Yesterday I was reminded just how easy it is for computers to get infected. I was on a service call to a local business ( long time customers & great people! ) and was talking with the owner.. He had asked me, “How do these infections keep coming up”. We had just done a complete wipe & reload – he had the computer for about a week before it got re-infected. What a great question! In this article I am going to go over some of the most common ways to get infected and what to stay away form. The ways I am going to go over are the fake Adobe flash player, Adobe reader virus, & java infection.
Adobe Flash Player Virus
Adobe Flash Player infection: First let’s answer the question, YES Adobe products do need to stay updated for protection. However, there is a correct way to do so and a wrong way that will lead to your computer being hijacked. If you are browsing the web and a popup comes on your screen saying something to the effect of, “Your Browser is unable to browse this site, please update your Adobe Flash player to continue”.. DON’T CLICK IT! Chances are that the pop up that looks completely legitimate is actually a gateway to get you to download an infection. Don’t click on the big “x” at the top right of the window either as the people who create the malware have also found a way to take advantage of that. The correct way ( as with any of these ) is to hold down CTRL+ALT+DELETE and close the application. Here is the direct link to Adobe Flash player for downloading the latest version.
Adobe Reader malware infection: Same as Adobe Flash player, your Adobe Reader needs to stay updated to be able to handle new features of the pdf documents you download. PDF documents are an easy way to save and transfer documents with many pages. Same as with the Adobe flash infection – use CTRL+ALT+DELETE to get rid of it and download Adobe Reader from adobe.com Here is a link to download Adobe Reader from adobe.com
Another very common way to get infected is from clicking on pop ups that say your “Java” needs updated. Java is prevalent in most websites you visit – doing very impressive things behind the scenes. Just like Adobe, Java is updated constantly with new security fixes and features. If you ever see a pop up that says your Java needs updated – CTRL+ALT+DELETE that out and go to java.com; click the big update/download button on their site. Click here to go directly to java.com
There you have it! Unfortunately, that is just a few of the common ways to get infected – but they are VERY common. Make sure anytime adobe or java pops up on your computer – you get out of there! Then just go to the manufacture website and download the update direct from them.
Windows 8 is just.. bad. Period. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s go deeper and talk about why people 30+ years old are having so much trouble understanding Windows 8.
If you have been using a Windows based computer for any number of years; you have always had a start button. We like our start button – it makes it easy to find what we are looking for! The start button is the little icon at the bottom-left hand corner of your screen. When you click on the start button it, it pulls up a menu that lists all of your programs as well as links to your pictures, documents, & music. Windows 8 does not have a start button. Instead of using the traditional start menu, Microsoft announced the ‘metro style’ home screen like the image below.
Windows 8 start button app
Microsoft said they were going to “make it right” and introduce a start button back into Windows 8. Computer users everywhere got excited to hear that Windows 8 would finally be usable like a normal computer – it still wasn’t. Unfortunately it was a marketing ploy by Microsoft to get the word out and get people to download the Windows 8.1 update. The Windows 8.1 update simply added a “start button” that then leads to the metro style screen with icons everywhere. Even after the update there is no built-in start menu.
Not all is lost! There are some great developers that have added a ‘start menu’ app for Windows 8. I’m using it today – and it makes Windows 8 usable again.
Interested in hearing how this works? Give us a call at 317-398-3572 – we can get it installed for you!
I can’t tell you how many times I have had customers bring in computers that got super infected, only to be told that “I have 3 antivirus programs on there – I don’t know how this could happen.”. You see that’s what we would normally think; the more protection the better – just not when it comes to antivirus. This article will answer the question, “Should I use more than one antivirus?”.
NEVER! Now that we have that out of the way, let’s take a deeper look. What ends up happening when you have more than one antivirus installed is that they begin to fight each other for control. When the two or more antivirus programs are fighting each other they are too busy to be protecting you. This happens because, in many cases, they label each other as potential threats. The lesson to be learned? Only use one antivirus program on your computer. Whatever antivirus you decide to use, make sure you keep it constantly updated and run a system scan at least once every month.
