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Comment by RandiO on Is This iPhone Madness? (September 19, 2017 07:41 AM)
For good reasons, Pappy used to say "Don't spend other people's money!" But when he wanted to give me a rough time about spending $2,500 for a pair o...
Comment by david sparkman on Is This iPhone Madness? (September 19, 2017 02:52 AM)
Steve Jobs would be ashamed. This is the Apple IIe all over again when the Mac is waiting to be born....
Comment by Lawrence Mills on Is This iPhone Madness? (September 19, 2017 01:42 AM)
Hi Bob, I have been considering a switch back to an iPhone from my Samsung android because I like the way the iPhone works. I was considering the iX u...
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I believe we have reached the point where technology is no longer useful to humans. Each 'giant' leap in technology is really only a slight lessening...
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I am using PC Matic. You see their ads on TV all the time promoting their 100% USA product. Will you cover their product in future articles. I have ...
Comment by JonS on Doctors of Deception: Diploma Mills (September 19, 2017 12:15 AM)
I was delighted to see John Bear's name as an expert. He has close to 40 years of experience with diploma mills. For me, his book was quite helpful as...
Comment by Al. S on Is This iPhone Madness? (September 18, 2017 11:20 PM)
I had a couple of Notebooks that had fingerprint readers and what a nightmare they were. Several tablets too, I gave them away. just refused to instal...
Comment by Al. S on Is This iPhone Madness? (September 18, 2017 11:08 PM)
Laurie I bet it does not include the Monthly Subscription cost for phone service. I pay all of $85.00 Per month for my Unlimited everything along with...
Comment by Granville on Is This iPhone Madness? (September 18, 2017 10:02 PM)
I currently have the iPhone 6s+ and look forward to switching to the new iPhoneX. I have enjoyed up to this point being on the interim upgrade side o...
Comment by Ray D on Is This iPhone Madness? (September 18, 2017 09:38 PM)
Being the last hold out and black sheep of the family, I finally replaced my beloved old Droid Max with an Iphone 7 so I could get the most functional...

Security Articles

 

Here's Why Your Password is Hackable

Over the past two decades, password rules have become more complicated and burdensome upon users. Users have coped with arbitrary, byzantine password rules by creating the most easily remembered passwords that comply with the rules, changing them when required in minor, predictable ways, and reusing compliant passwords on multiple online accounts. The results include lots of frustration and LESS security. Here's how to do it right...

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Android Tip: Securing Your Smartphone

Your Android smartphone is under attack from many directions, from pickpockets to malware to human error and suspicious spouses. Multiple security defenses are required to keep your phone as safe as it can be, which unfortunately isn’t “perfectly safe.” But here are SIX ways to secure your Android phone as best you can...

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[ALERT] Change Your Passwords... NOW

A spammer’s database of 711 milliion email addresses and passwords, including email server admin credentials, has been discovered on a wide-open Web server in the Netherlands. It’s the biggest trove of stolen identities yet found. But what’s really interesting - and frightening - is how it’s being used to circumvent spam filters and infect victims with malware. Here's what you need to know, and do...

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[ALERT] Smishing Attacks on the Rise

Scammers are endlessly adaptable, switching to new attack vectors as rapidly as users catch on to old ones. One of the “new” vectors is actually many years old, but it’s achieving some prominence now as cell phones have become nearly ubiquitous and users have raised their guards against email phishing scams. Read on for the scoop, and how to protect yourself from smishing attacks…

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[HOWTO] Detect and Remove Keyloggers

It's a fact that many malware infections result in a vulnerability to keystroke logging, which can compromise your privacy and lead to identity theft. A recent news story tells how over TWO MILLION passwords were stolen by keyloggers. Learn more about keyloggers, how they work, and how to defend yourself from this invisible threat...

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DoublePulsar: The Undetectable Backdoor

While everyone was preoccupied with the Wannacry ransomware epidemic that began in mid-May, a bigger threat was secretly spreading through tens of thousands of computers. It locks up files and demands a ransom, too, but that’s just a smoke screen designed to distract victims from what this sneaky malware is really up to. Here's what you need to know about DoublePulsar…

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Free Protection Against Ransomware

More than 70% of new malware released these days is of the ransomware variety. Why? Because it works! Ransomware takes all of a user’s data hostage, a terrifying moment for most of us. Only by paying a few hundred dollars can you get the key that unlocks your data, the extortionists claim. Many people pay quickly under the pressure and anxiety. Let's proactively deal with that problem -- check out these free tools to block and recover from ransomware...

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Has Judy Malware Infected Your Phone?

On May 26, a presumably mortified Google booted 41 apps from the Google Play store. All of them were infected with malware; collectively, they have infected 36.5 million Android devices. It’s bad enough that one infected app slipped past Google’s stringent vetting, let alone 41. What’s even worse is that at least one of the bogus apps had been on Google Play for more than two years! Here's what you need to know...

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[ALERT] Latest Ransomware Threats

Ransomware seems to be the darling of bad guys these days. It’s a very direct, powerful technique for extorting hundreds of dollars from a single victim very quickly, or millions of dollars when there are thousands of victims. Let’s take a look at the latest ransomware campaigns and how you can protect yourself from them...

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5-Point Tuneup For Hacker Defenses

The online world gets more dangerous every day, it seems. Some quick statistics: 230,000 new malware samples are discovered daily; over 600,000 social media accounts are hacked per day; one in ten social media users has had an account hijacked by hackers. Your defense systems must be kept in tip-top shape. Here are five ways to harden your system against hackers...

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Do I Need an OUTbound Firewall?

I think I understand why I need a firewall to protect my computer from inbound threats. But a friend is telling me that I need another type of firewall software, which blocks outbound traffic as well. If I have anti-virus software, do I really need this outbound firewall?

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Beware of This Clever New Scam

Sometimes security researchers publish information that might better be kept under wraps. That seems to have happened in the case of a Trend Micro blog post about a phishing technique that abuses a popular Internet security standard. Within days, someone was using that technique to trick users into granting access to their Google accounts. Here's what you need to know about OAuth scams...

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Is This Your New Internet Security Tool?

MalwareBytes Anti-Malware, commonly abbreviated as MBAM, has long been recommended as a supplement to full-coverage security suites. Now with the arrival of MBAM Version 3, it's a full-coverage security suite. Read on to see what’s new, and if you should switch...

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Are Keyless Cars Hackable?

Does your car have an old-school key that opens the door, or a new-fangled electronic push-button key fob that opens the door and also starts the car? If it's the latter, then it's most likely trivial for a thief with some inexpensive gadgetry to unlock your car and drive away. Here's what you need to know, and one easy way to protect against this hack...

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[HOWTO] Secure Your Laptop

The mobility and convenience that laptop computers provide has made it imperative for users to take steps to secure their laptops, and the data stored on them. There are several simple things that you can do to keep your laptop safe. Read on to learn how to protect your laptop from theft, snooping and data loss...

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[ALERT] USB Malware and The Kill Stick

Back in August 2014, I wrote about a “Serious Security Flaw In USB Drives.” Short story: it’s possbile to overwrite the firmware of a USB flash drive (or other USB device) so that it injects malware into the host machine when plugged into a USB port. Since anti-malware software can’t check firmware, this type of exploit cannot be detected. And lately, the story has gotten worse. Read on for the scoop on why you should be EXTRA-careful with USB sticks...

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[SHOCKER] Internet Security is Getting Worse

An IBM study of Internet security was released this week, and the news is both surprising and depressing. Data breaches, denial of service attacks, and ransomware are up by over 500%. Spam and phishing are also on the rise. Here's what you need to know...

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[WARNING] Five WiFi Security Mistakes

Wireless networking is convenient and liberating, and essential if you have a smartphone, laptop or tablet. But if you aren’t careful, using wireless Internet can leave you open to hackers and unauthorized moochers of your Internet service. Here are five of the biggest mistakes that people make with WiFi, and how to avoid them. Read on!

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Are Password Rules Making Us LESS Secure?

Isn't it maddening when your bank, insurance company, grocery store and a dozen other websites demand that you follow a complicated set of rules when coming up with a new password? It's bad enough that these passwords are hard to remember. But new research shows they actually make it EASIER for hackers to compromise your account. Read on for the scoop…

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Do You Need a PUP Cleaner?


Today's article has nothing to do with smelly dogs or canine shampoo. In the context of software, a PUP is a Potentially Unwanted Program. Read on to learn how they can sneak into your system, what they can do, and how to find and remove these pests…

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How To Eliminate 94% of Windows Vulnerabilities Easily

A new report from security experts at Avecto highlights hundreds of critical vulnerabilities discovered in Microsoft Windows just in the year 2016. Any of them could allow a hacker to take full control of an unpatched PC. But one simple trick can create a roadblock to neutralize more than 94% of these threats. Read on for the scoop…

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Beware Fake Tech Support Scammers

Have you received an unexpected phone call from a helpful customer service rep of Microsoft, or perhaps your ISP? I didn't think so. But many people have received calls from scammers posing as tech support reps, warning that their computers are infected with malware and offering help to fix the purported problem. Here's what you should do if they call you...

