Commentary

Many Americans might not be aware of the feisty Russian-based computer security company Kaspersky, but it is the fourth largest security vendor in the world, the third largest vendor of consumer security software, and the fifth largest vendor of enterprise endpoint protection, according to Wikipedia. Headquartered in Moscow since its inception in 1987, Kaspersky currently has 29 regional offices around the globe, including U.S. offices in Boston and Miami.

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How long has it been since you’ve had a good cry? Can you remember when you last shed tears?

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Recently, a friend sent me the following note:

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Q. This morning, there were five cars in my apartment parking lot that had broken windows. Our apartment has no security gates. Is the apartment responsible for the costs of repairing the cars?

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It never ceases to amaze me how creative international cyber crooks can be. There are countless online scams and schemes intended to enrich criminals at the cost of innocent Internet users. We have all heard of viruses, worms, Trojans and other variations of malware, as published warnings have been disseminated since the early days of personal computing.

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Q. I leased a home from a company and gave the proper 30-days notice. My last day was July 10, and I have not received my security deposit. I contacted the management company and was told that the house was sold the month before my lease ended. I was told to contact the new owner because my deposit was transferred to him. I have not received my deposit after forwarding my new address to the new owner. Who is responsible for returning my deposit?

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We all like getting something for free. In the past, I have written about the thousands of free e-books from Amazon, Google, and other sources. A quick review of Amazon indicates that almost all currently published commercial books, including many college textbooks, are now available in digital format in addition to the bound paper versions. For all of the courses in my program at my college, the students have the option of using free online textbooks. Microsoft has now joined the free e-book club.

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Q. I paid a company called TaxMasters to help me settle my problems with the IRS. I understand it has filed bankruptcy. What do I do now?

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One of the most frequently asked questions I’m asked is how to download YouTube and other videos on the Web. Luckily, there are several free utilities, Web sites and browser plug-ins that make the process easy.

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Ever since I purchased a new Vista-64 computer several years ago, I have enjoyed using several of Microsoft’s desktop gadgets and Yahoo’s desktop widgets. In recent years, I have written several columns extolling the joys of widgets and gadgets, and telling where to find them. Widgets and gadgets are small utilities that can be placed on a Windows or Mac desktop and provide the user with current information of some kind. Yahoo offered more than 6,000 free widgets, and Microsoft offered thousands of gadgets.

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