Archive for: Advice

Beware of ‘Tech Support’ Phone Scams!

There has been a recent outbreak of phone scams where a caller, typically claiming to be from Microsoft, phones you claiming Microsoft has detected some issue with your computer. Do not allow any such caller to access your system! This is a vicious scam that not only puts your computer at risk, but leaves you wide open to identity theft, theft of passwords to to your banking and credit card sites, and worse! See the Avoid Phone Scams Cybercriminal Tech Support Security Threat article on the Microsoft web site for more information!

Teenagers and Business Computers Do Not Mix!

“Design patterns” is a current buzzword for computer software and system development.  The idea is certain common underlying structures occur again and again and so can be reused for successful software development.  It works the other way around, too, however.  There are some very clear “design patterns” for computer disasters, especially for folks who use computers at home for some business purpose.  Whether it is selling on e-Bay or running a multi-national corporation remotely, lots of people today do something ‘business critical’ from their home computers.

One of the most common dismal “design patterns” for business computer use from home is letting teenagers use, for their own purposes, the same computer that an adult in the family uses for business purposes.  Don’t do it!  If you are using a computer at home for something important, do not let your children or grandchildren use it!  Get them a computer of their own, but do not let them touch your computer.

No class of human beings messes up more computers faster than children between kindergarden age and early adulthood!  And, roughly speaking, teenagers are the absolute worst!  They appear to be programmed for risky behavior that is almost guaranteed to mess up your computer:  downloading ‘free’ software; installing ‘file sharing’ programs to get commercial music or software without paying for it; surfing porn and gambling sites; and generally doing everything possible to render your computer incapable of normal functioning.

Do not let them on any computer you use for anything imporant to you!  Get them a computer of their own to destroy and make it clear to them a) that they will have to pay to get it cleaned up if they screw it up and b) that under no circumstance will they be allowed onto your computer after they get their own infected with viruses, trojans, spyware, browser hijackers, rootkits, and other malicious software.  Otherwise, count on having your own computer on which you do whatever important stuff you do being taken down, sooner or later, by their insatiable experimentation.

All the best,

will

William F. Zachmann, President, Canopus Research Inc.

Anti-Virus Software Recommendations

There is no question that any computer connected to the Internet (and what computer isn’t these days!) absolutely must have good anti-virus/anti-malware software installed on it – or risk virtually certain infection sooner or later.  Even well-protected computers can be infected if a user makes the wrong choices in what to click on.  But those without adequate security software are sitting ducks!

At one time, the two best alternative for security software were Symantec’s Norton products and McAfee.  No longer, at least in our book!  Both have grown so bloated and inefficient over time that we long ago stopped recommending either of them!  So what do we recommend today?

Well, our first choice for nearly a decade now has been AVG.  That is the security software that we use ourselves at Canopus Research Inc., here at Duxbury Computers, at Duxbury Bookkeeping, and The Duxbury Times.  If we were not already using AVG, our next choice would be Trend Micro.

All the best,

will

William F. Zachmann, President and CEO, Canopus Research Inc.

Keys to Keeping Your Windows Computer Safe!

Whether for your home or your business, there are three fundamental keys to keeping your Microsoft Windows computer safe and trouble-free.  If you ignore these, you are asking for trouble!  They are:

  1. Make sure that your computer is set up not just for Windows, but for Microsoft updates and that these updates are applied automatically.  Neglecting to apply critical and important updates to Windows and to other Microsoft software (especially to Microsoft Office and its related applications) will make you a sitting duck for malicious software intrusions.
  2. Make sure you have a high quality anti-virus/anti-malware program on your computer and that it, too, is updated regularly and automatically.  Connecting to the Internet without good security software on your computer is a sure-fire formula for disaster!
  3. Have a good backup system in place for everything that matters to you on your computer.  There are many different ways to do this, but if you do not have one in place that works reliably, your computer is a disaster waiting to happen!

I will be following this post up with others that get into more detail about exactly how to do all this.  But you can be sure that if you do not do at least these three things, sooner or later, you can look forward to serious problems from which you may not be able successfully to recover — ever!

All the best,

will

William F. Zachmann, President and CEO, Canopus Research Inc.