Archive for the ‘News & Offers’ Category

Who’s Accessing Your PC?

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

Handcuffs  Last month a Luton man was successfully prosecuted for scamming users into paying for free software. He had hired a number of call centre staff in India to call UK residents and to trick them into giving them remote access to their PC’s. The caller would tell the victim that their PC had a serious issue and that they could fix it for them. They then charged victims between £35 and £150 for software which could be downloaded from Microsoft for free.

Trading Standards have hailed this as a landmark case, the first time a UK resident has been convicted of the Microsoft scam, however, there are many more copy-cat scams in place so how do you make sure you don’t fall victim?

Firstly, Microsoft do not make outgoing calls to their customers – never! If you get a call from anyone who says they are calling directly from Microsoft then it’s simply not true.

Secondly, unless you are paying for a managed support service on your home PC, no third party company would know if you had a virus or other issue with your PC and be able to get in contact with you about it.

Worried userSome of these callers can be very convincing and, with most users conscious of the number of viruses and security around, it is easy to be lulled into thinking that something terrible is happening with your PC, but if anyone calls out of the blue and wants access to your PC, don’t let them in!

If you are worried that you may have a virus or malware on your PC, make sure that your anti-virus software is up to date and running properly then run a full scan. Once the scan has completed, follow any instructions carefully to ensure that any infections are successfully removed.

If in doubt, contact a reputable local IT company who will have the tools available to remove any infections.

Life after Windows XP – What will happen when Microsoft stops support?

Monday, January 6th, 2014

As we are all aware, everything comes to an end eventually.  That includes your white goods, your TV, that lovely bottle of wine and your PC’s and laptop’s.

Microsoft has announced that the Windows XP Operating System (the software that runs your PC or notebook) will become end of support in April 2014.  Basically this means that after next April they will no longer provide any of those updates that it keeps prompting you to install (but which keep your system safe from all those little security loopholes that people have found!).

Windows XP logoWhy?

Well, XP was initially released 31st December 2001 so has been around for over 12 years!  In technology terms that’s an awfully long time and it has been superseded by 3 further editions of Windows!

What will happen in April 2014?

  Your PC won’t suddenly stop working next April if you are still running XP.  However, Microsoft will no longer offer any form of support.  This means that if a hacker finds a loophole in the software they can exploit with a virus for example then Microsoft won’t issue an update to fix that loophole.  Also, they won’t fix any further faults that arise with the software or any compatibility issues.

What does that mean for me?

If you are using Windows XP then we would strongly recommend looking at upgrading your software to a current Operating System.  After April your PC or laptop will be open to any vulnerabilities that hackers and viruses decide to exploit.  Nobody knows exactly what effect this will have or how quickly, however, it would be wise to be prepared.

Windows 8 laptopWhat can I do to protect my system , data and identity?

If you are looking to replace your PC or laptop anyway then we would suggest doing it before April and then you’ll not get caught out. Have a look at our current laptop, tablet and PC offers as a guide.

Due to the age of XP it is likely that most machines are going to be of quite an old technology and not up to running the latest Operating Systems.  However, if you happened to buy a top end machine then it may be possible to just upgrade the Operating System software rather than having to replace the whole machine.

If you really can’t afford or don’t want to upgrade or replace your PC or laptop then make sure that it is fully patched up to date by going to http://update.microsoft.com in Internet Explorer and following the instructions.  Make sure you have a valid, paid for anti-virus product installed which is activated and up to date.  Finally, be savvy when using email, the Internet or working online.  Be careful of clicking on links in emails that you don’t know for sure where they have come from.  Avoid clicking on pop-ups when surfing the Internet and be aware of anything that seems unusual when online banking, filling in forms online or if the PC becomes slow or starts to crash regularly.

Windows XP screenshotHow do I know if I have Windows XP?

  If you are not sure if you are running Windows XP on your PC or laptop it is simple to find out.  Firstly, when you first turn your machine on then you should see an image displayed showing the operating system that is being loaded (Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 etc).  If you miss this (as it can flash by quite quickly!) you can hold the mouse over the My Computer icon on the desktop, click the right mouse button and select properties.  A window will appear showing your computers properties including the operating system.

What if my machine becomes infected with a virus and I lose access to my data?

 Depending on the impact of the virus, you may be able to run a variety of software to remove it. But if are worried about doing this yourself, most IT Support companies offer a service to deal with such problems. Please do take a look at the Virus Removal Service that we offer.