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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in avoiding computer viruses

Posted by on in Repairs

 

Why do computers slow down?

A question that we get asked all the time here at PC Pitstop is why computers get slower over time. This can start to happen within a year after you get a new PC, but usually it happens in just a few short months.

Since we all use our computers for a whole range of different tasks and activities, there isn’t one single reason that pinpoints why this happens.

The thing is, when you first get a new computer and boot it up it works lightning fast. That’s because it doesn’t have anything on it except the bare bones operating system. 

Regardless of whether you have a PC or Mac, over time as you download files, install software, add printers and surf the Internet etc, your computer gets bloated with files that hog system resources.

In addition, there are many other things that contribute to a slowdown. Here is the most common issues we find:

1. Hard Drive Corruption

The hard drive is the electronic equivalent of the old office filing cabinet. It's really is an amazing piece of technology that has helped propelled our world forward into the information age. A typical computer can hold anywhere from 150,000 - 300,000 high quality photographs or over a million documents or books.

All of this information is tightly packed ingeniously onto a disk and into a tiny enclosure, which looks suprisingly similar to that of the old record player. The information is stored in magnetic form on top of the disk and this is where the complexity starts to become its own undoing.

The problem is, corruption can occur from power surges (power spikes), brown outs (power dips), static electricity (from carpet, clothes and other fabrics), solar flares, cosmic radiation, vibration, bumps, knocks, computer viruses, software errors and even the layer on the magnetic disk changing over time.

 

2. RAM

Not having enough RAM is like not having a big enough table to work on. You can only have so many items on the table before it get clutted and full. The computer does its best to keep going without crashing - moving things around - but to do so - it slows down even further. Solution - the more RAM the better! RAM is cheap these days and the more you got - the more the computer will be able to use as a super fast temporary storage place.

 3. Spyware, Viruses and Unnecessary Software

These programs all need attention - they run in the background and all want to steal a little bit of time from the CPU/Processor (Think information pump).
This all stacks on top of each other and adds up very quickly. Typically we remove 500+ pieces of spyware and virus related programs on EVERY computer we service (our record is over 20,000!). PC Pitstop have an award winning and unique 5 stage process that removes all spyware, viruses and nasties that even the best AntiVirus protection leaves behind.

4. System and Software Updates

If you are updating your software regularly, this will take up space and more system resources - contributing to the slow down even further. Interestingly enough, if you were to wipe the computer in year 3 and put all the original software back on - it would be as fast as the day you brought it. However this is not exactly secure or feasible way to run your computer. Updates are mostly security and bug fixes that go a long way to protect your computer.

 

5. Mechanical Hard Drives Slow Down With Age

If you have a standard hard drive (not SSD) your hard drive will slow down and fail over time. Being mechanical - this is the nature of their design and cannot be avoided without upgrading to a Solid State Hard Drive (SSD). Solid state hard drives are reasonably new and more expensive than their mechanical counterparts but wow - they work really really fast. I MEAN REALLY REALLY REALLY FAST. For the single most impressive upgrade you can do for your computer - get a SSD Hard Drive. You will love the difference and never look back.

Now I have painted a picture of why computers slow down - how do you fix a slow computer?

Easy - just like your car goes in for a 10,000Km service - your computer also needs regular tuning up as well. For power users and businesses - minimum every 6 months and for the rest of us - every 12 months. This is what the big department stores will not and do not want to tell you. It is in their best interest for you to get annoyed with your computer to the point of frustration within 18 months - that you go out and buy another one.

 

A tuneup finds and fixes problems, spots bigger problems (before they occur and cost you more time and money), removes virus and spyware infections, scans and repairs your hard disk, installs necessary security updates and is also a perfect time for you to engage a PC Pitstop Trained Technician to ask any questions that have been niggeling at you or to fix other issues that you have been putting off.

Your computer is an investment - and for most of us - a very important tool we use every day. It pays to be proactive with your investments - instead of waiting for the day when everything grinds to a halt and you have lost some or all of your important data. Unfortunately we still see this every day.

SO - drop in and book in for your routine computer tuneup at PC Pitstop - 10 Bellbowrie Street Port Macquarie - 02 65 841551.

PC Pitstop Port Macquarie Business Awards

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Every day we see customers who are shocked that their computer has a virus. They thought they had security software and they thought it was doing it's job.

But here's the thing....You get what you pay for...and YOU play a massive part in your computer's secuirty. You have to check before you click anything, you have to choose the right security, AND you have to know when it's time to renew your services. 

We recommend Norton Internet Security 2014 and it's avialable instore at PC Pitstop Port Macquarie for $85 installed.

If your computer is in for service and we notice your Norton is out of date we will update it at the same time for a reduced fee of $65.

Keep your PC and your Stuff safe with industry-leading protection.
Emailing, sharing files, visiting social networks, shopping online, or just browsing websites. Whatever you like to do on your PC, we help keep it—and the Stuff on it—safe from viruses, online threats, and problems that could slow down your computer.

Gets rid of viruses and spyware, so you can read emails and download and share files without getting or passing on threats, plus it helps prevent online identity theft and blocks websites that could steal your credit card numbers or other information. So you can surf, shop, and bank online worry-free.

BX NIS Y14 r r EN 342
Verdict

Norton's internet security suite offers excellent malware detection and consistently performs on pace with the best available security software.

Avoid the horror story happening to you. Don't get caught without. It could cost you more than you know.
 
 

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o        Repairs & Maintenance

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o        Uninterruptible Power Supply Systems


Your Winning Team

We work hard to hone our skills for you – THE CUSTOMER – and we’ve been rewarded for it!

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We hear you – and it keeps us WINNING FOR YOU!

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PC Pitstop’s Mission Statement
PC Pitstop aim to be the most trusted, reliable, innovative and sustainable computer sales, service and repair company across Australia and online through honest advice, fast turnaround, friendly support and responsible actions. Immersing ourselves into the heart of the community, and embracing technology to improve the community and empower the people will guide us to achieve this and much more. We strive toward this mission every day.

