Some General Security Information

Activate Two-Factor Authentication
Adding two-factor authentication to your email, file storage, and social media
accounts is the most important step you can take to secure your information and
it’s really simple to set up. Your campaign will tell you which two-factor method to
use. Two-factor authentication makes it a lot harder for the bad guys to get into your
account, even if they steal your password.

Create Strong Passwords
Make your password as long as possible. Think of it more as a “pass-sentence” than a
password. Less than 8 characters is too short. 12 or longer is much better. Contrary to popular belief, it should not include requirements for numbers, special characters, or capitalization. SOMETHINGLIKETHISPASSWORDHERE is actually harder to hack than s0m3TH!n6L1k$. String a set of words together that are easy for you to remember. Don’t write your password down where someone can find it. If you have even a faint suspicion that someone might know your password, change it immediately.

Keep work on your work accounts
Never use your personal email or storage services for campaign work. Foreign agents have hacked people’s personal email accounts in the past to steal information. To keep your personal life secure, use strong passwords and two-factor authentication.

Secure your personal accounts
Make sure you have two-factor and strong passwords on your personal accounts, just in case someone tries to hack your personal life. If you are on Gmail, there’s a service for personal accounts called Advanced Protection that uses physical keys to give you extra protection from someone else logging onto your accounts. There is also a Chrome extension you can download that helps protect Gmail accounts against phishing.

Watch out…
Clicking links. Avoid clicking links in emails; go directly to a site through your browser instead. Just clicking a malicious link can install malware on your computer. Be especially careful of links that ask for your password or personal information. If you see something suspicious, contact us immediately!

Trust your gut.
If an email looks funny or has strange grammar, don’t click anything or open any attachments. If a co-worker seems to be sending a strange request, or asking you to share something sensitive over email, pick up the phone and call them to make sure it’s legit. Never click links, open attachments, or send sensitive information in response to emails from people you don’t know or addresses you don’t recognize. If you see something suspicious or aren’t sure what to do, just say so!

Downloading apps.
Only download apps from the official Apple or Android store on your device. Avoid downloading apps you don’t need, since adversaries will sometimes spy on your computer or phone by creating apps disguised as games or helpful tools.

Social media.
Your social media accounts contain a wealth of information about you and your whereabouts that hackers can use to send you sophisticated phishing emails. Limit the information you share by default and select security settings that allow only accepted friends to see personal information. Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know.

Matt Clark
07966 497090
matthew.clark@bristol-computer-support.co.uk

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Intel i3 Generation 8 Based PCs, towers and desktops.

Bristol Computer Support are now building custom PCs based on the new Generation 8 i3 CPUs.  The main differences are that the CPU is Quad core, rather than dual core as it was in the Generation 7 range, plus the generation performance of the chip range in the motherboards etc.

Many manufacturers are still shipping Generation 7 CPUs.  You can tell the difference in the model of the CPU.  It will read “Intel i3 700x” etc.  Is it worth getting the older generation?  If you are looking for performance, probably not.

The motherboards for the new generation 8 CPUs are twice as expensive – so there will be a price increase to get the new hardware.  Typical gen 7 boards were starting at about £40-£50, gen 8 are £80-£90 entry level.

Matthew Clark
matthew.clark@bristol-computer-support.co.uk
07966 497090

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MacBook Pro 2012 Hard Drive Failure

MacBook Pro Repairs…

We’ve just completed a nice repair to a student’s MacBook Pro.  It was a 2012 version, and it had a 500Gb Hard Drive failure.  It would not boot up at all.  So we supplied a low cost Solid State Drive (120Gb). You could call it a “forced to upgrade” option!

Having fitted this new drive, we reinstalled the Operating System “Lion”and then accessed the old hard drive.  Most of the student’s data was intact – so we copied it all back.

A couple of hours labour and a drive, and it was a quicker MacBook Pro 2012!

Image result for macbook pro 2012

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CC TV Installation

We now offer a CCTV installation service.  We use only IP cameras and a central recording device, view-able from your phones/tablets/PC or Macs, either in the house, or when you are away.  Typical prices start from £350 for the hardware and about £400 labour.  You can save some money by laying the data cable yourself.  (CAT 6 or 5e). Based on a two camera system.

 

Image result for swann cctv

We have setup 2, 4 and 6 camera systems for clients, both domestic and commercial locations.

