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Tech Support Fraud

by Andy Thompson on April 9, 2014

Have you ever played that “Whac-A-Mole” game?  It’s the one where moles pop up out of a hole and you bonk them on the head and down they go.  It doesn’t matter how many you bop on the head – they keep popping up.  That’s pretty much how it is with fraudulent phone call scams.  There have been some fines handed out to companies and individuals engaged in these scam activities, but they still keep popping up again and again.  If you have ever had one of these phone calls you would agree – the callers are convincing. 

We’re going to start off with a description of how this scam works followed by legal action taken against the scammers, and recent activity.  Following this we will offer advice in terms of what to do when getting called and what to do if you or someone you know has already had a call and been the victim of technical support fraud.

Description

A tech support scam involves a variety of “confidence tricks” that include part-truths, outright lies, and some aggressive sales pitches.  It typically involves someone calling you on the phone and posing as a computer support technician, quite often, from a well-known and reputable company.  For example, Microsoft’s name gets thrown in during the early going of the phone call.  Other times they pose as support technicians from security companies like Symantec or McAfee or from computer manufacturers such as Dell.  The next part of the call moves quickly, most likely to avoid you asking anything about their credentials. They begin to dupe you into believing your computer is infected by taking you on a wild goose chase on your PC.

Fundamentally, this is where many people who have not heard of this kind of scam will succumb as they feel that someone, that is technically capable of offering assistance, is here to improve their computer functioning in some manner.  Quite often what the caller will do is to guide you through opening up folders to a location on your computer where you can view a Windows log of errors.  Suffice it to say, all Windows operating systems record errors that are harmless and can be considered low-level errors that are not particularly harmful.

Now the sale pitch begins and the caller instructs you to download software or to allow them to remotely access the PC.  The con artists will charge for their “help” and have you pay them for useless software.  Often the software is not only worthless, it may include malicious software designed to steal online account information and passwords.

An Example

To see a video  example of a tech support scam in action we suggest checking out a video created by a  senior security technician, Jerome Segura, who gets a call and not only plays along with the scam but records it in action.[1] If you want a written description of a call that was stopped short in its tracks… read on.

What They Get

First, let’s take a look at what you get out of this exchange.   While you may think you get a better performing PC and some peace of mind, what is more likely is you haven’t gained much of anything or you have put yourself at risk.  It’s quite often the case that the software they downloaded to your computer is typically something that can be downloaded for free or they have created it but it does not remove malicious software at all.  In fact, there is a potential that the software is malicious.  It may be designed to provide remote access to your computer at any time and provide the scammers with the means to gain access to your personal and financial information.

No matter what the payoff is – the goal is to make money from the transaction in some manner.   So who is the target and for how much?

…tens of thousands of English-speaking consumers in the United States, as well as Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, were conned by bogus technical support operations–largely based in India–into paying between $49 and $450 for fake services.[2]

Refund scams:  Another scam involves having paid for tech support services and getting a call about a refund.  In this scam the goal is to get your personal financial information, like your credit card or bank account number.  Sometimes it will be several months after the purchase before you get a call asking if you are pleased with the service.  When you state you are not, they offer you a refund.  Alternatively, the caller may start by saying that the company is going out of business and is providing refunds for warranties and other services.  No matter how it starts out, eventually you are asked for a bank or credit card account number or you are asked to create a Western Union account.  They might even offer to assist you by remotely accessing your computer to help you fill out the necessary forms.   Instead of putting money in your account, they withdraw funds.

Taking Action – FTC

The Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, is an independent US agency that works for consumers.  Its mission is consumer protection; to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices.  The FTC also provides information to help spot, stop, and avoid fraudulent acts.  To this end the FTC has launched a major international crackdown on tech support scams.

At the request of the FTC, a U.S. District Court Judge has ordered a halt to six alleged tech support scams pending further hearings, and has frozen their assets.  “The FTC has been aggressive – and successful – in its pursuit of tech support scams,” said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz. [3]

The FTC chairman at the time went on to say that “tech support scam artists we are talking about today have taken scareware to a whole other level of virtual mayhem.”  In May 2013, fines were handed out to three of the alleged perpetrators.

Recent activity

To be clear – this scam goes back several years but it picked up speed around 2010 and continues to go strong despite FTC efforts to the contrary.  In fact, in 2011 Microsoft warned Windows users to be on guard and were instrumental in having the FTC file charges against the six scam operators mentioned above.  Despite the fines that were imparted, the scam persists and more operators are working the same scam.

