Archive for February, 2012

How to stop a virus, or spyware in its tracks! (Repeat Post)

February 22, 2012

Consider this scenario:

You’re browsing the net and all of the sudden an alert pops up on the screen stating that you are infected by viruses!  Most people try to close the infected notice as they would a regular program, or they reboot the computer, both of these efforts will install the virus, or spyware.

Do the following:


It does not matter what version of Windows you are running, by holding down “CTRL, ALT”, and pressing the “Delete” button, a menu will pop up.  Select the “Task Manager”, and then select “Applications” tab.  Under “Applications” select “Windows Internet Explorer”, and then select “End Task”. There may be more than one incident of “Windows Internet Explorer”, so make sure you “End Task” for each incident.  This should stop the virus/spyware before it gets installed on your computer.

Puget Sound Area Computer Service (360) 453-7107

We have been serving the Northwest’s computer needs for over 10 years and we are available after hours and on weekends.

We repair computers and do upgrades.

We can be your consultant on your next computer purchase by tracking down the best computer and software for your needs, at the best price.

We specialize in setting up servers for small businesses using Microsoft Small Business BackOffice Server.

Mac Users: Do you realize that the very  first virus was discovered on a Mac?

The Mac has its’ own Task Manager but it goes by another name: “Activity Monitor”.  Activity Monitor functions in a very similar way to how Task Manager does in Windows, letting you manage and end tasks, applications, and processes easily within Mac OS X.


LastPass Tutorial

February 17, 2012

Just getting started with LastPass? Want to recommend the product to family, friends, or colleagues? This new introductory video gives you an overview of the essential features, including:

  • Logging in to your account,
  • Saving and autofilling a site,
  • Managing your sites in your Vault,
  • Generating a new password with LastPass,
  • Creating a form fill profile for online shopping,
  • Syncing to new computers, and
  • Upgrading to Premium for mobile access

LastPass Tutorial


Java Security Update Fixes 14 Flaws

February 15, 2012

The company is urging users to deploy the fixes as quickly as possible.

Java flaws are a favorite target of miscreants and malware because of the program’s power and massive install base: Oracle estimates that Java is installed on more than three billion machines worldwide.

In an emailed advisory accompanying the new release, Oracle urged users to update without delay. “Due to the threat posed by a successful attack, Oracle strongly recommends that customers apply fixes as soon a possible.”

The new versions are Java 6 Update 31, and Java 7 Update 3. To see if you have Java installed and to find out what version you have, visit and click the “Do I have Java?” link. Existing users should be able to update by visiting the Windows Control Panel and clicking the Java icon, or by searching for “Java” and clicking the “Update Now” button from the Update tab.

Each time Oracle ships a security update, I urge readers who have this program installed to reevaluate whether they need it at all. Failing to keep Java updated leaves you dangerously vulnerable to attacks. For those who need Java for the occasional site or service, disconnecting it from the browser plugins and temporarily reconnecting when needed is one way to minimize issues with this powerful program. Leaving the Java plugin installed in a secondary browser that is only used for sites or services that require Java is another alternative.

Flash Player Update Fixes Zero-Day Flaw

February 15, 2012

Adobe has issued a critical security update for its ubiquitous Flash Player software. The patch plugs at least seven security holes, including one reported by Google that is already being used to trick users into clicking on malicious links delivered via email.

In an advisory released Wednesday afternoon, Adobe warned that one of the flaws — across-site scripting vulnerability (CVE-2012-0767) reported by Google –  was being used in the wild in active, targeted attacks designed to trick users into clicking on a malicious link delivered in an email message. The company said the flaw could be used to take actions on a user’s behalf on any website or webmail provider, if the user visits a malicious website. A spokesperson for the company said this particular attack only works against Internet Explorer on Windows.

Adobe is urging users of Adobe Flash Player and earlier versions for Windows, Macintosh, Linux and Solaris to update to Adobe Flash Player Users of Adobe Flash Player and earlier versions on Android 4.x devices should update to Adobe Flash Player Users of Adobe Flash Player11.1.111.5 and earlier versions for Android 3.x and earlier versions should update to Flash Player

To find out what version of Flash you have installed, visit this page. Users can grab the latest version from theAdobe Flash Player Download Center, although if you’re not careful to untick the check box next to whatever “optional” goodies Adobe tries to bundle with Flash Player (the most common is McAfee Security Scan Plus) you could end up with more than you wanted. Thankfully, Adobe no longer appears to make you first install its annoying Download Manager to grab the latest Flash version, or at least it didn’t when I fetched the update today. Chrome users should already have this update, as Chrome auto-installs Flash updates – often hours or days before the fixes are publicly released for download.

Flash Player in the Sandbox

February 7, 2012

Adobe has released a public beta version of its Flash Player software for Firefox that forces the program to run in a heightened security mode or “sandbox” designed to block attacks that target vulnerabilities in the software.

Flash Sandboxing

Sandboxing is an established security mechanism that runs the targeted application in a confined environment that blocks specific actions by that app, such as installing or deleting files, or modifying system information. The same technology has been built into the latest versions of Adobe Reader X, and it has been enabled for some time in Google Chrome, which contains its own integrated version of Flash. But this is the first time sandboxing has been offered in a public version of Flash for Firefox.

Flash is a big target of attackers partly because it is a powerful program with a huge install base; vulnerability management firm Secunia estimates that some version of Flash is installed in 96 percent of the world’s Microsoft PCs. Windows users can further harden their systems against such attacks by swapping out their current version of Flash for this beta.

