Computer Q&A (22COM013)

What’s here

This page will contain a summary of the topics coming up and links to more information covered in the sessions to-date. Last year’s topics are available on these pages: 21COM250 and 21COM313

Please email your topics to in advance.

Zoom link

The Zoom link to the session is NOT here. Please find this in your emails – then make sure you know how to find it in future. The same link will be used for the whole year.

This week’s topics (11/08/2022)

TOPICRequested by
Decoding Web Addresses If you can read and interpret the address of a website, you can protect yourself against many online scams. This session will explain the structure of web addresses (URLs) and show how you can avoid getting caught by scammers.
Special session

Special sessions

Decoding web addresses special session (11/07/2022)

Here are links to the notes (pdf):
Colour version suitable for viewing on screen
Greyscale handouts suitable for printing (27 pages)

Password Managers special sessions (14/07/2022 and 21/07/2022)

Here are links to the notes (pdf):
Colour version suitable for viewing on screen
Greyscale handouts suitable for printing (51 pages)
These notes will be available until 13/08/2022

Two-factor authentication special sessions (26/05/2022 and 02/06/2022)

Here are the notes (pdf)

These notes are available until 25/06/2022

Extra notes from 02/06/2022

These notes are available until 05/07/2022

Upcoming Topics

TopicRequested byExpected date

Transfer POP email from Outlook 2007 to Outlook 2021

Is extended support for your computer worth it? Has anyone used the support service for their computer? If so, how was it? Has anyone extended the support and then actually used it?

Clean up your computer:
– how to do a physical clean
– organise your storage

Topics by week

404/08/20221. Recovering the contents of a floppy disk.
Older disks may not be recognised:
Follow up
– How to buy Office 2021 (instead of the subscription Office 360). You can still buy this from Microsoft – Professional version here (includes Outlook and Publisher for $639), Home and student here (Word, Excel and Powerpoint only for $199)

2. How to stop your phone being tracked
How can you block phone location/movement tracking?
Is a “signal blocking bag” (or Faraday cage) a solution?
Follow up
– Why don’t I see parked location in settings? See [“significant locations” was turned off]
– What Apple System Services under Location tracking do:

3. A couple of recent scam messages and ACSC’s Cyber Security Guides

4. I’m having fun tracking my electricity usage and controlling my heating from my phone.
328/07/2022No class
W1,2 T314/07/2022, 21/07/2022Password Managers special sessions
Here are links to the notes (pdf):
Colour version suitable for viewing on screen
Greyscale handouts suitable for printing (51 pages)
These notes will be available until 13/08/2022
923/06/20221. NO Classes during the break – First 2 classes after the break are “Password Managers

2. Current scams – a review of a few current ones and how to handle them
Facebook impersonation – Protect your friends:
– set your friend list to Friends or Self only,
– set your posts to Friends only (you can always make a specific post more visible)
– if you receive a Friend request from a ‘copycat’ account, Do NOT accept, report the impersonation, advise the friend whose account is being impersonated and encourage them to make their friend list private.

3. Unexpected Windows single-use code – is it safe to ignore it? Should you change your password? While Microsoft is moving to a password-less login, my worry would still be that someone not only had my login address but also my password. I would change my password as a precaution – it can’t hurt.

4. Internet Explorer web browser has reached the end of its life – officially retired.
– If you are still using it, STOP.
– It seems it is still installed on our computers – and used for some internal processes. Here are instructions to disable it.

5. Windows Event Viewer – used by scammers – Leo recommends you ignore it completely

6. Domain Name System (DNS) – more on what it is and how it works
1. Current scams – a review of a few current ones and how to handle them. Yes, the message “… Your computer is disabled. Please call Windows. Access is the block security reason for this computer …” is a scam. What to do next:
Don’t respond.
– Do a full scan using your anti-malware software – it is possible you have malware / a virus on your computer. Make sure you clear that off.
Turn off pop-ups in your browser. In Chrome go to Settings > Privacy and security > Site settings > Pop-ups and redirects (at the bottom of the page) > select “Don’t allow sites to send pop-ups or use redirects“. Other browsers will have similar paths – or search settings for “pop-ups”. Note that dark themes may make it hard to read your selection.
– If Chrome says it is “managed by your organisation“, you can turn that off
– Turn off pop-ups on your Android phone
– Turn off pop-ups on your Apple iPhone

2. Microsoft Office vulnerability Update (15/06) The Follina vulnerability in Microsoft Office now claimed to be fixed in the latest set of Patch Tuesday security updates.

