The scariest threat out there for your computer

There is a serious threat out there to all of your data, and it’s growing bigger every day…

More and more hackers have come to realize they can make a lot of money every day, simply by denying you access to your computer and the data you have stored in it.

This scenario is unfolding right now somewhere in the world. Probably somewhere very close to you right now – maybe even someone you know.

This very moment, someone is clicking a link in a spam email that is unleashing a world of havoc and chaos within their computer.

In a few seconds, all their data will be encrypted and they will have just a few days to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars to get it back. Even with a backup – which most people don’t have – it will take hours to restore their computer back to how it was before this vicious attack.

There is a growing threat in the cyber world. Groups of remorseless hackers and cyber criminals are programming malicious software known as ransomware.  They’ve automated their attacks to the point of targeting anyone and everyone. But why do they do this?

An attacker’s estimated return on investment for exploit kit and ransomware schemes is 1,425%!!

There are two known types of ransomware in circulation:

  1. Encrypting ransomware: This type of ransomware incorporates advanced encryption algorithms. It’s designed to block access to media files and demand payment to provide the victim with the decryption key that will unlock access to the blocked content. Examples include Locky, CryptoLocker, CrytpoWall and more.
  2. Locker ransomware, which locks the victim out of the operating system, making it impossible to access the desktop and any apps, programs or files. The files are not encrypted in this case, but the attackers still ask for a ransom to unlock the infected computer. Examples include the police-themed ransomware (FBI, ICE, NSA, etc) or Winlocker.

The most widespread type of ransomware is crypto-ransomware or encrypting ransomware. The cyber security community agrees that this is the most prominent and worrisome cyber threat of the moment.

So what can be done to prevent this threat?

The first and most obvious thing is to make sure never to open an email with an unverified sender. Many emails disguise themselves as a company like FedEx or UPS. The emails look very official, but prompt you to check the attached file for information about the failed delivery of your package. Once you download this file, automated cyber-chaos is unleashed on your computer taking away all access to your most precious information. Also make sure you don’t download or open any attachments or click any links in emails from unverified senders.

The next thing you can do is to use an ad-blocker plugin for your browser. I personally use AdBlock for Google Chrome. I tend not to use any other browser because Chrome settings will cross over from one computer to another, keeping my life a little more simple. As I’m writing this, my AdBlock plugin has blocked over 75,000 ads and is being used by over 10,000,000 people. The numbers speak for themselves in reliability.

 

 

Make sure you have the most up to date version of your security software and make sure that it is set to check for updates every day. If an update requires you to reboot your computer, don’t put this off. Do this right away! All this is going to cost you is a few minutes of your time to make sure you don’t lose hours later on.

A paid version of security software is always better than the free version. I use AVG protection for all of my devices. AVG has security software for PC, Mac, and Android. The software for Mac and Android are free. The PC software has a paid version – AVG Internet Security. I highly recommend this software to protect your PC.

 

Make sure you have an active backup of all of your data. Cloud solutions for data backup are very affordable now and can save you thousands of dollars in a data recovery effort.  Carbonite is a leading provider of cloud backup and restore solutions for small and midsize businesses. They protect millions of devices and their valuable data for businesses and individuals around the world. Check out our page with Carbonite and see what plan is best for you

 

*Click on the logo to go to our Carbonite web page*

 

My computer got infected with ransomware… now what?

First of all, don’t pay the ransom. That may temporarily make your data available, but will NOT remove the malicious software from your computer, leaving you at risk to be exploited again.

We’ve recovered a great many computers infected with ransomware of all varieties with 100% success to date and zero data loss for our customers. Go to our contact page, and give us a buzz. We’ll be happy to get you back on track as fast as possible.

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The Computer Solution llc
Computer Repair Durango CO - PC Repair Durango CO - Mac Repair Durango CO - Tech Support - Virus Removal - Ransomware removal - Windows 7 - Windows 8 - Windows 10 - Mac OS X

Cloud Computing – What is it?!?

I was recently asked by several different people, “What is ‘Cloud Computing’?” and “What is ‘The Cloud’?” A technical definition would tell you cloud computing is the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server or personal computer. A more basic definition would be this: you run programs or store your data online through a web based program that allows you to use and access it from just about any computer that can get online.

