TWT Newsletter, Issue #027 – Beware of antivirus imposters!
Welcome subscribers new and old. It’s the 10th of the month again and time for another feature packed TWT Newsletter.
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In this months issue:-
1) What’s new at Top-Windows-Tutorials.com?
2) Fake antivirus programs are on the rise – Don’t be duped
3) Tip of the Month – Keep your system drivers up to date
4) Free Utility of the Month – VirtualBox
5) Why the men (and women) in black hats are your friends
What’s new at Top-Windows-Tutorials.com?
July was a great month for new content as well as new features on our site. We’re excited to announce our partnership with Js-kit, who are providing us with the tools for our new commenting system and our rating system. It’s now possible for you to leave comments on the tutorials simply by clicking the “leave a comment” link at the bottom of our second tier pages.
What’s more, we’re continuing to roll out our ratings system too. This is a quick and easy way for you to let us know about your favourite videos by giving them a star rating. Show your love by rating your most used tutorials with five stars, or let us know which tutorials we should be rethinking by leaving us just one star! You can already rate many videos on the site and we are hoping to have ratings available for all our videos by the end of August.
Content wise we brought you four tutorials on the excellent free Dropbox service. This superb free service can be used for storing, transporting and sharing files across the internet. Check out the first tutorial here.
Need an easy way of updating your systems drivers? Keeping your drivers up to date can vastly improve your PC’s performance but trawling across the internet for the correct drivers can be frustrating. To help with this problem, you can use Uniblue Driverscanner. We brought you two tutorials on this excellent software, click here to view them.
Next, we started a whole new section on troubleshooting Windows Vista. In this section we covered Vista network troubleshooting first, followed by compatibility mode for running older software (this also applies to Windows XP users to a lesser extent).
Then, also in our Windows Vista troubleshooting section, we looked at setting CPU affinity on dual and quad core systems. This can help lots of older games to run significantly better.
To round off our new Vista troubleshooting section, we explored other options for running older software on Vista and other modern versions of Windows. You can check out our Vista Troubleshooting pages by following this link. Finally, we updated our popular VLC DVD Player tutorial for the latest version of VLC. Check it out here.
We’ll continue to bring you great new content in August too, as well as completing the roll out of our ratings system, so don’t be shy, rate a video today!
Fake antivirus programs are on the rise – Don’t be duped
Internet scams are nothing new, but malware pretending to be software that protects you from malware is perhaps one of the more devious cons on the web today. PandaLabs (makers of the popular Panda Antivirus) recently told CNET news that there could be as many as 35 million computers infected per month with rogue antivirus and antispyware programs.
Fake antivirus programs install themselves on users PC’s (often without permission) and then pretend to scan the users PC’s. They then notify the user that there are dozens of virus or spyware infections on their machines and demand that the user pays a fee to remove them. Of course, the only real virus/spyware infections are the ones introduced by the fake antivirus.
The nefarious fake antivirus programs themselves are getting more devious too. Installing themselves by exploiting browser vulnerabilities, many of them install browser redirection hijacks which send Google search results to their own bogus search engines. These search engines contain links to pages telling the user how great their fake antivirus program is. Removing them completely can be almost impossible in some cases, short of completely reinstalling your operating system.
So, how can you tell a fake antivirus from a legitimate one? The best idea is to stick to the antivirus packages we recommend on our website. You can take a look at which packages we recommend by clicking here.
If an antivirus program installs itself or performs a system scan without your permission, it’s almost certainly bogus. If your computer is infected with a fake antivirus program, we recommend you either contact a reputable computer repair technician or search for removal instructions on a non-infected computer. Do not under any circumstances even consider paying for the fake antivirus program. Paying for the software will usually not remove it, in fact in many cases you’ll probably find your credit card information stolen and your computer opened up to other malware infections.
