Kaspersky – Questionable or just more fake news?

I’ve been recommending Kaskpersky Antivirus to my customers for at least 5 years.  After recent news reports some have questioned my recommendation.

Congress is considering banning Kaspersky from government offices, infrastructure applications and the military. GSA has removed Kaspersky from its list of approved venders. The reports usually include a line like this one from Phys.org:

“The officials, appearing at a congressional hearing in May, stopped short of offering specifics but appeared to suggest concerns over the computer security firm’s alleged links to Russian defense and intelligence bodies.”

Still, I am strongly recommending Kaspersky products.

Antivirus programs are examined and evaluated frequently by several independent testing labs, and their results reported in magazines like PC World and PC Magazine. I check with AV Test, one of those testing labs regularly. You can see their results at:

https://www.av-test.org/en/

I have yet to see a report that indicates the FBI has identified a problem.  I haven’t seen a report that says the Russian government ordered Kaspersky to do anything.  Every report was based on innuendo, casting aspersions on a fine company. Every report, in my opinion has been FAKE NEWS.

Since the FBI hasn’t announced there is a problem and since not one single respected computer industry trade publication and indicated a problem, Kaspersky will still be the only antivirus recommended by Supertecs

The rest is SOUND, FURY, AND FAKE NEWS!

If you are concerned, choose an alternative.  Any of these will keep your computer safe. The best ratings from AV-Test show these are the best scoring products (alphabetical):

AhnLab V3

Avira

Bitdefender

Kaspersky

McAfee

MicroWorld eScan

Norton

Trend Micro

Firefox – Malware – Warning

This popped up suddenly while surfing the net.  Mozilla says it’s malware, so did my antivirus software (I use Kaspersky and recommend it.) Firefox does not install patches through sudden and unexpected pop-ups. This is an evil-doer.  If you see it on your screen, close your browser immediately.  Firefox updates automatically, and doesn’t notify you that it has.  It’s probably the right way to do it.  DON’T LET THIS INSTALL!

Urgent Firefox Updates Don’t Happen This Way!

firefox Malware

Scams, Scams, and more Scams

There are so many criminals out there using computer scams . . .too many to count . . But I’ve seen or heard of 11 attempts to scam folks this week alone.

We’ve all gotten the email from the King of Nigeria wanting to borrow our bank account for a few days and offering a king’s ransom to do it.  Lately though there are far more sinister schemes out there ripping off thousands of folks and little is being done to stop them. It’s up to you to stay safe.  No amount of antivirus protection or hard to guess passwords will protect you.

The first clue that an attempt to scam you is contact by someone you don’t know.  It might be a phone call, it might be an email, or it might a pop-up taking control of your computer while you’re shopping online.  It might say Microsoft (it isn’t.)  They might say they’re from Windows (they’re not).  It might be scary. It might be telling you that your computer is about to crash. (it might.)  . . . but don’t . . don’t . . . positively DON’T CALL, DON’T REPLY, DON’T RESPOND.  Don’t even try to waste their time. They are evil and they are out to damage you.

If you’re not sure call me.   Anytime.   I’ll probably tell you to turn off your computer or hang up the phone.  Turn off your Internet modem, and run a virus scan.  BUT DON’T CALL THE 800 NUMBER IN THE AD. Don’t engage them.  They are EVIL DOERS.

Are you scared yet?

A very good customer of mine recently gave away information about his bank account to one of these scammers.  You’re first thought is he’s probably not too sharp. .  he is.  Most of his career was as a CEO of a medium sized corporation.  Yes he’s college educated.  Yes he’s well informed.  Yes He fell hook line and sinker for the talented banter of the scammer.

The EVIL DOERS are good at what they do.  If you let them into your computer they’ll walk you through unfamiliar screens claiming they show your computer is making thousands of errors.  They’ll tell you your antivirus is an obsolete version, they’ll tell you your computer will fail and they may even plant viruses on your computer.  DON’T LET THEM IN.

If they call, if they write, if they  . . . never mind.  They’re already planning some new way to scam you.

Just say NO.

Still uncertain . . give me a call

Want to see how they work – search youtube.com for Computer Scams. There are some very good videos on the subject.

 

 

 

 

How to upgrade to Windows 10 ….smoothly

Not every upgrade will go smoothly.  It’s been out long enough for us to get a good handle on what’s needed to upgrade.  Before you do anything else, click on the Windows Upgrade Icon at appeared a couple of months ago.  Look to see if the upgrade is available for you computer. (I’ve run into a few Dell laptops that get the warning that the BIOS isn’t available.)  If you have Windows 7 Service Pack 1 or Windows 8.1 you should be able to get the upgrade.  If your computer is running Vista, XP or something earlier . . get a new computer, it’s time.

Before you begin, check your antivirus – is it active and updated.  Run a scan.  Check with your antivirus company’s website to make sure your product is compatible with Windows 10.  You may have to download and install a new version. (Free where I’ve checked)

Antivirus up to date? Next step, shut it down. You don’t want it interfering with the update.  They all shut down differently, if your unsure, google:”Shut down Kaspersky” or Norton or AVG, etc)

Open Internet explorer and go to this website:

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10

Click on the purple download button appropriate to your machine (32 or 64 bit, almost everything made in the last 5 years is 64 bit)

Follow the prompts.  If your not successful, give us call, we’ll be glad to help.