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When White Hats Collide

Has your security software suddenly disappeared? There's a nasty battle brewing among some popular anti-virus software vendors, and it's escalated to the point where they are classifying each others' products as malware, and deleting them on sight! Here's what you need to know...

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[ALERT] Rogue Certificates

Security experts advise us not to enter passwords, credit card details, or other sensitive information on any website that does not provide an encrypted connection, and to use a bookmark to access sites that deal with banking or other private matters. But there's a new threat being used by clever hackers to thwart both of those measures. Read on for details…

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Danger Zone: Free Wifi Hotspots

Coffee shops, restaurants, bookstores, airports, hotels, and other public places often provide free access to wireless Internet hotspots. But along with that convenience comes the danger of being digitally mugged. Here are some some simple tips you can use to make sure you're not broadcasting your business to snoops and hackers while using wifi hotspots...

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[OUCH] One Billion Yahoo Accounts Hacked

On December 14, 2016, Yahoo revealed that over one billion (with a “b”) of its users’ accounts had been hacked, in August, 2013 (yes, with a “3”). That’s in addition to another 500 million breached accounts that were discovered separately in September. You might have a Yahoo account and not even know it. What should you do? Read on...

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Top 10 Security Vulnerabilities of 2016

What software currently running on your computer is the MOST vulnerable to attacks by cybercrime exploit kits? Software made by Adobe Systems and Microsoft provided the most zero-day vulnerability targets during the past year, according to Recorded Future, a real-time cyber-threat detection and mitigation firm. Read on to learn which of those programs you should avoid...

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BOTNET ATTACKS: Are You Vulnerable?

How easy is it to take over hundreds of thousands of computers, and enslave them in a botnet that could be used by hackers for malicious purposes? Not so hard, it turns out. The shocking truth is that the tools to create and operate botnets are cheap and readily available to malevolent miscreants. Read on to learn how to detect and defend against botnets, and some really good news about “Operation Avalanche” ...

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Gooligan Malware Spreading Like Wildfire

A new malware known as “Gooligan” is infecting 13,000 Android phones each day, according to CheckPoint, a cybersecurity firm headquartered in San Carlos, CA. Over one million smartphones have already been infected, making Gooligan the biggest security breach that Android has ever experienced. Do you need to worry? Read on...

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Ten Stupid Things You Can Do To Mess Up Your Computer

Aside from actually drop-kicking it or smashing it with a sledge hammer, it's fairly difficult to actually break a computer. That said, there are a number of ways to render your computer just slightly more useful than a doorstop. Certain careless acts can cause crashes, freezes, painfully slow performance, loss of data or invasion of your privacy. Here's my list of stupid things you can do to really mess up your computer...

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Securing Your Internet of Things

Right behind every cyber-scare comes a gaggle of “new” solutions. Sure enough, we’re seeing new security appliances purportedly designed to protect the IoT devices on your home network. But are they new, and do they protect? Do you even need another separate device? Read on to get the straight story…

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Attacking the Internet is Now Child’s Play

Brian Krebs has made a lot of enemies by publicizing and thwarting many hacker organizations. So it’s not surprising that his website is constantly under attack. A recent attack on Krebs' website effectively silenced him for a week. Another recent attack took many popular sites offline for hours. Read on to see what's happening, and what you can do about it...

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IoT Security News Just Gets Worse

It was bad enough to learn that millions of “Internet of Things” devices have deplorably poor security. But now we learn that many IoT devices also have a backdoor built into them that hackers can exploit. Read on to understand this new threat and see what you can do about it...

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[LOCKED] Extra Security for Your Google Accounts

The threat of identity theft is at an all-time high and it just keeps growing every day. Since early 2015, I have recommended two-factor authentication (2FA) as an extra layer of security wherever it is available. Google makes 2FA available free of charge, in more than one form. Read on to learn how it works, and your options for getting started...

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Doxware - A Devilish Improvement to Ransomware

It’s bad enough when ransomware encrypts your hard drive and demands payment in Bitcoins for the key to unlock your data. But a few innovative cyber-extortionists are also stealing your most sensitive data and threatening to publish it if you don’t pay up. Here's what you need to know about doxware…

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Have You Been Pwned?

Yahoo made headlines recently by admitting that it suffered a data breach that may have compromised more than 500 MILLION Yahoo accounts. Here's how to find out if you may have been affected by this (or one of many other) massive data breaches...

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The Flaw in Secure Logins

You've probably experienced two-factor authentication (also known as "two-step verification") when logging into certain websites. In addition to your username and password, many banks and other online services now send you a text message with a code that you must enter to verify your identity. But there's a gaping hole in that extra layer of security. Here's what you need to know...

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[NEWSFLASH] An Egregious Blunder

Some of the most powerful hacking tools, apparently developed by the National Security Agency’s elite cyber-espionage group, have been leaked online, creating an enormous threat to the security of the entire Internet and everyone who uses it. Governments, corporations, and yes, you, must now deal with the possibility that anyone could have these super-spy tools and start using them. Read on…

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Why Hasn’t Microsoft Fixed This 20 Year-Old Vulnerability?

A security flaw in Windows allows anyone to steal usernames and passwords of logged-in users or even infect Facebook with malware simply by tricking users into visiting a specially-crafted Web page. Microsoft has known about the vulnerability since at least 1997, but the company has no plans to close this gaping hole. Read on to learn why, and how to easily protect against this threat...

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Could Hackers “Rig” The Election?

Donald Trump has predicted that the November elections will be “rigged.” Most politicians and pundits dismiss that idea as “impossible.” But according to many security experts, thousands of electronic voting machines that will be used across the country on November 8 are so riddled with security holes that the possibility of manipulating the votes they record cannot be waved away. Here's what you need to know...

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Are Wireless Keyboards Leaking Your Data?

Wireless keyboards transmit every keystroke to your computer, via a low-power radio signal. Is it possible for a hacker to intercept that signal, to steal your passwords and other sensitive data? In some cases, yes. Should you panic? Maybe. Here's what you need to know...

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The “No More Ransomware” Project

Ransomware is the fastest-growing scourge on the Internet. This diabolical form of malware, which encrypts one’s hard drive and demands payment for the key, has exploded in recent months. Here's what you can do to prevent a ransomware attack, and quickly recover if it does happen...

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Virtual Kidnapping Scams On The Rise

The FBI has issued a bulletin warning the public about the rising threat of “virtual kidnapping scams,” in which unseen bad guys call a victim and demand ransom for an allegedly kidnapped loved one. Here's what you need to know...

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Free 5-Point Tuneup For Hacker Defenses

The online world gets more dangerous every day, it seems. Some quick statistics: 230,000 new malware samples are discovered daily; over 600,000 social media accounts are hacked per day; one in ten social media users has had an account hijacked by hackers. Your defense systems must be kept in tip-top shape. Here are five ways to harden your system against hackers...

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A Malware Funnel Pre-Installed on Your PC?

The biggest security vulnerability on your desktop or laptop PC probably is not something you picked up off the Internet, or that a phisher injected into your system when you clicked on the wrong email or web link. No, it’s most likely an application that came with your computer, provided free of charge (and responsibility) by HP, Dell, Lenovo, or whatever company made your system. Here's what you need to know…

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Security Without Passwords?

Google has promised to eliminate the need for passwords by the end of 2016, at its recent developers’ conference called Google I/O. And the company is making measurable progress towards that worthy goal. Will you be password-free by the end of this year? Will an ancient tabulating device play a role in the process? Read on to learn the details...

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[WARNING] Paper Checks Can Lead to Fraud

In March 2016, I wrote about electronic bill payment, and asked “Are You Still Paying Bills With Paper Checks?” The overwhelming majority of readers who left comments said that they do. Some recent news casts serious doubt on the safety of this practice. If you pay bills with paper checks, you MUST read today's article...

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[BREACH] Be Careful Of Password Resets

Netflix and Facebook (and possibly other sites) began resetting the passwords of certain users recently. The affected users were locked out of their accounts; essentially, they found that the lock on the door had been changed and their key no longer fit it. Here's what's happening, why, and the steps you may need to take as a result…

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[SOON] Google Chrome to Block Adobe Flash

A majority of the online industry would love to see Adobe Flash die once and for all, including yours truly. Google is driving another nail into Flash’s coffin in the near future; the Chrome browser will soon begin blocking Flash content by default on all but a few major websites. Here's what you need to know, and do...

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Crafting The Perfect Password

Security geeks, including yours truly, are constantly nagging everyone to use strong passwords. But truly secure passwords can be hard to remember. Today I've got a simple recipe to help you create strong passwords that you can easily remember. Does that sound perfect? Read on...

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[CLICK...] Is There Danger Ahead?

