Author Archives: JESilver

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Amazon

Category : Uncategorized

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Tech Support Scams

Category : Uncategorized

In a recent twist, scam artists are using the phone to try to break into your computer.    tech-support-scam-virusThey call, claiming to be computer techs associated with well-known companies like Microsoft. They say that they’ve detected viruses or other malware on your computer to trick you into giving them remote access or paying for software you don’t need.

These scammers take advantage of your reasonable concerns about viruses and other threats. They know that computer users have heard time and again that it’s important to install security software. But the purpose behind their elaborate scheme isn’t to protect your computer; it’s to make money.

How Tech Support Scams Work

Scammers have been peddling bogus security software for years. They set up fake websites, offer free “security” scans, and send alarming messages to try to convince you that your computer is infected. Then, they try to sell you software to fix the problem. At best, the software is worthless or available elsewhere for free. At worst, it could be malware — software designed to give criminals access to your computer and your personal information.

The latest version of the scam begins with a phone call. Scammers can get your name and other basic information from public directories. They might even guess what computer software you’re using.

tech-support-scam-popupOnce they have you on the phone, they often try to gain your trust by pretending to be associated with well-known companies or confusing you with a barrage of technical terms. They may ask you to go to your computer and perform a series of complex tasks. Sometimes, they target legitimate computer files and claim that they are viruses. Their tactics are designed to scare you into believing they can help fix your “problem.”

Once they’ve gained your trust, they may:

  • ask you to give them remote access to your computer and then make changes to your settings that could leave your computer vulnerable
  • try to enroll you in a worthless computer maintenance or warranty program
  • ask for credit card information so they can bill you for phony services — or services you could get elsewhere for free
  • trick you into installing malware that could steal sensitive data, like user names and passwords
  • direct you to websites and ask you to enter your credit card number and other personal information

Regardless of the tactics they use, they have one purpose: to make money.

If You Get a Call

If you get a call from someone who claims to be a tech support person, hang up and call the company yourself on a phone number you know to be genuine. A caller who creates a sense of urgency or uses high-pressure tactics is probably a scam artist.

Keep these other tips in mind:

  • Don’t give control of your computer to a third party who calls you out of the blue.
  • Do not rely on caller ID alone to authenticate a caller. Criminals spoof caller ID numbers. They may appear to be calling from a legitimate company or a local number, when they’re not even in the same country as you.
  • Online search results might not be the best way to find technical support or get a company’s contact information. Scammers sometimes place online ads to convinceyou to call  They pay to boost their ranking in search results so their websites and phone numbers appear above those of legitimate companies. If you want tech support, look for a company’s contact information on their software package or on your receipt.
  • Never provide your credit card or financial information to someone who calls and claims to be from tech support.
  • If a caller pressures you to buy a computer security product or says there is a subscription fee associated with the call, hang up. If you’re concerned about your computer, call your security software company directly and ask for help.
  • Never give your password on the phone. No legitimate organization calls you and asks for your password.
  • Put your phone number on theNational Do Not Call Registry, and then report illegal sales calls.

If You’ve Responded to a Scam

If you think you might have downloaded malware from a scam site or allowed a cybercriminal to access your computer, don’t panic. Instead:

  • Get rid of malware. Update or download legitimate security software and scan your computer. Delete anything it identifies as a problem.
  • Change any passwords that you gave out. If you use these passwords for other accounts, change those accounts, too.
  • If you paid for bogus services with a credit card, call your credit card provider and ask to reverse the charges. Check your statements for any other charges you didn’t make, and ask to reverse those, too.
  • If you believe that someone may have accessed your personal or financial information, visit the FTC’sidentity theft website. You can minimize your risk of further damage and repair any problems already in place.
  • File a complaint with the FTC atgov/complaint.

How to Spot a Refund Scam

If you paid for tech support services, and you later get a call about a refund, don’t give out any personal information, like your credit card or bank account number. The call is almost certainly another trick to take your money.

The refund scam works like this: Several months after the purchase, someone might call to ask if you were happy with the service. When you say you weren’t, the scammer offers a refund.

Or the caller may say that the company is going out of business and providing refunds for “warranties” and other services.

In either case, the scammers eventually ask for a bank or credit card account number. Or they ask you to create a Western Union account. They might even ask for remote access to your computer to help you fill out the necessary forms. But instead of putting money in your account, the scammers withdraw money from your account.  If you get a call like this, hang up, and report it at ftc.gov/complaint.

 

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Why is Laptop Computer Ergonomics so Important?

As the trend of remote office environments continues to grow, so does the use of Laptop Computer Ergonomics laptop computers. The laptop computer does provide lightweight and portable computer access to allow the user unlimited flexibility. However, this luxury does not come without adverse effects.

