Archive for the ‘Internet’ Category

Description of ‘Internet’ Category:

Posts about The Internet, a global system of interconnected computer networks.

How to Avoid and Remove the MacDefender Malware

Friday, May 27th, 2011

Recently the MacDefender Malware has created a lot of concerns for Mac users all around the world. Quickly spreading, the MacDefender Malware is a phishing scheme that presents  a message that informs users that their system has been corrupted. The ploy goes on to tell Mac user that the only way to remove the viruses is to utilize the MacDefender app. The MacDefender malware can also appear as MacProtector and MacSecurity. The malware does not infect a user’s machines with viruses or monitor keystrokes. Their sole purpose is to frighten and persuade users to purchase the MacDefender application thus gaining access to the customer’s credit card information.

apple logo

from, May 2011

Mac has estimated that between 60,000 and 125,000 Mac users have already been exposed to this malware. Most users have encountered this problem through poisoned Google images. When users access a poisoned link, a page will launch and display a virus scan. After being transferred to the infected webpage the software begins to download and informs users of an infection. Previously the malware required permission to install but despite the efforts made by Mac a newer version of the malware has been created, which no longer needs the user’s permission. This MacDefender version automatically installs on a machine during the fake scan process.

Mac has yet to take action against the initial malware but has stated they will have a resolution with their next OS X Update. Mac states that they will “deliver a Mac OS X software update that will automatically find and remove Mac Defender malware and its known variants. Mac however has not addressed the new version of the malware and has also informed their support staff Not to assist users with MacDefender removal. Although the support staff has been instructed not to assist with its removal, Mac has provided the following on how to prevent the malware from installing and how to remove once installed.

Avoiding Installation:

  • If users experience any notification concerning the mentioned security software, immediately exit the browser.
  • If the browser fails to quit, perform a Forced Quit. To perform a force quit go to the Apple menu and choose force quit. Alternatively you can Force Quit by pressing Command+Option+Esc, and then choose unresponsive program followed by clicking force quit.

Removing the Application:

  • In the event that the malware was automatically downloaded and launched, do not enter your administrator password.
  • Do not provide your credit card information.
  • Access your download folder and delete the application.
  • Once the application is deleted make sure that you also permanently delete is in your trash folder.
  • Close the Scan Window.
  • Go to the Utilities folder in the Applications folder and launch Activity Monitor.
  • Choose All Processes from the popup menu in the upper right corner of the window.
  • Under the Process Name column, look for the name of the app and click to select it.
  • Click the Quit Process button in the upper left corner of the window and select Quit.
  • Quit the Activity Monitor application.
  • Open the Applications folder, locate the app again, drag it to the trash, and permanently empty the Trash

In addition to the MacDefender app a login item is also placed in the user’s system preferences which can be removed by opening system preferences, selecting accounts, clicking login items, selecting remove and then clicking the minus button. Although it is not necessary it is advised that users to remove this login item.

Check back later as more details develop to learn more about the MacDefender malware and possible solutions.

Thanks for Reading and Have a Great Day!


Providing Tech Support for Businesses in Maryland

Competing For Top Browser: The New Features in Firefox 4

Friday, April 1st, 2011

Last week we discussed the new features of Internet Explorer 9 and the enhancements Microsoft has made to the preexisting structure of the browser. Since the release of IE9 and Firefox 4 were only one week apart from each other, it was bound to initiate an increase in competition. Moments after the new version of Firefox was released the number of downloads quickly began to grow much to the chagrin of Microsoft. It became hard to miss all of the blogs and headlines that are emphasizing how the number of Firefox downloads outnumbered those of Internet Explorer 9.

firefox 4

Firefox 4 from April 2011

Although competition may sometimes seem like a tough aspect of business it can undoubtedly provide certain benefits. For example healthy competition between similar organizations keeps companies innovative, growing, updating their products, and always searching for the next big concept. Having this type of browser competition ensures that the customer will remain the primary focus and will always have the best options made available to them. With that being said choosing a browser shouldn’t be about how many numbers of downloads a browser has it should be about the features it offers and the preference of a user, which seems to be getting overlooked in order to emphasize competition.

Each browser has a particular following so it is not surprising that the users running Internet Explorer will continue to use IE9 and those running Firefox will upgrade to Firefox 4. Each of the browsers has made similar adjustments but at the same time they offer a few stand out and key differences. Comparable to the changes made with IE9 the adjustments made for Firefox 4 can be broken down into categories which include design and layout, security and performance, usability and organization, and personalization.

