Sunday, July 25, 2010

Firefox 3.6 8 - What, Another Update in Five Days?

If you love Firefox, you'll love updating it yet again, for the third time in less than two weeks. Mozilla released version 3.6.8 today, after pushing out 3.6.7 on Tuesday night and 3.6 6 shortly before that.

Mozilla's Release Notes indicate 3.6.8 was necessary to "Fix a single stability issue affecting some pages containing plugins." Ok, I'll buy that. I can't believe they'd send out another version so quickly if it wasn't pretty important.

So - rev up Firefox and get the latest update.  You know how, or check back here for a refresher.

How much do we love Firefox? I don't use Firefox all the time, (IE is just faster for me) so when I do want to open it, I have time to open the mail while I'm waiting. Firefox seems to always be checking for new add-ons, and I use very few. I don't like having to address several popup windows asking about add-ons before getting to type in an address. IE doesn't do that. Lately, IE just works, without bothering me all the time.

So why install Firefox at all?  Because next to Internet Explorer (IE), Firefox is the best choice of the rest. I've used Opera, Chrome and a few real unknowns; and I'd still go to Firefox second. 

The second browser is heplful in many ways. Some web pages render better on Firefox than Internet Explorer - and vice versa. Sometimes IE can become corrupt and you can use Firefox to find a fix. And I still want to check Microsoft Updates on XP with IE - not the FF plugin. 

Be sure to have two browser options installed on your computer. But don't go crazy and install Chrome and Opera and AOL Browser and a bunch of others. It's sort of painful when you're in one browser and the bookmark you want is in another. Find a couple you can get comfortable with and learn how to use them. From there, it's up to you which experience you prefer first.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Firefox Critical Updates - Install 3.6.7 Today

Mozilla released Firefox version 3.6.7 today to combat a number of security risks. With the volume of infected computers I've dealt with lately in mind, I urge you to install this update as soon as possible.

If you have a recent version of Firefox (3.6.*) you can update by opening Firefox and allowing the update to automatically download, then you agree to install.  Or you can click Help - Check for Updates and follow the prompts.

If you have an earlier version of Firefox, or don't have it installed yet, download and install the complete version at

Details on the fix can be found here

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Latest Updates: Windows and Office, iTunes and Java

Last Tuesday (July 13) was Microsoft Patch Tuesday, and there were quite a few updates for Office. Your computer should be checking for and installing Office updates whenever it does Windows updates.  If you don't know how to turn it on for your version of Windows, post a message or email and I'll send you the steps to set it up.

Apple released version 9.2.1 of iTunes today. Update your copy by opening iTunes, then clicking the prompt to update and following the prompts.  If you don't see a prompt to update, click Help - Check for Updates.  Or go to and let the web site determine the correct version of iTunes for your computer, then download and install.

iTunes is offered in 32-bit and 64-bit versions; you'll need the correct version for your installation of Windows. Find out which you have by right-clicking on My Computer (Computer) - Properties, then look for the description of your operating system.

Java also has a new update - version 6 update 21.  While Java is also offered in 32- and 64-bit versions, if you're using a 64-bit operating system you'll need to download BOTH versions of Java.  Oracle makes it easy by determining and offering the correct version for the browser you're using here:

If you're using Vista or Windows 7, and are using Internet Explorer 8, you have both 32- and 64-bit versions of Internet Explorer. Click the Start button, then look at the top of the list of programs - you'll see Internet Explorer AND Internet Explorer (64-bit).  Visit the Java download site with each browser version to get 32- and 64-bit versions of Java.  Or, you can download both versions independently from the web site above.

Java can also be updated from the annoying orange prompt that keeps showing up in your System Tray. Go ahead and install the update and it won't bother you anymore!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

AV Security - Rogue Antivirus

AV Security is the latest rogue antivirus program to invade and intimidate people into believing they're infected, and that buying the product is the only way to clean the computer. If this pops up on your computer, do NOT click on it, and do NOT buy it. Stop and clean it now before it goes further, requiring a complete reinstallation of the computer.

How to Clean
A quick Google search will reveal much advice on how to clean out AV Security. There is no one sure way to completely remove all traces of it and the others it's brought in short of a complete wipe and reinstallation. However - if you're lucky - running a few cleaners will get you back in business.

The Security Tango procedure (thanks, Nick Francesco) at will go a long way to cleaning out the bad stuff. It's long and detailed, and will take up most of your weekend. If you skip steps you will regret it sooner rather than later.

A quick way to regain use of the computer (NOT a full fix) is to boot into Safe Mode with Networking, then update and run CCleaner, Malwarebytes and SUPERAntiSpyware. Find them all at or

How Did I Get This?
There are many ways to trigger this rogue antivirus. It can come through email, particularly forwarded email when you click on a link to go see the pretty picture or read the joke. It can happen when you visit a web site with an infected banner ad.

How Do I Keep From Getting It Again?
The best protection against rogue malware is to be aware and to keep your antivirus/antispyware protection up-to-date. If you see a popup from a program you don't recognize, stop what you're doing and investigate. Put it into a Google or Yahoo search box and see what others are saying about it.

The best thing you can do for yourself and friends and family is to not forward chain letters/forwards/petitions/jokes/screensavers/pretty pictures. Write an original email yourself, and put multiple recipients in the BCC line so their email addresses cannot be harvested by scammers.  More on this next time.

More help

I would not advise installing any repair programs other than the ones I've mentioned above. There are many programs puporting to help you, when in fact, they're the problem in the first place - just like AV Security.