You’ve installed antivirus software on your computers, configured your operating system to update its security automatically and password-protected your Wi-Fi. So your home network is safe against hackers, right?
Guess again. And then take a long look at your wireless router.
What Can Happen (Hint: It’s Bad)
For years, manufacturers of home routers have all but ignored security issues, at least when it comes to making sure that consumers update their firmware to close exploitable vulnerabilities. Let’s put it this way: Have you ever updated the firmware on your router? If not, odds are good that it’s got one or more security holes through which a properly motivated hacker could slip.
Attacks on routers aren’t common, partly for logistical reasons that make them uneconomical for hackers. But that could change as technology evolves, criminal incentives shift and security tightens up in other areas. One big potential trouble spot: the embedded Web servers that many routers use for managing their settings — including, of course, security.
Router manufacturers have done a lousy job informing users about firmware updates that would patch security flaws, and are even worse making it easy for users to obtain and install those updates. Such patches are seldom available through automatic services, forcing users to look up the fixes on manufacturer websites.
“These are low-priced, low-power devices,” Tod Beardsley, a researcher with application security vendor Rapid7, said. Manufacturers “may not have the margins on these devices to provide ongoing software support.”
To see what can happen when a flaw remains unpatched, look no further than a major intrusion in Brazil in 2011, when hackers broke into 4.5 million home DSL modems over the Internet. The modems were reconfigured to send users to malware-carrying imposter websites, primarily so thieves could steal their online banking credentials.
From Brazil With Love
That exploit in Brazil was similar to one that application security tester Phil Purviance recently employed against a wireless Linksys EA2700, which was released about a year ago. Called a cross-site request forgery, the technique allowed Purviance to break into the router’s embedded management Web site. Once in, Purviance found he could change the login information and remotely manage the hardware.
“What I found was so terrible, awful, and completely inexcusable!” Purviance wrote in his blog. “It only took 30 minutes to come to the conclusion that any network with an EA2700 router on it is an insecure network!”
Purviance found a total of five vulnerabilities in two Linksys routers, the EA2700 and WRT54GL. Separately, flaws recently found in Linux-based routers from D-Link and Netgear could enable a hacker on the network to gain access to the command prompt on the operating system, Rapid7 reported.
D-Link and Netgear didn’t respond to requests for comment. Belkin, which bought Linksys from Cisco last month, said in an email sent to ReadWrite that the EA2700 was fixed in a firmware update released last June. Called Smart Wi-Fi, the firmware is available through an opt-in update service.
What Hackers Want
Manufacturers have gotten away with sloppy security practices because breaking into wireless routers usually requires physical proximity. That made it far harder for hackers to bust into multiple computers, because they’d have to move from network to network in order to target them. Thus hackers have tended to favor blasting out malware-carrying spam from a single location over attacking individual wireless routers.
But that could change. Industrial control systems that run manufacturing operations, power grids and other critical infrastructure are increasingly under pressure from cyberespionage campaigns. Vulnerabilities in these systems are as bad as in home routers. You can see just how bad is is via the search engine Shodan, which collects information on 500 million connected devices, such as routers, printers, webcams and servers, each month.
In time, hackers will develop better tools and malware for breaking into hardware, and this technology will eventually find its way into the criminal underground.
How To Safeguard Your Router
In other words, it makes sense to safeguard your router now. Here are a few steps you can take to make your home network a less inviting target:
- In your router security settings, make sure you’ve changed any default usernames and passwords. These will be the first things any hacker tries, much the way a burglar jiggles a doorknob to see if it’s unlocked.
- Disable wireless access to your router’s management console, which allows you to manage its settings by pointing a Web browser to an address such as 192.168.1.1. Disabling wireless access means you’ll have to be physically plugged into the router in order to manage it, making it far more difficult to hack.
- If you’re sufficiently technically minded, consider replacing your router’s doubtless buggy internal software with an open-source alternative such as DD-WRT, Tomato or OpenWRT. While these options aren’t particularly consumer friendly, their firmware is less likely to contain obvious vulnerabilities — and will probably offer you some cool new features, too.
