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Scam phone calls!
If you receive a phone call claiming to be from ‘Microsoft’ or someone claiming to work on their behalf, telling you that you have a virus on your computer which they will help you fix over the phone, It Is A Scam.  Hang up the phone, do not let them have remote control access to your computer and do not give them any money.
This scam has been doing the rounds in Malta for a while but it appears to be on the rise.  The scam goes like this;
  • Householders receive an unsolicited phone call from someone claiming to be from ‘Microsoft’ and they are told that there is a serious virus problem with their computer and the caller offers to help to fix the problem.
  • The householder will be told by the caller that all sorts of bad things that will happen to their computer if they do not sort out the problem immediately.
  • To try to gain the unwitting householders trust, the caller will direct them to the Event Viewer in Windows which shows details about various hardware and Windows software issues.  This Event Viewer is always full of messages, even on a healthy computer, but the caller will convince them that these are the warning signs of the impending disaster.
  • When the caller has their trust, they ask the householder to go to a website and download a remote control program that will help them fix the problem.  After downloading this, the caller will take control of the computer, the householder will see their mouse pointer move around while various programs and folders are opened.  The caller will claim that they know exactly what the problem is and how to fix it.
  • Then they will ask for credit card details for a piece of software that will supposedly remove the ‘virus’.
  • Customers should hopefully already have alarm bells ringing at the mention of credit card details and end the conversation.  
  • The software that they sell to fix the computer will do nothing except tell you every now and then that everything is fine, all viruses have been removed.  But in reality, it could be downloading all sorts of malware to your computer.
  • However, part of the scam’s damage may already have been done when the customer downloaded the remote control software.  This software could well have the capability to sit in the background for months or years, stealing personal information from the computer like bank login details and other personal details that could be used for identity theft purposes.  These callers could also be using this software to infect your computer with real viruses and malware.
Quote from Microsoft:
“Microsoft takes the privacy and security of our customers and partners personal information very seriously. We are advising customers to treat all unsolicited phone calls with skepticism and not to provide any personal information to anyone over the phone or online. Anyone who receives an unsolicited call from someone claiming to be from Microsoft should hang up. We can assure you Microsoft does not make these kinds of calls.”
“For more information on this scam and how to protect yourself against this, please click here:
Our Tip:
If you receive one of these unsolicited phone calls, hang up and do not download anything they ask you to.  And definitely don’t hand over your credit card details, just because someone mentions the well known name ‘Microsoft’.
If you have allowed them to take control of your computer, or download their ‘fix’ software, it is likely they have infected your computer with a virus or other malware.




Why Should You Have Antivirus Software?
Antivirus software may be the most important software you'll ever install on your computer. It has become a must-have tool for any computer user since not only do you have the threat of actual viruses, but worms, Trojans and spyware as well. A user freely surfing the web can easily contract a malware infection without even knowing it. Viruses, worms, and the like often perform malicious acts, such as deleting files, accessing personal data, or using your computer to attack other computers. These attacks are attempts to disrupt the operation of your computer and, in some cases, render it slow and even useless.



Tip of the month
How to keep your kids safe online.
If you are a parent, then you know that there are websites that you do not want your children to visit.
Whilst no online parental or browsing filtering software system is 100% effective, having a reliable package installed always helps.
However, nothing will replace your supervision. Our tips are simple but effective solutions that will help you:
1. Always place your young kids' PCs within your sight.
2. If they are in their own rooms, keep their doors open.
3. Check who their online friends are, how old they are and ASK if you are suspicious of unfamiliar names.
4. Talk to your children openly about the risk of chat, like that of being asked to meet up with strangers - which should be forbidden.
We are not after promoting paranoia but it is always better to be safe than sorry. The internet is a great source of knowledge and fun for your young children. Your attention can definitely help keeping it that way!





Google Instant Search


The importance of internet search engines today is fundamental.  There is a raging war out on the World Wide Web with search engine suppliers competing between themselves on who is going to be the best.  And let’s face it, being the best is paramount to business, especially when the potential clients are coming from all over the world resulting in attracting millions of visits every day.


Google is one of the top notch websites of the moment.  Its simplicity in loading up a mostly empty page with one major purpose – to search.  And search it does, with so many users having Google as their home page and as their default search provider.  Doubtless this search engine is very popular and whoever designs a webpage today designs it to be not just SEO friendly but particularly Google friendly.


So what happens when Google’s search engine actually gets better?


The latest amazing feature released from Google during the month of September 2010 is called Google Instant.  The company has placed a huge effort on this latest technology where the current search concept is replaced by a new one.  The current search is based upon typing in what you need and pressing search or enter.  Then we wait for a few milliseconds for the page to load and select a result.  If the result is not what was needed, then the search can be refined (with the assistance of Google’s suggestions) and wait for the page to load again.


The new concept with Google instant is astonishingly faster – and in my opinion - better.  As soon as the text in the search is changed the page will automatically change to show the search results.  So there is no need to wait anymore for search results to load, as soon as the query changes by a single character, then the search results are instantly updated.  By instantly it means that on a regular internet connection the results take mere fractions of a second to change.  This concept is based upon the fact that most people ENGINE relatively slow (typically taking 300 milliseconds between keystrokes) and read ten times faster (only 30 milliseconds).  This system combined with search predictions and suggestions have resulted in search times being improved by 2 – 5 seconds.


Obviously the effort from Google was considerable in order to make such an achievement.  The initial reports show that on the first days of trial, the server requirements at Google were almost 20 times the average, but with more optimisation the engineers are confident that this shall eventually be reduced to an additional three times over the existing workload.


One last thought on the subject – this new way of tackling searches is going to be yet another huge challenge on SEO optimisation.  As an example, simply pressing A will be a big competition between Amazon and Apple on who will be first on the list of suggestions and instant result.