The Computer Doctor of Richmond is in the news!

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Our Chief of Computer Medicine was recently interviewed by our local CBS affiliate’s Jake Burns.  Jake wanted to know more about the FBI DNS changer issue that hit the news in a big way.  Doctor Kevin informed Jake and CBS’s viewers that this was not a very big issue for most of the US and that many news outlets made a mountain of a mole hill.

http://wtvr.com/2012/07/09/internet-blackout-begins-are-you-impacted/

The Federal Bureau of Investigation shut down Internet servers that it temporarily set up to support those affected by malicious software, called DNSChanger. Turning off those servers knocked all those still infected offline.

Over the past five years, a group of six Estonian cybercriminals infected about 4 million computers around the world with DNSChanger. The malware redirected infected users’ Web searches to spoofed sites with malicious advertisements.

In November 2011, the FBI and some overseas partners arrested those responsible, commandeered their servers, and attempted to warn those affected to get rid of the virus.

The FBI did not immediately take down the rogue servers, as infected computers would have lost Internet access, an FBI spokesman said.

To remedy the problem, the FBI had the nonprofit Internet Systems Consortium set up temporary servers. That way, computer owners would have time to get rid of their malware.

The servers were supposed to be shut dowan in March, but hundreds of thousands remained infected. Nearly 211,000 computers worldwide (about 42,000 in the United States) still have the virus, according to the FBI’s latest count on Monday. That’s a large number, but it’s a very small subset of the 1.6 billion PCs worldwide, of which an estimated 339 million are in the United States.

Still, the FBI decided to give people even more time to check for the malware, extending the deadline until July. The agency now says the time has come to cut the cord, and the emergency servers were shut down Monday morning.

Though the FBI tried to send notifications to those infected, it could not identify all of them, a spokesman said.

To help the users still infected, the agency laid out a step-by-step plan on how to check to see if your computer has the virus. The quickest way to see if your system is OK is to go to dns-ok.us, a site set up to check for the infection.

How did this all happen?

The servers the cybercriminals set up redirected search traffic to their own rogue servers, bypassing Google, Microsoft’s Bing or other search engines’ servers. Users would be shown fake search results that sent them to spoofed websites with manipulated online ads.

For example, when a user searched for Netflix and clicked on the fake search result, he or she would instead be redirected to an unrelated website called “BudgetMatch.” If a user searched for ESPN and clicked through, DNSChanger would replace Dr. Pepper 10 ads on ESPN’s website with an ad for a timeshare business.

The fraudsters made $14 million through those illegal ads, the FBI said.

The malware also prevented users from updating their operating systems or anti-virus software, which may have detected the virus.

Facebook and Google joined the awareness efforts by alerting users whose devices appear to be infected. Both sites display warnings and provide links to help get rid of the malware.

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™ & © 2012 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

Sometimes free costs more!

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Sometimes you get what you pay for (copyright Mark Weinstein @ http://prometheuscomic.wordpress.com/2007/10/ )

We have recently had a customer that had a friend help him out with some minor computers problems. This friend that is a tech guy for his company said, lets just save your data and wipe the computer and start over fresh and clean. While most of the time this is an extreme approach, but often does fix misc software issues. However, the friend bailed after that and didn’t load much of the needed software, and also messed up numerous important settings.
So the person that would become our customer, called his tech friend seeking additional help. However, the tech friend is now nowhere to be found. Thus we received a call asking for true professional assistance. We of course were able to get his computer repaired and completely back up and running after a reversing some of the damage or incomplete work that had been done. If we had been the first call and not the friend, we may have been able to get the computer repaired with less work.

And while we are on the subject, sometimes you get what you pay for when it comes to free software vs paid for software. A customer recently required viral cleaning assistance after her computer became infected with a dreaded rouge fake antivirus. We had helped her with a similar infection about a year before. At that time, we encouraged her to purchase and install Vipre antivirus. She politely declined and opted for the protection of a very popular free antivirus program. Perhaps if Vipre was protecting her, she may not have had this second infection. Moreover, $30 for Vipre may have saved her not only from needing our assistance, but the headaches and downtime associated with another infection.