 

Google Earth Pro – Fun and Free

Google Earth Pro is the version your TV station probably uses during newscasts.  It’s quite a bit better than the version Google made available to everyone.  The Pro version sold for $400.  Now, it’s free.

Get the details here:

http://goo.gl/8mO5wU

Be sure to read the page and get the details you’ll need to insert the license key and give us a call if you stuck.

 

Best Advice I can give you – Caring for your computer

Several of my customer’s computers protected by Norton Antivirus (working and up to date) were compromised by viruses, malware, and other evil doers recently. I went to my peers – a group of computer repair professionals with this question:

I used to tell my customers, “All my best customers use McAfee, you probably don’t want to be one of my best customers.” Lately though, when I find a badly infected computer with rootkits, malware, and enough evil-doers to bring it to a halt, it more than like has what appears to be a complete up to date and working Norton product. I usually get it back using Kaspersky. Is the old axiom, “You’ll never get fired for buying Norton (OK, old axiom was IBM) no longer true?

I had many responses and the conclusions are fairly simple:

Norton antivirus – not working as well as it did a few years ago.

McAfee – is not working, never has. Get it off your computer and be sure to cancel your subscription.

Kaspersky and Bit Defender are the best of a bad bunch.

Still, you need to be cautious. Never open an email from USPS, UPS, or Fed Ex or anyone else unless you regularly communicate with them by email. They do not send out emails to announce your package, COD, or lottery winnings are waiting for you.

Download free software only from trusted sites. Most free downloads come with dozens of evil-doers attached. If you’re installing free software READ EVERY PAGE carefully. Refuse to let any software on your machine that you don’t specifically want.

Never let these evil-does on your machine: Ask Toolbar, Google Toolbar, Yahoo Toolbar, anything to do with “Drivers”, Coupons, or Shopping shortcuts.

Update Java, Adobe Reader and Adobe Flash – and   CAUTION!  opt out of the extra stuff they want to put on your computer

A simple rule, if it wants to install, and you didn’t go asking for it, don’t install it.

 

Webcam fun

Webcam Fun

WEBCAM FUN – Everyone needs a profile picture – Facebook, Linked In, and most other social networks ask for them. If you wear glasses, as I do, capturing your portrait on a webcam and not capturing a lot glare from the monitor is a challenging. I killed the glare by stretching a white t-shirt over the monitor. I could see just enough of the monitor to move the mouse and click the snapshot – and got a portrait without the monitors reflection. I found Windows 8.1’s built in camera software (search the charms) delivered the sharpest photo with my Logitec webcam. Remember, you can snap 50 or 100 photos to get the best shot. You haven’t wasted a dime on film. Us seniors, naturally frugal, can’t quite get used to digital photography. In 1960 a roll of film cost $1.50, developing $4 and that got you 8 Kodachromes. ($25 in today $)

Feeling Left Out of the iPhone excitement?

IPhone4s -2Now is the time to update your iPhone and your iPad to the latest software.

I’ve just updated my iPhone 4S to the latest software from Apple (IOS 8) and my phone now has many of the features available in the new iPhone 6, not everything, but lots of new features.To update, you’ll need a computer, iTunes, and the USB connector cable (from the charger).  iTunes handles all the details, downloading the new software, backing up your phone, and installing the new IOS 8. The process, if you have a good Internet connection takes 20 to 30 minutes.

For more information, check the Apple website at:

http://www.apple.com/ios/

 

 

 

How to make a password

Passwords, there are just too many of them . . . and so few people remember them.

There are times when you will need to change all your critical passwords and when you do, here are some tips for creating passwords you can remember.

Your address:  It has numbers, capital letters and usually more than 8 letters.  Mix it up a bit.  Instead of 27MainSt (not bad like this) but MainSt27 is probably harder for someone to guess.

I also like telephone numbers.  If you’re old enough to remember phone numbers from the 1950’s, MU 5-2000 or MurryHill52000 make great passwords.  Your spouse’s cell phone number, and the number you had as a kid, all make good passwords. It’s very unlikely that anyone would guess you would use your employers phone number.

Instead of pet names, sports team names, and ‘password’ . . .  make up new words.  Instead of 68redsox, redbase68.   instead of 2004champs, ws2004W.

I never forget one of my customers passwords.  Its and acronym for “I would like to golf 7 days a week”  or IWL2G7DAW.

Don’t forget your email has a password, even if your computer never asks for it.  When you need it, it’s a lot easier to remember if you keep a record of all your passwords.  On my computer there is a document called, “ForgetMeNot.doc.” It contains all my passwords – calling it passwords.doc is probably OK to.  If someone gets into your documents folder, they already have  access to all your stuff anyway.

Make sure you spouse has access to your computer and passwords.  Some of my most difficult service calls have been to help a recent widow or widower gain access to their late spouse’s computer.

 

Windows XP – It’s time to let it go

A couple of months ago I thought it would be possible to keep using Windows XP if you wanted to avoid buying a new computer. Not so anymore. Microsoft not only stopped supporting changes, they’ve blocked the ability to download updates that you will need if you weren’t up to day on April 8, 2014. Every machine I’ve seen in the last month has been infected with viruses and Internet Explorer 8 is full of holes and easily corrupted with evil doers. Set some money aside, and retire that old machine or come back in a few days for an update about Linux. It’s one way to revive that old computer.