Ransomware: A Truly Frightening Form of Malware

On October 31, 2012, in Uncategorized, by n4fzwg9t

Have you ever read about ransomware? It is a especially frightening new form of malware. A recent story published by Slate goes into the details of how it attacks your computer. After clicking on a suspicious link from an email or a webpage, your screen will instantly turn grey. Then a message pops up that is branded to look like it’s from the FBI. What’s more, it has you on a live webcam feed!

If that wasn’t unnerving enough, the next part is even scarier. You’ll then receive a message on your screen telling you that you have broken federal copyright laws. You are given two choices, pay a fine, or deal with three years in prison. You are then given a deadline with which to pay the fine, usually this is 48 to 72 hours. The message further threatens you by saying you will get locked out of your computer permanently if you don’t pay.

A real threat

The part about your infraction is a scam, and it is just a way for these thieves to make money. However, there is one bit of this that is very harmful. You could be locked out of your computer if you do not pay says a senior security advisor quoted by Slate. So might it be better to just pay their demands? Which is usually in the $100 range. Even if you did pay, there is no telling whether or not they will unlock your computer. They may just demand more money.

True protection

McAfee, the well-known maker of antivirus software, noted that it recorded more than 120,000 new types of ransomware attacks in the second quarter of 2012. How to protect yourself? Exactly the same way you protect yourself from any type of malicious code. Make sure that you have antivirus software installed on your computer. Just as significantly, don’t visit questionable websites, illegally download files to your computer, or click on strange links in email addresses.

However, if you do become a victim of ransomware you will most likely need to speak to a security expert to unlock your computer. An alternative is to contact the real FBI here www.ic3.gov and file a complaint.

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Using a word processor should be easy, right? All you do is type, right? Microsoft Word is the most widely used word processor and it’s not very basic. While some people enjoy the variety of features of Word, others could do without all the bells and whistles.

Too many features with Word?

One irritating thing about Microsoft Word is that many of its features are automatically applied to your document. For example, auto indentations and capitalizations. If you didn’t want a word capitalized or a paragraph indented you have to take extra steps to reformat your document. Microsoft Word also underlines grammatical errors and misspelling, making your document visually cluttered.

For those of us who do not want to battle with Microsoft Word there are alternatives. The following programs may make life easier for you and don’t cost a thing!

Free Word alternatives

One of the best word processors on the market, other than Microsoft Word, is WordPad. This program comes preinstalled on Microsoft-powered desktops and has evolved quite a bit since it’s release on Windows 95. What started as a very basic text editor, now has most of the features that almost all people use when in Word. To access this program: Navigate to the Windows’ start button, go to “All Programs.” WordPad may be found in the “Accessories” file.

Word’s online competitors

OpenOffice.org Writer might be even better than WordPad. This program is very powerful and has lots of the same features as Word. OpenOffice.org Writer is also very intuitive to use. If you get irritated with Microsoft Word, give it a try.

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Get the Most out of Windows 7

On October 24, 2012, in Uncategorized, by MENDEZ21Dianne

Not quite prepared to upgrade your operating system from Windows 7? No problem, Windows 7 is pretty efficient. Here are some tips to take advantage of it before you take the plunge into another OS.

Access videos from your Start menu: With the Windows 7 Start menu, you can quickly access your Pictures and Music folders, but you can’t do the same with your Videos folder. You can, however, change this. First right-click on the Start button and select “Properties.” On the screen that pops up, go to the Start Menu tab and click “Customize.” A dialogue box will appear. Scroll to its bottom, try to find the Videos section, and select “Display as a link.” Click “OK” once and then again. Now, you’ll be able to connect to your videos right from the Start menu.

Modify your Shut Down button: You know that your computer’s Shut Down button turns off your computer. However, what if you rarely shut down your computer? A little known fact: you are able to customize your Shut Down button so that when you press it, it executes another action, anything from restarting your computer to putting it in sleep mode. To perform this, right-click the Start button and select “Properties.” On the Start Menu tab, click the “Power button action” drop-down menu. After that you can select what action you’d like the power button to take as a default.

