Windows XP Updates and Support Ends April 8th 2014

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You may not be aware that Microsoft’s Windows XP support is scheduled to end on April 8th, 2014. Your computer using XP will continue to function. Microsoft will be releasing no more updates, patches or hotfixes for the machine, rendering it vulnerable over time as new security vulnerabilities are found and exploited. XP was released in 2002 – there are more secure Operating Systems now available,

Most of my customers prefer the familiarity of operation found in Windows 7 – and struggle with Windows 8′s radically different user interface. Windows 7 is still available to upgrade your current computer. (Most computers built in the last 5-6 years are capable of running Windows 7.)

You can call me at 402-525-3799 to ask me to determine if your computer will run Windows 7, and if any hardware upgrades are needed to run Windows 7 efficiently.

If you choose to continue to run Windows XP for a while longer, I would strongly urge you to have a current working anti-virus program on it. I also suggest keeping all ancillary programs such as Java, Adobe Flash Player, Adobe Reader, Itunes and so forth updated to their newest versions to try and avoid unnecessary vulnerabilities minimized.

Computer Repair in Ashland, Elmwood, Weeping Water, Lousiville, Greenwood, Murdock, and Eagle Nebraska

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Computer Repairs & Upgrades are Available Locally

Cass County Computer Repair offers competent, prompt & friendly hometown service for your computer.

  • Virus and Malware Removal

  • Hardware Repairs and Upgrades

  • Data Recovery and Transfer

  • Computer Optimization to Speed Up Your PC

  • Custom Built Computers

  • Website Design and Hosting

  • Search Engine Optimization for Your Business Website

If you would like personal, professional service for your computer, you are in the right spot. I offer free pickup and delivery of your computer within 15 miles of my shop. If you are tired of the impersonal service (that takes forever to finish) in the big stores, give me a call at 402-525-3799 or send me an email.

Lon@CassCountyComputerRepair.com

Affordable PC Repairs

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Give me a call at 402-525-3799 or send an email to Lon@CassCountyComputerRepair.com for affordable repairs and upgrades to your computer in the western Cass County Nebraska area. I offer free pickup and delivery of your PC within a 15 mile radius of the shop. I will collect an initial diagnostic fee of $30.00  upon pickup of your computer.

Louisville, Manley, Weeping Water, Murdock, Elmwood, Avoca, Eagle, Alvo and Ashland  Nebraska are all within a 15 mile radius of the shop and qualify for free pickup and delivery, provided we perform the repair work on your PC. My diagnostic fee of $30.00 is waived (deducted from your bill) if you choose us to complete the repair.

My “hourly bench rate” is $60.00 per hour. Only the time I actually spend interacting with your computer is billed to you, not all the time it is simply being scanned on my work bench without my intervention. An average bill for virus removal is approximately $90.00 – $120.00, an 1.5 to 2 hours of labor, but the total is variable depending on how heavily infected your computer is. If the computer will no longer start and run, we will have to remove the hard drive for external scanning, resulting in additional expense.

Please be prepared to provide us with the CDs or DVDs with the software that came with your computer. I will also need the operating systems license key, and the license keys for any extra software you wish to have installed (Microsoft Office – etc). These will be needed if we are forced to do a re-installation because of irreparable harm to your operating system from a virus infection.
Email me at:
Lon@CassCountyComputerRepair.com

Contact Cass County Computer Repair

Computer Malware has Entered a New Phase

The latest malware scam (known as ransom ware) in the repair trade is called “CryptoLocker”. Once it is installed on your computer it proceeds to encrypt your documents and files, then tells you to pay a $300.00 fee for the password to unencrypt your files.

Some businesses have been forced to pay the ransom to recover their data. All attached hard drives are effected by this ransomware – so all the backups on external drives and servers that are online at the time of the infection are encrypted too.

The best solution is prevention. I would suggest that backups of your valuable data be made to an external device (external hard drive, USB drive, CD/DVD drive, etc) that is disconnected or removed after the backup is completed.

If you are running Vista or Windows 7 or 8, it is possible to recover data with some work – bypassing the encrypted files using the “shadow copy” – provided “shadow copy” is enabled on your computer. Windows XP and prior operating systems..the news is not good if you have not made protected backups.

Take steps to protect yourself from the scammers..back up your irreplaceable pictures, documents and data now, before it is too late.

Feel free to contact me for suggestions on what to do to protect your PC… or to recover your data if that is what is needed.