With PC Pitstop Service Advantage you’re always in safe hands knowing your computer will be serviced by PC Pitstop Trained Technicians who know your computer inside out and use the most advanced diagnostic equipment and quality parts.

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We wrote a user manual and service planner just for you....so come and get it!

It's packed full of how to hints and tips and details the best way for you to look after your desktop or laptop computer - at home or in your business. Everyone is loving them and we don't want you to miss out!

Besides, the beginning of the year is a perfect time to tune your computer in readiness for a smooth sailing year ahead!

See you instore soon.

manual-planner

...from the manual

A Word from Ben and Sam

We wrote this Computer Manual & Service Planner for you.
In fact, we started PC Pitstop for people just like you. People who are amazingly skilled at what they do and confident in many areas of their lives. People who aren’t afraid to ask for help to remain amazing and confident. People who want to grow, embrace technology and get more out of life.

The PC Pitstop Computer Manual & Service Planner is a comprehensive go-to-guide for all things computer-user based that will see you through the life of your computer and beyond. If you find this useful or need more information be sure to sign up to our e-newsletter or blog on the PC Pitstop website. And of course, give us a call or pop in, we love to keep in touch with all our amazing customers.

We hope the PC Pitstop Computer Manual & Service Planner challenges you, increases your productivity, improves your confidence and inspires you to learn even more!

Believe in Better
                                                                                                                                  
BEN WATERS & SAMANTHA CLARK

                                                                                                                                                      PC PITSTOP FOUNDERS

 

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Posted by on in In the Community

Do you love PC Pitstop?

NSW Fair Trading’s popular I love my local business competition is back for 2014. 

In its work to promote a fair marketplace, Fair Trading recognises that the vast majority of local businesses do the right thing and play a critical role in the local community. That is why NSW consumers are being encouraged to nominate their favourite local business by telling Fair Trading, in 60 words or less, what they love about them and why. There are six prizes of $250 to be won!

Consumers can nominate a local business which goes out of their way to do the right thing by their customers. It might be because of their excellent customer service, or the fact they proudly sponsor charitable and community causes; it might simply be that they are really good on the tools or have the funkiest retail shop in town!

All shortlisted entries will be promoted on Fair Tradings Facebook page, which has close to 40,000 followers. Shortlisted and winning entries may attract local media interest.

We have also created some resources for businesses to use to help them promote the competition to their customers, including a downloadable poster, web images and more. Go to the I love my local business page on the Fair Trading website to find out more. 

The competition runs from Monday 13 October – Sunday 9 November 2014.

For more information and to enter go to Fair Trading’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/FairTradingNSW

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Why We Think Norton Internet Security is the Best Virus Protection for Everyday Users

We use and recommend the latest version of Norton Internet Security on a regular basis and it's the only virus protection software we sell instore.

Why?

If you're looking for a traditional security suite, with essential features like antivirus, firewall, antispam, parental control, and phishing protection, it's a great choice, and it's one of PC Mags Editors' Choice suites.

But wait, why should you pay for a security suite when modern Windows versions already include an antivirus and a firewall? Here's the deal. Yes, the built-in firewall does a good job hiding your computer from outside attack, but it doesn't exercise control over which programs can access your network the way third-party firewall components do.

If you're using internet banking on your computer...you need Norton Internet Security.

And, because this...

 

LOL.

Point made.

Get your Norton Internet Security software from PC Pitstop today and we'll even install it for you.

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PC Pitstop iphone and smartphone repairs

PC Pitstop iPhone Repairs    Smart Device Repairs

Dropped or damaged your

smart device - iPhone, iPad
or Samsung Device? 
Most repairs same day!

Get a quote >>   |   Learn More >>

 

PC Pitstop Computer Repairs

PC Pitstop Workshop Repairs   Workshop Repairs


We locate the issues & 

determine the best way
to fix them. Most repairs
completed within 24 hours

 Get a quote >>   |   Learn More >>

 

PC Pitstop Computer Tune-ups 

PC Pitstop Computer Tune Ups   Computer Tuneups


Over time you will notice your 

computer slowing down. Time
to book your computer for its
yearly service and tuneup.

 Get a quote >>   |   Learn More >>

 

 PC Pitstop Business Support

PC Pitstop Business Support   Business Support


PC Pitstop provide reliable

small business solutions so
you can focus on delivering
exceptional customer service!

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 PC Pitstop Virus and Spyware Removal

PC Pitstop Virus & Spyware Removal  Virus & Spyware removal


Most computers are home
to hundreds of viruses and 
information stealing bugs.
Stay protected & up to date.

Get a quote >>   |   Learn More >>

 PC Pitstop Home and Business Onsite Support

PC Pitstop onsite Home and Business Support    Onsite Support


PC Pitstop can provide you
with onsite assistance in your
home or office at time that suits
you. Most areas only $99/hour

Get a quote >>   |   Learn More >>

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Doomsday for XP :: You could be under attack right now!

4 dys until we say Rest in Peace XP.

Are you ready for this?

"Microsoft first said it was planning to end support for Windows XP in 2007. It has since been warning consumers and businesses an upgrade is necessary to keep their computers from being run over by a train of malicious software, or malware."

READ MORE >>> http://www.smh.com.au/it-pro/business-it/doomsday-approaches-for-windows-xp-users-20140319-hvkdg.html

Windows-XP-End

If you answer yes to any of the following questions, give us a call on 65 841 551, and as each situation has different variables we'll assess each accordingly and get your SORTED!:

Arrow-Right-iconDo you run any specialised software or hardware that only runs on XP?

Arrow-Right-iconDo you run software that needs a 32Bit operating system?

Arrow-Right-iconDo you run a business and share files or printers between any Windows XP based computers?

Arrow-Right-iconDo you run a business with new versions of Windows and Windows XP?

Arrow-Right-iconAre you confused about what operating system is best for you?

POINTS TO NOTE:

- Unfortunately, going from Windows XP to Windows 7 and above is not just a simple upgrade. There are just too many differences between the versions of Windows.

- A full migration of all your information needs to take place and you may need to purchase newer versions of software to compliment your computer (i.e Microsoft Office). All you programs and settings will be lost in the migration and will have to be setup manually again. It is a big job, but something the team here at PC Pitstop do every day. Our team are well equipped and will plan and work through with you to make the migration as smooth as possible.

