Your first reaction may be to change all your passwords, which is a great first step. But this is only the first of many steps in order to both protect yourself and eraticate any spyware, virus, malware or ransomware that may be making the situation with your PC even worse! Hopefully, you already have a full backup of your PC before the hack. But the first and best thing you can and should do, is disconnect it from the internet! If you need change passwords, do it from a different unaffected computer or tablet, even your smartphone. But by continuing to leave your PC connected to the internet, you are allowing the hacker to actively continue mining your affected PC for financial, medical, personal and other information! Worse, even with it disconnected from the internet but still powered on, any spyware or ransomware the hacker installed may continue to mine, propogate and thus spread! So your best bet is to turn your PC off and contact a professional to eraticate the problem. Of course there may be damage already done, such as possible loss of data and corruption to the operating system, but your goal is to minimize the damage so that your computer can be recovered to an operating status vs. having to reinstall the OS completely and lose everything. Here are some tips. For more information and to help you navigate this personal violation, contact TheGoToTechGuru!
Backing up your PC/Mac is the key to your sanity after a virus attack or hack. There's an old saying in Cyberspace: "The integrity of your data is only as good as your last backup!" There's nothing worse than to lose a year, 6 months or even a week's worth of work that you may not even be able to reconstruct! How about all those photos of your kids, anniversary or once-in-a-lifetime vacation? Fortunately, there are several options to back up your PC/Mac content online. It doesn't backup your operating system (eg. Windows or Mac OS), which you can more easily get, but these options will backup everything else if you so choose. Most of these services will automatically backup a file as soon as it's changed, such as a document, so you won't have to remember to do it manually. Of course, there's a nominal fee depending on the amount of backup storage you need, but it will be nothing compared to your sanity when you lose the precious photos and legal documents! Here is a review of several online backup services. For more information and to install these services, contact TheGoToTechGuru. If you prefer offline backups for more privacy, TheGoToTechGuru can provide a consultation on this option as well.
If you have cable TV, you have a cable modem/router that you're most likely renting from the cable company. Did you know you can buy one, often better than what the cable company offers and stop paying that rent? Yep, it's true! Yes, there's configuration that needs to be done and you'll need to secure your home network, but that's what TheGoToTechGuru does! Call or email us for a free consult and stop paying unnecessary rent to the cable company!!
I recently had a customer that had his PC infected by Ransomware. For those of you not familiar with Ransomware, it’s a virus that encrypts all your files and holds them hostage until you pay the hostage taker $1000-$5000+. It’s well known that even if you do pay the exorbitant ransom, there’s still no guarantee that you’ll receive the key to unlock all your files. All his business and personal files were affected, including emails, which were all no longer accessible. To make things worse, he had no backup of anything.
To avoid getting virus’ and Ransomware, you must have good virus scan software AND malware prevention software. Don't depend on what comes with Windows because it's the minimum protection, which is only what my customer had. In the event a virus or malware does slip through, having a sound backups is the key to minimizing loss and letting you sleep at night.
I strongly recommend the following virus and malware software: Kaspersky Internet Suite (most robust) and Malwarebytes Professional/Premium (industry leading software).
For backups, I recommend Carbonite, which has unlimited storage for just $5.99/month and provides multiple versions of files you backup in case you accidently delete a file or make other changes you didn't mean to. Transmission and data storage is encrypted for security. Backed up data is available to your other computers, smartphone and tablets as well from free!
For more information on Ransomware, Virus’, prevention software and backup software, contact TheGoToTechGuru.
The latest USB connector, the USB Type-C, is emerging as the industry standard USB connector. It was developed by the USB Implementers Forum, the group of companies that has developed, certified, and shepherded the USB standard. It counts more than 700 companies in its membership, including Apple, Dell, HP, Intel, Microsoft, and Samsung. Although it's currently most commonly found on the Apple Macbook, you'll soon start seeing this new connector on other computers and devices. The USB-C connector is much smaller than the standard USB connector you see on most devices today. This reduced size was necessitated by the shrinking size of laptops and other devices as well as the need to carry more power, data and faster transfer rates. For more information on the USB-C Connector, read here.
The internet speed your provider advertises you're getting actually depends on several factors such as: how many other people are sharing that connection, the number of "hops" between your router and the provider's server. So how do you tell the internet speed you're really getting? Read this article to find out how to determine your real speed .. it's easier than you think!
Cheap phones are cheap for a reason. With phones, you pretty much get what you pay for. The cost differences usually boil down to low vs. high end hardware such as the processor (CPU), camera quality and amount (capacity) + speed of memory. These will make the difference in life of the phone and quality of your experience (ie. frustration). In the end, you may wind up needing to buy a new phone sooner with a cheap model and possibly spending more by having to buy 2 phones in the same time period you could have just purchased a single good quality phone. Although this article talks a lot about Android phones, the message is the same for any cellphone brand. Read this article for the risks on buying a cheap cellphone.
Netflix recently opened an ability for you to download movies, allowing you to watch movies offline like on an airplane. This capability is only available on iOS and Android apps, so not on Windows or Mac OS as yet. It is also currently only offered on certain movies. For how to download movies on your iOS or Android device, click here!