Do you know how to tell right away if a website (or link) is going to lead you into a world of hurt? A single click can lead to an unwanted download, a malware infection, stolen login credentials, or identity theft. Here are some practical tips and tools you can use to click smarter...

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[ALERT] Adobe Flash - The Last Straw?

Adobe Flash is a favorite target of hackers and malware writers because it's old (dating back to the mid-1990s), complex, and riddled with hidden bugs. Last week, Adobe issued a security update that fixed twenty-seven vulnerabilities, including one that could be exploited to deliver ransomware infections. Is it time to stick a fork in it?

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[QUICK] Uninstall QuickTime for Windows

Windows PC users who have the Apple QuickTime video player installed should uninstall it immediately to prevent its exploitation by hackers, says Apple, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, security experts at Trend Micro, and anyone else you may ask. Here's why, and how…

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[LOCKED!] The Latest in Anti-Ransomware

Ransomware is the Internet bogeyman of the moment. This breed of malware, which encrypts the data stored on infected machines and then demands a payment for the key that unlocks the data, is the fastest-growing threat online today. The tech press has ensured that awareness of ransomware is at an all-time high. Are you protected? Read on…

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[HACK] Should You Worry About Getting Mousejacked?

More than 80 media outlets have echoed a security alert issued by startup security firm Bastille Networks. “Hackers can exploit your wireless mouse to take control of your cursor and keyboard... or even inject malware into your computer!” Should you ditch your wireless mouse, or is this story a bit overhyped? Let's take a look at the facts…

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[SECURITY] AntiVirus Test Results

The Grammy Awards are over; the Oscars will be passed out on February 26. Between these two pop culture love-fests lies one for us geeks: the annual awards for antivirus programs. The envelopes, please…

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[YES!] You Really Need Windows Auto-Update

Earlier this week, Microsoft released several security patches rated Critical, which fixed vulnerabilities that could be exploited to give an attacker complete control of a computer. Did your Windows system automatically apply those patches? Read on to learn why you need to use Windows Update, and tweak it with my recommended settings...

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[DOIT] Free Google Security Checkup

As part of “Safer Internet Day 2016” Google is encouraging everyone to do a Security Checkup. As a reward for completing this two-minute task, you'll get a free boost of 2 GB in your Google Drive storage allotment. Even if you don't care about the extra storage, I do strongly recommend that you take the Security Checkup. And when you're done, I have an extra credit assignment for you...

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[ALERT] Can You Trust These Tech Firms?

The Comodo Group is a well-known Internet security company founded in 1998. Its slogan is, “Creating Trust Online.” Comodo actually sells trust - the firm is the world’s largest vendor of digital security certificates, with one-third of the market. But now, Comodo has betrayed every one of its customers. And it’s not the only tech firm that has done so recently. Read on for the surprising details...

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A New Weapon Against Ransomware

Malwarebytes, maker of the venerable MBAM security software, has released a beta version of a new tool that guards against all known variants of ransomware, the company announced on January 25. Malwarebytes Anti-Ransomware uses behavioral analysis to detect and block malware that attempts to encrypt a user’s data and extort a ransom payment.

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This Antivirus Plugin Makes You LESS Secure

Billionaire Warren Buffett said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently.” He might have been talking to the folks at AVG Antivirus; if he was, they weren’t listening. Read on to learn how AVG might have made you LESS secure...

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Windows Smartscreen Gets Smarter

Microsoft rolled out a new version of its Smartscreen web content filtering software in the December 2015, “Patch Tuesday” update. Just like Gandalf on the bridge in Lord of the Rings, the new and improved Smartscreen aims to protect you from dangers that lurk in dark places. Read on to learn about Smartscreen, what it can do, and why it may not help you, unless...

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Who Lost Your Data In 2015?

It’s probable that your personal data was leaked this year. In 2015, over one billion personal records were illegally accessed, up 54% from the previous year. The stolen data included financial and medical data, email addresses, Social Security Numbers, and more sensitive information. Learn more and find out if YOUR personal info was leaked...

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Got a Dell? Read This Now!

Every Dell computer running Windows has a gaping security hole that allows bad actors to eavesdrop on secure connections and bypass anti-malware defenses. Whether you have a Dell or not, here's what you need to know -- and do -- right away...

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Best Password Managers of 2015

Good password management is a critical part of online security, but it can be difficult to do. The more online accounts you have, the more difficult it is to create strong passwords, keep track of them without exposing them to thieves, and remember to change them regularly. Read on to learn how password managers can simplify the task…

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Is This TrueCrypt's Fatal Flaw?

For many years, TrueCrypt was the gold standard in free encryption software. But in May 2014, the software’s developers abruptly quit, warning users of unspecified “security issues” in TrueCrypt. Security luminaries declared there was nothing wrong with the last version of TrueCrypt so it has remained in use. But now, there's a problem. A big one, in fact...

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Spammers and Scammers In The Slammer

The steady stream of media reports about data breaches, phishing scams, and other cyber-threats can get pretty depressing. It seems like the bad guys are constantly winning. But in fact, law enforcement does score victories against spammers, scammers, and identity thieves, sending many to prison or worse. Here are a few examples...

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Is Computer Security an Illusion?

This year's Black Hat security conference, the 18th annual gathering of InfoSec (information security) geeks in Las Vegas overflowed with attendees and alarms. In a nutshell, the message was “Everyone is vulnerable.” Here are the most important takeaways, what you should know, and what you can do...

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The Internet of Insecure Things

The “Internet of Things,” or IoT, is exploding like a mushroom cloud. Coffee makers, toys, cars, even light bulbs are getting IP addresses and connections to the cloud as manufacturers rush to “add value” to commodity products. But in the mad dash to realize Dr. Vint Cerf’s famous motto, “IP On Everything,” virtually no attention is being paid to securing smart devices against hackers...

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Stagefright: Worst Android Vulnerability Yet

Remember back in June when you snickered at your iPhone friends, because a specially crafted text message could shut down their phones? It's payback time. A similar vulnerability in Android phones can do much scarier things. Here's what you need to know, and do…

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Dump Adobe Flash NOW?

Adobe Flash has a long history of security vulnerabilities; over a dozen have required patching in 2015 so far. Three more zero-days in Flash that were discovered and fixed recently have some in the tech industry crying, “Enough! Time to kill Flash forever!” But is it? Read on for the scoop...

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SECURITY TIP: Lock Down Your WiFi Router

While we’ve been focusing on the security of our desktop PCs, laptops, and mobile devices, malware-manufacturing miscreants have been exploiting the most overlooked computer in most homes and businesses: the router. Here's what you need to know…

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IMPORTANT: An Extra Layer of Security

Some security tips bear repetition. I've been beating the drum for two-factor authentication for several years. I know, it sounds geeky, but it's actually a simple tool that can protect you even if a hacker steals all your passwords. Here's what you need to know...

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Does Your Wallet Need a Tinfoil Hat?

Recently, a friend forwarded to me a Houston TV station’s story about “electronic pickpocketing.” In it, reporters say they watched a security expert steal credit card numbers from 39 victims in less than 15 minutes, simply by walking past them. But is this a real problem? Read on...

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What's in The PhAT Report?

The most recent Phishing Activity Trends Report (or as I prefer to call it, “The PhAT Report”) contains some accepted wisdom and some startling surprises. It may influence your choice of security software and the focus of your security awareness. Read on...

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Install Google Password Alert?

Google suffered an embarrassing moment just a day after it released a free browser extension intended to protect users against phishing attacks. Google fixed the mistake quickly, but the fix is also vulnerable to being bypassed. Should you install the Google Password Alert tool anyway? I say yes...

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Mobile Malware: No Big Deal?

Verizon’s security research team wants you to know that the odds of catching a truly serious malware infection are about 0.03 percent, about the same as the average odds of being struck by lightning during a lifetime. So should we worry? Read on for the details, and my recommendations...

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The Phish Are Still Biting

Despite a decade of terrifying headlines, education programs, employment and school policies, and other efforts to enlighten the masses, the odds are one in four that a phish will get a bite, according a recent report. Why is phishing still such a big problem? Read on...

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ALERT: Time to FREAK Out?

A vulnerability that could allow man-in-the-middle eavesdroppers to crack HTTPS (secure web connections) and steal sensitive data exists in every version of Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, Android, and even Blackberry OS. EVERYBODY PANIC! FREAK OUT! For a few days, at least. Here's what you need to know now...

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Does your Computer Have VD?

If you bought a Lenovo laptop any time since September, 2014, it may have come with a piece of adware called Superfish that puts all of your Web browsing sessions at risk of hacking. The same flawed technology has been found in three different parental control programs, and may be incorporated in any number of other legitimate programs. Here's what you need to know, and do...

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5 DIY Home Security Systems

A do-it-yourself (DIY) home security system can reduce your homeowner’s insurance premium and boost your home’s resale value; provide peace of mind while you’re away or asleep; make an intruder change his mind; and even summon police or firefighters when necessary.