- Your printer or a piece of hardware may also be too old to run the newer version of Windows and an additional investment may need to be made there too. We must assess each situation on a case-by-case basis.

- Additionally, our team can even come to your premises and spend the time to set everything up just the way you like it. We also go as far as offering one on one lessons to help you feel comfortable with your new system. ($85/hour instore, $99/hour at your premises)

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Windows-XP-End

Avoid Virsues from End of XP Support :: Upgrade Now!

"On April 8 2014, almost thirteen years after it was first released, Windows  XP will finally breathe its last breath and die — officially, anyway. From that date, Microsoft will no longer support the inveterate Operating System, meaning instability bugs and security vulnerabilities will go forever unpatched.

With Windows XP’s desktop market share still around 30%, and many enterprises still months or years away from upgrading to Windows 7/8, these unsupported and insecure machines represent a serious risk to the health and security of the internet and other high-tech infrastructure. If just a single vulnerability is found after April 8, it will never be fixed. There’s no telling what damage cybercriminals might sow with such an exploit.

It’s important to note that the Windows XP EOL/EOS (end of life/end of support) has been a long time coming. We’ve known since June 2008 that Microsoft would withdraw paid assisted support, security updates, and non-security hotfixes for Windows XP on April 2014. There will also be no further updates to online technical documentation. While this is obviously an issue from a security perspective, the larger issue is compliance — if you manage personal data (which is basically every big company), there are industry and federal security regulations (PCI, Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA, etc.) that you need to comply with. Using a non-supported operating system, and thus dangerously exposing your client database to hackers, is a compliance no-no."
Exert from ExtremeTech Blog.

If you answer yes to any of the following questions, give us a call on 65 841 551, and as each situation has different variables we'll assess each accordingly and get your SORTED!:

Arrow-Right-iconDo you run any specialised software or hardware that only runs on XP?

Arrow-Right-iconDo you run software that needs a 32Bit operating system?

Arrow-Right-iconDo you run a business and share files or printers between any Windows XP based computers?

Arrow-Right-iconDo you run a business with new versions of Windows and Windows XP?

Arrow-Right-iconAre you confused about what operating system is best for you?

POINTS TO NOTE:

- Unfortunately, going from Windows XP to Windows 7 and above is not just a simple upgrade. There are just too many differences between the versions of Windows.

- A full migration of all your information needs to take place and you may need to purchase newer versions of software to compliment your computer (i.e Microsoft Office). All you programs and settings will be lost in the migration and will have to be setup manually again. It is a big job, but something the team here at PC Pitstop do every day. Our team are well equipped and will plan and work through with you to make the migration as smooth as possible.

- Your printer or a piece of hardware may also be too old to run the newer version of Windows and an additional investment may need to be made there too. We must assess each situation on a case-by-case basis.

- Additionally, our team can even come to your premises and spend the time to set everything up just the way you like it. We also go as far as offering one on one lessons to help you feel comfortable with your new system. ($85/hour instore, $99/hour at your premises)

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scary-tech-concerns


Security Scares & What They Should Remind You to Do


The Apple iOS 7.0.6 Secuirty Flaw

>>> READ ALL ABOUT IT <<<

What You Need to Do Now: Update your iPhone right now. (Or after you back it up!) Then be diligent about backing it up and keeping it updated.

 

Ransomware Computer Virus

>>> READ ALL ABOUT IT <<<

What You Need to Do Now: Get yourself an up to date version of Norton Internet Security from PC Pitstop; scan often and avoid illegal downloads and suspiscious links. Then Backup! Regularly.

 

Every Single Social Media Scares

>>> READ ALL ABOUT THEM <<<

What You Need to Do Now: Go and set your facebook, twitter, etc privacy settings to Max; don't share your passwords nor connect with people you don't know; and avoid apps that have even a whiff of dodgy! (I'm looking at you facebook games!)


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So good I had to share :: 10 Ways to be Computer Literate


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So Justin James from TechRepublic says there are 10 Things you Have to Know to be Computer Literate. Of course there is so much to know and it depends on what your use of the computer is actually for that determines your capabilities, but this little list is pretty handy for general users.

 

1: Search engines

Using a search engine is more than typing in the address, putting a couple of keywords into the big text box, clicking Search, and choosing the first result. While that may work, it won't give you the best results much of the time. Learning the advanced search, Boolean operators, and how to discern good results from bad results goes a long way toward enabling you to use a computer as a powerful research tool.

HOW TO BEST USE GOOGLE: http://searchengineland.com/guide/how-to-use-google-to-search

 

2: Word processing

Word processing is one of the oldest uses for a computer. And it continues to be extremely important, even though in many ways its functions have been put into other applications. (For example, people may write more emails than documents, but the task is nearly identical.) It is tough to claim to be computer literate if the basic functions of word processing -- like spell check, table creation, and working with headers -- are outside your capabilities.

HOW BEST TO USE WORD: http://office.microsoft.com/en-au/word/

 

3: Spreadsheets

Spreadsheets were the killer application that got a lot of people willing to pony up big bucks for a PC in the early 1980s. Spreadsheets offer incredibly powerful analysis possibilities... if you know how to use them for more than storing the holiday card address list. (Okay, I use Excel for that too.) Being able to use formulas, references, and macros can turn a "grid of numbers" into actionable information in the hands of the right person.

HOW BEST TO USE EXCEL: http://spreadsheets.about.com/od/excel101/a/Excel_beg_guide.htm

 

4: Browser basics

It is almost painful to watch some "computer savvy" people operate a Web browser. The most obvious goof is going to a search engine to type in the address of the site they want to go to. But folks are unaware of a lot of other things they do that make the Internet more difficult than it needs to be. Mastering techniques like opening links in new windows, using bookmarks, editing URLs to perform navigation, clearing the browser cache, and understanding common error messages will give you access to a world of unlimited information instead of keeping you stuck with only what Web site designers make obvious.