Design and Layout:

Again with this browser we see an interface that is less cluttered and less complicated. Firefox was able to create more space to view websites by consolidating everything into one main menu, which is now called the “Firefox Menu”. In addition they have also relocated the position of the tabs and are now located above the URL and search bar. This time around the bookmark, home, back, reload, and stop buttons have all been simplified, again to produce a cleaner user interface. Similar to Internet Explorer 9 the browser places more of an emphasis on the web page as opposed to the actual browser.

Usability and Organization:

Unlike Internet Explorer which has consolidated the address bar and search box into one location the Firefox browser has decided to keep both search boxes separated. The address bar which has been given the name “The Awesome Bar” learns and adapts as you use it, meaning if you decide to type only keyword in this space it will provide website suggestions based on both your previous search results and bookmarked locations. In order to receive search results users still need to either navigate to a search engine or do so via the quick search result box as opposed to in IE9 where users can simply search the term in one convenient and space saving search bar.

Tabs work similar to in the previous versions of Firefox but they are in the different location as previously mentioned and can be sorted into small groups using Panorama. Panorama takes small snapshots of your open pages and allows you to drag and drop them into a group. Firefox also lets users create App tabs similar to how IE9 lets users pin websites to the Windows 7 task bar. App tabs are for sites that a user wants to make a permanent fixture and remain in the actual browser as opposed to the Windows 7 task bar. These smaller tabs have a designated position located before the regular tabs along the top of the search bars. Firefox’s Application tab options seems more viable because although IE9’s pinning option can be more convenient it can also clutter a user’s desktop task bar and is only available to people who are using the Windows 7 operating system.

 Security and Performance:

Firefox 4 allows its users to sync their mobile device browser with their desktop browser to preserve the continuity of their web browsing experience. The process of syncing will transfers any tabs, history, bookmarks, and passwords across any mobile platform. Similar to previous versions, Firefox 4 utilizes a pop-up blocker, password manager, download manager, spell checker, form assistant, and a session restore.

It is evident that one of the main priorities for the new version of Firefox was enhancing security. The following are some of the security features that Firefox 4 offers:

  • Instant web session ID – Websites are highlighted as being secure or vulnerable
  • Content security policy – Prevents cross site scripting
  • Anti-Phishing – Firefox updates its records of counterfeit sites 48 times a day
  • Customizable security
  • Parental controls
  • Secure updates
  • Anti-malware
  • Private browsing
  • Antivirus integration
  • Outdated plug-in detection
  • Secure connections
  • Automatic updates
  • Clearing history
  • Forget the site
  • Custom no site tracking


Firefox has a tremendous collection of add-ons which is part of the reason why so many users are drawn to it. Their library now contains over 2,398,145,252 add-ons which make customizing a user experience quick and simple. Users can also personalize their browser by applying personas or skins to the browser window and can also add, re-arrange or eliminate the buttons located on Firefox.


Firefox 4 adds to the already great reputation of the Firefox name and certainly lives up to the standards of its users. Like anything new it may take some time for users to get comfortable with the display and features but because the browser offers a much better user experience it is well worth the adjustment period. Although the latest versions of IE and Firefox browsers offer a few varying differences both browsers seem to have implemented changes based on similar criteria, making recommending one over the other difficult. Both browsers concentrated on browser simplification, user interaction, tab management, security, and search capability. Whether you are partial to Internet Explorer or Firefox it is clear that they have both delivered new versions that provide a higher performance, better usability, enhanced security, and an overall improved user experience.

These are just a few of the features that Firefox 4 has to offer, to download the latest versions or learn more about Mozilla Firefox 4 or Internet Explorer 9 visit the links below!

Download Firefox 4

Firefox 4 Features

Download Microsoft IE 9

Internet Explorer 9 Features

Have a Great Day!


Providing Tech Support for Businesses in Maryland


Internet Explorer 9: Discovering the New and Improved Features

Friday, March 25th, 2011

Monday March 14, 2011 marked the release of the 9th version of Internet Explorer (IE).  This time around Microsoft stated that they have placed more of an emphasis on user feedback.  During the IE 9 Beta testing period the company had received a lot of suggestions that they really took to heart and implemented.  With these suggestions and implementation their goal was to make Internet Explorer 9 the best version possible.

internet explorer 9

from March 2011

The number of people using the Internet Explorer web browser is not as solid as it once was because users now have the options of other browsers like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. Causing the number of IE users to slowly decline over the past couple years, each of the other browsers offers its users certain benefits and has elements that customers gravitate toward. For example Firefox has an enormous collection of add-ons that allows a user to customize their browser environment and web experience.

