Formerly Nerd4Rent https://www.nerd4rent.com Local, Trusted, Reliable Technology Support for Your Home, Small Business, Home Office. Computer Setup, Networking, Virus Removal, Backup, Windows and Macs. Sun, 29 Oct 2017 23:54:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Wi-Fi Vulnerability https://www.nerd4rent.com/wi-fi-vulnerability/ Wed, 18 Oct 2017 19:10:38 +0000 https://www.nerd4rent.com/?p=1338 A significant vulnerability in the security for wireless communication (WPA2), has been discovered. the vulnerability is called KRACK. A hacker using this vulnerability could access your usernames, passwords, and any other information sent over wireless communication. The hacker could also Continue reading Wi-Fi Vulnerability

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A significant vulnerability in the security for wireless communication (WPA2), has been discovered. the vulnerability is called KRACK.

A hacker using this vulnerability could access your usernames, passwords, and any other information sent over wireless communication. The hacker could also take control of your computer, smartphone, or tablet.

Here are the limitations: The hacker would have to be within wi-fi range of your device. Also, most sensitive information is also encrypted by secure HTTP (HTTPS), meaning the hacker couldn’t access HTTPS-encrypted information.

The fix for this vulnerability will have to come from each equipment manufacturer. Our computers, smartphones, tablets, routers, security cameras, (any device that operates over wi-fi), will need to be updated.

If you have a router from your Internet Service Provider: Comcast, AT&T, Wave, etc., they will likely update it automatically. If you are using your own router, it will probably need to be manually updated once the update is available.

As of October 18, 2017, here’s the status of some common devices:

  1. Microsoft has already released a fix on October 10 th, so if you’re using an updated and supported Windows device, you’re ok.
  2. Google and Samsung devices are listed as vulnerable.
  3. There is no information listed for Apple, but we can assume their devices are vulnerable until we hear otherwise.

What to do

  1. Don’t use public wi-fi if at all possible.
  2. Be super-careful about sending sensitive information over wi-fi (usernames, passwords, social security numbers, credit card numbers). If you must perform sensitive transactions over wi-fi, make sure that the little padlock symbol shows in the top line of your browser, to ensure you’re using HTTPS.
  3. Keep all your devices updated.
  4. Use hard-wired connections whenever possible.

Here are some links for additional information:

This is the official government advisory: https://lamorindatechnology.us7.list-manage.com/track/click?u=59906339194d9866bd4c8e2fd&id=f33c9a338d&e=9f2fc020ee

This is an updated list of update status by vendor: https://lamorindatechnology.us7.list-manage.com/track/click?u=59906339194d9866bd4c8e2fd&id=8ce87d873a&e=9f2fc020ee

The following are two articles that provide useful information:

https://lamorindatechnology.us7.list-manage.com/track/click?u=59906339194d9866bd4c8e2fd&id=e98bc6777a&e=9f2fc020ee

https://lamorindatechnology.us7.list-manage.com/track/click?u=59906339194d9866bd4c8e2fd&id=21e94986f2&e=9f2fc020ee

Hopefully, the vendors will put out updates quickly.

Edward

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Equifax Breach, Recommended Vendors https://www.nerd4rent.com/equifax-breach-recommended-vendors/ Tue, 19 Sep 2017 17:33:06 +0000 https://www.nerd4rent.com/?p=1342 Recently, Equifax-the giant credit scoring agency-revealed that they suffered a breach of their computer systems, and that about 182 million records may have been compromised. I’m guessing 182 million includes just about everyone with a credit file. The compromised information Continue reading Equifax Breach, Recommended Vendors

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Recently, Equifax-the giant credit scoring agency-revealed that they suffered a breach of their computer systems, and that about 182 million records may have been compromised. I’m guessing 182 million includes just about everyone with a credit file.

The compromised information includes:
“…primarily names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. In addition, credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 U.S. consumers, and certain dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 U.S. consumers, were accessed…”

What you should do about this important event.
Go to www.equifaxsecurity2017.com

  1. Click the link titled “enroll”
  2. Enter your last name, last 6 digits of your social security number, and go through the test to prove you’re not a robot.

Most likely, you will see a notification that your information was compromised.

