Tools Toys and Technology

About the Tools You Use and the Toys That Make Life Interesting

Tools Toys and Technology - About the Tools You Use and the Toys That Make Life Interesting

Phone Phishing … Your Computer Has a Virus

I first heard of this some time ago. I thought this was ancient history, but today I actually got “the phone call.” The caller asks for me by name…

I’m calling from Windows Service Center.

… he says with a strong Indian accent.

We’ve had a report that your computer has serious virus problems.

He proceeds to instruct me to look at my keyboard and navigate my computer. The goal: to have me hand over remote control of my computer to “fix” the problem.

I told him to … Well, never mind what I told him.


No legitimate company will cold call you and offer to “fix” your computer right then and there. NEVER allow someone who you don’t know, through a phone call you did not initiate, to take over control of your computer. It may be hard to imagine that criminals — and that’s exactly what they are — could be so brazen to actually call you up and install nasty malware on you computer, while you sit right there and help them do it. But it’s going on.

Be suspicious always. They ARE out to get you.

I didn’t record my call, but here’s an interesting Youtube description of how the call would proceed, IF YOU WERE TO BE SO GULLIBLE AS TO FALL FOR THIS.

For more information on this particular scam, see these reports:

Be careful out there in the wild. It’s a scary world.

Fake Facebook Message – Phishing Attempt

Got this in my email this morning, supposedly from Facebook … NOT!

Don’t fall for this one. If you have doubts whether a message is legit, hover over a link and check the URL at the bottom of your browser. Don’t click anything that you are not 100% sure is legitimate. Even the unsubscribe link is bogus.


Bogus IRS email

I just got this email this morning with the rather serious-looking subject line:

“IRS notification of your tax appeal status”

Then it gets even worse…

Dear Chief Account Officer,

Hereby you are notified that your Income Tax Refund Appeal id#5499970 has been REJECTED. If you believe the IRS did not properly estimate your case due to a misunderstanding of the facts, be prepared to provide additional information. You can obtain the rejection details and re-submit your appeal by using the instructions in the attachment.

Internal Revenue Service

Oh, yes … the “attachment.” The attached file is disguised to look like a web page, but it is actually an attached file. Click on it and … who knows. You can count on malware of some sort.

Be careful out there in a computer world where attacks on your security and privacy are common place. While this email is pretty obviously bogus to anyone who is looking carefully, it is tax season. Hence, this one could get you, if you were seriously concerned about the message.

Roku 3 is here

If you’ve been reading my streaming TV posts, you know that my favorite set-top streaming receiver is Roku. Now they’ve given me (and you) another reason to love Roku.

Roku 3 hits the streets this week as the new high-end representative to the Roku product line. They’ve changed the look of the palm-size box a little, giving it rounded sides. But it goes far beyond appearance changes in both hardware and user interface.

Hardware Changes

Changes in the hardware include:

  1. Upgraded processor – makes it faster in navigating programming and features
  2. Upgraded dual-band WiFi – for extended range and increased speed
  3. New remote with headphone jack – Headphone jack? Yes, now you can enjoy your favorite streaming programs in bed, without disturbing your partner.
  4. Supports new video file formats – H264 and MKV may not mean much to you, and they don’t have to. Suffice it to say, the Roku 3 can play significantly upgraded video standards.
  5. Upgraded audio – supports 7.1 channel surround sound.

Retained hardware features from the previous top-of-the-line 2XS include: the 10/100 base-T ethernet connection for wired Internet performance, a USB port, and Bluetooth. Roke 3 has done away with the A/V connections, relying totally on HDMI for connection to your HD TV.

User Interface Changes

Your biggest pleasure will come when you fire up the new Roku 3. The good news for Roku has always been its plethora of TV and movie content. But when you’ve got that much stuff (over 750 channels and growing all the time), how do you find what you want?

That’s gotten a whole lot easier, thanks to the new user interface (UI), which shows you 9 channels at a time on a single screen. Clicking an advance arrow takes you to a new page of content. You can easily tell a channel you’ve already added by the check mark in the corner of the channel. A two-panel design makes it easier to browse genres, with a list of genre names on the left and the channel content grid on the right.

The Roku 3 is a significant upgrade in what I already consider to be the top streaming set-top box out there. I’m sure there is one in my future.

Read More about Roku 3