Malevolent E-Mails From Strangers

Malevolent Emails From Strangers.Even the most mundane and harmless looking junk e-mails can contain viruses in them that can do serious harm to your privacy and your beloved computer!

It’s important to understand that even just looking at some malware infected e-mail is enough to install the virus onto your machine without you even realizing it has happened.  Recently, a McKinney resident opened an infected email and brought their computer to us. We were able to clean it before damage ensued.

Your best course of action when faced with a potentially infected e-mail is to highlight it and immediately delete it.

The truth is, most businesses will not be sending you e-mails out of the blue unless you openly invited them to or have subscribed to be on their mailing list.

Most people know exactly who they are doing business with, so if rather suddenly you are receiving mysterious e-mails from people, even the ones that have your name in the subject line, at very least you can be assured that it is junk mail, if not malicious attempts to infect your computer.

Computer viruses can be transmitted in various fashions from your e-mail. For instance:

  • Requesting you to click a hyperlink within the text of the e-mail that directs you to a bogus website designed to penetrate your web browser.
  • Requesting you to enter personal information such as phone numbers, addresses or social security numbers.
  • Giving you detailed instructions to make chances to the settings of your computer in order to make it vulnerable to attack.
  • Offering phone numbers for you to call usually in the guise of preventing some form of issue, but actually attempting to rip you off or gain remote access to your computer.

These are but just a few ways for hackers or troublemakers to penetrate your security and cause you all sorts of headaches!

A good rule of thumb when dealing with unidentified e-mails is this:

  • If you do not know who it is from,
  • If they are asking for personal information, or
  • You cannot think of a legitimate reason for them to contact you … delete it without even opening it.

If it is something important they will likely call and identify their company properly! What’s the craziest scam you’ve seen? Share it with us!

The Infamous FBI Virus

Malicious FBI virus.One of the most notable computer viruses to rear its ugly head this year is the now infamous FBI virus. Frisco residents, you’re not immune!

Originally this infection appeared on seedier websites, but seems to have graduated to emails and shared files all over the internet.

It takes the form of a locking pop up screen – with the actual FBI shield and eagle crest –  and informs you that you have been caught doing illegal online activity.

To make your life ‘easier’ it offers to forgo prosecution by allowing you to pay a simple fine, over the internet, to release your desktop back to you. Of course, that is not the case.

This is a classic hijack virus that has been associated with key logger programs that capture your keystroke patterns to determine passwords. If you happen to actually use a credit card or send the money they are requesting the consequences can be worse.

At times, people have experienced limited success in removing this virus by means of standard anti-virus software, with a virus of this nature it is highly advisable to do a complete reload of the operating system to ensure no traces of the virus remain, such as key logger, or back door programs designed to allow access into your computer remotely.

PC Geeks is your local computer repair shop, and that includes cleaning the nasty FBI virus off your system. Call us if you encounter this virus and we’ll take care of it quickly!  Have you heard of this virus? Leave us your comments below.

Stop watch resting on a keyboard.These days, the software market is flooded with software programs that are designed to optimize your computer, allowing it to run faster than before. No doubt some of them actual succeed in their claims.

Unfortunately, the truth is much more serious. Many of these optimization software programs – available both in the stores and on the internet – not only fail to live up to their claims but in fact , can cause serious issues with your operating system.

Those issues can lead to corruption of Windows, loss of data and even slowing down the system to a crawl, rendering other more vital software completely ruined.  Some of them may actually be computer viruses. If you have downloaded programs promising to speed up your machine but are unsure if they are safe, call PC Geeks!

The worst of these programs are the free ware programs that can often be downloaded from various sites on the internet. Not only are many of them poorly designed, but a large portion of them are not true programs at all; they are viruses just waiting to be downloaded and infect your machine.

Many of these programs promise to speed up your machine and often do so by “optimizing” the registry of your operating system. The problem with this approach is that other software may need the registry a certain way in order to function correctly, and if it is altered or deleted, they no longer function.

If you talk to your local computer technician for advice you’ll find that a great many will recommend you speed your machine up the old fashion way, by upgrading hardware components to increase overall performance.

While this is rarely without cost, it is a fraction of the price of repairing your computer after having a bogus optimization program wipe out your operating system. Are you getting annoyed with your slow computer? Call us today.

Student working on laptop remotely.One reason people have taken to laptops instead of desktops is the mobility, but did you know that for a matter of a few dollars you can make your desktop capable of wireless connection?

By simply purchasing an inexpensive wireless network adapter, that can plug into a USB port or a PCI slot, you have the ability to place your desktop computer in any room in your house or even garage and have the same quality internet connection as your laptop, and without a mess of wires running through your rooms!

If you are unsure as to how to set your network up, call your local PC Geeks technician!

