In this blog I am going to explain why it is important to be aware of fake software, in recent news even genuine software has been hit by fake software !

What Is Fake Software !

Fake software is a software pretending to be a genuine software like antivirus or productivity software. They normally contain keywords which if not know can look like the genuine software which it is pretending to be. Once downloaded the software can open rootkits which attach themselves to the users computer infecting it with Malware which in turn can change the behaviour of the computer. A common Malware which downloads itself from the internet is Mindspark. Mindspark changes the homepage of your browser to a fake page containing adverts and fake alerts !

Mindspark infection

Mindspark home page, a common form of home page hijacker !

What To Look Out For !

The first thing you most do before connecting to any internet both public or private is to make sure your antivirus is enabled. Fake software can be found in attachments on emails, before opening the attachment check the address of the sender for spelling mistakes. This goes for the attachment as well. If the attachment is open, this can open a rootkit which could affect the computer with the following fake programs:

Mindspark: A browser Hijacking Virus
Driver Update: Fake Driver Updater, takes you to a pages full of adverts
PC Backup: Fake Backup Software, infects machine with adverts
Advanced System Care: Fake Antivirus Software, does fake scans and tries to charge you for it

529965-slimware-utilities-driversupdate

Slimware Ultilities, Driver Update, a common downloaded fake software !

The same applies to when surfing the web for example you type: free antivirus software to protect your computer. This will bring a list of software in Google for you to click on and download. Make sure you check the spelling of the link to the website and that the word AD does not appear next to the link.

fake-linkedin-email-march-2013

Example Of A Fake Web Addresses !

What Happens If I Get Infected !

You accidently download the fake software and it installs itself to your machine. The first thing to do is to disconnect your PC from the internet. Go to Control Panel uninstall a program, sort by installed on as this will display the latest software downloaded to your computer.

Control Panel Uninstall

Control Panel, Program & Features, Sort By Installed On, For Latest Installed Programs !

Uninstall all traces of the rouge software until it all gone. Once uninstalled you need to remove hidden traces of the software, below are some great free tools to achieve this:

Malwarebytes: www.malwarebytes.org

Super Antispyware: www.superantispyware.com

Do a full scan on both software’s until all traces of fake software and rootkits are removed.

Malwarebytes

Malwarebytes Showing Items It Found On Scan !

Summary

To protect yourselves from fake software you must have antivirus software installed, do not open any attachment, check to make sure the senders address is correct. When surfing the web, check the address of the website before downloading the software from it. C Cleaner which is an genuine software has been affected by scammer of late so make sure you check before you download. You can also setup your router with keywords to block certain sites as well as enabling it firewall.

If you get a call from a scammer portending to be an engineer offering to fix your computer it a scam. In this blog we will go through steps on how to stop yourselves fallen victim to this scam !

How It Works !

Believe or not this scam has been running since 2009 and has not gone away since then. It all starts with the scammer calling you asking you by name. They say they are an engineer from Microsoft or more recently an engineer from BT or any other broadband provider. They can be polite and presentable, they say your PC / Laptop is infected with viruses / malware and offer to fix the problem. Most crooks will ask for remote access to your machine to fix the problem, this is where they can access your personal data. They will ask you to download a program which grants them access to your machine but in fact it is a Malware program which infects your machine with malware. They then offer a lifetime membership for a fixed fee to unlock your machine and remove the malware.

The Important Bit !
No legit company will call you in this way especially Microsoft. For one thing how do they know your computer is affected with a virus or malware. They probably got your name from a marketing survey you did online or an item you purchase where you had to provide your name and address etc.

Basically it is someone in a room number crunching hoping to find a victim.


Microsoft Scam, What To Do If You Get Called !

1. Put the phone down straight away as it is not legitimate !
2. During the call do not give the caller any personal information or credit card details
3. If you got this far do not let the caller guide you to a website or change any of your settings
4. If possible get the callers details, you should certainly report this to the fraud squad !
5. Finally change all your login details and passwords. Make sure your antivirus is up to date !
6. Share with friends and family to make sure they know about this scam !

 

What Happens If You Fall Victim To This !

Don’t beat yourselves up over this, this could happen to anyone. You need to change as much personal data as you can. Passwords, login details and most important inform your bank on what has happened. Use up to data security software to scan and cleanse your computer. If the scammer did get onto your computer do a system rollback to take it back before the hacker gained access. Most import tell the Police and if you have lost money by this scam most credit card companies will refund the money.

More and more computers are getting affected with viruses than ever before. The reason for this is because viruses and hackers are using new tactics to pray on their victims.

