Internet |

New Ransomware Virus on the Loose

Posted July 10th, 2012 by Mark with No Comments

Latest ‘FBI Virus’ Infection Scarier than Most


Twice in the last week, I’ve run into a new twist on the old “fake antivirus” infection.  Normally, these types of infections pretend to be helper programs.  They put up a fake scanner window supposedly showing how badly infected your computer is, then magically offer the solution – usually trying to trick you into giving them your credit card number to “buy” software to cleanup your computer.  The idea is to scare you enough to believe the ruse.

This latest version ups the ante by pretending to be from the FBI.  It has the official FBI logo on the main screen, with lots of official-looking verbiage about section such-and-such of the criminal code, and how you’ve broken the law by viewing child pornography.

They further raise the stakes by having a “video recording” window at the top where, if you have a web cam, it actually takes your picture!   The screen goes on to pretend to levy a fine, list the penalties if you don’t pay immediately, and finally offer a button where you can pay the fine.

The text explains that you can’t tell anyone about it, or you could risk arrest, additional fines, being registered as a sex offender, etc.  Scary stuff.

FBI Virus

Ultimately, this is the same scam as always, but admittedly is a little startling.  Perhaps enough to snare a few more unsuspecting victims.

This infection is known as the “FBI Moneypak,” and you can get it merely by visiting an infected website.  One of my customers reported getting infected trying to buy baseball tickets directly from the team site.

Here is a link to the (actual) FBI press release about the infection.

If you happen to get this, the advice is the same as always.  Disconnect your computer from the internet and give us a call.  We’re here to help.

DNS Changer – How to Protect Yourself

Posted May 3rd, 2012 by Mark with No Comments

DNS Changer – Do this now.

The usual media storm of hyperbolic headlines about the latest spyware / malware scare has begun. Here’s my explanation, along with ONE simple thing you need to do.

A few years ago, some bad guys in Estonia cooked up a deal with companies selling fake “little blue pills.” They wrote a piece of malware that, once installed on your machine, would wait patiently until you tried to go anywhere on the Internet. It would then leap into action and redirect you from your intended destination; taking you instead to a site selling these fake pills.

The crooks got a percentage of any purchases made — which netted them about $14 million dollars before the FBI and Estonian police shut down their operation.

To minimize disruption on the Internet, the FBI kept the redirecting computers running, but set them to send you to the actual site you requested (in other words, act like any other “DNS” server and just route traffic appropriately).

The real news here is this: The FBI doesn’t want to keep running these computers forever. They will be shutting them down on July 9th this year, unless they receive an extension and additional funding.

When the computers are shut down, people who have this infection, but don’t know it, may have problems searching the Internet.


How to Check to See if You’re Infected


To check to see if you have this infection, just go HERE. If you get a green graphic, then you’re clean and good to go.

DNS Changer - NOT Infected

If, on the other hand, you get a red graphic,

DNS Changer - You're Infected

then you have the infection and should call us to help remove it.

That’s it. Take this small test before July and let us know if you need help.

How To Make Your Internet Connection Faster

Posted April 28th, 2012 by Mark with 2 Comments


Make your internet connection faster

Does your internet connection seem slower than it used to be?  This is a common problem, but it can sometimes be fixed with just a few simple steps.  To tackle this project, we need to be a little methodical – - ready?  Let’s go!

Steps to Make Your Internet Connection Faster

  1. To start with, let’s find out how fast your internet is.  Go to This Site and click on a couple of locations to independently measure your speed.  Take the average of at least two destinations for your download and upload speed, and write it down.
  2. It’s also helpful to know how fast your internet is supposed to be.  To find out, you’ll need to call your internet provider (e.g. Verizon, Comcast, etc.)  They will often be a little hesitant to give you a number, but if you press, you should be able to find out that the service in your area, for example, is 10 megabit down and 3 megabit up.  Now, move on to the next step.
  3. If the speed you got in Step 1 is within 10% of the speed of your service (Step 2), then stop.  You are getting what you are paying for.  If you want or need faster internet, you’ll have to upgrade your service.  A quick call to your provider will let you know what your options are.
  4. Still with us?  Ok.  That means we can likely help.  Let’s start by unplugging the modem and router (if you have one).  If your modem has a battery backup, you’ll need to make sure you take the battery out to get a complete restart.  Leave the devices unplugged for a minute or two, then put that battery back in if you removed one and plug the devices in again.  After a couple of minutes, reboot your computer and check your speed again (Step 1).  If your speed is now within 10% of your rated speed, stop.  You’ve fixed the problem!  Remember this trick and do it a couple of times each year.
  5. If your speed still isn’t what it should be, then it’s time to do some maintenance on your computer.  This is something we can do easily in a remote support session, so call us at 412.480.9969  if you’d like to arrange one.
  6. If your computer is all cleaned up and your speed still isn’t what it should be, then it’s possible there is a problem with your service.  Call your provider again and give them the results of your speed test.  Ask them to test your connection from their end.  Sometimes they can fix the problem easily, or send a technician out to check your cables, etc.
  7. Lastly, if the provider says everything is working ok from their end and your service is good, then there is a deeper problem that should be addressed.  Call us for help.