Antone Gonsalves April 16th, 2013
Everyone in this day and age uses computers It’s an unavoidable and frequently necessary part of our lives now, since many use the Internet as a tool for numerous purposes. People communicate and congregate using computers. They play games or watch movies and television shows. They also even create things like digital art and other graphics. Simply put, computers have been an intrinsic part of our society for the past few decades.
Computers, like many important electronics, do erode over time. They may break on their own or break due to accidents and other mishaps. If you experience any kind of computer related issue, whether it’s on a software or hardware level, you can contact a computer repair technician or company to take care of the problem.
A computer repair company specializes in computer repair, troubleshooting and servicing for various software and hardware computer issues. The most common problems often involve personal computers like Windows PCs. A computer repair technician also handles issues with other computers like Macs and computer networking problems.
Perhaps the most common computer repairs in general involve software discrepancies like malware or viruses. Other common computer issues involve repairing or replacing failed hardware components, operating system upgrades and even complete computer hardware upgrades.
Most of the issues aren’t just limited to large tower-like personal computers. Many computer repair technicians are also savvy in performing various tasks involved with mobile computers like laptops. In fact, some of the services often include laptop screen repair and laptop power jack repair. Even if a customer spilled a liquid onto the keyboard of their laptop, a computer repair technician will be able to repair or completely replace the appropriate parts of the aforementioned laptop.
Customers also receive valuable advice from many computer repair technician services. Many of these resources come in the form of learning different do-it-yourself solutions, technical support for both software and hardware and just general advice about how to maintain and take care of their computers.
Computer repair technicians and their corresponding companies are still important in this day and age of advanced technology. People who don’t know how to troubleshoot their own computer related issues should feel comfortable heading to a computer repair technician.
In fact, if you are about to head to a computer repair technician, feel free to ask as many questions as you need. After all, they won’t be able to properly troubleshoot and repair your problem, if they’re not sure about what needs fixing.West Valley Tech
Laptop DC Power Jack Repair
All brands of PC laptops are susceptible to having a loose or broken DC power jack, including HP, Compaq, Toshiba, Acer, Averatec, ASUS, Sony, Dell, Gateway, Emachines, Alienware, Fujitsu, Lenovo, Panasonic and IBM to name a few. The DC jack (or DC port, DC connector, power socket, whatever you want to call it) is the port where the AC power adapter plugs into the laptop. The power jack on many appliances never sustains any damage because most appliances that plug into AC power aren’t moved around as much as a laptop is moved around. So, the constant plugging and unplugging into and out of the laptop DC power jack tends to weaken the jack over time. And, outright abuse (especially if you have children using your laptop) can make an already fragile power jack break before you know it.
Of course many repair shops don’t solder components onto motherboards. Many shops prefer to not even disassemble a laptop period. I can tell you from experience working at West Valley Tech that quite a few repair shops send their laptop repairs (especially DC jack repair jobs)to us. I am honored to have so many computer shops trust us with their customers laptops.
Our laptop DC power jack repair is a quality service. For under 100 bucks we carefully disassemble the laptop, de-solder the defective DC jack from the motherboard, clean the contacts on the motherboard, solder a new high quality power connector to the board with state of the art equipment, clean the heat-sinks and fans, reassemble the laptop and test the laptop thoroughly.
Don’t let someone tell you that a laptop’s DC power jack can’t be replaced or that you will have to have the motherboard replaced in your laptop. We’ve performed many laptop DC jack repairs at West Valley Tech from customers all over the Phoenix metro area. For all of our past customers, I want to personally thank you for trusting us for your laptop repair needs. If we can help you with your laptop power problems, we’re just a phone call away (602-456-0064) or contact us via email (HERE).West Valley Tech
© 2012 Carnegie Mellon University. Produced for US-CERT, a government organization.
Ten Ways to Improve the Security of a New Computer
Jennifer Kent and Katie Steiner
Why Should I Care About Computer Security?
