Free Windows 10 Upgrade Offer "To End Soon"

Microsoft is letting customers know that the opportunity to upgrade to Windows 10 for free is closing. After July 29th, users will have to pay to upgrade. If you are currently running Windows 7 or later on your PC, you may have noticed the offers to upgrade for free over the last few months. Don't let it pass you by - there is no reason to put it off any longer after this announcement. Not to mention, Microsoft is no longer supporting any version of Windows that isn't Windows 10. When technical support is ended on an operating system, that operating system is open to more security vulnerabilities, viruses, and other malicious adware and malware.

Let Computer Repair in Tyler handle the upgrade for you. Sure, you can do it for free in the comfort of your home - but can you guarantee that all of your important files and data will still be there after the upgrade? In case of data loss, our experienced technicians can do a full, comprehensive backup of your files from your hard drive before beginning the upgrade process. After completion of the upgrade, we will make sure your files transferred over properly and will verify that your computer's drivers and applications are compatible with your new operating system.

We serve not only Tyler, but the entire East Texas area. We offer our services at our store-front location and we will come to you at your home or office upon request.


Latest Versions of Google Chrome No Longer Support Windows XP or Vista

A new version of Google's popular web browser, Chrome, was just released with new features and security improvements. This new Version 50 of Chrome is also missing a couple of features that previous versions had: Support for Microsoft's Windows XP and Windows Vista.

Windows XP is still used extensively around the world, but its age and lack of ongoing support and security updates from Microsoft, who cut it off last year, means that it is no longer really safe to use outside of very tightly controlled environments. Windows Vista is in a similar situation where its age and lack of support means that any flaws or weakness it has now will only become more well known and exploited in the future.

By dropping support for these older operating systems, Google is making a move to help protect its users from hackers and virus writers. The only problem is, upgrading to a version of Windows is not simple for everybody. Businesses often have a lot invested in older, mission critical applications that need older versions of Windows to run properly. For them, it is not as easy as taking advantage of a free upgrade from Microsoft.

If you or your company is having issues with this newest version of Chrome not running on your existing systems, give ETV Software a call. We can help make sure there was nothing else wrong with the upgrade process and have the experience necessary to advise you about upgrading the operating system running on your computers without breaking other important software.


Windows Users Urged to Uninstall Quicktime

The Office of Homeland Security has issued a warning to Windows users urging them to uninstall Apple's Quicktime program.  The program is no longer supported by Apple for Windows, which will lead to an increase in viruses and other security threats.


Running Old Versions of Windows?

Do you have a PC that needs updating?  Is your company or office still running old versions of Windows?  If so, you are unnecessarily putting yourself at risk.  Microsoft has killed support for ALL versions of Windows beneath Windows 10.  That means hackers and internet scammers will specifically target and exploit Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.  With no more support from Microsoft, these versions have security vulnerabilities including viruses and the up and coming ransomware, which has been crippling computers left and right. These vulnerabilities on the old operating systems will never be patched by Microsoft again.  This article from Computer World highlights the dangers of remaining on an old version of Windows.  It's time to upgrade.

Computer Repair in Tyler is here to help if you are unsure about performing these upgrades on your own.  Sometimes when performing a system upgrade, things go wrong.  Data is lost, files are missing, pictures are nowhere to be found.  Luckily, we fully backup your files before the upgrade, ensuring that your important data remains in tact.  Protect yourself from the dangers of the web - bring your computer to Computer Repair in Tyler!


The Growing Threat of Ransomware

A relatively new string of viruses called "Ransomware" have been sweeping the internet in the last few years infecting everything from individual smartphones to entire computer networks. Instead of trying to delete data or install other malware like password loggers, a Ransomware virus instead searches your computer for important files, like business documents or save game files, then encrypts them with a very complex password that only the hackers know. The only way for a user to get their files back is to send a large sum of money, usually in the form of Bitcoin computer currency, to a specified address in return for that password.

In some ways, these newer Ransomware viruses are much more dangerous than viruses that just delete files. If all your files are deleted, a data recovery company can still usually use advanced software to restore them. But, when files are encrypted, there is simply no way to restore them short of paying the ransom and hoping that the hackers stay true to their word. The threat of Ransomware is, unfortunately, one that cannot be ignored. Already, there have been some high profile cases of major businesses losing access to all their important files.