Add some privacy to your online searching: Windows 7 Internet Explorer automatically displays the most recent searches you have preformed. If this is frustrating to you or you would like more privacy, you can choose to turn this off. To do this, go the Start menu’s search box and type GPEDIT.MSC then click “Enter.” After you do this, the Group Policy Editor will start. You can then select “User configuration” and choose “Administrative Templates,” “Windows Components,” and “Windows Explorer.” Once here, double-click “Turn off display of recent search entries in the Windows Explorer search box,” click “Enabled” and then hit “OK.”

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If you own an Apple device, you have realized that Safari is the default browser. Safari is a great browser but did you know that you are able to download other browsers like Chrome and Opera onto your gadget? Sadly, you cannot set them as the default browser unless you are willing to manually tinker with your iPad, which no one who is not an experienced techie should do.

The default option

This means that when you tap a link in a program, your iPad or iPhone will instantly use Safari to open that link. If you would rather open the link in another internet browser that you’ve downloaded to your gadget, you will need to copy the link, open your alternative browser, and then paste your link in that browser’s search bar. Is this a pain? A bit. But if you truly prefer an alternative browser to Safari, then you’ll take the extra step.

Alternative browsers

Rob Pegoraro, a columnist for USA Today, pointed out in a recent article that with the release of Chrome, Google has been trying to highlight the fact that alternative browsers can be utilised on iPads and iPhones. And it is really easy to do this, just navigate to your preferred browser’s home page, and follow the download instructions for iOS.

A mix and match approach

Some Apple users find that a mix-and-match approach works for them. They rely on several web browsers, including Safari, to explore the Internet. Why not try out some of the Safari competitors available? You could be surprised to find a new favorite browser for your iPhone and iPad.

 

It’s hard to be as productive and on top of things when you’re traveling for business. Keeping up on emails, answering people as quickly as you normally would, and updating your team is hard when hotel Internet is irregular. Here are some tools that may help you when you are traveling for business.

GroupMe: If you have just closed a deal and would like to update your whole team back home, GroupMe is perfect. After making a list of coworkers or contacts, you can send a single text message to all of them simultaneously. This will save you lots of time as you won’t have to send every person a text after the meeting.

Belkin Mini Surge Protector DUAL USB Charger: Most of us have a lot of devices we have to charge, and when you are traveling, you may not have enough plugs to charge them all at once. That is where this gadget comes in; it is a surge protector that includes three AC and two USB outlets. This lets you charge all your devices at once, in one place.

Campfire: If you have some information to communicate with your team that requires more than a text, you can use the Campfire app. This app lets you set up chat rooms with as many people as you want. Everyone in the chat room is able to see what other people are writing, and in this way you can converse with your whole team. If you feel more comfortable talking out loud, Campfire also permits you to make conference calls.

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Are you able to access your computer network at the office with your personal iPad? What about your personal iPhone or your laptop computer? This movement, known as bring-your-own-device or BYOD, is rising in the workplace. It’s a good idea: When companies encourage employees to bring their personal devices to work, these same organizations don’t have to spend as much on desktop computers and other high-tech tools. The move also is practical for workers. Employees will be more accustomed to their own devices. And if they bring their own laptops and tablets to work, they can more easily transport their files, emails and important documents back and forth from home to work.

The Risks of BYOD

There are some risks to adopting a BYOD work environment. Darragh Delaney, a columnist at
ComputerWorld, discusses this in a recent column. Delaney wrote that there are some IT risks to consider when allowing personal devices to connect to your company’s network. The possibility of being attacked by malware increases as the number of devices connected to a network increases. Particularly because a company cannot manage how much protection an employee has on their personal devices.

Company Information at Risk

Another problem that companies face when employees use their personal devices is that those devices leave the office with them. What if there is sensitive information on those devices and they lose them? It could expose the company. One solution to this is that companies could have regulations around what types of company information is kept on personal devices. Employees can also give training around how to keep their devices safe. Regardless of the risks, allowing employees to use outside devices on the network increases productivity.

The BYOD Trend

BYOD is a trend that isn’t going to fade away. Mobile devices are critical work tools for a growing number of employees. Companies, then, must make sure to educate these employees on how to properly connect them to the workplace network.

 

Busting the 3 Biggest Cloud Computing Myths

On October 10, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Sutton33Cherie

When you think of cloud computing what do you think of? Do you think it’s a temporary fad, a risky move for businesses, and it’s really expensive? These are some of the most common misconceptions about cloud computing. We will examine these myths a little further below.

