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Topics - Digerati

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Security Software Programs / SUPERAntispyware merges with Avira
« on: July 27, 2020, 03:53:01 PM »
Some SAS users may have noticed new avupdate.exe and avupdate_msg.avr files in their SAS folders. It was soon learned these belonged to Avira AV. I first learned of it 3 July.

This led to some investigation, speculations and finally just today, an admission by SAS forum Admin that the "partnership" was formed.

Frankly, I find the manner in which this partnership was announced disturbing. Typically, when some sort of merger is made, the marketing/PR teams from both sides ramp up with a huge marketing campaign in an attempt to "sell" the merger to all the existing and potentially new customers out there to convince us how great this new deal is for us.

But instead, this was all done quietly - secretly even. Why did it take over 3 weeks to make the announcement? Any why in a forum post only after many other posts that raised concerns? Why no announcement on SUPERAntiSpyware or Avira? I don't get it.

Instead of creating confidence in this new venture, they have instilled distrust.


IIRC this is a first. No high, medium or low vulnerabilities reported for the whole week!

Rather than run the Pale Moon Security Updates thread further OT, I thought I better start a new thread.

As noted in that thread, Windows Defender's new anti-ransomware feature that came in the Fall Creators Update was blocking Pale Moon from making unauthorized changes to my users\me\desktop folder. The new feature, "Controlled folder access", designed to protect us, may be too restrictive for many, I fear. I wonder if MS feels the same since the new feature is disabled by default.

I added Palm Moon to the white list, easy enough - if you know your way around File Manager. Not everyone does.

Yesterday, I got the security warning for IE. :( I can only imagine MS did not pre-white list IE because they want [to force?] everyone to move to Edge.

Today, I could not save a new entry in my password manager. That was a little frustrating because that executable was buried deep and does not have an obvious name. And sadly the "Controlled folder access" popup warning did not tell me the file name. Fortunately (in a backwards sort of way), my password manager crashed when I tried to save the entry and popped up its own error message telling me the file name and path affected so I could white list it.

I applaud MS for taking the initiative to make WD an even stronger anti-malware solution, but this new feature (at least the management/configuration process) clearly has some very rough edges MS needs to smooth out. But, with ransomware attacks on the rise, they better do it quick or for sure, the the attention seeking "wannabe journalists" in the IT press and the MS bashers will surely bash MS for failing to do something about it. 

Security Alerts & Briefings / Ransomware that knows where you live!
« on: April 09, 2016, 04:55:23 PM »
Ransomware that knows where you live!

I am using this worrisome article to remind users of the threats presented through "socially engineered" methods of malware distribution. It is important to understand that emails like this are not, in themselves, harmful to our computers or our personal security.

The danger comes via the links in the email the badguy wants users to click on. These badguys are intelligent and clever "con artist" who exploit the human weaknesses of gullibility and trust by creating professional looking emails that attempt to trick us into clicking on links. Then WHAM!!!! That's when the malicious code (malware) attacks!

The badguys know and counts on the fact that the user is ALWAYS the weakest link in security. The most hardened computer with the best security is no match if the user opens the door to let the badguy (and his malware) in.

So use this as a reminder to never - as in NEVER EVER click on unsolicited links, attachments or downloads unless you know for certain they are legitimate. The best bet is to visit the company's website through their frontdoor. For example, that letter claimed to be on behalf of "Benchmark Instruments". So don't use the link in the email, use our friends, Bing and Google and type "Benchmark Instruments" in their search bars and find Benchmark Instruments home page. Then use the "contact us" link and verify that way if they really do have a claim against you or some legitimate reason for some of your personal information.

If, out-of-the-blue, you get an unsolicited email (or phone call) from your bank, the IRS, Social Security Administration, etc. (or someone you never heard of), especially if they want money, passwords, account numbers, home address, or other personal information, don't click on any links or give them any information. Just delete the email (or hang-up the phone). If it is someone or company you have a relationship with, you can contact them independently by you researching their contact information.

Genuine banks, government agencies and even legitimate collection agencies will always contact you via a letter mailed to your house - not by email or a phone call.

Remember, socially engineered methods of malware distribution are, by far, the most prolific kind because the badguys know humans are too trusting. Don't fall for it. If an unsolicited email is seeking money from you, assume it is a fraud, a scam, a con. And if you feel threatened, in any way, do not be afraid to call the police.

Security Software Programs / Secret (?) WinPatrol 40% discount offer!
« on: December 13, 2015, 03:42:09 PM »
WinPatrol PLUS is currently being offered at 40% off for only $17.47. But note this special offer is kinda hidden and only visible if you click on the "Learn More" button. If you click on the "Buy WinPatrol Now" it is still for the full price of $29.95.

I'm on my second Evoluent mouse, having worn out the first.
I thought they were pretty pricy but I was still interested and willing to spend that much if comfortable and not likely to irritate my RSI. While right-handed, I use my mouse in my left hand but they only have a wired left-handed version and I would want wireless. :(

They also only seem to have up to W7 drivers which made me wonder if they are still behind this product.

Edit Note by Corrine:  Split from Win 7 booting crippled

General Software News, Updates & Discussions / Defraggler Discussion
« on: April 19, 2014, 02:17:26 PM »

FTR, if you have Windows 7 or especially if you have Windows 8, I do NOT recommend the use of Defraggler, or ANY 3rd party defragging tool.

To be sure, as defragging tools go, Defraggler is an excellent tool, if not the best 3rd party defragger. But if system performance is your goal, the use of 3rd party defraggers can actually degrade performance!!!!

Why? Several reasons - but (again, especially with W8) the one BIG reason is over several user "sessions", Windows learns how you, the user, use your computer and with its various "fetch" routines will use and work with "Windows Disk Optimize" (the name for the Windows defragger) to arrange the programs you use most frequently on your hard disks so they load faster. No 3rd party defragger can do that.

Additionally, it is counter-productive to defrag a disk with potentially 1000s of tiny temporary Internet files and cookies on the disk. Therefore, you should purge your system of clutter with Windows Disk Cleanup (or Piriform's CCleaner) before defragging - something real time defraggers cannot do.

Scheduled defragging has the same limitation - unless you purge the system of clutter first, you will have potentially 1000s of tiny files defragged too - a big waste and counterproductive to an efficient defrag.

While Defraggler may provide a more efficient defrag, any advantage in efficiency is very quickly negated almost the second (and I mean that literally) you start using the computer again as temporary files are saved, other files are opened or updated or modified - a common occurrence today with automatic updaters and broadband Internet connections. So in reality, the 3rd party defragger just ends up eating precious disk space - not to mention wasted RAM and CPU resources for the real-time versions.

And contrary to what some "still" believe, it is NOT necessary to jam program files at the beginning of the disk platters. It is only necessary to store the file segments sequentially, not in scattered fragments. This is because today's HUGE, fast, and big-buffered drives very quickly locate the first segment of any file, regardless its location due to extremely fast "seek" times on modern drives.

The fact of the matter is, we only need a "basic" defragger and for that reason alone, the defragger built into Windows is all we need.

And the absolute bottom line here is this: If you need to regularly defrag to optimize available disk space, what you really need is more disk space. So if regular defragging is necessary, you need to uninstall unused programs, archive/move files to a different drive, and/or buy more drive space.

[soapbox mode off]

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