  1. Enroll in the free credit monitoring service. This will help notify you of fraudulent activity on your credit file.
  2. Optionally, you can put a credit freeze or fraud alert on your credit file.

Interestingly, this breach is said to have been caused by unpatched (not updated) software. The takeaway here for all of us is the importance of keeping your operating system, applications, cell phone, tablets, and all other electronic devices software updated. The update for this particular issue appears to have been released months prior to the breach.

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Featured Vendors
From time-to-time, I will let you know of vendors that I think are exceptional. I will also make a list of these vendors available on our website.

Massage
I’ve been getting massages from Selina for about 3 years. She is so good that I frequently fall asleep on her table. Her office is in Lafayette. If you’re looking for a great massage, please send Selina a email and setup an appointment, selinameng1314@gmail.com.

Real Estate Services
My good friend of over 30 years, Allen Hibbard, is an exceptional real estate broker, based in Berkeley. He has decades of experience, including real estate sales, both commercial & residential, real estate office manager, and real estate trainer. If you’re in need of a great agent, please give Allen a call at (510) 295-3015, or email him at allenhibbard@gmail.com.

Edward

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Petya Malware-What You Need To Know https://www.nerd4rent.com/petya-malware-need-know/ Thu, 06 Jul 2017 21:45:26 +0000 https://www.nerd4rent.com/?p=1340 Friends, I want to keep you informed and protected. Last week, a very malicious piece of malware was released, that affects Windows computers and servers. It’s called “Petya”. The good news is if you’re a member of our Monitoring/Update, or Continue reading Petya Malware-What You Need To Know

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Friends,

I want to keep you informed and protected.

Last week, a very malicious piece of malware was released, that affects Windows computers and servers. It’s called “Petya”.

The good news is if you’re a member of our Monitoring/Update, or Security service plans, we’ve made sure your computer is not vulnerable to this virus. (hint).

For the rest of you, here’s the lowdown.
This virus comes in an email (the most common attack point for all viruses/malware). If you click the attachment, and IF your Windows computer does not have a recent Microsoft update installed, the virus will encrypt not only your files, but your ENTIRE hard drive in a matter of minutes.

The fix? We have to erase your hard drive and reinstall Windows and every application, then restore your files from backup (if you don’t have backups, ALL your files will be lost).

The repair will cost a few hundred dollars. There is no way to recover the encrypted files, unless you pay the ransom demanded (and that may not work either).

Steps to protect yourself
1. Backup your files. Ideally, an online backup service (we like Carbonite), AND a portable hard drive that you connect to your computer only during backups (otherwise the virus could encrypt your local backups too!).

2. Keep your computers operating system AND other software (Adobe Reader, Microsoft Office, etc.) updated.

3. Be very leery of opening ANY attachments in email, even if it comes from a friend. Why? Your friend’s computer/email could have been hacked and the bad guys are sending out viruses in their name.

3. NEVER respond to a phone call, or pop-up claiming that your computer has an issue and you must call/click to get the issue fixed. EVERY ONE of these is from a criminal/liar just trying to get your money.

4. As a service to our treasured clients (that’s you!), you can call or email us if you get a phone call/email/pop-up you don’t understand, and we will let you know if it’s legitimate.

And now for the best part-this service is complimentary (that means we won’t charge you). Please call us BEFORE you talk to the criminal/click the pop-up, etc. If you call after, they may have infected your computer, or taken your money.

As always, please give us a call if you have any questions or need our advice/services. 925-283-5666

PS, when you go on vacation, please do not post your vacation pictures and location until you get back. Criminals are using Facebook and other social media to track who’s away from their home, and burglarize you.

I hope you’re having a great summer!

Edward

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WannaCry Malware-What You Need To Know https://www.nerd4rent.com/wannacry-malware-need-know/ Wed, 17 May 2017 23:11:16 +0000 https://www.nerd4rent.com/?p=1348 There’s been a lot of talk about the newest malware called WannaCry that encrypts files on Windows computers. This malware does not affect Macs. It’s a nasty virus that eludes most security software and holds your files hostage unless you Continue reading WannaCry Malware-What You Need To Know

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There’s been a lot of talk about the newest malware called WannaCry that encrypts files on Windows computers. This malware does not affect Macs. It’s a nasty virus that eludes most security software and holds your files hostage unless you pay a ransom. Even if you pay the ransom, there’s no guarantee you’ll get your files back.

