a possible service pack development and trial for Server 2008 beta.

Understanding that Vista and the sevrer product have many similarities including many kernal similarities it left many to propose these updates would be developed and released for the Vista operating system.

Microsoft has been reluctant to say anything on the subject. Of course this is typical and probably best. Usually when people hear about an update it creates a buzz and uproar in hopes that it will fix problems that users are experiencing.

To be honest…it’s better to wait for a completed update. Once again we are already beta testers; Do we really want to beta testers for patches and updates? Of course not, especially considering that beta testing an operating system from installation is much different from beta testing it once you have the machine operating and holding valuable information.

I’m sure the release of sp1 for Vista will come in due time. Of course if you have ever had a bad experience with a service pack then you probably are not so eager to obtain and install such software.

Intel’s New Notebook Processor

On Monday Intel announced the release of the new Intel Dual Core note book chip. The new chip was released to better compete with AMD in the fast growing notebook market.

Intel has released the new Core 2 Extreme X7800 processor to PC manufacturers. It should be available for purchase within two weeks. The new chip will boost performance for gamers and power users alike.

Demand for notebooks is increasing. Global notebook shipments have increased ove the past few years and are estimated to increase this year to 25.3 percent.

This has prompted Intel to regain its competitive edge by boosting performance of the notebook platform CPU. In an effort to increase sales of the notebook platform CPU Intel made another effort to push sales by launching the Santa Rosa bundle of mobile processors and chipsets which is an upgrade to the popular Centrino platform.

Intel hopes to regain it’s edge by expanding the Core 2 Extreme brand from high-end desktops to high-end notebooks. The 2.6 GHz Core 2 Extreme X7800 notebook chip for is slated to sell for around $851 initially. Of course demand versus production could dictate a change in the initial price at least for the first few months of sales.

Typically with new processors you will see a decline in price as new and faster versions are made available for purchase. Before purchasing your new processor you may want to wait at least a little while until the initial price comes down.

Old Ploy-New Virus

Last seen in 2006 another virus known as “Ransomeware” is trying to extort US $300 from users. The virus apparently encrypts your personal files.

After your files have been encrypted the virus then copies a file named read_me.txt  to the PC. This text file simply contains a ransom note which demands the user buy their software for $300 in order to decrypt the files.

The virus states that it uses a RSA-4096 algorithm with a 4,096-bit key. This is surely just a ply to extort money, but apparently the files do have some sort of encryption.

As well the virus seems to only have a limited shelf life from July 10 to July 15, but knowing the past actions of the hackers that create of these viruses it is likely we will see another variant.

Apparently Kaspersky is working on a decryption scheme to save these files. If you are ever infected by such a variant remember it is vary unlikely that paying the ransom will get the hackers to release your files.

Always keep your virus software up to date and run a frequent full system scan. Backing up your data to a secondary location can save your files as well. 

Symantec Incident Update

I previously reported on an incident where an automatic update provided by Symantec for their Norton Antivirus program identified two system files in the Simplified Chinese edition of Windows XP as malware, and quarantined them.

Symantec decided to provide free upgrades of their software to the affected users. Of course I would always be weary of accepting a free software license for a program title which already compromised my system. Symantec did not see it my way though.

Symantec’s upgrade offer was widely criticized by the Chinese press when it was first announced.

As of late Symantec has declared the compensation offer a success, but they declined to identify how many users had accepted their offer. Considering they only offered the compensation for two and a half weeks starting from June 27 .

Symantec has extended its offer for individuals who could not or did not access the upgrade. Of course this offer is on an individual basis. Each incident must be reviewed and approved to extend the upgrade offer.”After this date anyone who missed the registration date should contact Symantec Customer Support or email symantec.authorised.support.cn@clts.com and we will give consideration to extending the date for that individual customer.”

Considering it was their blunder from the beginning I would think they would bend over backwards to satisfy the affected customers. At least thats what I would do.