ALERT: Your Anti-Virus May be Letting You Down

by Lou Horton on July 14, 2017

The best way to avoid a computer virus is by using common sense, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be safe from attack. Even the most careful user can find themselves infected in an instant and spreading the virus faster than a sneeze in flu season. It’s why antivirus software is still the first package we install on all systems – because you never know when you’ll be attacked. But should you choose free or paid antivirus?

Recommend Paid Anti-Virus

Advertising: Much like a free app making its fortune with in-app purchases, the free antivirus software will push for payment. Expect popup boxes pestering you to sign up to the paid version at least daily. Some free options will also try to change your browser home page and default search engine, an inconvenience you may be stuck with. Paid options are more respectful and largely invisible unless they’ve detected a problem.

Effectiveness: It’s fair to expect your antivirus to detect malware, and testing showed that in a head-to-head battle free and paid are about equal at catching known infections. And therein lies the kicker: generally speaking, free antivirus needs to have recorded a virus to its library before it can detect it. Paid antivirus is more likely to identify and stop a new virus. It essentially bases the detection on suspicious behavior, source and attributes, a far more effective method of detection.

Features: Free antivirus options are usually created from the paid version, taking out everything except the bare minimum. In your paid version, you can expect advanced features like spam filters, firewalls, parental controls and secure web browsing. Some paid antivirus will also update your other software packages, forming a more secure protection against attacks. For example, you might view a malicious image file that takes advantage of an exploit in your PDF software. Unfortunately, hackers have advanced beyond simple tactics and it’s not just about avoiding email attachments anymore.

Support:  Free antivirus options are the most popular choice because they’re… free. Obviously.  This also means there’s generally no support available. If there’s a problem or conflict with another program, you may find yourself without protection until it can be resolved. Paid antivirus options usually include telephone support, ready to help with problems ranging from installation to system diagnostics.

Ease of use: Depending on what you use your computer for, this may be an important concern. Free antivirus options are easy to install and use, but are very limited in their flexibility. They come as-is, meaning you can’t pick and choose what it monitors or how it reacts. For example, users occasionally find it necessary to disable ALL protections in order to install a network game. Paid versions are more likely to allow you to adapt the way it runs, switching features on and off as required.

Free antivirus is fine for very basic protection, those on a budget or those with an older PC. In these cases, something is always better than nothing. But we generally recommend you go with a paid antivirus to defend you from the new attacks that are released daily, and to ensure you’ve got solid protection that will make a real difference to your digital safety.

Talk to us at 630-444-7220 about upgrading to a paid antivirus or check out our recommendation here.

{ 0 comments }

Windows Vista End Of SupportThe clock has run out for Windows Vista users. On April 11th 2017, Microsoft ceased all support and security patching, just like they did with previous Windows versions.  Naturally, you’re rather attached to your current operating system and not exactly leaping for joy at this news!

Microsoft Vista End Of Life

Unfortunately, the longer your computer goes without an upgrade, the higher the chance of a complete system breach. Even if you were watching the count-down and thinking about scheduling an upgrade sometime soon, cyber-criminals are making plans of their own. As time progresses, they’ll actively target out-of-date systems and search for vulnerabilities.  Since it has now been a few months since the end of support, rest assured that new attacks are being planned just as they were on Windows XP.

Even the most stalwart Vista user must finally upgrade, as continuing to use it will expose your computer to some pretty confronting risks, including:

Security risks: While Microsoft may have patched the gaps exploited during the Vista lifetime, there are many more just waiting to be discovered. It gets worse: your antivirus program is unlikely to intercept these attacks.  Hackers are extremely fast to exploit newly-discovered vulnerabilities and without Microsoft working just as fast to close them, the risk increases exponentially every time you turn the computer on.

Compliance risks: For business users, this is a big one. Many businesses are subject to conditions that require them to run an operating system that’s regularly patched. For those working with sensitive, legal or private data, this is even more important. Continuing to use an unsupported OS places not just the system security at risk, but also the entire business.

Software incompatibility:  New applications are created exclusively for current operating systems. This means you can’t upgrade past the software you now have, and will soon be phased out of new updates and options across all application types.

