My Hotmail account can’t be accessed

July 11th, 2012 Paul Wallbank Posted in security No Comments »

At the time of log in my Hotmail account one message prompting me that “Someone may have used your account to send out a lot of junk messages (or something else that violates the Windows Live Terms of Service). We’re here to help you get your account back”. What do you need to do?

We’ll walk you through a few steps to verify that you own the account, then have you change your password in case someone else has been accessing your account. It should only take a few minutes and then you’ll be unblocked and on your way. Then I follow the first step and it shows that they have send a code to my yahoo id but there is no such code received in my yahoo id. How can i get access to my hotmail account now ?

You’ll need to follow Microsoft’s instructions on recovering your accounts. Unfortunately if you’ve been totally hacked, you’ll find the reply emails and SMS settings won’t work.

Note:It is worth checking your Yahoo! mail spam folder just in case the Hotmail reset message is going there.

If that has happened, Microsoft do have a step in their wizard for a follow up, but many people find they wait a long time for assistance.

The best thing to do if you can’t get any email or text message reset details is to write off the Hotmail account and set up a new one, either with – the successor to Hotmail – or with GMail or Yahoo! Mail.

When you do set up a new account, make sure you let everyone know your account has been changed and they should disregard any messages from that account. You may also want to change the passwords on any other services where you’ve used the same login details.

Checking for the DNS Changer Trojan

July 8th, 2012 Paul Wallbank Posted in security, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows XP 2 Comments »

On Monday, thousands of computers around the world will be cut off the web as the servers behind the DNS Changer Trojan Horse are shut down.

What is the DNS Changer Trojan?

The DNS Changer did exactly what the name says – it changed a computer’s Domain Name Service (DNS) settings so that all web traffic went through servers belonging to the virus writers.

Eventually the writers were caught and the computers were seized, in order to avoid disruption the servers were left running but they will be shut down on Monday.

On Monday, those computers still infected won’t be able to surf the net until the problem is fixed.

How Do I Know I’m infected?

As part of the Shutdown, the DNS Changer working group was set up. On their site they have a  detection tool website that will tell you if your computer is infected.

How can I fix the problem?

The easiest fix is with the Microsoft Malware Scanner which will check your computer for the DNS Changer virus along with other malware. If the scanner detects a problem it will remove the virus. IT Queries also have instructions on Removing A Trojan.

To prevent further infections, it’s necessary to install an up to date anti virus. A good free one is the Microsoft Security essentials tool.

The DNS Changer Trojan was very effective malware and it illustrates why computer users need to be careful of where they go on the mean streets of the Internet.

Strange calls about Windows problems from Microsoft Technical Support

June 28th, 2012 Paul Wallbank Posted in security, Windows XP No Comments »

I have Windows XP installed, including “Defender” and Trend Micro 2012 internet security.

I am getting frequent phone calls from the “Windows Technical Support” offering me online help to fix the “very many security issues on my PC” by remotely accessing my computer and for a fee guaranteeing to keep it clean of all malware, spyware,etc etc.

Are they for real or have I been scammed by talking to them and running their “scan” which showed “1000′s of problems”. Meanwhile my com[puter seems to be running normally. Grateful for your advice. Many thanks, Tom

Hi Tom,

Unfortunately these calls are scams. If you’ve been taken in by one, contract your credit card provider to have any charges reversed and change all your important passwords and other logins.

It would also be a good idea to follow our Removing a Trojan instructions to make sure nothing untoward has been installed on your system.

You may also want to remove Trend Micro and install the free Windows Security Essentials on your system.

Can downloading Adobe Reader attract spam?

January 5th, 2012 Paul Wallbank Posted in email, security, spam 1 Comment »

I’m an infrequent, inexperienced and incompetent computer user.

First PC late 2006; first 2-3 years of use, no problem with spam –  received almost nothing at all. Against better judgement, downloaded a free office WP package. Some time after started to receive quite a lot of spam. Eventually I connected it to the ‘free’ download, figured out how to remove software and  spam ceased.

After several years of ignoring invitations to download the latest Adobe update, decided should take advantage of all my computer has to offer and hit the ‘download now’ button for Adobe.  Now I receive masses of spam (several a day) offering ‘to enlarge my penis’, continuing for several weeks; this has recently changed to offerings of ‘bonus wins’ – none of which I open or delete.

Do I have to remove Adobe to get this to stop?

Cheers for the New Year.

Thanks for the new year greeting.

Unfortunately removing Adobe isn’t going to fix the spam problem. What’s happened is your email address has somehow found its way onto the spammer list, possibly through the free software you downloaded.

All you can really do about this sort of spam now is to make sure you have a good spam filter on your email program. If you’re using a web based service like Gmail or Yahoo! Mail they should deal with it automatically. Programs like Microsoft Outlook need the feature turned on.

