In a recent twist, scam artists are using the phone to try to break into your computer. They 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.
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.
Once 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:
Regardless of the tactics they use, they have one purpose: to make money.
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:
If you think you might have downloaded malware from a scam site or allowed a cybercriminal to access your computer, don’t panic. Instead:
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.
Category : X Laptop Computer Ergonomics
As the trend of remote office environments continues to grow, so does the use of 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Computer virus symptoms are not always easy to identify. This is especially so if you consider that that they will
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?
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.
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.
If you’ve been a victimized by a phone scammer:
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.
Your 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.
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.
The 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.
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:
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.