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January 2007 - Ask the Geek Ask the Geek

Archive for January, 2007

"Pay me or I’ll kill you"

In their latest phishing scam targeting dentists, a tactic the FBI has labeled “spear phishing,” the fraudsters actually threaten violence. The potential victim receives an email purportedly from a hit man who has been hired by “a friend” to kill him for $50,000. However, if the victim agrees to pay this “hit man” $80,000, he’ll back off and let the person live:

…i have being paid $50,000.00 in advance to terminate you with some reasons listed to me by my employers, its one i believe you call a friend…

Now, listen, i will arrange for us to see face to face but before that i need the amount of $80,000.00 and you will have nothing to be afraid of.

The entire text of the message is presentented in this article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

One of my company’s clients was targeted by this and called us quite upset. We told him that it was more than likely a hoax, but recommended that he immediately report it to the police. We also referred him to the Internet Crime Complaint Center.

If you know anyone who has been targeted by this scam and hasn’t been told it’s a scam, please give them some relief and send a link to this article.

The Geek

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Filed in: Answers, Email, Security, Spam

Quality free software – Yes, really!

Everybody likes free stuff, but when it comes to software, you often don’t know who to trust. We’ve all been burned by “free” software that was really just a means for someone to infect our machines with tons of spyware and other junk provided by miscreants disguised as “sponsors.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bashing free download sites, many of which I visit on a regular basis; it’s just that you can never be sure of the quality until after you’ve downloaded the program. This is especially true when there hasn’t been much user feedback.

Not so with Giveaway of the Day. You get quality software that you would normally have to pay for, free. Yep, you read that right. Every day, they feature a commercial software program and make it available to everyone for 24 hours, absolutely free.

…a convenient initiative allowing you to get the best commercial software titles – for free. Every day we offer licensed software you’d have to buy otherwise, for free! Yes, we are giving away software, and you can download it from our site, right now and right here and our goal is to give away every good piece of software, sooner or later.

They also have a Game Giveaway of the Day:

…a convenient initiative allowing you to get the best commercial games – for free. Every day we offer licensed game titles you’d have to buy otherwise, for free! Yes, we are giving away games…

And a spyware/virus/trojan-free freeware library where you can download any of the titles any time:

Freeware Library is the perfect place for you to download free software from. Here you can find and enjoy free programs from virtually any category. We check all software carefully for viruses, trojans, spyware etc., so you can rest assured that all programs are pure freeware and safe to download and install.

Check it out!


The Geek

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Filed in: Computers, Software

The First Microsoft Glitch of 2007?

Well, it’s the first one of the New Year that I saw. A friend of mine sent an email early on New Year’s Day:

Help! After defragging and rebooting I got the error message: ‘Application failed to initialize: 0x800106BA. A problem caused Windows Defender Service to stop. To start the service, restart your computer or search Help and Support on how to start the service manually.’

Neither one of those options worked, so my friend tried an over-the-top install using WindowsDefender.msi and got another error message. She then panicked, believing she would be attacked immediately by all of the digital diseases known to man and Microsoft.

I had her uninstall Defender before trying a reinstall. This worked. Turns out the Windows Defender beta she was running expired on December 31.

So, Microsoft, if you’re listening, it would be nice if you had built in an error trap informing the user to upgrade rather than just crashing the app.

I hope this glitch didn’t carry over into the Windows Defender version that is included with Vista…

Happy New Year, Everyone!


The Geek

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Kenny “The Geek” Harthun has been playing with geeky stuff since 1965. He’s a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer with Connective Computing, Inc. providing network, desktop and info security support services to a wide range of clients.

Filed in: Computers, Windows

Friday 13th bug – Y2K all over again or just another hoax?

The Milennium Bug dominated the news for several years prior to the Y2K clock rollover. Gloom, doom and disaster was the order of the day. Survivalists hid out in bomb shelters with dehydrated food, hoarded gasoline and predicted the end of the world as we knew it then. But at the first stroke of midnight, NOTHING happened. The power grid kept feeding us power, planes kept flying, our bank accounts were safe. Was it all a hoax? Or just good preparation well in advance? Read The Surprising Legacy of Y2K.

Well, get ready, because here we go again. In 2038, a similar bug will rear its ugly head and has the potential to be EVEN WORSE than Y2K!!! ;-P Here’s the scoop, straight from the source – the 2038 bug website:

The precise date of this occurrence is Tue Jan 19 03:14:07 2038. At this time, a machine prone to this bug will show the time Fri Dec 13 20:45:52 1901, hence it is possible that the media will call this The Friday 13th Bug.

We only have 31 years to prepare for this, so better start stocking up on the dried beef, MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat) and bottled water…

The Geek

Filed in: Computers
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