Java Update doing naughty things again – Trojan

In this post, I will explain how Java Updater tries to install unwanted software on your computer, what could happen if it does, and what simple steps you should take to prevent it.

Java is installed on most people’s computers; it’s a programming language that is required on many websites and some software.  It’s also a target for hackers, so you need to keep it up to date.  Unfortunately, when you update Java, it tries to install software you don’t want too.

In September, I explained on Facebook (CBits on Facebook – please Like) that Java Update would install some McAfee software which slows down the computer and would then bug users to buy the full version.

Now, Java Update is trying to install the Ask Toolbar.  The Ask Toolbar takes over your computer’s web search functions and instead of getting the useful results you expect from companies like Google and Bing, you get sent to MyWebSearch results which are primarily adverts for which Ask gets paid.  It’s very hard to tell which results are adverts, and which are the proper results that you’re looking for.

Worse still, if you make the mistake of installing the Ask Toolbar, it is hidden from the “remove software” option in Control Panel for the next 10 minutes.  The only possible reason for this behaviour is to stop people from removing the unwanted software.

In my opinion, if software you install or update also changes a different function of of your computer, then it’s a trojan; a type of virus.

So, what can you do?  Well, look out for the Java Update icon in the bottom right of your screen.  When you get it, take time to update it properly without the Ask Toolbar.

When you run the Java Updater, look out for the tick-box next to “Install the Ask Toolbar and make Ask my default search Provider”.  Untick that box, then click Next, and follow the rest of the instructions.

If you’ve installed Ask Toolbar by mistake, you can probably uninstall it (after 10 minutes) from the Add/Remove Software function in Control Panel.  If you need help or advice, please let me know.

Many people who get things like this on their computer also have other things that need clearing off and sorting out.  If you want the best experience from your computer, you can find information on my tune-up services here.  The Express Tune-up can be done remotely (via the internet), so contact me now, and within the hour you could have a faster, better computer.

Windows Update Time

It’s that time again, and Microsoft has just released it’s second biggest ever batch of Windows Updates.

If you haven’t done so already, look for the icon for Windows Updates in the bottom right of you computer screen.  If you hover over each one in turn, their labels will pop up so you can identify them.  When you find it, double-click it and follow the instructions.  They require downloads of big files, then you install them, and you will need to reboot your computer.

If you have any problems, please get in touch.



“Monkey” is not a good password!

The best passwords are long and contain random letters, numbers and characters. That also makes them hard to remember. Here are some tips to help you commit them to memory.

This is an example of a good password, iwa86DeG&ef%tns. Don’t use this one, though!

To remember a random password like that, break it up into smaller chunks that are easier to remember. Certain combinations of letters seem to have paterns in them, so split it up in a way that the groups of letters are easier to remember. Write each group on a new line.

iwa86DeG&ef%tns becomes

iwa86 – pronounced ‘highway 86’
DeG – letters that rhyme, but you have to remember the first and last are capitals
&ef – ‘and e f’, no particular obvious meaning, but quite easy to remember
%t – ‘percent tax’, maybe
ns – hard to find a way to remember these two, maybe ‘not simple’

Now, don’t try to remember all the groups at once. Make a note of the password in a safe place, maybe your wallet or purse, but don’t label it “my top secret computer password” or anything obvious. Maybe add some letters of your own to the note (the first letters of the words in the first line of your favorite song maybe), so if anyone finds it and tries to use the password, it won’t work.

Then learn the first group of characters, ‘highway 86’ for ‘iwa86’. When you need to enter the password, type ‘iwa86’ from memory, and refer to your written-down password for the rest. Then try to remember the next group, ‘DeG’.

Next time you need the password, enter the two groups you remember, then use the written-down password for the rest, and so on.