Our computers help us stay connected to the modern world. We use them for banking and bill paying, shopping, connecting with our friends and family through email and social networking sites, surfing the internet, and so much more. We rely so heavily on our computers to provide these services that we sometimes overlook their security. Because our computers have such critical roles in our lives and we trust them with so much personal information, it’s important to improve their security so we can continue to rely on them and keep our information safe.
Attackers can infect your computer with malicious software, or malware, in many different ways. They can take advantage of unsafe user practices and flaws in your computer’s programs (flaws including vulnerabilities and unsecured services and features) and use social engineering (in which an attacker convinces someone to perform an action such as opening a malicious email attachment or following a malicious link). Once your computer is infected, intruders can use the malware to access your computer without your knowledge to perform unwanted actions. They can steal your personal information, change computer configurations, cause your computer to perform unreliably, and install even more malware they can use to leverage attacks or spread malware to others.
One of the most well-known attacks was the Conficker malware detected in late 2008. This malware grew to become one of the largest malware infections, affecting millions of computers and causing billions of dollars in damage across the world. The Conficker malware had the ability to steal and relay personal information to attackers, disable existing security measures like Windows Automatic Updates and antivirus software, and block internet access to popular security websites. Attackers could use infected computers as part of a botnet, or a collection of compromised computers connected to the internet, to leverage additional attacks against other computers. The Conficker malware took advantage of three separate security flaws on Microsoft Windows computers: the enabled file sharing service, the default AutoRun setting, and a vulnerability in the Windows Server network service. If people had used the following ten practices, the risk of infection of Conficker would have been significantly reduced.
How Do I Improve the Security of My Home Computer?
Following are ten important things you can do to make your home computer more secure. While no individual step will completely eliminate your risk, together these practices will make your home computer’s defense strong and minimize the threat of malicious activity.
1. Connect to a Secure Network
Once your computer is connected to the internet, it’s also connected to millions of other connected computers, which could, in turn, allow attackers to connect to your computer. Information flows from the internet to your home network by first coming into your modem, then to your router, which most people have, and finally to your computer. Because your modem doesn’t have security settings, it’s crucial to secure your router—the first securable device that receives information from the internet. Be sure to secure it before you connect to the internet to improve your computer’s security. If you don’t have a router, contact your service provider to learn how you can best secure your network.
The default configurations of most home routers offer little security. Though it may seem cumbersome to spend time configuring your router’s settings, it’s well worth it because a secure router is one of the best initial lines of defense. To secure your router, consult its user’s guide, which will direct you to a predefined URL or IP address where you can do the following:
- Configure the wireless network to use WPA2-AES encryption for data confidentiality
- Change the default login username, if permitted (refer to the user’s guide), and password. (The default passwords are published in manufacturer’s publications and are readily accessible.)
- Conduct MAC address filtering (a form of whitelisting, or identifying wirelessly connected computers you trust).
- Change the default wireless SSID.
2. Enable and Configure a Firewall
A firewall is a device that controls the flow of information between your computer and the internet, similar to a router. Most modern operating systems include a software firewall. In addition to the operating system’s firewall, the majority of home routers have a firewall built in. Refer to your user’s guide for instructions on how to enable your firewall. Once your firewall is enabled, consult the user’s guide to learn how to configure the security settings and set a strong password to protect it against unwanted changes.
3. Install and Use Antivirus and Antispyware Software
Installing an antivirus and antispyware software program and keeping it up to date is a critical step in protecting your computer. Many types of antivirus and antispyware software can detect the possible presence of malware by looking for patterns in the files or memory of your computer. This software uses virus signatures provided by software vendors to look for malware. New malware is discovered daily, and vendors frequently make new signatures available, so antivirus software will be most effective if the signatures are up to date. Many antivirus and antispyware programs offer automatic updating. Enable that feature so your software always has the most current signatures. If automatic updates aren’t offered, be sure to install the software from a reputable source, like the vendor’s website or a CD from the vendor.
4. Remove Unnecessary Software
Intruders can attack your computer by exploiting software vulnerabilities (that is, flaws or weaknesses), so the less software you have installed, the fewer avenues for potential attack. Check the software installed on your computer. If you don’t know what a software program does and don’t use it, research it to determine whether it’s necessary. Remove any software you feel isn’t necessary after confirming the software is safe to be removed.