3. BeConnected webinars – I went to one on Smart Home technology. Some interesting ones coming up, particularly the one on Government sites, which is difficult for me to demonstrate without giving away too much personal information.

4. End of life for Windows 10 – 
Leo Notenboom’s comments on what that means for us.
1. HTTPS Everywhere – is now a browser setting in most browsers. I’ll show you where to find the setting. See

2. Google’s Enhanced Safe Browsing See

3. MS Word vulnerability (Follina) See Here’s the detailed instructions in a text file (open in Notepad).
Update (15/06) The Follina vulnerability in Microsoft Office now claimed to be fixed in the latest set of Patch Tuesday security updates.
5, 626/05/2022, 02/06/2022
Two-factor authentication (2 sessions)
Notes for these sessions are here (pdfs), available until 25/06/2022
Colour version suitable for viewing on screen
Greyscale handouts suitable for printing (28 pages)
Extra notes from 02/06/2022, available until 05/07/2022:
Colour version suitable for viewing on screen
Greyscale handouts suitable for printing
No class
2, 305/05/2022, 12/05/2022
How they hack your passwords (2 sessions)
Notes for these sessions are here (pdfs):
Colour version suitable for viewing on screen
Greyscale handouts suitable for printing (52 pages!)
These notes are available until 04/06/2022
Additional notes and answers to questions
1 T228/04/2022
1. Virus signature – Anti-malware software looks for “virus signatures” in both real-time scans and in quick or Full scans. See this description of a virus signature.

2. Backup locations and file names – How to tell Macrium Reflect where to put it and how to label it.

3.  Windows File Backup – you need to keep a hard drive permanently plugged in. If you need to remove the drive, you should be able to reconnect it and restart the backup.
 4. BeConnected – A useful source of more online safety and other information

5. Zoom Free – if you are using Zoom free to run 1:1 meetings note the change to time limits:
“Beginning May 2, 2022, your 1:1 Free Meetings will change to a 40-minute time limit.”
holiday week 221/04/2022
1.  Why does a full scan find so many files? What are they and where?
What does the scan do? A full scan is checking EVERY file on your computer for a virus/malware “signature” to detect any malware that may have got past the real-time scanning. For more on these signatures see and

2. Backing up email. I have backed up my Google account, including email and it’s HUGE!
Backing up in Outlook: See this video:

3. Backing up photos. Beware of using BOTH Apple iCloud and Google Photos. See

4. Mobile phone batteries: Why does my phone battery need to be charged so often? Note that iPhones normally need charging every day.
When should you recharge? See
How to optimise your Samsung Galaxy phone battery: See
8, 9, holiday week 131/03/2022, 07/04/2022 & 14/04/2022

BACKUP YOUR COMPUTER – joint session with 22COM103.
Follow up topics (14/04/2022) are:
– Rescue disk – how to create one and why you need it
– Mobile devices – backup options, including backing up individual pieces of data, particularly photos.
– email backup – it’s probably not happening!
The course notes are still available for download:
colour slides
greyscale handouts for printing
extra slides from follow-up
extra greyscale handouts from follow-up
1.  Setting a lock code (PIN) on your Windows computer, setting the screen to turn off when not in use and locking the computer. There’s a similar process for your Mac computer

2. What is Settings > Recovery for?

3. “Panic/emergency buttons” – Apple Watch vs other smart watches vs personal alarms.

4. Setting up a Guest account on Windows
Changing yourself from Admin to “normal” user ie creating a new Admin account

617/03/2022 –
1. “I keep on getting spam on my phone and email. How do I stop it?” I’ve found there are apps that claim to block spam texts, including TextKiller. I’m not sure if they are all available in Australia and if they’re worth paying for.

2. iPadOS and iOS malware – is this a risk? Should you have a security app on your iPad / iPhone? (You definitely should on your Android device!) Here’s a reasonable description of why Apple anti-virus scans don’t exist BTW iOS 15.4 is now available.

3.  Removing labels in Gmail

4. Backing up WhatsApp and deleting messages in WhatsAPP

5. What program am I running? Program = App = software, so what is an app? (BeConnected is a great source of information for our age-group, and part of the esafety arm of the Australian Government.

