5 tips to use public WiFi safely

  Image Credit: Unsplash For frequent commuters, hybrid workers and those who simply want quick access to social media or emails on the go, public WiFi networks can be incredibly convenient. However, open WiFi can also bring security issues that could cause personal information to be compromised.  Free Wi-Fi networks that…

Panda launching free cloud-based antivirus product


If you want an antivirus product, but you’re not keen on having a weighty product bogging down your system, you might be interested in taking a peek at a new beta release from Panda Antivirus.

It uses proprietary technology that’s been developed over three years to identify new malware applications in as little as six minutes from their release into the wild. It also handles nearly 50,000 new samples a day. To improve performance, it scans executable files immediately, but the rest of your PC when it’s idle.

It’s free because Panda wants to use data from your computer to identify new threats. What Panda hopes will be ‘millions of users’ will send heuristics info to a central server that can crunch all the data nearly in real-time.

The program takes up 50MB on your hard disk, and just 17MB of RAM when in use. Panda hopes to get this down to 12MB by the time it’s officially released. Of course, if you’re not connected to the internet, you lose a certain amount of protection, but given that the internet is the source of most virus activity, that’s not such a big issue, really.

Panda Cloud Antivirus (via Cnet)

Dell launching PC software and games download service


Massive PC ubercorporation Dell hasn’t got the best reputation with gamers, despite owning the expensive Alienware gaming PC brand. That hasn’t deterred them, however, from launching a download service where you’ll be able to get PC games and software, as well as music.

Codemasters, Sega, Electronic Arts, Eidos and Atari have signed up on the gaming front to offer titles including Burnout Paradise: The Ultimate Box, Spore, Tomb Raider: Underworld, F.E.A.R. 2, Alone in the Dark and Football Manager Live. You’ll notice that none of those, with the possible exception of F.E.A.R. 2, could be called “gamer’s” games.

That might be because gamers are generally already invested in one download store -Valve’s Steam. I think Dell realizes that they’re going to find that audience very tricky to crack, so they’re aiming at a more mainstream target demographic instead.

As well as games, the service also offers software from Kaspersky, Nero and Lavasoft, presumably Kaspersky Antivirus, Nero Burning Rom and Lavasoft Ad-Aware respectively. It’s a bit of a shame for PC owners, because programs duplicating the functionality of all those bits of software are widely, and legally, available on the internet for free (for home use).

Lastly, there’s also music. Albums from “major artists” are available, there’s no DRM, and there’ll be new titles on a weekly basis. The catalogue doesn’t look incredible, and the prices aren’t any better than other download sites, but I suppose it could be handy for people who haven’t checked out Spotify yet.

The Dell download store will roll out across Europe in the next few months, starting with the UK, France and Germany. It’s been up and running in the USA for a while, and the UK site is here.

Introducing the virus that farts at you, fool


Programming computer viruses must be a fairly mundane job at times, which is why I’m not surprised that some have decided to inject a bit of humour into their work.

According to customer calls to Panda Security, there are some new bits of infectious code becoming installed on PCs that either hurl insults — repeatedly calling the owner a fool — or else make squelching or farting noises.

One customer, who clearly has an extensive knowledge of what it sounds like when body parts are removed from foodstuffs, said that the noise was similar to “taking a foot out of jelly”…

Shock! Macs can get viruses too. Apple advises antivirus


Hands up all you Mac owners who don’t run any antivirus software on your computer?

Thought so.

The message that’s been drip-fed to Mac users, and is now self-perpetuating, is that Windows PCs get viruses while Mac users don’t.

Leaving aside the self-righteousness issue, it’s fair to say that there are currently a lot less viruses for the Mac, partly because it hasn’t been such a big target (Windows variants take around 90% of the operating system market) and also because it is built on a more solid, but not invincible, framework…

Microsoft to launch free antivirus product in the middle of next year


Hoorah! Another sign that Microsoft still knows what it’s doing, and ‘gets’ it, despite evidence to the contrary. Microsoft will, as of the second half of next year, stop selling its ill-fated and unpopular OneCare security software, and instead offer a completely free security suite.

The package will support XP, Vista and Windows 7, and will be ‘suited to smaller and less powerful computers’. It’s unlikely that it’ll come installed by default on computers – Microsoft has learnt that lesson – but it should prove popular with technophobes worldwide, who normally struggle with security software and lapsed subscriptions.

AVG antivirus falsely accuses critical Windows file of virality


I’ve been a long-time fan of AVG Free Antivirus, until recently when I had to swap to Avast because it worked with Vista 64, and AVG didn’t. That said, with free antivirus software you’re always running the risk of ‘getting what you paid for’ and experiencing a show-stopping bug.

Well, AVG’s show-stopping moment occurred on Sunday. It somehow got it into its head that user32.dll – a critical Windows file that lets users interact with programs – contained one of two Trojan Horses – PSW.Banker4.APSA or Generic9TBN. AVG, hilariously, recommended deleting the file, which would cause a system to either fail to boot, or get stuck in a continuous reboot cycle.