May 31, 2017

May - 31 2017 | By

Acronis Backup– protects against Ransomware?!

Android Malware– Punch N Judy!!



Additional notes

Notifications of new show notes and edits are tweeted at:
– They’re tagged with #Zentech.
– When what’s said is unclear to me (or I’m unfamiliar with a topic) I tend to quote (” “) verbatim.
– Editor’s comments are delimited by < >

For a couple of months, the audio of today’s show is here. Recent shows are here.


Both Glenn and Paul were in the studio today.


The intro music was Fractal Zoom by Brian Eno. Paul noted that Eno is a contributing member and a major force in the Long Now Foundation.

Listeners were invited to call during the show with their questions and comments at 530-265-9555

Paul revisited the concept of ransomware that was discussed on the last show (5-24-17). He said it has spawned a plethora of copycats. Ransomeware is not new; it’s been around 12 to 15 years. In the wake of the fear it elicits, others have been encouraged to offer solutions claiming to protect you, but not one is guarantied to work. Though PCs are usually targeted, other operating systems are vulnerable, Paul said.

Another form of malware is foistware, which is foisted on you by pretending to be something else, like when you’re prompted to do a Flash, Java or Adobe Acrobat update, for instance.

Paul mentioned Acronis Backup software. He said it does a reasonably good job. <See the link at the top>. There’s a lightweight version for individuals and a version for corporations. Though they claim that 500,000 business trust it, it’s unclear if that number refers to those who just started to download it or completed the download or went ahead and installed the software. Paul said, “there is no security software that you should ever trust, at all”…”behave with total circumspection and total distrust”. <That seems a bit hyperbolic, but I felt the need to include it>.

That said, Paul prefers FreeFileSync for backup. It does require the user to make some decisions about what to backup and what to skip. Generally, you’ll want to backup the content of C:\users (C:\documents and settings for XP users). <This program was mentioned during last week’s show (5-24-17) and on the 10-1-14 show.>
<FreeFileSync is here
The 12.1meg program .exe is here:
More info here>

Although an anti-virus program will prevent viruses from being backed up, there’s nothing to stop files encrypted by ransomware from being copied. There’s no reason to back them up, Paul said.

Glenn reminded listeners that the Zen Tech website is at And you can email the guys at zen at kvmr dot org at any time.

One of the project of The Long Now Foundation is a “monumental, scale multi-millennial, all mechanical clock as an icon to long term thinking”. Paul has seen one version of the clock at Fort Mason in San Francisco.
<The Clock of the Long Now>

Paul briefly talked about the Egyptian mummies and how recent advances in DNA extraction revealed that their origins were mainly Mediterranean populations rather than those from sub-Sahara.

Glenn has had time to evaluate the new LED headlights he got for his car that he talked about on the last show (5-24-17). He likes the illumination and no one has flashed their lights at him to indicate they were too bright. When Paul stood in front of the car, he found the upper boundary of the low beam lights terminated very precise, which was probably what kept the lights from blinding oncoming drivers. Glenn paid $100 for the kit from Amazon. It’s another $100 for the daytime running lights “and for the high beams”.

Paul said, “in this country, I don’t think, it’s ok to run around with running lights only — they don’t count for daytime use”. Glenn said, “if you use them in an area that isn’t designated for ‘you must use your headlights’, your daytime running lights do not count”.

Paul noted that over the years, safety regulations have reduced auto accidents and fatalities. Though still on the decline, the rates are leveling off due to cell phones and distracted driving.

There’s been discussion to make cell phones with a feature that will disable them when the car is in motion. Paul uses an app on his phone called Gas Buddy that, besides finding cheap gas prices, does detect if a car is in motion and, if so, will naggingly ask if the user is the driver or passenger.

Many radios in cars are Bluetooth enabled and you can get a device that attaches to the steering wheel that you can use to control a radio. The radio has to say it is “Bluetooth steering control enabled”. It is a standard. So even if you get a cheap Chinese knockoff for around $12, it should work. Paul said he’s still tempted to look at it even though you’re supposed to use it without taking your eyes off the road.

One of Paul’s favorite technology site is or in the USA it’s Yesterday he noticed an article about advertising fraud malware called Punch ‘n Judy that has targeted Android users. <See the link at the top>. It was found in 41 app in the Google Play Store. They have all been removed.

Version 7 of Android has a way of isolating suspicious activity of an app and notifying Google, which can then either kill the app or stop it from working and issue a warning.

Paul’s not sure what users can do about the Punch ‘n Judy malware. He said to google the words: punch ‘n judy android. And before you download apps, look at the user comments, how many downloads and how many stars (rating) they have.
<As I understand it the app is designed to click on ads in the background in a way the user may not notice. The pay-per-click payments somehow accrue to the malware creators. See here for another article>

Marilyn emailed a picture of a popup she keeps getting in her web browsers. It’s a side bar on the left with a green bar and the items Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus. She hasn’t found a way to get rid of it from her Windows 10 machine.
– Glenn asked the listeners for help.
– Paul suggested right-clicking the side bar to see what come up.
– Glenn did some research the other night but couldn’t remember the details of what he found. It had something to do with setting notifications in Windows.
– Paul thought it might be a browser plugin. In Firefox got to Tools -> Addons. If you don’t recognize something on the list, remove it. Even if you remove all the addons, Firefox will still work.
– An addon can appear in both Firefox and Chrome browsers even though you installed it once.
– In Chrome you can find the addons by going to the triple bar in the upper right -> Settings -> Plugins,
– In Chrome go to the triple bar -> Settings -> About to find out what version it is and to check for updates. This isn’t true for XP users because Chrome is no longer supported.
– In Firefox go to Help -> About Firefox -> Check for Updates.
– With frequent updates over the years, Firefox accumulates a bunch of junk. You can refresh it on a PC by going to Help -> Trouble Shooting Information -> Refresh Firefox. You can also try safe mode & restart. Paul said he’s never lost his bookmarks doing this. And it leaves what it cleaned up in a folder on the desktop called ‘Old Firefox Data’, which Paul has never seen a reason to keep.

Glen reminded listeners that they can become contributing members of KVMR by calling the office number 530-265-9073. Or call the studio when the DJ is not talking on the air at 530-265-9555

Last Updated 11:21 PM 5-31-2017


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