August Deal of the Month

For the month of August, Computer Repair in Tyler is offering all students a 10% discount on all of our hourly services. We all know getting ready to go back to school can be a hassle. If your computer partied a little too hard this summer, it may not be ready to go back to school with you! Our location off of South Beckham Drive in Tyler is easily accessible from both the University of Texas at Tyler and Tyler Junior College. To take advantage of our Back to School Special, simply visit our store with your valid student ID and we will honor the back to school discount on all of our hourly services. Some of our most popular services include virus/spyware/malware removal, data recovery, hard drive upgrades/replacements, full system reinstalls and software/operating system upgrades.


We also fix cracked laptop screens at a flat rate of $59.95 + parts (non-touchscreen devices) and $69.95 + parts (touchscreen devices).

  • Computer Repair in Tyler offers these services on out-of-warranty Apple machines in addition to all Windows/PC machines

If you would like more information, or are unsure of what your particular problem might be, you can contact us in advance by calling (903)858-4383. Additionally, you can click here to fill out our contact form and we will respond to your request promptly. Being a student, it is likely that you use social media as one of your primary forms of communication - we've got you covered there too:


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.


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.


March's Deal of the Month

For March, we're embracing the idea of spring cleaning by offering all our customers 10% off virus and malware removal. If your computer has been acting funny or you are getting strange messages bring it in to us and mention #SpringCleaning.