A large proportion of our work is setting up new computers, repairing hardware failures, upgrading hardware and software, making computers, phones, tablets all talk to each other and extending wireless networks. This is interesting work that also brings great benefits to our clients. However, some of our work is picking up the pieces after a problem has occurred that could so easily have been avoided if the customer had been given a little more information of the issues. The aim of this article is to raise your awareness of some of the more common pitfalls and how they can be avoided.
Viruses and Malware
This is a big problem. All PC’s should have a robust Internet Security package installed and kept up to date. Any PC without Anti-Virus and Firewall protection will get infected very quickly as soon as it goes onto the Internet. We recommend AVG Internet Security but there are many other good Security Suites available. If you use Apple Macs we recommend AVG Anti Virus is installed on those as well. It’s less important on a Mac, as OS X is less vulnerable than Windows, but it’s still worth having protection and the Mac version is free.
Do not open email attachments from unknown sources, especially if the grammar in the email is poor English. Often the emails say the attachment is a parking fine, speeding fine, invoice, or court papers. These are usually viruses and can cause serious damage to your PC, your data, and the other machines on the same network. These email viruses can often get past your Anti-Virus protection on your PC, so be very careful about opening email attachments.
If you get a phone call claiming to be from Microsoft saying that they are aware of problems with your PC, do not give them remote access to your machine. Microsoft, or any of their approved partners like ourselves, will never call an individual or small company unannounced. It is always a scam.
Often we are asked to recover files from damaged hard drives, or files that have been accidentally deleted. The recovery process can be time-consuming and expensive. This can be avoided by having an automated backup system, either using removable external hard drives, or a cloud-based backup system.
Paypal and Amazon
Both these services are really good and extremely useful, but they do have risks. Both of these fund themselves automatically from your bank account or credit card. So if your Paypal or Amazon account password falls into the wrong hands, they can wipe out your bank account, or run your credit card up to its limit. Never give anyone the password to either of these services, and never click on a link in an email to access these services. Always type the URL directly into your web browser.
I hope the above hints and tips are useful, and will help you protect yourself from some of the more common avoidable issues that we regularly encounter.
Ep 139 – Tool of the day
We are hot on security at GUHQ and we take the mickey out of Mark (out IT guy), who has about 10 different backup systems for our computers and website. Saying that, we know that we are in safe hands should anything bad ever happen. From a personal perspective, I use a fantastic tool for the mac called 1Password. It works with all of your Apple devices, from you iMac, Macbook air, iPhones (but I have not tried it with the Apple watch yet!).
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock lately, you know that online security is important. You also know that you need to have strong passwords and change them regularly (we use a strong password generator, which can be found here). But knowing that you need strong passwords, does not make it any easier to remember to do it. Passwords are just so hard! 1password is brilliant. It is a password management system and it is really easy to use. Check it out here.