February Computing Insights from EagleTech Computer Service PDF Print
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Friday, 18 February 2011 17:45

 


Greetings from EagleTech Computer Service!
 

I hope all is going well with your computers.  This newsletter is a bit late into February, but thanks to each of you I have been kept very busy serving my client's computer needs lately.  Many Thanks!
 

In addition to releasing a large number of security updates on Tuesday, February 8th, Microsoft released an important change to the behavior of Windows XP and Windows Vista. Windows will not run or offer to run programs automatically off of USB media, both flash keys and hard disks.
 

This feature goes all the way back to Windows 95, which automatically played music CDs and ran programs on CD-ROMs. This was called AutoPlay and has evolved into a broader set of features, now called AutoRun. The feature has turned into a big security problem on USB media.
 

Malware programs these days typically search for USB-based storage and write themselves to it. When the key or hard disk is inserted into a computer, the AutoRun menu offers to run the malware which is disguised as something to entice the user.
 

This malicious use has become so common that Microsoft is disabling it by default. Users who apply the update will still see an AutoRun menu when they plug in a flash key, but it will not have any options for running programs off of the device. This is the behavior that Windows 7 has had from its release. Certain high-end, security-hardened USB keys will still have the old normal behavior of showing program install options, but probably very few will have this. This update fix does not apply to CDs and DVDs, as they were deemed far less likely to carry viruses or to having viruses easily loaded onto them at the point of insertion into the computer.
 

The update is not labeled as a security update but it is rated "Important," so users with the recommended settings for Windows Update will have it installed automatically. If you want to re-enable the feature, Microsoft has also created a Fix It to turn it back on. This "Fix it" can be found at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/967715/ and will be found about 3/4 of the way down the page and identified by the "Fix it" icon.  You would choose the "Enable it" fix it, download the little program and run it.
 

So, if you find your USB Flash drive is not working the way it has in the past we might want to take a look at this for you. If this all perplexes you and you would like my assistance in setting this up or removing it after it has installed on your computer I'd be happy to come out and take care of it, and at the same time I would update various softwares on your system and generally cleanup and speedup your PC.

Facebook continues to be a point of departure to viruses so be especially watchful, along with many other less secure websites.  The problem is not with Facebook's website itself, but has far more to do with those who pay to place an advertisement on their pages.

One of the most prevalent ways hackers seek to attack folks using Facebook is to go the Ad sites of those advertising on Facebook, and when they find those Ad sites to be weak in their security settings they will break into the web page code of that site and embed a virus in one of the Ads on that page, or they will attempt to gain permission to place their Ad on that page, which is nothing other than a link directly to a virus.  If the web site owner of that page is not as careful about who they allow to advertise on their web site then you become a quick victim.  MOST OFTEN they are getting people by their offer of something FREE.  Remember, if someone is offering something free it is either a complete scam and will be a virus, or it may take you to a page where a virus is hidden, or they will seek to get you to accept some paid for offer so as to get the free thing and then end up placing lots of Adware on your computer.

 

Free things on the internet are therefore highly exploited by virus hackers...watch out very closely for them.  
 

Best of success to you in all your computing.
 

I’m here to assist you when you need it.  My onsite residential fee is still $26/hr and for the commercial setting it is $35/hr.  For the larger corporation environment we are now offering advanced server IT services at $75/hr.
 

Once again...for any clients you send my way, who use my services for an hour or more, I'd be happy to credit you with a 1/4 hour of free computer service.  Do let me know if you send folks my way and I'll keep notes on that as a credit for my next visit to you.

 

 

Thanks so much!
 

Your Computer Technician
Tom Sparks
503-577-4201

 

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Last Updated on Monday, 30 April 2012 21:39