Friday, September 30, 2011

Best antivirus. Virus removal. Antivir, Virus scanner

A fairly common problem I get calls for is the removal of malware from a computer. I ask people how they received the virus and in a lot of cases they don’t know. In the past I found the infection was an email attachment, but more recently the infection has not been associated with an email.

One customer was tricked into thinking their computer was infected when a pop-up message appeared as they were browsing the internet. They went ahead and paid their money to have the problem removed, which in turn actually infected their computer and provided the scammer with their credit card details. Pretty scary stuff really.

I thought I’d share this article which shows that around 85% of infections are now caused when browsing and of the 85% just five programs result in 99.98% of infections. If the information is correct it means all people need to do is keep five programs up-to-date and that could significantly reduce their chances of being infected. Unfortunately whilst that sounds logical it isn’t. This will help with malware which isn’t new, but new malware will find exploits in programs which have not yet been patched so people are still exposed. The lesson here however is keep the programs updated if they’re installed on your computer.

The programs are:  Java JRE, Adobe Reader/Acrobat, Adobe Flash, MS Internet Explorer, Windows HCP (Help) and Apple Quicktime. The first three account for 85% of abuses by malware. Interestingly Internet Explorer is only 10%. Just applying the updates for five software packages when they are ready may reduce your chances of being infected considerably.

For clients how want to feel more protected, I provide a disk which is based on software made available to American soldiers. The software allows you to boot your computer from the disk and protects your computer from being infected. This is a great option for those who are worried their computer may be infected but still want to do their online banking or pay bills. Great for those who are travelling and would like to connect to the internet on a family member or friend’s computer, but are concerned that it may be infected. Great if you want your children to be able to use the computer but not risk infecting it. Great if you want staff to use a work computer and not risk infecting it. If clients need a disk contact me. There is a small distribution fee of $9.95 plus postage if required.

It now makes more sense why people don’t know how they infected their computer. The flaws in unpatched software enable people to infect their computer just by visiting a site on the internet. It has happened to me. I once searched using Google, went to a site, and the site infected the computer using a vulnerability in Internet Explorer SP1. That vulnerability was patched in Internet Explorer SP2.

What is also interesting is a lot of people push alternate browsers in the belief they somehow provide a greater level of protection. From the article this doesn’t appear to be the case. Based on the percentage use people using browsers to the percentage being infected, it appears to be fairly consistent across the browsers. The other browsers will most likely be exposed to the same issues because they use the same applications. You shouldn’t necessarily think that changing your browser will give you any greater level of protection. You’re most likely better off making sure your software is kept as up-to-date as possible.

Another more drastic approach might be to also disable or even remove the programs giving you the greatest exposure. I wouldn’t like to suggest that because of lost functionality. That would have to be a choice each person makes for themselves. For example I don’t have Java JRE installed on my computer and haven’t noticed any issues for a long time. When it was installed I did notice quite a few infections in the cache which was a concern. Doing without Acrobat Reader would be hard and a lot of sites still use Flash. Both Flash and Adobe Reader can be fairly easily disabled until you need them, so that is an approach which could be used.

Whether we like it or not, when we are on the internet there are a lot of people who have a lot to gain by infecting our computers. We need to make decisions and take action which minimises our risk to an acceptable level.

If you’ve infected your computer and live within 10kms of the Doncaster/Templestowe/Eltham area and need assistance, you can contact me on 0415 910 703. As part of cleaning customers’ computers I also install free antivirus software which I’ve tested for over a week that has shown to be better than other common free software and also the commercial software I’ve tested.

Kelvin Eldridge

MyAnswers: Thoughts and notes on the Amazon Kindle Fire.

The following MyAnswers solution 2163 is now available:

Thoughts and notes on the Amazon Kindle Fire.

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
(An Online Connections service.)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Alert: Incorrectly filled tax form NAT3799 from

I’ve received a number of emails lately which have been faked to appear to be from the ATO. I’d recommend you delete these emails.

What is particularly interesting with these emails is who the emails are addressed to. When I check the To and CC fields they contain a number of my emails address that I use publicly. Not just one, but a number. That is the first time I’ve seen anyone do that. It shows whoever has the mailing list is now consolidating the email addresses. Perhaps it is an attempt to hit an entire organisation in the one go leading people to think the information may be legitimate. All it needs is one person in the organisation to think the email might be legitimate and others may be encouraged to check it out.