HOW BEST TO USE YOUR BROWSER: http://www.getconnectedtoday.com/getconnected/browser

TIP: PC Pitstop recommends the use of Google Chrome

 

5: Virus/malware scanning

Much of typical computer maintenance is automated or unneeded at this point, but it is still essential to understand how to check a system for nasty bugs, spyware, and other malicious applications. While the scanning tools come with real-time monitors, something can still slip onto the system before the scanner has the right filter for it. So it's critical to know how to trigger a manual virus/malware scan, as well as how to use alternative systems, spot signs of an infection, and other similar tasks.

>>> PC PITSTOP’S GUIDE TO AVOIDING VIRUSES & SCAMS <<<

 

6: Common keyboard commands

If you do not know how to copy/paste without a mouse, you are not computer literate. Sorry! Every operating system has some universal keyboard commands, and while knowing them won't add 30 minutes back into your day, it will take a lot of the "friction" out of using a computer. Learning these commands is more a matter of routine than anything else; a short tutorial done once a day for a week will probably be enough to put you in the habit, and it will make you a happier user.

HOW BEST TO USE YOUR KEYBOARD SHORTCUTS: http://lifehacker.com/5836288/six-keyboard-shortcuts-every-computer-user-should-know

 

7: Basic hardware terminology

It is tough to have someone help you with a problem when you tell them that your "hard drive" is unplugged, when you really mean "the computer." There are a number of common hardware misunderstandings out there, and while some are understandable (for instance, confusing a NIC with a modem -- the cables look similar and they serve the same purpose, networking), knowing basic hardware terminology is a must-have skill to be a savvy user.

>>> PC PITSTOP’S COMPUTING ACROYNMS <<<

 

8: Simple networking diagnosis

Networking problems create the most common trouble with most computers. While you don't need to be able to program a Cisco router, you should know how to:

   - Determine your IP address
   - Verify physical connectivity to the network
   - Check that you have a logical connection to the network
   - Find out what path network traffic takes to get to its destination
   - Translate from DNS names to IP addresses

HOW BEST TO DIAGNOSE YOUR NETWORK: http://www.wikihow.com/Find-the-IP-Address-of-Your-PC

TIP: PC Pitstop is here to help with all yur networking issues. Call to book an onsite today: 65841551.

9: How to hook it up

Despite the color coding of connections and the fact that most cords can be plugged into only one hole, tons of people still can't hook up a computer. It is tough to claim to be computer literate if you can't even get it hooked up and turned on without some help.

>>> PC PITSTOP’S DEKSTOP CONNECTION GUIDE <<<

 

10: Security/privacy 101

It is a dangerous world out there! You absolutely must know how to protect yourself from attackers on the Internet and keep your personal data private. Everything from knowing to check a link before you click it to verifying that encryption is being used to transmit sensitive data to researching sites before giving them your personal data are all critical skills for the modern computer user. If you do not know how to keep yourself safe, you need to learn how.

HOW BEST TO SECURE YOUR PRIVACY ONLINE: http://www.staysmartonline.gov.au/home_users/protect_yourself2/protect_your_identity

 

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It's 2014 and our doors are open for business today from 9am - 5pm.

So if this happened....

deadcomputer


Or you're feeling like this....

StressHead

 

It's good to know help is at hand!

Extreme happiness

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The pic above might not mean much to the common man.

For a technician, this is BAD.

It shows the record number of ROOTKITS found on a computer we've serviced here at PC Pitstop.

What's a rootkit you ask?

whats-a-rootkit-pcpitstop-blog-australia

'Gain control of a computer system without being detected...'

Let's just consider that for a moment....

A rootkits unwanted code is used to gain control over your computer by hiding deep inside your system. Unlike most viruses or worms, it is not directly destructive and its objective is not to spread infection as wide as possible.

What it does do, is provide access to all your folders – both private data and system files – to a remote user who can do whatever he wants with your computer. Every user should be aware of the threat they pose.

Rootkits generally go much deeper than the average virus. They may even infect your BIOS – the part of your computer that’s independent of the Operating System – making them harder to remove. And they are not just Windows-specific, even Linux or Apple machines could be affected.
Rootkits also scarily run at the same privilege levels as most antivirus programs making them that much harder to remove as the computer cannot decide on which program has a greater authority to shut down the other.

You can get a rootkit in some of the same ways you can get a virus:

  • a rootkit may piggyback along with software you thought you trusted.
  • either through shared disks and drives with infected web content.

Once they're in - usually undetected by even the best anti virus programs - they'll liekly let in all their mates (as in the screenshot above!) and give you a nice big headache and interrupt your work or play. Not fun.

So be alert, be smart and best be calling PC Pitstop at first signs of dodgy doings in your computer!

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Today I thought I'd share an entire newsletter that arrived in my inbox.

Why?

Cause it's damn important.

CRYPTOLOCKER.

Remember the name.

Cryptolocker is new malware coming to a computer near you.

Malware is short for malicious software and generally refers to a variety of forms of intrusive and hostile programs.

Besides been informed, been super careful of what and where you're clicking, and sticking to 'safe' browsing habits, the best chance you've got of surviving Cryptolocker is to make TRIPLY sure you've got UP TO DATE BACKUPS.

Ben tells us all the time that you're not truly backed up unless you've backed up 3 times.

So just do it. No if's or buts after you read this article. BACKUP.

And if you don't know how to backup or if your backup solution is working, come and see us, and we'll get your sorted - ARMED - against the virus of all viruses!

PS. I included the whole newsletter from these guys coz they actually have included some other great info. Take a read....

Tip of the Day: Windows 8.1 integrates Bing into the standard, system-wide search experience. If you don't like this, you can disable it. To do so, open the Change PC Settings screen, select Search and apps, and disable the option under Use Bing to search online.

 

CryptoLocker Is The Nastiest Malware Ever & Here's What You Can Do

by Matthew Hughes

Ransomware is an especially odious type of malware. The way it works is simple. Your computer will be infected with some malicious software. That software then renders your computer entirely unusable, sometimes purporting to be from local law enforcement and accusing you of committing a computer crime or viewing explicit pictures of children. It then demands monetary payment, either in the form of a ransom or a "fine" before access to your computer is returned.

