CyberAttack, can you say that 10 times

The internet is a fun place, but, it can also be an open place for predators. The unscrupulous and the hustlers have found a whole new way to find victims of their folly.

What can we do?

The most important thing is to be aware. I often get asked about emails, and that is by far a leading place for a cyber-attack to happen. Almost all Ransom-ware attacks come from that source. 


  1. Never open an email that you are not expecting. Don't just look at the 'From' address in an email, look at the underlying actual email address. Even then, if there is a link inside the email DON'T CLICK THE LINK, contact the sender and ask them if they sent you something. But, don't randomly click a link. The sender could also have a ROOTKIT, that can cause a RANSOMWARE or VIRUS email to be sent using their address book.

  2. Some spoof emails pretend to be from our banks, PayPal, Ebay, LinkedIn, and other popular websites and explain that your account has been locked out or some other problem that requires your attention and for you to click a link, or fix your settings. This is another common method to get your personal information. DON'T CLICK THE LINK! Banks, PayPal, and most sites will never send you an email to reset your settings. Always open a NEW browser and enter the address by hand, go to that site and check for yourself.

  3. I can't stress enough how important it is to not click links in emails, previewing emails is fine, don't open them, and click the links unless your absolutely sure its safe.


  1. We all occasionally type the wrong address in a browser and get to the wrong website. But, these days that can cause a virus scripting attack. Make sure your browser is updated to its most recent version. This can help built in filters implemented by browser creators to ensure you have the latest protection.

  2. Another easy way to protect yourself is to get in the habit of looking at the address bar after you load a webpage, for example if you were looking for and you type in that address and when the page loads and it has something different, don't proceed on clicking links on that site. You may have been infected with a SEARCH HIJACKING browser add-in. These range from a easy to get rid of to very difficult. Periodically check your add / remove program list to see if something doesnt look right. (or if your in the Dallas, Ft. Worth area, call US). 

Computer System

Make sure you have virus protection on your computer. There are some good FREE virus protection applications available. One of my favorites is made by Avast (, it has saved me a few times and has less of the occasional link to buy their paid version, than which offers FREE virus protection as well. Avast may slow your system down somewhat, but, not enough to be unacceptable. Each has an excellent paid version and will include an install for up to 3 computers / devices.


The internet, software, and our lives are in constant change. If you are in the Dallas / FT. Worth area we can help you with your computer, network and custom application needs, just give us a call at 972.571.4808. Be safe out there!



Exchange OWA: Making a single URL go directly to Outlook Web Access - Simple, Easy Method

Once you get exchange installed, and you have the OWA portion working, you want to make customer access easy. One way is to provide a single URL to go directly to the web folders without users having to type that extra folder path. Here is a simple and easy way to implement that feature without changing IIS with 20 redirections.


Create a simple HTML default.htm page and place the following code in it (this will make the page automatically redirect to your owa folder):

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C/DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN">
<meta http-equiv="REFRESH" content="0;url=http://[OUTSIDE URL HERE]/owa">

Name the file "default.htm" and place it in IIS's "Default Website" folder.

Now, go to IIS and set the default page as the landing page. From IIS select "Default Document" make sure your on the "Default Website" (see image):

Now, move the default.htm document to the top of the list. (see image).

That's it, short and "SWEET"


Backstory; I had done this technique on an Exchange 2010 email server years ago. I'm currently in the process of updating to Exchange 2013, and I absolutly love this way to redirect. I didn't immediatly look at how the old one was setup and started searching the internet. I found a solution on a forum where someone had asked this question, the response to her was so complicated, they had her redirecting every virtual folder in IIS (Default and Exchange Backend). It was at that point that I looked at my old server. I knew it wasn't that complicated.

I knew at that moment I had to post to my blog the solution. I felt really sorry for her going through all that work, and maybe this will save someone else all that work too. - Thanks for reading.

Easy multi-column dropdown

For a long time (off and on) I've been looking for an easy to implement multi column dropdown control. Just yesterday I found a knowledge base article with a code snippet on Microsoft the original link is here. Well, in my application I needed to use more than just one multi column combo, so I modified the code snipped to a class that I could call from anywhere in my application.


In my form_load event I set the draw mode of the combobox I'm going to have multiple columns with.

    Private Sub Form_Load(sender As Object, e As EventArgs) Handles Me.Load

        DataTableAdapter.Fill(Me.DData.DataTable) ' The data that is bound to combobox

        ComboBox1.DrawMode = DrawMode.OwnerDrawFixed
    End Sub

Then in the Combobox Drawitem event I get the field names I want in the column list, these fields must be in the dataset I've already bound to the control from the properties settings. Remember to adjust the "Dropdown width" to account for the space needed to show all your column data.

    Private Sub combobox1_DrawItem(ByVal sender As System.Object, ByVal e As System.Windows.Forms.DrawItemEventArgs) Handles combobox1.DrawItem

        Dim cF As New CboFunc ' Call to my Class
        Dim MyFields As String() = {"ClerkNo", "Type", "County"} ' Fields I want in coluns        
        Dim cbo As ComboBox = sender
        cF.MultiColumnCBO(sender, e, cbo, MyFields) ' 
    End Sub

and then here is the class that is called:

Public Class CboFunc

    Public Sub MultiColumnCBO(ByVal sender As System.Object,
                               ByVal e As System.Windows.Forms.DrawItemEventArgs, cbo As ComboBox, sFieldList() As String)

        '  Usage: 
        '           'DrawItem Event from a databound combo
        ' Call From: 
        '   Sub ComboBox_DrawItem(ByVal sender As System.Object, ByVal e As System.Windows.Forms.DrawItemEventArgs) _
        '                           Handles Combobox.DrawItem
        '   Dim cF As New CboFunc
        '   ' DrawItem Event from a databound combo
        '   Dim MyFields As String() = {"Field1", "Field2", "Field3", etc.} 'Field list of columns to display
        '   ' Then call this procedure:
        '   cF.MultiColumnCBO(sender, e, ComboBox, MyFields)
        '   End Sub
        '   Note: Make sure you set the DropDown width of the combo wide enough to show enough of your column data.

        ' Draw the default background
        ' The ComboBox is bound to a DataTable,
        ' so the items are DataRowView objects.
        Dim drv As DataRowView = CType(cbo.Items(e.Index), DataRowView)
        Dim NumColumns As Integer = sFieldList.Count
        ' Get the bounds for the first column
        Dim TotalColRectangle As Rectangle = e.Bounds
        Dim Col As Integer = 0
        TotalColRectangle.Width = TotalColRectangle.Width / NumColumns
        ' Tried For/Next but would cause a "Out of Memory Error"
        Do While Col < NumColumns
            ' Retrieve the value of each column.
            Dim MyField As String = drv(sFieldList(Col)).ToString()
            TotalColRectangle.X = (TotalColRectangle.Width * Col)
            ' Draw the text on the column
            Using sb As SolidBrush = New SolidBrush(e.ForeColor)
                e.Graphics.DrawString(MyField, e.Font, sb, TotalColRectangle)
            End Using

            ' Draw a line to isolate the columns 
            Using p As Pen = New Pen(Color.Black)
                e.Graphics.DrawLine(p, TotalColRectangle.Right, 0, TotalColRectangle.Right, TotalColRectangle.Bottom)
            End Using
            Col += 1

    End Sub

End Class

and that's it, how cool is that! 

I recently found another control like this on Code Project, it has a few more features (column width settings). Check it out at: Click here