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Take the Free Google Security Checkup

As part of “Safer Internet Day 2015” Google is offering a free boost of 2 GB in your Google Drive storage allotment. Even if you don't care about the extra storage, I do strongly recommend that you take the two-minute Security Checkup. And when you're done with the Google checkup, I have an extra credit assignment for you...

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Internet Security Predictions for 2015

Each year, Websense Security Labs releases a report with predictions regarding the computer and Internet security landscape for the coming year. This year’s 13 pages of prognostications contain some expected prophecies, and some surprising ones. Read on to stay ahead of the curve…

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Ransomware Strikes Again - Cryptowall

Making regular backups of critical data and keeping your software up to date is more important than ever thanks to the arrival of new, “improved” malware like Cryptowall 2. This update to a well-known ransomware exploit is making life miserable for business and personal computer users worldwide. Here's what you need to know...

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Dashlane's Free Automatic Password Changer

The “best practices” for password security are 1) make your passwords long and obscure; 2) never write them down where they can be stolen; and 3) change them every 30 days. Unfortunately, all of that is so difficult that it seldom gets done. The key to password security is to make is easy. Read on to learn how you can strengthen and change all your most important passwords in just a few seconds...

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A Trio of Apple Security Flaws

Until very recently, Apple users didn't need to worry about malware, so long as they avoided jailbreaking their devices, and downloaded only from the official Apple App Store. But clever hackers have exploited some loopholes that could act as a conduit for rogue or malicious software to make its way into an iPhone, iPad or a computer running Mac OS X. Here's what you need to know...

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WOW: Surprising Stats on Phishing

Researchers at Google and UCSD have released a study showing that an astonishing 14% of all phishing attempts are successful. They also reveal how the bad guys gain access to victims’ accounts and what they do once they get in. Read on, and please forward this article to a friend...

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New Mobile Malware Threat

A well-known predator named “Koler” has ramped up its game from “drive-by download” to “self-replicating virus,” accelerating the spread of this ransomware from one smartphone to all its owner’s contacts. Read on to learn about a secret feature that will zap this and other mobile malware apps...

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Will MBAM Protect Against ALL Malware?

A reader asks: 'Based on advice from you and others, I have installed MalwareBytes Anti-Malware (MBAM). It claims to detect and remove viruses, spyware, rootkits and other nasties. So do I still need a separate anti-virus program, or will MBAM provide all the protection I need?' Read on for my advice...

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Shellshock! Are You Vulnerable?

A serious flaw was recently discovered in software that's found on untold millions of web servers. But desktops, laptops, smartphones and other devices may be vulnerable to the “Bash Bug” as well. Read on to cut through the hype and find out whether you need to take action...

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Over 1 Billion Passwords Stolen

Russian cybercrooks have hijacked a mother lode of 1.2 billion unique username and password credentials. The New York Times did some quick math and noted, “that’s more than the population of China!” The thieves have also amassed a list of 500 million email addresses -- so should you be worried? Read on...

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Is Apple Spying on Your iPhone?

According to security researcher Jonathan Zdziarski, every iPhone, iPad, and all other iOS devices can be ransacked by Apple, the NSA, or hackers through remote-access tools “hidden” in the iOS operating system. These tools give a remote user full control of the device and the ability to download nearly every scrap of data it holds. But what's the truth? Read on...

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Have You Been Hacked?

Anti-malware programs are awesomely sophisticated these days, featuring heuristics, real-time monitoring, and reputation systems; and still they fail to keep bad things out of your computer! You are the last line of defense against hackers and malware, so you should be familiar with these symptoms that your computer or online account has been compromised...

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Old Androids Never Die, They Just Become Bots

Is there a horrible, terrible security vulnerability lurking in your Android-powered mobile gadget? Are evil Russian hackers controlling Richard Engel's smartphone at this very moment? Read on...

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Pandemiya: The New Trojan Horse

A new Trojan Horse malware program appears to be written entirely from scratch, a rarity in the malware trade and a special cause for concern among security researchers, anti-malware developers, and end-users. Here's what you should know…

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How NOT to Get Exploited

Drive-by downloads -- malware delivered to random Web site visitors -- are one of the biggest, fastest-growing threats on the Internet. Learn how they spread across the web, and some easy things you can do to protect against these dangerous exploits...

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GameOver and Cryptolocker Busted

Two of the biggest, most sophisticated, and most profitable scams on the Internet were neutralized at the end of May. The FBI, working with counterparts in seven countries, have (at least temporarily) shut down the GameOver financial fraud botnet and the CryptoLocker ransomware organization. In light of this, there are TWO IMPORTANT STEPS I'm asking you to take...

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TrueCrypt Is Dead -- Long Live TrueCrypt!

A shockwave rolled through the Internet’s cryptographic community on May 28. TrueCrypt, a highly respected, open-source, on-the-fly encryption program, was abruptly abandoned by its developers. It’s not unusual for programmers to give up on their free software. What shocked everyone is the going-away present that TrueCrypt’s parents gave to the world.

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Time to Boycott Java?

In January 2013, a reader asked me if Java was safe to use. My answer then was somewhat equivocal; yes, Java complicates PC security, but you may want to keep it – carefully – if you run into situations where you need it. Basically, I felt the risk/reward ratio of Java was a toss-up. But my assessment is changing now. Read on to find out if you should keep Java or dump it…

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What's in the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report?

Twice a year, Microsoft releases an updated Security Intelligence Report detailing the latest threats, countermeasures, and trends in computer and Internet security. The SIR for the second half of 2013 is out, and it highlights trends that are important to consumers as well as business users. Here are the highlights, and what you should know...

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ALERT: Serious Internet Explorer Flaw Discovered

Security holes in Web browsers are hardly unusual, and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer has had more than its fair share exploited and exposed. But the latest flaw is a doozy so dangerous that governments are urging users to switch to alternative browsers until Microsoft issues a patch. And it isn’t clear when that patch will be issued. Find out what you must do NOW...

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Drive-by Download Dangers

The term “drive-by download” is often encountered in security bulletins and the media reports they inspire. What, exactly, is a drive-by download? Who is vulnerable to it? And how can you protect yourself against drive-by downloads? Read on for answers...

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HOWTO: Deep Scan for Malware

A reader asks: 'My anti-virus software offers me the option to run a quick scan or a full scan. I've always run the quick scan, because that's the recommended setting. What does a full scan do, and how would I know if I need to do one?' Read on to learn about deep scanning, to check every nook and cranny of your computer for malware...

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A Gaping Hole in Internet Security?

Yet another security hole in a widely-used Internet protocol has been discovered, prompting headlines about dire things that could have happened, may have happened, and might be happening to you this very instant. Here's what you need to know about the Heartbleed exploit...

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Texting ATMs For Cash?

ATMs running Windows XP can be controlled remotely by hackers with smartphones, according to a top Internet security firm. Just send the right text message to an ATM and it will start spewing cash. An estimated 80 percent of U. S. ATMs are still running XP, so should we worry? Here's the story...

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Announcing Malwarebytes Premium

I have always recommended the free version of MalwareBytes Anti-Malware for basic protection and eradication of malware infections. Of course, there’s a paid version too, called MalwareBytes Premium. How is it different from the free version, and is it worth the $24.95 annual subscription fee? Let's find out…

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Geeks Who Cry Wolf

Every month - sometimes every week - the tech world is 'rocked' by dire warnings of scary-sounding security vulnerabilities, newly discovered in major products and services. But two recent examples didn't pass my sniff test. Here's the scoop…

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Lies, Damned Lies, and Olympic Journalism

Just before the start of the 2014 Winter Olympics, NBC aired a story claiming that all visitors toting smartphones or laptops to Sochi with would be 'immediately hacked' and exposed to an array of horrors. Turns out the story was fabricated, but why? Read on...

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Security Threat: Predictions for 2014

Each year Websense Security releases a report with predictions regarding the computer and Internet security landscape for the coming year. There's some good news for home users, and some cautions for those who handle high-value data. Find out where to focus in 2014 to protect your data and identity...

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Two Clever Phishing Attempts

Among the phishing techniques making the rounds, the 'desperately needed user manual' trick is a reliable favorite. If you’ve ever searched online for the user manual of an older computer, household appliance, stereo system, etc., you’ve probably encountered this one. Another recent reprobate is the Google Docs scam. Let’s see how both of them try to trick you...

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Can You Smell a Phish?

The latest fad in email scams is spear-phishing: deceptive emails highly targeted and carefully crafted to fool even the best anti-phishing technology. A savvy human being can still spot spear-phish reliably, but it’s getting more difficult as scammers refine their craft. Here’s is a little test you can take to see if you’re smarter than modern phish...

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Free Microsoft Security Tools

When it comes to computer and online security, Microsoft Windows is often portrayed as the problem rather than the solution. But don’t get the idea that Microsoft doesn’t care about security. In fact, Microsoft publishes several free and effective security tools for home and professional users. Try some of these to see if your currently installed security software is doing everything it should to protect you...