Cloud users may access their data using a computer, netbook, pad/tablet computer, smart phone, or other internet device.  In a Cloud environment, users don’t download and install applications to their own device or computer; all processing and storage occurs on the cloud server.  Everything happens online!  Here’s a basic idea:

So how does this benefit anyone?  Well… First off, when you have your pictures and videos and documents stored online, there’s less risk in losing your valuable data. Online data storage companies transfer your data over encrypted networks to secure storage facilities that are not only virtually secure, but physically protected by trained, armed security staff.  The good ones also store your data in more than one location so that if their equipment were to fail, none of your data would be lost by them.  So, if there were to ever be a fire, robbery or fatal hard drive crash, you could know that your data is stored safely on encrypted storage servers that you can access, download, update or delete at any time on any computer with online access.
Larger companies are now even starting to use dedicated online servers to process and compute their data instead of constantly upgrading their own hardware to keep up with current specifications.

With a new partnership with Carbonite online backup, the Computer Solution can now offer unlimited online storage options for a fraction of the price of other companies offering online storage.
If you’re interested in learning more about how you can keep you data safe on ‘The Cloud’ (online) go ahead and give us a call today. We’d be happy to hear from you.

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The Computer Solution llc
Computer Repair Durango CO - PC Repair Durango CO - Mac Repair Durango CO - Tech Support - Virus Removal - Ransomware removal - Windows 7 - Windows 8 - Windows 10 - Mac OS X

I removed Malware and now all my personal files are gone!

The latest versions of Malware I have been witnessing is rather clever and tries to trick the user into believing that all of their files are deleted.  First off make sure you have removed all the infections by running your virus protection and following the Computer Solutions LLC’s malware removal instructions (see here).

Once you have removed the infections and your files are still missing, follow the instructions below:

1. Open “My Computer”

2. Select “C:/ Drive” (or main hard drive is different letter)

3a. For XP, go to C:\Document and Settings

3b. For Vista/Windows 7 go to C:\Users

4. Now you are looking at what should be where all your personal data is stored.

5. You might not see anything in here as the Malware infection has hidden all folders

6. TO UN-HIDE FOLDERS: Go up to “Tools”, then down to “Folder Options”.  (If you don’t see the Tools menu bar, press “alt” and it will show the menu bar. (SEE BELOW)

7. Scroll down to “Hidden files and folders”, and select “Show hidden files and folders” (SEE BELOW)

 

8. Press “OK”, now you should see your user folder (named your user name)

9. Right mouse click on your folder, select “Properties”.  Now un-check the box that says “Hidden”.

10. Press “OK” and select “Apply to all sub-folders and files”, let the process finish and you should have all of your documents back.

11. You might want to perform the same option described in steps 9 & 10 to default user, or all users to bring back all of your start menu items.

12. When you have all of your files un-hidden, you will want to repeat steps 6 & 7 in reverse order to re-hide hidden folders.

13. Done, you should be malware free and have all of your personal files back.

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The Computer Solution llc
Computer Repair Durango CO - PC Repair Durango CO - Mac Repair Durango CO - Tech Support - Virus Removal - Ransomware removal - Windows 7 - Windows 8 - Windows 10 - Mac OS X

How do I know if my web site is bringing me business?

track your web site stats

Far to many of my clients pay lots of money to have a custom web site created for their business and have no idea of how to tell the effectiveness of their web site.  In this information age, data is king, and all site information is available!!  Why not know exactly how many potential customers are viewing your site daily, how long are they spending on each page, where are they coming from, etc.?

The solution is using Google Analytics to track all the information about your website visitors, and the best part is it is absolutely free!!! Google offers this service at no cost, all you have to do is have a Google Account and go to Google.com/analytics and setup an account, and put one line of code (provided by Google to identify your site) into your web site, and start monitoring on a regular basis.

Google Analytics is the enterprise-class web analytics solution that gives you rich insights into your website traffic and marketing effectiveness. Powerful, flexible and easy-to-use features now let you see and analyze your traffic data in an entirely new way. With Google Analytics, you’re more prepared to write better-targeted ads, strengthen your marketing initiatives and create higher converting websites.

So if you have online advertisements linking to your web site, or even just have a web site, you can not afford to not know the specifics about your web site traffic.  Sign up today and start measuring the effectiveness of your marketing materials.