Call Lon at 402-525-3799 or

Email me at:
Lon@CassCountyComputerRepair.com

The End of XP

Microsoft is ending XP support (updates, hotfixes and patches) on April 14th, 2014. Now is the time to consider what to do. Some computers running XP can run Windows 7, but they might need some upgrades to run it efficiently. The minimum specifications I would suggest for an upgrade to Windows 7 would be a dual core processor (Pentium D or Core2 Duo) with a minimum of 2 Gb of RAM – 4 Gb would be much better.

Older machines will need to be upgraded; either with a refurbished computer or a new computer. Depending on what you use the computer to do, a off lease “business class” computer that has been refurbished will work just fine for the majority of people for internet use and word processing.

A new off the shelf computer will do just fine for those tasks too, but you should be aware that Microsoft is currently shipping Windows 8. While Windows 8 is a decent operating system, it is a completely different “look” than Windows had up to Windows 7. There is no start button or programs menu, which can be confusing and make the transition more difficult. There are some 3rd party programs that add back the Start button and Programs Menu to Windows 8.

If you do decide to go with a new computer, I would be happy to help you get your documents and photos transferred to your new computer. I can also check your old computer out and upgrade it if that is practical.

If you wish to purchase a refurbished computer I would suggest buying a business class machine. Because they lease them with a “on site” service contract, business computers tend to have more durable hardware than a consumer grade machine.

Please give me a call at 402-525-3799 or email

Lon@CassCountyComputerRepair.com

Scams -Spams and Fishing for your Money Part III

The latest malicious software currently making the rounds is a recycled variant of the “FBI Virus” It locks down your computer so it will do nothing except display an official looking message “Illegal content has been found on your computer. Your computer has been locked by the FBI and the lock will not be removed until you pay a $100.00 fine”. Of course there is a link to pay your “fine”.

This virus is typically transmitted by email. Make sure your anti-virus program has access to scan your incoming email. Do not open email from people you don’t know, and be very careful when opening email attachments. It is best to right click on the attachment and have your anti-virus program scan it before opening any attachment.

Scams Spams and Phishing for Your Money Part II: Phishing for your account information using email

If you ever post on Craigslist or use PayPal, please be aware that scammers will stop at nothing to steal your information. A very common way to gain access to your financial accounts is known as “phishing”. I got an email purportedly informing me that my PayPal account had been suspended, and that I needed to “verify” my account information.

“Phishing” is a variant of the class of fraud known in computer security circles as “social engineering”. Social engineering is simply a lie. The old fashioned way of using social engineering was to call a business and impersonate someone who is high on a corporate ladder calling into the office to beg the operator to  PLEASE save them embarrassment by looking up login details of the impersonated corporate officer, giving it to the caller over the phone. The call is often accompanied by a manufactured crisis to boost the importance of the caller getting the login details immediately.

Now the scammers send an authentic appearing email to their intended victims, using classic  social engineering methodologies.

Once you have clicked the link in the authentic appearing email your web browser gets directed to a very authentic appearing copy of PayPal’s website hosted elsewhere on the internet, with the intent of stealing your password and login information to empty your PayPal account.

The easiest way to detect a scam like this is to hover your mouse over the link the scammers intend for you to click and check the web address, which usually appears in the bottom frame of the window you are viewing the email in.

Be aware that this fraud is not limited to PayPal – it can involve any business entity that can be used to gain access to your financial information – even appearing to be from your bank, credit union, or stock broker.

The link in the email below shows  as being to the secure PayPal website https://paypal.com/resolution  In reality the link leads to->  http://www.harmeen.com/images/sys/httpswww.paypal.com.htm”. This is done with the HTML coding used to display the link’s text.

Be very cautious surfing the the internet and responding to email my friends. The same type of deceptive link in an email can lead you to a site that will overwhelm your computer and install malware and/or viruses onto your PC.


Some good information on infected websites and other malicious software can be found at  StopBadware.org


Please do NOT click on anything below this – it is a copy of the email I received – minus some of the authentic appearing images from PayPal – the links are live to the scammers site.

PayPal

Dear Customer,

We need your help resolving an issue with your account. To give us time to work together on this, we’ve temporarily limited what you can do with your account until the issue is resolved.

We understand it may be frustrating not to have full access to your PayPal account. We want to work with you to get your account back to normal as quickly as possible.

Please click on the link below to initiate the verification process:

https://paypal.com/resolution

 

Yours sincerely,
PayPal

Copyright © 2012 PayPal. All rights reserved.

