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  1. #1
    iNET Interactive
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    LANGALIST PLUS

    Beware bogus 'Security Essentials' downloads!


    By Fred Langa

    What's a sure sign of success? If you're a Microsoft product, you become the favorite target of hackers — and the newest mark is Security Essentials.

    Hackers are offering fake copies of the popular security app to snare the unwary — but a few simple steps easily thwart this ploy.

    The full text of this column is posted at WindowsSecrets.com/2010/12/02/05 (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.
    Last edited by Tracey Capen; 2011-01-18 at 14:51.

  2. #2
    Star Lounger E Pericoloso Sporgersi's Avatar
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    Dear Fred,

    I generally agree with your advice in your article "Beware bogus 'Security Essentials' downloads!". But I think that you omitted to mention an invisible trap.

    I've seen so-called pop-ups which in fact were graphics with a link leading to the malicious site. Even the little exit button of the pop-up (the white X on red background) is not really a button, but part of the graphic linking to the malicious site.

    My advice would be: don't touch any part of the pop-up, do NOT click the white-X-on-red-background exit button of the pop-up, but close the browser's tab, or close the browser, or, if either tab or browser refuse to close, ruthlessly kill the browser session completely in Windows' Task Manager.
    Of course the experienced user will totally ignore and avoid clicking such a pop-up and just continue reading the rest of the page.

    What do you think?

    Regards,

    Francis Kennis
    E Pericoloso Sporgersi
    "It is Dangerous to Lean Out! [of Windows]"

  3. #3
    Lounger
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    Hi Fred,

    With regards to changing the Drive Letters on USB disks, in my experience it's not always a failed drive that you have to reassign a drive letter. Windows seems to get confused sometimes if you have a Network drive assigned to what it thinks "should" be the next available driver. As an example, on my work machine I've got:
    • Drive A & B standard floppy assignments (even though I don't have one)
    • Drive C - Hard Drive
    • Drive D: DVD
    • Drive E: External 250GB USB Drive
    • Drive F: Home Directory from my Active Directory domain login

    So when I first went to plug in a Thumb Drive, it never showed up, because Windows for some reason assumed the "F" Drive should be the next available letter, but was really already in use. Once I went into Disk Management (after much thrashing around trying to figure it out!) and assigned it to G: it's worked fine since.

    Mike

  4. #4
    New Lounger
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    Bob Kayes tip didn't work for me. I have a USB drive that Vista on my laptop "sees" but XP on my desktop does not. After reading the tip I plugged the drive into the desktop and got the usual audio "bong" and the usual popup note 'unknown device'. Went through the steps in Control Panel in Bob's tip but alas - no unlabelled USB device in the list of drives.

  5. #5
    2 Star Lounger
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    On a vaguely related topic, in the last month I've received spam emails from 3 friends' accounts (AOL, Hotmail, and Yahoo Mail). In each case, the spam email was sent to their contacts stored online; no Subject: was given; and the body of the message consisted of a single line, a link to an innocuous-looking site. Following the link led to adverts for pharma, etc.

    One friend said the email was sent when he was traveling and his home computer, router, and wifi were all turned off, so it had to originate from his online information. Since the appearance is the same, I tend to think the spammer is the same. But it's odd that they seem to be able to hack 3 different large email servers. Anybody else see this?

  6. #6
    New Lounger
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    Hi Fred,
    The solution provided by Bob Kayhs in the December,2010 Newsletter for assigning, or reassigning drive letters is excellent. I have just used his solution to assign a drive letter to a SeaGate FreeAgent Go drive that my computer would not do on its own. Even the tech support service at Microsoft did not suggest this - in fact, after trying to help me they said my only avenue was to reload the Win7 system and rebuild my drive because I "most likely" was missing critical files - although they could not specify which files might be missing.
    Thanks for an excellent newsletter. I learn a great deal from you guys!!

    Keep up the outstanding work!
    Larry Brazil

    Larry D. Brazil

  7. #7
    New Lounger
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    I have the problem of missing USB drives quite a bit since I change thumbs drives quite often... The disk management console does seem to always find the drive and I can assign it a new letter, but I want to keep my drive letter the same.

    Interesting is that I can shell out to a command prompt and access the drive no problem... it is simply that Explorer can not see the drive!

    Using another file manager shell (e.g. xplorer2 lite) always works though...

  8. #8
    New Lounger
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    Fred, is there an easy way to add the custom search feature to the Firefox browser like you did to IE 7 or 8?

    Dan

  9. #9
    Super Moderator Deadeye81's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by E Pericoloso Sporgersi View Post
    My advice would be: don't touch any part of the pop-up, do NOT click the white-X-on-red-background exit button of the pop-up, but close the browser's tab, or close the browser, or, if either tab or browser refuse to close, ruthlessly kill the browser session completely in Windows' Task Manager.
    Of course the experienced user will totally ignore and avoid clicking such a pop-up and just continue reading the rest of the page.

    Francis Kennis
    Hi Francis,and a hearty welcome to the Lounge to you and all the other first time posters here!

    I second you on your advice. I also follow the same procedure you outlined. I have had to clean two machines where clients have clicked on the white-X-on-red block, and found themselves infected as a result. I have since alerted everyone in my area to close their browser, or if not possible to do so, kill the browser session in Task Manager. My wife had one of those pop up one day, and she remembered to stop immediately, pull up Task Manager and kill the session. I she remembered what to do, as many times her eyes glaze over when I talk computers.
    Deadeye81

    "We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give." Sir Winston Churchill

  10. #10
    5 Star Lounger
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    Hi Fred,

    You've shattered my illusions. I have always imagined that you technical guys would not have time to research individual problems and answered from your deep technical knowledge.

    It's kind of disappointing to discover that you sometimes have to look things up.

  11. #11
    New Lounger
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    Hello, Fred
    I really like your columns. Another word on the USB drive issue. I have found numerous times that the USB drive would have received a drive letter but because of printers containing the card slots for different media cards has taken numerous drive letters. I have seen a printer card slot have as many as 5 or 6 drive letters. Why windows doesn't just assign the next letter available is beyond me, but along with the drive management trick which I have used and is almost always successful I just manually add the next drive letter listed. This happens sometimes on a domain when F:\ is used to map a server share the USB tries for that letter and subsequently ends up with the same drive letter as the mapped share (in fact when you click on the mapped share you see the USB drive's contents and no longer can access the server share. I just applied the same solution and presto The USB drive is visible and the share is back to it's F:\ drive letter.

    Jeffrey Flory
    Best regards,
    FloryJ

    "We are ready for an unforeseen event that may or may not occur."

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