6. Windows File History (file backup)
510/03/2022 –
1. “I keep on getting spam on my phone and email. How do I stop it?” See the new page on our website

 2.  How to write a letter when we are outside home eg in shopping mall or wait at train station? Try Google Docs (needs a Google account), Dropbox Paper (needs a Dropbox account – free is fine) or Microsoft Word Online (needs a Microsoft account). Apple Pages also offers across device use but limited to Apple devices. These all allow you to move from one device to another while editing the same document – and you can work collaboratively with others as well. I find I need to finish the formatting in Word, though.

3. Microsoft patch Tuesday Keep your Windows up-to-date for security.

4. Syncing emails – IMAP vs POP Also my slides illustrating the difference.

5. Which password where? Your email address is very often your ID (your name is unlikely to be unique in the world but your email address is). But the password needs to be the right one for the site you are visiting. See my slides illustrating this concept.

6. “Airdrop” on Android – and cautions on Airdrop settings
403/03/20221. iPhone and iPad storage (contd)
– optimise storage
– use of iCloud – be aware of where your files are
– synchronising

2. Security alert – expect more malware and more spam because of the war.
Precautions you should be taking.

3. An odd “privacy” issue.
Security certificates – how to check them and what happens if they are “out of date”. Also, try using a different browser, eg Firefox.

4. Best VPN for working overseas?
324/02/20221. iPhone and iPad storage:
– optimise storage
– use of iCloud

 2. Deleting multiple emails at once from the iPad
See – illustrated using iPhone but the same thing works on iPad. You can also drag your finger down to select multiple emails at once.

3. Someone is sending emails in my name but not from my email address. How do the bad guys know my contacts?
Adapted from Answer 2 on

How they can get your contacts:
E-mail (and other passed around contacts) are like any “6 Degrees of separation”

When people FWD or CC or BCC to a list of people they are passing those contacts out. That invitation to 25 people for the birthday, distributed obituaries, political cute e-mails you gotta send out to your friends, that web meme that you shot out to 2 friends, who shot that to 4 others, complete with your address still stuck in the thing.
Add to that the thousands of things we sign up for, buy, log into, and participate with that the TOU specifically states that the information you provide can be used by their own advertisers, or affiliates. Even if a company or web location is maintaining a strict privacy policy today, tomorrow it is purchased by another company, and the rules change.

Because we are all 6 steps away from 6 billion other people on the planet, some person who utilizes the web for bad purposes, gets it, and they can make the connection.

In the above cases, there is no malware required.

4. Evernote Web clipper – is it useful? 
I use the Web clipper to clip “simplified articles” (ie strip out the ads and comments) to save recipes and security-related content to my Evernote. I continue to pay for an Evernote subscription because I find this so useful. However, the subscription is quite expensive (AUD89.99 per year).
217/02/20221. Using Zoom at the same time as accessing your computer. In other words, how to arrange the windows on your computer so you can see more than just the Zoom session. [If you have a second device such as an iPad you may find it useful to connect this to the Zoom session so you have full use of your computer.] This video may be of some use:

 2.  Am I safe? We discussed a number of issues in our Security Audit session. If you have followed up on that, are you now 100% safe? See

 3. Don’t be afraid to explore. You can’t break your computer and if you have a backup, you can’t really get into too much trouble. Just avoid scam emails and messages. See

 4.  Using a VPN – do you need one? When might it be a good idea? Which one to choose? (Note this will not be a full discussion of VPNs – there’s a whole session on this later on sometime) See

5. Is my Facebook hacked? People who are already friends on Facebook have told me they received a friend request from me. Possibly – but perhaps more likely someone is impersonating you on Facebook. To avoid this, make sure you keep your Friends list private (to you only, or just your friends) and keep your posts private to your Friends only. See for more settings you should check.
110/02/2022Security Audit (combined with 22COM113 – note the different ZOOM address)
Download the notes in pdf form:
Colour slides, best for viewing on screen
Greyscale handouts, best for printing if you have to.

Summer Sessions

Over the summer period we are covering two topics:

DatesTopicMore information
30/12/21, 06/01/22Backup your computerBackup notes – slides (colour)
Backup notes – greyscale handouts
27/01/22, 03/02/22Clean up your computerColour slidesupdated
Greyscale handout updated