Keeping Your Computer Clean

Nothing feels better than purchasing your first laptop or computer. From the moment we turn it on, we get enthralled in the post screens, hold our breath during the loading screen and give out a huge exhale accompanied by a smile when the operating system loads. Indeed, nothing is better than purchasing your first computer and nothing is worse than its first break down.

Aside from viruses and malware, many failures of computer systems start from a hardware failure which could be prevented with a little care.

1. Keep vents clear of dust.
One of the easiest ways to prolong the life of your machine is to keep the vents clear of dust. Your computer suctions in a lot of air to help cool the internal component parts within the casing. Avoid using your mouth to blow out dust. Compressed air does wonders providing that you computer is unplugged and you are using it 3 to 6 inches from the vent. Avoid getting any closer as the condensation can damage the computer.

2. Do not place computer on fabric surfaces.
With laptops especially, we sometimes have the tendency to place the computer on our lap or on the bed. Don’t do this. Blocking the vents keeps the hot air in which can damage your motherboard. Many third party stands are available to keep the laptop elevated. This improves the air circulation and best of all you can keep the stand in your lap and the device cost less than $20.

3. When your computer sounds like a turbine engine…
Don’t ignore it. Its time to take it into a shop for some internal cleaning. This sound may mean that there is too much dust inside the unit or the heat has worn the protect paste between the processor and fan. Ignoring this sign could cause you to fork over some major cash for repairs or worse cause your computer to be inoperable.

These are a few basic steps you could take to improve the performance of your computer.

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6 Strikes Now In Effect

In late February, several Internet Service Providers (ISP) enacted the Copyright Alert System (

CAS) also known as Six Strikes.  The system is designed to deter users who download or access copyright content without sufficient permissions over the internet.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO YOU

If you are a fan of downloading or sharing torrents where the content is copyrighted or accessing sites that enable you to watch content normally accessible by paid methods (PPV); an IP (Intellectual Property) content owner can notify your ISP of your activity and the ISP has the right to take action ranging from warnings, throttling (slowing down) internet connections and potentially terminating service until a user completes a training webinar on the subject .

Most ISPs have not disclosed the details of the action process to the general public.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO PREVENT THIS ACTION FROM OCCURRING

Educate yourself on what is acceptable by contacting your ISP and having them explain the CAS system to you.  The more informed you are in the subject matter the better.  Additionally, educate your family, especially adolescence and teenagers who may access the internet without direct supervision.

Written By: Sage N.C.
Tags: #6strikes, #sixstrikes, #CAS, #copyrightalertsystem,

 

Spam

SPAM

We all get it from time to time.  Those unwanted emails that attempt to persuade us to buy prescription drugs or visit a site to be eligible for a vacation package that seems too good to be true. SPAM: and we thought snail mail was bad.

SPAM is typically the unsolicited emails that a user gets in their inbox.  Some can be as harmless as driving traffic to a particular site or service; and some can be malicious in nature, sending you to a website filled with infected (virus) files.

No one really likes SPAM and we subconsciously either click links to peak our curiosity or we delete the email as an afterthought.  The funny thing about it is that despite our efforts to eradicate the problem, like unwanted rodents, they keep coming back.  So what are the risks of SPAM and how do we get rid of it?  Although there is no sure fire proof to rid all SPAM, understanding how your email address ended up on a mailing campaign and knowing what viable options you have , can help reduce this pain.

How Do I Get SPAM?

So we start our by asking ourselves?  How in the world did I end up on a SPAM campaign?  In this day and age where data and content are king….I will touch base on the three main culprits.

1)      MOBILE APPS – Free is not always good and often comes with a price.  When you download applications from the android or iOS markets, you may be blinding allowing the publisher to obtain pertinent information from your device including your name, phone number, email address and even the contact information of your friends and family.

All this information can be used to solicit products, services and potentially entice you to click on a link to an infected website.  I recall an instance in which I downloaded a card game program from the Android Market and within seconds of opening the application, I was bombarded with text messages from unknown numbers telling me that I won a cruise.

2)      FORUMS – Another popular way to end up on the campaign list is by posting on forums.  Many programs today exist to scan forums for email addresses listed and/or user names of the poster.  With the extrapolation of users names, these programs are notorious for duplicating the user name with different domain names in hopes to have reach you or another user with that combination.

3)      SOCIAL SITES – Social Media websites are the most prevalent way in our society to take information and use it for SPAM.  From the moment you sign up for the service, you are providing your information that can be used to send you unsolicited emails.  Furthermore, when you add applications/games (i.e. Farmsville, MafiaWars) to your profile, some of your information may be transferred over to the publisher.

What Are The Risks?

So what is the big idea with SPAM.  Some are perfectly harmless, offering products and services based off of purchases you made or interests that you’ve expressed.  Others will try to lure you into a website that is design to take information or worse, automatically installing computer viruses, tracking tools or malware on your system.

With Mobile Applications, your contact list may be subject to unsolicited text messages.  Before you download an application, make sure that you review what access you are granting the program to.  If it is confirms that it has access to your phone lists and text messages, ask yourself if it make sense for the application to have access to it.  You may want to rethink or find an alternative program for your needs.

What Can I Do To Get Rid Of It?

So the underlining question is, how do I reduce the SPAM that I receive?  Although, there is no sure 100% way to get rid of SPAM, here are some tips that should help you significantly reduce your SPAM:

1)      Unsubscribe Vs. Reporting Spam – Most solicitation emails have the option to unsubscribe to their mailing campaign by simply clicking on the link located in tiny print on the bottom footer.  I CAUTION YOU, THIS IS NOT ALWAYS THE BEST OPTION.

Some lesser known companies will have the option to unsubscribe but when you select the link, it redirects you to a website that requires you to enter your email address to unsubscribe.  When you comply with this direction, many times you are signing up for another service or adding yourself to another SPAM campaign. If clicking the link does not work without other user input, do not proceed further.

RULE OF THUMB: Only use the Unsubscribe option from reputable, well-known companies that you know and trust (i.e. Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart).  If it is a company or email address that you are not familiar with, mark the email as SPAM, so that your email provider can filter this from the server.  Many email providers rank different domains based off of users reporting SPAM to them.  So do your part.

2)      Choose Users Names Different From Email – Many online users are notorious for using the same user names as their email address.  For example, JohnSmith posted on a forum.  His user name may be extracted from a SPAM bot in which they will send emails to various common domains (i.e. @yahoo, @gmail, @aol, @msn), in hopes of getting a hit.  Then off to the races.

3)      Explore Privacy Settings – All social sites have a privacy policy that will tell you how your information is being used.  It is generally located at the bottom right of the main website.

Just because you signed up with a social media service with every privacy option unchecked (opt-in), doesn’t mean that you cannot go back and opt-out.  Access the account or privacy settings.  There are generally a list of different options and explanation how this will affect you.

As always, if you feel like your system has been compromised, contact us for a PC Health check.

TAG: #SPAM, #EMAIL, #PRIVACY, #UNSUBSCRIBE, #VIRUS, #ANTIVIRUS