Although the new release of Internet Explorer offers some pretty cool and exciting features it’s unlikely that the users that have already jumped ship will return. However the elements of IE9 may prevent future users from switching browsers which could be crucial since Firefox 4 was released on March 22, 2011.  Regardless of the advantages and disadvantages of the other available browsers it is safe to say that this new version of Internet Explorer is better than any of its predecessors.

So, what are the new features of Internet Explorer 9?

Increased performance, enhanced design, better usability, and stronger safety are just a few of the features that the new version has to offer. The following is a closer look at some of the key elements that make IE9 the best version of Internet Explorer thus far.

Power and Performance:

Internet Explorer 9 offers a faster installation process that requires fewer customer based decisions during the process. The browser launches faster than ever and with the improved JavaScript engine web pages load much faster than before and still maintain rich smooth graphics.  This version incorporates better graphic capabilities and when combined with Windows 7 it is said to provide the best web experience for viewers.

Design and Usability:

  • Initially the new stripped down design may require some time to get acquainted with.
  • The layout is similar to earlier versions of IE but much of the unnecessary distractions have been relocated or completely removed.
  • The new tab page allows you to manage your favorite sites and gives you the option to open one of your most visited sites or continue with a site that has not yet been stored.
  • The color coded customizable tabs create a quick identification and navigation process.
  • The ability to pin your favorite sites to the Windows 7 task bar just like Windows 7 programs adds an easier method of accessing your favorite sites and makes them a convenient fixture to your desktop.
  • The new notification bar consolidate your messages, displays them at the bottom of the screen, and no longer interrupts your browsing experience until you decide when it is time to acknowledge them.
  • The message that a user encounters within the notification bar is clearer, incorporates more information, and makes the notifications easier to address.
  • The Navigation buttons and tasks are clearly visible due to the minimal yet efficient interface. The back button is not emphasized and even displays the icon for the last visited web page.
  • The search and navigation are all located in the same box. The one box is located at the top of your browser and allows you to navigate to a webpage or perform a search just as you would in an actual search engine. The Address bar accepts URL’s as well as keywords or phrase.  Uses can change which search engine they want their results to appear from by selecting the drop down arrow in the search box.
  • The simple and clean design emphasizes the website rather than the web browser. Most of the screen space is devoted to view a website with only the search bar and tabs located at the very top of the browser.

Maintenance and Security:

  • The ActiveX Filtering guide enables you to block all sites requiring it and allows you to grant permission as you see fit. 
  • The add-on performance advisor monitors and identifies and alerts you to any add-ons that may be slowing down your user experience. 
  • The Compatibility View option enables the browser to view pages as an older version.  If a page is not compatible or displays incorrectly the broken page button by the search box gives users the option to view the page in the IE older format. Once viewed in the older format the browser will remember this action and always display the page correctly from then on.
  • The Cross Site Scripting Filter prevents cross-site scripting attacks which are the leading online threat. 
  • The Domain Highlighting feature alerts you to malicious sites by highlighting the sites URL in red.  
  • The new Download Manager lets you monitor and interact with all of your current downloads.  In addition it also acts as a SmartScreen filter to protect your computer from harmful downloads.
  • The SmartScreen Filter alerts you to any possible threats and provides Anti-Phishing protection, Application reputation, and Anti-Malware protection.
  • The In-Private browsing feature allows you to avoid leaving a trail of your search history.
  • In the event of a lost connection your browser will automatically restore itself with the previous sessions in tacked.  In addition if an individual website crashes the incident will only affect that isolated tab and will not interfere with any of the other open tabs.

Although some of these features have been seen before in the other browsers like Firefox and Chrome, Internet Explorer 9 has still managed to introduce a few elements that the others don’t offer. To see a full list of comparisons visit Chrome vs. Firefox vs. IE9.  Whether this version is better than the competition depends on the preferences of the individual user but there is no denying that this version of IE is a major improvement over the past Internet Explorers.  Check back with us next week as we review the new features of Firefox 4 and see how it measures up to the latest IE9.

Download and experience all of these great features at Microsoft IE 9 Download.

Explore the links below to learn more about IE9

IE9 compared to previous versions

Internet Explorer 9 -Features

Have a Great Day!


Providing Tech Support for Businesses in Maryland

Cyber Criminals, Targeting Your Sympathy in the event of a tragedy!

Friday, March 18th, 2011

When natural disasters occur many people and groups across the world feel sympathetic to those that have to endure through the hard times.   Whether it is through donations, prayer, or assisting in reconstruction, people usually come together and offer their support in one form or another.   However, this of course is not always the case and where good hearted people may see an opportunity to help out there are others out there that are looking to take advantage of the situation.

phishingAlthough the Internet has greatly advanced over the past years it still remains vulnerable to cyber criminals.   Even with the number of safety and security precautions established on the Internet the number of threats has nearly doubled within the last two years.   Social media may be partly responsible for the growing number of threats because as the number of web users increases so does the number of these attacks.