There’s good news and bad news.

The good news: None of our clients have reported being hit with this virus. Congratulations to all of you!!

The bad news: Hundreds of thousands of computers around the world have been infected. There will surely be more of these viruses coming.

Here are some quick tips to help you understand and avoid this and other malware:

  1. Malware doesn’t install itself! In virtually every case, YOU have to allow the installation of any software on your computer. So be super-careful about pop-ups, that request your permission to allow installations of software.
  2. Almost all malware is currently coming through email attachments or links When you click an attachment or link, you’re telling your computer to perform an action. In many cases, it just takes a click or two to install the virus. Be especially wary of ALL attachments and links in email.

Even if the email comes from someone you know or do business with, it could contain a virus. Why? because that person’s computer could have been compromised and their entire address book would be sent the virus. Secondly, it’s easy to put anyone’s name as the “From” in an email.

  1. Make sure you Backup your files. We still see a lot of computers that aren’t being backed up. We recommend that you have an online backup, plus a local hard drive backup.
  2. Make sure to keep your computer operating system updated. This virus cannot work on a computer with updated operating system software. We offer a service for only $8.99 per month per computer that keeps your computer and software updated, tuned-up, and monitored (no brainer folks).
  3. Install PAID anti-virus/security software. It’s better than the free stuff, and it may stop at least some viruses.
  4. If you’re a business, home-based business or have sensitive data to protect, consider a business-class firewall. A business-class firewall can scan for viruses, block malicious websites, etc. If this is something of interest to you, please give us a call to discuss.
  5. There’s no need to buy a second computer for Internet-only use, Turn off your Internet modem when not in use, etc., for most of you. Just follow the above steps, and you’ll likely never have a virus infection. We’re happy to discuss any special needs/circumstances with you.

As always, please give us a call if you have any questions or need our advice/services. 925-283-5666

Best Regards,

Edward

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Holiday Security Tips; Introducing Lamorinda Technology https://www.nerd4rent.com/holiday-security-tips-introducing-lamorinda-technology/ Tue, 20 Dec 2016 19:46:40 +0000 https://www.nerd4rent.com/?p=1344 Introducing Lamorinda Technology, Inc. As of January 1, 2017, we will be changing our corporate name to Lamorinda Technology, Inc. Why Change the Name? We love the name Nerd4Rent-it’s playful and communicates what we do clearly. However, we have known Continue reading Holiday Security Tips; Introducing Lamorinda Technology

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Introducing Lamorinda Technology, Inc.

As of January 1, 2017, we will be changing our corporate name to Lamorinda Technology, Inc.

Why Change the Name?
We love the name Nerd4Rent-it’s playful and communicates what we do clearly. However, we have known for some time that we lose business because some prospective clients think we’re not professional, or don’t take us seriously, simply because of our name. (hard to believe, right?)

We wanted to communicate effectively the true value of our offer: concierge-level technology service at a great price. We also wanted to create a name that reflects our commitment to serving the local community—the Lafayette, Moraga and Orinda neighborhoods where most of our business and residential clients live and work. As a proud business partner of the Lamorinda community for over 20 years, our professional commitment to community and service continues on as Lamorinda Technology, Inc.

Our promises to you remain unchanged:

  • A business philosophy to deliver what we promise.
  • Outstanding, old-fashioned service.
  • Friendly, honest and reliable employees who won’t “speak geek” to you.
  • Technical excellence and a commitment to 100% client satisfaction.
  • Continuous personal oversight by our owner, an expert in his field, and a dedicated local businessman who puts your technology needs first.
  • Helping to maintain your security in these turbulent times.
  • The same concierge-level service that large businesses pay top dollar for—at a reasonable price.

Everything But Our Name Remains the Same
Other than the name change, (and our email and web address), everything else remains the same. We have the same ownership-Renee and Edward; the same outstanding staff – Gica, Ryan & Tim; the same phone number; same great service.

Our new email addresses & website:
support@lamorindatechnology.com – for all support
cleintcare@lamorindatechnology.com – for scheduling appointments and any non-technical questions.
www.lamorindatechnology.com – our new website

For Those of You Who Love Nerd4Rent, We’ve Got You Covered
You are welcome to think of us as Nerd4Rent, and even make out your checks to Nerd4Rent, as we are keeping that as a secondary business name. We will keep the Nerd4Rent email addresses as well.

