Jul 152012

You should temporarily turn off your antivirus software when you are installing new software.  Especially printer software.  If you don’t, you may end up with a corrupt installation.  Sometime it won’t tell you it’s a bad installation, it just won’t work correctly.

Be sure to turn the antivirus software back on when the installation is complete.

And ALWAYS set a password on your antivirus software, something a bit more secure than “password” or the like.  Many types of malware are counting on an easy—or no—password so that they can turn off your antivirus program to escape detection.

Mar 112012

Sometimes all you have to do is open an e-mail and malware is deployed.  Many times clicking a link in a spam message will cause malware to be downloaded to your computer.

You can stay ahead of the curve by checking the message header before you open an e-mail.

Message headers is information that travels with an e-mail and is chock full of information about where an e-mail came from. It doesn’t take long to zero in on the key information.  The Reply To field (if you clicked reply) is often a dead giveaway.  Looking at the routing information is another.

Previous versions of Outlook had a really handy tool to help you look at the message headers by selecting a message, right-clicking, and selecting Options from the contextual dropdown menu.  In Outlook 2010, Message Options are still there, you just have to create a shortcut manually.

Here’s how:

  1. Go to the File Menu
  2. Select Options.  This brings up the Outlook Options dialog box.
  3. Click on the Quick Access Toolbar (that’s where we will put the Message Options icon)
  4. In the Choose Commands From dropdown, select Commands Not in the Ribbon
  5. Scroll down to Message Options and select it
  6. Press the Add button.  Message Options will now appear in the Customize Quick Access Toolbar side.
  7. Click OK.

You will see the new Message Options icon in your Quick Access toolbar that appears at the top of Outlook.

Now you can select a message (but don’t open it!) and then click the Message Options icon to see the message headers.

Analysis of a span header will give you an idea of how to interpret the information.  If you are in the United States and see a domain name with a country extension like .cz (Czech Republic) or .ru (Russia), and the company does not have an office there, chances are very high that this is a nasty malware waiting to happen. 

If you have an Exchange Server-based network, ask us about installing a spam firewall.

May 112010

Watch out for those pop-ups and be very careful about the websites you visit.  Despite current patches and anti-virus software, one of our clients got hit with some nasty malware recently.  They did not fully explain, but it could have been accidentally clicking on a pop-up or visiting a website that delivered it unknowingly or deliberately.  Either way, we spent a good bit of time removing it.

The problem is that so many websites deliver ad content dynamically, including pop-ups, and sometimes the servers that deliver that content can be infected either unknowingly or deliberately.  Personally, I run a utility on my computer that blocks all server delivered ad content.  It not only protects me from the drive-by ad content and infection, I find it a lot more pleasurable to view a page with the small word “Advertisement” in place of a big flashing ad. 

The only drawback is that you sometimes receive an error when you click on a “sponsored” link.  That is easily enough bypassed with a management utility or simply copying and pasting the link.

If you are interested in learning more about protecting yourself, please contact us.

Mar 312009

Protecting against this much talked about worm is a multi pronged process.

1.  Make sure your system is fully patched (all of our clients are).

2.  You may want to disable AutoRun.  If you don’t, and you see a selection of Open Folders to View Files Publisher Not Specified do not choose that option.  Disabling AutoRun will not fully protect you against Conficker.

3.  Make sure your antivirus software is completely up to date (again, all of our clients are protected).

4.  Use strong passwords both for any user account and also for any file share in your environment.

A quick way to tell if your computer is infected is to try to access the Web site of a major antivirus vendor, which the worm blocks.

According to Microsoft, computers with the latest security updates, current antivirus software, strong passwords, and secured shares are protected against this worm.

Apr 222008

Various viruses are floating around that purport to be a Microsoft update sent by Microsoft. DO NOT BELIEVE IT! Microsoft does not send updates via e-mail.

Remember, no software company sends patches or updates via e-mail, only notifications that there are patches or updates available.  If you have ANY questions, please call us at 303.290.8888.