Tuesday, January 17, 2017


You may have seen a message telling you CCleaner isn't compatible with your version of Windows. It results from a recent Windows update and isn't a big deal.
You can uninstall CCleaner and reinstall it, which actually is the best answer because Piriform (CCleaner's developer) released a new version of CCleaner today anyway.
Most of us only need the free version of CCleaner. None of us need anything more running in the background to slow things down, collect our data and report home.
CCleaner is a utility for cleaning out temporary files on your computer, among other uses. It is not an antivirus, malware remover or protector of any kind. However, running CCleaner regularly (at least weekly) might remove any malware lurking in your temporary files waiting to be triggered.
Some people complain that after running CCleaner they have to type in their saved user names and passwords on some web sites. Yes, that's one of the big benefits of CCleaner. Knowing your user names and passwords is a minimum basic skill necessary for using a computer online. You can configure CCleaner to not wipe your user names or passwords, but practicing logging in once in a while is a valuable skill. Don't be so lazy.
Remember - free version only, watch what you're clicking, follow the prompts and never allow 3rd-party software to come along for the ride if offered during the installation. No Google Toolbar, no McAfee or Norton Security scans. None.
Ask if you have questions.


Thursday, December 22, 2016


What is going on with MBAM (Malwarebytes AntiMalware)?
If you recently updated Malwarebytes you may have received the next-generation version, and wow – does it look different. And it installs the Premium Trial by default so you’ll be constantly nagged to “upgrade” (read: purchase). What do I do now?
MBAM 3.0 (or more precisely now, MB – since they dropped the “AntiMalware” part of the name) is now an antivirusantimalware security suite instead of just a malware removal tool. According to the MB web site, the new version is built to replace or run alongside your existing security software. However, if you’d like constant protection, as with most antivirus suites, you’ll need to pay for Malwarebytes. It’s your call, but I prefer using the built-in (on Windows 10 and 8/8.1) Defender for antivirus, and additional free tools when necessary to scan for and remove malware and potentially unwanted programs (PUPs). On Windows 7 I’m sticking with the free Microsoft Security Essentials and Malwarebytes and SuperAntiSpyware.
What to do about that MB Premium Trial, now that it’s on your computer? Don’t panic; a few clicks in the Settings and you’re back to Free, and a decent malware seeker and destroyer. Here’s how:

1.  Close this window.

2. Click Protection settings

3. Click the My Account tab, then click Deactivate Premium Trial

4. Click the Application tab. Deselect (uncheck) any boxes you like, but be sure to uncheck the last one. 

5. Click the Protection tab, then check Scan for rootkits.

6. Click Dashboard on the left, and let Malwarebytes update and run a scan. Remove anything it finds. 

You can update and run Malwarebytes anytime you like. It's a good idea to run monthly, anyway. 

Malwarebytes is still a great tool, but like most software the developers constantly strive to improve. At first glance it's now harder to configure, increases the demands for upgrades, and takes longer to scan. 

Malwarebytes now claims to protect against ransomware attacks (paid version only), which would be a great thing. However, their first ad compaign claims that 40% of businesses have already been attacked by ransomware and that seems like an outlandish claim with no obvious source. Skepticism isn't something a security company should want to invite upon itself. The first, best protection against ransomware is keeping current backups of any data you don't want to lose. 

If you have questions about configuring or using Malwarebytes as part of your computer security, please ask. 

Cathy Contant         315-573-4905     cathy@cathycom.com

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


Exaggerating a problem that's happening to some doesn't help. Be aware, protect yourself, but don't become an alarmist!

From the smart people at That's Nonsense. 


Monday, November 28, 2016


Don't condemn an entire community for lack of understanding. Most infections acquired by Facebook users are self-inflicted and it's good to inform yourself. 

