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There’s a story going around about placing hypodermic syringes needles infected with HIV on gas pumps, theater seats, and other places. These stories have been going around almost as long as the HIV virus was discovered.

When a supposedly reliable source sent me an Email about this, I forwarded the information to friends and family. I was really sucked into believing the story was true and was about to write a blog about it. My wife asked me if I had checked out this story to see if it was true or not. She pulled up on her computer several sites including the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Department refuting the story.

The story I was sent was about a warning of hidden syringes on gas pump handles. The story was first circulated in 2000 supposedly by a Captain Abraham Sands of the Jacksonville, Florida Police Department and it is making the rounds again. There’s no such Police Officer or a Jacksonville Police Department. Jacksonville, Florida Area is served by the Sheriff’s Department. So you can see how easy it is to be mislead by an email you receive even from someone you trust.

Before passing on information you receive by email, check out the original source. There are many hoax’s being spread through emails by well-intentioned people.


Posted on January 30th, 2008 at 05:37 by Alex Smith in Email Security - Comment (1)

(1) In an emergency You can access a worldwide Emergency Number by simply dialing 112. You can do this even if you are out of your call area and if your keypad is locked. It will pick up another carrier if yours is unavailable in an emergency.

(2) If your car has a keyless entry sytem and you lock your keys in the car, your car doors can be unlocked if you call someone at your home. Have them call your cell phone and press the unlock button of your spare set near the headset at home. Hold your cell phone at least a foot from your car door as the signal is being sent via your cell phone. It will activate your keyless system to unlock your door. This will save you an emergency assistance cost by not having to call a locksmith or service company as well as saving you time.

(3)If you have a low battery in your phone, press the keys *3370#. This will restart your phone with a reserve power and can show an increase of 50% in battery power. This reserve will recharge when you recharge your phone.

(4) What to do if your cell phone is stolen and you need to disable it. Write down your phone’s serial number by keying in the following digits onyour phone: *#06#. This will show a 15 digit number assigned only to your phone. Write this number down and keep it in a safe place. If your phone gets stolen, call your provider and give them this number. They can block the phone even if the person with your phone changes the SIM card. It will no longer be good to anyone. They can’t use it or sell it. If everyone did this there would be no point in someone stealing a cell phone.

(5) If you dial 411 to get a phone number it could cost you anywhere from a $1.oo to $1.75. This is a hidden cost your provider rarely tells anyone about. If you dial 800free411 or (800 373-411), you can get the phone number you want FREE. You can program this into your phone for future use.

For more information on free services, click here.


Posted on January 25th, 2008 at 16:32 by Alex Smith in Cell Phone Information - Comments (0)

According to an article in the BBC, hackers are at it again. In Decmber 2007, a new virus dubbed Mebroot came on the scene. Since it’s introduction, it has infected over 5,000 computers worldwide. It attacks computers using Windows Operating Systems. The reason it’s so dangerous , it can bury itself deep inside windows programs to avoid detection.

Previously, I warned you about “booby-trapping” websites. This is the most common way it effects the computer. It has a rootkit which tries to overwrite part of your hard drive called the Master Boot Record (MBR). When your computer is turned on this is where the computer gets it’s information about your operating system to boot up.

The virus sometimes downloads other malicious programs such as, keyloggers. These can steal your confidential information from your computer.

It is thought to be based from a Russian virus writing group called the torpig family of viruses.

Although it can be detected by some virus protection programs, most commercially bought programs will not detect it. Computers running Windows XP, Windows Vitsa, Windows Server 2003, and Windows 2000 that are not fully patched are especially vunerable.

It is important to keep all your computer protection programs updated. As hackers introduce new viruses, security software is being developed to detect and delete them.


Posted on January 22nd, 2008 at 05:31 by Alex Smith in computer security - Comments (0)

Viruses are designed to Replicate themselves. In order for it to do this it must be permitted to execute a code and it usually is written into your memory. They quite often attach themselves to a file that may be a part of one of your programs. When the user starts this program, the virus code is executed and infections takes place.

