Archive for Hoaxes

Steps to help prevent infection on your computer

Here are some tips for PC and Mac users alike — and smartphone users, too. Though there are “few” Mac viruses in the wild, there are plenty of unscrupulous programmers and con-men spreading free fraudulent software and malware.

Take the following steps to help prevent infection on your computer:
  • Enable a firewall on your computer.
  • Get the latest computer updates for all your installed software.
  • Use up-to-date antivirus software.
  • Limit user privileges on the computer.
  • Use caution when opening attachments and accepting file transfers.
  • Use caution when clicking on links to webpages.
  • Avoid downloading pirated software.
  • Protect yourself against social engineering attacks.
  • Use strong passwords.
Let me elaborate on a few points:
Get the latest computer updates

Updates help protect your computer from viruses, worms, and other threats as they are discovered. It is important to install updates for all the software that is installed in your computer. These are usually available from the providing company’s website. The following are programs I recommend updating straight from the source:

  • Adobe (www.adobe.com):
    • Flash
    • Acrobat Reader
    • Air
    • Shockwave
  • Java (www.java.com): Check this one monthly.
Use up-to-date antivirus software

Most antivirus software can detect and prevent infection by known malicious software. To help protect you from infection, you should always run antivirus software. If you have a “subscription” for update service, make sure you renew annually. Antivirus, contrary to popular belief, is not free-for-life.

Use caution when opening attachments and accepting file transfers

Exercise caution with email and attachments received from unknown sources, or received unexpectedly from known sources. Use extreme caution when accepting file transfers from known or unknown sources. When in doubt, reply to the sender, assuming it is someone you know, and confirm that they meant to send you the attachment. It’s possible their computer is infected and sent you the file without their knowledge. I’ve seen this happen several timers in the course of a year.

Use caution when clicking on links to webpages

As above: Exercise caution with links to webpages that you receive from unknown sources, especially if the links are to a webpage that you are not familiar with, unsure of the destination of, or suspicious of. Malicious software may be installed in your computer simply by visiting a webpage with harmful content.

Avoid downloading pirated software

Threats may also be bundled with software and files that are available for download on various torrent sites. Downloading “cracked” or “pirated” software from these sites carries not only the risk of being infected with malware, but is also illegal. For more information, see ‘The risks of obtaining and using pirated software‘.

Protect yourself from social engineering attacks

While attackers may attempt to exploit vulnerabilities in hardware or software to compromise a computer, they also attempt to exploit vulnerabilities in human behavior to do the same. When an attacker attempts to take advantage of human behavior to persuade the affected user to perform an action of the attacker’s choice, it is known as ‘social engineering’. Essentially, social engineering is an attack against the human interface of the targeted computer. For more information, see ‘What is social engineering?‘.

Use strong passwords

Attackers may try to gain access to your Windows account by guessing your password. It is therefore important that you use a strong password – one that cannot be easily guessed by an attacker. A strong password is one that has at least eight characters, and combines letters, numbers, and symbols. For more information, see http://www.microsoft.com/protect/yourself/password/create.mspx.

Avoid Trickery on Facebook and Twitter (pt. 1)

The popularity of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter has created a malicious hacker wonderland. A fantastic place for them to exploit the users of those sites. Their goals? To infect computers with malware, trojans, and viruses. There are a variety of exploitative programs out there. Some obtain personal information, sometimes voluntarily, sometimes through nefarious means, while others transform a computer into remote-controlled “zombie” machine.

Why do people fall prey to these schemes? Because they lack (1) anti-virus and (2) malware protection programs on their computers; amd they lack the skills necessary to spot and avoid the potential risks. Free service and the ease and seeming anonymity of point-and-click make increase the chances they will lower their guard.

Malicious Hackers Top Tricks

Hijacking Twitter’s Trending Topics. This technique has become popular in the last three months. Basically, hackers create new Twitter accounts and then post messages related to whatever the trending or “hot” topic of the day may be.  As a result, the post gets included in Twitter search results. The hackers message includes a link or web address that they hope unsuspecting users will click and explore. The link, unfortunately, leads the user to an infected website.