Back up important files and data before removing unnecessary software in case you accidentally remove software essential to the operating system. If possible, locate the installation media for the software in case you need to reinstall it.
5. Disable Nonessential Services
Like unnecessary software, nonessential services increase the opportunities for attack. Two services to look for are file sharing and print sharing, which enable you to share files, such as photos and music, with other computer users and print to other computers on your network. The Conficker malware used file sharing to infect computers and spread the infection to others. Disabling file sharing would have eliminated one of the ways Conficker infected computers at the time of the Conficker malware infection.
If those services are enabled in your operating system, disable them if you only have one computer connected to your network or don’t use them. Because services differ depending on your operating system and many of them are critical to your computer’s operation, research any services you aren’t sure about or don’t use before disabling them.
6. Modify Unnecessary Default Features
Like removing unnecessary software and disabling nonessential services, modifying unnecessary default features eliminates opportunities for attack. Review the features that came enabled by default on your computer and disable or customize those you don’t need or plan on using. As with nonessential services, be sure to research these features before disabling or modifying them.
The AutoRun feature in Microsoft Windows systems was a default feature at the time of the Conficker malware and was one of the three ways computers became infected. When the AutoRun feature is enabled on Windows computers, Windows detects when removable media, such as CDs and USB storage devices, are inserted into the computer and automatically executes the media’s contents.
7. Operate Under the Principle of Least Privilege
In most instances of a malware infection, the malware can operate only under the rights of the logged-in user. To minimize the impact the malware can have if it successfully infects a computer, consider using a standard or restricted user account for day-to-day activities and only logging in with the administrator account (which has full operating privileges on the system) when you need to install or remove software or change system settings from the computer.
8. Secure Your Web Browser
Web browsers installed on new computers usually don’t have secure default settings. Securing your browser is another critical step in improving your computer’s security because an increasing number of attacks take advantage of web browsers. Before you start surfing the internet, secure your browser by doing the following:
- Disable options to always set cookies. A cookie is a file placed on your computer that stores website data. Attackers may be able to log onto a site you’ve visited (like a banking site) by accessing the cookie with your login information. To prevent that, configure the browser to ask for permission before setting a cookie, allow cookies for sessions only, and disable features that keep you logged in to a site or that retain information you’ve entered, such as text you type into forms and the search bar.
- If you’re using Internet Explorer, set the security levels for trusted sites (websites you most often visit and trust) to the second highest level. At the highest level, websites may not function properly.
9. Apply Software Updates and Enable Future Automatic Updates
Most software vendors release updates to patch or fix vulnerabilities, flaws, and weaknesses (bugs) in their software. Because intruders can exploit these bugs to attack your computer, keeping your software updated is important to help prevent infection.
The third way Conficker attacked computers was by exploiting a vulnerability in Windows systems. Microsoft provided an update for this vulnerability. If people would have applied the update in a timely manner, they would have eliminated the opportunity for Conficker to infect their computers through this software vulnerability and helped reduce the spread of further Conficker infections across the internet.
When you set up a new computer (and after you have completed the previous practices), go to your software vendors’ websites and check for and install all available updates. Enable automatic updates if your vendors offer it; that will ensure your software is always updated, and you won’t have to remember to do it yourself. Many operating systems and software have options for automatic updates. As you’re setting up your new computer, be sure to enable these options if offered. Be cautious, however, because intruders can set up malicious websites that look nearly identical to legitimate sites. Only download software updates directly from a vendor’s website, from a reputable source, or through automatic updating.
10. Use Good Security Practices
You can do some simple things to improve your computer’s security. Some of the most important are
- Use caution with email attachments and untrusted links. Malware is commonly spread by people clicking on an email attachment or a link that launches the malware. Don’t open attachments or click on links unless you’re certain they’re safe, even if they come from a person you know. Some malware sends itself through an infected computer. While the email may appear to come from someone you know, it really came from a compromised computer. Be especially wary of attachments with sensational names, emails that contain misspellings, or emails that try to entice you into clicking on a link or attachment (for example, an email with a subject like that reads, “Hey, you won’t believe this picture of you I saw on the internet!”).