Now that these adapters are commonplace in so many homes, the days of being limited to an Ethernet cable placement in your home are long gone and the versatility of being able to place your machine wherever you want can do wonders for the aesthetics of your home and even help your family to use less devices, more conveniently than ever.

If you have a wireless network in your house, ask your local network technician if wireless network adapters would work well for your situation and give it a try.

Do you take advantage of your residential wireless connection? Leave us your comments below!

Software updates.Plenty of folks find the prospect of doing their software updates an intimidating task.

The truth is, as long as you know what software you’re updating, these programs are built with the ability to take care of the updates themselves and really only require your permission to begin!

On the typical machine these days the most common updates you will be asked for is usually Windows, Java, Adobe and the definitions updates of your antivirus programs.

Keeping these and other software programs up to date is a vital, and proactive way to ensure that your machine is sufficiently hardened from every day computer viruses, email hacks, and operating system exploits.

More often than not, the updates for all these programs are there to correct minor glitches in their software and more importantly –  to patch vulnerabilities that have been discovered and exploited in their software. The farther behind you have become on those updates, the more likely you are to get a virus or have a hacker come along and damage your machine.

Most hackers are just looking for a vulnerable machine that they know is an easy target due to vulnerabilities in a person’s computer system. Make sure you keep your software up to date and your computer optimized with the latest patches and you will be much safer. Please call us if you have any questions about this. Leave us your comments below.

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Laptop AC adapter isolated on white.One thing has become certain when it comes to caring for your laptop. It is always best to use the specific AC adapter, and genuine brand parts that were designed for your exact laptop model.

While it is true that you can buy generic universal adapters that will work for nearly all name brands of equipment, what the vendors are not telling you is that over the long term you can actually do great harm to your motherboard by using them!

Many laptops are not designed to use the same wattage rating, and because of this, if you use a universal adapter it’s possible you’re not giving your laptop enough electricity to function properly – or in some cases, too much electricity.

This can force your motherboard to strain itself to do its normal tasks. Too much wattage can do a lot of damage to your battery rendering it useless in a short time or just from wear and tear over a long period of time.

The truth is, in many cases, purchasing a genuine adapter for your laptop is no more expensive than a generic, even if it can take a day or two to get your hands on one. Talk to your local computer repair shop to get a price quote and order the proper adapter for your needs. Leave your comments and questions below!

Man using several browsers.These days we are given a wide variety of web browsers to view our favorite websites on:

  • Internet Explorer,
  • Firefox, and
  • Chrome being the top three, are the most used at this time.

Many people tend to pick one and use it, but there is no rule in place saying you have to!

While it is true that some applications and sites do perform better with specific browsers, the vast majority of the web is perfectly usable with any browser. Why use just one?

If you want to download material try Firefox, which touts itself as faster, and more secure from computer viruses than Internet explorer. Want a browser that is lightning fast? Give Chrome a shot! If you want pretty, there is always Internet explorer which has invested quite a bit to be the best looking of the browsers available.

If you ask around, you’ll find a wide variety of opinions, from surfers and local PC technicians as to what they prefer and why; but one thing is certain, you are free to use one or all of the browsers out there to surf the web.

External Hard Drives Make Life Easy

PC GeeksDo you need an external hard drive? You might. If you’re a college student, consultant, or even just an avid gamer, an additional hard drive might be real handy. Here’s why:

  • Easily back up your most important data
  • They’re portable,
  • Inexpensive,
  • Plug an external hard drive into any computer, wherever you may be!

Maintain a current and healthy back up of your data and safeguard yourself from the expense of money and time associated with data recovery.

Do you use an external hard drive? Like it? Tell us what you use yours for below!

Don’t Suffocate Your Computer!

Fire on the grill.One of the most common ways to over exert your power supply or heat sink fan is by letting the dust build up on the blades. This can literally suffocate your computer.

Even a half millimeter of dust on the blades cuts the revolutions per minute by nearly 15% and this means your computer may run too hot.

Heat and moisture are the arch enemies of electronics, and when your machine is hot, its lifespan is shortened.

Here are a couple of things you can do to keep your Mac or PC at a moderate temperature:

  • Carefully blow out the contents of your computer case every once in a while.
  • Elevate your laptop off the desk so air can circulate around it.

Proper air flow to the case will maximize your fan’s ability to keep your computer at the proper temperature.

Do you notice your computer getting too hot? What do you do about it? Leave us your comments below.

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Make Your Passwords Strong, Not Easy

BIrd of prey.We all have so many passwords to keep up with; we have a tendency to want to remember them easily. PC Geeks wants you to know that strong passwords, not easy ones, are the smart solution. Hacking isn’t a little problem, it’s a violent, intentional assault. Be prepared with good defenses.  Read more “Make Your Passwords Strong, Not Easy”