Monday, January 8, 2018

CPA Australia faked email contains malware attachment.

Today I thought I'd remind everyone to never trust attachments even when they may be from businesses or organisations you know. I'm not a member of the CPA, but many people are. The following email arrived today.

Everything in the text of the email is OK. However scanning the attachment showed only 4 out of 59 of the anti-virus scan engines would pick up the attachment contained malware. None of the commonly used in Australia anti-virus programs detected the malware meaning, if most people in Australia opened this attachment it may infect their computer without warning.

Don't be tempted to open attachments even if you know the organisation sending the email. If you wish to check the attachment you can save the attachment to a computer (I'd suggest a secondary computer that can be wiped if necessary). Then type virus into which will take you direct to the site I use to check suspicious emails. Upload and check the file. If one or more of the 59 scanning engines detect malware then the attachment is nearly certainly malicious. It may be worth waiting half a day or so before checking the attachment. That means others may have already uploaded the file and the scanning engines updated with new signatures. After checking the file if it's malicious delete the file immediately after checking and also empty the deleted files. You don't want to inadvertently infect your computer later.

Even if the attachment is reported as clean, there's still a small chance it is malicious. Check with the send to ensure they actually sent you the attachment.

Yes it is a pain to take this level of precaution, but it's more of a pain to get an infected computer repaired. Even more if the computer is on a network and infects other computers as well.

Kelvin Eldridge
IT support.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Apple battery replacement iPhone 6 and later, price reduced until December 2018.

Apple has recently come under fire for reducing the performance of certain Apple iPhone models when the battery is ageing. The apparent reason is, as batteries age they can't handle the peak power requirements and if the power requirement was not reduced, it may cause the iPhone to unexpectedly shut down.

This technically really isn't a bad thing, but what hasn't been the best is Apple letting their customers know. Apple is now reacting by bringing out an update early this year which will provide better information on the battery status and also making an offer of reducing the battery upgrade price from $119 to $39 until December 2018. Obviously that's still a poor outcome for those who went and replaced their iPhone thinking their iPhone was now getting too old because it had become slow.

This does however mean there may be quite a few good iPhones sitting in drawers that for a $39 battery upgrade may again become useful devices.

Secondly, this is a great opportunity for anyone with an older iPhone 6 or above, who is finding their battery not lasting as long as it previous did, to get a low cost battery replacement. Keep in mind this offer lasts until December 2018, so you can get as much use out of your current battery and take advantage of the offer later in the year.

Overall the battery offer gives an $80 saving and peace-of-mind the replacement is being performed by Apple.

Kelvin Eldridge
IT support

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Can send a new text message to a contact but if I reply to their text message I get message can't be sent.

Ever had a problem that baffles you. This one has me baffled. This only happens with one of my contacts.

I can send the person a new text message and it works fine. If the person replies to me, or sends me a new text message and I go to reply to them, the reply fails.

To get around this problem I have to delete all text messages from the person and then I can send them a new message.

It is the weirdest thing I've seen, and so far I've not been able to find a solution to the problem, except my way of working around the problem by deleting text messages from them first.

At this stage the only thing that is strange is the person is using a very old mobile phone. It may be the old mobile phone is somehow issuing a sequence that isn't compatible with my mobile phone.

I thought I'd share this because if others have the same problem, they know if they delete the person's message and send a new text it gets through.

I've not seen this issue with anyone else, just this person.

Kelvin Eldridge
IT support.

Update: 19 December 2017
Found there's no need to delete entire text message thread including text message sent to the other person. Only need to delete their text messages received. 

Saturday, December 2, 2017

iPhone power cable won't plug in.

Today a person's iPhone power lead wouldn't plug into the iPhone correctly and would simply fall out. Not being able to plug in the power lead meant the iPhone wouldn't charge and was progressively going flat.

When the power cable wouldn't plug I think of two issues. A damaged cable and something blocking the power port on iPhone. The cable was fine but inside the power port was some white fluff or lint. In trying to get the power lead inserted the lint had become quite compacted. The following is a picture of the iPhone with the lint I removed.

Removing the lint was a bit tricky. Being a bit of a "MacGyver" I wondered what I could use to remove the lint. I was adverse to using anything metal. With the iPhone turned off it shouldn't be a problem, but you never know. A toothpick perhaps, but not really great as they can break easily. The item that worked well was a tooth floss stick that looks like the following.

The point on this is quite pointed and reasonably strong. Being very gentle you can slowly lift out any lint or fluff. Make sure you get all the lint/fluff. In this case the person had compacted the fluff quite a lot trying to put in their power lead. The material was compacted so much it looked quite solid. As you can see by the picture above it worked well with the amount of material removed from the iPhone's power socket.