The laptop computer keyboard is an ergonomic debacle. The laptop keyboard is concentrated on a single flat plane thus eliminating the ability to separate, tilt, tent or replace the position of the individual keys and keypads. There is virtually no adjustability to improve the positions of the shoulders, elbows, wrists and hands. However there are some guidelines to use that will promote proper laptop ergonomics and laptop computer user safety and comfort:

Another reason why is Laptop Computer Ergonomics so Important:

In this day and age many people use their computer laptop as their primary computer, so it’s important to have it set-up ergonomically-correct in order to avoid back pain, neck pain, and other musculoskeletal injuries or strains. The problem is that laptop computers are designed with portability in mind rather than sound ergonomic principles.

Basically, if the screen is at the right height then the laptop keyboard is too high, and if the laptop keyboard is in the right position, then the screen is too close and too low. And laptop touchpads and trackballs are never very user friendly causing excessive motions and error rates.

Given these ergonomics challenges with the laptop computer, here are several simple ergonomics and laptop computer posture tips to optimize your laptop computer set-up, these laptop ergonomics / computer posture tips are focused on promoting neutral joint postures to reduce muscle strain and wear and tear.

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What is a 3-2-1 Backup Strategy?

Category : Backup

A 3-2-1 strategy means having at least 3 total copies of your data, 2 of which are local but on different mediums (read: devices), and at least 1 copy offsite. We’ll use “puppy.jpg” as an example for this scenario. Puppy.jpg lives on your computer at home, it was a picture that you took of your cat in 2012. That’s one copy of the data. You also have an external hard drive that you use for backing up your computer, if you’re on a Mac, you might be using it as a Time Machine drive. As part of its backup process, that external hard drive will back up puppy.jpg. That’s a second copy, on a different device or medium. In addition that external hard drive, you also have an online backup solution. The online backup continuously scans your computer and uploads your data offsite to a data center. Puppy.jpg is included in this upload, and that becomes the third copy of your data.

Why 2 onsite and 1 offsite?

Whether you are interested in backing up a Mac or a PC, an onsite backup is a simple way of having quick access to your data should anything happen to your computer. If your laptop or desktop’s hard drive crashes, and you have an up to date external hard drive available, you can quickly get the majority of your data back, or use the external on another computer while yours gets fixed or replaced. If you remember to keep that external hard drive fairly up to date, the exposure for data loss is fairly minimal, as you might only be exposed to losing the files that were on your laptop that had not yet been copied to the external hard drive. Most external hard drives even come with their own software to make sure that they are kept readily updated.

Having an onsite backup is a great start, but having an offsite backup is a key component in having a complete backup strategy. Onsite backups are great if you need to get to them quickly, but unfortunately, having a backup near the device that it’s backing up (for example, having a desktop PC and an external hard drive on the same desk), means that both of those copies are susceptible to data loss. I try not to be too “doom and gloom” on the website but floods, fires, and theft can and do occur. Most often, if the two devices you have as your local copies are close together, they’ll both be affected if the unfortunate should happen. A continuously updated copy of your data that’s not in the same physical location as the other two is paramount in protecting your files.

Is 3-2-1 Perfect?Backup-3-2-1-rule

There is no such thing as a perfect backup system, but the 3-2-1 approach is a great start for the majority of people and businesses. Even the United States Government recommends this approach. In a 2012 paper for US-CERT (United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team), Carnegie Mellon recommended the 3-2-1 method in their publication titled: Data Backup Options.

Backing Up Is Like Investing!

The 3-2-1 plan is a great start in getting your files backed up. If you view your files as your investment capital, you want to diversify them as much as possible to limit your exposure should the unthinkable happen. Liquidity also matters, having a local backup and an offsite backup gives you more options for backup recovery. That’s why Silver Computer Consultant recommends starting with a 3-2-1 approach. For more information about different backup methods and which might work well for you.

INTERESTED IN OUR Backup SERVICES? WANT TO LEARN MORE?

Call us at 301-325-1709

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Patch Management

Category : Patch Management

Patch Management gives you peace of mind knowing that the security of your system is top notch, immune to known vulnerabilities, as well as in regulation with government compliance laws. Patching keeps security holes closed and applications updated with the newest features. All of this ensures productivity and efficiency of your business.

Security Benefits

Security is the most obvious reason why companies would want to have an automated patch management solution in place. One of the main reasons why software vendors release new patches is to fix security vulnerabilities that can be exploited by malicious software or people intending to damage your IT systems or network.

Applying security patches in a timely fashion greatly reduces the risk of having a security breach and all the related problems that come with it, such as data theft, data loss, reputation issues or even legal penalties.

