Author: fshagan

PC Data Security, Part 2

Have you heard about “ransomware”? Imagine you log on to your computer and see a notice that says all your files have been encrypted. Sure enough, you can’t read any of them. But the ransomware company can decrypt them for a fee. Typically the small businesses that get infected have anti-virus software. This hack is so profitable that there are new versions of this malware all the time, and the bad guys are making versions that can tear through that single layer of defense like tearing paper. I suspect you have anti-virus installed already too. But that is probably...

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Patch My PC Software Updater – Review

Patch My PC  is an easy to use, lightweight program that you can run on demand to scan for programs and then delete or update them. In the default setting after a fresh download it doesn’t install anything and does not add keys to your Windows registry. When you run the program it scans for a few seconds and provides a list of outdated programs. The interface is very intuitive with programs needing to be updated in red, and ones that are up to date in green. There’s an option to update all the out of date programs, but before...

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PC Data Security, Part 1

I remember a game we played as kids, where we would try to tear paper. It was easy tearing a single piece of paper. When we folded it once, we now had two layers to tear, and it was a little bit harder. Folding it a third time made the paper four layers thick and that made it really tough. Fold the paper one more time and none of us could tear it in half …. it was eight layers thick! One of the most daunting challenges we face is computer security. A new computer is in pristine condition, with a clean operating system and perfectly safe. But as...

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Secunia Personal Software Inspector (PSI) – Review

One of the vulnerabilities computer users face is the number of software programs that are not updated. While Windows will remind you to update the operating system, and I recommend allowing Windows 7 through 10 to update automatically, most of us have up to 70 programs we’ve installed that are not updated. The reason they are not updated is that the programs will check for updates only when they run. But those programs represent a security risk, even lying dormant on your hard drive. There are a few solutions to this, and the first is best: delete any program you are not using regularly. The second rule follows the first and is automatic: run every remaining program at least once a week to check for updates. Follow those two rules and you are almost set. You still have to remember to delete unused programs and let’s face it, you will install some free program with the full intention of using it frequently and forget about it. If that sounds familiar there are some utilities that can help. Monitoring systems such as my own Acumen Advisor will monitor your programs and update them in the background. There are paid utilities that do the same thing, that run on your computer. For personal use only, Secunia’s Personal Software Inspector or “PSI”, is often recommended as a free option. Please note that PSI...

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