- Use caution when providing sensitive information. Some email or web pages that appear to come from a legitimate source may actually be the work of an attacker. An example is an email claiming to be sent from a system administrator requesting your password or other sensitive information or directing you to a website requesting that information. While internet service providers may request that you change your password, they will never specify what you should change it to or ask you what it is.
- Create strong passwords. Passwords that have eight or more characters, use a variety of uppercase and lowercase letters, and contain at least one symbol and number are best. Don’t use passwords that people can easily guess like your birthday or your child’s name. Password detection software can conduct dictionary attacks to try common words that may be used as passwords or conduct brute-force attacks where the login screen is pummeled with random attempts until it succeeds. The longer and more complex a password is, the harder these tools have to work to crack it. Also, when setting security verification questions, choose questions for which it is unlikely that an internet search would yield the correct answer.
Where Can I Learn More?
Implementing the practices in this paper will significantly improve your computer’s security. The more you can implement, the more secure your computer will be. Even after implementing all ten of these practices, you still may not be protected from all of the risks you and your computer may encounter. It’s important to continue investigating and implementing new ways to secure your computer because new risks will arise and old risks evolve. Learn more from these US-CERT resources:
- “Small Office/Home Office Router Security“
- “Socializing Securely: Using Social Networking Services“
- “Securing Your Web Browser“
This information gives an introduction to viruses and ways to avoid them.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is a virus?
- What do viruses do?
- What is a worm?
- What is a Trojan horse?
- Can I get a virus by reading my email messages?
- How can I avoid a virus infection from email?
- What are some general tips to avoid viruses and lessen their impact?
For More Information
US-CERT offers many resources to help you create a more secure home computing environment. These documents may be of particular interest if you have concerns about viruses and Trojan horses:
- Understanding Anti-virus Software
- Using Caution with Email Attachments
- Good Security Habits
- Recovering from a Trojan Horse or Virus
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a virus? A computer virus is a program that spreads by first infecting files or the system areas of a computer or network router’s hard drive and then making copies of itself. Some viruses are harmless, others may damage data files, and some may destroy files. Viruses used to be spread when people shared floppy disks and other portable media, now viruses are primarily spread through email messages.
Unlike worms, viruses often require some sort of user action (e.g., opening an email attachment or visiting a malicious web page) to spread.
What do viruses do? A virus is simply a computer program–it can do anything that any other program you run on your computer can do. Some viruses are designed to deliberately damage files, and others may just spread to other computers.
What is a worm? A worm is a type of virus that can spread without human interaction. Worms often spread from computer to computer and take up valuable memory and network bandwidth, which can cause a computer to stop responding. Worms can also allow attackers to gain access to your computer remotely.
What is a Trojan horse? A Trojan horse is a computer program that is hiding a virus or other potentially damaging program. A Trojan horse can be a program that purports to do one action when, in fact, it is performing a malicious action on your computer. Trojan horses can be included in software that you download for free or as attachments in email messages.
Can I get a virus by reading my email messages? Most viruses, Trojan horses, and worms are activated when you open an attachment or click a link contained in an email message. If your email client allows scripting, then it is possible to get a virus by simply opening a message. It’s best to limit what HTML is available in your email messages. The safest way to view email messages is in plain text.
How can I avoid a virus infection from email? Most users get viruses from opening and running unknown email attachments. Never open anything that is attached to an email message unless you know the contents of the file. If you receive an attachment from a familiar email address, but were not expecting anything, you should contact the sender before opening the attachment. If you receive a message with an attachment and you do not recognize the sender, you should delete the message.
Selecting the option to view your email messages in plain text, not HTML, will also help you to avoid a virus.
- Install anti-virus software from a reputable vendor. Update it and use it regularly.
- In addition to scanning for viruses on a regular basis, install an “on access” scanner (included in most anti-virus software packages) and configure it to start each time you start up your computer. This will protect your system by checking for viruses each time you run an executable file.