More than a year after the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) heralded a major crackdown on fraudsters posing as Microsoft technical support personnel, consumers continue to receive calls from scammers.[4]

What are the Odds? You may ask: What are the chances that I will get one of these calls?  During the writing of this article this author had received a call with a phone display of: “Colorado 303-442-9287303-442-9287 ”.  It wasn’t the first time receiving a fraudulent call and while wanting to “play along” like what Jerome Segura did in the example above, a different approach was taken.  The call went like something this:

Scam Caller (with a foreign accent): “Hello my name is ——— ———- and I’m calling from Microsoft Windows about a problem with your computer.  Are you near your computer?” 

Author: “Can I get your name and contact information… your phone number?”

<pause>

Author: “You know… it’s a coincidence that you are calling.  I am writing an article about tech support fraud.  And, I know this is a tech support fraud call.”

<no response>

Author: “What you are doing is unethical.  I know that this is a scam and it is unethical.”

Caller: “We sell software to remove malware.”

Author: “I work for companies that sell legitimate software and what you are doing is tricking people into buying software.  It’s unethical.”

<another pause>

Author: “Are you still there?”

Caller: “Yeah.”

Author: “For seniors and for people that do not know better… they are tricked into buying software and it is unethical and in some cases illegal.”

Caller: “Yeah.”

Author: “I have to go” <I was in the process of putting my one year old to bed> “I hope that you can find a better job and I wish you luck in doing so.”

Caller: “OK”

How to Spot the Scam:  In this case, the call display number seemed to be legitimate.  But, it is important that you do not rely on caller ID alone to authenticate a caller as criminals can spoof caller ID numbers.  That is to say, they may appear to be calling from a legitimate company or a local number, when they’re not even in the same country as you.  This explains why it sounds as though English is their second language.

Also, it is very rare for Microsoft and most legitimate businesses to make unsolicited phone calls.  In a statement provided by Microsoft they clearly state[5]:

Neither Microsoft nor our partners make unsolicited phone calls (also known as cold calls) to charge you for computer security or software fixes. 

There are some cases where Microsoft will work with your Internet service provider and call you to fix a malware-infected computer…  These calls will be made by someone with whom you can verify you already are a customer. You will never receive a legitimate call from Microsoft or our partners to charge you for computer fixes.

One of the best ways to detect that this is a scam call is how quickly they proceed.  Within the first minutes of the call they will instruct you to your computer and either provide directions or they will ask to control your PC remotely.

What to do…

To fight back, many people try to tie up the callers on the phone for as long as possible or even provide them with fake credit card numbers.  We would not recommend stirring the hornet’s nest.  We have heard payback stories such as having telemarketing phone calls re-directed to your phone number.  It’s far better to be prepared and to defend your ground.

1)    When getting a call:

  1. Who is it? This is the first defense against this scam attack.  According to the law, telemarketers must tell you it’s a sales call, the name of the seller and what they’re selling before they make their sales pitch.  If you don’t hear this information, say “no thanks,” and get off the phone.
  2. When are they calling? According to the law telemarketers can only call between 8 am and 9 pm.
  3. What’s the rush? Telemarketers and scam artists work with momentum.  There is no hurry on your part.  If you are dealing with a legitimate business they will give you time and can provide written information about an offer before asking you to commit to a purchase.
  4. Is it free? Make sure there are no costs.  Often they could be offering something for free but you have to pay for other costs such as support or services.   Some of these scams will go as far as instructing you to pay in order to redeem a prize or gift.
  5. Do I give out my billing information? In some cases the caller will be asking you to confirm the billing information they have on file for you.  Do NOT give out your billing information or your credit card information!  Don’t even confirm that the information they have is correct or they can claim that you approved of the charge.

To Prevent Getting These Calls:  Tell the caller you do NOT want them to call you again.  You can also enter your phone number on the FTC Do Not Call registry (https://donotcall.gov/).  If they call back, they’re breaking the law and you can register a complaint on the same site.

