Tech Stuff in a Non-Tech Sort of Way


In this issue

June 30, 2009

My Blog 
Some Recent Entries

Just To Let You Know 
Latest Security Alert

Question of the Month

Prior Newsletter Issues
Issue #1
Issue #2
Issue #3
Issue #4
Issue #5
Issue #6
Issue #7
Issue #8
Issue #9
Issue #10

Here are some recent entries from my blog that you might find interesting.

Beware of Tragic Event Emails
Disposable Email Address - What Is It Good For?
Windows Updates Revisited
Fix a Noisy Laptop

Check these out and more -

Adobe Reader Continues to be Vulnerable to Attack

Critical vulnerabilities have been identified in Adobe Reader 9.1.1 and Acrobat 9.1.1 and earlier versions. These vulnerabilities would cause the application to crash and could potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system.

Adobe recommends users of Adobe Reader 9 and Acrobat 9 and earlier versions update to Adobe Reader 9.1.2 and Acrobat 9.1.2. Adobe recommends users of Acrobat 8 update to Acrobat 8.1.6, and users of Acrobat 7 update to Acrobat 7.1.3. For Adobe Reader users who can’t update to Adobe Reader 9.1.2, Adobe has provided the Adobe Reader 8.1.6 and Adobe Reader 7.1.3 updates.  Updates apply to all platforms: Windows, Macintosh and UNIX.


Adobe Reader users on Windows can find the appropriate update here.

Adobe Reader users on Macintosh can find the appropriate update here.

Disable JavaScript in Adobe Reader and Acrobat

Disabling Javascript may prevent some exploits from resulting in code execution. Acrobat JavaScript can be disabled using the Preferences menu:

  1. Open the Edit menu.
  2. Select Preferences.
  3. Choose JavaScript.
  4. Un-check Enable Acrobat JavaScript.

Disable the display of PDF documents in the web browser

Preventing PDF documents from opening inside a web browser will partially mitigate this vulnerability. This workaround may also mitigate future vulnerabilities.

To prevent PDF documents from automatically being opened in a web browser, do the following:

  1. Open Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  2. Open the Edit menu.
  3. Choose the Preferences option.
  4. Choose the Internet section.
  5. Un-check the Display PDF in browser check box.

Do not access PDF documents from untrusted sources

Do not open unfamiliar or unexpected PDF documents, particularly those hosted on websites or delivered as email attachments.

Malware Information

I've recently been asked by a few people to cleam their computers of malware. This has led to discussions of how their computers could have come to be infected, and why didn't their antivirus programs catch/stop it.

Last month I introduced you to the current state of malware and how it gets on your computer. This month, I'll explain what the malware is used for and why malware writers continue to create it.

Once upon a time, viruses were most commonly written by bored teenagers. Then it became a competition between these teens to see who could write the most damaging virus. It was for bragging rights. Now, it's now longer about bragging rights, but about money. Most of the malware in the wild is the kind that collects data. They're called keyloggers because once they're on your computer, they record your keystrokes to a log that gets sent to the creator of the malware. This will include all login names and passwords to any banking/financial sites you visit. Most of the time, the writer of the malware doesn't use this information, but will sell it to the highest bidder. This makes them a lot of money. The purchaser of this information will either use the lists for personal gain, or will resell it. It's been found that in some cases, 70 percent of data theft is by organized crime groups.

So, what does this mean? It's very important that you keep your antivirus program updated. It's also very important that you think before you click on any links in emails or websites. In the past, I've recommended programs, such as malwarebytes and add-ins, such as Web Of Trust (WOT). These will help tremendously.

Question of the month
This month's question is:
"I try to print information off of a website but it either prints the entire page, including the ads, or I get a lot of blank pages. Rarely do I get just what I want. How can I print what I want?"

Preview to print less: When printing pages from a Web site, use your browser's Print Preview function to ensure that you're getting just the information you need. Even if the site has a printer-friendly option, Print Preview lets you make sure the right margin won't be cut off (some Web pages are too wide for many printers): If necessary, adjust your layout orientation from Portrait to Landscape to cover the lost territory.

In Firefox, Internet Explorer, or Opera, open the Web page you want to print and click File, Print Preview. A new screen will pop up with the content shown in printer format; it will likely fill more than a single printed page. Note the page or pages you want to print, and click the Print button at the top of the Preview screen (or press <Ctrl>-P). In the resulting Print dialog box, enter the start and end pages in the Print Range boxes.

Some printer makers, such as Canon, bundle free utilities with their printers -- or make programs available for download -- that let you print Web pages faster. Check your vendor's Web site for such a program.

To reduce your ink usage further, select the Properties button and choose Draft mode under Print Quality (the wording and location of these options vary from printer to printer; you may have to click around a bit in your Printer Properties dialog box to find them). If color is not important to you, also check the Grayscale Printing button. Finally, click OK.

Print just the text: My favorite way to print a small section of text from a Web site is to highlight the text, click File, Print, and choose Selection under Page Range. Alternatively, you could copy the relevant text (press <Ctrl>-C), open WordPad (click Start, All Programs, Accessories, Word-Pad, though any word processor or text editor will do), and paste the content there (select Edit, Paste Special, Unformatted Text). I usually have to do a quick format touch-up before I print, but I save quite a bit of ink and paper this way.

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