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Password Security and You

Many of us became acutely aware of vulnerabilities any IT company, large or small, encounters when the password security breach for Gmail, Yahoo, and Microsoft recently went public. Although many passwords were compromised, the amount of users who were affected is low a percentage in comparison to the overall number of members themselves. While Google and other major players tout the necessity of changing your password every 60-90 days to avoid password hacking, the average member may not recall upwards of 280 different variations of password combinations over their lifetime. I know I wouldn’t. Since online shopping has quickly risen in popularity, credit cards and other sensitive personal information have flooded servers globally only to be linked to a name, phone number, address, and/or, you guessed it, most commonly an email address. Keeping personal information personal nowadays is more difficult than ever. Betanews.com released an article just today excitedly reporting a UK company’s invention of the paperless driver’s license. Yes that’s right, they’ve created an App to eliminate hardcopy licenses. Furthermore, they’re beta testing the App to also digitalize passports (Click here for full article). Technology is the wave of the future, yes, but if we’re not careful our wave might become a tsunami. Preparing yourself as though your information has been compromised is the best defense, especially with every ounce of identification information stored on ones cellphone, tablet, and computer. Unfortunately there will always be a need for security, for every technological advance there will be someone eager to use it against you. As vulnerabilities are patched, larger hurdles are introduced within software and hardware which becomes tedious...

Apple vs. FBI: Invasion of Privacy?

While the use of cellphone hacking agents - such as Stingray - and computer/network monitoring software are perceived by the general public as protective measures to keep our country safe, one has to wonder; Is my Snapchat log really a matter of national security?! Every country in the world is keeping a close eye on the Apple vs. FBI lawsuit with bated breath. If the government forces Apple to create a ‘master code’ for their un-hackable encryption system, governments – both foreign and domestic – will be demanding their ‘right’ to use it as well. Take, for example, New York City which currently has over 185 iPhone’s waiting to be cracked, their owners ranging from drug dealers to murderers. Now, while you might say, “that doesn’t affect me!” you might want to think again. What happens when the master code is sold to a foreign enemy? What if iPhone’s are hijacked while it’s driving your brand new car? What if a foreign enemy hijacks an iPhone, which is utilizing iDriver, with a car full of explosives - unbeknownst to the driver - to commit an act of terrorism? Invasion of person property? In other thought provoking news, it’s being reported that monitoring software is already being abused on a local scale. The Maryland Court of Special Appeals recently determined - yet again - the use of warrantless cell-site simulators is a violation of the Fourth Amendment. Stingray, monitoring software that may or may not have already hit your radar, mimics cellphone tower signals which can trick a user’s cellphone into connecting to the network to reveal their location. At...

Laptop vs. Desktop: A Tech’s Story

Buying a new PC, whether desktop or laptop, can be a pain in the RAM. Generally speaking, there are literally thousands of mix-and-match options to choose from in today’s technological world. With just the click of a button, any consumer in nearly any country can purchase their own customized laptop or desktop machine fully loaded to fit their particular needs. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen unless you already know what qualifiers to ask to make a computer compatible for you. After experiencing frustration from our customer base, we asked on of our technicians to break down some ‘need-to-know’ basics: Here a few things to look for in buying a new pc. Should I get a desktop or laptop? If you are person who works in an office or in a study at home, a desktop would be the best choice because the money you would save from a buying a laptop could be used for a desktop with higher specifications. However if you are person who is always on the go or needs to have your pc or mac wherever you go, then the laptop is going to be your choice. The mobility however will mean more money to purchase a laptop. Should I get a solid state drive or standard hard drive? To simply put a solid state hard drive is the best you choice you can make. Solid state drives are more expensive however they will make your pc run faster and the overall performance of your pc with applications will run at a higher rate. However, if you only need a computer to search the web, check...

Windows10: To Update or Not to Update?

Have you recently installed the latest Windows10 update and are wondering where your favorite app has gone? Question no more! Microsoft’s latest Windows10 update decides whether or not the applications you’ve installed are necessary to your everyday computing. In a recent Lifehacker.com Article, users were shocked to learn Windows will determine what’s relevant on your computer. The apps they find “outdated” or “incompatible” will be removed from your system. While some might not notice a difference, some are finding their essential business tools/programs no longer available without any prior notification. Do you find this as intrusive as we do? One of our own technicians experienced the woes of the new Windows10 update after attempting to use Dashlane (a secure autofill program for usernames and passwords): Image Error Message: Your system administrator has blocked this program. For more information, contact your system administrator.   So Microsoft, you’re the new System Administrator for all Windows10 computers? Interesting. Our technicians have found the only fix for this update is to access your registry – we highly recommend you don’t do this without help – and edit the new update. While this seems easy enough, editing the registry can be...

You Like Me, You Really Like Me

Scammers on Facebook have found yet another workaround for creating phishing schemes intended to snag your personal information. Like-farming isn’t a term used regularly, but it’s an act that might keep you from ‘like-ing’ everything you see on Facebook. Similar to Catfishing, like-farming scammers will publish an attention grabbing Facebook post asking for ‘likes’ to “get a new Galaxy S7” or “look at my adorable kitten!”. Once these scammers have reached enough ‘likes’, they will then change the content of the original post and include malicious malware downloads. Unfortunately, now that you’ve ‘liked’ said post, you’re helping circulate the virus. Fox News - Like-Farming warns users to be cautious about their Facebooking practices; just because you like cute kittens doesn’t mean you should ‘like’ them on a random Facebook account. Stick to who you know, not what you know. P.S Please feel free to ‘like’ us on...

Genius Bar’s 15 Minutes of Fame

Congratulations Apple lovers, your dreams are about to become a reality! As of last week, Apple released a statement (ZDNet.com Article) granting an additional five whole minutes to your support session. Genius Bar has upped the ante in the tech support world by giving their consumers an extension of their genius time. Currently, Apple allows their technicians 10 minutes to diagnose, repair, and explain in detail the issues your device might be exhibiting. If your session extends past the allotted 10 minutes, your technician will stop and schedule you a follow-up appointment. They’ve now graciously bestowed upon us 15 whole minutes of technical support for the several hundred dollar device you’ve already purchased. Thank you, Apple, that’s a very kind gesture. Don’t snicker you Microsoft/Android lovers! While bashing a timed tech support session we must remember; at least they’re catering to the masses – in store – with one of your friendly ‘neighborhood kids’. Overseas calls could test the patience of the Pope. Many consumers will relinquish their Windows products to speak to someone they can relate to. A combination of the two services (Apple and Microsoft) is what My Computer Works strives to maintain. Fast, friendly, knowledgeable tech support from one of your ‘neighborhood...