2)    Already had a scam call:

  1. Malware? If you feel that someone has downloaded software that is malicious, you need to take action to identify and delete the software using a legitimate security solution.  Get started by going here: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0011-malware
  2. Passwords? If you gave out any passwords to your PC login system or for online banking – change these passwords immediately.
  3. Credit Card? If you used your credit card to pay for software, services, or for any shipping charges – call your credit card company and reverse the charges.  Check your statement or have the credit card provider check for any charges you did not make and ask to have those reversed as well.
  4. Identity Theft? This involves having your personal information stolen and used without your permission.  “It’s a serious crime that can wreak havoc with your finances, credit history, and reputation.”  Go to this site for more:  http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/feature-0014-identity-theft

File a Complaint:  The FTC offers a complaint assistance site here: https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1

More “Do Not” Tips:
Here are some basic tips to help in all sales transactions where you feel pressured to pay – even if there is a free gift involved. 

  • Do not give into pressure – you do not have to make a decision right away.  Pretend you have a “phone-a-friend” lifeline and call a family member.  Or, ask the caller to email or send you mail about the details of the sale. You can also research offers (with the US consumer list[6] or the BBB[7]) before you agree to send money.
  • Do not give out your credit card, banking information, or social security number.  Do not even confirm any of this information if they have it and are asking for confirmation.
  • Do not send cash by money transfer, messenger, or overnight mail.  If you use cash or a money transfer you can lose your right to dispute fraudulent charges and the money will be gone.  Credit card companies offer some means of defense through a dispute process.

Who Can You Trust

There are companies that work hard to build an ongoing relationship with their clientele.  We at CompuClever count ourselves among these reputable businesses.  We recommend that you check out more about the companies you deal with by going to their “About Us” page on their website.  With CompuClever we accentuate the role of our support and service team for paid customers and we benefit from dealing with issues that come up on your PC system.  Take it from us when we say:

Our knowledgeable and friendly Support team is devoted to provide the utmost excellence in customer service. Simply put, we pride ourselves in serving your computing needs and bringing enjoyment to PC computing.

We hope this article has helped gain some insight and offered you some effective defense against these kinds of scams.  We will continue to investigate story lines like these that affect each of us on a daily basis and we will describe them in a manner that is within reach of everyday computer users.  If you have some ideas of topics you would like us to cover, email us at: newsletter@compuclever.com

Facebook Uncovered

by Andy Thompson on March 12, 2014

There is a real and strong allure to joining the crowd on Facebook. Its popularity and set of features makes email look like VHS in comparison to DVD. But… make no mistake – this is a sticky subject. There are many criticisms that have surfaced and we will attempt to sort through these. In doing so, we will avoid getting caught up with information overload.  Ultimately each person has to weigh out the pros and cons to make a decision for themselves.

We’re going to start off with a brief description of the history of Facebook and its popularity.  From there we present a like and dislike feature set – thumbs up and thumbs down.  After that we will offer some general recommendations and alternatives.

First Look

On February 2004, Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook with his college roommates and fellow students at Harvard University.   At first it was limited to Harvard students, but expanded to include colleges in the Boston area and then gradually it included support for students at various other universities before being open to high-school students and then anyone aged 13 and over. When registering for a Facebook account, the user needs to claim being 13 years or older although proof of age is not a requirement.  A valid email is required however.  You can then proceed to create a “personal profile” – personal data and a profile image that identifies you to other users.

Once you are an active user you can begin to add “friends” who are also on Facebook and you can exchange messages. You also are able to join groups that you identify as sharing a common interest.  To date, Facebook has over one billion users although numbers are difficult to ascertain as some of these are considered fake.  We’ll cover that later in the article.  Suffice it to say:

Facebook is the top social network on the web. Nothing quite compares to it… With all the changes it has gone through over the years and the recent roll out of the Timeline profile, Facebook has always remained one step ahead of everything else on the web.[1]

With respect to its value, in January of this year its market capitalization rose to over $134 billion.  There are over 1.2 billion active users on the site every month and more than 75% of these are mobile device users.  As of February 3rd, the company celebrated its tenth anniversary.

On Top or Losing Ground?

While Facebook is the top social network at present, one study[2] has shown that teenagers are making the move to other social networking services.  While older users continue to saturate Facebook, younger users are making a shift.  This younger age group is not so concerned about whether the alternative services are on par or better, and they are not concerned about whether their personal information is being used commercially or as part of surveillance practices.  It would appear that the biggest motive is that youth of this age group are getting friend requests from their parents and are looking for more freedom to express themselves.

