Ira Wilsker's archive

I frequently hear about Internet users who always clean all of their cookies, citing fears of privacy issues or identity theft. If I ask some of those users what an Internet cookie is, I receive a variety of replies indicating a multiplicity of definitions varying from somewhat accurate to wildly inaccurate. There is equal misunderstanding about the functions of cookies and the degree of risk they pose to the user.

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While almost all major security products implement a variety of techniques to protect against unknown malware, so called “zero day” attacks have been especially successful in penetrating most security utilities.

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It should be no surprise that smart computing devices are outselling traditional desktop and laptop computers. There is an intensive battle for market share of operating systems for these smart devices, which includes smart phones, tablets and related devices. The primary combatants are Google with its Android operating system, Apple with its iOS, and Microsoft with its newly released Windows 8 version for smart devices.

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I am fully cognizant of the level of frustration and anger when a hard drive or other mass storage device fails. While I am personally careful to keep contemporary backups of all of the critical data on all of my computers, all too often I receive calls of despair from individuals whose computer “crashed” and they are convinced that they have lost all of their important information. In some cases the alleged “crash” is not really a catastrophic hard drive failure, but a recoverable error or problem due to either hardware or software issues.

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One of the popular categories of PC software is the type that can perform comprehensive system analysis and repair, probably leading to improved system performance. There are quite a few of these utilities available, both as freeware and as paid commercial products. Many of these utilities have previously been reviewed in this column with comments from readers indicating a general high level of satisfaction with most of them.

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