Efficiency and Productivity

An efficient system that deploys patches network-wide helps to improve the productivity of the company in many ways. Often patches come with performance improvements or crash fixes for the products they apply to, which can lead to a productivity boost. The improved security also helps productivity; in the majority of cases, the worst effect of malware is not the stealing of company sensitive data, but rather the theft of computer resources used to run the malicious scripts. The effect varies from congested networks or slowed-down systems to breakdowns of business-critical applications and to systems which are totally compromised and need to be reinstalled from scratch.

Compliance

Recently compliance has become an important driver for companies to implement a patch management solution. There are more and more laws and regulations that are imposing security best practices on companies, and having the systems fully patched is one of the most important security rules. Government institutions, companies offering financial services, and healthcare organizations are among the most affected by these regulations, but the trend is that all companies will need to be secure enough to be able to protect the privacy and data of their employees, customer and partners. Here is a list with some of the most important standards related to IT infrastructure security: Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Sarbanes–Oxley Act (SOX), Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act (GLB/GLBA), Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), Government Connect Secure Extranet – Code of Connection (GCSx CoCo).
Failure to comply can result in losing opportunities, incurring legal and financial penalties, or even losing your business.

Keep up with Features

Patches can contain new features, adding new functionality or extending support for additional platforms. For organizations this often translates into opportunities to improve or extend their services.

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Proactive Maintenance & Monitoring

Category : Uncategorized

Unexpected computer and server failures are costly.  We prevent many network failures from ever happening with our proactive managed services solution and keep your critical IT systems working properly so your office can stay productive.

By combining regular preventative maintenance and comprehensive real-time monitoring of your critical network and desktop services, we ensure the reliability and stability of your IT assets.  A regularly maintained network means fewer failures, yielding higher productivity and savings on support costs for you.

At the same time, your exposure to security risks is dramatically lessened, and frustration from the unstable IT resources almost vanishes.  We allow our customers to focus on their core business functions by taking the worry out of owning a computer network.

Proactive Maintenance Plans include the following:

  • Data backup monitoring and management
  • Desktop file system health monitoring and maintenance
  • Desktop optimization and tuning
  • Increased uptime and productivity
  • IT asset tracking
  • Monthly management report
  • Off-hours system maintenance
  • Off-hours system maintenance
  • Preemptive failure prediction on workstations and servers
  • Real-time server state and error monitoring
  • Reduced interruptions and downtime
  • Security patch management
  • Server file system health monitoring and maintenance
  • Virus protection management
  • Weekly system audits

Our proactive maintenance systems put us in constant touch with your IT assets, allowing us to provide you with better care and uptime than even a full-time in-house network administrator.

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Spyware vs. Virus

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Category : Uncategorized

Computer virus symptoms are not always easy to identify. This is especially so if you consider that that they will Virus alert

Here are some of the most common virus symptoms:

  • You can’t access your hard drive or other disk drives
  • You can’t print correctly
  • You see pop-ups and dialog boxes everywhere
  • You see unusual error messages
  • Your antivirus software was turned off and not by you
  • Your applications don’t work correctly (especially your web browser)
  • Your computer doesn’t run normally and restarts on its own
  • Your computer frequently freezes or stops responding
  • Your computer is running slower than normal
  • Your computer restarts and crashes constantly
  • Your modem and hard drive lights are working extra hard.
  • The computer starts performing actions on its own

If you believe that your computer is infected, or if you see one or more of the above symptoms on your computer, disconnect your computer from the internet or your local network immediately. Just unplug the network cable or turn off the wireless adapter. By doing this you will stop your computer from spreading the virus to your friends, family, or co-workers. Some viruses also send information back to its creator about the infected system, making it really easy to take full control over your computer and personal information. That is one more reason to disconnect your machine from the internet.

If you have antivirus software protection, make sure that its definitions are updated and run a full system scan on your computer. If you don’t have one, don’t panic. Just call Silver Computer Consultants and we will we will do our best to kill that virus. You can also just give us a call to (301) 325-1709 or schedule our on-site virus removal service and we will take care of the situation. Why call Silver Computer Consultants and not the other guys?

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Phone Scams and Computer Repair

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Category : Computer help

Know Your Facts to Protect Your Computer

Envision this – you are sitting at home tending to your own particular personal concerns when you get a telephone call from an official sounding individual letting you know that your machine is infections with a virus. They say they can repair the problem and get rid of the infections if you will give a Credit Card Number.

An expanding number of PC clients are receiving telephone calls and some — perplexed about potential information misfortune and mechanism harm — are surrendering their credit card information in the trust this will ensure the protection of their PC.PC Scams

If you get such a call, we’re here to tell you — hang up. It’s a scam!