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The Computer Solution llc
Computer Repair Durango CO - PC Repair Durango CO - Mac Repair Durango CO - Tech Support - Virus Removal - Ransomware removal - Windows 7 - Windows 8 - Windows 10 - Mac OS X

Un-secure Wifi’s Threats

Imagine you’re sitting in a coffee shop surfing your Facebook page, or Twitter account and all of the sudden the stranger sitting at the next table is updating your status and sending messages to your friends from your account.

It could happen and anyone can do it.

Firesheep is a free Firefox browser plugin which allows attackers to monitor un-secure wireless hot-spots for people logging in to websites that do not require secure connections (ex: Facebook, Twitter, Many Consumer Websites). Once a person logs in to their account, the attacker is able to steal their browser cookie (a process called “session hijacking”) and access the victim’s account with just a few mouse clicks, virtually undetected. Firesheep is almost idiot-proof, and gives even the most inexperienced computer user a access to your accounts.

For testing purposes I download Firesheep and within minutes I had access (I didn’t log on, just testing) to random users personal accounts from the coffee shop beneath my home.

This is an area of security which some of the most popular sites in the world (facebook, twitter) need to update to use HTTPS technology and not be storing credentials in Cookies, which as you can see can be easily intercepted.

Be careful what you do on an un-secure Wifi connection and we will see which major site will implement changes in response to Firesheep and the publicity it is receiving.

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The Computer Solution llc
Computer Repair Durango CO - PC Repair Durango CO - Mac Repair Durango CO - Tech Support - Virus Removal - Ransomware removal - Windows 7 - Windows 8 - Windows 10 - Mac OS X

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

durango computer

More and more clients in Durango, Colorado have been coming to my company and asking how come our site doesn’t show up on the search engines (esp. Google) for the search terms that are relevant to our company?  Although your website may be ascetically pleasing and contain content about your business, there are many attributes behind the actual design which users will not see, but the search engines will use to determine your sites relevance.

the Computer Solution LLC offers SEO services to help users find your website for the search terms that are relevant to your products/services.  Contact us today.

General Information About Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

  • What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the “natural” or un-paid search results.

  • What are meta-tags?

Meta elements provide information about a given Web page, most often to help search engines categorize them correctly. They are inserted into the HTML document, but are often not directly visible to a user visiting the site.

  • What does the SEO process entail?

Optimizing a website may involve editing its content and HTML and associated coding to both increase its relevance to specific keywords and to remove barriers to the indexing activities of search engines.

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The Computer Solution llc
Computer Repair Durango CO - PC Repair Durango CO - Mac Repair Durango CO - Tech Support - Virus Removal - Ransomware removal - Windows 7 - Windows 8 - Windows 10 - Mac OS X

Google TV, bringing the internet to your television

So, although it hasn’t started off with a bang, Google TV is available and as I tester I must say that I love it!

  • What is Google TV?

It is a box that intercepts your tv signal, internet, and combines the two before going to your television.  (Unless you purchase the Sony Tv with Google TV already integrated).

  • What do I need to have?

1. You will need an HD Ready TV (has HDMI inputs on back). — Unless you are purchasing the Sony TV with Google TV.

2. Purchase either the Logitech Revue OR the Sony BlueRay Player with Google TV.

  • Is it easy to set up?

Yes, with minimal cables, and easy step-by-step setup you can have it all set up in 15 minutes.

  • How are the internet capabilities?

Google TV comes with the Google Chrome browser pre-installed.  Unlike plugging a computer into your tv, where the resolutions don’t match up and everything is really small and hard to maneuver, this makes your television a perfect computer monitor.  You can be checking email and watching the news at the same time!

  • Are their other Apps installed?

The Google TV comes with Netflix, Pandora, and many other useful applications.  Coming in early 2011 the entire Android marketplace will be available and you will be able to download any of the Android applications you can currently download to any Android phone.

  • Can you search easily?

This is the best feature of Google TV, it integrates Google’s search technologies into your TV Guide and Internet.  So for example, if I search (by pressing the magnifying glass on keyboard) “lost”, it will show any upcoming tv shows as well as internet resources (webpages, YouTube videos, blogs, etc.) *see below.  And from the search you can press record and DVR your show, no more searching days in advance for that game/movie you want to record.

