Bits from Bill Pytlovany: Macs hit by Malware Epidemic

apple hit by malware epidemic

Over the years I’ve attended a number of conferences and panels on what originally was called Spyware and Adware. I think we’ve finally settled on using the term Malware for any kind of spyware, virus, Trojan horse or any kind of unwanted computer invasion. I fondly remember my first conference in Washington DC which included panel discussions like “What is Spyware”.

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Bits from Bill Pytlovany: Dangerous Downloads on Legit Sites

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There are a large number of websites that provide useful reviews and what seems like easy ways to download free software. Unfortunately, these websites also sell ads and allow advertisers to use well known software as keywords in their ads. The result is users often end up with software they can’t remove from their computer instead of what they were looking for.

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Bits from Bill Pytlovany: DroidPatrol Provides PLUS Info for only $1.99

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Two years ago when I first started to use my Motorola Droid I knew immediately the Android operating system had a future. Dreams of a future product made me register the domain “DroidPatrol.com”. Today, the first step in this dream comes true. Anyone with an Android device can go to the Google market and purchase the first release of “DroidPatrol”.

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Bits from Bill Pytlovany: QuickTime -The Most Popular Unwanted File

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By Bill Pytlovany

The release of Windows 95 was suppose to spell the end of Microsoft’s 8.3 filename specifications.  The folks in Redmond hailed the era of long filenames that would provide better descriptions of what a file would be used for. Unfortunately, years later Microsoft and others continue to use filenames which are small and non-descriptive.

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Bits from Bill Pytlovany: Favorite Tips for Online Shopping

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By Bill Pytlovany

It’s been five years since media coined the term Cyber-Monday but the truth is everyday is a  great shopping day online.  I planned on writing an article about the safety of online shopping but noticed everyone was already doing it.  Many sites provide the same duplicate tips. So I thought I might include some of the best tips and post them along with my favorites.

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Bits from Bill Pytlovany: Beware over ambitious clean up programs

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By Bill Pytlovany

Last month I wrote about problems caused by the security company McAfee. An update from McAfee falsely accused my WinPatrol program of being a dangerous Trojan. A slow response from McAfee cost some business but mostly hurt our reputation for over a week.  I’ve had a number of people ask me how things were going since this annoying experience.

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Bits from Bill Pytlovany: McAfee Continues to Harm WinPatrol Users

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By Bill Pytlovany

In the security industry it’s especially nice that many companies get along and often help each other. WinPatrol may not be considered competition but I still have great relationships with folks at SunBelt Software(now part of GFI Software), MalwareBytes, Kaspersky, ESET, Microsoft and even Symantec. One company who apparently has no interest in working together is McAfee now owned by Intel.

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Bits from Bill Pytlovany: Forget the DVD & Save on your New Laptop

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By Bill Pytlovany

I’ve written before about the coming death of the CD/DVD’s for data storage. While that time hasn’t come yet for desktop there is one realm where CD/DVD players are no longer needed. If you’re getting ready to purchase a new laptop the one place you can really save is by shopping for a machine without a CD/DVD player. Not only will you save cash, but you’ll also save big time on weight and energy consumption.

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Bits from Bill Pytlovany: What My Wife Loves About Windows 7

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By Bill Pytlovany

My wife Cindi is a typical computer user who knows how to do what she needs and no more. She has no interest in how it all works but she expects her computer to work in a consistent manner. She enjoys learning new features but only if it’s related to her daily activities and/or makes life easier.

When her new ThinkPad came earlier this year I worried that she wouldn’t welcome the changes.  I don’t know about other geek husbands out there but “anything” that doesn’t work right on Cindi’s computer is my fault. 🙂

So I was nervous when I upgraded Cindi from her Windows XP machine to a brand new Windows 7 interface. To my surprise and delight the conversion was successful and Cindi has been very happy with Windows 7.

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Bits from Bill Pytlovany: National ID System Replaced by Facebook

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By Bill Pytlovany

I’m always writing about privacy and my recommendations on protecting your personal information. The success of social networks like Facebook has proven that most people really don’t care about privacy. The same people who may have signed a petition against a National ID number now share their info willingly with applications on Facebook.

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Bits from Bill Pytlovany: Using Internet Explorer 6, Are you Kidding Me?

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By Bill Pytlovany

One of the fun reasons of hosting many websites is the information that I can collect from all the visitors.  No, I can’t tell how old you are, what you wearing or other personal information but all web administrators collect information like what browser you’re using, your operating system, language and even your screen size.

Ultimately this information is used by website administrators to make your experience on the website more attractive and more compatible with your machine.  It’s one way of telling how many people are still using Microsoft Windows and how many people are using Internet Explorer versus Firefox or Chrome

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Bits from Bill Pytlovany: Little Kids on Facebook

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By Bill Pytlovany

The first time I saw my 12 year old grand daughter on Facebook I wasn’t really concerned until I saw that her birthday implied that she was 18 years old.  Thankfully, she wasn’t trying to misrepresent herself. She just knew that Facebook users under 18 have a different experience. It turns out correcting her birth year back to 1996 was a safer experience.

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Bits from Bill Pytlovany: Get the Most from your Expensive Software

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By Bill Pytlovany

Do you ever find yourself telling people that you know just enough to do what you need with Microsoft Word or Excel and nothing more? It’s very common that most folks learn only what they “need” to use and that’s all they know.