Now the last thing we want to encourage is inaction or panic on the part of our readers and customers. We highly encourage you all to experiment with potential software, and if you think you might be able to repair something the go for it! We are here for you if you need us and in most cases there is nothing you can mess up that we can’t fix. But perhaps you may want to have give us a call before hand in case we have any advice for you. In both of these cases, our customers have learned a valuable lesson, sometimes free costs more!

The Computer Doctor of Richmond in the news!

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Check out our very own Chief of Computer Medicine’s interview with local NBC news 12′s Gray Hall.

see the full news article on NBC new 12′s site

“I want to thank Gray and NBC 12 for the opportunity to share vital information with the good people of Richmond. In addition to what was mentioned in the story and what Irony mentioned, it is also very important to make sure your windows security updates, adobe flash and acrobat reader and your java plug-in are up to date. These are critical weak points that need stay updated. ”

Thank you
Kevin Boynton
Chief of Computer Medicine
The Computer Doctor of Richmond

The Computer Doctor of Richmond is in the news!

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Be sure to tune into NBC 12 news at 6pm on Wednesday the 16th and see our very own Chief of Computer Medicine, Kevin Boynton talk about scare-ware infections.  He was interviewed for a news piece on fake anti-virus infections, scare-ware tactics and methods to try an protect yourself.

Web Of Trust, it will help keep your web surfing safe

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Let’s face it, the internet is a wild, fun, remarkable and dangerous place. On one hand it is the most amazing tool ever created that can open doors for research and worlds that would never have been seen by billions of people. But like any tool, it can and is used for hostile reasons by evildoers everywhere. We have seen too many customers lately that have been infected by those nasty fake anti-viruses we are trying to help them keep it from happening again. The first step is to get an antivirus if you don’t already have one, or get rid of Norton or McAfee and get a good AV like Vipre. Keep reading below for step two.

We recently started examining a program called Web Of Trust (WOT for short). WOT is a web community program that “plugs into” your Internet browser. WOT installs into your Internet Explorer and/or Firefox and gives you guidance. It is kind of like a traffic light for cruising the information highway. Meaning when you google/yahoo/bing or whatever something, you get a little red, yellow or green light beside the links letting you know if you’re safe to cross the road or if you should run away.

WOT traffic lights

WOT traffic lights

These are google sponsored links and you’ll notice several of them are not exactly on the up and up

These “traffic lights” are based on a community of millions of other WOT users that have already rated these links on a 4 distinct qualifications. These four qualities are trustworthiness, reliability of the vendor, child safety and privacy. Trustworthiness includes if the site has been known to be hostile or infectious. WOT uses a very sophisticated algorithm and gets data from the users on each link rated. It then averages many user ratings to create the WOT rating you see. You can create a WOT account if you’d like to start rating sites if you’d like to help give back while surfing.

WOT blocked site

WOT blocked site

So you’re thinking, “there is no way WOT has a rating for every web page out there in the world.” Well of course you are right. If WOT has not created a rating for a site, it gets a grey light, so proceed with caution. And then you may want to rate the site yourself. In fact, if you google Computer Doctor of Richmond you will see a grey light. Meaning we have not been bestowed with a WOT rating. After you’ve installed WOT, we’d appreciate it if you’d give us a good rating (we’re safe, trustworthy, help keep your private data safe, and very reliable!).

WOT unrated site, The computer doctor of richmond

WOT unrated site, The computer doctor of richmond

Our site is currently unrated. Wont you help us get a rating?

After testing it on numerous computers in our office and having a handful of customers try it out, we are confident in our recommendation for all to use it. This is by no means a replacement for an antivirus or firewall. This is simply one more GREAT tool to put on your computer to help prevent infections before it even starts. Any tool that can “foreshadow” your risk before clicking on a link it worth putting on your computer, especially since it is free! WOT works very well with no adverse side affects or performance issues like some similar pay services or the ones that come with some anti-viruses.

So how do you get it? Go to their site at mywot.com and click on the free download button. Then simply go through the quick installation. This works on both Internet Explorer and Firefox (safari is in the works and chrome is just around the corner). It also works on both Mac and PC.

A few other things you can do to help keep yourself safe is make sure you popup blocker is turned on. If you use firefox, you can also install an additional plug in called adblock plus that will block 99.9% of annoying web based banner ads. This will help speed up your browsing and keep the garbage off your screen.

WOT rating of a trustworthy adult site

If you hover over a WOT light, you’ll see what it was rated the way it was. This is “safe” adult site.

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