IE9 RC-Release Candidate

On February 10th, 2011, Microsoft launched the IE9 Release Candidate. This release does not come without bugs however. Be sure you’re ready for some unexpected error messages if you use this version. Will Microsof get it right? Yes. Is it right now? No, that’s why it’s only a release candidate.

Hold your clicker and wait till it’s official.

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Bob Rankin: Microsoft Security Essentials – Good Enough?

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By Bob Rankin

Microsoft Security Essentials is a free anti-malware application first released in June, 2009. It replaces the subscription-based Windows Live OneCare antivirus service and the free Windows Defender, which only protected against spyware and adware. Does this all-in-one security tool provide enough protection? Let’s find out…

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The World of Computer Security

Thanks for the tremendous response to our last piece analyzing the state of the security industry. We firmly believe that using cloud technology can help us better understand security issues and therefore make better security products. In this edition, we decided to analyze the distinctions between security in different parts of the world. We analyzed which types of security threats were most prevalent by region. We also analyzed which security software was most prevalent by region.

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Google Admits Guilt

Maybe it’s time we opened our eyes and took a look around. I don’t think relying on good intentions is going to cut it any more. Our privacy deserves at least a little effort to preserve. Is anyone else bothered by this?

German officials finally find a crack in Googles armour and get an admission that they have been collecting private data from unprotected wireless connections since 2006.

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The State of PC Security

PC Pitstop Research analyzed 50,258 computers and found the following:

  • 23% of computers have no active security protection.
  • 14% of the computers had some sort of high level threat.
  • Spyware is the most common malware threat followed by Rogue Security Software.
  • Kaspersky protects the best against Rogue Security Software and Trend Micro is the worst.
  • Symantec protects against spyware the best, and Kaspersky the worst.
  • Trend protects the best against keyloggers and Avast fares the worst.
  • Kaspersky protects against viruses the best, and Symantec tails the pack.

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Fake AntiVirus At Epidemic Proportions

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Strangled by trojans, each week I see systems brought to a standstill. Sometimes it’s a neighbor and sometimes it’s a friend, but the story is always the same. “A popup said I was infected so I tried to remeove it. Now I can’t download anything. The program said it would help, but it didn’t.” They look real, mimicking Microsoft or well known AntiVirus products. The names sound ligitimate, calling themselves AntiVirus 2009 and such.

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Bits from Bill: We Have Your Password & We Own You

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By Bill Pytlovany

Every few months I like to write about passwords and backups just to remind everyone how important these issues can be. While I’d like to remind you again to review your backup policies, I really want to stress some common sense password protection.

I’m sure you all know enough not to use your kids or pets names for passwords but do you use different passwords for every different site you visit online? If not, you could be in real danger and you’re putting everyone else in danger too. STOP IT!

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WINDOWS 7 TWEAK GUIDE

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After some pretty exhaustive research I was surprised at the lack of real tweaks and suggestions for Windows 7, so here’s your chance. Put your proven and personal tweaks in the comments section and I will add them to the article as a part of our Windows 7 Tweak Guide. Keep in mind that there are many suggestions on the WWW that are completely bogus.

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ENCRYPTION What is it? Does it work?

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Are your bank accounts and passwords safe? Are your browser settings where they should be? Is your computer slow because it’s busy sending your personal information to Russia?

Don’t become the fly in the ointment by thinking that your Firewall, Antivirus, or ISP is going to protect your data. Use encryption all the way to the file level. Have you altered or lowered your browser setting recently? Set them back where they belong. Your protection is only as good as you allow it to be. Protect yourself.

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PC PITSTOP FIGHTS SCAREWARE – AV2008(9)

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This happened just 2 days ago. On Saturday I installed a new copy of Windows XP. It was a brand new copy and I put it on a brand new hard drive for the purpose of software testing. I finished the install and applied the drivers. I was behind a router which acts as a firewall. I opened the IE browser and went to a favorite site. I read the forums and exactly 23 minutes after the install I was receiving AV2009 popups. It’s scare ware. It told me I was infected and needed to download their program to remove the threat. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t even have an email client installed, no Instant Messenger.

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Emergency Security Patch Issued By Microsoft

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URGENT Install Immediately: PC Pitstop recommends installing this latest (958644) Microsoft security patch now.

On October 22, Microsoft released security patches for all versions of Windows listed below. This “out-of-cycle” patch was released in Microsoft Security Bulletin MS08-067 . Its sudden release only serves to emphasize its importance. You can check your add/remove programs sections to see if the patch was automatically installed (be sure to check the “show updates” box).

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A Video is Worth a Hundred Blogs

I was shocked when Dell announced their first battery recall in August 2006, quickly followed by Apple. Being cynical by nature, the only reason that these companies would proactively do an expensive battery recall was to limit liability on a potentially explosive (pun intended) issue. I talked to numerous industry vets and learned that the potential exists for many more battery explosions and recalls. At PC Pitstop, I made it our mission to inform the public of the danger of battery fires, and practical tips to avoid them.

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Playing with Fire III

Last night, before I went to bed, the battery in my notebook felt a little hot. All these crazy thoughts went through my head. Was this the first sign before it explodes? What would I do if my notebook exploded in the middle of the night? Perhaps, I was being paranoid, but I pulled the battery out of my portable before drifting off to sleep.

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Notebook PC Explodes

We intentionally created conditions in which the Li-ON battery pack would explode inside a generic portable. The results are dramatic. There are numerous conditions where these fires can occur in real life. Faulty battery packs (driving the recalls), faulty protection circuits inside the PC, exposure to excessive heat, and blunt force are some of the major ways that this could happen to you.

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Playing with Fire: Part II

Tony Olson
CEO D2 Worldwide

Rob: Hi, this is Rob Cheng. It’s October 13th, 2006. I’m here with Tony Olson who is an old friend of mine that I worked with at Gateway. He was the Vice President of Engineering. Tony started a brand new company called D2 Worldwide and he has a lot of insight into the portables and what’s going on there. Tony, first tell me a little bit about D2 Worldwide and how you learned so much about the portables.

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Playing with Fire

Last month, Dell announced they would be replacing over 4 million batteries from notebook computers shipped worldwide during the last 2 years. Shortly, after that Apple announced a similar recall on a smaller scale. Doing a recall on this magnitude is an extremely expensive and complex task, and PC Pitstop applauds these companies for leading the way. The reality is that all portables running LiON batteries have some probability of exploding. Apple and Dell owners should be pleased, not dismayed, that their manufacturers chose to be the leaders in alerting their users to the risks of portable computing.

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FREE Protection vs Paid Protection from Spyware

There is no doubt that the lines are being drawn for a galactic cyber battle for control over your PC and your desktop. Spyware and adware companies make barrels of money installing their clandestine applications on your PC without your knowledge. Even for an advanced user, typically the most expedient solution is to install an anti spyware product. This article will take an in depth look at the various anti spyware solutions we have seen at PC Pitstop. During this discussion, the reader should refer to our anti spyware graph from our research section.

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