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Ask Leo! #372 – When remote technicians attack, keeping Thunderbird, book format news and more…

The Ask Leo! Newsletter

*** Featured

I let a questionable technician remotely access my machine - what kind of risk have I exposed myself to?

About a year ago, I took out a lifetime subscription to SUPERAntiSpyware and I have used it without any problems until the last ten days or so. Now, I find that I am unable to activate the scan feature; I click on it just I have done for the past year, but nothing happens. I called the phone number listed on my receipt, but there was no answer and I wonder if you know whether or not they have gone out of business.

I am not particularly worried about this as there are other applications that I can download. However, I thought I would let you know what happened when I went to their website.

I called a number that I thought was the support center and was immediately connected with a technician who skillfully asked my permission to allow him access to my computer so that he could diagnose the problem and I agreed. After he informed me that I had over a thousand errors that needed to be erased and that he could do this for me for only $250.00, I realized that this was some kind of scam and I promptly ended the call. What kind of risk have I exposed myself to?

I have Windows Vista and my computer is about six years old. Thank you for all you do and keep the answers coming.

*

First, good on you for terminating that call. While it may have obviously been a scam to you and me, I'm sure that many people are falling for it.

To the best of my knowledge, SUPERAntiSpyware is alive and well. However, the approach you took to contact them is worth reviewing. Sometimes, finding appropriate contact information can be confusing and in some situations, it can lead to questionable territory, as you've seen.

But the big question is ... you let a stranger with clearly malicious intent use your machine remotely. Just how worried do you now need to be?

The bad news is that there's no clear answer.

Continue reading: I let a questionable technician remotely access my machine - what kind of risk have I exposed myself to?
http://ask-leo.com/C5581

* * *

*** Answercast

Answercast #35 - Illegal sites, underage accounts, encrypting backups and email, keeping Thunderbird and more...

So many things are changing. How do you keep up with Thunderbird's development prospects, XP's future, YouTube updates and Messenger's interface? All that, plus encryption of email and backups in this Answercast from Ask Leo!

Listen

Continue reading: Answercast #35 - Illegal sites, underage accounts, encrypting backups and email, keeping Thunderbird and more...
http://ask-leo.com/C5582

Can malware on my machine cause it to contact illegal sites?
Once your machine is infected with malware, it isn't your machine any more: it belongs to the person who is controlling the malware... and they could be doing anything.
Continue reading: Can malware on my machine cause it to contact illegal sites?
http://ask-leo.com/C5583

How do I encrypt the email stored on my machine?
Email can be encrypted in real-time by storing email data files in a Truecrypt volume that must be mounted before using the email program.
Continue reading: How do I encrypt the email stored on my machine?
http://ask-leo.com/C5584

Why did my YouTube conversion program just stop working?
YouTube officially discourages downloading of videos and puts significant programming barriers in the way of doing so. Your downloads may be breaking on purpose.
Continue reading: Why did my YouTube conversion program just stop working?
http://ask-leo.com/C5585

Why can't I get the old version of Windows Live Messenger to work?
Windows Live Messenger, like many other programs, requires you to upgrade when they roll out new versions... whether you like it or not. You might want to try a different instant message program.
Continue reading: Why can't I get the old version of Windows Live Messenger to work?
http://ask-leo.com/C5586

How do I keep my machine working after Windows XP support completely stops?
As support for Windows XP comes to an end, there are several alternatives, including: just keep using it!
Continue reading: How do I keep my machine working after Windows XP support completely stops?
http://ask-leo.com/C5587

Is there a way to bypass the print queue in Windows?
The print queue is now a fundamental part of how Windows operates. I'll explore the history of today's present multi-user system.
Continue reading: Is there a way to bypass the print queue in Windows?
http://ask-leo.com/C5588

Can my guests still access my wifi hotspot after they leave?
Wireless routers have an effective range of around 100 meters, beyond that nobody is going to be able to access your connection.
Continue reading: Can my guests still access my wifi hotspot after they leave?
http://ask-leo.com/C5589

Why do sites ask for age verification if it's so trivial to make up a fake birthday?
Keeping kids safe on the internet is a difficult problem... you're right. Age restriction requirements are easy to break.
Continue reading: Why do sites ask for age verification if it's so trivial to make up a fake birthday?
http://ask-leo.com/C5590

How do I encrypt my backup if it's on an external drive?
Encrypting a backup is important for the security of your data, especially if you travel or live in a high crime area.
Continue reading: How do I encrypt my backup if it's on an external drive?
http://ask-leo.com/C5591

Do I need to change programs now that Thunderbird development has been slowed?
Thunderbird is not being discontinued. I explore some options and stick with my recommendation... for now.
Continue reading: Do I need to change programs now that Thunderbird development has been slowed?
http://ask-leo.com/C5592

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*** Last Issue's Articles

*** Word o' the Week

epub

epub is a an open e-book file format standard.

"Epub" format might be compared to ".pdf" format in that it is designed to contain the contents of a book or document intended to be read or viewed. Epub format is optimized specifically for ebook reading applications or devices.

Most all ebook reading devices either support epub format or use it as their primary ebook distribution and display format. The notable exception is the Amazon Kindle which does not support epub format.

There is an assortment of applications available for most any other platform that can be used to read books distributed in epub format.

Further reading: EPUB on Wikipedia.

Word o' the Week features a computer term or acronym taken from the Ask Leo! Glossary. If there's a word you're not sure of and would like to see defined, click here to let me know.

*** Thoughts and Comments

Be Careful What You Ask For!

Last week I was bemoaning the lack of response to my survey on possible ebook formats I should use in addition to Kindle.

Wow. I should complain more often. Smile You responded, and the response was both clear and somewhat surprising.

PDF format wasn't really a surprise.

epub format, on the other hand, was.

Those were the two most requested additional formats - and by a fairly wide margin over the other non-Kindle alternatives.

So I scratched my head and thought about it some, and as a result I have two things for you today:

First, you can now purchase Maintaining Windows 7 - Backing Up in both PDF and epub formats directly from my store.

When I say "both", I mean both. Those two formats come bundled together in a single ".zip" download. That's one way I reduced the complexity of things on my end.

And the bundle is the same price as the Kindle version which I'm keeping at $7.99 for just a while longer.

Second, you might want to buy the Kindle version anyway, as the PDF and epub formatted copies of the book are now available in the book's registered owners section of askleobooks.com, accessible after registering your book. Buying through Amazon is the only way I have to get you all three formats - Kindle, PDF and epub - for one price.

And of course if you've already purchased the Kindle version then be sure to register it if you haven't already and then head on over to registered owners section of askleobooks.com and you'll see the download link in the list of bonuses.

As I mentioned to the registered owners when I emailed them Sunday night, I wouldn't call this an experiment, but I am very interested in how this all ends up working. If it's popular I'll see if I can't make this multi-format availability standard practice for future books.

As always, I thank you very much for your support and your feedback.

'till next week...

Leo
Leo A. Notenboom
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