However, for those over 18 in the U.S., Facebook remains the king of social networking.  It is reported[3] that 71% of adults in the U.S. are using Facebook and among those that only use one networking site, 84% are choosing it as their sole social network.

Thumbs Up

With that many people onboard it’s got to be a good thing right?  Well let’s point out some of the positive aspects of social networking and Facebook.

Connected:  While many of the posts and newsfeeds are full of items that are specific to one person and speak to what they are having for dinner or some sporting event they are attending, there are news feeds that relate to current events, personal health tips, and social injustices that may not be covered by news media.  This form of passing news stories is gaining acceptance as even mainstream media reports on the particular social news items that go “viral” in terms of being shared by many people worldwide. Many of these items are posted in an attempt to gather as much “likes” as possible and to simply be shared perhaps in an attempt to be noticed.

Regardless of the content, it is a way of being connected to what over a billion people find interesting.  Some of the news items may not even be covered by top media broadcasting corporations.  The fact is, Facebook is a way of connecting:

On January 2014, during the week previous to the company’s tenth anniversary, chief operating officer of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, clarified: “He [Mark] always said Facebook was started not just to be a company, but to fulfill a vision of connecting the world”.[4]

Another benefit to Facebook users is being able to reconnect with friends you might not have seen since your early high school days.  For some, this may not be such a desired feature depending on who sends you a friend request.  However, it does provide the ability to do a search for long time friends you may have lost touch with.

Rights and Responsibilities:  Facebook clearly points out the agreement between you and them in a Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.[5] In this they state that your “privacy is very important” and they provide a link to the Data Use policy.  If you go down the rabbit hole you can get to the page: “Information we receive and how it used”.[6] It is a long page of information but you can get a full description of the data that you make available to Facebook and how you can choose to adjust your settings so that it is shared by the public or shared only among friends or some customized filter.  The real issue for some people is this one item:

For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.

Two positive aspects can be stated here: for one, Facebook is very thorough in laying out these terms.  With some items such as safety, account security, and protection of other’s rights, Facebook points out that they cannot do it alone (for example, they cannot guarantee to keep Facebook safe).  They elicit the commitment of their users to not bully, to not post content that is hate speech, pornographic, or is violent.  They ask that upload material is free of multi-level marketing, viruses, and malicious code.  They also emphasize that you will not post other’s personal identification or sensitive financial data.  The list of these items is a lengthy one and, while there is some policing of what is displayed, to a large part the ethical participation of its users is required.  Secondly, these terms can, and have, been subject to change based on user feedback.

Creation of Groups:  Say you have a group of people you want to connect with – family, friends, a social group of some kind.  You can easily create a group and invite them to join.  Once everyone is all aboard you can have a central place to swap stories, post links, and share photos and video.  This is so much easier than trying to get messages to a group by email.  The down side… everyone needs a Facebook account and not everyone wants to join up for one reason or another.

With this in mind… we look at the aspects of Facebook that are not favorable.

Thumbs Down

There are a few items that stand out as being difficult to some people when signing on and getting tangled in the Facebook network and these need to be understood.

Backing out:  While there are a few hoops you have to jump through to get a Facebook account started, we find opting out to be even a greater challenge.  When you want to deactivate your account your profile and “Timeline” disappear and people will not be able to search for you.  However, there is some information that remains including messages you have sent and Facebook saves your information including friends, photos, interests, and the like.  They do this in case you change your mind and want to come back.  To permanently delete your account “with no option for recovery” you have to log in and contact them.  What users have found is that they need to manually delete the content that they have posted and shared.  As pointed out by Wikipedia[7]:

In the lifespan of its service, Facebook has made many changes that directly impact its users, and their changes often result in criticism. Of particular note are the new user interface format launched in 2008, and the changes in Facebook’s Terms of Use, which removed the clause detailing automatic expiry of deleted content. Facebook has also been sued several times.

Zeus:  A report last year[8] pointed out how a somewhat nasty malware called Zeus, was being used from Facebook.  Zeus is a Trojan horse that stays dormant on your computer until you log into a bank site and then it steals passwords and empties the bank account.  Facebook was notified of this but according to the report their response was not sufficient.