Hijacking Legitimate Accounts. This works on Facebook, Twitter, and any communications website such as Yahoo! mail, Hotmail, and Gmail, to name a few. Here the hacker breaks into legitimate accounts. Once in, they start sending out messages on that account. The messages, as above, include links to malicious and/or fraudulent websites. Since the tweets, posts, or emails come from a legitimate and trusted account the established base of friends and followers is more likely to respond. On Twitter, this makes it more likely that others will spread the seemingly legitimate message from a known and trusted source. This increases the range or “reach” of the threat.

ReputationDefender.comDangerous Email. Another method of encouraging social networking users to click malicious links is the timeworn technique of sending “spoofed” email. In this instance, the hackers create messages that appear to come from a social networking site like Facebook or Twitter, and even MySpace. The messages asks that you to “update your account” or open an attachment.

Tomorrow: 8 Safety Tips for Social Networking

Avoid Trickery on Facebook and Twitter (pt. 2)

Last week I discussed some of the recent tricks being exploited by hackers on Facebook and Twitter. These tricks can be harmful to your:

  • personal identity
  • your personal finance
  • and your online reputation

These risks come from: 

  • malicious links in tweets and posts
  • account hi-jacking
  • and email spoofing

How To Stay Safe

To better avoid the risks and dangers of social media sites you should employ these best practices as much as possible. You may already be following many of these, but it is best to review them and keep them fresh. Iften we follow the safest road, and when no dangers seem apparent, we can get lulled into a false sense of security and let down our guard. Or in this case, our computer guards.

  1. Don’t assume a link sent or posted by a friend is “safe”: Your friend may have lowered their defenses, or not exercised caution with their online activity. As noted earlier, your friend’s account could have been infected, hacked, or hi-jacked. You may want to contact your friend first and check with them if the link is genuine. Many times I have found that they received the link from someone else, and just forwarded it assuming it was safe. They didn’t know that the friend be fore them hadn’t investigated the link either.
  2. Don’t assume a message from a friend is “safe”: Does the message sound like something your friend would actually say? Have they spoke on the subject before? Perhaps their accound has been hi-jacked. One of my own email accounts got hijacked this past summer, and the hacker sent messages from my account saying I was in need of money. One of my friends, believing I was in danger, sent $600 cash.  If you’re unsure, try to contact them through another channel. In my situation, many of my other friends sent me texts and made phone calls to me to check it out.
  3. Don’t assume Twitter links are safe just because Twitter scans for malware: In August 2010, Twitter partnered with Google to use Google’s Safe Browsing API. This technology checks URLs or web links against Google’s blacklisted sites. This prevents spammers from posting malicious URLs to Twitter, but it does NOT prevent them from using shortened address services such as bit.ly or tinyurl.com.  Hence….
  4. Don’t Assume Bit.ly and TinyURL Links are Safe: These legitmate address shortening service make it easy to convert long web addresses into short addresses. Bit.ly, in particular, is Twitter’s address or URL shortening service partner. Bit.ly, too, uses Google’s Safe Browsing API and two other blacklists to identify malicious links. BUT although the service doesn’t prevent users from posting these links, it will warn you when you click that the site being linked to is infected. BUT they’ve been known to miss a few according to various anti-virus services such as Kaspersky. As we’re learning, nothing online is ever completely safe, but then again, is anything ever?
  5. Use an up-to-date web browser: There are dozens or more browsers to choose from. There’s Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Apple’s Safari, AOL’s online software, Opera, Google’s Chrome, and many more. They are periodically updated and “patched” by their respective companies. Hackers will find flaws in these programs that can be exploited. That means Internet Explorer users, the most frequently attacked, should be on IE8. Firefox is number two on the hitlist, but it alerts you when an update is available (if you have the most recent version that is). The same goes for Google’s Chrome browser.
  6. Keep Windows and Mac O/S up-to-date: As always, Windows users should make sure their systems are current with the latest patches from Microsoft. Automatic updates should be turned on. Mac issues updates periodically, too, though not as often as Microsoft.
  7. Keep Adobe Reader and Adobe Flash up-to-date: Since Microsoft, Apple, Google, and Firefox have been so diligent with updates, patches, and security; hackers have set their sights on these programs. A lot of malware exploits known vulnerabilities in Adobe’s software packages. One common attack from hackers directs victims to malware-infected sites that request you update your Flash or the Adobe Reader in order to view content on the site. DON”T DO IT using their links!  Instead, go directly to Adobe’s site (www.adobe.com) on your own and download the latest version. Why not do that right now? Go ahead, I’ll wait here.
  8. Don’t assume you’re safe because you use a Mac: Didn’t I hint at this on number 5 and 6? It’s true, Mac users are less “targeted” than Windows users, but they’re not immune. The truth is there are fewer Macs out there, so they present a smaller target, so hackers are less likely to attack them. But as they grow in popularity then get targeted more and more. Popular public opinion has it that Macs are invulnerable to viruses. This isn’t true. As a matter of fact, Apple has started to include some malware protection in their latest operating system, but it only protects users from two attack forms. There are currently several hundred attacks out there that specifically target Apple computers. The true number may be larger, but since so few Mac users use anti-maleware protection software, it’s hard to tell what the actual figure is.
  9. Beware of email messages from social networks: Email addresses can be “spoofed” by hackers, so you can’t assume a message from Facebook or Twitter is really from those sites. Don’t open attachments you’re not expecting, and be wary of clicking on links that request you “update your account.” And if you do click, and you arrive at a page that asks you to log in, DON’T.  You could be delivering your personal account info into the hasnds of a hacker. Instead, always access your favorite sites directly by “typing” the URL or web address into your browser or clicking in with your Bookmarks or Favorites.

