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Offline Files Cause Networked Programs to Not Work

Your network may use a feature called “Offline Files”.   This allows you quicker access to files and protects against data loss.  One problem with this feature is if you temporarily, even for a split second, get disconnected, offline files puts you offline from the server.  It does this to protect the data.  When this happens it causes other problems, but it’s easy for you to fix.

If you ever experience any of the following:

  • Certain folders are blank where you had many files
  • Outlook (email) isn’t connecting to the Exchange Server
  • Applications like Accucare, Millennium, Jupiter, Quickbooks can’t connect

It could be that the offline files disconnected you.  What you should do is look at the bottom right corner of your computer screen by the clock for an icon like this

If you hover your mouse over it you will see this

Or if might pop up a balloon when it happens like this

To fix the problem double click the icon which will pop up this window.

Don’t worry that is says “Unavailable for reconnect”.  Just click ok and it will sync.  This should correct the problem.

Sponsored Search Results Lead To Malware

The ads served by Google along with your search results are linking more and more often to sites trying to infect your computer.

Google does little to protect you from these websites that can seriously damage your computer just by clicking on their links.

Search Results
Figure 1. All of the “Sponsored Results” are sites that contain harmful code and will infect your computer if you clicked on them. As you can see, Google does not display any type of warning.

Why would Google do this? The answer is simple: money. Google makes more money from these advertisements because people can’t tell the difference between legitimate anti-virus programs and fake anti-virus programs that are actually viruses themselves. People tend to click on them more than other, more obvious looking advertisements.

When search terms become popular, companies jump on them and buy up the keywords to appear in the results as a sponsored link. They pay more money than legitimate companies and are featured first, leaving you with a legitimate looking website to click on.

How to protect yourself from bogus search results

The best way to keep your computer clean from malware (bad software) is to avoid sponsored links altogether. Maybe if Google loses money on these ads they will be more willing to take them down when you complain about them. Be careful of websites with a hyphenated address (ie. Clean-PC-Forever.com) and website addresses with the word FREE in it (ie. FreeAntiSpyware.com).

Ways to fight back against online attack ads

You can report malicious website at http://hosts-file.net/ and you can report malicious sponsored sites to Google at https://www.google.com/adsense/support/bin/request.py?contact=violation_report and hope for the best.

Definition of Malware

Most users have heard these terms but might not know what they mean, or even that they mean different things. Here is a short list of commonly used terminology regarding malicious software:

  • Adware
    Adware (or spyware) is a small program that is designed to show advertisements (in various form and degrees of intrusiveness) on your computer. It often reports personal information back to its owners. As a result your sense of privacy can be violated.

 

  • Backdoor
    A backdoor is a small malicious program that is used to gain access to a computer by bypassing the computer access security mechanisms. It gives the attacker almost unlimited rights. While it can be used to spy on a user, it is mainly used to install other malware on the system.

 

  • Heuristic
    A technique designed to detect malware by empirical means but without having the specific data.

 

  • Malware
    A generic name for all types of malicious programs: adware, backdoors, rogues, trojans, viruses and worms.

 

  • Rogue
    A rogue program is a malicious program that is disguised, for instance, as trustworthy anti-spyware programs or registry cleaners. But these programs are only put on the market to scare you into buying these programs because they make exaggerated claims about the safety of your computer or, worse still, give erroneous scan results or put their own malware in your system.

 

  • Trojan
    A trojan (or Trojan horse) is a small malicious program that pretends to have a particular function, but that only shows its real purpose after execution and that purpose is often destructive. Trojans cannot multiply themselves, which differentiates them from viruses and worms.

 

  • Virus
    A virus is a small malicious program that multiplies and is capable to attach itself to other programs after being executed. It then causes an infection and causes various degrees of damage to your computer.

 

  • Worm
    A worm is often characterized as a malicious application that will use a host machine to infect other machines. Therefore worms can create enormous damage on networks with multiple computers.