Lapre, who lives near Fredericksburg, Va., has a problem
that’s common on the outskirts of cities: little
choice for Internet service.
quoted him in last week’s column about people whose
Verizon MiFi units (cellular Internet devices that
create Wi-Fi hot spots for PCs and other gadgets) were
downloading unexpectedly large, and expensive, amounts
of data (see tinyurl.com/z395jql).
said he was forced to use his iPad’s cellular data
service after his 20-gigabyte MiFi data package was used
up partway through the month. He asked if there was any
way to get an unlimited data plan to replace MiFi.
Unfortunately, unlimited data plans tend to be offered
only by cable TV and telephone companies that use land
lines, and none serve your rural area. And, as you
noted, satellite Internet access in your area offers
only metered monthly data plans similar to Verizon’s
though you’re forced to live with a limited data
download plan, you can manage your data differently to
avoid overrunning your monthly allotment and paying
penalties. The simplest solution is to disconnect your
MiFi unit and switch its 20-gigabyte data plan to your
iPad. Then turn on the iPad’s "personal hot
spot" (see tinyurl.com/nnerajh) so that your PC can
connect to it via Wi-Fi, and thus gain access to the
you’re finished using the PC, turn off the iPad’s
hot spot so that your PC can’t use the Internet to
download more data on its own and use up your monthly
data allotment. (Verizon said this happens if MiFi units
are left turned on, because automated PC processes run
in the background even if the PC isn’t in use.) That
should make your data plan last all month.
To improve wireless Internet coverage on the first floor
of our house, we set up a Wi-Fi extender unit that uses
home electrical wiring to relay the signal from our
second-floor PC network. When the booster wouldn’t
accept the Wi-Fi signal, we called the manufacturer’s
tech support people, who said our network was corrupted
with something called "Koobface." The tech
support workers offered to sell us a $100 program they
said would fix everything, but my husband was leery and
didn’t buy it. What should we do?
Haskins, Winter Haven, Fla.
Koobface, so-named because it originally spread itself
through Facebook messages, is a type of malicious
software called a "network worm." It can take
over your PC, steal information and spread itself
throughout home networks.
Koobface first appeared in 2008, it is now
well-understood and easily removed. But rather than pay
to have it eliminated, download Microsoft’s free
"Malicious Software Removal Tool," which works
with Windows Vista, 7, 8, 8.1 and 10 (see tinyurl.com/oq66pxa).
The list of the malicious programs it removes includes
Koobface (see tinyurl.com/zj9o79f).