Technology
If A Stranger With An Indian Accent Calls From Microsoft Tech Support Saying Your Computer Has Been Compromised And Is At Great Risk, It’s A Scam
Monday, October 28, 2013 15:55

Tags: privacy; security

 

A man with an Indian accent called my home -office number this past weekend claiming to work for Microsoft. My wife handed the phone to me because she could not tell if the guy was selling something, trying to con us, or really was from Microsoft tech support.
 
He asked me if I had access to my computer and told me to run a Windows diagnostic report from Control Panel. He asked how many errors it showed. Since I bought this computer in February 2013, the report had logged 18,000 errors, I told him. “Ooh,” he said, sounding genuinely concerned, “that’s a lot he said. Your computer is at great risk.”
 

He asked me to write down a long license code and I did. He told me to run a command-line prompt to get a license code from my computer. (A command line can be executed from a DOS prompt and displays a pre-Windows operating system interface for the Microsoft operating system.) I ran that command and saw the license code he referenced. "I would not have that license code unless I was from Microsoft tech support," he said.

 

My wife and were supposed to be at my niece’s wedding in 20 minutes. So I did not have time to learn exactly what kind of racket this felonious dirtball was running, but he was definitely criminally malicious. And he was slick.

 
He gave me an 800 number to call him back on and his extension, along with his first name. This really is a great twist but obviously is easy to pull off in an era when email addresses and phone numbers are  fungible.
 
I went along with him and know enough to not trust him, but I have to admit that I was not absolutely, positively certain he was a running a scam. Only later, after I googled, “phony tech support phone calls from Microsoft,” did I learn definitively that it was indeed a scam.
 
Point is, if a stranger with an Indian accent calls from Microsoft tech support saying your computer has been compromised and is at great risk, it’s a scam.
 

 

 

 

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Microsoft Temporarily Pulls Windows RT 8.1 Update
Monday, October 21, 2013 14:49

Tags: Microsoft Surface | Surface RT | Windows 8.1 | Windows RT 8.1

If you are searching for the Windows 8.1 update for your Surface RT tablet you won’t find it.  On Friday, October 18, Microsoft pulled the Windows RT 8.1 update from its Windows Store.  This response from Microsoft came after users reported trouble updating their tablets. 

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“Your PC needs to be repaired.  The Boot Configuration Data file is missing some required information.”  This was the message displayed to “a limited number of users” who were trying to update their Surface tablet to the new 8.1 operating system.  This error then left users with the “blue screen of death” that rendered their tablets unusable.  As per a Microsoft representative, “Microsoft is investigating a situation affecting a limited number of users updating their Windows RT devices to Windows RT 8.1.  As a result, we have temporarily removed the Windows RT 8.1 update from the Windows Store.”  Microsoft has assured users that their engineers are working on the problem, but they are not giving a timeline for when the issue will be fixed.

 

If you were one of the unfortunate ones to get the “Blue Screen of Death” after trying to download Windows RT 8.1, Microsoft has released a fix.  To read Microsoft’s troubleshooting instructions:

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=40810

 

To read more about Windows RT 8.1:

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2056295/microsoft-releases-fix-for-surface-rt-slates-borked-by-windows-rt-8-1-update.html

 

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9243368/Microsoft_yanks_Windows_8.1_update_for_Surface_RT_after_Blue_Screen_of_Death_reports

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Schwab Phishing Scam May Be Targeting Some Advisor Clients
Monday, October 21, 2013 13:48

Tags: privacy; security

Schwab Advisor Servcies today alerted some RIAs about a new phishing scam that is being directed at some Schwab clients. 

 

 

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Clients are receiving emails, that appear to be Schwab Alerts, asking them to click on to review their account. The email message reportedly says tells clients their accounts will be locked if they do not respond.

 

 

Phishing scams prey on naive Web users, tricking them into logging in to a "secure" website that is, in reality, a fake, so that the scammers can collect user names and passwords. 

 

 

 

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Windows 8.1 Now Available; Should You Upgrade?
Thursday, October 17, 2013 09:42

Tags: microsoft | Operating Systems | windows 8

Windows 8.1 is avaialble. Should you upgrade?

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If you are running Windows XP, you pretty much have no choice but to upgrade to Windows 7 or the newer, Windows 8.1, operating system. XP is not going to be supported anymore by Microsoft. The fact that you have stuck with Windows XP even after Windows 7 and Windows 8 were released indicates that you're not a techie, don't care much about this stuff, or don't trust Microsoft.  

 

I've been using Windows 8 since Februrary 2013. Based on my personal experience and the many reviews I've read in the press, Windows 8 and 8.1 is solid. It does not crash. While I would not have suggested non-techies upgrade desktop machines from XP to Windows 8 until now, today's release of the 8.1 version of Windows addresses the useability issues that made Windows 8 confusing. The familiar "Start" button is back and there's a lot more help for new users in 8.1. So you'll be fine. 

 

If you are already running Windows 8 on a computer or tablet, you can now download the free update to Windows 8.1 online through the Windows Store. The update has been getting very good reviews and you'll only benefit from the improvements.

 

If you are on a device running Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, or the Windows 8.1 Preview, visit this page on Windows.com to detect your OS and get Windows 8.1 on your device.

 

To get the full benefit of Windows 8.1, you really need to use it on a device enabled for touch computing. Tablets, laptops, convertibles, and phones with touch screens are an inexpensive way to try out the touch-enabled operating system. This holiday season, a new generation of ultra-high resolution touch screen monitors will be debuting that will make the touch experience on desktops much better. Because these monitors are 2560 X 1440 resolution, they can be closer to you (18 inches) and you can comfortably reach out and touch the screen. With a high-definition 1080p monitor, everything displayed on the monitor is too large when it is only 18 inches away from you. Check out new Windows devices available now and coming in the holiday season.

 

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Researcher Uncovers Backdoor Vulnerability in D-Link Routers
Monday, October 14, 2013 21:19

Tags: privacy; security

A security researcher this weekend discovered a backdoor vulnerability with certain D-Link routers that might allow cyber criminals to alter a router's setting without a username or password, and D-Link says it is working on a fix.

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D-Link will address by the end of October, says PC World.

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