Myth: Cloud Computing Is a Fad

There are a lot of computing fads we see come and go, and many people think cloud computing is one of these fads. While we can’t say for sure that this is not the case, we can look at the evidence. Much of which leads us to believe that cloud computing is here to stay. For example, a lot of companies and services that consumers utilize regularly, like Amazon, iTunes, and Gmail all use the cloud. Cloud computing makes these services more effective when delivering products to their customers. These are merely a few examples, but as more and more companies use the cloud the more we can see that it is not, in fact, a fad.

Myth: The Cloud Is Risky

Many companies are reluctant to adopt cloud computing for fear that their data will be more exposed to hackers. It doesn’t help that there have been a few instances of high-profile outages, such as one that recently hit Amazon Web Services. These events have a tendency to stick in our memories. Nevertheless, if this is something you are concerned about, there are options apart from putting all of your important data on a public cloud. Manage Services Providers offer cloud services on a private cloud where your data is incredibly secure. One advantage to this is that if your data is stored in the cloud, multiple people in your company can have access to it. Additionally, if your hard drive crashes, you won’t lose all your data.

Myth: Cloud Computing Is Costly

As with any service, if a company wasn’t formerly paying for it, it becomes an added cost. But while a company may pay more upfront, in the end they will spend less on labor, as being able to share information over the cloud is much more economical. All in all, cloud computing is more cost effective.

 

Break Those Annoying Smartphone Habits

On October 5, 2012, in Uncategorized, by ShariMayo22

Smartphones do a lot for us. We use them to find the way to places, keep up with our mail and our social media, and they even amuse us. They do more then that though. They frequently irritate people around you. This isn’t something inherent in smartphones, but it exists in the users themselves. Here are some annoying habits that many users develop. Are you guilty of some of these? If so, you may want to be more aware of yourself and the way you use your smartphone.

Texting and driving

This is not only aggravating, it can also be deadly. Besides the fact that this is illegal in most states, lots of people still insist upon doing it. If you find that you are guilty of this, consider the ramifications of your actions. Not only could you get in an accident, which may put a damper on your day, but you could also hurt yourself and others. So, it is very beneficial to resist texting while driving.

Paying more attention to your phone than your friends

Have you ever observed people eating dinner together but they are both on their smartphones? This practice is very annoying for people. When you make plans with your friends and family, the intention is to spend quality time with them, right? How can you do that if you are checking your email the entire time or texting? Remember how you have felt if you have been in the midst of a discussion and a friend has answered a text? Perhaps you felt less important. If you do not want your companions to feel this way, avoid your phone when out with them.

Noisy keyboards

When you navigate through your phone or type does it make little clicking sounds or beeps? You may not notice this, but it is probably aggravating the people around you. When you are standing in line at the grocery store and texting your friend, the people around you don’t want to hear the clicks of your fingers moving across the keys. It is easy to turn this off for the comfort of those who are around you.

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Evernote: Designed To Be The Second Brain

On October 3, 2012, in Uncategorized, by ShariMayo22

Many of us use Evernote, and for evident reasons. It’s a great organizational tool that allows you to save notes, videos, web pages, and photos. You can organize them into notebooks and easily search for a particular note to locate it quickly. But, because it’s so easy to use, many people over look some of the more robust attributes of Evernote.

Mobile

For example you can automatically access your Evernote notes not only from your main computer but also from your smartphones, tablets, and laptops. You just have to set up the Evernote app on your mobile devices. Then you’re able to sync the program so that once you save a document, photo, or video on one device, it automatically saves the file to your Evernote account.

Protect yourself

If you are like me, you save all your critical information in Evernote, including passwords. This can be a concern if it weren’t for Evernote’s capability to encrypt data.

It is not hard to do this. Just highlight the text you want, right click, and select the “encrypt selected text” option. You will then be asked to create a password for your encryption. Now your data is safe and sound.

Outside apps

Another lesser-known feature of Evernote is that it works with outside apps. One of these being an app for the iPad called WritePad. It lets users to take hand written notes with their stylus or their finger. The user can then choose to save it directly to Evernote.

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