I have a few very powerful and expen$ive programs like Photoshop, and Microsoft Office. I frequently find myself telling friends, “I know this program can do so much more but I probably only use 5% of its capability”. Over the years I may be up to 10% but I’m certainly under utilizing features that could both make me more productive and make me look more professional.

My open question to readers today is “How do you learn to use your software? Do you want to learn more?” Currently we have a number of resources available but they’re so underutilized it’s a shame.

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Bits from Bill Pytlovany: Brand New Computer? Read Me First!

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By Bill Pytlovany

Did you think I was going to start out by telling you all to install WinPatrol as soon as you opened up your new computer? Guess again.  I always try to write my articles from a different point of view and today may not be what you expect.

For the 2nd time I’ve had to return the Dell All-in-One Multi-Touch computer system that I’ve been dreaming about for months. The first unit had to go back because Dell shipped the wrong configuration. The 2nd system had to go back due to internal hardware failure. I should have known something was wrong when I could hear loose parts when I took the computer out of the box.

My point today is take a little time to insure your brand new computer is everything it should be or you may be sorry. Before you install your favorite software on your brand new system I have a few  recommendations.

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Bits from Bill Pytlovany: The Great 99 Cent Software Experiment

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By Bill Pytlovany

Have you noticed that most of the software you’re buying these days is only 99 cents?

The traditional software industry, like many, has been hit hard by slumping economic times. At least that’s what appears to be happening. I can’t help but notice traditional software distribution is in a state of flux not unlike the media and publishing industries.

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Bits from Bill Pytlovany: Who Gets Your Personal Information on Facebook?

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By Bill Pytlovany

Are you one of the 350 million Facebook users? I’m a big fan of Facebook and like many I connect daily to see what my friends are doing and to share photos. As a security professional I am very careful about what I post and what information I allow to be shared. In that respect I’m unique. It surprises me how many of my friends will refuse to allow companies to share their information but eagerly give away their personal information to application developers on Facebook.

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Bits from Bill Pytlovany: Verizon Droid Day One

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By Bill Pytlovany

If you’re looking for a full review of the Droid this isn’t one of them. There are hundreds of them online that review specs and typical review topics. This is as the title says Day One and I’ll tell you what I like along with all stupid things I still haven’t figured out. Watch for Day Two through Four and more as I explore more and learn how to unleash the full potential of the Droid.

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Bits from Bill Pytlovany: How Apple Failed the Macintosh

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By Bill Pytlovany

Yea, I know may get slammed with hate mail for this one but I am open to alternate opinions. The market has been ripe for Apple to pick up a sizable portion of the computer share but it has failed. According to market researchers IDC and Gartner, Macintosh sales are up but their share is still way below 10%. That compares to PC sales by Acer and Toshiba. Why doesn’t the Mac have a larger market share?

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Bits from Bill Pytlovany: Should You Upgrade to Windows 7?

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By Bill Pytlovany

Are you wondering if you should upgrade to Microsoft Windows 7? Yesterday on Facebook I heard from an old friend who asked a question I expect I’ll hear a lot this year.

As a Microsoft MVP award winner I’m under no obligation to promote Microsoft products. If you’ve read my blog before you know I haven’t been a fan of Windows Vista. Contrary to advice from Microsoft, I also recommend waiting 7-10 days before installing Windows updates. My answer to my old friend…

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Bits from Bill Pytlovany: Faster Startup with Windows Prefetch

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By Bill Pytlovany

Earlier this month I had a huge reaction to my post about cleaning up the Windows “Temporary Internet Folder”. Comments from readers provided many other great tips but there was some confusion over one of my major points. Even if you don’t use the stand alone Internet Explorer browser, other components of Windows use this folder so if you miss this post check it out.

A few people also mentioned the Windows Prefetch folder. Prefetch is a pretty cool feature that started with Windows XP, was improved in Vista and even more optimized in Windows 7.

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Bits from Bill: 4 Reasons Why Win7 is 10x Better

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By Bill Pytlovany

It’s no secret that I’ve never been a fan of Windows Vista. I really wanted to love it but even as a designated Microsoft MVP I couldn’t drink the kool-aid nor did I promote Vista to family and friends.

So, what makes Windows 7 so much better that I’ve changed my tune? I’m still happy with Windows XP but I am encouraging folks to invest their money and time to upgrade to Win7. I’ve put together four reasons that may not be secret but you may not hear a lot about due to their technical nature.

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Bits from Bill: Facebook May Not Be For Everyone

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By Bill Pytlovany

A few years ago I joined Facebook to write about privacy issues with their Beacon advertising system. I was quickly sucked in by the fun, convenience and easy ability to keep in touch with family and friends. I really enjoy the ability to share photos and even love to see vacation photos and cute babies from people I don’t really know in real life. While I am continuing to use Facebook, it may not be for everyone.

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Bits from Bill: Firefox Ready to Be #1

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By Bill Pytlovany

Are you a Firefox user? Apparently, if you are you’re not alone. Sometime this year when I wasn’t paying attention Firefox rocketed to a new high. For over three years I watched as Firefox hovered between a 30 to 34% browser share. This month I was surprised to see that Firefox consistently exceeds 40% and is preparing to take over IE as the most popular browser.

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