Archive for January 2013

Don’t Fall for It! You Know Better!

A very attentive client of mine received the following earlier today in his email…

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Looks like it came from LinkedIn or even Facebook didn’t it?  Well, it came from a bad guy who wants you to click on it so you’ll go to their site located (in this case) in South Korea.

My client followed my guideline of not clicking on links or opening attachments because even though it LOOKED like it came from a legitimate source, he wasn’t expecting it.

This is just a good opportunity to remind you to NEVER click on links or open attachments in email unless you know who it’s from AND you’re expecting it.  Clicking on it would likely get your computer infected, THEN you’d be calling me to fix it.

As Usual, Gov’t is Late to the Party – Remove Java

https://twimg0-a.akamaihd.net/profile_images/936215926/dhs-twitter-300.jpghttp://docs.oracle.com/javase/6/docs/technotes/guides/deployment/deployment-guide/upgrade-guide/images/java_logo.gifFor a couple of months I’ve been recommending to my clients to remove Java if they don’t have a need for it.  Now, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is advising people to “temporarily” disable Java on their computers.  Ignore the “temporary” and “disable”, just permanently remove it.

Don’t confuse Java with JavaScript (a common mistake.)  JavaScript is just a programming language used on the web to automate features on a page.  For example, go to Travelocity.com and click in the box where you select the date you want to travel.  A calendar will pop up where you can click on your travel dates – JavaScript makes that possible.

Java is a platform that runs on Windows, Macs and Linux.  If you’re a programmer and you write your program in Java, then you only have to write it once and it will run on all three systems, rather than having to write three different versions unique to each operating system.  So it can be convenient for the programmer, but there’s a downside – Java is horribly flawed.

New problems in Java are found on almost a weekly basis, meaning constant updates to patch the problems.  Of course as soon as the problem is discovered, bad guys start taking advantage of the flaws and wait for people to visit a site they have compromised.  People who HAVEN’T patched their computer have an open “back door” that the bad guys can use to get into their systems – and that’s where the problem lies.

The Associated Press reported it as “Experts believe hackers have found a flaw in Java’s coding that creates an opening for criminal activity and other high-tech mischief.”  Well duh!!!!  Experts also now believe the Earth is round.

Very few programs run on Java, and you probably don’t need it.  The easiest way to find out is simply to remove Java completely on your system.  Go to your Control Panel, in XP its “Add/Remove Programs” and for Vista/Windows 7 and Windows 8 its “Programs and Features.”  Find Java there and uninstall it. 

If a program needs Java, it will tell you when you try to run the program.  Then you can go out to Java.com and download the latest version and you’re back up and running. 

Internet Explorer Versions 6,7,&8 Have Major Flaw

imageA flaw in older versions of Internet Explorer has been found and is NOW being exploited on the web. If you are running Windows XP, then you absolutely are vulnerable because version 8 of Internet Explorer is the latest version available to you.  If you’re running Windows Vista or Windows 7, then hopefully you’re running version 9 and you’re safe.  If you have a new computer running Windows 8 then you’re safe with version 10.

The flaw can allow a bad guy to run programs (in other words, viruses) on your computer simply by visiting a web page they have compromised.

Microsoft may not be able to produce an actual patch for this issue before next Tuesday’s monthly publishing of Windows patches.  They have however put together a temporary fix that will protect you until a permanent patch is pushed out.

To get the fix, get the file at http://goo.gl/SJTjR.  This will launch the MicrosoftFixit50971.msi file.  Save it and run it on your computer.

If you have trouble getting it installed, then you should use a different browser such as Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome until Microsoft pushes a fix later this month or next month.

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