Winter is here! At last we have a winter feeling as I write this. I look out the window (after turning the heat pump up a degree or two) and see a clear blue sky with frost still on the car windscreen and in the CST carpark. But no complaints! We get to about two weeks short of the shortest day to get our first frost. It is not all bad.
We continue tick over quietly at CST but seem to be much more up and down than we used to be. A couple of weeks back was probably one of the bigger sale weeks since we have been in business, but then last week was pretty quiet. There seems to be no pattern or reason.
Sue and I stuck around for Queen’s Birthday weekend – a last garden tidy up prior to the winter. I even got the mower out and did a quick once over. Possibly one more flick over the front lawn to pick up the last of the leaves, then down to Hewitts with the mower for a winter checkup and oil change.
The pic below is not even winter – it is a tornado over Kansas. But I liked the fierceness of the image and it seems to fit with the winter theme.
Second Hand Laptops
We are selling a considerable number of second hand laptops at present. Like all of our used IT equipment, we buy it from dealers in Auckland. The gear is all checked thoroughly before we see it and any data from previous owners is removed. We are happy to sell this gear with a three month warranty.
We are having great difficulty at present getting 15.6” screens but have sourced a good supply. The ProBook range is the business work range of HP laptops. I have bought a couple so will have one ahead on the shelf.
HP ProBook 6570b
- Intel i5 processor
- 8 GB RAM
- 320 GB hard drive
- Windows 10 Pro
I do not want to join the plethora of people contributing to this man’s final hurrah. However I do remember him from my youth as a boxer and then from later years as a speaker for human rights. He certainly had a way with words which still sticks in my mind today.
This is one of the many pages which have sprung up as a memorial to Ali. I particularly like numbers 5, 7, 9, 10, 13 and 19.
The world will probably not see another quite like him.
Thanks to Paul for this pic. Somehow it tickled my fancy a bit.
What is Malware?
A large percentage of our work these days is to clean malware. You will hear us use the term a bit if you sit in our workshop for a while! Malware is short for malicious software and comes in a whole variety of forms. Below is a list of the different types of malware we deal with on a day to day basis. This is the stuff that the guys in the workshop need to be good at dealing with on a day to day basis.
We have just had a particularly nasty bot (sounds painful) which executed a program on the customers PC which downloaded stuff for over 24 hours before the customer found out. Thee customer then got a bill for over $5000 from his internet provider – yes you read it correctly.
And people tell me they do not need a good antivirus!
- Virus: A computer virus spreads itself by smuggling its code into another program. The name is an analogy to its biological counterpart. Not only does a computer virus spread many times and make the host software unusable, but also exhibits malicious behaviour.
- Trojan horse/Trojan: A Trojan horse is a type of malware that is disguised as a useful program. The goal is for the user to execute the Trojan, allowing it to take full control of your PC and use it for its own agenda. This typically results in the installation of additional malware (such as backdoors or keyloggers) to your system. (Remember the story of the old Greek Trojan horse – something bad masquerading as something good)
- Worm: Worms are malicious software that aim at spreading as fast as possible once your PC has been infected. Unlike viruses, they don’t require a host program, but instead spread themselves via storage devices such as USB sticks, communication media such as e-mail or vulnerabilities in your OS. Their propagation causes a reduction in the performance of PCs and networks, and they may also implement direct malicious behaviour.
- Keyloggers: Keyloggers secretly record everything you type on your keyboard, which allows attackers to get their hands on your passwords or other important data such as online banking details.
- Backdoor/Bot: A backdoor is a portion of code that is usually implemented into a program by the software’s author, to enable access to your PC or an otherwise protected software function. Backdoors are often installed by Trojans once they have been executed, so that the attacker can gain direct access to your PC. The infected PC, also known as a “bot”, becomes part of a botnet.
- Exploit: Exploits are used to systematically exploit vulnerabilities in a computer program. Using them, an attacker can gain either partial or full control of your PC.
- Spyware: Spyware is software that spies on you, i.e. by collecting various types of user data from your PC without your knowledge.
- Adware: Adware is derived from the word “advertisement”. In addition to the actual function of the program, the user will be presented with advertisements. Adware itself is not dangerous, but the display of countless adverts is generally considered undesirable and is thus detected by good anti-malware solutions.
- Rootkit: A rootkit usually consists of several components that grant the author unauthorized access to the target system. In addition, these programs hide their processes and actions using other software. They can be installed, for instance, through an exploit or a Trojan.
- Rogues/Scareware: Also known as “Rogue Anti-Spyware” or “Rogue Anti-Virus”, rogues pretend to be security software. They frequently use fake warnings to trick users into purchasing the software, which the attackers then profit from illegally.
- Ransomware: Ransomware” is exactly what it sounds like. Ransomware encrypts the user’s personal data or may even lock the entire PC. You are asked to pay a “ransom” via an anonymous service in order to unlock your computer.
Look At This Pic
Identify what it is and check your answer at the end of the newsletter.
Windows 10 And CST
I bit the bullet a couple of weeks ago and changed my laptop to Windows 10 – more to the point, the smart guys in the workshop changed me to Windows 10. All went well and the conversion completed quite quickly.
As a result, we will get the office machines done as time permits.
The other thing which we have noticed a lot lately is that Microsoft has made Windows 10 “an essential download” – in other words, one of those downloads that your computer does without asking because Microsoft says it is important. This has upset and confused lots of our customers.
If it happens to you, let the download continue (it may be best not to interrupt it) and at the end when it starts the installation process, the system will ask if you agree with the terms and conditions. If you do not want to use Windows 10, at this point say NO and the system will roll back to your old version of Windows.
If you are not sure, ring us and ask. You have until the end of July to take advantage of the free offer, so do not hurry your decision making process.
One final point about the Win 10 upgrade process. For those of you on satellite broadband, take care. There is a good chance that the upgrade will blow your data cap out of the water. It is BIG. If you would like to do the upgrade, we can do it here for you for a minimum fee and you do not need to use any of your precious data.
In a similar vein, to prevent the upgrade happening if you have a small data cap or simply do not want it, please ring us and we can make a time to put a block on it for you. We can even do it by remote access – you do not need to bring the computer in.
Website of the Month
This one thanks to Sue. Sue has always been a maths whizz and enjoys the challenge of thinking about the scale of things – in this case, the universe.
To get this site going, click the Start button on the page which opens here, then use the slider at the bottom of the new window.
When you have finished here and learned lots of new words like yoctometre, try the rest of the site. Some really fun stuff here and some which gives me headaches.
Answer to the earlier question: eggplant.