TWT Newsletter, Issue #40 – Microsoft news roundup and a new, devious fake antivirus package
Hello again from Top Windows Tutorials HQ. It is the 10th of September and newsletter time once again! This month we have an update on some exciting new products from Microsoft. We also take a look at a particularly devious new fake antivirus product and have our usual tip of the month and free utility of the month too.
Important! A number of our subscribers have had difficulty receiving our newsletter. At Top-Windows-Tutorials.com we never send out unsolicited e-mails. To make sure your TWT newsletter reaches your inbox, please add TWT_Newsletter@top-windows-tutorials.com to your contacts, buddy list or white list.
In this months issue:-
1) What’s new at Top-Windows-Tutorials.com?
2) Microsoft news round-up
3) Tip of the Month – Use the plugin checker to check and update your web browser plugins
4) Free Utility of the Month – Seesmic Desktop
5) Another sophisticated fake antivirus package hits the web
What’s new at Top-Windows-Tutorials.com?
We started off in August by taking a look at the new Genie Timeline 2 backup program. How did this latest revision of Genie Software’s backup program stack up against the competition? Find out here.
Next, we teamed up with fellow training solutions provider Infinite Skills to bring you a great new introductory course to Microsoft Office 2010 and lots of free tutorials. Over the course of August we brought you three Office 2010 courses, Office 2010 Introduction, Learning Microsoft Word 2010 and Microsoft Excel 2010 Training. Find out more about these excellent training courses and view the free video tutorials by visiting this link.
Bored with the fonts (typefaces) on your PC?, then our next new tutorial is for you. Find out how to change fonts on a Windows XP machine by following this link, on a Windows Vista machine by following this link or on a Windows 7 machine by following this link.
If you are having trouble reading your PC’s display then perhaps it’s time to check and optimise your monitor. Learn more about the settings that affect your display and how to optimise them by visiting this link.
Need to change screen resolution on your monitor? We also showed you how to do this in August. Visit this link for a tutorial on changing screen resolutions in Windows XP, this link for Windows Vista or this link for Windows 7.
As of August 2010, you can now follow us on Facebook. So no matter if you prefer Facebook, Twitter or RSS you’re fully covered! Visit our Facebook page by using this link. Fan us on Facebook (please!) by using the button on the right hand side of our pages.
Microsoft news round-up
A few interesting things happened in the world of Microsoft this month. We’re approaching the one year anniversary of the launch of Windows 7 and this operating system continues to be successful. According to Netmarketshare.com, Windows 7 is now more popular than Windows Vista. Less than a year after its launch, Windows 7 has passed its predecessor. There’s still some way before it catches up with the venerable Windows XP however, which still powers 70% of desktops worldwide.
To celebrate the one year anniversary of Windows 7, Microsoft is bringing back the popular family upgrade pack. If you have more than one PC in the house and you have been considering an upgrade to Windows 7, you can now purchase three upgrade licences for the price of $149.99. The offer is open to US customers and customers in most other countries too, check this link for more details.
August was a bumper month for security updates. Microsoft issued 14 patches on ‘patch Tuesday’ and several other important fixes throughout the month. Users who have their updates set to automatic should have received these patches already. For the rest of you, check for updates now, since these patches fixed several critical security problems.
We’re all familiar with Windows on the desktop, but Microsoft also produces a somewhat less successful version of Windows designed for phones and portable devices. After losing market share to Android and iPhone devices, Microsoft has finally released its Windows Phone 7 operating system to manufacturers. This means that the first release of Windows Phone 7 devices are mere months away, just in time for Christmas. Can Microsoft take on the might of Apple’s iPhone and the momentum of Google’s Android mobile operating system? With Microsoft’s significant resources, anything is possible, though it will take a lot of convincing before Apple’s fiercely loyal customers will make the switch.
Ever wanted to squish your mouse? Not a real mouse of course, we mean the computer version. Microsoft seem to think that people do, not as a stress reliever but simply so that it fits into your luggage more comfortably (though the stress relieving option may also be handy). The new Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse, available from December, works on all kinds of surfaces, is totally wireless and yes, even squishes down into a tiny flat box, without so much as a squeak of complaint. See a video of Microsoft’s agile new rodent in action by visiting this link.
Microsoft is also planning to launch a new controller/expansion device for its popular Xbox 360 console (and possibly for the PC too in the future). We covered this new controller, called Kinect, in our July newsletter.
It certainly looks like Microsoft want their products to be in a few stockings this Christmas. We’ll keep you informed about any more interesting developments from the computing giant in the future.
Tip of the Month – Use the plugin checker to check and update your web browser plugins
Regular readers will know that keeping your web browser up-to-date is an important thing to do if you want to stay safe online. Whether you are using Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari or Opera, you should always make sure you are using the latest version to stay ahead of criminals on the web.
Even if your browser is up-to-date, are your plugins? Plugins are software components that extend the functionality of your web browser. Keeping them up-to-date is also important as an out of date plugin can have security vulnerabilities. Mozilla, the makers of Firefox, run a plugin checking page, you can visit it by using this link. The plugin checking page works for all popular web browsers (not just Firefox) so if you use two or more web browsers then be sure to visit the page in each browser to fully check that everything is up-to-date.
Free Utility of the Month – Seesmic Desktop
This months free utility is another great one for those of you addicted to social networking sites. Like the fantastic Fishbowl utility that we mentioned in TWT newsletter 31, Seesmic makes it easy to keep up-to-date with Facebook. Unlike Fishbowl however, Seesmic also supports Twitter, giving you easy access to your social networking sites from one program.
Using Seesmic is much faster than logging on to the web to view or write your tweets, give it a try! You can download it here.
Another sophisticated fake antivirus package hits the web
Thank you to the popular technology website Ars Technica for bringing this information about yet another fake antivirus/antispyware package to our attention. As we’ve mentioned in previous newsletters, fake antivirus programs are an increasingly common problem on the internet. Once installed, fake antivirus programs are exceptionally difficult to remove and often cause more damage than most common viruses.
Convincing users to install fake antivirus products is the biggest challenge the fraudsters face. In order to do this, their social engineering attempts have become increasingly more devious. A new piece of Malware called Rogue:MSIL/Zeven employs perhaps one of the most sophisticated deceptions yet. This particular program can detect which web browser you are running and then imitate the warning screens seen in each browser. Of course, there is one important difference, the warning pages redirect you to purchase or upgrade to the fake security product.
Once the victim clicks the links, they are redirected to a page which attempts to sell them the fake antivirus. Again, this page is very convincing, using graphics and logos stolen from Microsoft’s security essentials website. The fake antivirus works like all the others, pretending to scan your system, finding malware that isn’t actually there and then demanding a fee before it can be removed.
Stay safe online and never download a program just because a web page says you should. Use our recommended and trusted genuine antivirus and antispyware solutions and teach your family to ask you first before downloading and installing anything. We also recommend you use standard user accounts and not administrator accounts for your day to day computing and web browsing activities. See our Online Safety pages for more information.
You can see screen shots of this devious malware and read more about it by visiting this link.
That rounds off our newsletter for September. We hope your summer was fun and warm and dry (unlike most of the summer weeks here in the UK!). As always, we’d like to send a huge thank you to all our readers for your support. The TWT Newsletter will return on the 10th October 2010 to bring you more tips, tricks and techniques to help you get the best out of your PC, be it Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7! We hope that you found this newsletter 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!