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From the Actrix Online Informer January 2010

by Rob Zorn

Readers' Forum January 2010

If you'd like to ask a question or request some help on any Actrix or Internet-related matter. Simply send us an e-mail with the word "Forum" in the subject line. I'll try and get an answer to you by return e-mail, and will also post the answer here for the benefit of others who may have a similar question or problem. By the same token, if you read something here and think you may have something to suggest, please feel more than free. Please also note that questions and answers may turn up under the Helpful Tips section on the Actrix home page (www.actrix.co.nz).

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Pat writes: Hi Rob, I received this today, but it looks like just another hoax to me, sent to fill up cyberspace - am I right? Pat

HUGE VIRUS COMING ! PLEASE READ & FORWARD !

Hi All, I checked with Norton Anti-Virus, and they are gearing up for this virus! I checked Snopes, and it is for real. Get this E-mail message sent around to all your contacts ASAP.

PLEASE FORWARD THIS WARNING AMONG YOUR FRIENDS, FAMILY AND CONTACTS!

You should be alert during the next few days. Do not open any message with an attachment entitled 'POSTCARD FROM HALLMARK,'regardless of who sent it to you. It is a virus which opens A POSTCARD IMAGE, which 'burns' the whole hard disc C drive of your computer.

[Rest deleted]

Hi Pat, Yep. Emailed postcards are often masks for nasty viruses, but this particular warning just seems to be made up. By getting you to send it on to your friends, you act like a virtual virus. Thatís the joke. Annoying, but ultimately harmless.

You can check on this sort of thing at www.snopes.com, like the sender of this email lyingly suggests they have, and you'll find that it is indeed a hoax.

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Victor writes: Hi, Could you please tell me how to get rid of Personal Security and also how to stop Internet Explorer from crashing?

I did a bit of a search on Personal Security. It appears to be a fake anti-spyware program that installs itself on your computer without your permission. It them automatically attempts to terminate any security programs you have installed that may help to remove it. Once started (and it seeks to install itself in your start up menu) it displays a variety of infections your computer allegedly has, but will state that it will not remove them unless you first purchase the program. These "infections" are either fake warnings or legitimate programs that, if deleted, could cause you other problems. Therefore, you shouldn't act on any of the files it states are infections.

There is a website with instructions about removing Personal Security that says it is designed to help beginning users with these sorts of problems. Bleeping Computer has removal instructions for Personal Security here: www.bleepingcomputer.com/virus-removal/remove-personal-security. If you find these a bit challenging, you may want to find someone more confident to help you.

While Bleeping Computer appears to be a legitimate site, I also have to stress that I have not tried this removal process myself, so you if you follow the instructions, you do so at your own risk. If you're unsure about proceeding, Iíd take your machine in to a computer shop for a good spyware overhaul.

Internet Explorer crashing could be caused by any number of issues. Iíd get the Personal Security one seen to first. You might then find IE works fine.

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Frances writes: Hi Rob, Can you please tell me if you consider this is safe to try?

www.liutilities.com/products/campaigns/adv/sp/speedtest/leader/dnnzno/

Many thanks, Frances

Hi Frances, According to C-Net, this speed test program is spyware free, and its claim to be available through Tucows is legitimate, so it is probably safe to use. However, I was disturbed by the fact that a visit to the link you provide resulted in some pop-up advertising in my browser. Truly legit companies tend to avoid doing that. I also found a page of user reviews which gave it an average of 2 stars out of 5, which isnít a great look. One user warned it installed pop-ups (but he could be mistaken that this software was the source) and other users reported that it worked fine. However, to really use it properly, I think, costs US$29.99, so the more I think about it, the more I think stay away.

See the user reviews at: http://download.cnet.com/SpeedUpMyPC-2009/3000-18487_4-35697.html#rateit.

 

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