- Use a virus scan before you open any new programs or files that may contain executable code. This includes packaged software that you buy from the store as well as any program you might download from the internet.
- If you are a member of an online community or chat room, be very careful about accepting files or clicking links that you find or that people send you within the community.
- Make sure you back up your data (documents, bookmark files, important email messages, etc.) on disc so that in the event of a virus infection, you do not lose valuable work.
- Avoid deep discharge and instead, try to charge your laptop battery more often between uses. The smaller the depth of discharge, the longer the battery will last.
- Avoid storing the battery in full discharged state. As the battery will self-discharge overtime, its voltage will gradually lower, and when it is depleted below the low-voltage threshold (2.4 to 2.9 V/cell, depending on chemistry) it cannot be charged any more because the protection circuit (a type of electronic fuse) disables it.
- Lithium-ion batteries should be kept cool. The rate of degradation of Lithium-ion batteries is strongly temperature-dependent; they degrade much faster if stored or used at higher temperatures.
- Having a battery fully charged and the laptop plugged in is not harmful, because as soon as the charge level reaches 100% the battery stops receiving charging energy and this energy is bypassed directly to the power supply system of the laptop.
- However there’s a disadvantage in keeping the battery in its socket when the laptop is plugged in, but only if it’s currently suffering from excessive heating caused by the laptop hardware. In a normal usage, if the laptop doesn’t get too hot (CPU and Hard Disk around 40ºC to 50ºC) the battery should remain in the laptop socket; In an intensive usage which leads to a large amount of heat produced (i.e. Games, temperatures above 60ºC) the battery should be removed from the socket in order to prevent unwanted heating. Overheating is the great enemy of the lithium battery.
- Fully discharging (until laptop power shutdown, 0%) should be avoided, because this stresses the battery a lot and can even damage it. As recommended, It’s best to perform partial discharges to capacity levels of 20~30% and frequent charges, instead of fully discharging followed by a full charge.
In personal computers, a motherboard is the central printed circuit board (PCB) in many modern computers and holds many of the crucial components of the system, providing connectors for other peripherals. The motherboard is sometimes referred to as the main board, system board, mobo, or, on Apple computers, the logic board.
A typical desktop computer has its microprocessor, main memory, and other essential components connected to the motherboard. Other components such as external storage, controllers for video display and sound, and peripheral devices may be attached to the motherboard as plug-in cards, cables or USB.
Motherboards are generally air cooled with heat sinks often mounted on larger chips. Insufficient or improper cooling can cause damage to the internal components of the computer and cause it to crash. Passive cooling, or a single fan mounted on the power supply, was sufficient for many desktop computer CPUs until the late 1990s; since then, most have required CPU fans mounted on their heat sinks, due to rising clock speeds and power consumption. In either case, insufficient cooling is one of the main causes of motherboard failure.
Most motherboards have connectors for additional case fans as well. Newer motherboards have integrated temperature sensors to detect motherboard and CPU temperatures, and controllable fan connectors which the BIOS or operating system can use to regulate fan speed. Some computers (which typically have high-performance microprocessors, large amounts of RAM, and high-performance video cards) use a water-cooling system instead of many fans.
Insufficient cooling is one of the main reasons motherboard fail prematurely. Be sure to listen for the sound of the cooling fan when the laptop or desktop computer is turned on. If you don’t hear the fan(s) turning, and if the unit feels unusually warm, have it checked by a qualified computer technician to prevent damage to the motherboard.
Many people are paralyzed when their laptop computers are broken or damaged. They are willing to do almost anything or pay any price to get the offending piece or part replaced so that they can get on with their lives.
One part that is especially vulnerable on a laptop computer is the screen. An LCD screen, the type of screen that is used in most laptop computers, is very vulnerable to scratching or other damage.
Fortunately, a damaged LCD screen is not the end of your laptop. Replacement LCD screens can be very affordable and the turn around time to getting them fixed can be very quick if you know where to go and what to look for.
The first thing you will want to do when you are looking for replacement LCD screens is to not panic. Many people get too upset when their computers aren’t working and then they set themselves up to get taken advantage of.
