Time To Patch Your Bluetooth Devices

A security research firm called Armis has release information about a new set of flaws they found and exploited in the Bluetooth wireless protocol. Bluetooth is, of course, the short range wireless system that lets our phones talk to our cars and headphones and fitness trackers. By sending the right signals to devices using standard Linux, Android, and Windows implementations of Bluetooth, researchers at Armis have been able to do everything from listening in on network traffic to installing and running potentially damaging viruses and other applications.

This new vulnerability is especially dangerous because Bluetooth has a range of over 30 feet, meaning anyone with the right equipment might be able to hack your phone or computer as long as they are nearby. Fortunately, these security researchers did the right thing and approached companies like Apple, Microsoft, and Google who make many of the world's Bluetooth using devices and told them about the flaw they found long before they released info about the flaw to the public.

What should you do to prevent this problem affecting your equipment? If you are using Window, or and Android or Apple phone you should make sure you have the latest OS. For iPhones, this is easy since this problem does not affect the current iOS 10. Windows users will likewise almost certainly get a patch. For Android it might be a little harder to find a patch depending on the age of your phone.

If you need help patching your computer or phone or just want to make sure your devices are safe you can stop on by our location at 1331 South Beckahm. You can also give us a call at 903-858-4383 or email us at info@computerrepairintyler.com


June Deal of the Month: 10% Off Virus & Spyware Removal

Last month, the world saw the release and spread of a much higher than normal number of viruses and spyware programs. Most notably, the dangerous ransomware known as "WannaCry" infected and locked users out of hundreds of thousands of computers in only a few days thanks to targeting a Windows flaw originally discovered by the NSA. In the last few days, there have been rumors of similar hacking groups preparing to release new info on software vulnerabilities that could enable the quick spread of new viruses.

At Computer Repair in Tyler, one of the core services we offer is Virus and Spyware removal for Windows and Apple Macintosh computers, and to help combat this uptick in computer viruses, we're making our June Deal of the Month a discount on our Virus and Malware removal services. If your PC or Mac is acting funny or having weird issues, bring it to us and we can help you diagnosis and remove any viruses and spyware programs that filtered down from the Internet.

We can also help you if your computer has caught a piece of Ransomware that locks you out of your files and demands money to have them restored. In past cases, these ransomware programs have been poorly coded and have had flaws and workarounds that we have been able to research and use to help users get their files back without having to pay money to the hackers.

If you think your computer has caught a virus, bring it to us as soon as you can and mention our Deal of the Month to get a 10% discount. And remember, we can handle all your other computer repair needs, such as laptop screen replacements, operating system reinstalls, and hard drive data recovery, as well.

We are located at:
1331 South Beckham in Tyler, Texas, 75701. Look for us between the Big Lots and the gas station just south of the hospitals.
If you have any questions, you can reach us at 903.858.4383 or by emailing us at info@computerrepairintyler.com


Microsoft Begins Warning About Websites With Outdated Security

Starting last Tuesday, Microsoft's Edge and Internet Explorer browsers started warning users about websites using the older SHA-1 security protocol. All the major browser makers have been recently begun phasing out support for this method of proving a webpage is secure. SHA-1 is mainly just a victim of its age. As our computers have gotten more and more powerful, older encryption standards like SHA-1 have to be discarded and replaced. So, if you see a warning about the security of a site you visit often, it might just be Microsoft doing its part to keep you safe on the internet.

That said, if you ever do see a security warning, double check what you are doing and how you got to that webpage. This is especially important to do if you just followed a link from an email, social media post, or untrustworthy webpage. Often times your browser knows what it is talking about when it puts up a warning. Sure, it may just be telling you about a site using an older security standard, but it might also be preventing you from giving out important personal information to a fake site that was made to look like a site you often visit.

Stay safe out there, and take comfort that Microsoft (and the other major web browser developers) are doing their part to help keep you protected.


Dangerous New Microsoft Word Virus Discovered

A dangerous new Microsoft Word vulnerability was discovered late last week. This flaw triggers when a user opens an infected Microsoft Word document that was emailed to them. The virus is able to direct Word to download a clever virus installing application that is disguised as a Microsoft Word window. This automated program then downloads a variety of other viruses and malware and installs it on the user's computer before cleaning itself up and opening a real Microsoft Word file to make it look like nothing nefarious has happened.

Some anti-virus makers have already updated their programs to detect these infected Word documents, but Microsoft has not yet rolled out a patch. For now, users need to be extra careful about opening Word documents sent to them, especially if they do not have an anti-virus program installed.

If you need help cleaning up your computer after it gets a virus or want help installing an up-to-date anti-virus program, come see us at 1331 South Beckham in Tyler. We're even having a spring cleaning special in April where you can get 10% off our virus cleanup services.


