We just got another batched of frozen computers checked in, brought by upset clients who had googled for telephone computer support. Some had paid money for some kind of clean-up or security tool, and several were worried that crucial data had been stolen. They were all victims of phishing scams, in which the person on the line convinced them that he could help, and hooked them into giving him computer control, passwords, credit card numbers, and access to other personal data. Their common question was, “How could I have known this would happen?”
Here are a few basic tips:
Top hits on Google searches are often paid advertisements, and not necessarily legitimate.
If it’s a complicated flashy name such as microsoft-support.experthelpforyou247.com followed by a big phone number, it’s probably a phisher. The biggest companies have the shortest domain names, such as aol.com or microsoft.com. Phishers latch onto these names with all kinds of add-ons so they’ll come up on your search.
Big computer companies generally do NOT want to talk to you. They usually provide FAQ’s pages and perhaps chat support; if you look very hard you may find an 800 number that often just refers you to their webpage. On the other hand, your friendly phisher really wants to talk to you, 24/7!
If you call that support number, and the person on the other line talks away like from a script, has a suspicious accent, side steps your questions, pressures you about needing remote access to fix some scary (but really minor) issue, etc. stop! Would you let a stranger into your house? Your bedroom? That’s what you are doing when you give an unknown person access to your computer.
If you paid for support, always call the number on your original packaging.
If a computer support tech ever calls you out of the blue to tell you that your computer has been hacked, hang up!
I was recently asked if I had any advice for parents who would like their children to enjoy technology as well as use it in their education.
Thinking about upgrading to Windows 10?
If you have Windows 7 or 8, you might be seeing pop-ups advising you to upgrade to Windows 10. Like any new operating system, it has advantages and disadvantages. There are a lot of cool security features such as fingerprint, facial, and voice recognition, but you might not be able to take advantage of them on your current computer. Future PCs will be equipped with special webcams for using state of the art biometric security features. Windows 10 asks for more control. On the other hand, it binds your devices together and enables you to log in from any device that you have registered on your “one drive.”
Want to go ahead with it? You can do this for free until the end of July 2016 from Windows 7 and 8.1, but the Dok advises waiting until 2016. In November 2015 a big update is scheduled; it usually takes several months to get all of the bugs out of a major update. Also keep in mind that the free Windows 10 upgrade will happen “in place,” meaning that if it doesn’t finish installing or work correctly, you might lose information or have trouble with starting up. Dok’s seen issues with blinking screens and frozen desktops, too. So if you decide to upgrade, first make sure you make a full backup or image.
Recently, Dok’s seen lots of trouble with “do it yourself upgrades.” They were generally not caused by the upgrade itself, but during the process the system was messed up. In most cases, Dok found that the computer was infected, the hard drive was on its last legs, the operating system was corrupt, or an incompatible antivirus had been installed. If you haven’t had your computer checked out recently, it might be better to bring it in to the Dok for a thorough diagnosis before going ahead with Windows 10.
Dok Klaus Computer Care HAS MOVED!
You will find us in our new white building with spacious parking @ 335 Waterloo St. Warrenton VA, 20186.
It's the 2nd house up from Sullivan St., close to the intersection of Broadview Ave and Frost Ave (211).
Have you seen a pop-up announcing “Windows XP End of Support is on April 8th , 2014” ?
If so, then you have one of the about half-a-billion Windows XP systems that haven’t been upgraded yet. I own a couple of these, too. What will happen after Microsoft stops delivering essential Windows XP security updates? The good news is that the system should keep on working. The bad news is that it will become gradually more insecure. Hackers will find more security holes and create viruses that can compromise your data and system. If you never connect your system to a network or the internet, these issue will not effect you. But without adequate security, your system is at risk. Until now, Microsoft released regular patches and updates that would fix or patch holes in the system. If Microsoft follows through, this will stop. We hope that if something really bad hits systems, one or two updates may be released. But who knows! And don’t think that a good Antivirus software can prevent all possible problems.
Be aware of Ransomware! You might not have heard about this breed of viruses that get into your computer. And there's a new computer virus out that can even encrypt your data files.
A Ransomware virus usually begins with a pop-up screen telling you that your unit has been infected with hundreds of viruses and that you need to buy a program like “Superantivirus pro 2013” to get rid of them (often they ask for about $80). These viruses are also called “Fake-Antivirus,” because they do not deliver what they promise. On the contrary, you are being lied to. After you pay the money, the program turns off the fake messages, but leaves your computer infected with the fake-Antivirus. Even though you might not get fake messages for a while, it's still there. After you have paid the money you might think all is fine, but remember, you gave them your credit card information.
If you've ever had a PC for more than a few days, you've experimented with Microsoft Paint. We've all tried our hand at drawing something on the computer with a mouse or touchpad. And lets face the truth: unless you are at all experienced in the techniques of pixel art, it probably ended up looking like a convoluted mess, a pile of disjointed pixels resembling a plate of spaghetti made with tiny legos. I will admit, even as an illustrator and entertainment art hopeful, I still can't make a single drawing with a mouse or touchpad without it looking awful. And even if I could, it would take a prohibitive amount of time. Something about the whole thing just feels counterintuitive! What is the secret, then, behind digital illustration and paintings? If I can't draw worth a dime with a mouse, how is it I have been able to illustrate the advertisements for Dok Klaus Computer Care for so long?
Two words: graphics tablet.