No support: Vista mainstream support was stopped back in 2012 but there were always avenues if you were really stuck with something. A quick Google search, an expert on call or even sympathetic support staff at Microsoft helpdesk willing to bend the rules; as of April 11 though, that all stopped. The only support available will be outdated pieces you can locate with Google, solutions which may 

The solution is: upgrade your computers to Windows 10.  Since most computers running Windows Vista are several years old and there is no direct upgrade from Windows Vista to Windows 10, we do not recommend investing in the labor and software licensing required to upgrade your computer to Windows 10.  The money will be much better spent investing in a new system which will come with a license of the lastest Windows operating system.  

Windows 10 is the latest release and will give your upgrade investment the most value over time, as well as the best security Windows users have ever seen. Vista will continue to work after April 11, but every day you use it puts your system at increasingly higher levels of risk.  Windows 7 and 8/8.1 users are still supported for some time so there is no reason to panic at this point.

If you end up getting a new computer and would like assistance installing it and moving over your programs and files, please feel free to contact us at 630-444-7220.

{ 0 comments }

When is the last time you backed up your files?

by Lou Horton on November 7, 2016

At least a few times a week we work on systems that are inoperable to the point where data recovery is required.  Sometimes these situations can be resolved by advanced or “clean room” data recovery but that can get VERY expensive.  In most cases our customer doesn’t have any sort of data backup in place.  Many own external hard drives or flash drives but backing up your files and pictures always seem to be pushed to the bottom of the to-do list and often just doesn’t get done at all… This highlights the need for an automatic, online cloud backup solution.

There are many solutions out there which can accomplish this task.  For many years we have been using the Carbonite cloud backup solution.  It automatically backs up your files whenever they are added to your computer or changed.  As long as you have an Internet connection, your files will ALWAYS be backed up in a secure data center.  The annual cost for the basic solution is only about $60/year which is less expensive than even the most basic data recovery case.  The software is very easy to install and use.  There is also a free trial available if you want to try it out but this really isn’t necessary because it just works.  To purchase the software or get a trial, simply click this link.

Carbonite Authorized Reseller

 

 

{ 0 comments }

Few tips for avoiding computer problems

December 14, 2015

Our gift to you this holiday season: Below you will find a few helpful tips which will hopefully avoid some common problems. 1.)  When you do turn off your computer (desktop or laptop), shut it down using the built in Windows function.  How to do this will vary depending on the version of Windows that […]

Read the full article →

Windows 10 Recommendations

September 15, 2015

On July 29, 2015 Microsoft made Windows 10 available (for free) to owners of Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1.  Overall I think that Windows 10 is a better release than the prior versions but as with any new operating system, you really don’t want to be an early adopter unless you are living on the edge.  […]

Read the full article →

All virus removal services are not created equal

May 5, 2015

It seems that every office supply, electronics store or local geek is offering virus removal service these days.  Most of them are probably capable of repairing the active infection but few of them do anything to prevent it from happening again.  It has also become very common practice for these services to “nuke and pave” […]

Read the full article →

Beware of fake updates

February 16, 2015

Over the last several months we have seen an increase in the number of malware infections related to an end user attempting to update an Adobe product or Java.  The individuals that write nastyware are well aware that installing updates to Java, Adobe Flash and Adobe Reader are important to maintaining the security of your […]

Read the full article →

What to do when your email is hacked

November 25, 2014

At one point or another, most of us will fall victim to some form of hacking over the Internet.  The most common form is having cloud based email services such as yahoo mail or live mail hacked.  When this happens you frequently lose access to the email account and the account starts to be used […]

Read the full article →

Free Pickup and Dropoff from Computer-Repair-Now.Com

November 12, 2014

As always we offer free pickup and drop off service to customers located in our extensive primary coverage area.  If you would like to drop off your system, please contact us to schedule an appointment for our North Aurora location. We hope that you like our new vehicle and graphics as much as we do!

Read the full article →

New Mobile Website

November 2, 2014

Computer-Repair-Now.Com is pleased to announce the launch of our mobile site. In order to access the new site, all you need to do is go to the Computer-Repair-Now.Com website. If you are accessing it through a smart phone or mobile device, the mobile version of the website will automatically be displayed. If you wish to […]

Read the full article →