We thank you very much for your patronage, and wish you and yours a wonderful 2017.

Edward & Renee Zeidan, Owners

Holiday Security Tips

The holidays are a prime time for scammers and thieves. Here are a few quick tips to help you stay safe:

1. Don’t let ANYONE have remote access to your computer. We’re seeing a new scam lately, where you get a pop-up that says your computer has a problem and to call a number for certified technical support. When you call that number a CRIMINAL asks to access your computer. The criminal then adds a special password to your computers’ configuration database that locks your computer when you restart it. We can’t remove that password. They only thing we can do is try to recover your files, and do a clean reinstallation of your operating system and every software program you have.

2. Don’t click on links in email. A link can say one thing, but behind the scenes, take you somewhere else. Open your Internet browser and manually type in the address.

3. NEVER open any attachment with double extensions. For example, you may get a legitimate-looking email with an attachment that is named invoice.pdf.vbs or invoice.zip.js. Any attachment with a double extension is bad news-don’t click on it.

4. Don’t open emails with .zip, .exe, .dmg, .vbs, .js, and any other uncommon file extension. These files can contain programs that can ruin your computer, lock your files, etc. While some .zip files are legitimate, be sure that you check with the sender before opening them. As for the others, don’t open them no matter what.

5. Be especially leery of fake email attachments claiming to contain an invoice, package tracking information, etc. We’re seeing a lot of these emails, and if you click the attachment or link, your computer and files could be damaged or permanently encrypted.

6. Do call us if you are unsure of any pop-up, phone call or email. As a service to our valued clients, we will assist you in determining the legitimacy of these items at no charge.

Just a quick heads-up, ANY call you receive about your computer is going to be from a scammer, and virtually every pop-up you get telling you your computer has an issue and to call a number for support, is also a scam.

We are here to assist if you need help. (925) 283-5666

Edward

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Protect Yourself From Ransomware Attacks https://www.nerd4rent.com/protect-ransomware-attacks/ Tue, 14 Jun 2016 17:42:14 +0000 https://www.nerd4rent.com/?p=1299 Ransomware is a growing threat! Don’t be a victim. Our client Bill received an email with an invoice attached. He clicked on the invoice to open it and quickly bypassed a couple of warning pop-ups. Immediately, some malicious code contained Continue reading Protect Yourself From Ransomware Attacks

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Ransomware is a growing threat! Don’t be a victim.

Our client Bill received an email with an invoice attached. He clicked on the invoice to open it and quickly bypassed a couple of warning pop-ups. Immediately, some malicious code contained in the invoice file started encrypting all documents, PDF files, music and photos on his computer.

Worse, the code encrypted some files on his company’s server that he had access to, and looked for backup drives, and other computers on the network to attack.

Bill was a victim of ransomware. To see how Bill’s ransomware attack concluded, read on…

What is Ransomware?
Ransomware is malicious software that encrypts files on your computer, backup drives and network. After your files are encrypted with an UNBREAKABLE code, the criminals will ask for payment (ransom) to unlock your files.

The use of ransomware is increasing dramatically, because it’s profitable. There’s no way to know how much money the criminals are taking in, but even published accounts (a very small number of actual incidents), quote tens of millions of dollars of ransom paid in 2015.

According to FBI Cyber Division Assistant Director James Trainor, “There’s no one method or tool that will completely protect you or your organization from a ransomware attack. “But contingency and remediation planning is crucial to … recovery and continuity—and these plans should be tested regularly.”

How does ransomware infect computers?

1. Email attachment: This is the most common method. An email comes in with a legitimate-looking attachment, such as an invoice, fax, or photo. The user is tricked into clicking on the attachment and allowing a program to run.

2. Link to a malicious (or hacked legitimate) website. If your computer is using outdated software, the website will try to install the malicious software without your knowledge, by exploiting a known vulnerability in software like your browser, Java, Flash, etc.

FBI Cyber Division Assistant Director James Trainor, “These criminals have evolved over time and now bypass the need for an individual to click on a link. They do this by seeding legitimate websites with malicious code, taking advantage of unpatched software on end-user computers.”

