Microsoft suing fake “tech support” company!

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Hello again. I read something rather interesting over the weekend that I thought would be great information to relay, as it goes alongside my previous security and holiday scams post that we published earlier in the month. According to a report on December 18th, Microsoft filed suit against a company that was claiming to be techs who worked directly for Microsoft.

Apparently, this company was using Microsoft’s name to dupe unknowing victims into paying top dollar for technical support that was “crucial” and affecting their system files. They tricked them by putting out Internet ads for tech support by Microsoft technicians. Once victims signed up, they were talked into letting the technician take over their computer to do “scans” and checks on the machine. They would present their “findings” and demand over $200 for these repairs.

These fake technicians were on-point with their technical jargon and even came up with clever reasons as to why the repairs were needed, even being as costly as they were. According to the investigative findings, the representatives would reference things like, “polymorphic infection,” “damage to core system files,” and they would warn victims that if they didn’t act in time, their systems would crash. (My guess is when the “techs” were on the computers, they more than likely infected the machines more in order to guarantee future work and future paychecks.)

As I have stated before, never trust anyone on the Internet, whom you do not know. Do not sign up for services of which you are unsure, do not let just-anyone on your computer, and never give out your credit card information without being 100% sure. My best advice is to get yourself a reputable company, such as Everon, for your computer and network needs. We have real techs, who are highly trained, and can help you in your time of need. Call us at 888-244-1748 or email us at [email protected] We’re here to support you and your business 24/7, year-round. 

 

Can my phone get a virus? Should I use an antivirus on my Android device?

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Hello to everyone reading this, and welcome to another “brain dump” of Tony! :) Today we are going to talk about viruses, malware, and Android devices — how they play together, and my thoughts on antivirus/anti-malware software. This is something quite a few people are curious about: “Can I get a virus on my phone? How would I know if I did have a virus or malware? How would I get rid of said infection? How do I protect myself going forward?”

I have wondered all this myself, honestly, and not until recently had I done research on it. Once I did the research, it really all made sense to me, so I am going to relay my findings, in my own words, and put it into perspective. Like anything else, technology is ever-advancing. With that, so are viruses and malware. When something new comes out, there is always someone breaking apart its code and creating infections that makes everyone’s lives that much harder. That will never change! Since I am a heavy Android user, that’s what I am going to talk about.

When it comes to viruses and malware on phones, is it possible? Yes, it is very possible and is becoming more and more common. When you think of a virus, you think of it in the sense of what you’d experience on a computer. While they have some things in common, they do differ a little bit in behavior. If you happen to get malware on your phone, it would more than likely be in the form of applications that look and act like legitimate apps — they might even look like ones you use on a daily basis. These are the targets, because if people think they’re on their normal apps, then they are more comfortable putting in their personal information. That’s really the sole purpose of malware: stealing information. Also, like Internet browsers on PCs, malware on your phone can come in the form of those pesky popups. And also page redirects. One moment you are browsing your favorite news website, and the next thing you know you are taken to a website trying to sell you something (or worse, an “adult” page).

How would I get this on my phone? That’s a good question. In most instances the Google Play store is the biggest culprit, as that is the easiest way to target most Android users. Google Play is not as regulated as one would think. The process of getting your self-made app into the market is not that extensive. If you have ever just browsed the app store, you can see there are a ton of apps and different versions of the same thing. When you are downloading free apps or purchasing apps, make sure they are from a company that you know, or from the company itself. For example, if you were going to download the Facebook app, make sure it is published by Facebook and not some 3rd party vendor. Beware, some of these apps to which you give permission to use your phone-resources can, in the end, cost you a fortune. They have the ability to do things such as sending out texts without you even knowing. They can send texts to certain numbers that cost more and can rack up a huge bill.

Now that that is out of the way, lets talk about prevention. Of course, the best prevention is always being cautious of what you are downloading and opening. This, ultimately, is best but can also be difficult (because when applications look and act like real apps it’s hard to tell the difference). Next, some people utilize and antivirus/anti-malware software. When it comes to using software like that, my suggestion would be to use a paid version and not a free version. Just as with programs on a PC, the free versions are limited and are lacking in the things that are most important. Also, when using such a program on your phone, be aware of the performance issues that you may face, as well. They tend to run frequently, which slows down your processing power, eats up your battery, and the notifications can become annoying.

In all of this, there are many options to help protect yourself, but the biggest tool you have is knowledge. And a company, such as Everon, to help educate you. If you have any questions about security on your devices, or have a question about an app before you download it, please feel free to reach out to us (888-244-1748 or [email protected]). We are always more than happy to help!

