Quick Bytes News – September 2015

Welcome to the post holiday (where did it go so fast) edition of QBN which is published in this new online blog format. I hope that you like it.

This edition covers topic’s that highlight the received wisdom of IT guru’s ‘out in the wild’.
They say that to keep ourselves from having slowed down PC’s that may either betray us financially or drive us into accepting the Windows 10 hazard we need to pay close attention.
I for one am listening!

You may have become of an opinion that I am not as enthusiastic about computers as some. This is understandable because I am very aware of our common vulnerability online these days. We need to be online  now because it is no longer an accessory to our lives, it has become a necessity!
And stories like those below show that its not only malware and virus writers who wish to invade our online experience.

Its some Manufacturers as well so I am wondering what the differences are between them these days!

Is Windows 10 – Is knocking at your door with added determination!

We all have seen how the new white logo of Microsoft has appeared in our system trays over the past few months, and have realised that this heralded the arrival of Windows 10.
We have seen it make pop ups from time trying to ‘enhance our online & PC lives’ by constantly offering Windows 10 to us for ‘free’ (nothing truly is I hear you mutter).

Well it has now been revealed by those who watch the horizons for hazards, that the kindly intended little people from Microsoft have been ignoring our ‘No Thanks’ replies to their Windows 10 offering and have been secretly downloading it onto our PC’s behind our backs!

If like me you are concerned that this has used up 3.5Gigabytes of your hard drive space and that it has slowed down your broadband as well as using up any quota that your ISP allocates, then you are in the same mind frame as I. You might use the next few minutes to have a cuppa,  absorb this information, rage and determine to change things to how YOU, not they would like it to be.
We are the customers of Microsoft, right?
We pay for their products which has made them what they are now – dominant, huge and uncaring!

There are ways we can deal with this;

1) Uninstall the following ‘Updates’ from your Control Panel – Installed Updates page

Windows 7 – KB3035583, KB2952664, and KB3021917

Windows 8 –  KB3035583 and KB2976978

2) Restart the PC and then return to the Windows Updates and search for Updates. the removed updates will appear in the list to install. Right click on each and select Hide to keep them out!

3) Delete the following hidden folders from your C:\ root of your hard drive

$Windows.~BT,  $Windows and ~WS. These are hidden folders. Make sure Windows is set to show hidden files if the folders aren’t visible. The best way to remove them and regain disk space is by using the built in Disk Cleanup tool.

There! – Job done and so now you remove the risk that one day when your not quite on the ball you accidentally click a ‘Yes’ button that popped up when you were already busy and end up with an unreliable new O.S.

Keeping ‘Them’ Out by Protecting your Browser

These days things have become different to the old days when a ‘nasty’ of some type got in by a downloaded file, USB copied file or CD/DVD file.
These days its the browser that is the most likely way to acquire a problem and without downloading anything.

Your PC, Mac or even Linux PC can be infected by malicious code squirted in when you click on a malicious advert or a compromised website of which there appear to be many out there. those impacting ads that set out to shock, titillate or amaze are particularly dangerous.
Its common practice these days for legitimate websites to carry adverts from third party sources to increase their revenues but because these come from third parties they are not vetted by the website creators/editors themselves. This means that standards of security are being threatened with dilution every time another ‘party’ is added to the chain. The more links in a chain the weaker it can become, especially if the ‘chain vendor’ sub contracts out the link making to others who’s standards may be weaker.

So what can you do to protect yourself, now that the web has become so important to many of us?

a)  Firstly you need to get rid of all those toolbars in your browser(s). You don’t need most, if any! Some have crept in and others came in bundled up in ‘freeware’. Try uninstalling them in Control Panel – Programs.

b)  Next check inside your browser(s) for any left over add-ons and remove them as well, less is more security!
c)  Next make sure your browser(s) are all updated to the newest (most secure) versions.

d)  Harden your browser(s) with free tools like NoScript, Ghostery, AdBlock Plus and most importantly, Malwarebytes Anti Exploit. (free). Please remember to check occasionally that these tools are also up to date.

e)  If your bank enthuses for you to use a security software (such as Trusteer Rapport) when connecting to their online banking then do use it! But only take advice on that from the banks own website itself or their own printed literature. Never follow instructions from an unsolicited email or phone caller purporting to be from your bank!

Quick Bytes – The Crumbs

Microsoft and the UEFI story – a warning!
Does your PC have this file on it at C:\Windows\system32\wpbbin.exe. ?
If so you might need to read another Microsoft – Horror Story

SCAM Alert – Starbucks
Out in the wild is a fake Starbucks Survey offering goodies for those who fill it in. Don’t its another scam and you will need another type of drink if you get scammed by it.

Naturally I will be very happy to help with any tasks mentioned above for you, perhaps as part of a general clean up / service of your PC or laptop.

Please give me a call (or text) on 0757 900 1747, or email – pct@phonecoop.coop

Greg Dance

PC Techniques