Ransomware

Ransomware is a hijacker virus which hijacks the computers desktop and browser demanding a ransom to unlock it. It also disables things like Control Panel, Internet Explorer, Run and Windows Explorer blocking all ways of deleting the hack. These can be picked up from surfing the web and going on certain website. Porn, Gambling and File Sharing sites are more prone to getting this infection than other sites. Having a good antivirus software like Eset along with a good antimalware software like Malwarebytes is the best form protection against Ransomware.

 

Fake Programs

Fake programs are programs that download themselves to your computer without you knowing. Optimizer Pro is one of fake programs that looks legit but all it does is do fake scans, riddles your machine with adverts and hijacks your browser. To get rid of these fake programs you can use tools like Malwarebytes and Superantispyware which cleans and removes them from your computer.

 

Fake Calls

In the last couple of years there has been an increase of fake calls to people homes. The scammers phone their victims pretending to be engineers from Microsoft. Once they convince their victims they get them to give them access to their computers. This is where they infect their victims with viruses and clone their personal details. Some of my customers have been fleeced for hundreds of pounds from these fraudsters. Tip Microsoft will never call you, if require support from Microsoft you have to call them directly. Apart from Microsoft scams there are other companies pretending to be I.T Professionals, if they request their service aka like site visits etc, ask for their company details, website and address. You can check companies house and reviews from other customers but whatever you do, do not let them connect to your machine remotely without checking their status first.

 

Summing Up

The best way to protect yourselves against hackers is to be more vigilant when using the internet. Make sure that all your personal details are password protected and are changed regularly. Having a strong antivirus like Eset is important as well as keeping your machine up to date with the latest Microsoft updates.

I hope you found this useful, remember to check our website and Facebook page regularly for the latest news and tips in technology.

 

 

Do You Need To Upgrade To Windows 10 !

Windows 10 was launched on 19th July 2015, Microsoft have made Windows 10 a free upgrade for all users who have a licence for Windows 7 or 8.1. 

This upgrade will expire on 19th July 2016, after this date you will have to pay full price to upgrade to 10.

 

Pro and Cons Of Windows 10

 




Pro’s



  • Is free to upgrade to anyone who has purchased a licence for Windows 7 or 8.1
  • The Start menu has been reinstated instead of Metro Screen of Windows 8.1
  • Can be switched between tablet and desktop mode depending on device
  • Contana useful online help facility included with Windows 10
  • Fast at booting up and shutting down than previous versions of Windows

 

Con’s

  • 

Compatibility issues with Office 2010 and older software
  • Some updates crash Windows after restart
  • 

Upgrade issues from older operating systems (Windows Vista / 7)
  • 

Hardware compatibility issues with sound, video and printers
  • Constance freezing when searching the web
  • 

Not recognising product key from previous Windows

 

What Can Be Done



Subscribe to Office 365 where you can download the latest office 16

Restore PC to a previous date and retry the update

Do a clean pull installation of Windows through USB 

Download the latest drivers from the PC manufacture 

Upgrade to the latest browsers, Chrome, Firefox, Edge not Explorer

Note down product key before upgrading

 

How Long left



Windows Vista



Support for Windows Vista comes to an end on 17th April 2017, you cannot directly upgrade to Windows 10 from Vista. You need to purchase a full version of Windows 10 and do a clean installation.

Windows 7

Support for Windows 7 comes to an end on 14th January 2020, you can upgrade to Windows 10 from updates within Windows 7 until July 2016.
Windows 8 / 8.1

Support for Windows 8.1 comes to an end on 1st October 2023, you can upgrade to Windows 10 from updates within Windows 8.1 until July 2016.

 

Should I Upgrade To Window 10

I get this question every day, at present Windows 10 has a few issues with stability which Microsoft is currently working on.

I advise staying with your current operating system until these issues are resolved before upgrading to 10.

Windows 7 users, the best solution when upgrading to 10 is backing up your data and settings, doing a clean installation of 10 instead of an upgrade. This will prevent any compatibility issues that may occur after upgrading.

Vista users should consider upgrading to Windows 7 which most Vista machines can take. This will improve performance and offer greater security protection.

More and more email accounts are getting hacked on a daily basis. In this blog we are going to go through how to keep your email account safe and protected.

Changing Your Email Password
The first step you should take is changing your email password, make it strong containing at least 8 characters including upper case letters, numbers and symbols.

Install Anti Spam Tools
Microsoft Outlook has junk mail filter options which can be accessible from the Home tab / junk tab. There you can configure Outlook to filter out spam messages from normal messages.
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