New irritation from fake security software

This last week I have encountered a new trend with the virus / trojan pests affecting user’s computers in a new way – setting all files to invisible.

I guess this is a new tactic to add to the scareware they already use to try to convince users to part with cash to fix the problems – problems which themselves are either imaginary or inflicted by the thing offering to solve them.

Previously these pests diverted your web browsing, blocked it completely or prevented you running programs by turning the icons into generic links rather than links to executable files.

As always, don’t pay the scam merchants to “fix” these problems. Don’t be panicked into thinking all you work, music, photos etc have been deleted either – they are just hidden because a system setting has been flipped to “hidden”.

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Ubuntu 11.04 out this week

The latest release of Ubuntu is due out on Thursday this week.

Ubuntu is an operating system (ie a replacement for Microsoft Windows) which is free to download from the Ubuntu website. It is free of charge and mainly free of licensing restrictions so you can copy it to friends and install on more than one PC.

This release changes the user interface to “Unity” so the desktop looks quite different to a typical MS Windows installation. It may not be to everybody’s taste, or be fully functional on all computer hardware, but it is intended to be easy to learn and use, and to make the best use of screen area especially on netbooks or small laptops.

Ubuntu is the Operating System and it comes with MS compatible office software, PDF viewer, photo management, web browser, media player etc plus a Software Centre with literally thousands of software packages available to download for free (like an “apps store”).

The download can be run as a “Live CD” or from a memory stick without changing your PC. You can then install Ubuntu alongside Windows and switch between them when the PC starts up.

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Another day, another blog

A raft of public holidays gives me the time to get started on a blog about personal computing issues – the sort of thing that ordinary users wrestle with on a daily basis.

I recently helped out at a beginners computing session locally, it was interesting to see that half of the laptops either had no antivirus or an expired trial version. In one case the owner had purchased Norton 360 with the laptop but didn’t know what to do with the box. It didn’t help that the laptop came with Norton Internet Security trial version but they upsold her to Norton 360, so it wasn’t possible to just use the new product code – a re-install was required.

Looking at Norton 360 it appears to be a product developed purely for the profit margins of retailers – Norton Internet Security does the job for less money and is often on offer at less than £30 retail.

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