Archive for July, 2010

How-To: Killing “Fake Anti-Virus” Pop-ups

A client called today to report a “fake anti-virus” on her screen. Luckily she left it on her screen so that I could remote in, see the problem, and fix it.

Here is a quick how-to on defeating this right when it occurs so that the “malware” does not get installed on a Windows machine with the Internet Explorer browser:

  1. Run Windows Task Manager by using [Start],[Run] from the task bar, type in taskmgr and click on [OK].
  2. Click on the Applications tab.
  3. For each Application listed, select and click the [End Task] button. If you get the prompt to either “wait” or “end now”, choose “end now.”
  4. Close the Task Manager window.
  5. Open the Control Panel and then open “Internet Options”.
  6. Find the option to delete temporary files. In IE8, there is a [Delete…] button in the “Browsing History” section.
  7. Choose the option to delete “Temporary Internet Files”. This is really the only item that needs to be checked.
  8. Close control panel.
  9. Reboot your machine.

WARNING: If you do not close the applications using the Task Manager, you will likely cause your machine to get infected when you reboot. It’s a long story as to how this happens — just be careful. Otherwise, you will likely need to make a call for IT support.

ANOTHER CAVEAT: If your machine is already infected, this will not disinfect it. This only prevents the “Fake Anti-Virus” from getting installed the first time.

Terminology: What is Hosting

Frequently, I respond to questions about “hosting” and quickly find out that everyone has a different view on what is included or intended. Here are the terms and concepts as I see them.

  • Web Hosting – hosting a web-site. Frequently, this also provides for email and FTP hosting. It is important to know that web hosting can be separated from email hosting, application hosting, etc.
  • EMail Hosting – hosting the email traffic and user mailboxes. For smaller businesses, this is done on the same server and with the same account as the web hosting, but if the email traffic get larger or needs “groupware” features, the email hosting will be separated from the web hosting.
  • Dedicated Hosting – hosting on a server that it is totally dedicated to a single customer. For smaller sites with less traffic, this is usually not required unless the web application needs custom components or has special security concersn. A dedicated hosted server has a (at least one) unique IP address.
  • Shared Hosting – hosting of multiple web-sites on the same server. This is very typical for smaller sites. These site usually share the same IP address, and there is an extra fee for a unique IP address. A unique IP address would be required if an SSL Certificate is required (to use HTTPS instead of HTTP).
  • Virtual Private Servers – This is a combination of Dedicated and Shared hosting techniques. The hardware is shared by multiple customers, but each has a “virtual server” so that they can customize the software and/or resources. A VPS hosting has its on unique IP address.
  • Co-Lo Hosting – Co-Lo is short for “co-location”, meaning that the hosting company provides physical space and power, and the customer provides the servers and the management of the servers. Each physical space is (usually) physically locked so that one customer cannot access another customer’s equipment.
  • Cloud Hosting – This is a “virtual server” environment in which resources can be quickly and easily added. This is used frequently for hosting requirements that change frequently. With Cloud Hosting, the server administrators and add more processing power and/or bandwidth so that the site can handle more traffic.

Blog Manifesto – Why We’re Here

This will be a place for business and technical advice for folks in small and medium businesses, with the primary focus on how to make technology improve effectiveness.

While most of this will be developed over time while working with clients, I will be happy to allow other knowledgeable authors and bloggers to contribute. However, this is not a place for advertising — this is a place for honest advice and sharing.


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