Spring Has Sprung! Time For A Great Spring Cleaning Deal!

As we move away from March, it's becoming more and more evident that Spring is here! The flowers are blooming, the temps are warming, and we're starting to get those quick spring showers that sweep in and out in a days time. In honor of Spring, and the annual cleaning that often comes with it, we wanted to again offer our Spring Cleaning deal on virus and malware removal!

From now until the end of April bring your laptop or desktop by our office and you'll receive 10% off our normal virus removal rates. Our team of technicians will use the best tools avaliable to screen and remove viruses from your computer. They can also update your computer's software and apply any overdue security patches for you to help make sure your computer remains virus free.

We may not be able to help you clean you home, but come visit us at 1331 South Beckham Ave in Tyler if you need a little extra help with your computer. You can also call us at 903.531.0377 or email us at info@computerrepairintyler.com.


Popular Photo Filter App Steals Your Data

Have you seen these overly prettified photos of friends or celebrities floating around your social feeds the past few days. An amusing photo filter app called Meitu has caught on and has been making the rounds. There's just one problem, as reported by Ars Technica, the app does about all you can to steal your data!

On an iPhone it will send back information about what kind of phone you are using and what cellular service you are using. But on an Android phone, the app will steal your calendars, contacts, text messages, files in your phone's storage, and the IMEI number that helps identify your phone to carriers. The Chinese owner of the Meitu claims in needs this data so that it can get advertisers to pay for the app's development and that it can't use more traditional ad networks because of China's very restrictive internet policies. But do you really want a random company you don't know tracking your every calendar event and text message?

Some users are just fine with being tracked by ads in order to have a neat app. For everyone else, you might want to consider uninstalling Meitu.


Computer Tips: Dangers Anyone Can Avoid

Computer Tips for Novices

Being a tech novice in 2017 can be a dark and overwhelming place. There are so many threats out there. From actual viruses infecting your computer and compromising your personal information, to unsolicited phone calls claiming your computer is vulnerable to attack, there are any number of ways people with the worst intentions can maliciously gain access to things you wouldn't want an outsider to have. Here is a list of 6 very simple computer tips for novices that may help when you stumble upon a headscratcher. You should be able to avoid these pitfalls on your own by reading these 6 computer tips, and if not, Computer Repair in Tyler is always here to help you out.

Don't Fall For Remote Support Scams

Typically, someone will call you claiming they are from Microsoft or Windows support team and that you have some problem with your computer. Remote support scams can also begin with a pop up box prompting you to call a number or download an application. The scammers will normally list off issues that do not exist, but they sound good so often it will scare beginners into believing them. Once you are hooked, they offer you a long-term support plan. You should never trust these people. No legitimate Windows or Microsoft employee will ever contact you in this way.

Back Up Your Files

Backing up your computer is essential. Our recommendation is to grab a fairly large external hard drive and use Windows backup features. To protect your data even further you can consider an online or cloud backup service.

Get Malware Protection

In addition to your regular antivirus software, we recommend installing Malwarebytes. Your antivirus software likely won't be able to catch the enormous amount of viruses and variations out there, so it is smart to couple your antivirus software with extra malware protection.

Spend A Little More

We love good deals, but we also know you get what you pay for. Before making a tech purchase, you should do extensive research on the products you are looking at. The lowest end computers usually have very low-end processors too. In addition, you may not find all the features you will need over time in one of these models. Often times, the lowest end models skimp on USB ports, HDMI inputs, and other expansion slots.

Research Prices Online & In Store

You can't always find something cheaper online. Brick-and-mortar stores often have sales and clearance events where you can find the best deals - and they don't charge for shipping! If you find a great deal online, ask one of your local stores if they'll price match. Many times they will and you get to save money while getting the product sooner.

Reboot Before You Call A Tech

One of the first steps to troubleshooting your computer is to perform a reboot, and it's something everyone can do. Before you give Computer Repair in Tyler a call, simply reboot your system to see if that clears up your problems. Often times when there is an issue with certain programs running, printing, connecting other devices, or slow speeds, a simple reboot may fix your issue. You should also make a habit of regularly rebooting or shutting down your PC.  We recommend every few days at minimum.

Of Course, Computer Repair in Tyler Can Help When All Else Fails

Fill Out Our Convenient Online Contact Form to Get Your Computer Repair Started!

We respond to all online requests quickly and efficiently. Or, simply drop by our storefront location on South Beckham Avenue in midtown - right down the street from Trinity Mother Frances and ETMC. We have expert technicians on-site available to assist you in person. We can also come to you if that's what is needed, and we even have the ability to do remote support in certain instances!

