Welcome to the new PC Rescue newsletter
October 2007

As part of the changes to our business, we've launched a new layout for our newsletter to replace the older ancient layout we've persisted with for so long. If you have any comments on the new layout then please don't hesitate to send us your comments.

From next month the newletter will be carrying advertising. It's something we do reluctantly but we're have to do this to keep the newsletter free. We respect that some readers won't like this and will want to unsubscribe.

As part of our restructure, our services are now available nationally. We can provide 24x7 telephone support and get a tech to most major centres for the next day across Australia. Just call 1300 798 957 or visit our website for more details.

In the newsletter and on the website this month we look at buying online safely and avoiding Internet scams. We've launched a number of new features including our Jargon Buster web page and have some details of our new services. ABC listeners should note this month's Nighlife spot is on Thursday, October 18 where we'll be looking at how Internet scams work.

Upcoming ABC Spots   We have two very busy ABC spots coming up in the next two weeks. 

Nighlife, nationally on ABC Local Radio
Nightlife spot is Thursday, October 18 at 10.15pm and we'll be looking at the anatomy of an Internet scam

Sydney 702 Weekend
The Weekend spot is Sunday, October 28 at 10.10am and we'll be discussing buying online safely.  If you'd like to call, or offer any suggestions about the shows, please contact us.

 Ask us a question 
Our new website, IT Queries answers common computer problems.
 If your computer is has a frustrating problem, have a look for an answer at our site. If you don't find one, just ask on the IT Queries site and we'll get a solution for you. 

PC Rescue Blogs
 As well as our IT Queries website we also have two blogs commentating on current issues.

 The Australian Technology Blog examines technology and trends that affect Australians

 Cranky Tech is where we vent our spleens on issues relating to IT support and small business.

Anatomy of an Internet Scam

This month we follow the tracks of an Internet scam. We decided to disregard our own advice and click on the links when this appeared on one of our computers. In our report on the PC Rescue website we tell you where it took us.

We explain how it works, why it's being done and what it can cost you. What this scam, and many like it, show is how clever the Internet bad guys are. 

The lesson from this scam is the crooks are smart and can put together a convincing fraud. Don't think that you're safe because they aren't smart.

Surfers still taking risky behaviour The scammers play on the ignorance of Internet users to catch people. Despite our best efforts to educate people on avoiding these scams it's not surprising that a survey by online auction site eBay found 72% of Australians engage in behaviour that increases their risk of falling victim to an online scam and an incredible 93% of Internet users don't understand what phishing is. Ebay's security centre has further tips on avoiding online scams.

Avoiding sharks on the net

Canny shoppers are using the net more to find bargains. While this is a great way of finding bargains, there are some downsides. The NSW Department of Fair Trading recently warned about disappointed shoppers after receiving 1,500 complaints this year about online sales.

We've posted some tips on the website to help you avoid the sharks and find real bargains and deals.

Online shopping can be great fun and gives you the opportunity to shop all over the world without leaving your lounge room. By being a little careful, you can avoid the traps. 

Fake tax office refunds

A good example of how clever the scammers can be is a fake tax refund notification doing the rounds. The email is a pretty convincing fraud. It uses ATO logos, advises you have a tax refund and asks for your details to make the deposit.

The ATO has issued a warning and advises that if you have given your credit card to contact your bank immediately.

Protecting your credit card

Sadly it's not just the scammers who you have to watch for. Some customers of Sydney ecommerce site Roses Only found their credit card details had been used by thieves. We're very disappointed in Roses Only and the way they handled the problem, but it's a good reminder that these sort of frauds can happen in all manner of ways.

Your credit card details can be stolen by shop assistants, waiters, the local take away delivery driver and from businesses that don't protect their customer's details. So it's important to keep an eye on your credit card statements and act quickly when you see anything suspicious.

XP's stay of execution

To say the new Windows Vista operating system hasn't overwhelmed the market is an understatement. We still recommend people avoid buying computers with Vista until well into next year. Because of this, Microsoft have announced they are going to keep Windows XP on the market for a few more months due to customer demand.

Downgrading from Vista

One question we get a lot from people who have bought a new machine with Vista installed is "should we install Windows XP on it?"

Our answer is no, the hassles of reinstalling all the drivers and other features for the computer are even greater by going back to XP. It's incredibly time consuming and there's also a risk you'll have a whole new bunch of problems after you downgrade.

If you currently have Vista we'd recommend you stick with it. Although you might want to consider getting some additional memory.

Buying a Dell Printer

Dell have been selling printers for some time. These printers have good prices, but their cheaper prices are offset by some very substantial limits. Replacement cartridges often have to be bought through Dell and many of their cheaper printers can't be networked and won't work on anything except Windows XP and Vista.

Because of these limitations, we'd steer you away from Dell printers. If you are considering buying a Dell printer, make sure it will be usuable on your systems.The features in the various Dell models are listed at on their website.

Jargon Buster

To help you with the jargon of computing, we've added a jargon buster page to our website. We've also added a Jargon Watch as a monthly feature to our newletter. If you'd like some jargon explained, drop us an email.

Jargon watch: What is a zero day exploit?

One of the things that sends a chill down a computer techs spine is a Zero Day Exploit. This is where the bad guys have found a security but in a program before the rest of the industry and have started exploiting it through viruses, Trojans or whatever. It's one reason why firewalls and backups are so important.

Coming up on the website

All the topics in this newsletter are currently on, or will soon be on, the website. If you have any suggestions, comments or have spotted one of our numerous errors, let us know.


Paul Wallbank

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