The Wired Office Blog

 

Why you shouldn’t delete dodgy emails!

xmas2016

 

Christmas is just about here and this year you can expect to see a flood of dodgy emails using fake invoices, and bills from energy providers and the like. This last year has been one of the worst ever for fake emails.

I have seen many people is small business spend 30 minutes each morning deleting spam and junk emails. This is a good way to ensure your junk emails continue to grow exponentially. Most junk and spam emailers use the same tools as email marketers to track what happens to emails when they are delivered.

They can tell who (which addressee) opened it and read it, who clicked on it to get to a link or deliver a virus or spyware, they can even tell where your mouse traveled on some emails.

The email that opens only in the reading pane will not register generally but it is a good idea not to delete the email as this tells the spammers what you did. If you right click the email and send it to junk they will not know what you did. Using this management method for spam it will reduce over time down to just about nothing. If you are not a live target they will quickly lose interest. It is tedious at first sending individual emails to the junk folder but the Microsoft junk email filters are state of the art and will work for you.

 
 
 

Windows 10 black screen at startup – solved

windows-10

 

We see a lot of Windows 10 upgrade issues which are more common to legacy systems and laptops. The thing with both desktop and laptop computers from big name brands like HP, Dell, etc etc., is many consumer models are made for the operating system of the day with no upgrade path. While business class laptops and desktops can have resources for future upgrade paths.

While Windows 10 provides most drivers for its operating system upgrade, sometimes there are issues. One of these is the often reported black screen, or a delayed startup whilst on a black screen. There is no straightforward one answer fits all to these black screen issues, but one we commonly see is a problem with legacy graphics. A visit to the the vendors website might indicate the latest driver is installed and you can go no further however, Radeon released a driver external to its own automated system on its website indicating there is an issue with the current driver and we are doing something about it.

You can also try the compatibility tool to set your graphics driver software to an earlier/previous version of windows.

So this is at least one good solution for the windows 10 black screen phenomenon after an upgrade from windows 7 or windows 8.1 on a legacy proprietary system.

 
 
 

Free website templates

themeforrest

Website design and coding is expensive because of the human labour and degree of skill involved. If you are starting up a new website from scratch and have a good budget it would be a good idea to find the right firm for you to get the skills level and the right advice so ultimately you are not wasting money. In the IT world the cheaper alternative doesn’t always work out. Having said that, for those who are on a tight budget or have no budget, the sole trader and startup alternatives are free or low cost templates.

You can work out where to put your text or you can employ a freelancer to do it for you. There are many sites these days to get free or creative commons licenced website templates such as HTML5-UP site with a collection of the latest html5 standards, there is also one of my favourites, the envato showcase with low cost templates who are located over in Melbourne Australia.

Keep your eyes on our blog for future posts on our picks of the land of the free.

 

 
 
 

why is some software free?

freesoftware

I get asked all the time, why is it free? Is it any good? There are thousands of free programs out there, some you can download without joining up or logging in. The most obvious answer to the why is it free question is because it is crap software that no one would pay to download, or it is software deployed as deception to download the real payload by stealth, such as spyware, registry cleaners, or general junkware otherwise known as potentially unwanted programs or PUP’s.

But there are some excellent and really useful free programs such as display fusion’s free version of the multiple monitor software. In this case you can see there is a pro version and the free version is the upgrade path. The internet’s version of the two dollar shoes out front of the shoe shop. This is also true of many antivirus or malware programs. Some software is free because it falls into the realm of economically nonviable. It might be ok and kind of useful but these days it would need to be very essential for someone to splurge yet another computing expense. The biggest ever rort is paying for an antivirus when Windows 10 has the free Defender built in. None of them work all the time for various strains of malware as we have seen with cryptolocker and ransonware criminal theftware.

My advice, and I do practice everything I preach, is to keep third party software to an absolute minimum. The more programs you have running the more chance you will have of outdated software or drivers ruining your day, hogging your system with little to show for all the effort. System cleaners, registry cleaners and the like are examples of this. They might clear out the files you need later for a clean uninstall, or clear out files your system looks for in the future.

 
 
 

is your gmail hacked? How to get access again.

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emails accounts like gmail are used by small business and professionals as a quick and easy (free) email service but there’s a catch. If you get hacked there’s no one to call, you are out in the cold and left to your own resources.

Hacking is mostly not really about hacking, but guessing your password. We see passwords all the time that look like this:

abc1234

password

and so on. If you are running a business off this free email system you should be prepared for a disaster or you might never see your email again.

To mitigate the risk:

  1. associate a mobile phone number with your account
  2. if you are trying to regain access to a lost or hacked account it seems you should be doing this from the same computer you usually log in with, otherwise flags are raised and it will be more difficult.
  3. setup a secondary email address in your account, though if your account is hacked this might be changed.
  4. set up strong passwords, not the name of your cat you talk about on your social profiles.

