This Tips is designed to help you be more efficient and provide greater security to the computer, and your account (netID). Following these suggestions should help minimize the number of viruses and defects that infect your machine.

The computer Desktop is actually a file that grows and decreases in size, depending on your activities on the computer. Storing files and folders on the Desktop is a dangerous practice. If actual files and folders are stored on the Desktop, and the Desktop file fails, then you stand the chance of losing anything that was stored on the Desktop. Through the use of diagnostic and repair utilities, these items on the Desktop can sometime be recovered and repaired. But, in some cases, the files are lost forever. Therefore, it is important to store actual files and folders within the hard drive (C:/). If you have files and/or folders that you access frequently, you can make Aliases (Mac) or Shortcuts (PC) of the items and place the Aliases/Shortcuts on the Desktop, instead of the actual items. Aliases/Shortcuts are small files (about 15k) that point to the actual item and open it. More »

Microsoft never sends out updates by email so you should instantly bin this latest threat, which has been doing the rounds over the last 24 hours, I’ve already had about 50 of them sent to me. It’s really easy to spot, the Subject line says ‘Critical Update for Microsoft Outlook and if you open it, it says: Update for Microsoft Outlook / Outlook Express (KB910721). Obviously it’s nothing of the sort though it looks very plausible and has none of the usual clumsy spelling and grammatical errors. If you click on the link you will be taken to a spoof website and instantly download a nasty Trojan, though there are some reports suggesting that the payload may have changed in the past 12 hours. Either way don’t open it and do not on any account click on the link, and at the risk of repeating myself, remember that, Microsoft never sends out updates for Windows by email.

Worms, Trojans, adware, spyware, key loggers and viruses are all types of malicious code that may invade your computer, seriously harming your system and data while also hogging system resources or reducing PC performance and Internet bandwidth. Here are seven ways to protect yourself against malware.

1. Update your operating system regularly

The first step in protecting your PC, and your valuable data, is to ensure that the operating system (OS) is updated with the latest security patches. This is critical as OS manufacturers, such as Microsoft Windows, update the security features of their products continuously to cover any potential and actual loopholes.

2. Buy good anti-virus software

Secondly you should have updated anti-virus software running on your system. This software must be able to scan email and files, as they are downloaded from the Internet, to help prevent malware reaching your system. It is also important to make sure that this anti-virus software is updated frequently, with fixes to the actual engine and to the database files, ensuring they contain the latest cures against new viruses, worms and Trojans. More »

Microsoft issued a warning related to the detection of new examples of malicious code in attacks attempting to exploit a vulnerability affecting various Windows client and server releases. In October, the Redmond giant put out an out-of-band security patch designed to plug a vulnerability residing in the Server Service on Windows systems. According to the company, a successful exploit of the security flaw would lead to remote code execution. The patch was released on October 23, 2008, and will render attacks useless.

“We have seen some new pieces of malware attempting to exploit this vulnerability this week. And while so far, none of these attacks are the broad, fast-moving, self-replicating attacks people usually think of when they hear the word ‘worm,’ they do underscore the importance of deploying this update if you haven’t already,” revealed Security Response Communications Lead, Christopher Budd.

Budd indicated that Microsoft was seeing consistent deployments of the MS08-067 patch, and urged customers that had failed to update so far to do so as soon as possible. At the same time, Microsoft provided a list of malware built to exploit the Server Service vulnerability, including: More »

The iPhone, that extremely popular gadget built by the Cupertino company Apple, is one of the latest devices threatened by some malicious packages, as Orla Cox of Symantec today warned. What’s interesting is that this threat, if we can name it so, is not as dangerous as it may sound, because the only thing it does is to harm some of the applications deployed on the affected iPhone. The malicious file comes as a firmware update and is named “iPhone firmware 1.1.3 prep”. Its creators described the package “an important system update; install this before updating to the new 1.1.3 firmware”, according to the Symantec official. More »