Horrible, isn't it? Well, get ready to meet CryptoLocker; the evil patriarch of the Ransomware family.

What Is CryptoLocker

CryptoLocker is a piece of malware targeting computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system. It is typically spread as an email attachment, often purporting to be from a legitimate source (including Intuit and Companies House). Some say it is also being spread through the ZeuS botnet.

Once installed on your computer, it systematically encrypts all documents that are stored on your local computer, as well as ones that are stored on mapped network drives and mounted removable storage.

cryptolocker-example

The encryption used is strong, 2048 bit RSA, with the decryption key for your files being stored on a remote server. The odds of you being able to break this encryption is almost nonexistent. If you want to get your files back, CryptoLocker asks for you to fork over some cash; either two bitcoins (At the time of writing, worth almost USD $380) or $300 in either MonkeyPak or Ukash prepaid cards. If you don't pay within three days, the decryption key is deleted and you lose access to your files forever.

I spoke to popular security expert and blogger Javvad Malik; this is what he had to say about CryptoLocker.

Ransomware such as CryptoLocker is not something very new - variations of Ransomware have been around for years. When you look at CryptoLocker, it predominantly comes in via phishing emails (from what I’ve seen). The best way to protect against it is for users to be vigilant against clicking on links within emails. Currently, it looks like there’s not much that can be done once infected and I wouldn’t advice anyone to pay the ransom. It goes back to having backups and data management in place.

Mitigating Against It

Reports suggest that some security programs have had a hard time of preventing CryptoLocker from getting its claws onto your system before it's too late. Fortunately, American security expert Nick Shaw has created a handy piece of software called CryptoPrevent (free) . This applies a number of settings to your installation of Windows that prevents CryptoLocker from ever executing and has been proven to work in Windows XP and Windows 7 environments.

It's also worth making sure that you check emails to see if they're suspect before you open up any email attachments. Do they have an email address that matches up with the purported sender? Were you expecting any correspondence from them? Is the spelling and grammar consistent with what you'd expect from the genuine sender? These are all reasons to be suspicious of an email and to think twice about poking in any attachments.

Having Proper Backup

In these circumstances, I'd encourage everyone to make regular backups that are isolated from your computer. Using a networked backup solution will be utterly ineffective, as CryptoLocker has been known to encrypt data stored on these volumes.

cryptolocker-backup

If you use a cloud backup service like Carbonite, you can take comfort in knowing the odds are good that your files are versioned. That means if you back up an encrypted copy of a file you care about, you can revert to an earlier version. An employee of Carbonite posted this advice on Reddit.

I work for Carbonite on the operations team, and I can confirm this for most cases – I will also offer these two pieces of advice:

1) If you are affected by the virus, you should disable or uninstall Carbonite as soon as possible. If you stop backing up the files, it’s more likely that Carbonite will not have overwritten a “last known good” backup set. There is a high risk of some recent data loss (you’re effectively going back in time, so if we have no record of the file existing at a previous time, you won’t get it back) with this method, but it’s far, far better than losing all of your files.

2) When you call customer support, which you should do as soon as possible, specifically mention that you are infected with cryptolocker. It was mentioned in the post above, but I just wanted to put emphasis on it because it’ll get you through the queue faster.

Edit: also, just to state the obvious, make doubly sure the infection is off your machine before you call support, please.

Should You Pay The Ransom?

What if your computer gets compromised? It goes without saying that brute forcing a file encrypted with 2048 bit encryption is almost impossible. Noted computer security firm Sophos has looked at a number of files that have been encrypted by this particular malware and has failed to notice any obvious means in which they can be decrypted without forking over a ransom.

With that in mind, the only way to get your data back is by paying the ransom. However, this poses a major ethical dilemma. By paying the ransom, you make this type of chicanery profitable and therefore perpetuate it. However, if you don't pay the ransom, you forever lose access to everything you've been working on which is stored on your computer.

What further complicates things is that it is impossible to ascertain who would be the recipient of any money paid. It may something so simple as a single person working from his bedroom looking to get rich at the expense at others, or it might be something much more sinister.

Conclusion

I'll leave the floor to you, the reader. Would you pay the ransom? Have you been infected with CryptoLocker? Leave your thoughts in the comments box below.

   

 

 

 

 

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If it's been a while since you've visited our YouTube Channel HERE'S AN UPDATE:

 

BELIEVE IN BETTER COMPUTER REPAIRS

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QUICK GLANCE AT PC PITSOP PORT MACQAURE SERVICES

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THE IMPORTANCE OF KEEPING SAFE PASSWORDS

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KERRIE EGGINS - 3 WAYS PC PITSTOP SUPPORTS HER BUSINESS

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3 REASONS TO CHOOSE PC PITSTOP FOR YOUR BETTER BUSINESS SUPPORT

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Hate computer cowboys? Us too.

pcpitstop-australia-blog-5-thruths

Geeks that insult your intelligence as they 'help you' [read: do it for you...so fast that you have no idea what they did]?

How about 'reputable' internet sites or news sites reporting on THE SCREEN THAT WILL NEVER BREAK?

How about that 'friend of a friend' at the dinner party or BBQ who talks a whole lotta 'I know this' and 'You need to do that' bullocks at the top of his voice so everyone in attendance knows just how smart he is? Err, I hate that guy!

 

Yep, we hear you and we hate it too. Not only does it put an cloud of dishonesty over the whole industry and paint everyone with the same brush but most importantly, it confuses you guys - the consumers. And confusion costs money, time and a whole tonne of heartache whether you're in business or the business of getting good at Mahjong!

So here's some cold hard truths. Some straight down the line honest technology truths you need to know. For your benefit...and your wallets...and your friends at your next dinner party!