PayPal Email ID PP277

 

Fake Anti-Virus (Scareware) is the Most Common Infection Seen on Computers

Clicking on a “Your computer is infected, click this to scan your computer for threats” pop-up window when surfing the internet is the source of most of the virus removal jobs I get. This source of infections has been around for years – they use scare tactics to get you to click a window – and clicking that window downloads malicious software to your computer.

Fake Anti Virus Malware removal Elmwood, Murdock, Ashland, Lousiville, Weeping Water, Nebraska, NE, Cass County

A Typical Rogue Anti-Virus Program

A  Partial List of the “Rogue AntiVirus Programs”:
Antispyware Soldier-AntiVermeans-AntiVermins-AntiVerminser-AntiVirGear-Antivirus 2009-Antivirus Lab 2009-Antivirus Master-Antivirus XP 2008-AntivirusGolden-AVGold-BraveSentry-IE Defender-Internet Antivirus-MalwareCrush-MalwareWipe-MalwareWiped-MalwareWipePro-MalwareWiper-Micro Antivirus 2009-MS Antivirus-PestCapture-PestTrap-Power Antivirus 2009-Power Antivirus-PSGuard-Smart Antivirus 2009-SpyAxe-SpyCrush-SpyDown-SpyFalcon-SpyGuard-SpyHeal-XP AntiVirus…and the list goes on and on.

These malicious programs will hijack your computer, redirect your internet searches, prevent your programs from running (including the anti virus program you have installed) – and blame it all on the imaginary “threats” they pretend to have found while “scanning” your PC. The object of all of this is simple – to blackmail you into paying them money for their fake anti-virus program..to remove the problems these infections create.

Even worse, I had a customer who actually paid $49.95 for a “year subscription” to one of these fake “Anti-virus” programs believing they were doing the right thing.to protect their computer. 30 days later they received another bill for $49.95, and when they did not pay it, their computer became impossible to use at all – only the desktop picture was visible.

I don’t know about you, but the last people in the world I want to have my credit card information are people trying to scam me out of money.

The first line of defense is to not click anything unfamiliar, install a WELL KNOWN anti virus program by a reputable company and scan regularly. Know what that program looks like and don’t allow “mystery programs” past your anti-virus program..If your anti virus detects a threat – believe it.

Another safeguard is to use Firefox as a web browser and to use the “NoScript” add-on for Firefox to prevent the Java script exploits that are one method of infecting your PC. Not clicking on pop-up Windows is another good line of defense – even clicking “No” can infect your computer. When I run into one of these pop-up windows when surfing the web, I click nothing – instead I simply re-start my computer using the Windows “Start” button.

If you already are infected, give me a call. These infections can be removed and the functionality of your computer restored to normal.

Malicious Software and Pintrest

Reports are starting to come in concerning viral and malware infections contracted by those using the “Pintrest” website. When you “Pin” something up, others are encouraged to to click it too to “pin” it up also. The “pinned” web content may be completely harmless when it is first pinned for others to see.

Given the huge growth Pintrest is experiencing, it is a “ripe fruit” for those distributing malicious software to use to their advantage. There have been multiple reports of malware infections contracted by people visiting the site “pinned” and clicking on an “irresistible” offer. Offers of “free gift cards”, “Win a PS3″ and others are “served up” by adservers to websites, so the owner of the site can make a few pennies on every ad that is clicked.

The problem; poor screening of the ads practically invites distributors of malicious software to insert malicious code into the ads “served up” to be clicked upon.

The simple solution: Remember, there is no such thing as a free lunch. DON’T click on “free” offers. If there is bait in the water, chances are it will have a hook in it.

The reported infections are sailing right past McAffee’s protection, and other anti-virus programs may have vulnerability to this malicious software too. Until virus definitions are updated, an anti-virus program cannot stop the virus, simply because it does not know what to look for.

Scams, Spams and Phishing for Your Money

The latest threat for the home computer user is on the telephone. Many people have received a phone call “out of the blue” claiming to be from Microsoft or another authoritative technology company. They will tell you that a virus has been detected on your computer, or that they have detected a vulnerability and ask you to press a combination of keys.

Refuse! – these scammers are trying to gain remote access to your computer to try and fool you into paying for a bogus “remote repair”. Microsoft does not have access to your computer and does not contact Windows users with offers of service. No other technology company does either. If you did not initiate a request for service – RUN don’t walk away from that phone call.

Install a good anti-virus program and use it regularly to scan your computer. Don’t click on ANY pop-up windows that appear while you are on the internet, claiming your computer is infected and offering to scan it and remove the “viruses” unless it is from the anti-virus program you have installed on your computer.