Comcast trialing service to alert customers of potential computer infections

Comcast just launched a trial of an automated service that would alert its customers if they have possible virus or malware infections on their home computers. Great, but… it works as a browser toolbar. Granted the average customer probably uses their Internet connection mainly to surf the Web, but what happens if they switch browsers or simply stop paying attention to pop-ups or blinking text?

My experience working with end-users is that they need an out-of-band alert. Email doesn’t do it. Pop-up alerts on their computer doesn’t do it. Telling them does! I’d like to see Comcast stick with the original idea – calling customers. They can automate that too.

Don’t get me wrong; I give Comcast a lot of credit for being the first to institute something like this – it should have been done ages ago and by many ISPs, but I’m a bit concerned about its eventual effectiveness. Well, it’s a trial, so hopefully they take the results to heart.

via CNet

Microsoft Security Essentials, free anti-virus security software released

As promised, Microsoft just released its free security program for Windows XP/Vista/7 this week. This is anti-virus/anti-malware/anti-spyware/anti-trojan/anti-rookit software. It replaces Microsoft Defender.

The big question here is whether or not Microsoft will run products made by Symantec, McAfee, et al out of business.

You can download Security Essentials from Microsoft.

GfG’s Article Recap for Week Ending May 29, 2009

This week saw us yearning after some ‘appliance 2.0’ technology including ‘connected’ washers/dryers and a freezer failure sensor kit.

We reviewed a poster printing service which we thought was pretty good.

The Easy iPod Media Sharer‘s name says it all – useful family gadget. We do love our Gmail; their new lab is cool – an Inbox Preview feature.

We feel that President Obama is taking the right approach in creating a Cyber Czar position.

Article Recap for the Week Ending Apr 10, 2009

Here’s some of the notable articles and gadgets from this past week:

A few weeks ago we reported on Legacy Locker asset access scheme in case of death, well now it’s live. Residents in Broughton, UK, decided that they didn’t like Google’s StreetView intrusion, and got a bit angry with the StreetView driver. In some positive Microsoft news, downgrades are going to be available for Windows 7, much like the XP downgrades from Vista.

Back to tangible gadgets: Guitar Hero enthusiasts will like these new Guitar Hero cufflinks (no batteries needed!), and Flip has a new tiny HD camcorder.

We made an attempt to answer the question “What is a Gizmo?” (a.k.a “What is a Gadget?” ).

Last but not least, the Conficker worm has gone live so it’s important to get your computer and security systems up-to-date.

Conficker Worm wakes up; Check your AV and patches

AV researchers noticed that the Conficker worm ‘woke up’ and has started replicating a piece of data among infected computers. It is still unknown what this mystery payload is, but it could be something as dangerous as a keylogger.

Bottom line is that you should check your Windows systems again for up to date virus definitions and security patches. You should also make use of a couple of free online checks: the Conficker Eye Chart (makes sense when you see it) and another test at the University of Bonn.

Trustware’s BufferZone separates files and applications

As a follow-up to our piece on the Conficker C worm, a vendor called Trustware sent us news about their product (BufferZone) which can arguably be classified as an Anti-Virus app, but doesn’t quite work like the typical AV program. BufferZone claims to prevent malicious code from installing on your system by placing it into its own little virtual container and away from data and operating system files.

I wonder somewhat about the performance of a virtualization app as compared to a real-time virus scanner, but you can take BufferZone for a free 30-day test drive and find out for yourself.

Article Recap from the Week of Mar 27, 2009

Here’s our weekly summary of featured items from Gizmos For Geeks:

There’s a new feature from Google Labs that allows you to ‘unsend’ an email just after sending. Why oh why is the Sci Fi Channel renaming themselves to SyFy?

For noisy environments, you’ll be able to get a ‘throat microphone’ from Sanwa. Home improvement buffs may like the Ultimate Musical Doorbell and wanna-be musicians should take a look at the illuminated fret guitar.

Perhaps one of the more high-end, expensive items this week was the 3G WiFi router for Cadillacs. tikitag which was an item we featured from CES 2009 was renamed to ‘touchatag’ and got some new features as well.

For all of you who crave for faster broadband speeds, VDSL2 might have the answer with the possiblity of up to 500Mbps speeds through simple copper telephone wiring.

Finally, the most important article was that there’s a new virus making the rounds and you should update your AV definitions and security patches ASAP.

Source: Gizmos for Geeks.

Update your Virus Scanner & Patch your system

If you’re running Windows, then you should get your system patched ASAP and check that your virus scanner definitions are up to date. Not that you shouldn’t be doing this all the time, but there is a worm called Conficker C that has already infected millions of computers and will allow the author to control those computers on April 1.

Luckily, the world has been mostly spared from really serious attacks. Most viruses, worms and trojans have been written to make the authors lots of money, not necessarily inflict damage on the target computers. But that could change easily. Be afraid and take steps to prevent that from happening to you.

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