Fake Virus Warnings

Fake Virus Warnings

Drive By Fake Virus Warnings are web pages that take over your computer / browser and lock it until you call the number they display. Sometime these warnings will use your speakers to announce the problem. If you play the video you will see one of these in action.

Signs it is a Fake Warning:

Some of the “Fake” attributes are:

  1. The number 682-302-36147 is NOT a toll free number as they claim
  2. Microsoft DOES NOT INSTALL ANY Program that will alert Microsoft that you have anything wrong with your computer.
  3. Microsoft (as far as I know) cannot disable any PC.
  4. The URL/ Internet Address at the top (top yellow arrow) is s3.amazonaws.com. Microsoft would NOT be using AMAZON’s servers. The support.microsoft.com address at the second arrow is a graphic on that web page and is there to fool you.
    Fake Virus Warnings

What to expect if you call

They instruct you to call the number on the screen to resolve the issue. If you do call, you can expect the following:

  1. They will want to do a remote control session to your computer to Check the issue
  2. You will be told that you need their antivirus, and their support will cost about $300-$400 for 1 year
  3. They will install software and tell you that you are cleaned after you give them your credit card information.
  4. In 3-4 weeks you will likely get another virus warning.  If you call them back they will tell you that the new problem is caused by “Malware”, and to fix it you need to pay and additional $400 for their “advanced” package.

Fake Virus Warnings

What to do

The solution in most cases is simple:

  1. Press and hold the power button for 30 Seconds. It is important to hold it for the full 30 seconds. The screen may go black after a few seconds, but that has just put the computer to sleep. To get it to power off, you have to hold it for the full 30 seconds. If you cannot wait that long the other solution is to unplug it.
  2. Restart the computer.
  3. Go back to the web as you were before and you will likely be OK.

Just like your computer,  Web sites get hacked and infected. An infected site can redirect you to the pages that will give this alert.


Mobile Device Fake Virus Warnings

Mobile Device Fake Virus Warnings

Mobile Device Fake Virus Warnings are appearing  on cell phones.
We recently examined a case where several alerting screens were displayed.

It was determined to be a fake based on several factors:

  1. The dialog boxes pointed  to vprflzj.net which is not a web address of typically used buy Antivirus or Phone companies.
  2. The grammar was poor. See the second graphic for the text: “In the Generic Android phone you are (13) Viruses!” and “Most of the virus will destroy”
  3. It displayed that it was an Android Phone (Second Screen Shot), but was an i Phone.
  4. The people behind this were likely looking to get:
    1. Credit card information, or
    2. install a program that would capture your contacts, and
    3. Possibly passwords as you entered them with a keystroke logger.
    4. It could even track your location

Remember these type of attached are designed to get information or Money from you.

If you are in doubt, power off the phone, then restart it and see if the message comes up again. Unless you have installed antivirus on your phone I do not know of any Carrier or Operating system provider to give these alerts.

Mobile Device Fake Virus Warnings
Mobile Device Fake Virus Warnings

Mobile Device Fake Virus Warnings with poor grammar


Dangerous Downloads

Dangerous Downloads

Potentially Dangerous Downloads from the internet are one of the biggest risks for your computer to be infected with malicious software or viruses. The problem happens when users download what they think are “Good” programs, but the bad guys have taken the “Good” program and added their infected program as an free “bonus”.

Sometimes during the install installation, the license acceptance screens will advise that other programs are being installed, but people are so used to clicking Yes or Continue or Next, the bad stuff gets installed along with the good program.

Another problem can be “fake” programs that do damage. One of the most faked or corrupted programs is Adobe Flash Player. If you download it from some sites, it will install an infected version that can do damage. Always be careful that you are downloading the program from the original source. Adobe Flash and Shockwave should be downloaded from Adobe.COM.

Fake Adobe Flash Player Alert

Here is an image of a typical fake Adobe Flash Warning.
Note the Page at download.adobeoo is not a real adobe site. It may or may not be listed.
Fake Adobe Flash Update

When you click the OK to get the new file, notice the URL at the top left is still a fake:
Fake Adobe Flash Download

Even though it looks real if you download and install from here you are installing Malware/ virus on your computer. NOTE THAT THIS AFFECTS MAC’s and PC’s alike.


Fake Java Alert

There are also fake Java alerts as well

Java Update

If you see that type of message when visiting a web site, you should close your browser and then go to java.com and update it from there.

Better to take 5 minutes and make sure you are getting the right stuff, than risking downloading something that may infect you computer and possibly cause you to lose your data.




Home Buyers in Danger of Fraudulent Wire Transfers

Home Buyers in Danger

Home buyers are in danger due to a huge scam taking place in the buying/ selling of real estate. The scam has gotten to a level now that many real estate agents and lawyers are having buyers and sellers sign warning notices of the potential of wire fraud and that they should NEVER send any money via wire based on an email only.

Links that may be of interest.

This is from Reese Nichols, a real Estate firm in Kansas City. Video with Warning

Here is a fairly detailed document on showing how its done from Clareity Consulting
Reducing the Risk of Real Estate Wire Fraud

And finally a simple Cartoon video that does a really good job of reviewing the how its done and how to avoid it.

Basic Steps:

Beware of Phishing attacks. e-mails that look like they are coming from reliable sources, but ask you to change passwords, or put in security information are mostly not legitimate. The links take you to sites that may look real, but are hosted and controlled by the “bad guys”. If you want to change your password, go to the site you normally log into and change it from there.

Read carefully any emails that you get. If they are “mostly” right, but some of the language or wording looks odd, it is likely bogus.

DO NOT open any attachments from unknown senders or unexpected emails. These often include leading statements such as

  • Please review the attached invoice, your credit card will be charged in 5 days.
  • Please review the Attached Itinerary from your cruise.
  • Unable to Deliver your item, please open that attached shipping label

Contact us with any questions.




What User Turned off Server?

To See What user Turned off Server follow the following steps:

Sometimes a server may go down and you want to determine what user shut it off. It may be in the case of a Remoted Desktop Server where you allow users to have the ability to shut down the server. If this happens you may need to find out What user Turned off Server?

1. Go to Event Viewer

2. Expand Windows Logs and then click on System and on the right side, click  -> Filter Current Log

Event Viewer

3. For User Shutdowns, click downward arrow of Event Sources -> Check User32.

4. In <All Event IDs> type  1074 -> OK

Event Viewer Filter

This will give the list of Power off and restart events. It will have the date and time as well as Username.

Event Viewer Results

Google looks for Secure Certificates

Google Looks for Secure Certificates

Google looks for Secure Certificates. Google is trying to improve the safety and security of information on the internet by looking to see if web sites have Secure Certificates installed. If a site does have a Secure Certificate installed (Also called SSL, and represented by the HTTPS in the address bar) it will be used as a ranking signal.

How much will it help? According to Google it will not count nearly as much as good content, It will be one of the minor factors (along with about 200 other factors Google uses to rate web site).

According to Google:

For these reasons, over the past few months we’ve been running tests taking into account whether sites use secure, encrypted connections as a signal in our search ranking algorithms. We’ve seen positive results, so we’re starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal. For now it’s only a very lightweight signal — affecting fewer than 1% of global queries, and carrying less weight than other signals such as high-quality content — while we give webmasters time to switch to HTTPS. But over time, we may decide to strengthen it, because we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.

Here are some basic tips to get started:

  • Decide the kind of certificate you need: single, multi-domain, or wildcard certificate
  • Use 2048-bit key certificates
  • Use relative URLs for resources that reside on the same secure domain
  • Use protocol relative URLs for all other domains
  • Check out our Site move article for more guidelines on how to change your website’s address
  • Don’t block your HTTPS site from crawling using robots.txt
  • Allow indexing of your pages by search engines where possible. Avoid the noindex robots meta tag.

If you are interested in getting SSL Certificates for your site, you can get them here, or you can contact us and we will help you get and install the certificate.

Internet Explorer Security Flaw

Internet Explorer Security Flaw

The Internet Explorer Security Flaw has been in the news lately and to help you, we are posting some comments as well as downloads to fix these issues. First is the threat real? Yes it is a real threat, but Is the threat overblown?

Yes in our opinion the threat was overblow by the news media.
It was a real risk, but in order to be at risk, you had to be using Adobe Flash which we do not recommend using unless it is necessary (it is used on some sites for graphics or animation).  Secondly you then have to visit a site that was compromised (hacked into) by the bad guys.

So in our opinion it was a relative low risk for business related internet business. Having said that we also do recommend that you update your PC’s to the newly released patches by Microsoft. The easiest way to do this is to have the automatic updates turned on and it will be applied automatically (if it has not already been applied).

The second easiest way to do a one time update of your system by following the instructions here. This will install ALL of the current updates to your system and may take some time with rebooting. After each install/ reboot, you should check if there are any more updates to be applied. Often you have to install some updates before the newer ones will install.

For those of you that want to download and install it yourselves, it is a bit confusing as it depends on both the Internet Explorer version you are on as well as the Operating system you are running. In total I am listing here 12 possible combinations, but bear in mind that there are also patches for different server operating systems and I have not included Windows Vista or any server operating systems.

First if you are running Windows 7 you have to be sure to apply a previous Internet Explorer update first. If you do not, you run the risk of things not working after you apply the update.

Things you will need to know:
1) The version of Internet Explorer you are on.
2) The version of your operating system.

For XP uses check the version of Internet Explorer by opening Internet Explorer and click on HELP in the menu and then the About item. It should sow you the version

For Windows XP With Internet Explorer 6
For Windows XP With Internet Explorer 7
For Windows XP With Internet Explorer 8

For Windows 7 you need to know if you have a 64 bit or 32 bit system

Click the Start button Picture of the Start button, right-click Computer, and then click Properties.
  • If “64-bit Operating System” is listed next to System type, you’re running the 64-bit version of Windows Vista or Windows 7.

  • If “32-bit Operating System” is listed next to System type, you’re running the 32-bit version of Windows Vista or Windows 7.

First Install the previous update to be sure it is installed

Windows 7 IE Update 32 bit
Windows 7 IE Update 64 bit

Then install the appropriate patch find the Internet Explorer version.  If the Internet Explorer menu shows at the top you can click on Help and About to find the version. If you do not see help on the menu (or no menu is shown), click on the small Gear at the top right of the browser:

Then click on About Internet Explorer and it will show the version of internet Explorer you are running.

Based on knowing your Operating System Information and the Internet Explorer version, download and install the correct version from the list below.

For Windows 7 32bit Internet Explorer  8
For Windows 7 32bit Internet Explorer  9
For Windows 7 32bit Internet Explorer  10
For Windows 7 32bit Internet Explorer  11

For Windows 7 64bit Internet Explorer  8
For Windows 7 64bit Internet Explorer  9
For Windows 7 64bit Internet Explorer  10
For Windows 7 64bit Internet Explorer  11

And finally for Windows 8

Windows 8 32bit Internet Explorer 10
Windows 8 64bit Internet Explorer 10

Windows 8.1 32bit Internet Explorer 11
Windows 8.1 64bit Internet Explorer 11

Windows 7 Manual Update

Windows 7 Manual Update

Windows 7 Manual Update is often used to force new updates to be applied if the automatic update feature is turned off. To perform a manual update, click on the start button, then go to All Programs


and then Choose Windows Update


You can click on the Check for updates button, or if nothing is found, also try the Check online for updates from Microsoft Update (highlighted in yellow below)

Windows Update


Windows XP End OF Support

Windows XP End of Support

Windows XP End of Support

Windows XP End of Support will occur on April 8, 2014. We will try to address the “What does this mean?”; “How will I be effected?”; and “What should I do” in this post.

What does Windows XP End of Support (EOS) mean? In the software industry, companies put software in the EOS category after a period of time when there are more current versions and the manufacturer does not want to support the older (EOS) versions. In the case of Windows XP this means that Microsoft will no longer be putting out updates (either security or bug fixes) for Windows XP. It also means that Microsoft and most other software vendors will not longer test new products with XP to assure compatibility. It does not mean that Windows will stop working or that your are “Forced” to upgrade. You can continue to use XP on your current machine as long as you like.

How Will I be Effected?

  1. If you use Microsoft Security Essentials, it will continue to work and receive updates for about another year. After that time you will have to find another antivirus solution (if you are still on XP)
  2. You will no longer be able to install Microsoft Security Essentials on XP machines after April 8th.
  3. You will find more new programs and hardware devices may not be listed as compatible with Windows XP
  4. It will be less secure. XP has more security issues than Windows 7 or Windows 8, and with them no longer issuing updates any security flaws that exist can be exploited.
  5. If you have automatic updates turned on (as most people do) you will start getting nag messages on March 8th. If you check the “Don’t show this message again” it will go away. If you just click OK it will continue to nag you.


What should I do?

Unless you have a legacy application that requires Windows XP, you should be looking at upgrading from XP. The reasons are:

  1. If you are running XP you are most likely running a machine that is over 7 years old. Older machines cost more to maintain and to run. An Intel report on Total Cost of Ownership for PC’s shows that the low point for cost happens at 3-1/2 years.
  2. What may be seen as small nuisance crashes or “wait” times can actually be making you and your employees less productive. If you really want to jump productivity get a new computer that can handle 2 monitors (many business models 2 monitors outputs as a standard feature). Dual monitors typically show 10-20% productivity jumps.
  3. Microsoft Office and other upgrades. You cannot install any Microsoft Office version above 2010 on Windows XP. Expect other software vendors to stop supporting XP in the coming year.

Most people will want to go to Windows 7. Windows 7 is a small jump from XP and maintains the same menu/ start button. If you are willing to take on a steeper learning curve Windows 8 does have some benefits, but also can be frustrating at the beginning. We can still get Windows 7 Pro pre installed on desktop and notebook PC’s starting as low as $500.

Questions? As always, if you have questions or concerns, Contact Us.