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ALERT: New Virus Demands Ransom For Your Data

A new type of malware is developing that renders computers unusable until their owners pay a ransom. Worse, the latest example of such ransomware will be sold for as little as twenty-five bucks to anyone who wants easy money. We could be in for a massive wave of cyber-blackmail. Here's what you need to know...

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The Seven Most Common Internet Security Mistakes

A reader says: 'I have anti-virus protection but somehow I got a virus anyway. How did this happen?' That's hard to say without knowing more, but chances are, this person made one of the seven Internet security mistakes on my list. Any one of them can lead to malware infection or even identity theft. Are YOU vulnerable? See the list now...

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HOWTO: Detect and Defeat Keyloggers

It's a fact that many malware infections result in a vulnerability to keystroke logging, which can compromise your privacy and lead to identity theft. A recent news story tells how over TWO MILLION passwords were stolen by keyloggers. Learn more about keyloggers, how they work, and how to defend yourself from this growing threat...

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Would You Click on This?

Phishing is an attempt to trick you, by impersonating someone you trust. The good news is that far fewer phishing emails are being sent and fewer people are being targeted by information thieves. The bad news matters if you are one of the remaining targets: there are more bad guys gunning for you now and fewer places to hide than ever before. Here's what you need to know…

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Should You BUY Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware Software?

A reader asks: 'Should I run AVG, SpyBot, and other freeware, or should I pay for a supposedly better program? I read so much negative about every security program and I am quite confused about them. Some I hear are actually fakes. If they really are worth the money, I am willing to try them. Can you give me your opinion on the best anti-virus, anti-spyware and other Internet security tools?'

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Avoid These Five WiFi Security Mistakes

WiFi networking is convenient and liberating, and essential if you have a laptop or tablet. But if you aren’t careful, using wireless Internet can leave you open to hackers and unauthorized moochers of your Internet service. Here are five of the biggest mistakes that people make with WiFi, and how to avoid them. Read on!

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SECURITY TIP: Preview Shortened URLs

URL-shortening services like TinyURL and Bitly are handy for a variety of reasons, but shortened URLs also represent a ubiquitous and very dangerous security vulnerability. You must use your head and technology to avoid becoming a victim of malware, phishers, and hackers when clicking on shortened URLs. Here's what you need to know...

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Don't Fall Victim to Scareware

A reader asks: 'I have heard of software, shareware, freeware, trialware and malware. And I think I know what all those things are. But what exactly is scareware?' Here's the scoop on these rogues that prey on misinformation and fear...

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MalwareBytes Anti Exploit: Digital Ninja

Surprise attacks are often the most devastating, both in terms of damage they can do to individuals and the number of victims who are attacked. The online world has it own version of such attacks, in the form of drive-by downloads and zero-day exploits. But there's a new security tool that promises to provide ninja-like protection from these threats. Read on to learn more…

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Microsoft Security Essentials: EPIC FAIL

Microsoft launched their Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) antivirus software with great fanfare in 2009, touting it as a 'comprehensive security solution' for Windows. And publicly, they still do. But the head of Microsoft's Malware Protection Center is singing a different tune -- even recommending AGAINST relying on MSE. Here's what you need to know…

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What is More Dangerous Than Malware?

Most computer and Internet security articles focus on threats found 'out there' in the online sphere, or in the form of bad people with malevolent intentions. The danger is that they will get to you or your computer, and steal or damage. Most security measures focus on preventing such intrusions. But the greatest threat is not 'out there.' It is in you…

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Five Free Malware Removal Tools

Nothing is perfect, especially in the realm of malware removal tools. In the ever-escalating arms race between malware authors and defenders of civilized computer users, the advantage shifts from one side to the other constantly. You may have the top-rated security and disinfection suite, but one day some clever new species of malware will defeat it. Here's what to do when that happens to you, a friend, or family member...

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Avoiding Zero Day Exploits

Recently, software giants Microsoft and Oracle were hit by zero-day exploits that could affect users of Internet Explorer and Java software. The term 'zero-day exploit' sounds sinister and dramatic, but what does it mean? Find out now, and what you need to do to stay safe...

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Android Security Update

Hey, the U.S. government is stealing my gig! The nice folks at the Department of Homeland Security (yes, the same people who brought you free irradiations, body scanners and airport gropings) are now turning their attention to everyday 'cyber threats.' So what do they (and other scare mongers) have to say about Android mobile gadget security? Read on...

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SECURITY TIP: Two Factor Authentication

Okay, I'll admit this sounds geeky, but it’s important. Two-factor authentication isn’t all that complicated, and it can save your bacon from hackers and identity thieves. Read on to learn more about this online security technique that I'm strongly recommending for PC, Mac and mobile users...

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Are You a Victim of CatPhishing?

'I have known men to fall in love by light so dim they would not choose a suit by it,' wrote Ambrose Bierce many years ago. Today, the light is not only dim but deceptive. Lonely people of all persuasions are at increasing risk of being preyed upon by phony romantic partners who not only aren’t what they seem to be, but may not exist at all! Read on to learn about catphishing...

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Rootkits: Evil, Nasty and Sneaky!

A reader asks: 'My computer is acting strangely, and a friend said I might have a rootkit. What exactly is a rootkit, and how is it different than a virus? Also, how can I detect and remove rootkit infections from my computer?' Read on to learn more about this insidious threat to your security and privacy...

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Locate a Stolen Laptop or Smartphone

A reader asks: 'I travel often with a smartphone and a laptop, so I'm looking for something to help me locate these gadgets if they are ever lost or stolen. What do you recommend?' Read on for my tips on recovering (and preventing) a lost or stolen laptop, tablet, or smartphone...

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Computer Security: The Missing Link

Is your computer really secure? If you have antivirus software, malware scanners and a firewall, you might think you're safe from hackers, crackers and identity thieves. But chances are, you're missing one critical piece of the security puzzle. Read on to learn how to secure your software and truly lock down your computer...

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Why Does Malware Exist?

Computer viruses are everywhere. Spam is abounding. Computer intrusions, identity theft, denial of service attacks and other cybercrimes are commonplace. Who does this stuff, and what’s wrong with them? Let's take a look at what motivates the miscreants who menace millions on the Internet...

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Best Browser for Malware Protection?

Web browsers are used to interact with the Internet more than any other type of software. So it’s no surprise that the latest malware tries to infiltrate computers via Web browsers. But which browser does the best job of protecting you? Read on for some surprising test results...

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Secure Backup: Solves TWO Problems

A backup copy of your data is not insurance against viruses and other malware infections, if the backup copy is also infected. The obvious solution is to scan and clean your files before they get backed up. Now, a popular Internet security developer makes that easy, and throws in cloud storage as well. Here's what you need to know...

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HOWTO: Securing Your Smartphone

Your smartphone offers many conveniences, but it carries some risks as well. You may love having access to your email and other apps while you're on the go, but have you ever considered the potential damage that might result if your phone was lost or stolen? Here are some tips on securing your phone, and all the data that it carries...

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Extra Security: Windows Defender Offline

If you’re smart, you have a real-time internet security suite installed on your hard drive. It provides constant protection against viruses and other malware that may sneak into your computer. But no anti-malware program is foolproof; something may slip through its defenses and infect your hard drive. So what can you do if a really nasty virus disables your anti-malware protection, or fouls up your hard drive so Windows won't even start? Here's the answer...

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BOTNET ALERT: Are You Vulnerable?

How easy is it to take over hundreds of thousands of computers, and enslave them in a botnet that could be used by hackers for malicious purposes? Not so hard, it turns out. Last year, an anonymous researcher created software of the type used by hackers, and within one day, created a botnet of over 400,000 computers. He kept the botnet alive for four months, and nobody noticed. Here's what you need to know about botnets...

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How Do Viruses Spread?

All the advice you've ever heard about how to avoid getting infected by a computer virus may be wrong. Well, at least some of it... A new study sheds light on how viruses and other malware are most commonly spread in today's Internet environment. Read on for details...

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Lab Tests Reveal Top AntiVirus Programs

Have you been using the wrong antivirus program for the past year? Now is your chance to kick yourself and mend the error. The authorities on antivirus testing and rating have released their lists of the best-performing antivirus programs. Here's the scoop:

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Do You Need Mobile Security Protection?

A reader asks: 'I am seeing more about viruses and malware on mobile devices. My wife has an iPad and I have an Android smartphone. Should we be concerned enough to look into anti-virus or other security software for these gadgets? Or is it all hype at this point?' Read on for my opinion of mobile security software...

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SECURITY ALERT: Universal Plug and Play Vulnerability

Security research firm Rapid7 has identified a serious vulnerability in networking software known as Universal Plug and Play (UPnP). This UPnP component is installed in almost every network router, and is present in the Windows and Mac OS X operating systems. If your router or computer is exposed, you MUST take action to avoid the possibility of hacker attacks. Here's what you need to know, in simple terms...

