Getting Conned Again

Posted by on Sep 30, 2013 in IT Top Tips

Getting Conned Again

I guess it must be the lure of free money, as It’s not the first time that I’ve written about this, and I’m sure it wont be the last. It keeps on happening, and people keep on falling for it! Ignore the whole ***SPAM*** bit, that’s just cause my email filtering picked it up (I dug it out of my spam archive just to show you…) Simply it ‘looks’ like an e-mail from HMRC telling you you’ve got a Tax Refund. You just need you to fill in the attached form for them to process it. But it’s not, as someone I came across recently found out, once you open up the attachment (TIP: NEVER open up HTML attachments unless you are 117% sure they are legit, even if sent from someone you know… one of the easiest ways to get a virus). The virus they got was particularly nasty, we ended up having to rebuild their machine for them as our conventional cleaning methods just wouldn’t clean it up properly… Maybe an accountant out there will tell me different, but I’ve never known HMRC to send an email about a refund, they always sent in the post (and usually asking for money, not giving it back!) (On a side note, this email was a Blatant spam e-mail, aside from the look of it, there were several ‘behind the scenes’ tell tale signs that EVERY E-Mail filtering system should have picked up, if you got one of these and your e-mail filtering didn’t pick it up, you need to get some better email filtering, because you are almost certainly at high risk of getting a virus… drop me a note if you want some help) Top Tips Always be suspicious of e-mails asking you to open up HTML attachments, they are a really easy way to send viruses.  If you are receiving a lot of these types of e-mails you really should talk to your IT people about your Anti-Spam, cause it should be blocking e-mails like this. As Always, any questions or queries you can call me and my team on 01543...

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Do you own your own Domain Name?

Posted by on Sep 23, 2013 in IT Top Tips

I routinely come across businesses which don’t own their own domains, they might think they do and the company they registered it through might tell them it is, but have you actually checked? Why is it important I own my domain name? It never really becomes an issue until you fall out with someone. I have known plenty of people who’s domain names have been in the name of their web developer, or one of the directors of the business, it’s all been fine for years, but then for one reason or another there is a falling out, someone decides to get vindictive, and they cause trouble… sure when it comes down to it, and you go to court you might be able to prove it should actually be yours, or the companies, but do you really want all that hassle and cost when it takes less than a minute to check, and only a few minutes to change it, if its wrong? I’ve also heard of it cause complications when you come to sell your business, and let’s face it your website and on-line presence is only becoming more important… it’s such an easy thing to do, and so often over looked… So how do I check if I own it myself? It’s really simple to check, pop over to our own WhoIs Tool – https://www.brokenstones.net/customer-portal/dns/whois.php Enter your domain in the box at the top, then type in the annoying code (sorry, but the number of people I had abusing this I had to put the capture code in!), then hit ‘Submit’ If you’ve typed your domain name in correctly (yes, I did type mine wrong first time! and it took me a moment to realise – ever get the feeling it’s going to be one of them days?), you should then see some results showing you all the public information about your domain name, you want to look for where it says ‘Registrant’ – that’s you!   If it’s not got your name, or your company name, it means it’s not technically yours! You really should get it updated. So why is the domain not registered correctly to start with? From experience I know that some people simply don’t realise when they register the domain they should enter it in the owners name as opposed to theirs, but then there are probably also companies out there who purposely register it in their own name to try to keep some sort of control over their client. How do I change it to my name? To change a the ‘registrant’ of a .uk domain currently costs £10+VAT see details on nominet for more details. For most of common domain extensions (like .com, .net, .org) it’s normally free to update your details, you just need to contact whoever looks after your domain for you. Top Tip Go and check that you own all your domains names now....

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Are you going to fix it, or just ignore it?

Posted by on Sep 16, 2013 in IT Top Tips

Are you going to fix it, or just ignore it?

