ABC Tower   ABC Nightlife 2 June 2006

Tips & Hints

Posted 4 June 2006

The June show looked at the most dangerous words to search the net with, ransomware and some important security bugs and updates.

Three major updates came out this week, the Microsoft Word security problem, the latest update of Firefox and a serious flaw in Symantec's corporate anti-virus programs. Of the patches and bugs from last week, the most immediate one is the update to Mozilla Firefox, we'd recommend Firefox users install this immediately. The Microsoft Word 2003 bug is also serious and it's important users apply the patch as soon as possible.

Our main topic was the recent research into the most likely words that would result in a seach engine sending you to a spyware infected site. The results were clear: Music, celebrities and free software were the most likely to send you to bad places. The worst words to use were "free screensavers".

We also discussed the latest "ware" to infest your computer. Ransomware locks up all your data and demands a ransom to release it. It's an important reminder of how you must backup your data, but it's unlikely to affect many users. As usual, our callers had far more important questions.

Spyware Removal

Cameron had a spyware infection he couldn't remove, we'd recommend running the SmitRem tool as the first step to getting rid of peristent spyware. We also find that no one tool can remove this rubbish so we recommend hitting it with the Windows Defender, Spybot, Adaware and the SpywareInfo Online Scanning Tool.

Bigpond Email Settings

One of the strangest aspects of Bigpond's email service are the server settings. The official settings shown on their webpage work for most people however we still come across the odd Bigpond user who finds the new settings will not work. Geoff was one of these, having problems sending email.

The older settings for Bigpond broadband users are for the outgoing mail and The user name should be just the name, so take the off the end and the same email address. It is also possible that a firewall is blocking access, checking is trusted might be a good idea.

Error Safe

An unfortunate side effect of the spyware wars are the number of dubious programs that take advantage of people's concerns. Error safe is one of them and Greta had unfortunately downloaded and installed it. We'd recommend uninstalling it and giving the computer a good scan with the four spyware scanners mentioned above.

Removing Norton Anti-Virus

Regular listeners know we are not fans of Norton AntiVirus, System Works or Internet Security. One of the reasons we aren't impressed is the difficulty un-installing these products. Peter called in asking how to remove it and we've posted the instructions for removing an anti-virus on an earlier Nightlife spot.

Symantec are aware of the difficulties removing Norton products and have a tool to remove them on their website. Unfortunately the latest versions of these tools require you to be connected to the net, which is a serious security risk. Make sure you have turned on the Windows Firewall before running these utilities.

As usual our apologies to the many callers who couldn't get through. The next Nightlife computer spot will be at 10pm July 14, but that is to be confirmed. If you"d like to be kept up-to-date with our schedule then subscribe to our newsletter
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