That's Nonsense lays it out for us: 


Monday, November 7, 2016


Electronics disposal has become a bigger challenge and hassle than it should. Finding a convenient local collection spot or event is next-to-impossible. So I'm doing something about it, while hoping to regain the use of my garage for the winter.
If you're a client of mine and have electronics you no longer need, you can drop them off at my lab this week - and this week only. That's today, November 7 through Saturday, November 12.
Here are the details:
1. You'll do the lifting - I'm still on restriction.
2. I'm not wiping any computers of your personal data, unless you insist and then I have to charge you for the time it takes. However, EWASTE+ assures me they must wipe or shred "any data bearing device" to attain this standard.
3. Computer towers, laptops, printers, speakers, cables, keyboards, mice, routers are accepted free. "Microwaves accepted at $5 each, flat screen TV’s are no cost as well as Sony CRT’s. Any non-Sony CRT’s are at the 35 cents per pound rate." Since I don't have a scale and will not be weighing anything, if you want to drop off a CRT monitor or TV (non-flat-screen), I'll take them at $10 each.
4. If you have questions, let's discuss. If you need directions, please ask privately. I'm not interested in publishing the lab location on the Internet.
5. If you'd like to pick up a calendar at the same time, I have a few left. Always available here: www.cathycontant.com
6. Please let me know when you'd like to drop off so I can open the garage, making it easier for you to offload.

Friday, September 30, 2016



If you're having trouble with Time Warner's email through Windows Live Mail, you're not alone. It's NOT YOUR COMPUTER, please stop messing with things.
There are several things going on, none of which have anything to do with you or your computer. And no, you have no control.
  1. Windows Live Mail (WLM) is no longer supported by Microsoft, which gives email providers a great excuse to push you to web mail. Web mail is far easier for them to support, though most of us hate it. For now, you can call Time Warner for help, you can wait for your email to work (and it probably will, eventually), or you can go to the web mail portal to use your Time Warner (RoadRunner) email. There are many ways to get to Time Warner's web mail. You can use this link: https://webmail.roadrunner.com/or you can get there from Time Warner's Home Page (click Mail).
  2. Time Warner is in the middle of a big changeover to Spectrum. The network is glitchy right now. Sometimes email works and web pages don't; sometimes searches won't work but Facebook sort of does. This too, shall pass. Go outside and enjoy the Fall while you can. The Internet will be back soon.
  3. Eventually you're going to have to find another way to manage your email. You can continue to use the web portal (see #1 above), or use Thunderbird, or Microsoft Office's Outlook, or you can pull your TWC email through Gmail - which works for me.

More news as it develops - stay tuned.

Thursday, September 29, 2016


So you're happily scrolling through your email or Facebook and suddenly flashing lights, loud sirens and maybe some talking heads start coming out of your computer. Then a message pops up telling you of the devastation that's befallen your computer and instructing you to contact some official-looking support company for immediate help. What now?
Shut off your computer. Hold the power button in for about 10 seconds and it will go off, I promise you. DO NOT CALL ANY NUMBER THAT POPS UP ON YOUR COMPUTER SCREEN. It's a scam - it's a scam - it's a scam, all day - every day.
Many of us are tripping across the scam triggers lately, and some call the number because:
  1. We're scared
  2. We want to believe someone wants to help us
  3. We want instant gratification, and calling someone we trust would take too long.
  4. We think we'll get it fixed cheaper 

If this happens to you, don't panic. Shut off the computer, then contact someone you trust. I have talked with at least a dozen people about this already this week and have charged none of them to tell them how to handle it. If I need to connect to your computer to clean it out, that's a different matter.
If you want to clean it out yourself, go to Nick Francesco's excellent step-by-step instructions here: http://securitytango.com/windows.php. Or, at least update and run CCleaner, AdwCleaner, SuperAntiSpyware and Malwarebytes, removing anything they find.
Or contact me and I'll help you. Cathy Contant 315-573-4905
Please help your friends and family - tell them not to call numbers that pop up on their computer screens and not to give out any personal information to unknown callers. You'll be helping all of us.