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Is Your Password Strong Enough?

You wouldn't lock up your car and leave the key in the door as you walked away. But many people do essentially the same thing when they create weak passwords for their online accounts. Don't make it easy for hackers to plunder your bank account or go on an online spending spree with your credit card. Here are some tips to help you create and manage passwords...

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Is Java Safe and Do I Need It?

A reader asks: 'I've been seeing warnings lately that Java has a security flaw, and everyone should remove it. I'm not even sure what Java is. What is Java? Is Java safe? Should I disable or uninstall it?' Read on to find out...

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Which AntiVirus Has the Best (and Worst) Protection?

Internet security suites have become exceedingly complex over recent years. That’s partly due to the ever-increasing number of vectors via which hackers and malware attack. It’s also due to feature-bloat, as anti-virus vendors add new bells and whistles to differentiate their products. But one bedrock feature of a security suite remains the same: how well does it detect virus-infected files? Here are some real-world test results you won't want to miss...

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The Five Most Common Internet Security Mistakes

A reader says: 'I have anti-virus protection but somehow I got a virus anyway. How did this happen?' That's hard to say without knowing more, but chances are, this person made one of the five Internet security mistakes on my list. Any one of them can lead to malware infection or even identity theft. Are YOU vulnerable? See the list now...

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Seven More Free Antivirus Programs

We can never have too many options when it comes to antivirus protection. Right? If you're still using Norton, McAfee or some other expensive Internet security software, you owe it to yourself to check out these free alternatives. Read on to see my list, and some tips on choosing antivirus protection...

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Will Your AntiVirus Program Protect You?

A reader asks: 'Recently I got a virus, even though I have an updated version of Norton Security. Have we gotten to the point where one Internet security tool is no longer sufficient? What do you suggest as the best strategy to protect against viruses, spyware and other Internet threats?'

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Are Digital Signatures Secure and Legal?

Your handwritten signature is a legal instrument that verifies the authenticity of a document, or your agreement to the terms of a contract. Historically, signatures have been affixed to a piece of paper, a bit of tree bark, a clay tablet, or some other tangible object. Read on to learn how you can securely sign documents in a paperless, digital world...

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The Most Dangerous Person on the Internet?

Every year, security software vendor McAfee publishes a list of the 'most dangerous celebrities.' It has nothing to do with how many times they've been in rehab, or how 'bad' their screen persona may be. It's their popularity that induces cyber-criminals to create malicious websites. Here's what you need to know before you head off to your favorite search tool...

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Review: Kaspersky Labs Internet Security 2013

Kaspersky Labs Internet Security 2013 adds two new features of note: better protection for your online financial transactions, and a new exploit blocking engine to guard against phishing and other attacks. Learn more about these and other security features in the latest release from Kaspersky Labs...

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Defeat the Google Redirect Virus

A reader asks: Every time I search on Google and click one of the results, my web browser gets hijacked. I think I have a virus, but I can't even search for help on Google! Do you know about this, and is there a free tool I can use to fix the problem?

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AVG Threat Report: Are YOU Vulnerable?

The AVG Technologies Q2 2012 Community Powered Threat Report is out, giving us new insights into the tactics of hackers, scammers, and malware distributors. It contains some interesting milestones, trends, and facts you should keep in mind. Here are some of the highlights of the AVG Threat Report...

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Warning: Skype Urgent Online Repair Scam

I just got a phone call on my Skype number which was very strange. It looked like a virus warning, and the caller’s name was 'SYSTEM NOTICE - URGENT ONLINE REPAIR'. I assume this is bogus... right?

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Hey, Is This Your Password?

According to a study that was just released, there's a 40 percent chance that any hacker could guess your password without breaking a sweat. Read on to find out if you're using one of the 25 most common (and easily guessed) passwords, and how to create strong, secure passwords that can't be hacked...

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Can QR Codes Spread Computer Viruses?

Any doubts I may have had about the viability of QR codes have evaporated. You know a new technology is catching on when malware authors start using it to snare unwary users. Read on to learn how those funny black squares can carry a nasty (and expensive) payload...

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Alert: Malware on the Rise

Malware developers have been working overtime, according to a recent McAfee Labs Threats Report. The security firm found over 8 million new species of malware in the first quarter of 2012, and the problem is by no means limited to desktop PC users. Mac OS X and smartphone users need to start paying attention to security threats, too...

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Will Microsoft Security Essentials Take Over the World?

Microsoft recently released Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) 4.0, their free antivirus software. And according to a recent market analysis, MSE is on the verge of becoming the number one antivirus product. Find out what's new in the most recent MSE 4.0 release, and if it's the right internet security solution for you...

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Warning: You Could Lose Your Internet Access!

Several hundred thousand computers (both PC and Mac) may soon lose access to the Internet, if they're not cleansed of a malware infection known as DNSChanger. The FBI has kept these infected machines alive since last November, but this life-support system will be unplugged soon. Here's the story and how you can avoid this potential catastrophe...

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WPS Security Flaw: Are You Vulnerable?

Last summer I wrote about a family in Minnesota that was terrorized by a neighbor who had hacked into their wifi. Fortunately, that guy is spending the next 18 years in prison, but there's a newly discovered wifi security threat that may affect you. If your wireless router uses the WPS security method, you could be affected. Is your home or office computer at risk? Read on to find out...

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The Missing Link in Computer Security

Is your computer really secure? If you have antivirus software, malware scanners and a firewall, you might think you're safe from hackers, crackers and identity thieves. But chances are, you're missing one critical piece of the security puzzle. Read on to learn how to secure your software and truly lock down your computer...

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Wifi Sidejacking: Are You Vulnerable?

A Firefox add-on named Firesheep ignited a firestorm of controversy when it was released in October 2010. Firesheep demonstrated a hacking technique known as sidejacking, or wifi session hijacking. Sidejacking is not a form of malware, so your anti-virus software can't protect you. But if you're aware of the problem, and you know what extra steps you should take when using wifi, you needn't worry. Read on and learn how to protect yourself from sidejacking when using a wifi connection...

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Make Your Computer Indestructible With Deep Freeze

According to Faronics, their Deep Freeze software can make your computer indestructible. It does this by 'freezing' your software and settings, so your PC or Mac computer can be returned to a pristine state every time you start it up. Let's take a look at how Deep Freeze works, and find out if it's a good solution for you...

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Warning, Danger: Botnets!

I've read warnings about my computer getting caught up in a botnet, but I don't really understand the danger. Can you explain in simple terms what a botnet is, how it would affect my computer, and how to avoid them?

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Do Hackers and Spammers Get Away With It?

It may seem that the bad guys have free rein on the Internet. The flood of spam never seems to slow, and everyone knows someone who was hacked recently. Identity theft is rampant, and phishing scams continue, despite all the attention focused on this problem. Why can't the cops put these cyber criminals out of business once and for all?

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Sync Your Passwords on Windows, Mac and Smartphones

How can I store and sync my passwords, so they will be available to me everywhere? I've got a PC and a Mac in my home, and I carry a laptop and smartphone as well. Is there a single password manager that will sync across all my desktops, browsers, and mobile devices?

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Ten Steps to Securing Your New PC

I just bought a new computer, and I want to make sure I've got all the security bases covered before I go any further. My last computer was ruined by viruses, and I don't want that to happen again. What steps to you recommend to make sure it's as secure as possible?

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Free Firewall Protection

Everyone says that if you have an Internet connection, you should have a firewall. But can I use a free firewall, or should I pay for one of the commercially available firewall packages?

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Beware the Fedex Shipment Notification Scam

Recently, I received an email, apparently from Federal Express, advising me that a package I shipped had been delivered. That surprised me, because I didn't recall shipping any packages via FedEx lately. Read on to learn about the package delivery scam, and how to avoid it…

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Do I Still Need Anti-Spyware Protection?

Do we still need both anti-virus and anti-spyware protection? I've always been told that, but I use Norton AntiVirus 2012, which claims to handle viruses, spyware and other threats. Is this sufficient, or should I still download an anti-spyware tool?

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What is Cloud-Based Antivirus?

What is cloud antivirus? I've heard about a new kind of security software that runs in the cloud, instead of on my computer. Can you explain what this means, and if I should consider this as a replacement or addition to my existing anti-virus protection?

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Do You Need a Link Scanner?

Are link scanners effective at detecting malware before you click? I have children in the house, and it seems they will click on almost anything. Please let me know if you think adding a link scanner to my security arsenal be a good move, and if there are any downsides.

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Virus Alert: Fake Anti-Virus and Celebrity Scams

Recently I got a popup warning me that a virus had infected my computer, and I needed to download some antivirus program to get rid of it. I did so, and later discovered it was a very slick FAKE security tool that really messed things up. How can I avoid fake antivirus programs in the future?

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Free Anti-Virus Programs

I've been using the free Norton antivirus package that came with my computer, but the subscription will expire in a few days. Are the free anti-virus programs any good? What do you recommend?