If you let us know which email program you’re using in the comments section below, we can give you the instructions on enabling the spam checker for your service.

Updating Adobe is really important as they have had a lot of security problems in recent  times, so don’t hesitate with installing any legitimate upgrades.

A spam email has been sent from my email account

November 10th, 2011 Paul Wallbank Posted in email, security No Comments »

An email was sent from my yahoo email account to all in my address book. The email advertised Viagra. I use Norton Security on my XP OS. I have run it since the “attack”. How do I know if it is gone now? What else should I do?

Spammers can get into your account through a number of ways and if your computer is up to date with security patches and anti virus protection then it’s unlikely your computer was hacked to carry out this spam campaign.

What has probably happened is your Yahoo! mail account has been hijacked, which could have happened from any computer.

Your first step is to change your Yahoo! passwords then those of any accounts that use the same password. You may also want to take the opportunity to download a copy of your online address book.

On your own computer, visit the Microsoft Update website to make sure you have the latest Windows security patches installed and the Symantec Security Centre for the latest security definitions.

It might also be a good idea to send out a message to your friends, relatives and colleagues to tell them you’re not really in the business of selling viagra or other pills.

How to stop Windows Automatic Updates from happening without permission

September 12th, 2011 Paul Wallbank Posted in security, software, Windows 7, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows Vista, Windows XP No Comments »

My Windows computer keeps installing updates that take a lot of time to install which can be irritating when I’m at a client’s site. How can I stop this from happening?

Updating your computer, whether you have a Windows or Mac computer, is very important as new security bugs are found all the time. Unfortunately Microsoft’s automatic update function can be intrusive.

It isn’t a good idea to totally disable the Windows Update service as those updates and patches are important, but you can change the settings so they are downloaded but not installed until you choose to do so.

Microsoft’s Knowledge Base describes how to change the Windows Update Settings, we recommend the download updates but let me choose when to install themoption.

wiping data from a Mac computer

September 12th, 2011 Paul Wallbank Posted in Apple, security No Comments »

I’m getting rid of an old Apple Mac system, how do I make sure no-one can read my private information on it?

The most valuable thing on a computer is the data, so it’s important to wipe any system before disposing of it.

If you have an OS X or OS 9 system disk, you can completely wipe and “zero” the disk to make it extremely difficult for someone to recover any data from the old computer. Apple have detailed instructions on this at their How To Zero All Data On A Disk page.

Warning! Before following Apple’s instructions, make sure you have backed up all important and valuable data.

Removing MacKeeper alerts

September 12th, 2011 Paul Wallbank Posted in Apple, security, software No Comments »

Warnings keep popping up on my computer screen saying my system may need cleaning up. How do I get rid of these messages?

These messages are known as  malware – software designed for malicious reasons – which has been the bane of Windows computer users for years and unfortunately this curse has spread to the world of Apple computers with MacKeeper, and other variants like MacProtector and MacSecurity, appearing on people’s Macs.

In almost every case, these warnings are a scam and the programs don’t actually do anything once you’ve purchased them. So we’d recommend getting rid of the messages.

Removing Mackeeper is relatively easy and Apple has released a security patch to fix it on OSX systems. Details and download are available at the Apple Support website.

How do I backup Windows Live Hotmail?

May 16th, 2011 Paul Wallbank Posted in security, Windows 7 1 Comment »

I use Windows Live Hotmail on Windows 7. How do I backup my emails?

One of the most irritating things to lose when a computer crashes or you replace it are your email and contacts.

Windows 7 comes with its own backup program which Microsoft shows you how to use it on their website.

If you select all your data, or at least your profile, the backup will save your Windows Live Hotmail data along with your contacts, favorites and all your other settings.

Once you’ve created the backup, we’d suggest using an online service like Dropbox or to keep a secure copy of these files.

Microsoft have called to say I have a virus in my computer

May 13th, 2011 Paul Wallbank Posted in security No Comments »

At dinner time somebody called saying they were from a company working for Microsoft, they told me my Windows computer had a security problem, probably a virus, and they needed to fix it for me. Do Microsoft make these calls and could I have an infected PC?”

The answer to first question is “no”, Microsoft don’t make these calls and you’re being targeted by a silly little scam that’s looking at conning you out of a $100 or so.

If you agree to these people running their remote service they will log in using a legitimate software program, usually LogMeIn and play around for a little while. At the end of their “repairs” they will have done little more than charge your credit card.

To date we haven’t heard of anyone having their data stolen or credit cards misused by these people but that’s all possible if you’ve let them onto your computer.

In answer to your second question, if you are worried you’re infected then you should follow our Removing a Trojan instructions or call a computer technician to check your system.

Should you have let one of these scammers onto your system, we’d strongly recommend getting your computer checked by an experienced technician and dispute any payments charged by these people.