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There is a Trojon Worm Virus that asks you to install an adobe flash plug-in. So far there is no repair for this virus. It destroys the Zero Sector of the Hard Disc where vital information of your comouter is saved.

DO NOT respond to an email named Invitation FACEBOOK, even if it’s from one of your best friends. When you log onto it it opens an Olympic Tourch that burns the whole hard disc C of your compter.

This virus will be received from someone you probably had in your address book. So if invitation FACEBOOK pops up in your email delete immediately.

I am really amazed at the advancement of closed circuit camera systems now available to the general public. Most systems now are “plug & play” so you don’t have to be a computer programmer to set up and use your own system.

One of the relatively newcomers to this market is company called SVAT. They have some really advanced systems that are user friendly. In the past you had to partition out different phases for what you wanted to achieve, but this product can do it with one simple DVR. (digital video recorder) SVAT systems automatically shift from daylight to darkness and can record in total darkness. It’s true you are limited to about fifteen feet seeing in total darkness so the placement of the camera can be critical. The day light hours are recorded in full color and can distiguish facial features clearly.

They have several systems ranging from one to sixteen cameras that can be used both inside as well as outside monitoring. Some come with a full color flat screen that you can have four cameras, quad screen, displayed at the same time. You may wish to view just one camera full screen by itself.

Most of the cameras have a “built-in” motion sensor so that the DVR will only record if there is movement. Most of their DVR’s can record up to 154 days before the hard drive is fully loaded. You may have the DVR over-write at that time if you wish or have the DVR stop recording at that time.

I have not used any of these sytems myself, but looking at all of their specifications, they look impressive. For more information about SVAT systems, click here.

Be cautious responding to any phone call or emails from Area Code 809, 284, or 876. There have been many scams connected with these area codes.

Here’s how it works. You get an email or call from one of these area codes saying sorry I missed your call. Or they might tell you that some relative of yours is sick or in trouble. No matter what the call or email it is designed to get you to return a call connected to an “international” phone number the results of which you will be billed an exuberant rate and billed as such. (has been reported to be as much as $25 per minute)

Unfortunately there’s not much you can do because these are legal charges for the country that they are operating in. Most of them are in the Dominican Republic, Canada or a Caribbean country. They don’t have to comply with United states Laws regarding such calls. The bad thing about these calls is that you probably will not realize the costs of these calls until you get your telephone bill.

Never return calls to any unfamiliar number or person. You can call the directory assistance operator to get information on any suspicious call you may have recieved. They can check the area code location of the call.

Carefully read your telephone bill when you receive it. Check all charges and any fees that might be connected with any charges listed on your bill.

If you feel you have been scamed contact the carrier the charge was originated from. The name and phone number should be printed on your bill. Often the charge can be resolved by simple phone call. If the carrier refuses to resolve the charges then call your carrier or ATT&T. ATT&T will work with your carrier to try to cancel any fraudulent charge and help remove it from your bill.

ATT&T has been working hard to eliminate these scams for some time now. You may also file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission and give them the information to look into your situation.

This time of the year identity theft is at it’s height. More people are filing their tax returns online. If you stop to think about it, your return has all the information needed to steal your identity. Therefore, it’s important to take steps to be sure this information is secure.

If your computer does not update your spyware daily, I recommend you install this feature before sending out your tax return on-line. It’s usually very simple and takes just a minute or two. My computer up-dates at 3am in the morning every day. You can set the time for your computer to up-date at any time you like. If you don’t have any protective spyware , you can download several different programs at a nominal fee. There are many free spyware programs available as well. Do some research, and decide which one best meets your needs. Talk to your friends or a computer center to see which one they recommend. I use AVG Spyware and have very pleased with it, and it’s free.

Windows Internet Explorer 7 browser also has a feature to keep your identity safer.

I talked about phishing in an earlier post. It’s when you are scammed into providing your personal data to an individual or company that are supposedly helping you. These emails usually tell you your account has been breached and they need this information to protect you. What they are actually doing is collecting your information to steal your identity. Before disclosing personal information, check out the company or website . Be sure they are legitimate as well as “a secure” website. If you feel you’ve sent your information to a fake, phishing, website report it immediately to the appropriate institutions. Such as: IRS , FTC , Federal Trade Commission and an organization called the Anti-Phishing Group. If you have used a credit card, call and cancel it. This will minimize any damage that might have been done.

You should also change your passwords on all your online accounts if you feel you’ve been compromised. Especially accounts related to any of your financial information.

A good program to download is Windows Defender. This program was originally called Windows Spyware and is a free Microsoft program. It reviews and protects against possible unwanted software.