The email displays correctly if viewed using an Apple iPhone, but is malformed if received using Outlook. In Outlook the message appears as an attached text file and there is no body to the message. It is very obvious to Outlook users this message is a fake.

It is important that you delete suspicious emails. I read yesterday that up to 85% of malware infected computers are now caused by people visiting web sites controlled by hackers. These sites may be legitimate sites where hackers have gained access and installed code or code to redirect people to another site. The owner of the site may have no knowledge they’ve been hacked. In the past the email attachment was a major cause of infection. Now it appears the main cause has moved to people visiting web sites which uses exploits in unpatched software the user has on their machine to infect their computer.

I’d highly recommend that you don’t let curiosity get the better of you. Clicking on a link in an email you receive could end up costing you a lot in both money and inconvenience. If an email appears suspicious, it probably is.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 if you need your computer fixed because curiosity got the better of you.

Amazon Kindle Fire press release

The Amazon Kindle Fire has just been announced in the States at a price of $199USD. For many this is a game changer. The Amazon Kindle Fire is a 7” tablet based on a fork of the Android operating system. Amazon have the resources and build and evolve the software so we can have confidence it should be around for a while. In addition, for Amazon, this is part of their product range and approach to doing business, so for them, it isn’t just a stand-alone device.

In Australia it may be some time before we see the Kindle Fire. One thing for sure though is it will put pressure on the entire tablet industry.

For those interested in reading the press release you can find it here.

Kelvin Eldridge

Monday, September 26, 2011

Apple iPhone 5 and iOS5 Australian release date

In June, if my memory serves me correctly, Steve Jobs announced iOS5 would be launched in September, which I thought was a bit strange. It appeared the new operating system would be released before the next iPhone and to me that didn’t make marketing sense. September is nearly gone, so it looks like iOS5 will most likely be released either at the same time or even possibly slightly after the Apple iPhone 5, which makes more sense from a marketing perspective.

The rumours are for an announcement on October 4 with supplies be released after that date. There are rumours in the UK that staff in Apple stores have been advised not to take holidays in the first two weeks of October. If the rumours are true then the Apple iPhone 5 will be released early October.

Has the iPhone 5 bug bitten you? Or are you happy to evaluate the iPhone 5 against your requirements and take your time. I know which one we should do, but somehow, for a lot of people, emotion rules their purchasing decisions. Sometimes I think why not. You might as well enjoy your money. You’ve worked hard for it.

For me I’m looking forward to the new messaging application. Now I know it is only Apple specific, but it will be interesting to see how useful it is.

What feature are you looking forward to the most?

Kelvin Eldridge
Helping people with their computers, tablets and mobile phones.

Alert: Australia Post - Get your parcel No306. (

I’ve received a number of emails in the past week with the message Get your parcel. By coincidence these started arriving a day after Dodo said they’d send me a replacement Buddy Box for the one which didn’t work. One client fell for a UPS malware email because they received an email from UPS and were expecting a UPS parcel. If you’re expecting a parcel, receiving an email like this could easily trick you.

In this case the body of the email is very basic and unlikely to be from a large company like Australia Post.

Dear customer.

Your package has been returned to the Australia Post office.
Reason: The package is too large
Please find the attached document containing detailed information about delivery failure.
Read all information carefully and come to the "Australia Post" office to receive your package.

Thank you for attention.
Customer service.

Attached is a zip file ( which contains the file Attached_Document.exe. This file is an executable file but it has been designed to look like a Word document with a Microsoft Word icon. Since most people can’t see the file extension they could be easily tricked into thinking this is a Word document. Opening the file will not open a document, but instead run a program, most likely designed to infect your computer.

I use OzEfilter to check the emails at my mail server before receiving them into my computer and in this case OzEfilter showed me the email was sent from Canada. Just another piece of information which confirms this is most likely malware. Microsoft’s Security Essentials doesn’t show this file as malware. This is where you need to use common sense and not open files like this. Just delete them as soon as you receive them.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 if you need help with your computer
Servicing Doncaster, Templestowe, Eltham and the surrounding areas.

Alert: Re: Scan from a HP Officejet #658992

They say curiosity killed the cat, but the modern equivalent would be curiosity infected your computer.

I noticed a number of emails recently with the subject Re: Scan from a HP Officejet  #658992 or similar. These emails contain an attachment which is a zip file. The zip file I checked contained an executable HP_SCAN_Z520131___dollÔÇ«fdp.exe. The file has an icon which makes it appear to be a PDF.