Or Call Us - (903)858-4383


Be Careful About Which Android Apps You Download

As reported by Ars Technica, all Android phones currently have a flaw that puts them at risk of being hacked. The oddly named "Dirty COW" flaw exist within the heart of every version of the Android operating system and can give attackers essentially full access to your phone.

Attackers will first have to get you to run an application you download to your phone so it might pay to be extra careful about where download apps from. Hacked free versions of games are always a big risk, for instance.

Google runs automated screenings on every app it allows on its Play Store, so downloading from there is generally considered safe, even though some virus laden apps have shown up there in the past.

A fix for this Dirty COW flaw should be out some time in December, so until then it might be best to stick to apps made by companies you know.


LinkedIn Password Leak

The LinkedIn password leak is rearing it's ugly head again - that's right, again.  LinkedIn was hacked back in 2012, where hackers released 6.4 million cracked passwords to the internet.  In the past couple of days, the second wave of cracked passwords has hit and the number has grown astronomically to 164.6 million vulnerable, unique passwords.  This LinkedIn breach is the largest and most relevant publicly acknowledged password breach in the history of the internet.  If you have not changed your LinkedIn password already, it would be a good idea to do so now.  Typically, leaked passwords from online accounts are sold on the dark web.  You might not care about your LinkedIn password being stolen, but if you are someone who uses similar variations of the same password, or the same password for everything (you shouldn't do this), hackers have developed complex algorithms that figure out other passwords you may have - this includes bank accounts, which is certainly something that would be concerning to almost anyone.  Click here if you'd like to read more about the latest LinkedIn password leak.

The average person typically has around 26 online accounts, and companies such as ourselves usually manage hundreds of online accounts.  The best method of security is to find a good password management service or application that you like - let your password manager generate new, random passwords for each of your accounts.  If you do notice suspicious activity, change your password immediately, even if you haven't received a notification or email from that particular service - it's better to be safe than sorry.  Additionally, you can set multi-factor authentication or a two-step verification process to create an extra hurdle for hackers to get through on your most critical online accounts.  If you do not want a password management application, or don't think you need one, our advice is to routinely change passwords to your sensitive social media, email, bank accounts or other online accounts that you may have sensitive, personal information on.  This should be done about every 2-3 months to ensure maximum security of your information on the web.

The LinkedIn password leak is just the latest issue in what has seemingly become an industry - the selling and trading of your personal information.  Of course, the most powerful, profitable corporations and businesses employ sharing and trading tactics of some personal information to maximize the effectiveness of their reach when spending their advertising dollars - they simply want to know where and who to market to.  Password sharing is completely different because it is malicious, and typically these hackers operate overseas so there is little to no oversight done by our own governmental agencies.

Computer Repair in Tyler can help you secure your most sensitive data and give you ideas on how to combat this growing problem.  If you think you'd like multi-factor authentication or two-step verification processes set up on your sensitive accounts, we can help you depending on the service - some services allow this and some do not.  We can also set up a password management system for you and show you how to use it.  If this information is alarming to you and you'd like to take preventative steps, don't hesitate to call us or stop by today!


Petya Ransomware

The Petya ransomware just became a whole lot worse.  The unusual ransomware that first popped up on security researchers' radar in March now bundles a second file-encrypting program for instances in which it cannot replace a computer's master boot record to encrypt its file table.  Instead of encrypting files directly, it encrypts the master file table and replaces the computer's master boot record code with its own malicious code that displays the ransom note and leaves the computer unable to boot.  Typically, in order to rewrite the master boot record the malware needs to gain administrator privileges by asking users for access via the User Account Control application in Windows.  Previously, if Petya failed to gain admin privileges, the infection routine would stop.  However, the latest variant installs another ransomware program called Mischa that begins to encrypt files directly - an operation which does not require admin privileges.  The ransom that Mischa currently demands is about $875 to get access back to your files.  The installer for Petya and Mischa is distributed via emails that pose as job applications.  These emails contain a link to an online file storage service that hosts a  picture of the alleged applicant and a malicious executable file that masquerades as a PDF document.  If downloaded and executed, the fake PDF file tries to install Petya ransomware and if that fails, installs Mischa.

If you think your computer has already been infected, bring it to our South Beckham location and we can diagnose it for free.  Computer Repair in Tyler offers removal of spyware, malware and ransomware.  However, we strongly recommend that you routinely back up your important files and data because with ransomware there is currently no way around the ransom payment.  Even when you pay the ransoms, which are usually hundreds of dollars, there is no guarantee your files will be restored.  When you routinely backup your data, we are able to restore from your backups and get rid of the ransomware.  Read more about Computer Repair in Tyler's virus removal here.