As I mentioned before. many of these practices are the same ones you should already be following from earlier risks. Hackers tend to elaborate on pre-existing schemes and attack forms, and so you should elaborate on pre-exisiting safe practices.

So always keep your computer and browser up-to-date, and don’t open attachments. PLUS don’t assume your friend has been playing it safe either.  How often do we talk with friends about updating somputers and anti-virus programs? Not often, right?

But we should because malware hackers are getting trickier, and know they are seeking to use the trusted identities of our friends on Facebook and Twitter, to lull us into a false sense of safety. So use caution when friends send or provide links. Specially if it is out of the ordinary for them. After all, the risks aren’t on Facebook and Twitter, but in the sites they link to.

Watch the connections.

Facebook to charge $4.99 per month in June?

Not true. Just a few weeks ago, if you’re an active Facebook user, you may have read that Facebook was going to start charging $4.99 to use the service starting at the end of June 2010. Here’s a snippet of the message that circulated last month:

Spyware Doctor Free Scan

There is a website that has over 83,000 members of people protesting the following… WE’RE AGAINST THE 4.99 A MONTH CHARGE FOR FACEBOOK FROM JUNE 30TH 2010 See website here…

[website address removed]

Thankfully, this was just one of many Facebook-related hoaxes that circulate the web. (The bigger the site, the bigger the target, the bigger the audience.) Unfortunately, the bogus message caused real problems for many people who decided to look into the web site and Facebook group it promoted.

Many who visited the web site clicked on certain elements which initiated a hijacking attempt on their computers. Further clicking resulted the downloading of malware, spyware, and “highly objectionable images” to the visiting computer.

Shortly after a counter message began circulating among Facebook users and friends alerting them to the harmful effects of the phony Facebook group and web site. (I received copies of both messages. I ignored the first, and said “Just as I thought” to the second.) The warning messages looked something like this:

WARNING: DO NOT JOIN the group We are against paying $4.99 for Facebook – IT’s A VIRUS AND HACKER! There are extremely graphic images at the website they suggest you visit. FACEBOOK has no plans on charging us. ELIMINATE THIS GROUP from your groups & run your spyware ASAP. REPOST THIS AS YOUR STATUS on your Profile. Thanks

Do you think, or know, you were a victim of this insidious hoax?

The problem with malware and spyware is its hard to detect, and its becoming an ever more common problem. Even more problematic than virus attacks.

Best Buy’s Geek Squad will charge any where from $200—$300 to remove spyware from your computer, but I strongly recommend you purchase Spyware Doctor software from PC Tools. It costs only $39.95 and can be installed on up to 3 computers. I recommend Spyware Doctor over any other antispyware program on the market today, but it’s not available in stores.

Only have one computer? Why not ask a friend or relative if they’d like to split the cost with you? You can have PC Tools mail you a CD copy for $9.95.

Read more Skylarking articles about Internet and email hoaxes circulating the web:

Truth About Email Petitions

I received the following question just last night:

I received an email telling me that email petitions and chain letters use tracking software and cookies to collect email addresses from anyone who receives that email message. I was also told that email petitions aren’t acceptable by congress like a signed petition would be. Are both these items true?

Well, the first is false, and the second is true.

