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Major Windows 10 security problem, cell phone robocallsTech Talk

Tech Talk

 

July 6, 2019

Greg Cunningham

Catchy headline, right? That's what many tech and consumer-facing sites have been running lately, but it's not quite true.

While there IS a major security problem, and it DOES affect Windows 10, the problem doesn't come from Microsoft, it comes from software pre-installed on many new computers. The pre-installed software is called the PC-Doctor Toolbox.

While it sounds useful, PC-Doctor Toolbox has a severe security flaw that could let attackers load malicious code while the software runs scans on your computer. This malicious code could let attackers gain complete control of your computer.

You might not recognize the name PC-Doctor Toolbox but check this out: Dell includes it in the Dell Support Assist program installed on every Dell computer. The RAM and Solid-State Drive vendor Corsair uses the PC-Doctor Toolkit in its One Diagnostics program, and Staples uses it in their Easy Tech Diagnostics program.

Vendors have been releasing patches as they find new problems with PC-Doctor Toolbox, but the problem is they keep finding more things to fix.

You may not have the PC-Doctor Toolbox on your computer, but if you do, locate and uninstall PC-Doctor Toolbox from your computer.

Microsoft is off the hook on this one, since PC makers and other vendors can pre-install software on their systems without their permission or oversight. But I'm sure it can't be easy for the folks at Microsoft to see the headlines pointing to Windows 10 as having a huge security problem.

Cellphone robocalls: don't answer your phone

It's not your imagination; robocalls are getting worse. By some estimates, nearly half of all cell phone calls are automated robocalls. All the major carriers are working with the FCC to solve our robocall problem.

While we wait on that, there's an easy way to minimize the number of robocalls you get-if your call is from an unknown number, don't answer the phone.

It can be hard not to answer the phone when it rings, but simply answering a robocall leads to more robocalls. And if you ever interact with a robocaller by answering their questions or something else, you'll get even more robocalls.

Why? At the end of a campaign, company, organization, or criminal enterprise making the calls separates results into three piles: ring no answer, answered and hung up and people who answered and interacted. For the next campaign, which numbers do you think get moved to the top of the list? People who answered and interacted, followed by answered and hung up, and the last numbers to call will be the ring no answer numbers.

And don't forget that some of the worst robocallers are scammers who call you from an unknown number on your phone, and if you don't answer, they hope you'll call them back. If you do call them back, you could be calling a disguised overseas 900 number that will hit your phone bill, hard.

Of course, not answering your phone for unknown numbers won't make the robocalls stop, but it will help.

Not THAT waterproof...

Cell phones have completely ruined the fun of pushing a fully dressed person into the pool.

Do you have a computer or technology question? Greg Cunningham has been providing Tehachapi with on-site PC and network services since 2007. Email Greg at greg@tech-hachapi.com.

 
 

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