There is little doubt this is malware. Microsoft’s Security Essentials is usually very good, but like all anti-virus scanning software, they are unlikely to identify recently released malware. Malware writers are most likely going to check their work against the common anti-virus products before releasing their malware, so that leaves a window of a few days where the anti-virus software won’t help curious people. In this case Microsoft’s software does not detect malware.

If you’re curious about an email you’ve received from someone you don’t know, don’t be tempted. You really will infect your computer and it is costly to repair. Please delete emails you aren’t sure about. It isn’t worth the risk or the cost to get your computer fixed.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 if you’ve infected your computer and need it fixed.
(Covering Melbourne Eastern to Northern suburbs within 10km of Templestowe)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Coles Home Insurance using Google Maps View to check properties

I recently compared home insurance and decided to obtain a quote from Coles Home Insurance. I’m comfortable with technology but the process didn’t go well because at the end it didn’t go through and I had to call their number. What I did find interesting was as part of our conversation I determined Coles Home Insurance were using Google Maps View to check out our property. Unfortunately the Google vehicle didn’t quite get to pass our place (which normally I would think is good) so all we could see was a partial view.

If you want to see which roads Google Maps covers, drag the man over the map and the roads covered will turn blue. Part of our street was missing.

As a result the insurance needed a supervisor’s approval who wouldn’t have been available until the following week. I decided to renegotiate with my current insurance company as I was put off being left in limbo and Coles Home Insurance isn’t a service I’ve had an experience of with claims. I’m happy to pay a little more knowing I was looked after previously.

A couple of tips with home insurance. Ask if they will review the premium and also consider the excess you are prepared to pay. By doing this I was able to reduce our premium by over $200. Not bad for the cost of a telephone call.

Kelvin Eldridge  
Call 0415 910 703 if you need assistance with your computer, tablet or mobile device.

Friday, September 23, 2011

MyAnswers: Skype highlights telephone number on web pages

The following MyAnswers solution 2162 is now available:

An automatic update of Skype installed on my Windows XP computer. Now telephone numbers on web pages appear with a grey background and an Australian flag. How do I turn this off?

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
(An Online Connections service.)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Word Check and my dictionary work now only available to clients

After eight years of providing my work to the general public I’ve had to bite the bullet and recognise the small financial return is insufficient for me to continue. Very little income has come from the hundreds of hours of work over the years and I have to accept I need to focus my energy on my clients, as they are the people who support myself and my family financially.

I’d estimate that probably over a million Australians now use my work in open source projects, but unfortunately open source for most people is about obtaining free software and I understand that. I’m pleased however whilst I may not have received much financially, it is however pleasing to think in a small way I’ve made a difference.

By refocusing on my clients I’ll now be able to continue my work as part of my consulting activities.

Thank you for sharing this part of the journey with me.

Kelvin Eldridge

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

MyAnswers: You are using an old version of Internet Explorer that Gmail no longer supports.

The following MyAnswers solution 2159 is now available:

When using Gmail on a Windows XP computer I get the message "You are using an old version of Internet Explorer that Gmail no longer supports. Some features may not work correctly." What should I do?

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
(An Online Connections service.)

Windows 8 release date not know yet, but Microsoft shares more at Microsoft's Build conference

Whilst the release date of Windows 8 is still not known at this stage (I’d guess at the end of first quarter 2012 with a possibility of mid 2012), more details of the functionality of Windows 8 have now been released by Microsoft at their Build conference for developers.

Now some people are going to be aghast as Microsoft’s emphasis on their Metro interface (designed for touch screen) with the lessening emphasis on the Windows desktop. Whilst I’m one of those people I can also see Microsoft really have little choice. I was helping a user with their Motorola Xoom Android tablet yesterday and for most of the day, they could easily use their tablet and not touch their Windows based notebook computer.

A lot of people spend most of their time now either in their email client or on the internet. For most people a tablet computer will do a lot of what they need. Ask yourself when was the last time your created a document or a spreadsheet for your own personal needs. For some people due to their job ,they will create documents every day, but for others it may be days or weeks since they’ve really needed a desktop or notebook computer.

As a general rule if you’re a consumer of services you may find a tablet becomes your primary device. Your smartphone is probably used more, keeps you in contact, but isn’t really that great for entering text. I see many people will use their smartphone as their first level of communication, then their tablet and next their desktop or notebook. If you’re a creator of information then you’ll be using your desktop or notebook. It really depends on your role as a user.