You are happily working away on your computer and then up pops a big warning box to say you’ve got a Virus… what do you do? Click the ‘Fix Now’ button, or ignore it? Wrong answer, you really should pick up the phone and call your IT support provider! SCAM WARNING: This e-mail contains details of a Virus scam experienced by one of our clients recently. Fortunately they had the good sense to call us, rather than make any attempt to solve the issue on their own. Please take heed and don’t fall victim to this type of scam, as I know people have in the past. AntiVirus Security Pro – if you see a screen like this pop up on your computer, then you’ve got this virus. This particular virus is an extortion type virus, it’s main aim is to get you to hand your credit card details over. It presents itself as some virus protection software, telling you that you’ve got 100 or so viruses, and to clean them up you need to upgrade to the ‘Full Edition’ for about $30. Of course it’s a scam, it’s all to get your card details. (If you have already seen this or similar, and put your card details in, call your bank and stop your card now!) It then proceeds to interfere with almost everything on your computer, every time you try to open any document or program it will pop up and pester you stopping you from doing anything, and generally causing a nuisance. We also found that it had hidden all of ‘My Documents’ and then tried to trick you in to running another program to further infect your computer. This seems to be particularly persistent virus, in the course of cleaning it up, it infected two of our memory sticks (we keep a handful of clean USB sticks, just for jobs like this!) Top Tip If you have a piece of software that pops up on your computer and you are not 100% sure about what it is, then call your Local IT Expert about it. (You can call us on 01543 241 234). Also, a great tool to run if you are unsure about something on your computer is Malwarebytes – http://www.malwarebytes.org – if it doesn’t run for any reason, you really should call an expert! NOTE: Some of you may be wondering why this virus wasn’t stopped by their existing Anti-Virus Software, well the truth is that no anti-virus software is 100% effective, some things do get through, no matter what anti-virus software you use. Remember, as Thomas Jefferson said “The price of freedom is...

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Is your website broken?

Posted by on Jul 29, 2013 in IT Top Tips

Is your website broken?

I’ve seen this a few times now, when the webpage loads it’s either completely blank, or only half loaded, and it doesn’t work properly… The first instinct is to blame the owner of the website, they’ve not been looking after it properly… But it’s not always their fault… this actually happened to me last week, I e-mail someone to helpfully point out there was a problem with their site, but there wasn’t… it was all to do with me and my computer… oopps. You see websites are getting more and more complicated, not to use or look at (that’s getting better thankfully), but in the way they are constructed, and the code they use behind the scenes. Sometimes different websites can conflict with each other, or if one site has been made particularly badly, it can affect other sites (This is what happened to me, another, large worldwide company’s site I was on was causing another site to run extremely slowly – like 3 seconds to load a single page…). If you’re finding trouble using a particular site there are a couple of things you can check quickly before blaming anyone else… Either start up a different web browser (i.e. if you’re using Chrome, try Internet Explorer or Firefox) or most browsers now had a handy little feature called ‘In Private Browsing’. It effectively creates a new web browser that doesn’t share any of the resources from other pages you’ve got open… it also doesn’t save any of your info or the history of what you’ve looked at (Handy if you are shopping for Birthday Presents!) In Chrome, Click the Settings Button (the 3 lines) in the top right corner, then Click ‘New Incognito Window’… In Internet Explorer, Click the Cog in the top right corner, then Safety and InPrivate Browsing… In Firefox Click the Orange Firefox menu the top LEFT, then Click Start Private Browsing… When you’ve done that you’ll either see a new window appear (as in chrome & IE) or the window will change (FireFox) and you should see an indication you are in Private Browsing Mode… In Chrome you get a little ‘Spy’ like Man appear in the top left, in IE you  get a ‘InPrivate’ icon at the start of the address bar and in FireFox the logo turns Purple… Top Tip If you’re struggling with a website not working properly… first try the InPrivate Browsing mode or another web browser to check it’s not you! Also don’t forget one of the main purposes of InPrivate browsing is to keep what your looking at secret from other users of your computer… Perhaps someone should have mentioned that to my wife before she ordered my new tennis bag for my birthday… (of course it didn’t help she left it on the front seat of her car for 2 days either!) If you need any help please don’t hesitate to...