The best defense against identity theft on the computer is educating yourself on ways people steal your identity and the programs available to protect yourself. It is important you up-date your security programs routinely.

Posted on March 20th, 2008 at 05:13 by Alex Smith in computer security,Email Security,Identity theft,security services - Comments (0)

Most people give the information a person needs to steal their identity without knowing it. Leaving documents around or throwing them in the trash is an example. Here are a few tips to safegaurd your idenity information.

* Buy a shredder. You can purchase one very inexpensively at any discount store. They simply fit over a trash can and will shred paper documents as well as the “old” credit card. First rule of thumb, shred all personal documents. Even those unsolicited credit applications your receive .

* Protect your social security and driver’s license numbers. Don’t give them out to someone you don’t know. Your driver’s license numer can be just as dangerous to give out as your social security number. This number tags you to your identity. That’s why all wotk and credit applications ask for it. If fact, it’s best not to carry your social security card with you. Remit it to memory. Don’t have these printed on your checks.

* Never give out personal information over the phone, internet or mail before you know who you are dealing with.

* Protect any of your passwords. Don’t use an obvious password like your birthday, street address, some numbers of your social security card or mother’s maiden name. If you have forgotten your password, be suspicious of any website you click on to have them email it back to you.

* Remember, even your residence may not be a safe place to keep personal documents. This especially true if you have a roomate, employ outside domestic help, do a lot of entertaining, or work done in your home.

* A lot of links on the internet are “trogan Horses.” Never click on any unsolicited email link. Use only a website address you know. Have a “firewall”, spyware or antivirus software added to your computer. I have all three on my computer. Some antivrus programs, such as AVG, are free and very good. Use a program that always up-dates your software. They can automatically do this daily even at a time you don’t use your computer.
*The government has a great site for additional information. If you need to file a complaint for some type of identity or would like more information, check this site.

As we are becoming a more “cash free” society, the crime of Identity Theft is increasing at an alarming rate. The criminals are also getting more sophisticated in their means to accquire your personal information. Identity Theft is a serious crime and can damage your credit without you knowing it. Getting your credit restored can be costly and it take s a long time to correct the damage done by Identity Theft.

The first line of defense is to know some of the many ways people steal your identity:
* If you see anyone going through a dumpster or someone’s trash, report it immediately. They may be looking for discarded bills, credit applications, or anything that might have any personal information on it.
*Do not give any information to someone calling you or emailing you trying to “up-date” your account informatiom. Banks and credit card companies do not do this. They already have your information.
*Be careful where you use your credit card. Some shady merchants may have a systen that duplicates your credit card infomation as you use your card. This is called “skimming.” This can occur on items you purchase over the internet as well. “Caveat empore”, let the buyer beware.
* Report immediately any bill that you were suppose to receive but it hasn’t arrive when you expected it. Criminals will take them out of your mail box to obtain your information. Don’t leave personal information in your desk or file cabinet at work.
* Another ploy is to put in a change of address form to another location to re-route your mail.
*They can steal your wallet or purse. Call your credit card companies and cancel your card. Also, report to the three major credit bureaus immediately. They can block anyone from changing or adding to your accounts. There is a toll free number for each bureau and when you report to them they are required by law to send you a “free” credit report.

The three main credit bureaus are:
Equifax 1-800-525-6285
Experian 1-888 397-3742
TransUnion 1-800-680-7289

You can obtain more information from the government by calling a toll free number 1-877-438-4338 or logonto their website.

Posted on February 27th, 2008 at 07:11 by Alex Smith in computer security,Email Security,Identity theft,security services - 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)

How many times have to got an email from some charitable organization that seemed so legitimate? It seems some charities are not what they appear to be.

Recently, Daniel Borochoff, of the American Instiute of Philanthropy, made a testimony to the House Committe on Oversight and Government Reform Hearing on Veteran Charities. It will amaze you when you read about the poor performance of some of these charities. The institute grades charities in several different catagories. The worst two performing charity catagories are Veterans & military, and Crime & fire.

No matter what your stand on the current involvement of our military, our troops are getting wounded. Moms and dads are getting killed. They deserve more than they are getting. It seems a lot of supposed “veteran charities” are becoming wealthy playing on peoples sympathies. You would be suprised at how little of your donations actually get to help our veterans. So check out the charity you donate to before giving.

You can go to AIP’s (American Institute of Philanthropy) website and find a rating for the charity you may be giving to. Charitywatch.org

Posted on December 14th, 2007 at 18:37 by Alex Smith in computer security - Comments (0)

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