Posts by SR Computers

A good start to 2019 and what 2020 holds for us

February 28th, 2019 Posted by Security 0 thoughts on “A good start to 2019 and what 2020 holds for us”

The good start.

So far 2019 has been a good year for me from a business point of view.
Orders for new PCs and laptops are up by 300% for the two months so far.

Really great news for me and also for the customers who all have shiny new and fast computers to enjoy.

Some of this is attributable to the fact that their computers were old, slow, and were not worth upgrading. Money is better spent on funding a new machine rather than propping up a 6 to 7 year old one.

Coupled to this is the fact that Windows 7 goes out of support in January 2020, which I will explain more of below, and that just adds to the cost of a possible upgrade.

What 2020 will bring?

As I mentioned above, the first thing 2020 will bring is the end of life for support for Windows 7.

Does this mean Windows 7 computers will stop working?

No, it doesn’t, but what will happen is that they will no longer receive critical and important security updates. Therefore your computer will be more vulnerable to attacks, hackers and be generally less secure than it was.

You may not realise it but whenever your computer is connected to the internet it is being constantly attacked and probed by cyber criminals etc. looking for ways into your machine.
Usually your anti-virus and firewall software prevents them. However, if the actual operating system is open to attack because of a vulnerability that has not been fixed via an update then these attacks can succeed and get through.

So when Windows 7 stops being updated cyber criminals will target any known exploits and vulnerabilities and thus become less secure.

The way to combat this is to upgrade your version of Windows to a newer one, realistically this means Windows 10.

I will write more on this subject during the year, and if you are running Windows 7 currently you have several months to plan and prepare.

No need to panic just yet.

Until next time,

Damian

New Year Safety

January 17th, 2019 Posted by General 0 thoughts on “New Year Safety”

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First of all, Happy New Year everyone, I hope you all had a good break.

The holiday period is over and we are back at work or in our usual routines. It’s at this time of year people tend to relax their vigilance as they are still in ‘party’ mode.

So please whatever you do, don’t relax on your online and data security.

Watch out for seasonal themed emails that might have come in over the holiday period. It is so easy to drop your guard when dealing with a backlog when you first get back in to work. You then inadvertently click on something you ordinarily wouldn’t because you are in catch up mode.

That’s what the unscrupulous folk who send these emails out are relying on. So be careful and don’t give them the satisfaction.

 

It’s not just emails though, criminals are forever trying new ways to get your data or personal info. Compromised web pages are also a problem, many of them masquerading as actual industry companies such as Microsoft or Apple.

You may get a pop-up page advising that you have a problem and need to contact them immediately on a displayed number. Don’t be fooled, they are always a scam and are attempting to get you to call them or click on a so called ‘support’ link. Just ignore the page, close your browser using Task Manager (or force quit on an Apple), restart your machine and start again.  Most of these are delivered via compromised ads on the web page you were viewing.

 

That’s all for this month, and again if you have any queries or need assistance on any topic not just those above then please get in touch.

Updates and Upgrades

November 13th, 2018 Posted by Security 0 thoughts on “Updates and Upgrades”

Laptop updates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UPDATES

Most of us are dismayed when we see a message informing us about updates and  upgrades on our computers. However, we shouldn’t be as updates to software and systems are done to either add new features or fix problems and vulnerabilities.

Don’t just ignore them and hope they will go away. Security updates are very important and should not be ignored. If you don’t do them then you could potentially be leaving your system at risk from attack by malware, hackers or remote intrusion.

Some operating systems allow updates to be done automatically so you won’t forget. The system will then prompt you that updates are ready and that your system may need restarting. Do this once you have finished working and it will be ready for the next time.

The best time is to do updates at the end of the working day or over-night, so your time is impacted as little as possible.

 

OS UPGRADES

 

The one exception in all this is operating system upgrades. It is always prudent to adopt a wait and see approach rather than diving straight in when a new version of the system is released. Let someone else test it out first!

