Lock Down Your Passwords
If someone gets into your accounts whether it’s your email or bank account they could steal information, contacts, account numbers, make purchases, sell your information, your contacts, or hijack your email.
Here are some basic guidelines for a more secure password:
- Should be no less than 8 characters
- Could be as long as 16 to 20 characters
- Use special characters: for example ! @ #
- Do Not use dictionary words: example pick the first letters of each word of a sentence or song lyric
- Should include at least one upper and lower case letter and a number.
Education plays a major role in the human firewall, but you still need a hardware or software firewall. First, don’t open suspicious emails, emails with subject lines that contain misspelled words, emails from someone you don’t know, even some emails from those you do know. You need to be cautious because your friends could have been infected and their computer might have sent you an email, not them. For example: emails from the IRS. The Government doesn’t generally send emails or even have your email address. You should just delete emails from people you do not know, because even just viewing them can cause Malware to run on your computer.
Don’t visit websites that your unfamiliar with. You could use a website likewww.virustotal.com to submit the URL of the website prior to visiting it. Continue reading
Since the takeoff of the Information Age in the 1990s, you’ve probably heard the words “data backup” preached at you time and again. And for good reason. You don’t want to lose all your valuable data that you spent years developing and accumulating in an unexpected disaster.
Today, backing up your data is a little more complex because best practices have changed over the past 20 years. But because you’re so busy, it’s easiest to follow a quick set of rules.
Here are some backup tips for the time-strapped small business owner:
- Have a Plan: “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” You don’t need to have a complex plan, but you should have one. You’ll also want to have a data restoration plan in place, as users cannot access a database when it’s being restored. What are you going to do if you lose the primary version of your data? The answer to this question will prepare you for the worst-case scenario.
- Backup Offsite: You can back up your data to either the cloud, or another physical offsite location. The cloud works well, but it does have a subscription cost, and you must have online access. If you backup your data to another offsite location under your ownership, there’s no subscription cost and you don’t need online access to get to it.
- Develop a Routine: In most cases, you should back up your data daily. You can setup your backup program to create backups automatically, so it won’t be too much of a hassle in your daily operations. This could be overkill for some businesses, but it’s also better to be safe than sorry.
- Test Your Backup: Unfortunately, as great as technology is, it throws you surprises sometimes. In the case of backing up your data, you don’t want to be surprised. So test out your backup by restoring your data. You should test large volumes of data weekly, and an entire backup every 6 months.
- Have 2 Separate Backups of Your Data: This sounds a little confusing at first, but it’s very important for data security and backup. So, you’ll have an original copy of your data. Then, you’ll back it up at your server onsite. In addition to that, you should have a backup to a location far away, just in case you get caught in a large disaster, like a tornado, flood, fire, hurricane, or earthquake.
A large enough local disaster could destroy both your original data and onsite backup. With one backup far offsite, you almost eliminate your chances of losing all of your data.
That’s backup 101 for you, and if you follow that advice, you should be safe in the event of any kind of emergency.
Every time I work on a computer I clean the dust and visually inspect the innards. One of the things I look at inside the computer is the capacitors on the main board. There is a known common problem that is causing some capacitors to leak and fail.
The first flawed capacitors were seen in 1999, but most of the affected capacitors were made in the early to mid 2000s, and while news of their failures (usually after a few years of use) has forced most manufacturers to fix the defects, some bad capacitors were still being sold or integrated into designs as of early 2007.
An incorrect electrolyte formula within a faulty capacitor causes the production of hydrogen gas, leading to bulging or deformation of the capacitor’s case, and eventual venting of the electrolyte. In rare cases, faulty capacitors have even been reported to pop or explode forcefully. Although modern manufacturing techniques normally ensure they vent safely rather than explode, manufacturers have been known to omit the key safety features that allow this.
What to Look For Visually
– Bulging of the vent on the top of the capacitor. (The ‘vent’ is the impression stamped in the top of the can. The impression forms the seams of the vent. It is designed so that if the capacitor becomes pressurized it will split at the vent’s seams relieving the pressure rather than making it explode.)
Sitting crooked on the circuit board as the bottom rubber plug is pushed out.
– Electrolyte (a crusty brown substance) leaked onto the motherboard from the base of the capacitor.
– Venting from the top of the capacitor, visible as rust-like brown deposits, or a visible hole in the vent.