You can also setup gmail to use offline so if you do get hacked you will have access to old emails. Follow the steps in this support article.

https://support.google.com/mail/answer/1306849?hl=en

 

 
 
 

How to keep backups safe from malware

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The worst of malware doing the rounds is so-called ransomare, locky, cryptolocker, rogue or fake antivirus, with new variations popping up often. It is installed covertly on the machine and may first attack your antivirus programs to avoid detection. The likelihood of detection is reduced due to the malware’s attack vectors and its sophistication. Modern antivirus programs are often found on computers with this type of active malware.

We are seeing more recent variations of this virus which bypass the ransom payload,  its purpose can also be to steal banking information, credit card details, or identity. The ransomware version may lock (encrypt) your files or even attack the MFT (master file table) which locks you out of your drive. This is the point where you can say goodbye to your data.

img_5328

 

Protecting your backup from nasty malware.

If you are backing up your files to any medium that backup will be at risk of the same data encryption described above. If you are a small business, a home office, or just a home user with precious family photos, you need to make sure you are using best practice to prevent the cryptolocker virus from infecting your backup. We now offer this service by safe, remote login to your computer.

Call today to get industry best practice backup mitigation for home or small office, small business.

 

 
 
 

Removing Browser redirect hijacks (solved!)

 

redirect-hijack

example of a browser hijack with spyware

You will know it if you have a browser redirect virus, also known as the google redirect virus or malware. The various iterations of the dreaded browser hijack or redirect removal solution is a mystery to many on internet forums. It’s nasty and resists every attempt at removal. It is invisble, undetectable by all the malware scanners and antivirus programs including Norton’s Powerful Eraser tool, bitdefender speciality tools, eset’s usually very efficient scanner in ramdisk, in fact just about everything.

We had a business client with this infection and after struggling to remove it, we decided to persevere until we found the mechanism and methods to remove it. Unfortunately, it seems each variant or type of this infection has it own methods to provide a successful removal. There is no single access point to remove it.

But good news! We offer an online (remote access) service to remove this, along with all the other bugs on your computer. If you are anywhere in Australia call or email to arrange a good time for us to log in for you.

wiredoffice.com.au has been providing trusted service for over 15 years and is a Microsoft registered partner, and a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP).

 
 
 

What to do when you have a lock screen or ransomware

fake lock screen

example of fake lockscreen

Tech support scams and ransomware lockout screens can be delivered by fake emails (phishing emails), hijacked ads on display networks, downloads of programs with names like free antivirus, speed up my computer, and so on. Ransomware can encrypt your files with 128bit encryption.

Any files and folders that are encrypted are gone, at least until computer science find a way to decrypt any time soon. This is not likely because the malware uses standard encryption methods.

If you have the lock screen in place furious clicking to try to remove it will be in vain and make matters worse.

fake Windows screen ransomware

fake Windows alert screen

If you are in our local area in northern beaches of Perth bring your PC or laptop in to us.

  1. remove any ethernet (the blue network cable) cable to disconnect from the internet
  2. do a hard shutdown by holding the start button down fully for several seconds or until the machine shuts down completely.
  3. bring your machine in to our Duncraig workshop
  4. if you are located elsewhere in Australia we can log in remotely to disable the lockscreen and remove the infection.

Every attempt you make to remove the lock screen or scan for the bug will further embed the virus. This particular malware type is also able to install stealth keyloggers to search for passwords, identity and financial information. It can hide in your system and relaunch at a later date if not removed now.

Call us for a remote support session or call to bring your machine in.

 

 
 
 

internet for three storey homes or outbuildings

av1200

Larger homes or buildings can have a problem getting the wifi or ethernet to reach, upstairs, downstairs, around corners, into a purpose built office in the garage. There has been a couple of solutions around now for a very long time, but all of them have a high potential for problems. One of them is the range extender devices which seem to cause people the most grief, ok when running well but dropouts and lost connections are common. Another solution that has been around since the year 2000 is power over ethernet (POE). A common problem with these devices was they were not very well made and white noise over the power lines caused frequent dropouts or lost connections.

A new model POE from TP Link, the AV1200, claims to have resolved the noise issues and deliver blistering speed – dependant on your existing connection speeds. For the technically minded or sparkys here are some interesting specs.

  • Perfect for Bandwidth Demanding Activities
  • Line-Neutral/Line-Ground 2 x 2 MIMO with Beamforming
  • Gigabit Port for Ultra-fast Datasheet Transfer
  • Plug and Play,No Configuration Required

For our Perth northern beaches customers we offer an onsite service to set these up for you, or order a set and DIY.

 
 
 

itunes assembly error after Windows 10 upgrade

itunes-error

 

Microsoft is certainly pushing out Windows 10 with zeal and good thing too because now new development can standardise for the new OS. But the problems we are seeing walk in the door are not the problems of Microsoft, but users who do not understand that systems should be prepared for a major OS upgrade.

One of these problems is the itunes installer will not work on some older laptops or desktop computers. Fear not, as always we have the answers and offer this as a service via online remote access, bring it in for same day/overnight service, or we can visit you in Western Australia.

Call us for all your online computer help issues.