Fake Accounts:  There are many reports about fraudulent Facebook accounts.[9] In these situations, an imposter uses another person’s profile such as name, photo, and personal information in an attempt to access the victim’s friend list.  The reasons for doing this can include attempting to data mine you or even to attempt an emergency scam with your friends and family. For example, “This is Joanne. I’m in Cancun and I just got mugged and need some money sent to me right away”).  If this happens you need to report it to Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/help/167722253287296/) right away.

Fake Likes: One other area of criticism is how Facebook’s revenue is based on false likes.  There are those that may want to promote their Facebook page so that more people can view it.  Pages can be created by businesses or individual creators.  The creators of these pages post items and these posts can appear on other Facebook member’s news feed.  However, they can also be filtered out based on what you have previously disliked and liked.  This means that your posts that you create to share with your online community could be going out to only a small subsection of your overall friend’s network.  Posts about baby’s and weddings get the most likes and comments.  Facebook offers the option to pay for greater exposure but critics[10] claim that these “likes” are coming from developing nations and there isn’t a real interest in the page.  While filtering is necessary so that you do not see 1500 posts each day, some suggest that the algorithm logic for this filtering does not provide diversity and a random selection of items.

The Rest of the List:  A list of criticisms is sited in Wikipedia, several of which have been from concerns raised in previous years of operation.  The list includes the following:

  • Widening exposure of member information.
  • Cooperation with government search requests  (Facebook participated in the NSA Prism project).
  • The possibility of data mining and surveillance.
  • Facebook addiction.
  • Psychological effects such as bullying.
  • Identity theft (it is very easy to create an account and impersonate another individual).
  • Security issues such as a trick referred to as “likejacking”.

It would take considerable research and follow up to see what steps Facebook has undertaken to improve these issues.  As stated they do respond to feedback and we can only hope that they continue to do so.  Ongoing research looks to gain deeper insight into the social effects of Facebook.  From the same wiki page:

Many studies have attempted to discover whether Facebook has a positive or negative effect on children’s and teenagers’ social lives, and many of them have come to the conclusion that there are distinct social problems that arise with Facebook usage.

Ownership and Use of Content:  There have been many who have stated their disapproval of Facebook because what they believe to be a loss of ownership of data when posting or sharing.  It should be clear that Facebook states in their Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, that users retain ownership of posted content.  What needs to be clear is that users grant Facebook the following: “you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook”.  This is why deletion of content is so important to those who want to delete their account and remove all personal information.

Alternatives

There are alternatives to Facebook.  Here is a short list (and we do mean short list – these networking sites pop up very frequently).

Google+: This is a fairly good alternative to Facebook with similar features and it is the second largest social network in the world.

Pintrest : Create and share visual “bookmarks” for planning trips, sharing recipes, organize events and more.

MySpace: Owned by Justin Timberlake this site has a strong music emphasis.

Reddit : Participants submit links and posts that are voted on to determine the position of the post on the site’s page.

Twitter: Good for texting messages limited to 140 characters.

LinkedIn: A social network for professionals.

Keep in mind that alternatives to Facebook will take time to get used to if you are accustomed to Facebook.  Also, you may not get the same level of friends that you can connect with.  This is likely why there are those that are signed up on more than one.

The Final Chapter:

Social media tools such as Facebook offer such potential in terms of correspondence, staying informed, and participation in online community.  The challenge is to take part in shaping it as it evolves.  The information that is particular to each of us personally and to the members of our families needs to be regarded with reverence and handled with privacy.  We can shape these tools to meet our needs with ongoing feedback.

Considering the time and effort a person can dedicate to these and to staying connected to others via mobile devices… is it any wonder there is growing concern about levels of real, face-to-face social interaction?  Is it any wonder this is generating considerable research?  Is there any wonder that some people question how meaningful online friendships are when having up to, or over, 1000 friends is the norm?  And is it any wonder that there is some doubt as to how well we are able to function without the steady influx of digital information?  Likely the best we can do is to get onboard but to give ourselves real and meaningful breaks from the pull of networking on a massive scale.

We hope this article has helped gain some insight about a rather all-encompassing and dichotomous subject.  We will continue to investigate these kinds of story lines that affect each of us on a daily basis in a manner that is within reach of everyday computer users.  If you have some ideas of topics you would like us to cover, email us at: newsletter@compuclever.com

 

Hack, Hack

February 13, 2014

Yes it is cold and flu season. But we are referring here to another kind of viral risk – online hacking. It has again crept into the news and hit some of us right in the pocketbook. We explore two recent hacks that have had an impact on the financial security of millions of users. While not much information is released as to how these attacks occur – perhaps so as to not promote further offenses – we can focus on the effects of these attacks and what can be done to protect ourselves. A counter measure to these breaches is the onset of new technological security advances. It can be a challenge for us to keep up with it all but we endeavour to understand it and explore the options.