1 Not turning on all the time; beeping noises; having to hit reset or try turning the computer on again.
2 Instabilities (hangs, BSODs, kernel panics, etc.), especially when symptoms get progressively more frequent over time.
3 Memory errors, especially ones that get more frequent with time.
4 Spontaneous reboots, or freeze wile booting.
5 Never starting the POST; fans spin but the system appears dead
Open public wi-fi is not safe, thousands of amateur hackers are watching, made easy by a new hack tool called Firesheep…
This tool takes almost everything you need to be a Wi-Fi hacker and makes it look like an everyday program that anybody can use. And, as it transpires, a lot of people are using it.
How it works is an individual running Firesheep can use it to scan all the information being exchanged on the public Wi-Fi. What happens next is a list pops up detailing all the accounts being used and accessible. At that point the Firesheep user can link in and do whatever the user can.
Many accounts associated with websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Google, various e-mail providers and several other types of services have been determined to be vulnerable through the use of Firesheep.
Gregg Keizer reports on Computerworld.com that “Although it’s common for sites to encrypt user log-ons with HTTPS or SSL, few encrypt the actual traffic.” This allows the session or stored cookie to be broadcast over the Wi-Fi, and cookies can contain a lot of information about a user. Once a hijacker obtains the information contained in a cookie, the captor can do almost, if not everything, the user can do. Continue reading
Here are some time saving keyboard shortcut tricks for Windows… Enjoy!!!
- CTRL+C (Copy)
- CTRL+X (Cut)
- CTRL+V (Paste)
- CTRL+Z (Undo)
- DELETE (Delete)
- SHIFT+DELETE (Delete the selected item permanently without placing the item in the Recycle Bin)
- CTRL while dragging an item (Copy the selected item)
- CTRL+SHIFT while dragging an item (Create a shortcut to the selected item)
- F2 key (Rename the selected item)
- CTRL+RIGHT ARROW (Move the insertion point to the beginning of the next word)
- CTRL+LEFT ARROW (Move the insertion point to the beginning of the previous word)
- CTRL+DOWN ARROW (Move the insertion point to the beginning of the next paragraph)
- CTRL+UP ARROW (Move the insertion point to the beginning of the previous paragraph)
- CTRL+SHIFT with any of the arrow keys (Highlight a block of text)
- SHIFT with any of the arrow keys (Select more than one item in a window or on the desktop, or select text in a document)
- CTRL+A (Select all)
- F3 key (Search for a file or a folder)
- ALT+ENTER (View the properties for the selected item)
- ALT+F4 (Close the active item, or quit the active program)
- ALT+ENTER (Display the properties of the selected object)
- ALT+SPACEBAR (Open the shortcut menu for the active window)
- CTRL+F4 (Close the active document in programs that enable you to have multiple documents open simultaneously)
- ALT+TAB (Switch between the open items)
- ALT+ESC (Cycle through items in the order that they had been opened)
- F6 key (Cycle through the screen elements in a window or on the desktop)
- F4 key (Display the Address bar list in My Computer or Windows Explorer)
- SHIFT+F10 (Display the shortcut menu for the selected item)
- ALT+SPACEBAR (Display the System menu for the active window)
- CTRL+ESC (Display the Start menu)
- ALT+Underlined letter in a menu name (Display the corresponding menu)
- Underlined letter in a command name on an open menu (Perform the corresponding command)
- F10 key (Activate the menu bar in the active program)
- RIGHT ARROW (Open the next menu to the right, or open a submenu)
- LEFT ARROW (Open the next menu to the left, or close a submenu)
- F5 key (Update the active window)
- BACKSPACE (View the folder one level up in My Computer or Windows Explorer)
- ESC (Cancel the current task)
- SHIFT when you insert a CD-ROM into the CD-ROM drive (Prevent the CD-ROM from automatically playing)
- CTRL+SHIFT+ESC (Open Task Manager)
- F6 key another use (Activate the address bar in Internet Explorer)
Tis the season to move offices, it seems. We get a great deal of calls in the heat of summer and around the holidays from companies relocating to different office space, and requiring assistance with their IT equipment. It could be that with vacations, business is slower and summer is a good time to make the least amount of impact to employee’s lives.
Whatever the case, in addition to our Office Technology Move Guide, and our Office IT Support Move Services Overview, Here is another blog that will be helpful: “How to Avoid the Top 4 Budget Busting, Stress-Inducing Mistakes When Moving Your Office“:
Mistake #1 — Not Using A Checklist
This may seem like a no-brainer to those who manage projects, but project management may not be a forte of someone placed in charge of your move (like an office admin). Even those who use a list typically fail to make the list detailed enough.
