MadMod Computing The MadMod Computing Newsletter

Vol. 2003b

Welcome to this edition of The MadMod Computing Newsletter.   We hope that you enjoy the features of each issue and learn some computing skills along the way.

First, a reminder to make backups of your important files, and to use Scandisk and Disk Defragmenter--at least monthly.  Second, keep your anti-virus software up-to-date.

Featured in This Issue
1.     Software Your Computer Needs to Be Internet Safe
2.     Why You Should Be Concerned About Malware
3. (website)

1.    Software Your Computer Needs to Be Internet Safe
Protecting your computer against instrusive programs such as e-mail viruses, worms, trojans, and against intrusion and theft of personal information via back-door malware programs requires some simple no-nonsense programs to help with this process.  

You Use a Dial-Up Modem
Software Needed What It Does
Anti-Virus Program
Guards against malicious e-mail attachments
You Use Broadband (DSL or Cable Modem)
Software Needed What It Does
Anti-Virus Program

Firewall Program
Guards against malicious e-mail attachments

Monitors traffic between your PC and the Internet (a gatekeeper program)
Also for Dial-Up or Broadband
Software Recommended What It Does
Adware Removal Program

Spyware Removal Program
(See the next newsletter article.)
Removes adware components that may destablize your computer or software

Removes spyware that may monitor your habits and can steal your identity

2.    Why You Should Be Concerned About Malware
Unwanted programs can sometimes become resident in your computer from e-mail attachments, free software and from malicious websites at which you've clicked on a special service.  These programs can range from an annoying nuisance to serious theft of private information or a hijacking of your computer.  Be sure to always read the EULA (End User License Agreements) to see if you must agree to have software installed on your computer that serves THEM but not you.

Adware is sometimes in your computer to monitor your buying habits via websites so that you can be targeted with advertisements that are more likely to meet your interests.  You may prefer some of these kinds of services, but beware.  More information that you'd care to divulge may be sent from your computer to a distant server.  Computer cookies are usually harmless and are sometimes useful.  However, an adware program may study more of your computer's cookies than it is supposed to.  Adware may also degrade the performance of your computer.

Malware in general includes trojan programs that can take over your computer to use it to attack other computers.  This is serious stuff as your own computer is rendered useless to you while it attacks other computers.  Regaining control of your computer after such a situation usually requires the re-formatting of your hard drive with a reload of all your software.

Spyware, in my opinion, is the most serious form of malware.  It usually consists of an unauthorized program on your computer that logs your keyboard keystrokes (keylogger) into a file and then later sends the file to a distant server.  Anything typed--credit card info, bank numbers, passwords could be sent in a log of this type.  The purpose of this spyware is identity theft.  (Note: Some companies install spyware on their company computers to track employee browsing habits.  The company's employee agreement may warn employees about this monitoring and require that all company employees leave this spyware software alone!)

Browse to and insert "adware" or "spyware" or "malware" into the search field and see what sorts of annoying, damaging stuff there is out there that you DON'T want in your computer.

Ad-Aware 6.0 from Lavasoft is a useful product to remove adware.  It has a number of different versions to choose from.  SpybotSD at PepiMK Software (donation-ware) is a useful program to remove malware and spyware.

3. (website), Inc. is a provider of batteries of all types, kinds and sizes.  This site can locate a hard-to-find battery for a camera, computer, etc.  You'd be surprised how many batteries make themselves part of your life.  Car door locks, smoke alarms, calculators, all seem to need them.

Your computer tower has a BIOS battery which powers the CMOS circuitry of the BIOS (Basic Input-Output System) when your computer is turned off.  The BIOS is needed when you first power on your computer--to tell the computer where its resources are--particularly the floppy drive, the CD-ROM player and your hard drive.  Your notebook computer has at least the BIOS battery and a main battery to run your computer for a couple of hours while the computer is unplugged from the wall. can supply batteries of either type for your make and model of computer.

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E-mail to the editor: David Mawdsley

Copyright © 2003, The MadMod Computing Newsletter