I know that I have talked about what antivirus you should use previously, but again I would like to suggest you use Microsoft Security Essentials. The reason I suggest MSE is because it is constant updated, never needs to be renewed annually, & best of all it is completely free.
You have probably read the article I posted about, “Why should I backup my files?”, if you haven’t I would encourage you to do so. Now you know that you need to be backing up your files; let’s get down to business! Backing up your computer files used to be a tedious and time consuming task – but not anymore! There are a couple methods I would suggest to use for backing up, they are: physical external drives such as external harddrives and flashdrives, as well as online backup solutions.
The first way to backup your files that I am going to talk about is actually the same method that I use. I use an external hard drive to backup my files. You could also use a flash drive; I don’t because I have way too many files to fit on one of those! If you search online or at stores you will find numerous external drives available that offer a “one button backup” solution – don’t use those! The reason I don’t suggest using the one button backups is that they usually save the files into an archived format that has several downfalls: 1 being that you typically cannot read your files on another computer & 2 being that you have to have that program re-installed on your computer to be able to retrieve your files.
How to backup to an external hard drive
How do I backup my files?
Now that we know what not to do – let’s get to how we DO backup our files to an external. Manually copy & paste your files and folders: This is the simplest form of backing up your files. The steps for this method are blow:
Just plug your external hard drive in your computer and wait for the window to appear asking you what you want to do with it, choose the option “browse files and folders”; a new window will appear on your screen showing you what is currently on the external drive.
Please take a mental note of what the letter comes up as, typically it is E:\, F:\, or G:\. You can now minimize this window.
Browse to whatever files you want to backup, the most popular files that people backup are their pictures.
You can select the files and or folders you want to backup by high-lighting them. Next you would either click on ‘Edit > Copy‘ from the menu at the top of your screen or right-click on one of the files and select ‘Copy‘.
Now that we have the files ready to copy, we need to select where we are going to back them up to; please browse your external hard-drive from step 1 & 2.
Final step: Either right click in the blank white space and select ‘Paste’; or click on ‘Edit>Paste’ from the menu at the top of your screen.
See, that wasn’t too bad was it? If you have any windows pop up asking of you want to replace the old files, click yes. This can all be automated by having us write a custom backup program that will automatically backup your selected files and folders that are important to you; if you are interested in that please give us a call or check out our services page!
What are the best online backup solutions
The next method of backing up your files is to online storage, also sometimes called “the cloud”. There are multiple online backup solutions available. Today we are going to talk about Dropbox & Carbonite ( 15 day free trial ) as they are my two favorite!
Dropbox online backup
Dropbox works similar to a regular folder on your computer.
You have the folder that is synched to your online Dropbox account. Synched pretty much means that files are exactly the same in two locations. Anything you put into your Dropbox folder on your computer is automatically synched to your online storage. Using Dropbox this way is useful if you have several different computers you want to share files between different locations. A good example of this would be sharing the same Dropbox folder between your laptop at home and your computer at work.Dropbox has several pricing options ranging from free – all the way through $795+ a year for business users. More information can be found by clicking here.
The second popular option for online backups that I would suggest is Carbonite. Carbonite works much differently than Dropbox. After the initial installation and set up of Carbonite your files will automatically backup to their online storage at whatever time you chose while installing. This type of solution would be perfect for someone who has a computer at home with important pictures and documents that they don’t want to lose. You could set it up to automatically backup those files every night at 1:00 AM.
Carbonite is also a great solution for businesses. How catastrophic would it be if your business lost all of its files? Would you be able to stay in business? Possibly not! A few years back a local factory came to use in desperate need. They had been backing up to tape-drives ( earlier forms of external backups like an external hard drive ) for years. Lightning struck, literally. There was a lightning strike and it took out their server as well as their hard-drives ( where all the files are saved ) inside the server. They tried to retrieve information from their backups and couldn’t. You see all these years when backing up to their external drives – the backups were failing. Always, always, always verify your backups – no matter what. We ended up creating a custom backup program like mentioned earlier as well as having them rotate between two different external hard drives; because even backups can fail. Carbonite would also be a good fit for them in addition to the other backups! Lesson: You can never have too many backup solutions. You might also want to look at our article, “what antivirus should I use?” Make sure your backup solutions are not infected!
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