How did the fluff or lint get into the iPhone? Most likely from the person's pocket and this could happen to anyone who carries their iPhone or other mobile in their pocket.

Kelvin Eldridge
IT support.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Microsoft Edge mobile browser for Android and iOS.

Last night I read that Microsoft had made their Edge browser available on mobile devices such as Android and iOS. I immediately thought there's two things I'd like from Edge so decided to test to see if Edge could do what I wanted.

1. My choice of Start page.

Having a browser open on the page of your choice can save a lot of time. It brings value because you have a page you want immediately available. In my case I want my search page

Nope. This feature isn't' available. You end up with a start screen and no ability to set the start-up page. You can work around this by going to the page and then using the Add to Home screen option. Not ideal but gets around the issue.

2. GPS location access without having to have an SSL site.

When you go to a website that uses your GPS location you get asked if you want to give the site access. In their wisdom, browser makers Google Chrome, Apple Safari have decided the site needs to be using SSL as well. This means many sites no longer work, or if you're a developer you need to pay more to host these sites. Often the extra cost isn't worth it for small developers.

Edge however on notebooks and desktops works fine and asks to use your location. Since this can be based on your Wi-Fi access point (your home) it can be pretty specific as to where you're located. Google even has a geolocation API that does the same thing. So forcing sites to use SSL makes no sense.

I was hoping Microsoft had taken the same approach with their mobile browser. Sadly no. Looks like they're using the same restriction that applies to the Chrome browser.

3. Using my own search engine

Now this was good. I was able to set up my search engine as the default search engine. That means you can type a word or phrase into the address area and you search engine will then take over. Since I have keywords for all my major sites, that's a real productivity gain not available with Google Chrome.


The two things I thought would get me to use the Microsoft Edge mobile browser aren't available. Again Microsoft doesn't seem to guess if their product isn't different from others they're unlikely to beat the incumbent. This is the same fight Lotus and WordPerfect lost. They lost because Microsoft had the operating system. Microsoft this time doesn't have the mobile operating system and in the end they'll lose must as Lotus and WordPerfect did.

Microsoft needs to do what others don't do to win. Google is about ads. An ad blocker is an obvious choice as are the suggestions above.

At this point I don't really see much point in moving to the Microsoft Edge browser on mobiles as there's no significant gain, at least for my needs.

Kelvin Eldridge
IT support.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

LinkedIn - see what your network has been up to. Watch out. Some may not be who they say they are.

I really only have a LinkedIn account to help my clients if they need help with their LinkedIn accounts. Other than that I don't really use it. My earlier testing over a couple of years didn't show me the LinkedIn account had any value.

Now if you have an account and in my case don't use it, LinkedIn love to send you those email letting you know there's been some activity. It's a way of appealing to the FOMO (fear of missing out) in us.

I decided to check the four people mentioned in the email. One I know is a client. One is an old contact that invited me to connect some months ago but I haven't since I don't use LinkedIn. Nothing against the old contact.

What was interesting were the two other pictures. Now normally you'd have to sign in to LinkedIn and then check the people out. That means they could know you've checked them out. I didn't want to do that. So instead I got the site address for the pictures and did a Google image search. The image of the woman returned two LinkedIn accounts with different names. One living in New Zealand and one in South America. The other also returned two names but to one LinkedIn account, which was strange.

Given the suspicious nature of these people (multiple names) checking out my LinkedIn profile, I can only say it was probably for nefarious purposes. More importantly there's no reason to log on to LinkedIn as the people concerned that I don't know probably aren't legit.

Perhaps knowing you can get the image source from the email and do a Google image search, may give you another option should you wish to check out people who are checking you out without them knowing.

Kelvin Eldridge
IT support

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Google search algorithm update around 7-8 October 2017.

I decided to share some stats from one of my sites. The site enables people to convert kj to Cal. The site is The site is a handy web app I and others regularly use.

Below is a graph of the number of sessions since the start of September 2017. As you can see there's a large increase and the number of sessions has more than doubled.

I did nothing during this period that would have any effect. I can only put this down to a change in Google's algorithm. There was only one change on the 9 September 2017, which was to add the words "Thank you for visiting my web site:-)" and then the next change was on the 11 November 2017. Now whilst there's still a slim change the change is to do with something I'd previously done to the site, it's more likely a Google search algorithm change as there's gossip on the internet that a change did occur at this time,

The real concern here for those relying on Google search  for business, is at any time their traffic can double as it did here, but just as equally traffic can disappear overnight and you'll be none the wiser for it happening. This shows just how risky it is to rely on organic traffic from search engines as the main source of business.

I hope this insight assists others.

Kelvin Eldridge
IT support.