Tracking Emails and Tracking Software

The only way an email can be tracked is from one sender to the first recipient. If I send an email message to a friend, it is possible for me to be notified when they open the message. If my friend forwards the message to someone else, there is no way for me to tell that has happened; nor is there any way for me to receive the email address of that second recipient, or any recipient after that. So, no, there are no tracking programs of this sort.

BUT, Remember the concept “Six Degrees of Separation”? Erase email addresses before forwarding a message

The idea of “Six Degrees of Separation” says that everyone is 6 steps away from any other person on the planet. Which in my way of thinking means that we are all six steps or less away from a spammer. The problem here being that when people forward an email message they usually leave any previous email addresses in the message, too, plus most people add new addresses of their own when they forward the message. The best practice here is after you click FORWARD and before you click SEND make sure you erase/delete any email addresses that appear within the email message. That is, just before you click SEND, read through the message and erase any email addresses you find in the message. If you don’t, you never know who in the chain knows or is a spammer.

BCC: Blind Carbon Copy Hiding Email Addresses

When you are sending an email message to multiple recipients, use the BCC or Blind Carbon Copy feature to address your message. That is, use BCC instead of TO. An, if your email software says, “At least one recipient is required in the TO field”, then put your email address in the TO field, and everyone else in the BCC field. The BCC field hides the email addresses from the recipients. When the sender uses the BCC field to address an email message, the recipients of that message will see “undisclosed recipients” in the TO field or elsewhere in the message. If you can’t find the BCC feature in your email software, contact your email service provider and have them tell you how to access it. Or you can contact Skylarking and I will help you find the feature.

Email Petitions Don’t Work

That much is true. A genuine petition requires signatures and street addresses. Anyone can type a list of names and email addresses into a petition, but there is no way for the recipient to prove or disprove that those people participated in or knew about the petition. It is best that each individual person email or contact their representative directly, and not as part of some long list of names in an email message. Additionally, you wouldn’t want to include your street address in such a petition, since you never know if that message might eventually end up in the hands of a spammer or an identity thief. After all, most acts of identity theft are performed by the victims friends, co-workers, and family members.




Post Comments or Questions with the link below. Keep up-to-date with Skylarking: By Email or RSS Newsfeed or on Twitter. You can also send questions with my email form.

Postcard from Hallmark Hoax

An oldie but a goody has been making the rounds again. The old “postcard from a friend” warning hoax. This one has been circulating in one form or another since 2001. Every three or four years it gets reinvented. Once upon a time it was the “Olympic Torch” hoax. Now, it’s the “Postcard from Hallmark” and the “Postcard from a friend” hoax. Here’s what it looks like as of August and November 2008:

warning

Postcard from Hallmark Warning Hoax

There’s a few tipoffs that this message isn’t to be taken seriously. First off, the Subject line (not shown) has the text “FWD”which means my friend forwarded it to me, and didn’t actually write the message. In some cases you have to open attachments to get to the message, which means it’s been forwarded many times.

Another tipoff is that there are no datesmentioned. When did they check Norton? Norton usually issues updates in less than 24 hours to fight these viruses, so it may be a dead issue by the time I get this email. By the way, Norton doesn’t “gear up”. They just issue a fix and that’s it. Same goes for McAfee, AVG, TrendMicro, and Alwil Avast. they all want to be the first to defeat any new virus, so these things are usually non-issues in less than 24 hours.

Tip: If I saw my friend sent this to me more than a day ago, or that he received it more than a day ago, I’d assume the virus was dead by now. Most of these things have a shelf life of 48 hours. If you renew your antivirus subscriptions every year, then your antivirus gets updated automatically any where from 4 to 12 times per day. That’s about every 2 to 4 hours.

Another tipoff this message is a hoaxis the fact that though they mention “I checked with Snopes (URL above), and it is for real!!”, but there is no URL (web address) in the message. If you take the time to check Snopes you find out this email began popping up again in August and November 2008. That’s 6 months ago. The antivirus companies blocked this virus before Thanksgiving.

Here’s another tip. Here’s what a real email notice from Hallmark looks like as of today:

hallmark-hoax

A Genuine Email Notice From Hallmark

Here’s how to recognize a genuine email notice from Hallmark:

1. The “From” includes Hallmark’s “hallmarkonline.com” email address and your friend’s email address. These messages don’t come anonymously. In your Inbox you would see your friend’s email address or name.

