Blog Archives

Signs You Might be Infected with Malware

Malware is everywhere these days!  Just today I read an article that a Facebook post claiming that Fox News was reporting Brad Pitt dead was infecting computers when users clicked on it. For the record, Brad Pitt is alive and still getting divorced!   You have to be vigilant at all times!!!!!!   Here are some telltale signs that your computer may be infected with Malware.

  1.  You open your internet browser and your homepage has changed to something else.  (Now this can also happen if you install new software and don’t pay close attention to it changing your default browser settings)  So, this one isn’t set in stone!
  2. Your computer is so slow you want to throw it off a building.  Check your hard drive light if it looks like it’s continually blinking or just on steadily, not a great sign! hard-drive-light-1
  3.  Annoying pop-ups!  Usually, they say something like this.  (if you get this, just turn the computer off immediately from the power button!)   If something is getting installed it “usually” stops it.systembrowsing-com-popup
  4. Your computer is constantly crashing.  You know the dreaded Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) or in Windows 10, it’s a bit less scary looking but never a sight you want to see.blue-screen-of-death-windows-10
  5. You can’t run some programs.  You suspect something is wrong, but you can’t use your anti-virus or anti-malware program.
  6. You get warning messages stating your files are locked until you pay a ransom.  RANSOMWARE!!!!  This is a common ransomware screen.FBI-Ransomware.jpeg
  7. Programs you know you didn’t install are now showing up on your desktop.
  8. Suddenly you are running out of disk space!
  9. Your friends start emailing you that you are sending them spam!
  10. Your friends start yelling at you for posting weird stuff to social media sites.
  11. You start receiving a lot of bounced emails, b/c your too busy spamming your friends and everyone else in your address book!
  12. The worst one of all, ABSOLUTELY nothing!   Some are so stealth you don’t notice a thing!    It’s always important to have your anti-virus programs up to date and using a program like Malwarebytes is always recommended.  Malwarebytes has a free version for home users.  Why not try it!   www.malwarebytes.org
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Changing your password in Windows 10 and Office 365

You need to change your password in Windows 10.  How do you do that?   Simply hit the keys on your keyboard: Control-Alt-Delete and this screen will come up.   See the 4th choice down “Change a Password” this will change the Windows 10/Network Password.change-a-password

Your password should be at least 8 characters, a capital letter, a small letter, a number and a symbol.

After you change your password eventually you will need to change your Office365 password.   Outlook will stop sending and receiving email.  The best way to be able to tell this is by the photo below.

Outlook change password

If this happens, go up to the top ribbon bar and select the Send and Receive tab.   You should see this symbol, where it says:  Type Exchange Password and Connect.

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When you click on this icon it should bring up this screen.

office365passwordprompt1

Type in your new password and make sure to click Remember my credentials otherwise it will ask you this about every 5 minutes.  Annoying!

Remember if you have PipeLiner on your computer you will need to update your Pipeliner password as well.   Here is a link on how to do that in case you have forgotten.

http://success.pipelinersales.com/knowledgebase/articles/632164-how-can-i-change-my-pipeliner-account-password

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Windows 10-Free Upgrade Ends July 29, 2016

You have exactly 1 day to upgrade your computer to Windows 10 for free!!!!!

What are the reasons you should upgrade your computer to Windows 10?

  1.   It’s FREE!!!!!!
  2.   If you have Windows 8 kiss the Start Screen only bye bye!   You will get the Start      Menu back AND the Start Screen!
  3.  Cortana- Windows Virtual Assistant.   She is Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s Siri and  Google’s Okay Google.
  4.  Direct X 12- If you are a gamer then you already know!
  5.  Support for Windows 7 will be ending in January 2018
  6.  Windows Updates for Windows 7 and 8 will only go until 2020 (which seems far away but in reality is only 4 years away!)
  7. You can have multiple desktops!
  8. The Windows App Store

How do you upgrade to Windows 10–Here’s a great link

 

What is Sway?

 

Sway is a program included in Office 365, just login into your Office 365 account! Sway is a new presentation program brought to us by Microsoft.

You can create a website in a presentation format using images, text, and other media. It’s very user-friendly! Much easier to use than most people would find PowerPoint is to use

You can embed these into a website and upload them to YouTube as well.