How can I protect myself from ransomware?

1. The best defense is knowledge. Don’t click on any unverified email attachments.  This alone will stop most ransomware dead in its tracks. Don’t bypass macro security prompts.

2. Backup your files, both locally and online. If the ransomware encrypts your files AND your local backup, you can usually recover from online backup. One of the great features of most online backup services is that they save versions of your files. If the current version is encrypted, you can recover an older, unencrypted version.

3. Keep your operating system and other software updated. Many viruses and ransomware will exploit known vulnerabilities-most of which have been fixed with updated software.

4. Disconnect your backup drives when not is use. If the backup drive is connected when the ransomware hits, it will try to encrypt your backups.

5. Use several layers of malware protection. Anti-virus software alone (especially free versions) is not enough.

6. Use anti-malware software, like MalwareBytes, in conjunction with your anti-virus software.

7. Change your DNS servers. DNS servers like Open DNS will not allow your computer to connect to known malicious websites.

8.  Lock down your computer. Login with a standard user account, and create a password-protected Administrator account that you only use for installing software and administrative tasks. This will prevent most malicious software from installing.

9. Disable macros in documents that come through email or the Internet. Article about disabling macros.

How much money do the criminals demand?
The ransom varies, but we’ve mostly seen $300-$800 demanded.

If I pay the ransom, will I get my files back?
Sometimes. There are many cases where the ransom has been paid and no key is returned. Worse, the criminals require you to pay with untraceable currency, like Bitcoins, which are anonymous and charges can’t be disputed.

What should I do if my files get encrypted?
Try to restore your files from backup
Pay the ransom (not recommended).

According to FBI Cyber Division Assistant Director James Trainor, “The FBI doesn’t support paying a ransom in response to a ransomware attack. Said Trainor, “Paying a ransom doesn’t guarantee an organization that it will get its data back—we’ve seen cases where organizations never got a decryption key after having paid the ransom.

Paying a ransom not only emboldens current cyber criminals to target more organizations, it also offers an incentive for other criminals to get involved in this type of illegal activity. And finally, by paying a ransom, an organization might inadvertently be funding other illicit activity associated with criminals.

So what does the FBI recommend? As ransomware techniques and malware continue to evolve—and because it’s difficult to detect a ransomware compromise before it’s too late—organizations in particular should focus on two main areas:

  • Prevention efforts—both in both in terms of awareness training for employees and robust technical prevention controls; and
  • The creation of a solid business continuity plan in the event of a ransomware attack.

Home computers and Macs are vulnerable to ransomware
if you are a home computer user or a Mac user, all of the above applies to you.

According to FBI’s Trainor “…home computers are just as susceptible to ransomware, and the loss of access to personal and often irreplaceable items—including family photos, videos, and other data—can be devastating for individuals as well

Bill’s story-Continued from above
Bill called us, and we were able to eliminate the malicious code with some virus and anti-malware scans. Luckily for Bill, he had backed up SOME of his files, and we were able to restore them. The files that were not backed up were lost. Bill has since implemented online backup and does not click email attachments.

Resources
FBI Article about ransomware

CERT Article about disabling macros

Open DNS

MalwareBytes

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How To Stop Windows 10 Upgrades https://www.nerd4rent.com/stop-windows-10-upgrades/ Tue, 14 Jun 2016 00:41:53 +0000 https://www.nerd4rent.com/?p=1285 Don’t want your computer to upgrade to Windows 10? We don’t recommend upgrading to Windows 10. If you buy a new computer with Windows 10, that’s fine, but upgrading from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 can cause problems. Windows 10 Continue reading How To Stop Windows 10 Upgrades

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Don’t want your computer to upgrade to Windows 10?

We don’t recommend upgrading to Windows 10. If you buy a new computer with Windows 10, that’s fine, but upgrading from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 can cause problems.

Windows 10 is now a recommended update, which means that it will automatically install itself on your computer in most cases (most of us have Windows Update set to automatically install recommitted updates).

There are several options you can use to block or uninstall Windows 10 if it installs automatically.
1. (recommended method) Block the update by installing a free blocking program. (we recommend having a professional install these programs, as incorrect configuration can cause problems).