If Microsoft provides an operating system which enables a tablet to easily operate as a Windows desktop/notebook by docking with a keyboard, mouse and even a large screen, all of a sudden the need for a desktop or notebook for many is gone. Microsoft can’t miss that boat or they’ll be in real trouble. For me right now an iPad or an Android tablet doesn’t do what I want and need to do, but there’s a good chance Windows 8 will. So the opportunity for Microsoft is still open but if they don’t get this right or at least close, if not, they could be in trouble. Whilst they’ll have the corporate market for a while they’ll have lost the consumer market. At first that won’t appear to matter, but in the long run consumers also have jobs and what they use will leak into the corporate market, as the iPad has done.

Certainly interesting times for Microsoft. For us it is still about using the tools which help us do what we want to do.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 if your need assistance with your computer, tablet or mobile phone.


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Would you like the preferred Australian English spelling to be available for Microsoft Office?

If you’d like the preferred Australian English spelling to be made available as a spellcheck dictionary for Microsoft Office please make the effort to add your voice.

I’m currently in contact with Microsoft and to their credit, they are taking my request for assistance to make my work available with Microsoft Office and passing the request through their channels.

For Microsoft right now I’m a lone voice with a request. If you’d like my work to be available with Microsoft Office please help by adding your voice by making a comment on this blog post. I’ve tried this on a number of occasions over the last five years so this will be the last attempt at making the preferred Australian English spelling available to Australian Microsoft users. It is now or never so please make your voice heard.

Thank you in advance for your support.

Kelvin Eldridge


Friday, September 2, 2011

Need help setting up email on your mobile phone?

One of my clients wrote this to me.

I have an Iphone and can't work out how to get emails happening - is this something you could help me with? I have been back to Telstra shop but they are bloody hopeless.

Generally the people at the Telstra shop are sales people and their skill with technology will be quite varied. We can’t all be good at everything. In addition to work out how best to set up the iPhone, you need to first work out what options you have available. There services you are currently using will limit your options and I find people need a small amount of training to understand what can and can’t be done. Unfortunately every option currently available has a number of trade-offs and people are usually restricted in the options they can use based on their previous choices. The result is a compromise and people need to be aware of what the compromise entails.

I find it is much easier to help people set up the smart phone if they are present. Working with them over the telephone where you need to step them through the menus can be quite time consuming. In the case of this client I assisted them over the telephone and what I couldn’t see was the iPhone 4 suffers from the “death grip”, where if held in a certain way the signal strength drops considerably and connectivity can be intermittent or drop out completely, was making support more difficult. I’m happy to assist people with telephone support but generally it can be more time consuming and thus more expensive for some problems.

If you need assistance with setting up email on your mobile phone, tablet, or in fact any computer, I’m happy to assist.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 if your need assistance with your computer.

MyAnswers: CA parental control blocks the internet after CA Internet Security removed.

The following MyAnswers solution 2156 is now available:

CA parental control blocks the internet after CA Internet Security removed.

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910703 if you need assistance with your computers.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Alert: Blog comment by Majid Ali

To share with others typical blog spam I see on my blog I thought I'd write about the comment left by supposedly Majid Ali.

Majid Ali made the request in the blog comment Please help me by reading my appeal on my profile.

When I received this comment on my blog I decided to check the profile. According to the profile Majid is from Haiti and this appears to be an appeal to raise money by appealing to the better nature of people. Over 8,000 people had viewed the profile which is a massive number.

On checking my logs I found no one from Haiti had visited my site. Visitors for the day had come from: United Kingdom, United States, Australia, Turkey and Pakistan.

I just rechecked the link for the profile and the profile is no longer available, which possibly means the blog has been removed.

It is almost certain this is nothing more than a scam. With over 8,000 views of the profile this really was massive scam with spam sent to ten’s if not hundreds of thousands of blogs. A search of Google for the term Please help me by reading my appeal on my profile shows it appears over 2,000 times meaning it went public on thousands of blogs.

If you are reading blog comments be aware that many of the comments are fake, may be scams and you should not assume just because the comment was added to the blog it has been checked. Over 90% of comments I receive on my blogs are spam or scams. I don’t release comments without reviewing them and I suggest others with blogs do the same. Most comments I’ve found are attempts at advertising.

If you decide to use a blog to promote your business I’d recommend you don’t release comments automatically, otherwise you’ll allow scammers to use your site to ensnare unsuspecting victims who could be your family, friends or customers.

Kelvin Eldridge
Need help with your internet presence contact Online Connections.