  1. Your hard drive will die at some point in the next 5 years.
  2. No anti-virus protection is 100% safe - YOU are the weakest link.
  3. Everyone has a different opinion about brands but only a technician who has experience with various brands and with your best interests at heart can tell you what's RIGHT FOR YOU...but there are always lemons, even with the better brands!
  4. Moore's law is real. He states that technology's power doubles every 18mths. Staying as up to date as you can doesn't meaning having the latest of everything, but sifting through the latest and finding something that benefits your productivity the most!
  5. Extended warranties offered by most major retailers are risky business because they are not usually manufacturers warranties but instead underwritten by an insurance company who are gambling on you not requiring the service and if you do, the repairs are performed by a third party provider to whom you are often just a number. Basically, if you can get an extended manufacturers warranty it's an option, otherwise don't bother. By the time you would use an extended warranty with technology the parts may not even be available anymore!

 *****

 Are you nodding your head in agreement or do you feel like you've been reality-slapped in the face? I'll tell you, it took me awhile to get my head around 'the truth about technology' too when I first started in the industry. And I was an IT student at school. And thought I was 'up with it.' True. You can be all those things but until you see a new problem, a new discovery, a new solution every half hour in a real IT repair workshop then it's just not something you really fathom.

I'm not saying technology is a horrible waste of money and completely controlled by corporate greed. It's not. In comparision to other things especially. But luck does factor into it a little bit. And a whole lot of TLC and correct knowledge. TLC for your devices should be top of your list. Know how to use your device properly...because that's different for every brand too. And leave the in depth troubleshooting and repairs knowledge up to the experts. A doctor with a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing - that's why they have specialists!

Everyone has a tech story. Usually a bad one. Test your gratitude for your tech and tell us your success story! Share in the comment section below :)

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So I recently spoke at Port Macquarie's Micro Business Forum on The 5 Things We as Business Owners Need to Know to Keep our Computers (& Businesses) Running Great!

It went well. Check out a short video of me in action >>> HERE <<< and judge for yourself.

But being my very first public presentation, of course I was nervous!

Besides learnign from local ladies Liz Paine and Pix Jonasson and business heros Brad Sugars and Steve Jobs videos and audios I found this guide really helpful.

"

Managing Presentation Nerves

pcpitstop-blog-presentation-micro-business-forum

Coping With the Fear Within

Your stomach is queasy, your palms are sweaty, and your mind has gone blank about your opening lines. What will you be like when you've been introduced and the room goes quiet? Are you doomed to presentation panic or paralysis, or can you overcome that debilitating nervousness and deliver a speech that wows the audience? (Or at least leaves them feeling satisfied?)

If you are like most people, then public speaking or presenting is one of your major fears. Yet these skills are often called upon. It might not be to an audience of hundreds, but giving presentations to staff or even team members is a common enough occurrence. You owe it to yourself to develop some strategies and techniques to manage your nerves so you can concentrate on delivering an effective and engaging presentation.

Notice we didn't say to get rid of your nervousness. This is because presenting is not a natural activity; even the most practiced presenters get a bit nervous. The point is this: your nervous energy can be used to your advantage. When you are in a heightened state from the adrenaline that is being pumped into your body, you can use that energy to communicate enthusiastically, convincingly, and passionately. The key is to decrease your level of nervousness so you can use your energy on these positive activities, not on trying to control your nerves.

So, to harness your nervousness and bring it under control, there are six key tips to remember. These tips are all designed to help you focus on your audience and their needs rather than on yourself and how you are feeling. They all stem from one truism:

The more uncertain you are, the more nervous you will be.

The more you can control the uncertainty, the less nervousness you will experience and the more residual energy you will have to devote to the presentation itself.


Six Steps to Conquering Your Presentation Nerves
Step 1 – Know Your Audience

Consult your audience before your presentation. The more confident you are that you are presenting them with useful and interesting material for them, the less nervous you will be overall. You really don't want your presentation to be a surprise. If it is, you lose complete control over the audience's reaction and that is a large factor in nervousness. So:

  •     Define who your target audience is.
  •     Ask people who are representative of the audience what they expect from the presentation.
  •     Run your agenda by a few people to see if they think something is missing or is overkill.
  •     Consider contacting participants by email beforehand and asking them a few questions about what they expect.
  •     Greet audience members at the door and do a quick survey of why they are there and what they expect.

Step 2 – Know Your Material

Nothing is worse for nerves than trying to give a presentation on a topic you are not well prepared for. This doesn't mean you have to be an expert beforehand, but you'd better know it backwards on presentation day. And making sure you've understood your audience and their needs properly will help you ensure that your material is on target to meet their needs.

Another important point to remember is that you can't possibly cover everything you know in your presentation. That would probably be long and boring. So select the most pertinent points from your subject base and then supplement with other material if time allows.

Tip:
To make your material interesting and memorable, include occasional questions to the audience to encourage audience participation. This enhances the learning experience and gives you a break from presenting. It also allows you deliver your information in a more conversational manner which is often more believable.


Step 3 – Structure Your Presentation

A common technique for trying to calm nervousness is memorizing what you intend to say. But all this does is make your delivery sound like it is coming from a robot. If you miss a word or draw a blank, your whole presentation is thrown off and then your nervousness compounds itself with every remaining second. It is far better to structure your presentation so that you give yourself clues to what is coming next.

  •     Have a set of key phrases listed on a cue card.
  •     Refer to these phrases to trigger your mind as to what is coming up next.
  •     If you're using slides, use these key phrases in your transitions.

This approach helps you control your own uncertainty about whether you will remember what you want to say and the order you want to say it.

Tip:
A simple, widely used, and highly effective structure is to tell the audience what you're going to say, then say it, and then recap what you've said.


Step 4 – Practice, Practice, Practice

Although you should avoid memorizing your presentation, you do want to be very comfortable with your delivery. Familiarity brings confidence, and practice helps you to deliver the words naturally. This means they will be coming more from your heart and mind, rather than from a piece of paper.

  •     Learn the organization and order of your presentation.
  •     If you do feel the need to memorize, limit it to your opening. This will help you get off to a smooth start.
  •     Try videotaping yourself. You will see what you look like to others and then you can make a plan to change the things that need changing.
  •     Use audiotape to listen to how you speak, your tone and your speed, and adjust appropriately.
  •     Prepare for large speaking events by practicing with a smaller audience first; for example, by inviting colleagues to listen to a dry run during their lunch hour.