High Tech Gadgets that respond to your voice and perform everyday needs like giving weather reports, turning on your lights at home, answering trivia questions and more are fun and a great modern day convenience. They are always listening for a request. But did you think of it as Big Brother, listening in on your private conversations? A recent police case involved the law issuing an order to Amazon to release transcripts of possible conversations their Echo device may have overheard related to a murder investigation. Although Amazon has not complied with the court order, it shows how un-private your conversations could be! It's true! So beware! To hear more about your risks, read this article!
You've probably heard of paying for groceries and merchandise using your smartphone. The three biggest players that enable you to do this are: Android Pay, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay ... one for each of the largest smartphone manufacturers. The most widely accepted by stores and banks is Apple Pay, but all have their advantages and disadvantages. At its most fundamental level, you register your credit card on your smartphone, then when you are at the cashier/register, just simply wave your smartphone over most regular credit card readers, authenticate using your thumbprint or a password, and voila, the transaction is complete, much faster than using your credit card chip or even swiping! So you're probably wondering how secure it is? It is more secure than using your credit card or its chip because the store never gets your credit card number, but instead receives a one-time unique token code provided by your credit card bank. This code can never be used again and has no resemblence to your credit card number! To learn more about using your smartphone to pay for merchandise, read here or for a side-by-side comparison of these services, read here.
Did you know Apple tracks your iPhone calls? Yes, it's true, but maybe not for the reasons you may suspect. Read more here for the scoop!
If you have a weak cell signal inside your home or office but not outdoors, you don’t have to live with it. With today’s technology, there IS a fix! You can get a booster from your cellphone provider (sometimes for free with a minimal deposit) or buy one yourself. Behind the scenes, this booster uses your internet connection so make sure you have good broadband before going with this option. Call TheGoToTechGuru for more information on how to improve your home and office cell signal!
So what’s the difference between an electrical power strip and a surge protector? The typical power strip provides nothing more than multiple outlets along a single “strip”. This “strip” plugs into a single electrical wall outlet, thus allowing multiple electrical devices to be plugged into a single electrical wall outlet. A surge protector also provides these, but guards against power surges often generated by lightning, thunder storms and when your power is first restored after an outage. Power surges can easily short-out electrically sensitive devices such as your TV, DVR, Roku, PC, laptop, tablet, smartphone, router and the like, because the surge contains far more power than these sensitive devices can handle. This will literally burnout your device(s).
Surge protectors are not usually recommended for high power appliances such as blenders, lamps, microwave ovens, washers/dryers and the like. Do NOT combine high power appliances and your surge protection strip on the same electrical wall outlet and power circuit as changes in high power appliance draws can cause internal surges.
Energy absorption / dissipation is what handles surges in electricity. This rating, given in Joules, tells you how much energy the surge protector can absorb before it fails. The higher the Joule number, the better the protection. Look for a Joule rating greater than 1,000, even more if you can afford it.
Response time is also important. Since surge protectors don’t kick in immediately, the longer the response time, the longer your electrical device is exposed to the power surge and the greater risk of damage. Look for a surge protector with a response time of less than one (1) nanosecond.
Finally, look for an indicator light that tells you if the protection is functioning.
If you have an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS), these only provide limited surge protection, usually in the low-to-mid 100-300 joule range. If your device(s) have a need for both a UPS and surge protection, you can consider plugging a surge protection strip into the UPS, however, depending on the devices' power demand, you likely won't be able to connect more than 1-3 devices into a single surge protector since the power strip plugs into a single UPS plug and this one plug handles a lower total power than a wall outlet.
For questions or to have the proper UPS / Surge Protector installed in your home/office, contact the TheGoToTechGuru.
You’ve likely heard the term “Podcast” quite a few times over the years, but what is it? The term came from when the original Apple iPod was popular, combined with the word “broadcast”, hence “Podcast”. Basically, a Podcast is an electronic audio or video recording of a news article, story, music collection or the like. Gone are the days of needing to time your radio listening or TV viewing to a specific time or miss it! Now you can just download it on-demand from the Internet to your PC, Mac, smartphone or tablet and listen / watch it at your convenience like on an airplane or during a long commute. There are thousands of Podcast shows and topics to choose from and they are usually free to listeners. So how do you find a Podcast? Many organizations provide Podcasts of their programs, like National Public Radio (NPR.org), listing them on their websites. You can also find Podcast listings using more centralized sites and utilities like Apple iTunes (for Apple products), Stitcher Radio or Podcatcher (for Android).
To download Apple iTunes, click here.
To download Stitcher Radio, click here.
To download Podcatcher, click here.
Some laptops come with a button to turn the Wi-Fi on or off. If your laptop doesn't have this feature, don't dispair for there is an alternative! You can create Windows desktop shortcuts to do the exact same thing! Follow this link for turning your Windows Wi-Fi on and off!
I love technology and how it enhances our lives! Just think, without the Apollo moon missions, we might not have calculators! Imagine!!