Investing even an hour or two into finding the right price and an honest repairman could make all the difference in the quality of repair that you get.
However, that extra hour or two that you should spend shopping for replacement LCD screens usually won’t get your computer back to you any faster and may end up costing you time.
Look for local places with good reputations. Call around and ask about pricing before you show up. You may also want to call friends, family, and acquaintances for recommendations.
Actually, the ideal time to locate honest and good computer repair people is when you first get your new computer. After the warranty runs out, you will need to take care of problems yourself.
Ideally, you should do the research on where to get replacement LCD screens and other parts and repairs when you first get your computer. However, if you didn’t do that, all is not lost. You can still quickly determine where the best place to go to get replacement LCD screens with just a couple of simple tips.
There are many stores that offer great prices on the internet for replacement LCD screens. However, unless you are sending your computer back to the manufacturer for a covered repair, sending out your laptop for repairs like getting replacement LCD screens is ill-advised.
With the mail, you are only lengthening the amount of time you are without your computer. Secondly, replacement LCD screens are a common repair and don’t require sending it to some company far from where you live.
Also, you run the risk of losing or damaging your computer while it is being shipped. Lastly, what do you really know about the company where you are mailing your computer?
It could be a scam of some kind and taking action would be very difficult and expensive. Staying close to home is usually a much better and quicker policy.
Westvalleytech offers very competitive pricing on laptop screen replacement. Call for details 602-456-0064.
Today I want to talk about scareware. Scareware, similar to Malware (short for malicious software) is designed to scare you into thinking your computer is infected. These type of infections are no longer restricted to porn surfers or users that download pirated software.
Typically, scareware will pop up on your screen in the form of a realistic looking “scan” After a few moments you will be notified that you have 100′s of infections. This is intended to scare the user into interacting with the program to “remove” the infections. If you click the remove button you will generally be shown a window that states that most of the “infections” have been removed but for the remaining few you will need to upgrade to the professional version of the program. The average user will get their credit card out and this is when the real problem starts. You give your credit card information to pay for the $29, $39 or $49 professional version.
Your computer has been infected with viruses, you have given out your credit card number and have payed a sum of money. Now that the attacker has your card info, they can go shopping. In return, the professional version of the software is actually more viruses. Nice huh?
Make yourself familiar with your anti virus software. Learn how it looks. If you see anything pop up that says it is scanning your computer and the message did not originate from your anti virus software, immediately click the X and close the program. Do not click anywhere else, interact with the program in any way or download any add-ons or plug ins without first searching for it on Google to see if it is legitimate.
If you already have a scareware or another virus issue that has gotten the best of you and your computer, give me a call to set up an appointment. 602-456-0064
Hard drives are the most common component to fail in computers. Portable computers are more vulnerable to these problems, because of the smaller-sized drives storing high densities of data, the lack of ventilation and minimal shock cushioning available to the drive. Most often hard drives fail because of overheating, physical shock or wear and tear. Occasionally manufacturer defects play and physical shock a role as well.
Many times a hard drive failure will present itself subtly and over time. Sometimes you may notice that your computer or external drive is running slower, giving unusual error messages or freezing up during periods of heavy activity. Other indications can include the drive sounding like it is clicking, winding down and spinning back up or problems booting in to your operating system or loading certain programs.
The kind of problem you experience depends on how badly the drive is damaged and where the damage is located. If the hard drive has sustained any kind of direct damage, such as suffering from a fall or other shock, the severity of the trauma can be more severe.
As an example, if you have damage in the part of the hard drive that stores your web browser, you may find the browser is not loading properly or misbehaves (more than usual). If the damage is in your boot sector, which tells the computer how to interface when the drive is the boot device, you may find the operating system doesn’t load.
Most of the time, as long as a potentially failing hard drive is examined by a professional quickly, important data can be retrieved before the drive fails completely. If you suspect your hard drive is failing and you would like some help, please contact westvalleytech for a estimate. We’ve helped hundreds of customers with failing hard drives and we’re happy to help you, too.