This way, you will be able to remember each group in turn more easily than trying to remember the whole thing at once. The more times you type the password, the better you will remember it. And eventually, your fingers will fly around the keyboard without you having to think too hard about what the password is. Try typing in the whole password now, using the groups of characters, then come back tomorrow and see how much of the password you remember already. You might surprise yourself.

Ok, so you remember this crazy password. You shouldn’t use the same password for everything. Although if you’re going to use the same password for everything, it might as well be a good password rather than something like ‘monkey’.

You need different, good passwords for everything. But how will you remember all these crazy passwords? For stuff you do on your computer or phone, you don’t need to remember them all. What you need is a way to have one ‘Master Password’ that you can use to securely store all your other crazy passwords.

Anyone interested in finding out more? If so, leave a comment here, or on my facebook page, and I will try to find time to write more on the subject in a series of short posts, leading up to the ultimate solution for storing secure passwords, with one password to rule them all. And it’s free!

Updates, updates, updates!


Every second Tuesday of the month, Microsoft makes a batch of updates available for all their products.  If your computer is set up properly, these updates will trickle down to over the course of a week.  You will be notified that they’re either available to download, downloaded and ready to install, or downloaded and installed automatically.  You will be asked to restart your computer, and there may be more updates after the restart.

If you haven’t been notified of updates, it could be that your computer is not set up to receive automatic updates.  This is a serious problem, as many of the updates are to patch security vulnerabilities (solve security problems), which should help protect you against viruses, trojans, and hackers.  If you want help to make sure you’re getting updates, please contact me.

I’ve been busy over the last couple of days doing three Windows Reinstalls.  By far the most time consuming part is bringing Windows up to date afterwards; Windows Vista takes a day to update, and all versions of Windows need multiple reboots during the update process.  While I’ve been doing these reinstalls, my own PCs have been getting automatic updates too.  I’ve probably done close to 100 restarts this week!

Beware though, sometimes you could get pop-ups saying you need to update something, especially video players, which are actually viruses trying to infect your computer.  It’s pretty hard to tell the difference, so if you want to check with me before saying ‘yes’, then please do.  Sometimes, if you click ‘no’, that can still infect you with a virus.

If you’re a CBits subscriber (ie paying monthly for my services), you can ask me to log into your computer (if you give me the password) and check any messages to make sure they’re genuine.  10 minutes of care can prevent hours of work sorting out a fake update virus.  If you’re not a subscriber, please ask for details of becoming one; it’s pretty cheap, great value for money, and could save you a lot of hassle and expense.


Tax Man loses our personal details (including bank details) in the post

If you’re worried about the data security breach of Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) where two CDs containing personal details of all Child Benefit claimants were lost in the post, visit my other website at where I will post more information.  The data lost includes names, addresses, dates of birth, National Insurance numbers, Child Benefit numbers, and bank details of all Child Benefit claimants and their children.

Windows Security Alert – update

Hi folks.

I’ve got a couple of posts to make soon about other racing competitions, so check back later for those (or get your RSS reader to do it for you).

If you read and took action as a result of my earlier post “Windows Security Alert“, now is the time to reverse the fix I gave you.

First, you should make sure that you have witched on ‘Automatic Updates’ so your computer goes to Microsoft and gets security updates regularly. Go to Start, Control Panel, Automatic Updates, and make sure the top option is selected “Automatic Updates (Recommended)”. I have mine set to check Every Day at 2pm. You can make sure that your Windows is fully up to date now by going to Keep going back there and using the “Express” option until is says “No High Priority Updates Available”.

Now, to remove the temporary fix I suggested, follow the instructions in the ealier post, but use this text instead (and include the final quotation marks): regsvr32 “%CommonProgramFiles%Microsoft SharedVGXvgx.dll”

Unfortunately, hackers are releasing their security exploits shortly after Microsoft’s once-a-month Critical Update. I hope Microsoft decides to issue their fixes on a more regular basis.

That’s enough tech for the time being. I’m thinking of starting a new blog on computers, technology and security. Where will I find the time?