How To: Clean malware from your PC

There's little out there that can cause a rage seizure like a malware infection. Yet as annoying and dangerous to your privacy as they are, malware infections can be removed from your computer. We've written up a FAQ to help guide you to safety, and in the How To video above, we'll show you some concrete steps first for making sure that you actually have been infected, and then for how to eradicate the infection.

The best Internet Explorer security add-ons

Big things are brewing in the browser industry, which is good news for all Web denizens, regardless of your browser preference. At the same time, your current browser can probably be made safer through the proper application of the right security add-ons.

Top browsers in a state of continuous enhancement Google's Chrome browser continues to garner much of the attention of the computer press two years after its release--and for good reason. Frequent, automatic updates and a clutter-free interface are two of the many features that set Chrome apart from the competition, as Stephen Shankland describes in his DeepTech blog.… Read more

AVG 2011 banks on better performance

The never-ending mantra chanted by security suite vendors sounds a lot like "faster scans, easier to use, better performance," and AVG has released a new version that it says accomplishes all three. AVG Anti-Virus Free 2011, available today exclusively from CNET, looks and feels like an overall better program.

The new AVG Free has a faster installation process. It's not as zippy as the minute-long installations that some of AVG's competitors offer. I found that the program can go from completed download to ready to use in about 5 minutes. A big contributing factor … Read more

Victimized by a 'legitimate' drive-by download

I know very well to uncheck the preselected software offers that accompany so many program updates these days. In August 2009, I edited a story by Susan Bradley in the Windows Secrets newsletter describing how Sun Microsystems, Apple, and Microsoft were making money by pushing unwanted software on unsuspecting customers.

So I have only myself to blame for the half-hour I wasted this weekend making sure my laptop's antivirus protection was active and up-to-date. That doesn't make me feel any better about Adobe preselecting the download of McAfee's Security Scan Plus freeware along with the Flash Player … Read more

The fast, free way to clean up text in MS Word

There's nothing easy about reformatting text in a Microsoft Word document. You can use the Format Painter to apply the formatting of one paragraph to others with a single click, and Word's Find and Replace features let you remove unwanted characters (or strings of characters), but these tools make their changes one at a time and often require additional cleanup.

I wish I had discovered Greg Maxey's free Clean Up Text add-on for Word years ago. The retired U.S. Navy submarine ordnance officer and former Microsoft Word MVP has created a Word DOT template that removes … Read more

Quick fixes for five Windows 7 shortcomings

Windows 7 is an unqualified hit, but it's not perfect. Here are five easy ways to make a good operating system better.

Show the selected folder in Explorer's left pane The first time I realized Windows 7's version of Explorer wasn't showing the active folder in the left pane, I thought I discovered a bug. In fact,  Microsoft disabled automatic folder tracking by default in Windows 7. To see the selected folder in Explorer's left pane, click Tools, Folder options,  and check "Automatically expand to current folder" under "Navigation pane&… Read more

Two free programs help prevent drive-by downloads

As Elinor Mills reported in her Insecurity Complex blog, malicious code was added to a widget on the site of Web-hosting firm Network Solutions. The widget was also placed on sites "under construction" that Network Solutions hosts.

The widget has been removed, but Wayne Huang, co-founder and chief technology officer at security firm Armorize, claims in an August 14 blog post that more than a half million of these parked domains are infected. Network Solutions says this figure is "inaccurate" but hasn't yet estimated the impact of the infection.

Regardless of the final … Read more

From desktop to Android with one click

Chrome to Phone requires two installations and a Google account, but once installed it's a nearly effortless tool for quickly sending links and snippets of text from your desktop to your Android-powered device.

Getting started isn't complicated, but can be a bit tedious. Before you install the Android app, you'll want to install either the Chrome extension or the Firefox add-on. Once you've installed this browser extension, you'll have to install the Android app on your phone.

Running the app for the first time will walk you through the setup process. You must use a … Read more

Firefox add-on blocks malicious search results

In their never-ending quest to steal your credit card and bank account numbers, passwords, Social Security numbers, and other sensitive personal information, malware purveyors go wherever the eyeballs are. Lately, the bad guys have increasingly been targeting the links served up by Web search engines.

Two computer security firms recently issued press releases touting the dangers of searching for popular terms, such as the names of starlets or items in the news. Barracuda Labs' 2010 Midyear Security Report highlights the risks of entering a popular topic in Google, Bing, or Yahoo. The company entered thousands of search terms in these … Read more