Top Story

SiteAdvisor ratings may be 1 year out-of-date

The free SiteAdvisor browser add-in claims to protect you by labeling Web sites green, yellow, or red to indicate that they are safe, questionable, or dangerous.

But a good or bad SiteAdvisor rating can persist for as long as a year after the site’s content has changed, raising serious questions about the service’s usefulness.

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Microsoft blinks, and users of Windows 7 UAC win

In my Feb. 5
I took Microsoft to task for allowing any Trojan horse to silently disable the protection provided by User Account Control (UAC) in the soon-to-be-released Windows 7.

Microsoft execs initially implied that this problem wouldn’t be fixed, but the company abruptly changed its tune and now states that UAC will be protected from sneaky changes. Bravo!

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Watch a live video, share your PC with CNN

Many people who watched live streaming video of the inauguration of U.S. President Barack Obama on Jan. 20 may not realize that their PC was used to send the video to other PCs, too.

Clicking “yes” to a dialog box installed a peer-to-peer (P2P) application that uses your Internet bandwidth rather than CNN’s to send live video to other viewers.

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Keep the latest worm infestation off your PC

It’s been a hellacious week for security admins all over the world: the polymorphic worm known as Downadup, Conficker, and Kido has infected millions of computers.

Fortunately, you can scan, scour, and secure your systems by following four relatively simple steps.

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Has your PC become a spammer’s botnet zombie?

Worldwide spam traffic dramatically dropped after a major spam server was temporarily shut down last fall, raising public awareness of botnets: networks of PCs that have been turned into spam-spewing robots.

Most antivirus applications are ill-equipped to stop this kind of malware, but you can reduce the risk of having your PC become zombified.

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XP deadline extended toward launch of Windows 7

Microsoft has acknowledged that it will allow system builders to pay for installed copies of XP through May 30, rather than shutting down the pipeline this month.

If you order from your preferred vendor by Jan. 31, you may be able to rely on XP for new systems almost right up until the long-awaited Windows 7 ships, an event that’s expected to occur within a few months.

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Access more memory, even on a 32-bit system

No matter how much memory you have in your PC, you may not be getting the most out of your installed RAM.

A few little-known system tweaks can improve the way Windows manages memory, freeing up more RAM for your applications.

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Microsoft patches IE, but Firefox is still safer

Microsoft recently announced that a special, out-of-cycle patch would be released on Dec. 17 for Internet Explorer’s latest security vulnerability, the so-called XML exploit.

If you’d like to avoid similar weaknesses that are certain to be discovered in IE in the future, the simple solution is to use a different browser, such as Firefox, with a few easy customizations that allow you to switch to Microsoft’s browser only for sites that absolutely require IE.

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Microsoft DHCP bugs make Windows lose networking

Numerous perplexed Windows users have discovered that attempting to connect their PCs (especially Vista) to their existing networks or Wi-Fi hotspots results in flaky or nonexistent connections.

One reason: a change by Microsoft in Vista’s Dynamic Host Control Protocol (DHCP) is causing conflicts with some networking hardware, which can require a Registry edit to fix.

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XP Service Pack 3 blocks .NET security patches

Installing SP3 on Windows XP eliminates the operating system’s ability to install important security patches for Microsoft’s .NET technology and possibly other software.

This problem forces XP SP3 users to apply patches manually to complete vital updates.

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