Having said all this, Windows 10 users will know that they don’t get much choice when updates or upgrades are done.  The system automatically pushes them through.

A good point is Microsoft’s recent upgrade to Windows 10 (version 1809) which has caused many users to experience missing files. Microsoft pulled the release from public download in early October. As yet, nothing has been indicated about when the upgrade will be re-released.

The latest Mojave upgrade to Apple’s Mac OS X has also caused a few issues with regard to Bluetooth, apps not running or systems not restarting for some users amongst others. A security update has since been issued for Mojave which fixed many of these bugs. I would now be happy to upgrade myself, which I have done with no problems I might add.

All of these problems can be avoided if you wait a month or so before upgrading. Keep an eye on the tech news to find out when any major issues found have been corrected. If you really cannot wait and must install the latest versions straight away, then at least make sure you have all your data backed up beforehand.

Information on Windows 10 updates can be found here.

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/hub/4338813/windows-help?os=windows-10

You can find more about Apple updates below.

https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT201222

As always, if you have any questions or need help with this or any other issue, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

https://srcomputers.co.uk/contact

 

Telephone scams

September 25th, 2018 Posted by Security 0 thoughts on “Telephone scams”
Scam Caller

Anonymous Caller !

 

Telephone scams appear to be on the increase again. They first appeared regularly in 2011-2012 then seemed to die a death after a couple of years.

However, I have noticed recently they seem to be on the increase again.

 

We have all received one or more of these telephone scams, but they have changed over time and become more sophisticated or are trying a different approach.

Originally the caller would purport to be from “Windows Technical Centre” or “Microsoft Help Centre” or such similar bogus organisation.

A lot of the new ones, however, claim to be from your Internet Service Provider (ISP for short), such as BT or Virgin etc. They will certainly not be. Many are recorded messages which is a dead giveaway that it is a bogus call from the outset.

However, some have been smarter and relied on unscrupulous employees at the ISP call centres. Customers who have made genuine enquiries to their ISP have been targeted and have received a call back within a few minutes of the genuine call ending. The caller will claim to be from the ISP and says the reason for the call back is they forgot to do something in the original call. They will even be privy to certain customer information to make them appear genuine.

What will have happened is that the original employee who the customer spoke to in the initial genuine call will have passed details on to an accomplice on the outside. This makes them appear genuine as they reel off some of the customer’s details an ordinary scammer would not know.

What to do

My advice when confronted with a situation like this is to refuse to continue the call.  Advise them you will call back on the usual number yourself. You should then contact your ISP on the regular number and explain you have received a scam call.

Although these scams are designed to trick us, most can be defeated with a bit of common sense. Anyone who calls who is genuine will understand if you decline to speak there and then but offer to call back on the usual number. NEVER use a number they give you. Always use the number shown on literature, your bill or the website.

 

As always if you have any questions regarding this topic then please do not hesitate to get in touch.

 

Damian.

 

Stay protected when connected.

August 16th, 2018 Posted by Security 0 thoughts on “Stay protected when connected.”
Online Security

Protect your online presence.

 

Most of us use a device that is permanently connected to the Internet, either at home, or when out and about. We don’t all have a personal online security guard to protect us from external threats. Your online security is of paramount importance.

How can you ensure you are safe in both situations?

Use Internet Security/Anti virus software.

Always use anti-virus software on all computers and devices to increase your online security. This includes Android phones and tablets. The only ones which really don’t need it are Apple’s iOS devices (iPads and iPhones).

 

Password protection and strength.

Follow these guidelines for ensuring you have a strong password.

Don’t use simple, easy to guess passwords such as names of friends, family and pets.

Don’t use words from the dictionary or commonly used passwords such as 12345 or QWERTY.

Always use a mixture of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols.

If thinking of, and remembering passwords seems too much then try using a password manager. Many will cover both computers and mobiles and are inexpensive or even free. Then you only need remember one master password as the manager generates the other passwords for you as you visit each website.

 

Choose a secure connection.