 

Happy Holidays Bring Unwanted Scams!

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Hello again. As the year comes to an end, and with the holidays in the works, there is an ever-growing risk of scams and stolen credit card information. I am going to talk about some of the common types of these things and ways to protect yourself.

One of the most common scams that I have seen is an advertisement of a “good deal” on a product that is a “must have” for the holidays. They are usually holiday coupons for phones or tablets at low costUsually these deals come via email, and the price seems almost too good to be true. Well, if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is. 

Next, it always seems that around the holidays that credit card theft is at a high. The utilization of credit cards in order to purchase high dollar gift cards, spent at local stores for cash back, online purchase, etc. Keep an eye on your bank accounts and beware where you do you online shopping.

There have also been a lot of scams going on that seem to come from USPS, FedEx, IRS, UPS, etc. I recently got a call from a toll number that left a voicemail stating the IRS was suing me and to call back to rectify my account. It was not an 800 number and I obviously don’t have any legal actions pending from the IRS. As for the postal service and the other couriers, if you get a call, text, or email stating that you received a package and your personal information is needed in order to receive it, disregard and do not respond, let alone provide any information. The IRS, USPS, and other organizations would never contact you by phone asking you for your information. 

Amazon, hotels, and retail chains have also been “spoofed” as well. Consumers have been getting emails stating that there was a transaction processed in error and “click here” to process your refund. This can lead to stolen information and infection of your computer. If you get an email stating you are due a refund, check your account and make sure you actually were charged for what they are stating and DO NOT respond. 

Bottom line: think twice and be cautious. If the deal sounds too good to be true, then it is! If you really think about it, if these things were actually real, you would not be contacted in the way that these scams do.

Have a happy holiday and be safe, both physically and financially!

My Techie Christmas Gift To Myself This Year!

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Good day! It’s that time of year again! A time of family, good food, gift giving, among other things! I was recently asked, “As a tech, what is one gadget that you wish to get, or will get for yourself?” Well, here it is. The one thing that I am getting myself this year is the TripleHead2Go from Matrox.

The TripleHead2Go is considered a “Graphics Expansion Module.” This module allows you to use up to 3 monitors from one graphic port. You can use it with, DVI, VGA, Display Port, Mini Display Port, or Thunderbolt Port (depending on the model you get). It uses one of your graphic outputs and tells your computer there is only one monitor plugged in, when there are really three. It creates a “stretched” desktop with a max resolution of 5760×1080 across three screens and 3840×1200 across two screens.

downloadIdeally, I am going to get two of them and use six monitors at once, three monitors wide and two tall, giving myself that “Swordfish” look. This device is both Mac- and PC-compatible and is a great investment for any hardcore gamer out there who is interested in “Surround Gaming.”

Feel free to read more about it at the website below, or check out the YouTube link! I am rather excited about this one. :)

http://www.matrox.com/graphics/en/products/gxm/th2go/digital_se/#close

HELP! I need more monitors than my computer supports!!

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Hello there! Today I wanted to provide some insight into a topic that I have seen come up a few times: when you need multiple monitors, but your computer only supports one or two.

In most “out of the box” computer situations, the standard video card that comes with the computer will only support one or two monitors. Some companies have a group of heavy users who have a need for multiple monitors — more than what comes standard on a “normal” video card. (I say “normal” because you have the option to buy a more top-of-the-line PC that has an upgraded video card that is a lot more expensive.) Most times, people think their only options are 1) to buy a new, upgraded PC or 2) to buy an expensive gaming video card. Well, I have a solution for you.

As easy way for someone to add an additional monitor without major upgrades is a USB Graphic Adapter. This nifty little device generally costs under $60 and plugs into an available USB 2.0/3.0 port. When you get it, you will need to install a lightweight piece of software. There is not much to it. They come in VGA and DVI, so there are options for the most common kinds of monitors.

Below are a few links to some for purchase:

HP USB Graphics Adapter ($59, via Hewlett Packard)
Smart Buy USB Graphics Adapter ($46.34, via Amazon)
Ultra U12-40889 USB Graphics Adapter ($29.97, via TigerDirect)
UGA USB to DVI VGA HDMI Multi-Display Graphics Adapter for Windows and Mac OS X ($40.89, via Newegg)

If you need help installing the software, or just need more help or advice on this topic, please feel free to give us a call at Everon (888-244-1748). We’re here for you!