Mistake #2 — Trying To Save Money By Moving Your Own Computer Network
Don’t ask your staff to disconnect, move and reconnect computers, phones and other devices just to save a few bucks. You’ll frustrate them and end up with phones ringing at the wrong extension, lost cables, and workstations that get dropped rendering them useless. You don’t want to let the movers do this job either; they may be great at moving furniture, but a network is a lot more sophisticated and sensitive. Be smart and hire an IT pro to pack and move your network. Continue reading
But before you even get to the buying part, you have to decide what you want. Laptop? Good for portability. Desktop? More performance. Tablet? Good portability, but no desktop applications and less space. It can be so hard deciding what you want. But, we have a few tips for you when deciding what to get.
Why buy a Desktop?
Share with the whole family.
Make a comfortable home office setting.
More possibilities like dual monitors, photo editing, graphic design, and gaming.
Why buy a Laptop?
Good for portability.
Take with you on when you travel.
Use anywhere in the house.
They are as powerful as the average PC now.
You can take all of your work to and from the office with ease.
Why buy a Tablet?
Small and ultra portable.
Take with you on when you travel.
Use anywhere in the house.
Good portability, but no desktop applications and less space.
Here are some of the features to consider:
Desktop, Laptop, Netbook, or Tablet
Processor Cores and speed
Hard Drive Size
Optical drive: (CD, CD RW, DVD RW, or Blu-Ray)
Video Capability (home/business or gaming)
Questions to ask before deciding on a computer:
Do you want a Desktop, Laptop, Netbook, or Tablet?
Do you need it for business or personal use?
Do you do gaming?
Do edit video?
Do you use music programs? (iTunes)
Do you watch tv on it? (Netflix, HuLu)
Do you edit graphics or photos? (photoshop)
How are you going to connect it to the internet(wi-fi, or ethernet)?
Do you need a new monitor, keyboard, or mouse?
Do you need any accessories like a web cam or wi-fi router?
Do you have a backup strategy to protect from file loss?
Do you also need a new printer?
How much does it cost?D.M. Web & Computer Support repairs computers, but he sells them too. We have new and used laptops and desktops just ready to be taken home. (Call for information – 678.913.3156).
And remember, if you need help deciding, we can give you a hand with that. Or if you want something special that we don’t have, we can order that in just for you.
Problem: Avast update fails and the Avast tray icon has red X on it. If you see this condition, your antivirus is not working, D.M. Web & Computer Support customers should immediately call 678.913.3156 for service. Do not delay because now you do not have active antivirus protection. Further use in this condition could allow virus infection. If your Avast tray icon does not have the red X on it then your computer does not have this problem, all is fine. Continue reading
Important virus phone scam information
The fraudulent caller informs you they have detected a virus on your computer and asks you for personal information and a form of payment to assist you with removal. They also may try to lead you to let them connect to your computer remotely.
D.M. Web & Computer Support reports that these calls are still coming in daily to our customers in Georgia.
This is a dangerous hoax
We have received reports that consumers have been contacted by a company representing themselves as Microsoft or various other computer brands. Microsoft does not make unsolicited phone calls to fix your computer. Do not provide any personal information or payment methods. Hang up. Continue reading
Good news everyone! You can now upgrade your Windows 8.0 computer to a Windows 8.1. How do I do that, you ask? Well, we will tell you how in a few easy steps, then refer you over to a pretty great blog that involves pictures and further explanations. Check to see what operating system you are running before you try to update. Here’s how you do that: You can go to the upper right hand corner of your screen, go down to the charms menu and click on “settings”. Click on “PC Info” under “Desktop”. The system properties will be displayed and you can see which version of Windows 8 you are using. If you already have Windows 8.1, then you can disregard the rest of this message. But check first, please.
1. On the Start Screen, where all the tiles are, there is a bright green tile called “Shop”. Click that. 2. Now that you’ve done that, there should be a purple box, it’s rather large, you can’t miss it, that says “Upgrade to Windows 8.1″. Click that. It should start downloading immediately. (Note: If you don’t see the purple box, you need to do windows updates. Here is the blog post about how to do that.) (Note: If you still don’t have the purple box after that, you already have Windows 8.1!) Continue reading