2. The genuine Hallmark email shows your email address in the “To” box. It’s not going to show more than one email address.

3. The genuine Hallmark notice shows your friend’s name in the Subject line with their first and last name. The same goes for the inside of the email message where they boldly display your friend’s full name (red circle area). As a matter of fact, I sent this message to myself from the Hallmark web site, and Hallmark wouldn’t even send the message without a First and last name in the mail form.

Another thing to watch out for is attachments. Hallmark doesn’t send attachments.  If I got a message claiming to be from hallmark from an anonymous friend, and I saw an attachment, I’d know it was a fake. Tap the Delete key.

Best Protection

The best protection from these hoaxes is antivirus software. Get a quality antivirus program, and make sure you renew your antivirus subscriptions every year. The best antivirus programs are from McAfee, Symantec/Norton, TrendMicro, and my personal favorite Avast from Alwil Software at www.avast.com. It’s free, and it works. Check out my post about Avast from last month. it tells you how to best install and set it up.

Renew your antivirus subscriptions every year.

Let me reinforce that point: Renew your antivirus subscriptions every year. If you bought a new computer, chances are you only had a 30 day trial version. It doesn’t update any more after 30 days, so you’re only protected from old viruses after that, not the new ones.

Another Tip: “BCC:” and not “To:”

If you can’t help yourself, and you feel you must notify everyone in your address book, find out how to use the “BCC” (Blind Carbon Copy) feature in your email system instead of the “To” box when addressing your email. All email systems have the BCC feature, but they don’t all display it openly. Using “BCC” instead of  “To” will hide all your friend’s email messages from each other.

Have you heard of six degrees of separation? That’s the theory that we are all separated from one another by 6 people. For example, your friend’s friend’s friend’s friend’s friend is Kevin Bacon. Put another way, your friend six places removed maybe a spammer. The copy of the email warning I received had no less than 268 email addresses in it.  If I was a spammer I would be so very very happy right now to have all those real email addresses.

Conclusions

  • “Postcard from Hallmark” warning email is a hoax. It’s been going around for almost 10 years in one form or another.
  • Get quality antivirus software such as Avast. (Watch out for the bogus antivirus programs out there).
  • Renew your antivirus subscriptions every year. They expire, and expired subscriptions don’t protect you from new viruses.
  • Antivirus programs update at least 4 to 12 times a day
  • Most viruses are blocked in less than 24 to 48 hours.
  • Use BCC instead of To when sending out mass emails. Don’t know where it is? Call your Email Service Providers customer service line or check their Help page. (Don’t know where to look? Contact me or post a comment, and I’ll find out for you.  No charge.)
  • Got a question about a potential hoax? Ask Skylarking to investigate or check out http://www.skylarknetworks.com/email-hoaxes.htm#Email_Hoaxes:_How_Spot_Them,_How_To_Check_Them

Post Comments or Questions with the link below. Keep up-to-date with Skylarking: By Email or RSS Newsfeed or on Twitter. You can also send questions with my email form. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

CNN Daily Top 10 Email Spam

A new variation on the Storm worm virus delivery system is going around.  (Last month it was the “FBI vs Facebook” email spam.)  The new email message is designed to look like a “Daily Top 10” list of new stories from CNN.com, but the email isn’t from CNN.  It’s a fake, also known as a “spoof”.

CNN Daily Top 10 spam

CNN Daily Top 10 spam

Features of this email message include:

  • Links that, if clicked, take you to a site designed to look like a CNN site.
  • An “Unsubscribe” link which goes to the true CNN site, but since the message isn’t from CNN, the link will not help you.

The Storm Worm virus threat lurks at the phony CNN site, not in the email message. Those happy computer owners that keep their antivirus up-to-date will be protected against the risk at the web site. The email message itself contains no virus risk.

The better email services such as Yahoo, Hotmail, and Gmail, among others will probably filter these messages out. Otherwise, just delete it.

If you receive either the “FBI vs. Facebook” or the “CNN Daily Top 10” email messages, just delete them.

Post a comment below if you need to know how to check if your anti virus is up-to-date, and please tell me which anti virus software you use. If you don’t have anti virus software, I recommend Avast by Alwil software, which can be downloaded for free at www.avast.com.