Read the full article →

Looking back and moving forward

January 17, 2014

During the year 2013 we covered a wide range of topics and moving forward we think there are many suggestions and recommendations that can be used in dealing with PC issues you may be facing right now.  So, we embark on a two-part adventure: to review the best of our articles and to highlight what PC tips and tricks you can take advantage of immediately.  What better way to step up to the plate when asked: What is your New Year’s resolution?  We hope it’s to take charge of your computing needs so that your PC works for you!  This summary of our top PC stories for us is a celebration of a year’s correspondences to you our readership.

Read the full article →

Sitting Down with a Good eBook

December 4, 2013

The holidays are upon us. At this time of the year we tend to find ourselves overdoing it when it comes to consumption and the ever-growing amount of items we have. When it comes to books, some of us are running out of room on our bookshelves and boxing up the extras. Then there’s the amount of trees used to create books. One way of being more space conscious and eco-friendly is to go electronic. You may be surprised to know that there are vast amounts of digitized books available. We’re going to examine the popularity of eBooks, describe in brief just what they are and what you need to know, and we are going to introduce CompuClever’s Ultra eBook Reader. Finally we will provide a list of free resources to whet your appetite for eBook reading if you haven’t already taken up this convenient and easy pastime.

Read the full article →

Can’t open an important file?

November 15, 2013

This article addresses a commonly experienced occurrence – not being able to open a file. We will begin with some basic questions that need to be answered in order to prevent opening the wrong type of file. It’s unfortunate that in today’s cyber world there are so many pitfalls to maintaining a healthy and secure PC but caution is a must when downloading, installing, or opening files on your computer. After that we will look at how to deal with the problem of opening files using PC TuneUp Maestro. There are tools that can help you in several instances including being able to recommend a free program, when one is available, that can open and view the file.

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SyncToy – A free tool for PC backup

October 18, 2013

In some of our previous articles we have advised our readers to perform a backup of files for a variety of good reasons including to avoid loss or destruction of data file and to better organize files so as to reduce clutter and free hard drive space. We have also recommended Microsoft’s Sync Toy and have encouraged users to run this free tool when doing backup procedures. In this article we are going to go in to some depth on how to use this technology. While we do not benefit from others using this program, we do feel its merits are to be shared. There are some terms and actions that require explanation and instruction. Once you get familiar with this program you can be backing up files on a regular basis and you’ll be impressed by just how fast and easy it is.

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Foistware – Remove and Restore

September 13, 2013

In our companion article we introduced foistware and focused on detection and prevention. Here we look at how to remove these items and restore your browser settings. We will cover removal of foistware from Browser toolbars and uninstalling unwanted items using the Uninstaller tool available with PC Clean Maestro. After this we will cover the basics of restoring your browser to its previous condition.

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Foistware – Messing Up Your PC Experience

September 11, 2013

ynopsis: How often have you experienced changes in your computer without knowing how it occurs? It could be that your Internet browser opens to a new homepage or your search engine is no longer the same. Or maybe there are more items in your Browser toolbar or you are getting popup messages appearing. It could be that, in general, these changes have slowed down your computer performance in one way or another. Our CompuClever support team is known for assisting our customers when they notice their PC experiencing a noticeable slow down in performance. Recently when investigating with the use of our support tools, we have found common changes that result in poor PC “health”. These changes are the direct result of something now known as foistware. This is also known as “crapware” and is appropriately named. In this article we will begin by describing the condition and then move into methods of detection and prevention. In our follow up article, we will get into more details of how to remove these items.

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InPrivate Browsing

August 12, 2013

In this article we focus on a recent technology that is available with most browser types – web browsing in Private mode. The concept is straightforward: you select a private session so that certain items are not stored on the PC. We will cover a description of this as well as describe how you can easily begin a session. Also, we point out the difference between privacy and security – an important distinction so as to not rely on a technology whereby you can still be vulnerable to certain malicious threats when surfing the web.

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