The worst case we've heard of so far is of Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital which had its entire computer network brought down for more than a week by Ransomware. Everything from their emergency rooms, to their CAT Scanners, to their doctors offices were affected. Ultimately, they had to pay some $17,000 to the hackers to get their essential files back. On a local level, we've seen some sporadic cases of Ransomware here in the Tyler Texas area. Nothing as catastrophic as losing an entire network yet, thankfully, but we have seen businesses lose access to important files on individual computers.

There are some things you can do to protect yourself from Ransomware:

  1. Use backup software to create multiple backups of your important data and then keep at least one of those backups completely disconnected from your computers. This second part is important since the more advanced forms of Ransomware search for sensitive files beyond just those on the host computer.
  2. Be extra cautious about opening Microsoft Word or Excel documents from unknown sources. One recent virus called Locky spreads by email messages claiming to have an important invoice that a company needs to open.
  3. If you do open a Word or Excel document and it asks you to enable Macros do not do so. Macros are little programs embedded in Microsoft Office files. They can be used to do helpful things, but more often than not they are used by virus writers to provide their damaging programs a way into your computer.
  4. Partner with a technology company like ETV Software to help you set up and maintain antivirus and backup solutions. Recovering files after a Ransomware attack can be difficult, if not impossible, but with proper defenses and backups, you can minimize the downtime and damage an attack can cause you or your business.

Ransomware is just the latest form of viruses shifting from causing news to making money. It's a worrying trend that is only going to get worse over time.


Sometimes, You Really Can't Be Too Careful...

"Don't open emails if you don't know who they came from..."
"Don't download songs / movies / software from illegal sources..."
"Don't click on ads that claim your computer is broken..."

"...because you'll get a virus."

Most of us have heard these kinds of warnings before, and, for the most part, we are pretty good about keeping our computers safe from threats. But, just as our computers have gotten more complex and more powerful, so too have the viruses, malware, and hackers who want nothing more to break into them. These days, protecting your computer and important files from hackers isn't as simple as deleting that suspicious email or staying away from obviously rotten websites. A great example of this came across our news feeds this morning:

A group of hackers that develops and updates a powerful hacking tool known as Angler have managed to sneak dangerous web ads onto perfectly legitimate, highly visited websites like answers.com They did this by buying the domain names of recently closed media and advertising firms and using those names to trick online ad networks into accepting their dangerous ads. When a normal internet user viewed one of these ads, their web browser would be hijacked into running nasty malware designed to allow other hackers to install even nastier viruses!

What did these nefarious ads look like? Were they something that could be avoided if you saw them in time? Not really. At least some of these dangerous ads used perfectly unoffensive images, like the one of the socket wrench sitting at the top of this post!

This isn't the first time something like this has happened, either. Major companies like Forbes, DailyMotion, Microsoft's MSN.com, and even Reader's Digest have all inadvertently allowed dangerous ads to run on their websites within the last couple of years. All of them pointed to the advertising networks they contract with to show you online ads, but ultimately, it's innocent users that will continue to get hurt until companies start caring about every piece of content that gets displayed on their websites.

But, if dangerous web ads can appear on any site, what can you to protect yourself? Your first line of defense is still going to be a good set of anti-virus / anti-malware software. In fact, the most recent round of dangerous ads purposely avoided computers that had good virus protection already installed. Your next step might be to download and install an ad blocker for your web browser.

At ETV Software, we can help you pick an anti-virus package to help keep you safe, can check to make sure your Operating System and applications have the latest security updates, and can help you find and remove any viruses or malware that may already be lurking on your system. You can make sure your computer is protected by giving us a call today or by stopping by our Tyler Texas location at 1331 South Beckham Ave.


Critical Adobe Flash Update

A decade ago, Adobe's Flash playerchanged the way we viewed videos and played simple games on the internet. It let developers display complex content far more easily than ever before. Unfortunately, for a number of years now, Flash has suffered from a long string of security problems. Fortunately, Adobe frequently releases security updates to Flash. Most of the time these updates fix problems that might be exploited, but sometimes, like with today's update, they also fix problems that they know hackers are using against people. If you haven't updated your install of Adobe's Flash player in a while, you should probably go to https://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/ and download the most recent version.

If you need help updating your computer's software or have security questions, give us a call at 903-858-4383, send us a message using our Contact Page, or stop by our location on South Beckham.