Step 5 – Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

Once you know what you are going to say, you need to prepare yourself for the actual delivery.

  •     Decide what you are going to wear – make it comfortable and appropriate.
  •     Arrive early and get your equipment set up.
  •     Anticipate problems and have backups and contingencies in place in case something doesn't work, you forget something, etc.
  •     If possible, give everything one last run through in the real environment.
  •     Prepare responses to anticipated questions. Try to think like that one person in the front row who always tries to trip the presenter up.

Step 6 – Calm Yourself from the Inside

Nervousness causes physiological reactions which are mostly attributed to the increase of adrenaline in your system. You can counteract these effects with a few simple techniques:

  •     Practice deep breathing – adrenalin causes you to breath shallowly. By breathing deeply your brain will get the oxygen it needs and the slower pace will trick your body into believing you are calmer. It also helps with voice quivers, which can occur when your breathing is irregular.
  •     Drink water - adrenalin can cause a dry mouth, which in turn leads to getting tongue-tied. Have a glass of water handy. Take sips occasionally, especially when you want to emphasize a point.
  •     Smile – this is a natural relaxant that sends positive chemicals through your body.
  •     Use visualization techniques – imagine that you are delivering your presentation to an audience that is interested, enthused, smiling, and reacting positively. Cement this positive image in your mind and recall it right before you are ready to go on.
  •     Press and massage your forehead to energize the front of the brain and speech center.
  •     Just before you start talking, pause, make eye contact, and smile. This last moment of peace is very relaxing and gives you time to adjust to being the centre of attention.
  •     Speak more slowly than you would in a conversation, and leave longer pauses between sentences. This slower pace will calm you down, and it will also make you easier to hear, especially at the back of a large room.
  •     Move around during your presentation. This will expend some of your nervous energy.
  •     Stay or Stop Thinking About Yourself. Remember that the audience is there to get some information and it is your job to put it across to them.

Key Points

When it comes to presenting, nerves are inevitable. Letting them get the better of you is not. You need to develop a strategy for taking the focus off your nervousness and putting that energy to positive use. By controlling as much of the uncertainly as you can, you increase your confidence in your ability to deliver an excellent presentation. This confidence then counteracts your nerves and you create a positive cycle for yourself.

Nerves are not your enemy and you don't have to fear public speaking. For your next presentation, be knowledgeable, be well practiced and prepared, try out some physical relaxation techniques. Amaze yourself and impress your audience with your calm and cool delivery of a great presentation.


- See more at: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/PresentationNerves.htm#sthash.HLvbqxPw.dpuf

"

Share your presentation story!Let us know in the comment space below!


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Managing Presentation Nerves

Coping With the Fear Within


© iStockphoto/MarkBernard

Your stomach is queasy, your palms are sweaty, and your mind has gone blank about your opening lines. What will you be like when you've been introduced and the room goes quiet? Are you doomed to presentation panic or paralysis, or can you overcome that debilitating nervousness and deliver a speech that wows the audience? (Or at least leaves them feeling satisfied?)

If you are like most people, then public speaking or presenting is one of your major fears. Yet these skills are often called upon. It might not be to an audience of hundreds, but giving presentations to staff or even team members is a common enough occurrence. You owe it to yourself to develop some strategies and techniques to manage your nerves so you can concentrate on delivering an effective and engaging presentation.

Notice we didn't say to get rid of your nervousness. This is because presenting is not a natural activity; even the most practiced presenters get a bit nervous. The point is this: your nervous energy can be used to your advantage. When you are in a heightened state from the adrenaline that is being pumped into your body, you can use that energy to communicate enthusiastically, convincingly, and passionately. The key is to decrease your level of nervousness so you can use your energy on these positive activities, not on trying to control your nerves.

So, to harness your nervousness and bring it under control, there are six key tips to remember. These tips are all designed to help you focus on your audience and their needs rather than on yourself and how you are feeling. They all stem from one truism:

The more uncertain you are, the more nervous you will be.

The more you can control the uncertainty, the less nervousness you will experience and the more residual energy you will have to devote to the presentation itself.

Six Steps to Conquering Your Presentation Nerves

Step 1 – Know Your Audience

Consult your audience before your presentation. The more confident you are that you are presenting them with useful and interesting material for them, the less nervous you will be overall. You really don't want your presentation to be a surprise. If it is, you lose complete control over the audience's reaction and that is a large factor in nervousness. So:

  • Define who your target audience is.
  • Ask people who are representative of the audience what they expect from the presentation.
  • Run your agenda by a few people to see if they think something is missing or is overkill.
  • Consider contacting participants by email beforehand and asking them a few questions about what they expect.
  • Greet audience members at the door and do a quick survey of why they are there and what they expect.

Step 2 – Know Your Material

Nothing is worse for nerves than trying to give a presentation on a topic you are not well prepared for. This doesn't mean you have to be an expert beforehand, but you'd better know it backwards on presentation day. And making sure you've understood your audience and their needs properly will help you ensure that your material is on target to meet their needs.

Another important point to remember is that you can't possibly cover everything you know in your presentation. That would probably be long and boring. So select the most pertinent points from your subject base and then supplement with other material if time allows.

Tip:
To make your material interesting and memorable, include occasional questions to the audience to encourage audience participation. This enhances the learning experience and gives you a break from presenting. It also allows you deliver your information in a more conversational manner which is often more believable.

Step 3 – Structure Your Presentation

A common technique for trying to calm nervousness is memorizing what you intend to say. But all this does is make your delivery sound like it is coming from a robot. If you miss a word or draw a blank, your whole presentation is thrown off and then your nervousness compounds itself with every remaining second. It is far better to structure your presentation so that you give yourself clues to what is coming next.

  • Have a set of key phrases listed on a cue card.
  • Refer to these phrases to trigger your mind as to what is coming up next.
  • If you're using slides, use these key phrases in your transitions.

This approach helps you control your own uncertainty about whether you will remember what you want to say and the order you want to say it.

Tip:
A simple, widely used, and highly effective structure is to tell the audience what you're going to say, then say it, and then recap what you've said.

