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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Sept. 2, 2011 / 3 Elul, 5771

How to avoid a high-priced ‘anti-virus’ scam

By Mark Kellner



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | A reader in Chantilly, Virginia, received a bit of a shock about three weeks ago, and then got what nearly became a very expensive online education. One of the latest scams, or rip-offs if you prefer, to hit computer users via the Internet is an "anti-virus" scam, where slick operators promise to fix your computer online, and maintain it for two years, all for the "low" price of just under $270.

Note, the decimal point is in the right place: the reader, who asked that his name not be used, was charged just one cent under that figure, $269.99 to be precise. Given that good anti-virus software for Windows-based PCs can be had for as little as $8.99 at Amazon.com and generally for not more than $40, the price this reader was charged ranged between roughly seven and 30 times what they should have paid.

The incident started innocently enough: the reader was ending a Windows work session, and the program indicated there were updates to download. They let this go on overnight, returning to the computer the next morning. On firing up Internet Explorer, Microsoft Corp.'s popular Web browser, the reader noticed something changed.

"I noticed that the address bar and the other tool bars at the top would go away when the arrow was moved away from the top, thus making the screen slightly larger," the Chantilly reader later wrote. "This started becoming very annoying after awhile, particularly, because some of the material was not coming back. And it was time consuming."

The reader then called "a number I thought was [Microsoft Corp.'s] tech support," which he said was obtained via a Google search.

He added, "They talked me into letting them on my computer. They brought up a page that said I had over 56,000 error messages and that told them that my computer was in terrible shape and even if I bought a new computer, the same mess would come through my Internet service and infect a new computer."

By this point, the reader suspected something was amiss. He called Visa to dispute the charge, called the high-priced vendor - which I'll not name since they deserve to be ignored - and they said the charge would be canceled. After contacting this columnist, he had the proper number for Microsoft Corp., and spoke with someone who helped him out.

However, while things seem to have ended well for the Northern Virginia reader, the problem of various fake "anti-virus" scams is on the rise, said Richard Clooke of PC Tools, a global anti-virus software firm headquartered in Shannon, Ireland.

"It's probably, from what we're seeing, one of the most prevalent new forms of malware that's coming across our user's PCs," Mr. Clooke said in a telephone interview. There are "up to 11,000 [Internet] domains involved in fake anti-virus distribution," he added.

Moreover, "if someone is not particularly tech savvy ... you can persuade them to provide a remote connection to your PC, you can show them something is wrong, and then gather their credit card data," Mr. Clooke said. That might be for the initial, high-priced "service," or it might be for something more nefarious: Along with selling your credit card information on the black market, he said, "they can also take your logins, passwords, email addresses and other personal information from the victim as well as the victim's contacts."

Mr. Clooke said, "This data can rack up significant revenues including selling this information to other cyber crooks."

A request to Microsoft Corp.'s public relations agency for comment from the operating system publisher yielded no response by deadline.

How can users stay safe? The first thing is to have genuine, verified, up-to-date anti-virus software, Mr. Clooke says. Of course, he wants you to buy PC Tools, but firms such as Symantec Corp.'s Norton brand, McAfee, Kaspersky and Trend Micro - among others - are reliable firms whose products are in wide use.

Next, keep your Microsoft Windows updated regularly. Most of the latest versions of Windows - Vista and Windows 7 - have automatic updating: set these for regular updates, automatic ones if possible. It's vital to update your Web browser, too, and to do so regularly.

Also, Mr. Clooke said, "If you get a pop-up [window] alert or email saying 'You're not protected' or 'Click here to update your AV security,' don't click. Never open up emails from unknown parties or type in your [personal] information in pop-ups."

In short, use a healthy dose of common sense when operating your computer, especially when connected to the Internet. And, if something either sounds too good to be true, or too expensive to be realistic, run, don't walk, away.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Mark Kellner has reported on technology for industry newspapers and magazines since 1983, and has been the computer columnist for The Washington Times since 1991.Comment by clicking here.

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© 2011, News World Communications, Inc. Reprinted with permission of The Washington Times. Visit the paper at http://www.washingtontimes.com

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