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|Every user of every
version of Windows knows that he MUST have his anti-virus and
anti-spy-ware software in place and up to date. But that's not all
there is to it. With Vista and later versions, it's also very important
to ONLY use a Standard-type account when connected to the Internet.
This lets Windows deal with programs that try to sneak in from behind
the scenes to make changes to the system-- changes that would otherwise
be invisible to the user who is using an Administrator-type account.
And there's more to it than that- you must also be generally aware.
Many attacks use a trick of their trade known as 'social engineering,'
the psychological manipulation of people into installing spy-ware or
divulging important information. Here follow a few newsworthy topics on
computer security with links gleaned recently from the Internet. Some
of these stories are about anti-virus tools, and some tell about
attacks. Some include descriptions of social engineering.
The Windows 8 Windows
Microsoft Security Essentials, the anti-virus, anti-spy-ware program
that has been recommended for use in Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7,
is alive and well in Windows 8. It has a new old name: Windows
Defender. Why Microsoft chose this, the name of its older anti-spy-ware
program that is included with Windows Vista and Windows 7, is
incomprehensible. To further muck things, the little green tent icon
familiar to Security Essentials users has been dropped and Windows
Defenders users need to pay attention instead the Action Center icon, a
little white pennant that changes to notify the user of issues with
Windows Defender as well as with Firewall and other security things.
For a brief discussion of this change, see:
Intel to drop McAfee name
from AV in favor of 'Intel Security'
When you buy a new computer these days you likely won't see McAfee
Anti-Virus listed among your Programs. Intel Corporation, the
chip-maker, has taken over the program and has decided to use the name
Intel Security instead. You can read a discussion about this here:
Careto: a “Very
There is a new suite of tools for evildoers that can be used for
compromising computers and mining the data on them. It looks as though
it has been devised by very astute programmers. Here are two links you
can use to check it out:
SmartScreen Filter is designed to help warn you about unsafe websites
that are impersonating trusted websites (phishing) or contain threats
to your computer. If you leave the SmartScreen filter on, it checks the
address of the web page you are visiting against a list of high-traffic
web page addresses stored on your computer that are believed by
Microsoft to be legitimate. Addresses that are not on the local list
and the addresses of files you are downloading will be sent immediately
and automatically to Microsoft, and there checked against a frequently
updated list of web pages and downloads that have been reported to
Microsoft as unsafe or suspicious. You might also choose to use
SmartScreen Filter manually to verify individual sites with Microsoft.
Additionally, if you download or run a program from the Internet, it
will check the program against a list of commonly downloaded and known
unsafe programs to help protect you from running those deemed unsafe.
Here's Wikipedia's short article about Smartscreen Filter:
How Prepared is the Oil
Industry for a Cyberwar?
The next major conflict, if there is ever going to be one, will likely
be very different from all past conventional wars we have seen so far,
in that it will involve cyber warfare and cyber terrorism. The damage
caused by computer hacks can be bad, though not as horrible as a real
war. Read about it on oilprice.com's news blog:
Suspicion Falls on Russia
as ‘Snake’ Cyberattacks Target Ukraine’s Government
Here's a New York Times article about Ukraine, where cyber war is
preceding possible real war between Russia and that free state:
A 'Gift' for Apple's
Valued Customers (and one other scam)
Here are two articles about phishing scams. These are directed at users
of Apple computers and Facebook. Read and learn how the phishers
March 10, 2014