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AVG Internet Security 2012 - Review

The latest version of AVG's anti-virus and internet security software has arrived. And just as in the automobile world, their 2012 release is several months early. But is AVG ahead of their time, or have they ventured too far? Read my review of AVG 2012 to see what's new, and my take on the pros and cons of this release...

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How To Defeat a Keylogger

It's a fact that many malware infections result in a vulnerability to keystroke logging, which can compromise your privacy and lead to identity theft. Learn more about keyloggers, how they work, and how to defend yourself from this growing threat...

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Traditional Anti-Virus May No Longer Protect You

I use Norton Anti-Virus, and am pretty careful about where I go online. But recently I got a virus, apparently just by visiting an infected website. I'm left wondering if I need some other form of protection to supplement or replace my anti-virus software. What do you suggest?

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Personal VPNs for Anonymous Web Surfing

Who is watching when you travel the information highway? Your Internet Service Provider, hackers, even your government could possibly be monitoring your every move and transaction online. Personal VPN services offer a solution...

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How I Got Hacked... And Why You MUST Have a Backup!

Last week I heard from a friend who thought she might have been infected by a virus. When she visited her own website, it was redirecting her to another web address. It sounded like a simple Javascript redirect, so I assumed it would be safe to visit her site and see where the problem was. Turns out that was a BIG mistake! Find out what happened to my computer, and how I finally managed to recover from the damage...

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Do I Really Need a Firewall?

I've heard conflicting reports on whether or not I should be using a firewall. Some people say they are only needed for dialup users. Others say you MUST have a firewall if you have a high-speed DSL or cable connection. Can you give me some advice on this?

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Is Your Operating System Secure?

Is your operating system as secure as you can make it? A lot of people fail to take the simplest step to ensure that they have the best protection against malware and hackers that their Windows operating system can provide. Can you guess what they're missing...?

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Do I REALLY Need Antivirus Software?

I've used antivirus software for years, and it's never found a virus. I get the feeling that it's only slowing down my computer and costing me money, for no apparent benefit. Do I really need antivirus software?

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Is Your Wireless Router REALLY Secure?

A Minnesota couple were terrorized for months by a neighbor who hacked into their WiFi network. They did have a password, and the WiFi connection was encrypted. But their secure router was just an illusion. Find out what critical security mistake they made...

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Why Did My Computer Get a Virus?

For the third time this month, my computer has been infected with a virus. My wife and kids swear they didn't click on anything suspicious. I have anti-virus protection, so how does this happen? Also, any insights for prevention would be appreciated.

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More Paid Antivirus Programs

A number of readers commented on last week's Best Paid Antivirus Programs article. Most of them were saying, in effect, You forgot mine! Any short list of a half-dozen programs is going to leave out some worthy contenders. Here are some readers' favorite paid antivirus programs, and my comments on each...

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Is Your Webcam Spying On You?

Someone may be spying on you via your computer's Web camera. It's an old hacker trick, dating back to the late 1990s. But don't worry, such attacks are relatively rare. Here's how to tell if your webcam is being used by someone else, and security steps to minimize this risk...

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Best Paid Anti-Virus Programs

My computer came with a free trial of the anti-virus software, and now it's nagging me to pay $49 to renew. Should I pay the ransom, or go with a free anti-virus program?

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How Often Should I Change My Password?

A password is like a combination lock on your computer, Internet connection, or an online account such as Facebook or a financial institution. Depending on how careful you are in keeping the password secret, it should prevent unauthorized access indefinitely. But that's not how the real world works. There are many ways a password can fall into the wrong hands...

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What is Microsoft System Sweeper?

Yesterday, a friend told me about Microsoft System Sweeper, and recommended that I download it. I currently have McAfee anti-virus and spyware protection. What exactly does the new System Sweeper tool offer, and do really need it?

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Should Unsafe Users Be Quarantined?

It's illegal to drive an unsafe motor vehicle on public highways. The reason is obvious: a broken-down car poses a danger not only to its driver (and passengers) but also to everyone else it passes on the road. Why shouldn't the same rationale apply to unsafe computers (and their users) on the information highway?

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What To Do When Your AntiVirus Fails

Your trusty antivirus software found a virus on your system, but it can't remove the infection, even after multiple scans, removal attempts, and system restarts. Now what do you do?

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Virus Checker For Downloads

It's good to scan your system for viruses regularly. It's better to use an antivirus program that offers real-time protection by scanning incoming files as you download them. But wouldn't it be best if you could scan a file for viruses before you started downloading it? Several free tools let you do just that...

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Is Your Security Software Working?

You prudently downloaded a comprehensive security suite, installed it, and now your computer is protected from all online threats. Right? How can you know for sure that the security software is working? Here are some tips to test your security software...

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Microsoft Safety Scanner

On April 14, 2011, Microsoft released a free malware detection tool called Microsoft Safety Scanner. It scans your computer for viruses, spyware, rootkits, and other forms of malware. Read on to learn more about the scanner, and if you should be using it...

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Is the Internet Getting Safer?

About 30 per cent of Americans say they sometimes avoid using the Internet for fear of falling victims to identity thieves, scams, computer viruses, and other dangers lurking online. Are they right to be afraid, or has the Internet become safer over time? It's hard to say, but here are some stats to consider, and some tips for staying safe...

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Scammed on Craigslist!

Craigslist, the free local classified ads service, is a popular way to buy, sell, and trade goods or services. It's also used as a dating service, a job-hunting and recruiting tool, and much more. But if you're not careful, you could end up scammed by someone you meet on Craigslist...

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Malicious PDF Files

I got a warning from a co-worker about viruses in PDF files. I always thought that you could only get a virus from a program file, and PDFs are just for viewing. Am I right, or can you really get infected by a malicious PDF file?

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Can a Sandbox Improve Security?

Any time you install and run software from an unknown source, you run the risk of damage to your computer system. Even if the software is not designed to make mischief, there's still a chance that it's vulnerable to exploits that could wreak havoc. Here's how to insulate your software from potential security threats…

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Dump Norton and McAfee Anti-Virus?

I got a new computer and my friend is telling me that the first thing I should do is remove the Norton antivirus software that came with it. He calls it 'bloatware' and recommends some free program instead. I've always used Norton or McAfee for security, so I'm nervous about switching. What is your opinion?

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Top Malware Threats for 2011

The digital ecosphere is evolving at an ever-increasing pace, including the dangerous parts. The year 2011 will see new malware threats and security exploits attacking people in alarming new ways, according to security analysts. Here are some of the depressing statistics and trends to watch out for in 2011…

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Java Security Vulnerabilities

I keep getting warnings on my screen that I need a Java software update, but I'm not sure if this is safe to do, or if I really need it. Will I be more vulnerable to security threats if I keep ignoring these popups?

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Has Your Wireless Router Been Hacked?

Malcolm Riddell was a tech-savvy guy who lived on the 12th floor of a building where most of his neighbors were retired seniors. He figured he didn't need a password on his wireless router. But after an unexpected visit from the FBI, he changed his mind. Here's what you need to know to keep hackers from using your wireless Internet connection...

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Microsoft Security Essentials 2

Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) is a free anti-malware program. It protects against viruses, spyware, rootkits, and even brand-new threats reported in real-time by computers running all over the world. Can MSE replace your existing Internet security software? Take a look at the features in MSE Version 2, and see if it's right for you...

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Wireless Network Security Checklist

I have a wireless router, with several computers and game consoles in my home connected to wifi, but I'm worried about the security of the wireless network. How can I make sure that nobody can secretly access my computers through a wireless connection?

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What is Crimeware?

Imagine if, for only $3000, you could buy the role of a crime lord whose millions of minions obediently and constantly funnel money to you. Now imagine that anyone can. Finally, understand this is not fantasy, and you might become very scared. Learn more about crimeware, and how to protect yourself...

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Remove Phone Listing

I just did a search for my phone number on Google and was shocked at the results that popped up. It showed my full name, street address and a map of my neighborhood with a big arrow pointing to my house! One more click and it showed a satellite photo of my house. I could see the car in the driveway and the dog in the back yard. How can I remove my personal information from Google and other online phone directories?

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Best Internet Filtering Software

There are lots of websites and other things out there on the Internet that you don't want to see. There are many more that you don't want your children to see. If you run a business that used the Internet, there are things you don't want employees to see, or do. What's the best Internet filtering software for your situation?

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Phishing - Are You Protected?

Phishing or phish emails are attempts to trick you into giving sensitive personal information to bad guys who are impersonating someone you trust. A phishing attempt may direct you to respond to it via email, or to a Web site that demands information, or to a phone number that talks you out of your identity. Here's what you need to know about phishing protection...

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Microsoft Security Essentials - Good Enough?

Microsoft Security Essentials is a free anti-malware application first released in June, 2009. It replaces the subscription-based Windows Live OneCare antivirus service and the free Windows Defender, which only protected against spyware and adware. Does this all-in-one security tool provide enough protection? Let's find out...

