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13 Oct

Protect your data – Microsoft Do Not Call you to ‘Fix your Computer’!

Author: GTI Computers
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A couple of people we know have recently received phone calls out of the blue from someone claiming to be working for Microsoft Tech Support.

The callers say that ‘problems on your computer’ have been reported to them and they are calling up to help you fix them.

No they’re not. It’s a scam.

The callers go on to ask for access details – passwords and usernames etc – which will allow them to access your computer remotely, stealing valuable data or planting malware (malicious software) on your hard drive.

The Microsoft official website advises that “Microsoft does not make unsolicited phone calls to help you fix your computer”, and also points out that:

  • • there is a no ‘Microsoft Lottery’, so you can’t win it!
  • • they never call you asking for credit card details to validate your copy of Windows.
  • • they don’t send out emails containing security or other upgrades as an attachment.

This is generally true of all software providers – any calls or emails you receive

What is Malware?

Malware is a broad term that describes all software written with a malicious or criminal intent, including viruses and trojans. The purpose of malware programmes can vary enormously. There are those that cause pop-up windows to appear in the hope you’ll click on them, basically unwanted advertising, and these are just annoying or mischievous. Some will allow the cybercriminals who plant it access to your email programme so that they can send out messages using your address.

Others have much darker intent: the worst type will either deliberately destroy or damage your data, or simply monitor your activity and potentially steal important passwords and access details as you key them in.

Protect yourself

This can all sound a bit scary, particularly as we become more and more used to conducting so much of our business and personal lives online.

The first line of defence is to make yourself, and your employees, highly aware of the tricks they could be subjected to. When you know what measures cybercriminals are resorting to, you are much less likely to be caught off guard and fall for their scams.

Making it clear that they are not, under any circumstances, to give usernames, passwords or any other access details to anyone other than your authorised IT representatives should help eliminate the risk that they would trustingly fall for a phone scam.

Pointing out that they should never open attachments on emails from sources they don’t know and trust is another basic that is easily forgotten.

Do you think you may have been infiltrated?

With the best will in the world, it is really difficult to be hyper-vigilant all the time.

If you suspect that you might have been attacked with malware, viruses or trojans, and you want to check it out, use the free online scanner at ESET.

This powerful little programme works through your web-browser to check for and clean up malware that has found its way onto your computer. It uses the same ThreatSense® technology as their anti-virus software and it’s always completely up-to-date.

Of course, to work the software will need to access your system in exactly the same way as the scammers were trying to do – and that’s when you need to know that you’re dealing with a tried and trusted source.

We at GTI are only too happy to recommend ESET’s solutions as we know from experience how effective they are. They are a genuine and trusted supplier to us, and we know they have your best interests at heart.

In industry tests they regularly top the ratings for reliability – we use ESET security software ourselves, and we advise our clients to as well. Why? Well, the proof is in the pudding as they say – we spend quite a lot of our time cleaning up clients’ systems after virus and other malware attacks. But we’ve never had a call from any of our clients using ESET’s NOD32 security software.

We think that speaks volumes!

Do you have to switch off to save money?

Do you have to switch off to save money?

Energy conservation and cost are high on the agenda of almost all businesses. We all know we need to save cash – and the environment at the same time – but how many of us are guilty of leaving our computers and monitors on standby while we’re away from them?

Indeed, some computers and peripherals that are switched off can still draw a tiny trickle of current if they are connected to the mains.

Screens and PCs that remain on standby use between 1-5 watts per hour depending on make and model. That doesn’t seem like much for one machine, but when you consider that it’s likely to be on standby for close to two thirds of the day, and then you multiply that by the number of PCs in use across the country, and across the globe – suddenly the tiny trickle to your darkened monitor looks like part of a veritable torrent of power being totally wasted.

Feel guilty no longer! At last, real solutions to the problem of ‘stand-by’ power usage are being offered.

Habits, including leaving your PCs on overnight, can be very difficult to change – so it’s great to see some innovations being made that deal with the issue at the root. Fujitsu are blazing the trail when it comes to monitors and PCs that use zero power when in hibernation and off mode.

Fujitsu were the first company to produce a zero-watt PC at CeBIT 2009 in Hanover. The ESPRIMO range “does not consume any power in off-mode or hibernating while still remaining administrable”.

Couple them with the excellent quality ECO displays and you have a truly ‘green’ setup in your office. The ECO monitors also consume zero power when switched off or in standby mode, and have the additional environmental benefit of auto brightness controls and an ECO button that can adjust your monitor to reduce power consumption by up to 50% during working hours.

It does all this without compromising your working capability, and retaining excellent colour reproduction. They also offer numerous connector options and an ultra-wide viewing angle through IPS panel (In Plane Switching).

Saving the planet while saving money? Sounds good to us.

If you are interested in the Fujitsu ECO display range, or the ESPRIMO Zero-Watt PCs, please do give GTI Computers a call for more information.

01 Dec

Windows 7 – Some Technologies Can Change your Life

Author: GTI Computers
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Windows 7 has arrived and so far the feedback we’re getting is all good!

Our clients are pleased with the speed and performance, and the new features are going down a storm.

Our latest advertising says about Windows 7, that ‘some technologies can change your world’. What do we mean about Windows 7 and your computing world?

Everything about Windows 7 has been designed to make using your computer a much faster, and more intuitive, experience, at a price point that makes sense for you.

There are three levels of Windows 7 upgrade available. The first is the Home Premium, which features all the standard new improvements and increased performance.

• Utilities like Pin and Jump Lists will give you quicker access to all your files and programs but letting you put them where you will find them easily.

• You can resize and rearrange your open windows more easily, so you can compare and work in two windows at once.

• The improved Windows Search will let you find what you’re looking for in just seconds.

• Sharing files and printers between PCs has been streamlined.

• Connecting to wireless networks is now possible in as little as three clicks.

• The ‘sleep’ and ‘resume’ functions have been speeded up, making your PC or laptop much more responsive when you need to stop and start work.

• If you have a touch-sensitive screen, then the touch and tap functions in Windows 7 can be easier and more intuitive to use than the traditional point and click of a mouse.

• Devices, such as cameras, phones and printers are much simpler to hook up and use.

• Whether for business or pleasure purposes, the improved Windows Media Centre and movie creation facilities are fantastic.

Each one of the above features will make working on your PC or laptop a faster, more efficient and profitable experience – and that can be key to changing your business world!

For the serious business user, Windows 7 Professional features the ability to run in Windows XP mode, so that you don’t have to upgrade all your software. It also features enhanced security and backup/restore features.

Windows 7 Ultimate has advanced antitheft software, called BitLocker, which protects your PC or laptop, and any portable storage devices you use. If your data is confidential or sensitive, this might be the ideal package for you. Ultimate also allows you to work in any one of 35 languages.

Subtle changes to the tools you use can make big differences to your results – Windows 7 is a major leap forward in making your computing a faster, easier and more profitable part of your business and your life.

There’s lots of information available about the different features Windows 7 offers at the Microsoft website, or call GTI and speak to us about upgrading your system.