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How to Backup your iPhone

Posted by on Jul 22, 2013 in IT Top Tips

How to Backup your iPhone

Imagine if your entire phone got wiped today… have you got everything on there backed up? How quickly could you get back up an running again? Cause if you’ve got an iPhone, and you’ve got iCloud backup set-up, it’s minutes… even if you loose your phone, you can restore everything back to a new phone in minutes… I’m sure it’s just as easy on an Android or Windows phone.. OK, so if you’ve got your email set-up properly (I.E. Office 365 or MS Exchange ) then getting your Mail, Contacts and Calendar back is pretty easy, but what about all your settings, and all your apps, any notes you’ve made… re-downloading all your music and any photos you’ve taken? I’ve got photos of Donald going back to when he was a puppy on my phone (yes and of course both my daughters too). The rest of the stuff on my phone I can either do without or get back with some effort, but I’d be pretty upset if I lost those precious photos. Here’s how we setup Backup on your iPhone Go in to Settings and Choose ‘iCloud’ In the iCloud Menu scroll down to the bottom and choose ‘Storage and Backup’ The next screen tells you how much space you are using, and how much you have available, you then just need to make sure that ‘iCloud Backup’ is ON. Also just below the Back Up Now button it tells you when you last backed up… it’s a simple as that… now whenever your phone has WiFi and is plugged in it will automatically back itself up. Side Note: Recently I ran out of space on my ‘iCloud’ I spent 2 or 3 weeks going through trying to delete stuff I didn’t want / need… then I realised I was being pretty stupid! It was £28 to add an extra 20GB to my existing free 5GB, how much time had I already wasted? £28 for the year was nothing, it took less than a minute to set-up, and now I’ve got more space than I can use, and I’ve got peace of mind again… Top Tip Make sure you’ve got backup enabled on your phone right now, it’s easy and it’s free, and it all happens without you having to do anything! (You can also do the same thing on your iPad too!). I’ve not used a Samsung phone, but I’m sure it’ll be just as simple (and I’m sure someone will email with how to set it up on there too). If you need any help please don’t hesitate to call – 01543 241 234 P.S. To the lady that inspired this e-mail, and who really should know better, I hope you’re phone is backed up NOW! – Did you already have backup setup? Let me know on our FaceBook...

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The 2nd Most useful Program on my Computer

Posted by on Jul 1, 2013 in IT Top Tips

The 2nd Most useful Program on my Computer

There are some programs I use on my computer almost every day, Back in Top Tip #11 I told you about the most useful program on my computer, the one I use every single day (If you missed it, drop me a note on our Facebook page and I’ll send it to you). Well this one comes a close second, in fact I’ve used it three times just to write this email to you. Now if you’ve not used this in quite a while, you are going to think I’m crazy when you find out what it is, I too was quite surprised when I re-discovered it a few years ago, it’s amazing how a makeover and a few simple tweaks have transformed this tool. Yes, it’s Good old MS Paint!! Why do I use it so much? For grabbing screen shots or making quick amendments to stuff, for instance if I’m writing a proposal for someone and I need to include a reference to some web content, what better way than to take a quick screen shot of it? Or how about if you want to send on some e-mail testimonial’s you’ve had, sue you could just copy the text, but it has a bit more impact if you take a screen shot of the actual e-mail (You can then use the shapes tool to block out the email address of mobile number of the original sender). How to Crop So one of the things I need to do most is ‘crop’ a screenshot, that’s chopping out everything I don’t want in the image, here’s how… Make sure the ‘Select’ Button it highlighted (Next to Crop), then drag your cursor around the area you want to KEEP. You’ll notice a blue dotted line appear, that shows you the area you’ve selected… Now Hit the Crop Button (Circled in the image above), and you’ll notice all but your selected area magically disappear! Top Tip Here’s a step by step guide to taking a screenshot and e-mailing it to someone, try it now… Press ALT + Print Screen (Takes a screenshot of your current window) Press WINDOWS + R (Pop up the run command box)  Type ‘mspaint’ and press enter Press CTRL + V (Pastes the screenshot you’ve just taken) Now Crop it as you want and hit Save. If you want to capture the whole screen, rather than just the current window just press PRINT SCREEN, and if you are lucky enough to have two monitors press WINDOWS + PRINT SCREEN to capture your entire...

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