Author: fshagan

Petya and Wannacry Ransomware Have Nothing on Us

Ransomware is scary; all of a sudden you get a pop up that your files have been encrypted and you have to pay a few hundred dollars to get them back. Most of the time you pay the money and don’t get your files back anyway. Its a disaster for a small business. I have done a ton of research on how to prevent attacks, and clients following my four layer approach to PC security have built the best protection possible to avoid becoming a victim. I seek out affiliate agreements with the companies I trust the most with...

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Web Design and the Mona Lisa

Recently archaeologists discovered the following news story: Dateline 1501 da Vinci Delays “Mona Lisa” Again Leonardo da Vinci, purported artist of Venice, has delayed his project “Mona Lisa” due to lack of beautiful and graceful frames. Desiring a one-of-a-kind frame for his “upcoming masterpiece”, the artist requires the grain, texture and construction of the frame be absolutely perfect. This is the fourth time the project has been delayed due to lack of suitable frames. Ridiculous, right? The frame is not the art, it simply holds the art so we can marvel at the artist’s true work. We all know the...

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PC Data Security, Part 4: Anti-Malware (Anti-Virus)

When most people think of PC security they think of anti-malware or anti-virus software. Most of the time they also think of large, cumbersome programs that slow your system to a crawl, or several smaller programs they run on demand to try and clean up the system after damage is done. The good news is that there are lightweight, all-in-one solutions that work well when employed as part of a layered security structure. First up is Windows Security Essentials (Windows 7) or Windows Defender (Windows 8 and later). It is part of your Windows operating system. If you use nothing else, use this. It is free, lightweight, and designed to meet the minimum security requirements. In any comparative test of anti-virus software it will probably come in last, but it is at least some protection. And it often beats the free or poor performing anti-virus. A step above Microsoft’s minimal offering are the free anti-virus programs for personal use. I don’t include limited-time free trials in this category. The problem I have with most of these programs is that they often contain a type of malware: a PUP (potentially unwanted program) or monitoring software that tracks your behavior. Nothing is really free, and if you are not paying for a product then you are the product. In a recent survey (affiliate link) all but one free anti-virus program installed unwanted software or had serious security issues. Avast, Avira, AVG,...

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PC Data Security, Part 4 – Lurking Vulnerabilities

Here’s the third layer of defense: keep your software updated. Software companies “patch” their programs to secure them whenever a new exploit is discovered. Using out of date software opens you up to that vulnerability. It is like unlocking your front door, opening it wide, and leaving town. Keeping all your software updated is not always as easy as it sounds. Many programs only notify you about updates when they are started, and the typical computer has dozens of programs that are not started every day. But there are malware programs that infect your computer and then search for vulnerable programs, waiting to jump...

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PC Data Security, Part 3 – Your Tongue Looks Weird

  The doctor looked me in the eye and said “stick out your tongue”. I was dizzy all morning, and thought that was a weird request, but I stuck out my tongue. He said, “OK, you’re probably not having a stroke.” Evidently when you are in the early stages of a stroke you get dizzy and your tongue sticks out at a weird angle. It’s a warning sign. Who knew? The second layer in our PC data security series is the hardware itself. This is often neglected until it’s too late. But how can you know when your computer is...

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