Tech Stuff in a Non-Tech Sort of Way
In this issue
The reason I'm sending this out a couple of days early is the importance of dealing with the Conficker.C worm prior to April 1.
Here are some recent entries from my
blog that you might find interesting.
Conficker.C - Critical
Conficker has become the boogeyman of the security industry over the last year. The latest version of the worm, Conficker.C, is programmed to do something on April 1. But what exactly will happen? The scary thing is, no one can say for sure.
Conficker.C, also known as Downadup.C, adds a number of defensive measures designed to protect itself from detection and removal. For instance, it disables Windows Automatic Updates and the Windows Security Center. It can also remove your antivirus program and open holes in your firewall.
So, what can you do to protect yourself? If you have Windows Vista, you appear to be safe. For you Windows XP users, back up your important data in advance of April 1. Make sure that your security software is working properly. Get all of the Windows and Anti-Virus updates, especially Windows patch MS08-067. Also, Microsoft also offers a free online safety scan here, which should be able to detect all Conficker versions. Run the full system scan. You can also use the free RUBotted from TrendMicro to see if your computer is already being used as a "Bot".
The last issue I discussed
what happens when you delete a file from your computer and what to do if
you reeeeaaaaaly want it gone for good. This issue I'll discuss what to do
if you've deleted a file and need to have it restored.
As a refresher: When you delete a file from your computer (and it needn't be Windows, this is common to every type of PC), that file doesn't "go away," even if you empty the Recycle Bin. Rather, to save wear and tear on your hard drive and to simplify the operation, your computer just eliminates the record of where the file began. Think of your PC as containing a giant "shopping list" of all the files on its hard drive. Delete the canned peaches off that shopping list and the store doesn't actually get rid of the peaches. It just "forgets" that they are there. The space allocated to the peaches remains there until the store needs the space for something else.
There's good and bad in this. The good is that if you accidentally delete something you have a good chance of being able to get it back. The bad: So can anyone else.
If you've deleted a file and realize in time that you want to restore it, there's a good chance that you can. If it has been a while since the file has been deleted, the chance of restoring it isn't as great since new files might have filled the space of the old file. First, check your recycle bin. Go to Windows desktop, double click on the recycle bin. If the file(s) there, right click on it and choose restore. If it's not there, there's more work to do. IF you've been doing regular backups, either to an external drive or to an offsite (Mozy/Carbonite) location, you should be able to restore it from the backup. If that doesn't work, I'd recommend a program called Recuva, which is made by the same company that makes CCleaner, another program I highly recommend but for another reason. Another good, free program is PC Inspector File Recovery. If you have unintentionally deleted or formatted pictures, videos or sound files on your memory stick or have pulled it out during a write operation, PC Inspector Smart Recovery can easily, quickly and absolutely reliably reconstruct the lost data.
After all of that, hopefully you've been able to restore your deleted files. The important thing to keep in mind is that the sooner you try to restore the file, the more likely you will be able to.
The other browsers are forever in beta but still offer better features. Google's Chrome is in beta 2 and gets better and better. Chrome is also very secure. At a recent security conference in Canada, hackers were invited to take down all major browsers. They were able to compromise Firefox, Safari and I.E., but couldn’t make a dent in Chrome. My favorite Chrome feature is its input bar, a combination of the search bar and address bar found at the top of most browsers. I'm using it more often, but still prefer Firefox.
Firefox is in beta 3. Several years ago, I began using Firefox as my main browser. It was faster, more stable and offered more innovations than its rivals. Over time, though, many of its advantages have slipped away. What I like best is the ability to close and save any open websites I have on the screen. That way, I can have my favorites loaded every time I load Firefox. The other thing I like about Firefox is that it has a lot of add-ins to I can customize it pretty much the way I want to.
Chrome and Firefox also allow me to move open website tabs around so that I can group similar tabs together. It makes it easier to keep things straight.
Question of the month
This is a very good question, especially with all of the malware that's out in the wild. It pertains not only to guests, but to kids who may be coming home on vacation from school or roomates that may be living with you.
What happens when you let someone use your internet connection, whether it be cable or wireless, is that you have set up a network. Being a part of a network allows one computer to "see" another computer and if the settings are a certain way, they are able to access the other computer's data. In addition to that, if computer B catches a virus or worm, it's very easy for that malware to spread to computer A, even if your anti-virus is current.
So, not really a good thing to have that kind of network going. Outside of requiring them to get their own internet, there is a way to share your connection and still keep everything seperate. It requires the purchase of some additional routers and those need to be programmed, but it's possible.
If you have any questions about how all of this works, let me know. I'd be happy to discuss this.
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