A great beginners tutorial has already been created by Teacher’s Tech.

Chatting or Skype Etiquette

Someone in our office brought up a very good point recently, what is the proper business etiquette for Skype or for chatting in general?   So, I decided to do some research on this.

1. Ask the person first to make sure they are available. Look at the icon next to their name, and see what color it is.  They could be busy or away from their desk.   They may also be in a meeting and sharing their screen on a television. Keep that in mind before you say something that could get you in trouble!

statuses

2. If it’s a video chat, ask for permission first.  Not everyone likes video chats.

3. If you are doing a video chat, be aware of your body language and your personal grooming. (ex: below)

text at 3 am

4. Give that person your undivided attention.  Do not read other emails, or surf the internet.  It is also best to only hold one chat at a time as it is very easy to get confused to whom you are talking to.

5. Be aware of what the camera will be showing in the background of your video chat.  Remove anything distracting or inappropriate! (ex: below)

Inappropriate

6.  Make sure your desk is clean if the camera is showing it.

7.  Make sure you end the chat, just don’t click the X and escape.  Make sure you tell the other person, you need to go and tell them bye. The same on the phone, for some reason many people think you can just hang up and it leaves the person wondering….”Were we done?”

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How to Help Prevent Ransomware Attacks

What is Ransomware?  According to Wikipedia it is the following:

Ransomware is a type of malware that restricts access to the infected computer system in some way, and demands that the user pay a ransom to the malware operators to remove the restriction. Some forms of ransomware systematically encrypt files on the system’s hard drive, which become difficult or impossible to decrypt without paying the ransom.

I’ve dealt with CryptoWall and it worked fast and rendered the computer useless after a few hours.

It’s shocking how easy it is to do.  Cylance a newer Anti-Virus(AV) with Artificial Intelligence instead of Anti-Virus Definitions listed this picture on their website.

Encryptor_RaaS_7

This is from a website on the Dark Web.  No I’ve never visited there!   Essentially it’s a form to fill out that will create the Ransomware code for you.  NO CODING INVOLVED on their end!!!!!   Frightening!!!

So now that I have officially scared you, how do you prevent it?

  • ALWAYS keep your whatever Anti-Virus you use up to date!   Don’t have money for Anti-Virus software?    There are a quite a few excellent free Anti-Virus programs.  Avast, AVG, Panda, Sophos, ZoneAlarm and Bitdefender to name a few!
  • Run a software firewall like Windows Firewall, ZoneAlarm AV has a firewall built into it,  or Sophos XG Firewall Home Edition.  Still don’t feel secure, buy a physical firewall.  Like the Netgear ProSafe or the Cisco RV110W-A-NA-K9 (who came up with that name??)
  • Make sure your Operating System has all the latest updates!
  • Use a Malware solution like Malwarebytes. Bitdefender has a solution that you pay for your Anti-Virus, Firewall and Malware Protection all in one product, it’s called Total Security 2016.
  • Disable Macros on all Office files.
  • Never open an email attachment from someone you don’t know.
  • Carefully open email attachments from someone you do know.
  • Don’t click on links that you know look sketchy on unfamiliar websites
  • Download this very helpful Ransomware Prevention Kit from Third Tier.  They ask for a small donation to fund and pay for certifications for women in IT.  We NEED more women in IT!!!!
  • Backup your important files on an external hard drive and then only connect it when you need to back up again!
  • Backup frequently

If you should get infected with Ransomware, paying the ransom doesn’t necessarily mean that the criminals doing this will give you your files back.

There is a “Vaccine” available for some flavors of Ransomware provided by BitDefender.

 

 

 

 

Remove QuickTime From Your Systems!

In case you haven’t heard, Apple is discontinuing QuickTime Updates for Windows.  There are currently known security flaws in it, so you should uninstall QuickTime from your Windows computers.   HOWEVER, if you are running Adobe Creative Cloud, you may need to keep it on your computer a little while longer because it will break some features in Creative Cloud.  Hopefully, Adobe will quickly address that issue.

HTML 5 should be all that you need for watching online videos.  If you are watching DVD’s Windows Media Player should be just fine for your needs.

 

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