Check a Suspicious File with VirusTotal

Sometimes you receive a file that gives you pause. It might be from a website you don’t fully trust, or it has appeared mysteriously in your inbox.  What ever the case, you’d like to make sure it’s on the up-and-up. While it’s pretty tough to get 100% certainty, analyzing a suspect file with VirusTotal can get you pretty close. VirusTotal is a website that inspects a link or file  you give it.  It scans the file with about 40 different antivirus solutions and shows you the results. If you find yourself scanning links and files frequently they offer a desktop application (Windows only) and browser plugin (Firefox) that can add scanning with VirusTotal as an option to your right-click menu.

Spot a Scam in your Inbox

While wandering about the net I chanced on an article from Microsoft.  It’s a concise overview of what to look for in a well-crafted scam.  Fortunately for us most scams aren’t as well constructed, so they usually have one or two of these earmarks:  shortened URLs, wacky email addresses, weird information, and will almost always ask for your sensitive data.

Often the scam will try to play on your emotions to elicit a response.  One such scam is in the form of an email from a friend stuck in a foreign country who lost their wallet and needs money to get back home. The victim sends money to an overseas money order location and the scam is complete.

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Keepass – Password Manager

If you are like me you’ll have accumulated tons of passwords by now. Some of them are fairly important and you might want them tough to crack, unfortunately you need to actually be able to remember your passwords and the harder they are to crack the harder they are to remember. You might want to store them in your web browser but that isn’t very secure.

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Keeping Your Home Computer Virus/Malware Free

Keeping your computer malware/virus free is sort of an arcane art. For example if you install everything on this list and have it automatically run at startup your computer will be slower due to everything loading into memory. Many of these programs have a ‘portable’ or ‘standalone’ version which means you don’t have to install them to use them. Follow the link for all the details.

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Excellent Comparison of Paid Home Antivirus Programs

On of the more common questions we get from folks about their home computers: What should I do about computer viruses? The folks over at notebookreview.com have put together a nice comparison of six antivirus options. They also have an in-depth article on each program. If you are interested in getting an antivirus program for your home computer this article might be worth a look.