The sandboxed Flash for Firefox — Flash Player 11.2 beta 5 — works with Firefox 4 or later running on Window Vista or Windows 7. The latest build is available here:

Google Cloud Print: It’s Actually Awesome, and Here’s How to Set It Up

February 4, 2012

Google Cloud Print is an under-appreciated service that can send print jobs from virtually anywhere to a connected printer in any other location. Normally that involves tedious configuration on your network, but Cloud Print can do it in just a few minutes. It’s really easy to set up, and there are a few things you can do to extend its support beyond the browser to make all your printing tasks a lot easier. Here’s a look at what it can do, how you can set it up, and how to make it even better.
What You Can Do With Google Cloud Print

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Google Cloud Print makes it possible to send any document or image to a printer from any location. For example, if you wanted to print out a letter at home while at work, you could use the service to send that letter to your home printer and have it waiting for you when you get back. Normally this kind of setup requires a tedious network configuration, but with Google Cloud Print you just click a few buttons and you’re done. The service can also print web pages and other documents to PDF format and save them in your Google Docs account. This is can be especially handy if you’re keeping your account synchronized with all your computers using a third-party service called InSync (more info here). Basically, if you want to print anything from any device to practically any location, Google Cloud Print can make that happen.

If you want to get started with Google Cloud Print, here’s what you’ll need:

The Google Chrome web browser.
A regular or internet-enabled printer. (Virtually any printer is fine, but the setup process varies depending on the type of printer you have.)
An active, internet-connected computer that the printer is connected to if it is not an internet-enabled printer.
A Google account. (If you don’t have one, sign up for one here.)
Once you’ve got all of that ready to go, you can start setting it up.

How to Set Up Google Cloud Print

There are two ways to set up your printers with Google Cloud Print. A handful of newer printers have internet connectivity built in and so you can connect them to Google directly. This process varies by printer, so visit this page to learn if your printer is compatible and, if so, how to set it up. If you have a traditional printer that’s connected to your computer, however, the setup process is always the same. Just follow these steps:

First, make sure everything is in place. You’ll need Google Chrome installed on your computer. Also, ensure that your printer is connected to your computer, it’s currently on, and you can print from it normally. (Note: You’ll only be able to send print jobs to this printer when it is connected to your computer, so it’s best to set this up on a desktop machine where the printer will always remain connected and powered on.)

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Once you have everything in place, open up Google Chrome and click the wrench icon in the upper right corner, choose “Options” (“Preferences” on a Mac), and then click the “Under the Hood” tab. Alternatively, just click this link. Now scroll down to the Google Cloud Print section towards the bottom and click “Sign in to Google Cloud Print.”
In the resulting window, sign in with your Google Account. This will enable the Cloud Print Connector on your computer.
When a new message appears with a button labeled “Finish printer registration,” click it.
You’ll receive a confirmation if everything worked properly, and it’ll offer a link called “Manage your printers.” Click on it to verify all the printers on your computer are now listed.
To test out your new setup, try printing something from within Google Chrome (such as this web page). When the printing options appear, choose “Print with Google Cloud Print” from the Destination menu. Click the “Print” button and you’ll be asked to choose one of your cloud printers. Pick the one you want and, assuming everything is working correctly, your printer should print out a document.

Do More with Google Cloud Print

If you followed the instructions in the previous section, you already know how to print from a web page, but there’s still more than you can do. Currently there are plenty of ways you can print from your smartphone, and even from your Mac desktop (if you prefer to avoid using Chrome for the task).

Print From Your Smartphone
Google Cloud Print has an tons of support in Android, of course, with a dedicated Android app and cloud printing support in the Google Docs Android app. You can also use third-party apps such as PrinterShare™ Mobile Print and Easy Print to get even more printing support out of Android. iOS users can check out PrintCentral Pro for iPhone and iPod touch or iPad to print with Google Cloud Print as well. Any mobile device can utilize cloud printing services by simply using Google’s mobile web apps. Just visit on your mobile device to get started.

Print from Your Mac
Strangely, there is no Windows app for Google Cloud Print but there is one for Mac OS X. It is aptly named Cloud Printer, and you can download it for free on the Mac App Store. It’s not a perfect application, as it can only handle documents that Google Docs can view. Also, it doesn’t function like an actual printer and instead requires you to choose a file you want to print from the dedicated app. You can, however, follow these instructions to use Automator to set up a virtual printer if you really want to use the standard print dialogue. Even with these disadvantages, it’s still a simple (and free) way to print from your Mac without the aid of Google Chrome.

Firefox 10 Is Here With Better Extension Management, Full-Screen Webapps, and UI Tweaks

February 2, 2012

Windows/Mac/Linux: Mozilla took the wraps off of Firefox 10 today, and despite it being a nice round version number, this version of Firefox is in-line with Mozilla’s new Chrome-style rapid release schedule. The new version now automatically hides the “Forward” button until you browse back on a page and have a use for it to keep the UI trim, supports full-screen APIs for webapps and utilities that can use the entire display, and improves the way you manage installed browser extensions. Aside from this, the bulk of the update are bugfixes, speed improvements, and under the hood tweaks.
Firefox 10 also marks the introduction of an enterprise-friendly “Extended Support Release,” which will see only security improvements and bugfixes until the updates in the consumer version are large enough to warrant a large-scale update to the business version. Mozilla has this on a “one business update per seven consumer update” cycle, so if Firefox is updating too quickly for you, the enterprise version may be for you.

You can snag the new version of Firefox now at the link below, or use the browser’s in-app updater to download it.

Mozilla Firefox