Remember, the best way to protect yourself from fake antivirus programs and other malware is to keep your web browser up to date, install antivirus software and keep it up to date (most modern antivirus software updates automatically) and to use limited user accounts whenever possible. Windows Vista and Windows 7 users can easily run limited user accounts thanks to Windows User Account Control. For more information on avoiding computer viruses click here, or for information on spyware and other malware, click here.
Tip of the Month – Keep your system drivers up to date
Keeping your PC’s drivers up to date is a great way to ensure that your computer is running at peak efficiency. Updating your drivers can result in improved performance, stability and usability and even introduce new features. Updating graphics card drivers often results in better performance in games and multimedia applications, updating chip set drivers can result in better hard disk performance and fix problems with removable hard drives or disk intensive backup software.
You can update your drivers by visiting the hardware manufacturers website and following the relevant support links. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was an easier way of checking for driver updates? Well, fortunately there is. The excellent Uniblue Driverscanner can automatically scan and update the drivers on your PC. Check out our tutorials for this fantastic utility here.
Free Utility of the Month – VirtualBox
VirtualBox is an interesting type of software program who’s existence you may not have known about before. If you need to run a Windows XP only program on Windows Vista, what do you do? Our Windows Vista compatibility guide explored several options, including VirtualBox.
What VirtualBox allows you to do is run another copy of Windows, inside your existing copy of Windows, in a window! So, instead of having to run a separate computer with your old version of Windows, you can simply set up your old version of Windows inside VirtualBox (please note, a separate Windows licence is required). Don’t need another Windows? VirtualBox supports Linux and other operating systems too.
Installing VirtualBox is straightforward but does require some knowledge of PC maintenance and set-up procedures. If you are struggling, find a local computer technician to help you with the procedure. Once VirtualBox is up and running, using it is exactly the same as using Windows on a regular computer!
You can read more about VirtualBox and download it from the official VirtualBox homepage.
Why the men (and women) in black hats are your friends
We’ve told you about the more glamorous Consumer Electronics Show that takes place in Las Vegas every year, but this month saw a whole different kind of conference in sin city. The Blackhat USA 2009 conference brings together the greatest minds in computer security and invites them to share the latest and frequently most shocking revelations about computer and IT security.
Headline grabbing was the news that one researcher had found a way to compromise the Apple iPhone and several other handsets by simply sending a SMS message. Apple have since patched this vulnerability and several other smart phone vendors are racing to catch up. Also raising a wry smile was the revelation that hackers in San Francisco might have been defrauding the cities smart parking meters for some time now, after security researcher Joe Grand demonstrated a meter card with unlimited funds that he created himself.
Amongst the rest of the speakers there were techniques for capturing keystrokes by monitoring fluctuations in mains power lines, techniques for creating fake security certificates by harnessing the brute force of 3D graphics cards and rootkit viruses for the Apple Mac.
Many people are shocked to know that such techniques are openly discussed and demonstrated in this fashion. Should these computer experts really be sharing the secrets to exploiting and hacking computer systems so openly? In a word, yes. The more quickly these techniques and weaknesses are out in the open, the more quickly they can be addressed. Remember that the people at the Black Hat conferences are on your side. The cyber criminals who also research these kinds of attack are not and aren’t going to share their findings with anyone, since they are too busy plotting how to take criminal advantage of the security weaknesses they have found.
So, as the attendees of the conference would probably never ever say, “Don’t fear us, cheer us, if you ever get near us, don’t jeer us!” and be glad that there are such dedicated professionals helping to keep the internet a safer place.
For more information about Black Hat and the Black Hat conference, head over to the official Black Hat homepage.
That concludes our Newsletter for the month of August. Thank you to all our subscribers for reading, we hope that you found it informative and useful. If you did not then please let us know why, you can contact us by visiting this page. If you have enjoyed this newsletter, feel free to pass it on to all your friends and family, or better still encourage them to sign up for their own copy! Until next month, keep checking Top-Windows-Tutorials.com and enjoy happy, safe and stress-free computing (and if you read the Black Hat site, don’t have nightmares)!