2. If the update automatically installs, Decline the update. After the update a screen will come up asking you to Accept or Decline the update. If you decline, the update will be removed, and your computer will revert to it’s previous version of Windows. (see Fig. 1).

3. In some cases, you can revert to your old operating system within 30 days of your Windows 10 upgrade. This option is found under Settings |  Update & Security | Recovery.   Here’s a link with instructions & caveats from Microsoft: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-10/windows-10-recovery-options.

Windows 10 Decline Option

Fig. 1 Decline Windows 10 Update

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Don’t Fall For Fake Tech Support Pop-Ups https://www.nerd4rent.com/dont-fall-fake-tech-support-pop-ups/ Tue, 19 Apr 2016 19:52:38 +0000 https://www.nerd4rent.com/?p=1281 Don’t Fall for the FAKE Tech Support Pop-Ups This is an addendum to my recent post about fake vendor tech support phone calls. Many of our clients have reported pop-ups on their computer, warning of a serious issue and instructing Continue reading Don’t Fall For Fake Tech Support Pop-Ups

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Don’t Fall for the FAKE Tech Support Pop-Ups

This is an addendum to my recent post about fake vendor tech support phone calls.

Many of our clients have reported pop-ups on their computer, warning of a serious issue and instructing them to either click a link or call a phone number to have the “serious issue” resolved.

Worse, many times the pop-ups can’t be closed, so clients think they must call the number, just to regain use of their computer.

These pop-ups are FAKE, do not call or click. Just restart your computer. (if the computer won’t restart normally, hold down the power button for at least 10 seconds, until you see all the lights go out on the computer. Then push the power button to start the computer).

Most of the time, after a restart, the pop-ups will go away. If the pop-up keeps coming back, give us a call, and we’ll help you get rid of it.

Please remember that almost all bugs get into your computer through trickery. the bad guys TRICK you into believing that there is a legitimate software update that needs to be installed, or that your computer has a serious issue.

If you call them, they will ask to remotely access your computer, where they will generally (but not always), show you that there are problems (FAKE), and install some worthless fix-it/security software. They will ask for credit card or bank account information to bill you $200-$500. (Do I need to mention how risky giving out this information can be to your finances and identity?).

Virtually ANY phone call, and most pop-us you receive about your computer are scams.
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Other Important News
1. Disable Windows 10 Upgrades from Windows 7 or 8.  We have stated many times that we don’t recommend upgrading your computer to Windows 10. Our friends at Microsoft are pushing the upgrade very hard, and often, the upgrade is happening automatically.

Recently, we have come across a free software program that will disable the Windows 10 upgrade pop-ups and stop the upgrade. Installation takes just a few minutes.

We are not going to give out the name of this program here, because incorrect installation could cause problems for your computer. If you’d like us to install the program on your computer, (or if you want to try installing/configuring the program yourself) please give us a call. In most cases, we can do the installation remotely.

2. Uninstall Apple QuickTime from your PC. There is a serious security issue with apple QuickTime, that Apple is not going to fix. In fact, Apple has discontinued support for QuickTime, and recommends PC users uninstall the program. We don’t think uninstalling QuickTime will have any negative affects on the vast majority of computers.

Uninstalling QuickTime is easy if you want to do it yourself. Go to Control Panel, and choose Programs. Find the QuickTime program in the list and click Uninstall.

We are here to assist if you need help. (925) 283-5666

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How To Protect Yourself From Scam Phone Calls https://www.nerd4rent.com/protect-scam-phone-calls/ Sun, 06 Mar 2016 23:41:55 +0000 https://www.nerd4rent.com/?p=1267 Executive Summary You receive a call claiming to be from a trusted vendor, claiming they know of some serious issue with your computer that needs immediate attention. The caller asks for remote access to your computer to fix the issue, Continue reading How To Protect Yourself From Scam Phone Calls

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Executive Summary
You receive a call claiming to be from a trusted vendor, claiming they know of some serious issue with your computer that needs immediate attention. The caller asks for remote access to your computer to fix the issue, and asks for payment.

These calls are scams-hang up. If you are too polite to hang up, ask the scammer to call your tech support department, (that’s us! (925) 283-5666), to setup a contract for service.