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Scams, Cons and Spam

  1. Scammers use email (spam), web pages, texts and phone calls
    1. Never trust anything that anyone sends or tells you over the phone
    2. Contact the company direct using contact details “not from the potential scammer”
    3. Login direct to the service in question – often that is how the likes of “Amazon/Ebay for example” will let you know of any issues
  1. Crypto virus’s
    1. Caught by clicking on hacker’s website links or from an email/spam
    2. They encrypt vital files or the whole PC
    3. NEVER pay the ransom – they want your credit card details
    4. Backup to cloud and/or hard drive
  1. Ebay – Selling
    1. Never just ship goods to an address “sent by Ebay email” often these can be counterfeit
    2. Login to PayPal – confirm payment and ship goods to the address listed by the client account.
    3. Never ship without payment first arriving
  1. Malware
    1. Sinister malware may well allow a hacker to see what you are typing or remote control to your unattended PC
    2. Some will divert your searches to their websites
    3. Most malware tracks what you do, slows down your PC and causes pop ups
  1. Fighting Scams/Cons/Spam
    1. Backup all data often, both to drive and cloud
    2. Buy a decent security package for all your hardware, make sure it updates and keep it renewed.
    3. Keep all your software up-to-date, apply all the Microsoft and Apple updates
    4. Sign up to a spam killing service
    5. Computer usage policy for work
    6. Website blocking (free for home use)
    7. Strong passwords, different ones for each service
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Did you upgrade to Windows 10?

Many of my clients took advantage of the free upgrade to Windows 10.  The problem is no-one seems to have created any “backup” media to help reinstall the PC if/when the hard drive fails or Windows needs to be reinstalled.  Let’s be honest, quite a few issues result in Windows being wiped and installed.

Image result for windows 10

I’m going around my clients with memory sticks, creating the media, and attaching it to the PC case or placing it in the laptop bag.  Otherwise – when it comes to re-installation, you’ll probably end up going back to your old operating system.  You may even end up paying for a new Windows 10 copy.

Matt Clark, Bristol Computer Support 07966 497090

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Why not have Two Screens Setup?

Why not let Bristol Computer Support set you up with 2 screens?  Most PCs already have the capability, and even if your PC does not – a cheap addon graphics card will resolve that problem!

(1)  It’s low cost, a typical screen is £80, plus a graphics card £35 and some labour to install.

(2)  Twice the desktop size – you can be reading information on one screen, while editing or designing on the other.

(3)  It’ll save you money – no need to keep printing information out.  It’s less expensive than buying one large monitor.

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Cyrus Lyric Music Player

The dreaded salesman strikes.

Just been on a call where I’m told the WiFi doesn’t reach a room.  I arrive on site, and that is not the issue at all…

There is a wonderful looking device called “a Cyrus Lyric 9”.  I connect the unit to the WiFi using the power-line connectors the client has already bought, and I prove the unit is now on the internet – it plays all the wonderful Internet Radio channels.

That’s not what the client was interested in.  He wants to play his iTunes and Spotify through this device – with no wires!  The manual advises you to copy all your files to a NAS drive or a USB drive – great in theory.  Normally iTunes has encrypted them because they are purchased through iTunes!

To play any music from his iMac, we have to download and install a 3rd party bit of software that makes the iMac into an uPnP server.  It still won’t play Spotify unless an iPad is plugged into it.  £1500 and the system does not do what my client needs it to do.

For lest than £50, I recommended a solution for the client to connect in a simple Bluetooth music device into his existing excellent Hi-Fi system, and from there he can play whatever his iPad plays.  He’s got to have his Spotify app installed, and his music on his iPad, but he can hold the iPad and choose his music without getting up!

If you want good common sense computer support, that can save you money in the long run, Bristol Computer Support Ltd.

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Spam email from someone I know…

A client just called me to say she had received an email from her husband, and was wandering how that was possible…he’s been dead for over 3 years.

Spammer systems are programs or “robots” as they call them.  These programs are able to “pretend” to be an email address, and they cleverly send the email to associated emails.  Have you or one of your contacts ever forwarded one of the those emails ending with “send to 100 of your friends, or have 7 years bad luck” etc?  These are just the kind of emails a spammer is looking for – perfect for this kind of scam.

So it’s probably not personal, it’s a clever computer program trying to trap you into clicking on a link or an attachment.  Not a lot you can really do about it, as this kind of attack tends to go through the spam protection systems, which is why the spammers do it.

Matt, BCS Engineer.

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Office 365

If you’re sick of deleting the same email on your phone, tablet and PC, then have a look at Office 365. I’ve signed up 10 small businesses over the last year, for as little as £3.10 per mailbox per month.

It’s a simple process. (1) I send you an email with a link to sign up with Microsoft. (2) I work with your website company to make some changes. (3) I help you upload your mailbox.

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