When away from home be extremely careful when using public Wi-Fi hotspots. Never use an unknown ‘Free Wi-Fi’ hotspot. If you are out and about and need Wi-Fi then choose a secure, protected one that you would need a password for such as in a hotel where you would have to ask at reception for the password. Those who are a bit more tech savvy could use a VPN to connect when away from home. Ask yourself, is your online security more important than checking a latest social media update? The usual answer is no.

 

Finally always use common sense.

NEVER click directly on links in emails. Navigate to the required page yourself. Any email from a trusted source such as your bank or HMRC should never provide links in emails but will give instructions on how to access their sites. If you are still unsure contact them by telephone to confirm if the email is genuine. This applies to friend’s emails too. How do you know they have not been compromised?

Be aware of phone calls from scam callers. Microsoft (who make Windows), or their trusted partners, will NEVERcold call you to tell you your computer has a problem.

Block pop-ups on web pages. This can easily be done in the options/settings for your web browser.

Only download trustworthy apps on your devices. There are many un-reputable apps out there, especially on the Android system. Check what they want to access before you download and install them.

As always, if you have any questions or queries about online security then please get in touch here.

Computer jargon

July 10th, 2018 Posted by General 0 thoughts on “Computer jargon”
Motherboard

Computer motherboards

Do you feel mystified when it comes to computer jargon or technical terms?
Don’t worry, I’ll try and simplify things for you.
Let’s start with some of the main computer jargon terms used.

1) CPU

The Central Processing Unit or the brains of your computer. The bit that processes all the data you give it. CPUs come in different types and speeds. There are two main manufacturers of CPUs for computers, Intel and AMD. Generally the faster the speed of the CPU the more information it can process, i.e. the more work it can do. Most current computers have processors that run at 2 Gigahertz or faster. That’s 2,000,000,000 operations a second.

2) RAM

Random Access Memory. The working memory of your computer and is currently measured in Gigabytes (GB). Most new computers come with at least 4GB of RAM. The more RAM you have the more your computer can do. It is like an office desk, the bigger the desk, the more paperwork you can have open. The more RAM you have the more programs you can have open and running at the same time, therefore the faster your computer will run. When you switch your computer off, all the information stored in RAM is lost.

3) Hard Drive

This is the storage area where all the information on your computer is held. The data on the hard drive is NOT lost when the computer is turned off. All your pictures, documents, music etc. is stored on the hard drive. Therefore, the bigger the drive is the more music or pictures you can store on it. Most current computers come with at least a 500GB hard drive. You can easily extend this storage by purchasing an external hard drive that plugs into your computer. Recent advances in technology have seen an increase in the use of SSDs or Solid State Drives. These types of storage devices are generally smaller capacity but much faster than traditional hard drives as they do not have any moving parts. However, they are more expensive per Gigabyte of storage, usually around 3-4 times the price of a traditional drive of the same capacity.

4) Graphics card

This refers to your computers display. A graphics card is an add on circuit board which plugs into the main board of your computer. The better the graphics card then the higher resolution it can display. Computer games can require a lot of graphics power so those people who do a lot of gaming, especially 3D games, choose a higher powered graphics card. Most graphics cards have their own, dedicated graphics RAM, although some systems share the RAM with the main computer.

Damian.

I’m joining the blogging world (at last)

June 26th, 2018 Posted by General 0 thoughts on “I’m joining the blogging world (at last)”

Blog

Thank you and welcome to my new blog.

Here I intend to blog on different topics, mainly related to computers and possibly other tech too, but also on what I’ve been up to in the world of computer support.

Hopefully there will be a new blog post every two weeks or so, not too often so you feel bombarded, but not that scarce you forget about me!

Future subjects will be topics such as buying a new computer, keeping secure online and sensible password use amongst others.

You never know I might even invite a guest blogger now and again!

I also post regularly on my Google business page which is shared on Facebook and Twitter. Go and take a look for a taster of things to come.

Looking forward to entering the blogging world, better late than never hey!

 

Damian.

Contact

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info@srcomputers.co.uk 

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