Working From Home – Cybercriminals wet dream!

Cybercriminals must be enjoying these times! So many people are now working from home, probably on their own laptop or desktop. IF THESE DEVICES WERE in the office, the IT department would be making sure all the patches were applied, security kept up-to-date and renewed, admin access secured away. Of course the office would be hidden behind business grade firewalls, and security systems. Fraudsters would also get stuck trying to ring in, as no doubt reception would intercept the calls.

We can make it difficult for them. Make sure your network access is secure, with a good WiFi password. Make sure the router is up-to-date. Make your Windows or Mac passwords are strong and never give them out to anyone. Indeed, make sure all your passwords are strong and different. The modern way now is long passwords, that do not change, so that you do not fall for phishing emails.

Check that your PC or Mac (or Chromebook) is fully patched and running the newest version. Yes, of course sometimes the companies roll out a bad update, but most of these updates are to combat some vulnerability that a hacker has found in the code.
Check that your security software is good enough. Too much? We can of course help with all this.

#cybersecurity #security #network

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Laptop slow? We can speed it up, solid state drive installation

Most new laptop prices seem to have gone through the roof.  It seems to be related to Brexit and Covid.  It’s a bitter pill to pay, but there is an alternative solution.

Your current laptop may last 2 more years if it was just a bit quicker.  The best way is for Bristol Computer Support to replace your hard drive for a Solid State Drive.  We can fit 240Gb unto 960Gb solid states drives (SSDs) and we can duplicate your existing Windows installation.  Where possible we take an exact image of your disk drive, and write it onto the new SSD.

240Gb to 960Gb are reasonably priced.

For more information on SSDs, Intel below have written an excellent document.

Quote.  An image of the older drive, supply, fit and re-image to the new drive 240Gb recently cost £130 plus VAT.  The laptop was delivered to us.

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MESH WiFi Installation Bristol

We’re installing 2 or 3 WiFi Mesh installations a week here at Bristol Computer Support.

Clients previously had powerline devices, cables everywhere and randem access points placed around their houses and businesses.  With MESH, we taking all that away, replacing it with tidy and efficient MESH systems.

The largest building we have done is 7 devices, most seem to need just the 3.  The MESH devices talk to eachother and high speed, and the WiFi can fill even the furthest corners of your building.

It’s not expensive from BCS, we are happy to sell you just the devices you need, we can set them up in about an hour, plus we leave you with the APP on your devices so that you can manage your own network, and see what is going on.

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WiFi for home, advanced home or business

We offer various types of WiFi system…

A simple system of powerline and access point to extend your WiFi and take the load off of your main router.  Very low cost, but effective.  Downside is very few if any logs, and separate WiFi zones.

The next level is a full Mesh based system.  As many devices as you need to flood your larger house, or small office, with a single WiFi zone, rather than lots of small ones.  Guest access and some limited statistics of usage.  Currently we are installing Deco from TP-Link – it’s reliable and well priced.

The next one, really aimed at the Office, or a premium solution for a house, is Unifi from Ubiquiti.  A fully managed Mesh type system, with so many statistics we can give active feedback on your usage. down to device level.  There is full control, throttling of devices, threat management.  It’s the most expensive system, but gives you full control over your network and internet usage.

  • Mesh, each device adds to the network.  The system can automatically manage the strength and channels to make your network effective.


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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

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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
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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