Silver Computer Consultants, LLC (SCC) has been seeing a rise in telephone tricks focusing on PC users. Cybercriminals are pretending to work for Microsoft. They claim they’ve examined your PCs remotely and discovered infections on them. Depending on your fear of infections, information misfortune and data fraud, they trap you into giving them real access to the your PC

When the hacker has entry to the victimized person’s PC, they will regularly demonstrate the client frightening looking messages on the machine, require instantaneous installment to clean up the “hazardously infection” workstation and install more “insurance” program onto the PC. Chances are they’ll take the chance to fix different bits of malware to catch the victimized person’s web shopping or banking information.

It’s important to understand that reputable tech companies (like Microsoft, SCC and other tech leaders) will not scan computers remotely without permission from the owner. They will not call computer users unless they are already working with them on a support issue.

 

Should you receive one of these telephone calls, here are a few tips to help protect yourself:

  • Never give remote access to your computer to any technician unless they can confirm they are a legitimate member of a computer support company with which you have an existing support agreement.
  • Never provide a credit card or banking account information to someone on a cold call — even if they claim to be from a computer support company.
  • When in doubt, hang up the phone and call the company back at their publicly listed telephone number. You can usually find contact information on their web site.

 If you’ve been a victimized by a phone scammer:

  • Change your computer password, along with the password of any online accounts that may have been provided to the cybercriminal.
  • Contact your credit card or bank and speak with the fraud prevention team to have the charges reversed and the account protected from future charges.
  • Update your security software and run a full scan on your computer.  You may also want to contact one of our SCC Support to have the PC checked for malware.

    Sponsor: http://readypaydayloan.com

Phone scams are successful because cybercriminals rely on computer users trusting an unknown person with access to their computers. Together, we can defeat these scams by simply hanging up when you receive an unrequested support call, regardless of who they say they are.

Sponsor: http://readypaydayloan.com

 

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Dust and Cigarette Smoke

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Category : Computer help

Dirty FanYour computer has several fans on it to pull air from outside to cool down the system. If the air outside is polluted with dust or, even worse, smoke, rather than getting cooler, the computer becomes hotter. Cigarette smoke is worse because it has moisture in its particles. This makes the particles sticky and almost impossible to remove from your computer’s electronic components. It is also very important to know that smoking in front of your computer will void your computer’s warranty. So either it is a good time to quit, or take your cigarette outside.

Why Does It Happen?

Computers generate static electrical charges that attract dust and cigarette smoke when present in the environment. These dust or smoke particles form an insulating blanket that covers the electronic components inside your computer, causing them to overheat, age faster, and fail.

Solution

dirty pcThe best dust / cigarette smoke protection is to keep your computer surroundings clean from both contaminants. Block all access points for dust and cigarette smoke. Close all uncovered expansion-slot openings. Missing expansion-slot covers allow dust to accumulate in the system. Dust buildup inside your systems components can be cleaned by using a soft brush. A static-free vacuum and a can of compressed air are also recommended to keep your system dust free. Finally, if you have to smoke, be sure to do it far from your computers. And don’t forget that smoke dust inside your computer will void its warranty.

 

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Virus & Malware Threats

Category : Virus News

Every Computer Tech or anyone who knows even a tiny bit about computers will tell you what Antivirus program is the best. The truth is, there is not one product that is 100% perfect and awesome. Every program has some shortcomings and is not perfect.

It is like the age old Ford Vs Chevy and most people are very passionate about what they like. I am no different. I have worked with them all, and I like Microsoft Security Essentials program for several reasons:

  • Easy for my customers to use
  • I have been using it on customer computers for over 8years, and I have only seen one or two computers with any infection, and that was from an expired version or when the program was turned off.
  • Installs and uninstalls and upgrades easily
  • It does a great job at preventing and removing unwanted junk, viruses, adware, spyware and more from your computer
  • It is not a memory hog like Symantec and MacAfee products
  • The price is right, Free. Another great thing is that there is not a bunch of nagging about upgrading all the time like other products such as Symantec and MacAfee

There are a few key things in preventing viruses on your computer

  • You need an up to date current version of Antivirus software
  • Your antivirus needs to be scheduled to do a full scan of the computer weekly
  • Your Antivirus needs to be turned on
  • Your Antivirus software needs to be updated with new virus definitions daily or more often

Virus removal can be tricky. If you have tried everything you can to remove unwanted Adware, spyware and viruses, and are still having problems, contact me to help clean up your computer. Many times the hard drive needs to isolate to be able to get rid of all of the crud on the computer.

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