Should you allow the scammer/criminal access to your computer, or give them your personal information, at best you will have wasted several hundred dollars. At worst, your bank accounts will be drained, your identity will be stolen, your credit will be ruined for several months to several years, your files will be irretrievably encrypted requiring a ransom payment of several hundred dollars, your email and address book will be hacked, and your computer will require several hundred dollars of service to repair.


Full Article
The Scam-A Phone Call Claiming to be from a Trusted Vendor
A dangerous scam is gaining popularity. Here’s how it goes, and what you should do to protect yourself.

You receive a call claiming to be from a trusted vendor, claiming they know of some serious issue with your computer that needs immediate attention.

The caller will usually ask for remote access to your computer to show you the issue, and then offer to fix the issue for a fee.

The caller may even have information about you or your computer, such as serial number, purchase date, etc., This information, is designed to fool you into thinking that the caller is really from a trusted vendor.

If you give the caller remote access to your computer, they will “show you the problem”, often by running a test on some scam website, installing some scam software that reports hundreds, or thousands of errors, or by going into the normally-hidden areas of your computer and showing you alerts that look serious.

To demonstrate how benign unseen alerts can be used to manipulate you, here’s a screenshot from my own computer. Notice that there are over 6,000 “problems”. None of these “problems” require any attention, but most people would think their computer needs immediate attention if they saw this.
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How To Protect Yourself
Do not fall for this confidence game scam.
These people are lying!

Ask them to remove your number from their database, and then hang up. If you’re too polite to hang up, refer to the steps on the next page.

While they may have correct information about you or your computer, they are still criminals running a con. We believe that the client databases of some vendors have been hacked, and that is why they may have your purchase details, etc.

Microsoft has publicly stated that they do not make solicitation phone calls, https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/security/online-privacy/avoid-phone-scams.aspx, and no vendor that we know of does either. Of course this assumes that the legitimate vendor even knows your phone number, or knows what’s going on with your computer (highly unlikely).

Do not talk to them, and do not give them access to your computer or your personal information, such as credit card number, bank account number, etc.

Should you allow the scammer/criminal access to your computer, or give them personal information, you can expect some or all of the things below to occur. We can’t be more specific because it all depends upon what actions the criminal chooses to take once they have access to your information/computer. This list is not exhaustive.

  • You will have wasted several hundred dollars
  • Your bank & investment accounts may be drained
  • Your identity may be stolen:
    • The criminals may open credit accounts in your name
    • They may change your mailing address
    • They may file false tax returns in your name, and collect the refunds at the your new mailing address, leaving you to deal with the IRS
  • Your credit may be ruined for several months to several years, requiring police reports, lots of forms to filled out, hours of time lost, and worst-having to try to prove you’re innocent to creditors
  • Your files may be irretrievably encrypted requiring a ransom payment of several hundred dollars, and you MAY get your files back
  • Your email and address book may be hacked. Your contacts may receive spam emails from your email account. And may get scammed into sending money to the criminals
  • Your computer may be infected with a virus and cost several hundred dollars to repair

We have seen all of these things happen! Don’t be a victim.

To download this article, plus a handy tip sheet, please click the link below
How-To-Protect-Yourself-From-Scam-Phone-Calls.pdf (215 downloads)

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Edward’s Holiday Shopping Guide https://www.nerd4rent.com/edwards-holiday-shopping-guide/ Fri, 11 Dec 2015 22:22:24 +0000 https://www.nerd4rent.com/?p=1230 Happy Holidays! I hope that you and yours have a safe and wonderful holiday season. Here are a few gift ideas to consider 4K TV $579 and up (for the most enjoyable TV experience) With around four times the number Continue reading Edward’s Holiday Shopping Guide

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Happy Holidays! I hope that you and yours have a safe and wonderful holiday season.

Here are a few gift ideas to consider

4K TV $579 and up (for the most enjoyable TV experience)
With around four times the number of picture elements (pixels), of a standard High-Definition TV, 4K TV’s have the sharpest, most lifelike picture available.  The top-of-the-line OLED TV’s have a picture that my wife describes as “like looking through a window”. In short, they’re amazing, especially when you are viewing 4K content (Available for a small, but growing percentage of content). Costco.com, has 4K TV’s starting at $449.99 Check out 4K TV’s here.

