Archive for January, 2009

Watch out for those loose screws!

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

Cautionary screw tale ahead!

As I put no notebook computer down earlier today I noticed a small black screw fall out of it and hit the floor. Because I was just on my way out at the time I didn't think anything of it and put it on one side. Just now however I found a tiny screwdriver to pop it back and on flipping my notebook over I noticed that six screws (some third of all the screws visible) were missing! Now that I come to think about it, I've noticed a few of these screws kicking about before and I've put them "somewhere safe" (a "somewhere safe" which at this point in time, evades me!).

While the notebook is functional, I'm horrified to find that so many have worked their way loose over time. I'm guessing it's the heat that's caused them to come loose.

So, time to check the underside of your notebook for loose screws! I'm willing to bet that if your PC is older than about a year that you'll find one that's a little loose. But remember, just tighten them up gently - no need to go hulk on them!

Should I install Internet Explorer 8 RC

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

Question: I read the other day that the Release Candidate of Internet Explorer 8 is out. From what I understand a release candidate is the code that will be finally released. Is is OK for me to install IE8 RC on my main PC?

Release Candidate code certainly has the potential to be what's finally released, but it's important to note that if any serious bugs come to light in the code between now and the release that it's likely that these will be fixed.

That said, I understand that a lot of people will want to download IE8 RC for testing. maybe you want to test your websites, or just to find out how it works. There's nothing wrong with that - I've installed IE8 RC on many systems and not yet hit any snags. If you do hit a snag, it uninstalls easily.

Note: XP users should read this before installing IE8.

Warez are bad for your Mac’s health!

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

The Mac OS isn't immune to user stupidity:

The iServices.A Trojan horse is an attack being distributed via BitTorrent, where it's disguised as a bootleg copy of the new iWork 09. Once installed, the malware takes administrator access and connects to remote servers over the Internet, where it can be given additional instructions as the author commands, from installing additional malware to stealing information off the Mac in question. The malware creator can also take complete remote control of any compromised machine.

The takeaway lesson - pay for your software!

January’s Patch Tuesday

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

One patch to kick off the year from Microsoft:


  • Vulnerabilities in SMB Could Allow Remote Code Execution (958687)
    This security update resolves two privately reported vulnerabilities and one publicly disclosed vulnerability in Microsoft Server Message Block (SMB) Protocol. The vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution on affected systems. An attacker who successfully exploited these vulnerabilities could install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights. Firewall best practices and standard default firewall configurations can help protect networks from attacks that originate outside the enterprise perimeter. Best practices recommend that systems that are connected to the Internet have a minimal number of ports exposed.

Check those credit card statements!

Monday, January 12th, 2009

I know that it can take some courage to open those post-holiday credit card statements, but it's a really good idea to do so! Why? Well, you need to be on the lookout for any charges that might have been made by scammers - even small charges could be a sign that more are about to be made.

Security experts advise consumers to keep a close eye on their bank and credit card statements, and for good reason: Small, unauthorized charges often are the first sign that thieves have made off with your account number and are getting ready to sell it to other crooks or use it to rack up thousands of dollars in fraudulent purchases.

It's one thing spending your own money, it's quite another to let fraudsters get away with spending it!