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The Computer Solution llc
Computer Repair Durango CO - PC Repair Durango CO - Mac Repair Durango CO - Tech Support - Virus Removal - Ransomware removal - Windows 7 - Windows 8 - Windows 10 - Mac OS X

Skype Fake Malware Alert

Some users of Skype, regardless of operating system, have been receiving a chat message through Skype claiming you have a malware infection (see below).

– – – – –

ATTENTION ! Security Center has detected malware on your computer !

Affected Software:

Microsoft Windows NT Workstation

Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0

Microsoft Windows 2000

Microsoft Windows XP

Microsoft Windows Win98

Microsoft Windows Server 2003

Impact of Vulnerability: Remote Code Execution / Virus Infection /
Unexpected shutdowns

Recommendation: Users running vulnerable version should install a repair
utility immediately

Your system IS affected, download the patch from the address below !
Failure to do so may result in severe computer malfunction.

www.alertscan.net/?q=update
– – – – –

If you receive something like this through a Skype chat message, do not be alarmed. Instead, ignore it and block the sender. This is chat spam aimed at scaring users into purchasing an alleged antivirus product.

The purported remote virus scan performed by the site behind the URL is also a fake: it is a harmless movie, not a real scan. The “results” of this fake scan are also false.

That said, if you receive a chat message from an unknown user and/or an internet link that you’re not sure of, please err on the side of caution and do not click on such links.

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The Computer Solution llc
Computer Repair Durango CO - PC Repair Durango CO - Mac Repair Durango CO - Tech Support - Virus Removal - Ransomware removal - Windows 7 - Windows 8 - Windows 10 - Mac OS X

I removed a malware infection, but still can’t connect to the internet

So I have had several people follow my steps on how to remove Malware, click here for instructions, and email me that they removed all infections and the computer seemed to be working well again, but they were unable to connect to the Internet.

If this is the case, and you receive a “page not found” error (see below) it is likely due to the Malware making changes to your Internet connection settings.

These Malware infections will make changes to your “proxy settings” (proxy settings mean you use an intermediary computer before you connect to the internet) so that they can dictate what websites you can visit (usually they only allow pornography or the website to purchase their scam software).

So if you have removed some infections and now you cannot connect to the Internet, follow the steps below:

1.  Open Internet Explorer

2. Click “Tools” then “Internet Options”

3. On the top you will have seven tabs, select “Connections”

4. Select “LAN Settings”

5. This is where the proxy settings were before you removed the infections.  You will see an image like below, you will want to uncheck every box EXCEPTAutomatically detect settings”.

6. Once you have selected “Automatically detect settings”, press “OK” and then “OK” again.

Now you should have full connectivity back.  You should be able to browse the Internet now.

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The Computer Solution llc
Computer Repair Durango CO - PC Repair Durango CO - Mac Repair Durango CO - Tech Support - Virus Removal - Ransomware removal - Windows 7 - Windows 8 - Windows 10 - Mac OS X

Help! My email is sending out junk email to all of my contacts

So you receive a phone call from a friend or family member saying that they received an email from you with only a link, or even worse saying you are stuck in a foreign country and need money.  How do you stop your computer from sending these rogue emails?  You don’t want your email address to be marked as a spammer and de-activated as well.

These are not viruses but malware (bad software) infections that will go through your address book and email everyone and try to infect their computer and start the cycle all over again.

If your computer has been sending these rouge emails, follow these steps:

1. First off, tell the people that have been getting these emails not to click on the link or follow any instructions provided in the rogue emails.

2. Download MalwareBytes on the infected computer.  – Click here to download

3. After downloading and installing MalwareBytes run a “Full Scan”

4. Upon scan completion:

4a. Remove all infections

4b. After removing infections, change your email password (highly recommended)

5.  Complete!  Your email should be clean now and you won’t be sending spam anymore.

To prevent this from happening in the future, you can always purchase a license for MalwareBytes so that it provides “Real Time Protection” and is only $24.95/year, or just make sure to update and scan with your antivirus and Malware or Spyware software regularly.

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The Computer Solution llc
Computer Repair Durango CO - PC Repair Durango CO - Mac Repair Durango CO - Tech Support - Virus Removal - Ransomware removal - Windows 7 - Windows 8 - Windows 10 - Mac OS X