Step 4 – Practice, Practice, Practice

Although you should avoid memorizing your presentation, you do want to be very comfortable with your delivery. Familiarity brings confidence, and practice helps you to deliver the words naturally. This means they will be coming more from your heart and mind, rather than from a piece of paper.

  • Learn the organization and order of your presentation.
  • If you do feel the need to memorize, limit it to your opening. This will help you get off to a smooth start.
  • Try videotaping yourself. You will see what you look like to others and then you can make a plan to change the things that need changing.
  • Use audiotape to listen to how you speak, your tone and your speed, and adjust appropriately.
  • Prepare for large speaking events by practicing with a smaller audience first; for example, by inviting colleagues to listen to a dry run during their lunch hour.

Step 5 – Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

Once you know what you are going to say, you need to prepare yourself for the actual delivery.

  • Decide what you are going to wear – make it comfortable and appropriate.
  • Arrive early and get your equipment set up.
  • Anticipate problems and have backups and contingencies in place in case something doesn't work, you forget something, etc.
  • If possible, give everything one last run through in the real environment.
  • Prepare responses to anticipated questions. Try to think like that one person in the front row who always tries to trip the presenter up.

Step 6 – Calm Yourself from the Inside

Nervousness causes physiological reactions which are mostly attributed to the increase of adrenaline in your system. You can counteract these effects with a few simple techniques:

  • Practice deep breathing – adrenalin causes you to breath shallowly. By breathing deeply your brain will get the oxygen it needs and the slower pace will trick your body into believing you are calmer. It also helps with voice quivers, which can occur when your breathing is irregular.
  • Drink water - adrenalin can cause a dry mouth, which in turn leads to getting tongue-tied. Have a glass of water handy. Take sips occasionally, especially when you want to emphasize a point.
  • Smile – this is a natural relaxant that sends positive chemicals through your body.
  • Use visualization techniques – imagine that you are delivering your presentation to an audience that is interested, enthused, smiling, and reacting positively. Cement this positive image in your mind and recall it right before you are ready to go on.
  • Press and massage your forehead to energize the front of the brain and speech center.
  • Just before you start talking, pause, make eye contact, and smile. This last moment of peace is very relaxing and gives you time to adjust to being the centre of attention.
  • Speak more slowly than you would in a conversation, and leave longer pauses between sentences. This slower pace will calm you down, and it will also make you easier to hear, especially at the back of a large room.
  • Move around during your presentation. This will expend some of your nervous energy.
  • Stay or Stop Thinking About Yourself. Remember that the audience is there to get some information and it is your job to put it across to them.

Note 1:
Many of these tips were suggested by members of the Club who discussed presentation nerves in the Career Cafe forum. So thanks again to Aussieghump, Misliona, Ladyb, Midgie, Lulu, Geoff Harrop and Rachel!

Note 2:
To take this to the next level, click here to listen to our "Performing Under Pressure" Expert Interview with Dr Don Greene. This gives you many more tips and techniques for managing performance stress.


Key Points

When it comes to presenting, nerves are inevitable. Letting them get the better of you is not. You need to develop a strategy for taking the focus off your nervousness and putting that energy to positive use. By controlling as much of the uncertainly as you can, you increase your confidence in your ability to deliver an excellent presentation. This confidence then counteracts your nerves and you create a positive cycle for yourself.

Nerves are not your enemy and you don't have to fear public speaking. For your next presentation, be knowledgeable, be well practiced and prepared, try out some physical relaxation techniques. Amaze yourself and impress your audience with your calm and cool delivery of a great presentation.

- See more at: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/PresentationNerves.htm#sthash.HLvbqxPw.dpuf
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    Congratulation Ben, Your qualities speak for themselves being a compassionate businessman is not easy. I have a business similar t

[TIME FOR A CHECKUP]

Dust and debris in your computer can cause overheating...which can fry parts...which can result in lost precious data, to name one tech crisis!

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WHAT DO WE DO TO MAKE YOUR COMPUTER FASTER, SAFER AND CLEANER?

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How do you keep spyware from tracking your habits or hijacking your computer?

One-third of Internet users have been spyware afflicted and this figure is on the rise.

What is spyware?
It's a broad term for deceptive software that installs itself on a computer via the internet. Once it lurks, it allows an outsider to harvest your personal information, which can be used for many purposes. Unsolicited ads or adware is spyware in its most benign form. Others are more malicious, such as stealing passwords or credit-card information. Having a number of unauthorised programs running on your PC at once makes it sluggish, unstable, and, ultimately, more likely to crash.

How do you know if your computer has been infiltrated with spyware?
Unlike viruses, which are often invisible, spyware exhibits a host of signs that take away your ability to control the computer. Hijacked home pages, redirected Web searches, and a flood of pop-up ads are common complaints.

How does spyware creep on board?
Simply clicking on a banner ad can install spyware. Worms, which are self-propagating viruses, can also carry spyware. They search for machines that don't have up-to-date security patches and install the nasty software. Spyware is also spread by e-mail.
Sometimes spyware is secretly bundled with free software you download from the Internet. Sites that offer music-sharing, videos, weather data, games, and screen savers often are paid to distribute adware. When you install the software, you might see a pop-up window asking you to agree to certain conditions. Avoid clicking ‘I agree’ without reading the fine print. You could be authorising the installation of data-collection and ad-serving software that can muck up your PC.

How do you get rid of spyware?
To eliminate it, you must track down every file and completely erase it. That can be tough since spyware hides inside your computer's operating system, making it difficult to find. PC Pitstop provides a scan-and-removal service. For extra protection, employ specialty anti-spyware software. Use a well-known program that scans for a regularly updated list of privacy threats.

How do you protect your computer in the future?
Protection is an ongoing process since spyware makers are constantly creating new threats. First, install a personal firewall and an anti-virus program. Next, set the computer's operating system for daily security updates and your browser to a medium or high-security level. Windows users should also ensure that the latest Service Pack from Microsoft is installed. And finally, practice safe surfing - download only trustworthy software, read licensing agreements, avoid banner ads, and delete spam. In other words, just say no!

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