Most viruses can be broken down into two groups; Nonresident and Resident. A nonresident virus seaches for a host that it can infect. After infecting these targets it transfers control to the program it has infected. A resident virsus dosen’t look for a host but loads itself directly into your computer’s memory. Every time you try to rid your computer of this virus, it will reoccur the next time you re-start your computer because it’s still lodged in your memory. It can also infect new hosts when some files are accessed by another program or operating system.

The Nonresident virus has a finder module has a finder “finder module” and a “replication module”. The finder module finds a file to infect and the replication module does the infecting.

The Resident Virus also has a replication module very similar to the nonresident virus but is not called a finder module. This virus loads the replication module directly into your memory so it will be executed every time an infected operating system is executed. It may infect several programs in your computer.

In conclusion, some viruses tag along looking for a host which would be some program or attachment you downloaded. It will then trigger some data file on your computer to trigger the execution of a code that is hidden within a data file.

I was reading howstuffworks blog. They have a good article on viruses. Check it out here.


Posted on January 14th, 2008 at 20:27 by Alex Smith in computer security - Comments (0)

Computer Viruses” are one of the most confusing problems of the average user. People tend to lump together all sorts of computer malfuntiions and call them a virus. In fact, the term “virus” can refer to several types of malfunctions of your computer and each has a specific name. This piece is the first of several articles in which I will discuss various malfunctions that can effect your computer and how to deal with them.

“Viruses” can be broken down into different catagories. Each has it’s own way of effecting your computer and may be gotten in a different way. Some of the computer malfunctions are really not, per say, viruses like Trojan Horses, or Worms. However, whether it is a virus, a Trojan Horse or a worm, most of the time it comes onto your computer over the internet.

What exactly is a Virus? Simply stated it usually is a program that can copy itself and infect a computer without the permission or knowlege of the user. They can even mutate the more they infect additional computers. This is why some viruses are hard to block or guard against. Hackers develop programs which can by-pass the type of virsus blocking software that you might have on your computer. Most true viruses need a host to be transfered where as Worms and Trojan Horses can be spread without being part of a host. No matter what it is, a virus, a worm, or a trojan horse, they initially seem harmless.

First Rule of Thumb, don’t download any attachment in an email or World Wide Web Messeage from someone you don’t know. Some viruses can damage your computer and it may take a professional to remove it. Some can even look into your personal data and can gain access to your personal files to steal your identity.

Pc Magazine has an interesting article on the I Luv You virus. With Valentines Day coming up…..it’s a good one to review. We always tend to think….this won’t happen to me…but check out what happened to this company which has lots of computer engineers working for them.

Next blog we’ll discuss ways of prevention. Until then, watch what you download to your computer.


Posted on January 11th, 2008 at 07:33 by Alex Smith in computer security - Comments (0)

Quite often calls or mail comes from “pre-approved” credit card companies. Every time you respond to one of these offers, it can lower your credit score. Credit Bureaus have a toll free number of 1-888-5-optout (1-888-567-8688). Contacting them at this number will prevent these offers for two years. Be sure to tell them that you do not want them to disclose your personal information. The three largest Credit Bureaus contact sites are:

Equifax, Inc. Options
P. O. Box 740123
Atlanta, GA 30374-0123

Experian, Consumer Opt Out
701 Experian Way
Allen, TX 75013

Trans Union LLC, Name Removal Option
P. O. Box 97328
Jackson, MS 39288-7328

If you are bothered by unwanted telephone offers call or write to:

Telephone Preference Service
Direct Marketing Association
P. O. Box 1559
Carmel, NY 10512

Tell them to put your name and phone number on a “do not call list”. You may also tell a telemarketer that calls you to put you on a do not call list. This might only limit the amount of calls you get. A lot of charities do not use Direct Marketing lists. Some charities can bypass a do not call list because they are a non-profit charity or if you have donated to them in the past.

There is National “do not call” list. Here again, some non-profits are not required to go by this list. To put your name on this list, call 888-382-1222 or log on here.
Several states are working on laws to reduce unwanted mail and phone calls. You may want to call your state’s consumer protection agency. Be patient with some charities that may call you. Your contact might have been by mistake and the best charity with all it’s limitations can call you in error. Give them a chance to correct their mistake.


Posted on January 2nd, 2008 at 17:46 by Alex Smith in mailbox security - Comments (0)

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