CONSUMERS BEWARE

How’s this for a kick in the gluteus maximus? You pay for anti-virus software but it doesn’t get rid of the virus, so they offer to remove it but want to charge you several hundred dollars. According  to hundreds of complaints on a website launched by Consumer Affairs, the worst offenders are  Norton, McAfee and CleanMyPC. A Norton user, to take just one example, found he couldn’t install the Norton program; his computer froze. Norton tech support told him if he paid $155, they could get it installed. Another Norton customer was told it would cost her $300 to remove a virus. Another guy said his computer ran slowly for two years until he discovered that Norton was a resource […]

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THE RISKS OF APPLE PAY

According to a 2015 Mobile Payment Security Study of 900 security professionals, half say mobile payments such as Apple Pay are not safe. Nevertheless, nearly all expect paying by phone to become a lot more common in the next 12 months.

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SWITCHING ANTI-VIRUS PROGRAMS

A reader writes that he’s been using Norton Security on his desktop computer for years, and it works fine. Now it’s up for renewal. Should he pay the $38 or get the free Avast?

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FREE ANTIVIRUS PROGRAM

PC Magazine recently did a review of leading free anti-virus programs. Their top picks were Panda Free Antivirus, BitDefender AntiVirus Free Edition, and Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit Free. Avast, which we’ve used for years, was number four out of ten. For tough problems needing paid support, we recommend HelpHelpNow.com (with which we have no connection).

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FAKE TECH SUPPORT

A reader told us she got a call from a guy saying that her Windows computer was about to crash. She took it seriously because he claimed to be from Microsoft. This is a scam and not a rare one.

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BEWARE OF TV ADS

We’re amazed at the info a website can collect about us without our doing anything but visiting.

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WATCH OUT FOR THE UPDATE AD

Our screen kept nagging us with messages that we needed to update Adobe Flash Player, a program necessary for video playback on the web. But since we knew we already had the latest version , we ignored it.

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READER PROBLEM

It turns out McAfee isn’t the only anti-virus company that wants to charge you big bucks whenever you have a problem. A reader alerted us that this happened with Avast, the free anti-virus we have often recommended.

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DIRE PREDICTIONS

Here are some scary predictions for 2015 from MalwareBytes, makers of a free popular anti-spyware solution. We have used it for years. — “File-less Payloads” We’ll see an increase in malware that isn’t an actual file on your computer but runs only in your computer’s memory. These are real tough to get rid of. — “Ransomware” This is malware that messes up your phone and the party who placed it there demands a payment to remove it. Of course, if you’ve backed up your phone’s data, you can revert to the original factory condition and then re-load. — “Wallet Malware” Using your phone to pay at the counter is just one more function that makes your phone vulnerable to attack, […]

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WHY WINDOWS SEEMS SLOW

Our favorite question-and-answer site, Quora.com, recently posted a message from David Seidman, a Microsoft employee, on the question of why Windows gets so slow after just a year of use. First off, he says, if you never install any software, except security updates, and leave lots of free disk space, it will never slow down. On the other hand, if you have lots of programs, you should run the “msconfig” utility to keep so many from loading at start up. In Windows 7, get to msconfig by clicking “start,” and “run” and typing “msconfig.” In Windows 8, get to the startup tab by right-clicking your taskbar and choosing “task manager.” Seidman says that Windows 8 runs many fewer services at […]

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