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Latest Phishing Scams

Phishing is the hacker's sport of fishing for gullible victims who will click on anything, and is an ever-evolving enterprise. The bad guys are constantly coming up with new bait that looks, smells, and tastes almost exactly like the real thing. But if you bite and click on that email or URL, you may get your identity stolen; your computer may be enslaved by a spammer's botnet; or you could download a virus without knowing it. So it's a good idea to be aware of the latest trends in phishing and the most widespread snares.

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Free Online Virus Scanners

Even when you're not looking for an online virus scanner, ads for them appear on many Web sites. Sometimes, a free virus scanner appears to pop up out of nowhere and scares you with a message like Alert! Your PC may be infected! What should you do? Read on...

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MalwareBytes Anti-Malware

I'm the goto geek for my friends, and I just want to mention that MalwareBytes Anti-Malware (MBAM) has helped me on many occasions when other anti-virus and anti-spyware apps failed to prevent or fix a malware problem. You'd be doing your readers a service to recommend this free security tool.

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Digital Signatures

Your handwritten signature is a legal instrument that verifies the authenticity of a document, or your acceptance of and agreement to the terms of a contract. But you need something tangible to write upon, don't you? A signature must be affixed to a piece of paper, a bit of tree bark, a clay tablet, a stone, something you can lay your hands upon. How can you sign something in a paperless, digital world?

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Credit Card Safety Online

It's the age of e-commerce. Millions of people spend billions of dollars online every day. And the usual method of payment is a credit card. Some people hesitate to provide their credit card numbers to e-commerce sites for various reasons. Do these concerns have merit? Is it safe to use credit cards for online purchases? Let's find out...

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Has Your Computer Been Hijacked?

Computer hijacking happens when someone snatches control of your computer and makes it do his evil bidding. This is bad not only for the owner of the computer but also for the millions of Internet users against which the hijacked machine is used. Here's how to defend yourself against computer hijacking...

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Internet Security Suites

I recently got a new computer, and the free trial of McAfee antivirus is about to expire. I've been looking at Internet Security Suites, but there are so many options and features that my head is spinning. What should I look for in an Internet security suite, and which one do you recommend?

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Malicious Software Removal Tool

I already have a firewall, anti-virus, and anti-spyware protection. Do I really need the Malicious Software Removal Tool that Microsoft is recommending for me to download?

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Does PCTools Threatfire Boost Security?

I've seen magazine ads for a security tool called PCTools ThreatFire, but I don't quite understand what it's supposed to do. Will it replace my anti-virus software, or do I need both?

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Windows Password Reset

I changed my Windows login password yesterday, and now I can't remember it! Is there any way to reset the windows password, so I can regain access to my computer?

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Microsoft Security Essentials

I just read something about a new security tool from Microsoft, that's supposed to be better than Windows Defender, which I use now. What is your recommendation?

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Secure Your Software

Is your computer really secure? If you have antivirus software, malware scanners and a firewall, you might think you'e safe from hackers, crackers and identity thieves. But chances are, you're missing one critical piece of the security puzzle. Read on to learn how to secure your software and truly lock down your computer...

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ATM Scams

Automated teller machines (ATMs) have been around for a few decades, and ATM scammers have been on the prowl for almost as long. Today most people use ATMs to do at least some of their banking, leaving millions of people and millions of dollars at risk. Learn more about ATM scams and how to protect yourself...

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Securing Your Router

Your router is the box that feeds your high-speed internet connection into your computer. But is it also an open door to hackers, crackers and wifi moochers? Learn how to secure your router…

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Free AntiSpyware Programs

Everyone seems to recommend a different free antispyware program. Which is the best for protecting me against spyware?

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What is Scareware?

I've heard of software, shareware, freeware and malware. And I think I know what all those things are. But what exactly is scareware?

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Phishing Scams

I got a note from my bank about phishing scams, but I'm still not sure what it means. Can you explain in simple terms what phishing is all about?

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Avira Free Anti-Virus

I'm confused by all the free antivirus products. I've read in some forums that Avira is the best, others claim that AVG or Avast is definitely the way to go. Which one do you recommend?

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Avast Free Anti-Virus

It seems there are lots of choices for a free anti-virus program. My neighbor swears by Avast! Anti-Virus and says it's better than Avira, which I currently use. Is Avast! worth looking into, or are they all pretty much the same?

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Internet Security Cameras

I have someone in my home during the day to clean and do childcare. Can I install a wireless security camera that can be monitored over the internet? I'd like to be able to look in during the day from my office computer. If so, how expensive are internet security cameras, and what features do you recommend?

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Malware Scanners

There are so many malware scanners to choose from, when trying to protect against adware, spyware and other online threats. Which one(s) do you recommend?

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AVG Review

Is your computer safe from viruses? Without the proper protection, your computer can catch a virus faster than you can recite your email address three times. Viruses can destroy files, compromise your privacy, and make you vulnerable to identity theft. What to do?

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What is a Botnet?

I've read warnings about getting caught up in a botnet, but I still don't understand the danger. Can you explain in simple terms what a botnet is, and how to avoid them?

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Password Protection for Windows XP

How can I password protect a file on my Windows XP system? I want to add a password so that nobody can open the file without knowing the password. I tried the Sharing and Security option, but there was no place to enter a password. There must be a way...

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Remembering Passwords

Passwords... we have a love/hate relationship with them. We love them because they are the first line of defense against fraud and identity theft. They protect the security of our email account, online banking and credit card purchases. We hate them because as we use passwords for almost every important activity on the internet, it becomes nearly impossible to remember all the usernames and the passwords that we have created. Fortunately there are tools to make the job easier...

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Is Firefox More Secure?

Is Firefox more secure than Internet Explorer? Perhaps, for now, but they seem to be catching up in terms of the numbers of critical flaws discovered. And if you're running Windows Vista, the Firefox security problem gets worse...

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Hide Your SSID?

I have a wireless network at home, which lets me get an internet connection on my laptop all over the house. But I'm concerned that neighbors or people driving by can hack into my computer. A friend said that hiding my SSID will solve the problem. What's a wireless SSID, how do I hide it, and will it help?

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Too Many Spyware Scanners?

I downloaded a spyware scanner, which detected many problems. I then had to pay for the software to fix all the problems, which I did. But... since then my computer crashes often and I cannot get into some web sites. I use Windows XP/SP2, Norton AV 2006, Pest Patol, A2Square, Spyweeper, Spybot, Ad-Aware SE, and others. What should I do?

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Spyware or Virus?

I had an anti virus program by McAfee but uninstalled because it was bogging my computer down. I now have anti spyware software, so do I still need to get an anti virus program? What is the difference between viruses and spyware? To me they seem very similar...

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Secure Your Computer!

Cyberspace malefactors are enslaving millions of unsecured computers into zombie networks that are responsible for spewing out mountains of spam and attacking legitimate websites that oppose the spammers. Is your PC part of the problem? Find out now...

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What is LSASS?

When I run Task Manager, I see a process named lsass.exe that is active. I'm worried that this might be a virus... should I get rid of it?

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Identity Theft

Remember that 1995 movie The Net, starring Sandra Bullock? Okay, I didn't see it either. Somehow I couldn't imagine Sandra as a software engineer after watching her in While You Were Sleeping. But I digress... the movie was a story about a growing problem today -- identity theft. Read on to learn how it happens, and try my 12-step program to protect yourself.

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Wireless Security

Is it safe to use wireless Internet access in my home? I've heard that neighbors or even people driving by can tap in to my wireless signal. There must be a way to do it safely, since it's so common these days. Got any tips on wireless security?

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Windows XP Security Tips

Some of my geeky friends are telling me that Windows XP is full of security holes, and that I am putting my privacy at risk by going online with a Windows PC. Can you offer some tips to help me lock down my desktop?

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Cannot Access Secure Sites

I have Windows XP SP2, and within the past two weeks I have not been able to get into any secure (https) sites. I can get to the web page, but when I enter my userid and password, it says The page cannot be displayed -- can you help?

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Paypal and Ebay Phishing Scams

I keep getting warnings and alerts from Paypal, eBay, my bank, and various other banks and financial institutions that I don't even have accounts with, all telling me to log in and verify my account information. I've read about something called phishing and am wondering if that's what these messages actually are?

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Is FTP Secure?

I got a warning that FTP was not secure any more and that I should go to WinSCP for a fix. I am not very tech-savvy, so I depend on you to keep my computer healthy. So - is this something I should do? And if you're wondering how an idiot like me can have a website to ftp to, all my younger relatives help me.

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Whois Registry Database

I'm wondering about the possible vulnerability of having your personal information (name, address, phone, and email) visible on the Whois website registrant database. Some companies sell proxy services that shield this information from the public claiming it helps prevent identity theft. Are they just trying to scare people into a sale, or are there legitimate security concerns having your info visible in the database?

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