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Flu season

Make Your Computer Run Brand New Again

Don't Let This Bug You

They say that computer users belong to a group known as procrastinators when it comes to maintenance. I confess I sometimes fall into this group too often and get reminded its time when someone cries out their “computer is so slow”.

In the old days of computing we had to manually clean out files and programs on our computers. This is when we had to know what we were doing. Cottage industries quickly grew in popularity, taking on the task of cleaning up computers. These businesses still flourish today. However, you can easily avoid the high costs of sending your computer in for repair by doing it the easy way: Do it yourself.

For some fun I called a local computer repair business to find out what it would cost to clean up my very slow computer. I don’t have a slow computer, I was curious on some pricing. I know it would be costly but I was not ready for the price of $101.70 for virus removal, of which they would not guarantee to get all the viruses or spyware. They suggested spending $113.00 for a complete format of my hard drive, meaning it would wipe everything from my computer and I would lose all the data. Wow!

What is a person to do?

My advice is to NOT pay these high costs when you can very easily do the same work yourself with a few clicks with a mouse? Want to learn more? Read on…

There are usually three issues that can slow down your computer.

  1. Malware and Spyware: Spyware and Malware software “programs can collect various types of personal information” (wikipedia.org) and redirect you to unsafe websites while on the Internet. It gets worse in that “Spyware is known to change computer settings, resulting in slow connection speeds, different home pages, and/or loss of Internet connection or functionality of other programs.” Here is a free program you should download and run:
    http://superantispyware.com
  2. Wasted Hard Drive Space: More than likely your computer is clogged up with junk files, unused useless files, traces of your Internet searches and other data that puts your registry out of sync. In the past, a highly trained technician was the only one to repair this section of your computer. Now the same task can be easily performed by you, and done extremely fast. The program to download for free is called CCleaner found at http://www.piriform.com/. You will note that more than 600 million people have already downloaded this program and it comes highly recommended for computer maintenance.
  3. Slow Starting Computer:I have worked on computers that are so slow starting up I didn’t think the machines was even going to run at all. Some didn’t. Those that were so slow starting were terribly slow running and some people said they could put a load of laundry in while waiting for the computer programs to appear.The problem could very well be that there are too many programs on your computer fighting for startup at the same time. Everything on your computer wants to begin running at the same time and that makes for a very slow computer. Why would you have a full blown office program starting up when you are not going to use it right away? What to do, you ask?

    CCleaner does a fast and amazing job of cleaning “up your Taskbar, ActiveX, Brower and Startup programs. WinPatrol monitors and exposes adware, keyloggers, spyware, worms, cookies, and other malicious software (cnet.com).”  A real benefit of this program also is that it keeps a watchful eye for you as it takes “a snapshot of your critical system resources, then alerting you to any changes that occur without your knowledge.” This is a good way to know if the bad guys have tried to enter your computer without your knowledge.

If your computer is still running strange, then you should consider formatting your hard drive, which means a reinstall of your operating system. Here are some websites that will help you:

Windows XP:    http://bit.ly/lhPy7g
Windows Vista: http://bit.ly/kagWR9

Windows 7:       http://bit.ly/ivEwt4

Good luck and I hope the first three items work well for you and no further work is required. Email me and let me know how you make out.

Gregory can be reached at: gregory@alternatecloud.com

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MAC Users Should Protect With Software and Common Sense

There is a lot of hype in the media today about a security issue for Macs. In Krebs’ blog KREBSONSECURITY he wrote a blog entitled: “Weyland-Yutani Crime Kit Targetss Macs for Bots“. In this blog Krebs clearly pointed out that users are responsible and must maintain common sense while online and using a computer, be it Mac, PC or even Linux.

The media has hyped this issue up because it could involve Mac users. Krebs tells us that “A new crimeware kit for sale on the criminal underground makes it a simple point-and-click exercise to develop malicious software designed to turn Mac OSXcomputers into remotely controllable zombie bots. According to the vendor of this kit, it is somewhat interchangeable with existing crimeware kits made to attack Windows-based PCs.”

Apple news site offers this resolve:

What does this mean for normal Mac users? For the moment, only that you really do want to stay up to date with security updates to Mac OS X and Web browsers. If Weyland-Yutani were to become popular with criminals, the anti-malware market on the Mac would certainly heat up.

But for the moment, just be sure to install security updates, be careful opening email attachments that could contain code, and stay away from dodgy Web sites pushing pirated software, gambling, and porn. Oh, and keep reading TidBITS for news of changes in the security landscape. In other words, use your common sense, since the Internet simply isn’t an entirely safe place and hasn’t been for years.

Any Mac user who takes their computers seriously have read Apple’s advice on Security that is posted near the bottom of the Apple website:

Mac OS X – Security – Keeps safe from viruses and malware

The built-in defenses in Mac OS X help keep you safe from viruses and malware without the hassle of constant alerts and sweeps.

http://www.apple.com/macosx/security/

Security Advice

The Mac is designed with built-in technologies that provide protection against malicious software and security threats right out of the box. However, since no system can be 100 percent immune from every threat, antivirus software may offer additional protection.

and…

Here are some other ways to help keep your information as safe as possible:

  • Download files only from known and trusted websites.
  • Use FileVault to encrypt your most important documents.
  • Control access to your Mac by locking your screen after a period of inactivity.
  • Securely delete outdated sensitive files with the Secure Empty Trash command.
As a Lambton College Mac computer instructor I advise my students to download and use a copy of iAntivirus and ClamAV

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Probably the Best Free Security List in the World

Free Security Scan

CLICK HERE FOR A FREE SCAN
Trend Micro security systems offers a free online “house-call” to do a check-up on your computer against the bad things in Cyberspace.

HouseCall is Trend Micro’s highly popular and capable on-demand scanner for identifying and removing viruses, Trojans, worms, unwanted browser plugins, and other malware. (Trend Micro).”

This information is recommended by Ira Wilsker, a Police Officer who does work for the FBI Cybercrimes, a Professor in Texas and has his own Tech Radio show. He is also an adviser for APCUG

HOW TO GET THE: CLICK HERE

Best Free Security List in the World

How can I prevent spyware on my computer ?

The Bad Guys Spyware and Malware

From ThePickey.com:

Over time Spyware can build up on your computer, which in turn will slow your PC. Spyware build up on your computer from web browsing or web downloads, which is often difficult to detect. PC users will notice unwanted behavior,slow in system performance, network traffic, failure to boot, unwanted pop-up advertisements, changing configuration of your computer without your knowledge are some of the characters of spyware’s.”

How can I prevent spyware on my computer ?.