Heads-Up Display for your Car
Navdy $499 ($299 pre-order), offers a fascinating device that displays information from your smartphone on your windshield without blocking your view, or requiring you to look down. The display appears to be 6 feet in front of you. Information such as GPS maps and directions, text messages, current speed, incoming calls, music controls, etc., is visible. Navdy includes voice recognition and even understands some gestures.
Apple or Android Watch $150 and up (for all-in-one time, appointment reminders, health tracking and more)
I’ve covered watches in a recent post
New Computer
New computers keep coming down in price while having more features and better performance. We like Apple, Dell, and Lenovo desktop and laptop computers best. Get at least 4GB of RAM (more is better and adds to the speed). For everyone except those on a very tight budget, get an Intel I5 or I7 processor. Windows 10 is fine for new computers. Apple   Dell   Lenovo

Tablet
Tablet computers such as the iPad and Samsung Galaxy, are great gifts for nearly every budget and use. They are terrific for traveling, reading, email, web surfing, watching video, taking photos and much more.
Activity Tracker $49 and up (for increased health and fitness)
Activity trackers can help keep track of your physical activity, sleep patterns, heartbeat, and calories burned. The Fitbit Charge HR $149.95 has a silent wake-up alarm, caller ID and a watch. It syncs with your smartphone and computer to track your fitness. Check it out here

Fitbit also makes a bathroom scale (Fitbit Aria), that connects to your wireless network and allows you to keep track of your weight and body fat (Yikes!). Check it out here. I have owned a Fitbit tracker and scale, and found that I was motivated to walk more due having my daily activity scores displayed prominently on my wrist.

Larger/Dual Monitor
As my eyes get worse, I buy bigger monitors so as not to have to wear my glasses. I currently use 3 28″ ASUS monitors, and I love the extra productivity that I get by having multiple windows open in multiple monitors. Everyone I know who had gone to two or more monitors would never go back to just one. 24 inch and 27 inch monitors start at just $118.78 at Amazon

Ergonomic Keyboard
An ergonomic keyboard can help reduce wrist and joint strain by placing your fingers in the correct typing position. Consider the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard for $28.20
Speech Recognition Software
Speech recognition software has improved quite a bit as computers have gotten more powerful. Dragon Naturally Speaking starts at just $46.95, and can work three times as fast as most people can type.

Gifts for people with Low Vision
We have installed many large monitors (see above), and keyboards with extra-large keys for our clients with low vision. In addition to a larger monitor and keyboard, your computer can be adjusted to offer high-contrast, and other low vision assistance. Also consider speech recognition software (see above).

Portable Cellular Device
Using public Wi-Fi is a huge security risk. For about $20 per month, plus data charges, you can have your own portable cellular hotspot with security. This is a great device for travelers, mobile workers, and for anyone who uses their computer in public locations. Advantages include: not draining your cell phone battery, potentially faster Internet speeds, and more robust wi-fi than we get with our phones. Cell phone companies offer these devices typically as add-ons to your cellular phone plan.
Car Backup Camera
If your car doesn’t have a backup camera, adding one to increase safety is easy and inexpensive.  For example, for $79 you get the camera and a 3.5″ screen. Note that while the camera transmits wirelessly, it needs to be connected to a power source and may require some mid-level installation. Backup Camera.
New Phone $0 and up  (for the latest phone features)
I love my iPhone 6+, with it’s super-large, easy to read, and easy to type-on screen. If your current phone is more than two years old, you may be able to trade up for $0 to very little money. Your wireless carrier will have many phones and plans to choose from. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon

Kindle e-Books & e-Book Reader
Many people prefer to read e-Books because of their portability, reduced cost, ability to be read on smartphones, computers, tablets and eBook readers. Amazon’s Kindle eBook library and eBook readers are very popular. Kindle eBook readers start at $79.99. Amazon

Audible Audiobooks $10 and up (for a more enjoyable commute)
Audible is a terrific service that lets you listen to books while commuting, traveling, etc. You can buy individual books, or subscribe to an annual plan starting at $14.95 per month for 1 book per month. Check it out here

Lynda Online Training Subscription
Lynda offers online self-paced training classes on thousands of subjects. Subscriptions start at $24.95 per month, and they offer a free 10-day trial.  www.lynda.com

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