Taking into consideration how much the Internet has evolved and the number of security features that have been implemented one thing remains the same and that is the human factor.   Not all people are good and this is evident with cyber hackers, criminals, and the other individuals that only see the negative opportunity when tragedy occurs.

There are a number of ways cyber criminals take advantage of the Internet and web users. Among the most frequently used methods is phishing.  These websites and emails are designed not so much to take advantage of the people impacted by a tragedy but the sympathy and compassion others express following the disaster. These sites and emails are created to make them appear as a legitimate company, meanwhile they have no connection to that company whatsoever nor do they have any intention of offering the support they are promising.   Their only purpose is to gain access to your information and money.   Following the devastation in Japan or any of the other natural disasters like the Indian Ocean Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina , most the time people want to help which makes them a perfect target for online scammers.

Often times it is amazing how quickly support efforts are rallied. It is shocking but not surprising that just as fast as support efforts are gathered the same is being done for fraudulent swindles. As if the catastrophe wasn’t bad enough now the people who are trying to do something to help and make a difference now have the misfortune of being mislead and cheated as well.   Not only are these individuals cheated out of money but the group of people facing the tragedy is not receiving the help and support they were meant to have.

Already a number of fraudulent relief efforts have been reported and there are probably many more that are yet to be discovered.   Its important to remember that there always has been and most likely always will be someone trying to profit from the kindness of someone else and not to fall victim to their attempts.   Remember that these criminals seek out these opportunities and take every advantage to exploit them.   Some key tips include not providing your information through email and making sure that you are doing your research before donating.   If you wish to help make sure you locate a secure, legitimate and reputable organization for which to offer your support with.

Learn more by going to the links below

Current situation in Japan

CBS News, Disaster in Japan

Have a Great Day!


Providing Tech Support for Businesses in Maryland

Understand the Internet Threat: DDoS – Distributed Denial of Service

Friday, October 8th, 2010

Hey, everyone, Josh from Computer Fitness back with another award-winning article to help you with your computer conundrums.

Cyber criminals are out there; there´s no denying it. More and more we hear about attacks in the US or abroad against networks, companies, and governments. This is the same as it ever was, people trying to take from others. The methodology has changed and that is what we´re going to talk about today. One of the more common ways that attackers will go after a network is a DDoS, or Distributed Denial of Service.

When you contact a website, send an email, etc. You are exchanging data. That´s how this whole thing works. Various pieces of hardware route the data and make sure it gets divided up and sent to the right places. Now, have you ever seen a website that was “just taking forever today”? That´s an example of too much traffic being funneled through too small of an area. What a DDoS does, is a play on this weakness and flood the target with traffic.

Now, rather than some of the other methods of attack where a single user is the culprit, DDoS relies on hundreds of thousands of machines all forcing their way in at once. This leaves the routers et al. with far too much traffic to handle and they crash under the weight; the attackers now have what they want, a denial of service to anyone who uses the site.

Further reading:


Internet Explorer 9 (ie9) – A Quick Look at Some Upcoming Changes

Friday, October 1st, 2010
Internet Explorer 9

Image from October 2010

Hey, everyone, Josh from Computer Fitness back with another award-winning article to help you with your computer conundrums.

Microsoft is releasing a new version of Internet Explorer, version 9 to be specific. Now, there are a lot of claims about how fast and amazing this new version of IE is. Currently, IE9 is in beta, which means it is out for public testing. Users can relay their experience with Microsoft and inform them of bugs and other issues they’ve come across.

Hardware Acceleration is a big part of many websites looking to use HTML5 and make their websites look and feel even better. Hardware Acceleration means that IE9 can use your graphics card and more to make the browser run smoother and do more impressive things. This is a cool proposition for programmers looking to create exciting content like interactive games.

IE9 will load quicker and run faster. According to their website, it will start up quicker and handle updates quicker. Microsoft is working to take the updates out of your hands so you don’t have to worry about them.

Popular Sites is something that is a part of most web browsers these days, and IE9 will support it. When you open a new tab in your browser, you will see tiny boxes with images on your most visited websites. This is handy for when you use the web for a few select sites and frequent them often. .

All in all, IE9 is promising an improvement over past versions of IE as well as over other browsers in general. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, considering that while IE has a large share of the market, that piece is slipping.  IE9 might be just what Microsoft needs to breathe life back into the software, or it could be the final iteration of the series. For more info check out Microsoft’s IE9 website.