Posts in Security

Back to Normal.

August 5th, 2021 Posted by General, Security, Upgrades 0 thoughts on “Back to Normal.”

 

 

Photo by <a href="https://unsplash.com/@mikepetrucci?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Mike Petrucci</a> on <a href="https://unsplash.com/s/photos/usual?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Unsplash</a> Back to Normal.

With restrictions easing, and life getting “back to normal” slowly, I thought it about time to put finger to keyboard!

It’s been busy over the last 10 months, as everyone has been using their computers more than usual. I’ve been helping them keep going and run smoothly. I’ve helped and advised people get new computers or upgrade their existing machines.

During this time, I have been taking precautions to keep my customers, and myself, safe. Despite the easing  I have continued to wear a face mask and keep sanitising before each visit. I think it is the right thing to do.

I have had both my vaccinations and have not yet contracted Covid. Hopefully I won’t and maintaining careful practices when working will hopefully see this continue.

Here to help.

As ever I am here to assist and advise on any aspect of your computer needs and use. I can upgrade existing machines where economic to do so. Or I can source and supply new or refurbished machines if not. I can also help you get the most out of your computer by helping you work smarter. This is especially helpful if you have an older or less powerful system.

Be careful.

During the last 18 months scams have been on the increase again. The scammers never go away, and Covid gave them new opportunities to try and hoodwink the general public. The common ones where they pretend to be from Microsoft, Amazon etc have not disappeared. They have just been joined by fake NHS emails, calls and text messages. As ever, if anyone, apart from a trusted friend or IT professional, calls and asks for access to your computer to ‘fix’ an issue DO NOT let them. No one apart from yourself can know what is going on with your computer. If you do get strange messages on your computer, or calls then please contact myself or another professional first to check.

Get in touch.

Please get in touch if you require any of my services in the usual way.

www.srcomputers.co.uk/contact

Keep staying safe, let’s get back to normal in the right way.

 

Damian

Scam and Hoax calls.

March 10th, 2020 Posted by General, Security 0 thoughts on “Scam and Hoax calls.”

Photo by Michael Geiger on Unsplash

I thought I would broach the subject of scam calls again this month.

 

They are still around and seem to be on the increase again.

There are two mains attacks to be aware of at the moment, as follows.

 

Amazon

Firstly, and the most common is a scam where the caller pretends to be from Amazon and is calling about your Amazon Prime account. They claim that your payments have lapsed, and your account will be suspended.

Quite often it is a recorded message or computerised voice that you hear. This should be obvious that it is a scam.

Then they try to take payment from you to ‘reactivate’ the account. It is, of course, bogus and under no circumstances should you give them any payment information.

If you do, the scammers will try and take as much as they can from you. One customer of mine was recently a victim and the scammers tried to take nearly £20,000. Luckily, the customer’s bank stopped the transaction as they suspected it was fraudulent.

ISP

The other scam calls still doing the rounds are callers pretending to be from your Internet Service Provider, or I.S.P. for short.

They claim to be from B.T., Virgin or whoever your ISP may be. The premise is that they have detected a problem with your service and need access to your computer to ‘fix’ it for you. This is untrue in every case and under no circumstances should you let them have access to your computer.

Once they gain access you have no control of what they do and see. They can then install anything, including malware, key logging software or set up the remote access so they can continue to get access in the future without your knowledge.

Computer message

Another variation on this scam is one that starts on your computer. A message may pop up on your screen saying you have a problem and to call a particular number in order to ‘fix’ it.

This again is a scam, and you should not ever call the number displayed. They will, again, try to persuade you to grant them access to your computer. Usually these messages pop up as a result of a compromised advert on a webpage.

 

As ever if you have been affected by any of the above scams then please get in touch for assistance and advice as to what to do next.

Contact me

Thank you for reading,

 

Damian

Windows 7 broken?

February 6th, 2020 Posted by Security, Upgrades 0 thoughts on “Windows 7 broken?”

Photo by Julia Joppien on UnsplashWindows 7 is broken…….

……or is it?

The question most people are asking about Windows 7 is “Will my computer stop working now it is out of support?”

The simple answer is NO.

But should you still continue to use Windows 7?

The correct answer is also NO.

Even though it will still work and do everything it always did, it no longer receives security updates. As time goes on it will become more vulnerable. Therefore, your online activities become less secure.

Banking, shopping and any other financial activity will become riskier over time. These sites may also stop you logging in to them at some point. This happened to Windows XP and Vista users when their support ended.

When security loopholes and vulnerabilities in Windows are found, they will NOT be fixed in Windows 7 any longer. Windows 8 & 10 will get fixed. Therefore the sensible option is to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10. Do this before you encounter any problems or get infected with malware or ransomware.

My advice is to upgrade or replace your Windows 7 computer as soon as possible.

Contact me for further information or advice about doing this.

Further information from Microsoft is available here.

Windows 7 end of life page

Windows 7

July 30th, 2019 Posted by Security, Upgrades 0 thoughts on “Windows 7”

Windows 7 rolling overWindows 7 will roll over and die in January 2020!

I talked about this last time and earlier in the year.

We are getting closer to the time that Windows 7 will no longer be supported.  So, I thought it worthwhile to go over what’s going to happen, what the likely issues will be and how to make sure you are prepared and know what to do.

What is happening to Windows 7 in January 2020?

As I said previously, January 2020 is the month when Windows 7 will reach its end of support from Microsoft.

This means that Microsoft will no longer release security updates for it. When a bug or vulnerability is found it will no longer be patched or fixed. This will mean those machines will become less secure than they were.

Newer versions of Windows will get patched, Windows 7 will not. Therefore, cyber criminals and hackers will likely try to take advantage of this fact and target the more vulnerable Windows 7 machines.

How will this affect me?

It is likely, as it happened when Windows XP and Vista reached their end of support, the most noticeable effect is that websites you regularly use will no longer allow access from computers running Windows 7.

Sites such as banking, shopping, travel and all those using secure logins and connections will prevent users from logging in from unsecure browsers.

Internet Explorer is one such browser and is integral to Windows 7.  Support for it is also ending in January 2020. Even users of Internet Explorer on Windows 8 & 10 will find they are affected.

There is an easy solution for those users. They can easily switch to using another newer, more secure browser such as Edge, Firefox or Chrome.

Windows 7 users will not have such a quick and easy option as the newer version of those browsers will not be available on to them.

 

What do I do?

The answer for Windows 7 users is simple. Upgrade your computer to Windows 10 or replace the computer with one running Windows 10.

I’m sure most will opt for a new machine as many computers running Windows 7 are now at least seven or more years old and are nearing the end of their life anyway.

As ever, I can help with the transition, whether you choose to upgrade or replace. If you are unsure, I can provide the necessary information and advice to help make your decision.

My main advice would be to do it sooner rather than later. Prices of new machines are likely to increase as the time draws nearer.

More information can be found here.

Windows 7 end of support.

If you have any questions on any of these topics please get in touch.

Contact

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

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.

Contact

07572 011 184
info@srcomputers.co.uk 

3 Arundel Avenue, Hazel Grove, Stockport SK7 5LA

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