UPS Email Hoax with Virus

UPS has been alerting subscribers to their “Brown Bulletin” service about a fraudulent email that claims to be from UPS. The bogus email claims that a delivery was missed, and that they’ve attached a waybill that you can use to pickup your delivery.

Sample EPS/FedEx Hoax messageThe recipient is told to download or save the attached waybill file, open it, and print it in order to claim the undelivered package at a UPS office. (A variant of the UPS email hoax is the FedEx email hoax. The message is the same, but instead it claims that a FedEx delivery was missed). I’ve attached some screenshots of the bogus email messages being delivered. See the image at right. You can click it to enlarge the image.

It is safe to receive and open the email message, but don’t open the attachment.  The attachment has a genuine virus. Fortunately if your antivirus is up-to-date you’ll be safe. Your antivirus will detect the virus and remove it. Some antivirus programs will delete the attachment once the message arrives in your inbox. Regardless, I recommend you delete the message from your Inbox.

At the time the email message was circulating the web, UPS had the following warning posted on their web site. They also emailed it to their “Brown Bulletin” subscribers. (This message has since been removed from their site).

Attention Virus Warning

Service Update

We have become aware there is a fraudulent email being sent that says it is coming from UPS and leads the reader to believe that a UPS shipment could not be delivered. The reader is advised to open an attachment reportedly containing a waybill for the shipment to be picked up.

This email attachment contains a virus. We recommend that you do not open the attachment, but delete the email immediately.

UPS may send official notification messages on occasion, but they rarely include attachments. If you receive a notification message that includes an attachment and are in doubt about its authenticity, please contact customerservice@ups.com.

Please note that UPS takes its customer relationships very seriously, but cannot take responsibility for the unauthorized actions of third parties.

Thank you for your attention.

If you want to learn about UPS fraud prevention policy and preventative measures you can take, checkout their Protect Yourself Against Fraud web page. It has news and examples of email, checks and money orders, web sites, and phone scams that illegally use the UPS name and/or logos. If you should ever suspect a message you receive is fraudulent, you can forward it to UPS Fraud prevention at fraud@ups.com.

When the FedEx variant started to circulate, FedEx posted the following alert on their web site:

Be alert for fraudulent e-mails claiming to be from FedEx regarding a package that could not be delivered. These e-mails ask the receiver to open an attachment in order to obtain the airbill or invoice for picking up the package. The attachment contained in this type of e-mail activates a virus. DO NOT OPEN the attachment. Instead, delete the e-mail immediately.

These fraudulent e-mails are the unauthorized actions of third parties not associated with FedEx. When FedEx sends e-mails with tracking updates for undeliverable packages, we do not include attachments.

FedEx does not request, via unsolicited mail or e-mail, payment or personal information in return for goods in transit or in FedEx custody. If you have received a fraudulent e-mail that claims to be from FedEx, you can report it by forwarding it to abuse@fedex.com.

If you have any questions or concerns about services provided by FedEx, please review our services at fedex.com/us/services or contact FedEx Customer Service at 1.800.GoFedEx 1.800.463.3339.

Update: In March of 2009, a DHL email hoax began circulating the Internet. It was a variant of the original email hoax. DHL posted this message on their web site at that time:

Import Information Regarding Fraudulent Use of DHL Tracking eMail

A fraudulent email is being distributed with the subject line “DHL tracking number” The email contains an attachment with a virus that should not be opened. Please delete the entire email and be advised that the package referred to does not exist and that DHL delivery services are operating normally.

Examples of fraudulent UPS messages

Here are some fraudulent messages people have received. Some of them are quite elaborate while others are very simplistic. Most of these were standard phishing scams and didn’t carry virus. The scammers were merely attempting to get personal information or money from the unwary reader.

Anti-virus Up-to-date?

If you’re virus software is kept up-to-date then you needn’t worry about the virus infected messages. If you don’t know if your anti-virus is up to date, leave a comment below about which anti-virus you use, and I will tell you how to check if it is up-to-date.

If you don’t have an anti-virus program, I recommend Avast Free Edition antivirus program from Alwil software. You can read more about Avast in the Skylarking article “Free AntiVirus and No Catch“. Avast is free to use on one compter per household. Download it at www.avast.com.

You can learn more about email hoaxes and how to spot and stop them at the following locations:

Read about other hoaxes (and suspected hoaxes) circulating the Internet in the article on Skylarking: The Tech Tip Blog: