This Gmail Phishing Attack Is Even Fooling The Tech-Savvy 

January 19, 2017

This Gmail Phishing attack (see source link below) has been making tech news and is very important that you are made aware. It has been known by Google since March of 2016. This deceptive sneaky attack is currently only targeting Gmail accounts. The cybercriminals trick you into giving away your Google or Gmail Login Credentials. It is even fooling those who are tech-savvy and very familiar with phishing schemes.

Once an account has been compromised, the attackers immediately access it and start targeting the victim’s contacts.


Gmail phishing attack: cybercriminals use cleverly designed URLs and they immediately access the hacked accounts

Source: Phished Gmail Accounts Immediately Accessed by Hackers | SecurityWeek.Com

April Fool’s Day – Conficker hot topic…

March 30, 2009

While enjoying lunch today with my parents my Mother asked me if I knew about the Conficker worm.  I nearly fell off my chair and was thinking; “Mom is becoming a techie?”.


Sometime back I did (3)-three posts on the Conficker worm:

Worm Bounty Set By Microsoft ($250,000)

Downadup (aka: Conficker, Kido) is using AutoRun
to spread “like a can of worms”…

Is your system infected by the Downadup Worm, Conficker or Kido?

I found that Mom had been following the news on the Conficker worm on one of the national TV networks. The news media is taking Conficker and really running with it. Remember hot news keeps an audience. Create a panic and they will come… Too bad they do not carry special “daily” segments on the other security threats on the internet where people are having their money and privacy taken away.

To keep you up to date, the Conficker worm virus, which has literally baffled the IT experts, has infected over 10 million PC’s worldwide since November 2008  The conficker worm takes advantage of a vulnerability in Windows that Microsoft patched back in October 2008. If your PC is patched, then do not worry.

The April 1st threat (or any date for that matter) is speculation that the network of computers, already infected by the Conficker program, will start scanning thousands of websites for a new set of malicious instructions. In essence, these computers would become part of a network of robots (called a botnet) that would execute the instructions, once received. For example, if instruction were received by 10 million computers to attack (flood with data), specific websites, it could bring the sites down and even affect the integrity of the internet.

As always, keep the software on your computer up to date; especially your Window’s updates and your system security software.


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Worm Bounty set by Microsoft ($250,000)

February 16, 2009

Remember the Conficker worm that you recently read about here on “What’s on my PC…” [ click here ] ?  In summary, Microsoft is going on the offensive by offering a quarter of a million dollars to track down the author(s) of the Conficker worm (aka: downadup, Kido). Conficker exploits a Windows vulnerability; patched by the October ‘08 Microsoft security update. If you had your PC configured to receive Microsoft updates automatically, you would have received the patch (or fix) this past October.  Numerous reports are indicating that, as many as, 10 million PC’s have been infected.  Being a former IT Manager, I have to wonder how many business and government entities were standing with their pants down on this one.  No excuse in missing Windows updates, on the business or government level, in my opinion.

Wanted Conficker Worm

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Microsoft Posts $250,000 Reward for PC Hackers

Friday, February 13, 2009

Look out, computer hackers– there’s a new sheriff in town.

Microsoft announced Thursday that it had placed a $250,000 bounty on the heads of the developers and distributors of a nasty computer virus that’s been worming its way worldwide for months.

Known as the Conficker (a pun on “configure” and a four-letter German swear word) or Downadup worm , the virus has infected at least 10 million Windows-based computers since it first appeared in October. It’s forced the British and French navies to take some systems offline.

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Taking A Byte Out of Malware

February 4, 2009

Malware SpiderWhen I mention the term “malware” around my friends and family, I get some really strange looks. Most people are not absorbed into the tech side of protecting their PC’s and really do not care what the name of the current disease is. It is an attitude and approach similar to the government; “wait til it happens, then fix it”. Fixing a PC after a malware infection can be like the government trying to fix the economy. You try to fix it  and the problem does not go away, resurfaces, and in turn progressively worsens.

When you own a computer, the user must develop the attitude of prevention and protection. If you do not heed this advice, trust me, you will be in a position where you will be trying to fix your own economy… It is important to educate yourself about the threats, before the threats educate you. Malware today has developed into a threat with such magnitude that it is predominantly the preferred avenue of attack against everyday computer users.

What is malware?

In short it is “malicious software” that installs on your PC without your consent. It is designed to compromise your privacy, steal your money & identity, AND contaminate your PC. Basically, it just shows up in one form or another. (Obvious signs can be: as a popup, a browser redirect, suspicious security software, fake security warnings, your PC consistently runs slow, etc…).

How is it delivered?

Usually through misrepresentation or trickery… You click on a link in an email or a link on a web page that misrepresents what it really is and you’ve been had.  Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file sharing, software pirating sites, porn sites are also favorite launching points for malware.

How to take the byte out of malware?

Layers of protection…What this is referring to is multi-layers of protection such as your firewall and various types of security software (e. g. anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-malware, browser protection, windows updates, software updates, etc…). It is important to maintain and keep these layers of protection in place.

One layer of protection that I currently use and highly recommend to all of my friends and family, to combat the threat of malware, is a program called “Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware”. Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware is an anti-malware application that can thoroughly remove even the most advanced malware.


I use this program to manually scan my PC on a regular basis.  There is a “FREE” and “PAID” version. The difference  is that  the realtime protection, scheduled scanning, and scheduled updating features are not activated in the “FREE” version. Performing manual routine updates and scanning is sufficient in most cases. Just the fact that you have it installed and ready to go on your PC, in the event of a malware threat, is a big plus. Most tech people, without software such as this, will look you in the eye and tell you, formatting the hard drive and doing a complete operating system rebuild is the only way they will touch your PC. Due to the complexity of malware and today’s operating systems, no one can guarantee that your PC will be completely cleaned after a malware infection. I highly recommend that you download and install this software today.



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Note to my readers:  This article has also been featured on the site “Tech Thoughts”, which as a blogger, is an honor and privledge. “Tech Thoughts” is a high-octane site devoted to Security and System Tools and Tips, Software Reviews, News, Views, Downloads and Links.
[ CLICK HERE ] to visit Bill Mullin’s “awesome” site, “Tech Thoughts”.

Downadup (aka: Conficker, Kido) is using AutoRun to spread “like a can of worms”…

January 23, 2009

Did you know that you opened a can of worms if you did not apply the Windows update for an already known Windows vulnerability, back in October?  worms


The Downadup worm virus (aka: Conficker, Kido) has globally spread like wildfire.  I am now reading stories [ click here ] where over 8 million PC’s have been infected (or 1 in 16 PC’s).  That is over 8 million PC’s that failed to patch their systems back in October.  The most concerning part, at least to me, is that this worm can use the “AutoRun” functionality in Windows to infect other PC’s.  Here is how this works.  You plug in your USB flash drive in a computer that has been infected with the Downadup worm and the worm copies a file (autorun.inf), to your flash drive.  You remove the flash drive and plug it into another PC, the Windows AutoRun function kicks in and the autorun.inf file, that was copied to your flash drive, now executes and infects that PC.

Downadup is a worm (self-replicating).

A standalone malicious program which uses computer or network resources to make complete copies of itself. May include code or other malware to damage both the system and the network. – F-Secure

Propagation (How it spreads)…

Downadup uses a variety of methods to spread itself.

Downadup exploits a Windows vulnerability; patched by the October ‘08 security update.

If the vulnerability is successfully exploited, it could allow remote code execution when file sharing is enabled. Depending on the specific variant, it may also spread via removable drives and by exploiting weak passwords. It disables several important system services and security products and downloads arbitrary files. – Microsoft Malware Solution Center

Additionally, it uses Windows AutoRun functionality; autorun.inf files are copied to USB drives and other removable media.

If your computer is infected…

You may not experience any symptoms, or you may experience any of the following symptoms:

Account lockout policies are being tripped.

Automatic Updates, Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS), Windows Defender, and Error Reporting Services are disabled.

Domain controllers respond slowly to client requests.

The network is congested.

Various security-related Web sites cannot be accessed.

Removal Assistance…

Visit the Microsoft’s Help & Support (to learn about the manual removal method(s) and the available Malicious Software Removal tool (MSRT) tool option that is available.  Many of the anti-virus sites are carrying removal options and instructions, as well.  Like many viruses, this thing will continue to evolve with a variety of different payloads.  If you have a PC that is connected to the internet, it is very important that you keep your systems patched (via the Windows Update) and that you keep your Security software updated (e.g. anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-malware).  The internet is in one sad shape and it is important that our defenses are in place and that we educate ourselves about any potential threats.  Thank you visiting the blog and please push this info onward to make others aware.


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Is your system infected with the Downadup Worm, Conficker or Kido?

January 17, 2009

I cannot stress enough, the importance of maintaining and managing your Window’s Updates or any software for that matter…  Microsoft normally issues patches or fixes on the second Tuesday of each month; however, in this case (reflected below), due to the immediate nature of the threat, an “out of cycle” critical update was issued (back in October).  This is an example of where systems were compromised as a result of people failing to update their systems.  If you updated you should be fine; if not, it is recommended you install the October update, then run the January edition of the MSRT to clean up compromised computers.

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Researcher: Worm infects 1.1M Windows PCs in 24 hours

January 14, 2009 (Computerworld) The computer worm that exploits a months-old Windows bug has infected more than a million PCs in the past 24 hours, a security company said today.

Early Wednesday, Helsinki, Finland-based security firm F-Secure Corp. estimated that 3.5 million PCs have been compromised by the “Downadup” worm, an increase of more than 1.1 million since Tuesday.

The worm, which several security companies have described as surging dramatically during the past few days, exploits a bug in the Windows Server service used by all supported versions of Microsoft Corp.‘s operating system, including Windows 2000, XP, Vista, Server 2003 and Server 2008.

Microsoft issued an emergency patch in late October, fixing the flaw with one of its rare “out of cycle” updates.

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Great Tech Tool – “a-squared HijackFree”!

December 19, 2008

Just when I think I have found every tech security tool out there, I am introduced to another one.  In this case, during a visit to the site “Tech Thoughts”, I was introduced to a system analysis utility, called “a-squared HiJackFree” that is geared toward assisting advanced users in the detection and removal of all types of HiJackers, Spyware, Adware, Trojans and Worms (see clip below).  I downloaded the program and performed an analysis of my system as a test drive.  I found the program very easy to navigate and understand. The analysis showed the autorun entries (which can be disabled for troubleshooting); services installed and running processes; local ports that are open; and even Explorer and browser plugins. The a-squared HiJackFree also has an “Online Analysis” function built-in that will help you identify which autoruns, processes, addons or open ports are harmful.




I tip my “Tech Hat” to Bill Mullins for introducing me and my readers to this great utility.

Visit Bill’s site (Tech Thoughts), at “”




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Maximize Layered Malware Defenses – A-squared HijackFree

There are plenty of good anti-malware products, but experienced computer user’s realize that to ensure maximum safety, it’s important to have layered defenses in the ongoing fight against malware.


If you are an experienced/advanced computer user (sometimes known as a geek), and you’re looking for a program to strengthen your anti-malware resources, then A-squared HiJackFree is one that’s worth taking a look at. This free application, from EMSI Software, offers a potent layer of additional protection to add to your major anti-malware programs.

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