The Top 4 Computer Repair Issues Caused by Human Mistakes

Computer Repair Issues

Computer Repair Thoughts from an Old Pro

Computer Repair is a funny business. It clearly illustrates the faults and foibles of human nature. Things we all do, that aren’t always very smart.

This is a real issue because computers are at the center of almost everything we do. It’s  more important than ever to know what to do to avoid costly computer repair bills, or at least keep them to a minimum.

Here are the Top 4 Most Common Mistakes people make that eventually land them in a computer repair shop, sometimes hoping for a miracle. Hopefully, you’re not guilty of any of these, but I doubt it. Even I sometimes forget, but since I can do my own computer repair, it doesn’t cost me as much.

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Virus Infections from Fake Support Sites

Virus Infections After a Support Call?

tech support virusOver the past few months, our Computer Repair shop in Tucson has had had dozens of customers come to us with virus infections after having called an alleged technical support site for companies like HP, Microsoft, Dell and even Intuit (Quicken and Quick Books).

The support person got the customer to allow them to make a remote connection so they could diagnose their computer. Invariably, they would scare the customer and tell them their computer was in bad shape with spyware and virus infections, Windows problems and hard drive issues. They would tell them that these were the real source of their problems and that they could fix them. Then they gave them a ridiculous price, often $200 – $300 to repair their computers. Gee, we do it for only $130. [Read more…]

5 Tips to Avoid Android Malware: Be Aware When Downloading Apps

android marketEveryone loves free apps, especially Android users (phones and tablets). While most of these apps are legitimate, the number of free Android apps that are actually malware keeps increasing. Android users are more at risk than iPhone and iPad users because the the Android market is much more open than Apple’s.  This means more choices, but also more risk.

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Finding Quality Computer Repair Service, Help, Support & Virus Removal Services in Tucson

Computer Repair Laptop Repair ServiceWhere can you get quality computer repair service in Tucson? Who can do a virus removal & repair that will last? You may ask, “who can fix my computer that I can trust”?  Can they do laptop screen repairs? What about MAC and MacBook repair? Android repair? Will they guarantee their work?

Before I toot my own horn, I will say there are around six well established computer repair shops here in town. These businesses have been around eight years or more, and have good reputations (BBB members). [Read more…]

FBI Virus Removal Cases Still Common

Virus Removal Woes Continue:

FBI Virus Removal TucsonFBI virus removal jobs keep coming to our shop. Will this annoying thing ever go away?

I hate to say it, but the only reason it’s still around is because people are falling for this scam!

Of course, the customers we see, are the ones that don’t fall for it and come to us to remove it. I should mention that along with the main scam, it installs all kinds of other spyware as well.

This is actually typical of most viruses. They bring their friends along! That’s why when we do a virus removal, we don’t stop when the offending virus is removed. We do further analysis and cleanups as well. We use no less than four different scanning and removal tools, as well as some manual work.

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Malware Virus Attacks Facebook Pages

Virus Malware Facebook

A new Malware Virus is hitting peoples and businesses’ Facebook Pages!

If your page is suddenly crowded with ads, even in your timeline, you got the “Iminentmalware infection. You will notice their logo on the ads, like in the attached photo.

It will install to every browser on your PC! Your antivirus software won’t remove it, because it’s not technically a virus. It’s more like those toolbars that sneak in when you’re downloading something else. It won’t hurt your PC, but it will annoy you and make your Facebook page almost unreadable.How do I know? It happened to me!

It also puts in buttons on the ads do download other things, and I don’t know if those might hurt. The one that made me most suspicious was one telling me I had to download a “special player” to see a video. That’s a dead giveaway to more potential viruses.

To remove it, you must go into the “Add-ons” or “Extensions” area of your web browser and disable it. Then you must uninstall it from your PC.  I then recommend running a Registry Cleaner, like CCleaner or Glary Utilities. Here’s the steps to remove it from the different browsers. [Read more…]

6 Common Myths About Web Safety – Part 1

internet safety securityComputer Viruses, Malware, Trojans, Spyware, Adware, Rootkits, Bootkits…. a wild menagerie of threats to be sure.  I’ll use the generic term “Malware” to refer to all these types from now on.  You may not have even heard of some of these forms of infections.  What the heck can you do?  How worried do you need to be?  The truth is, we’re all subject to these risks, but the better informed you are, the safer you’ll be.

This will be a series of posts where I’ll try to give you a simple rundown of the most common myths that get people into trouble.  How many parts will there be in this series?  That depends on how much time I have to write, or how sleepy I am if I’m writing at night.  I’m guessing two or three.

 

Myth #1: I Must be Safe Because I’ve Never Had a Virus Infection

Guess again my friend.  How would you know, when most malware and Trojans are designed to be stealthy and work behind the scenes without your knowledge?  That’s the whole point!  Yes, some types of malware do get your attention, especially the ones trying to sell you fake software, but this is only one type of infection.

Others may be lurking behind the scenes trying to steal your passwords, credit  card numbers, etc.  Eventually, if there are enough of them on your computer, you’ll notice performance slowdowns, lockups, error messages or even crashes.  This may be the only warning you’ll get that something is wrong, but by then it may be too late.

You won’t believe how many computers come in to our shop for other types of repairs, where we find viruses and malware galore.  As part of our troubleshooting, we always run a quick scan and sure enough, most of them have some type of infection.  They’re not always serious, but it goes to show how common this problem is.

Myth #2: Only Porn, Gambling and Other “Questionable” Sites are Dangerous

Of course, these are by far the riskiest sites out there, so you should avoid or at least minimize your visits to such sites (nudge-nudge).  Did you know that an estimated 83% of trusted, legitimate sites are hacked and infected with malware?  Now that’s scary!  The bigger sites monitor their sites, but hey can’t always keep up.  Most of the time they’re clean, but you can’t know if they’re clean when you visit them.

Why do they target these sites?  Because that’s where the money is!  They are popular, high-traffic sites, so they’re the best way to distribute the infections.  Most of the time they just hack the site.  If they can’t get in that way, they use other tricks.  One for example, is to pose as an advertiser wanting to post an ad on a legitimate site.  Once they’ve submitted and paid for their ad, they’ve built up trust with the site.  Then later, they post an update to their ad, embedding malicious code in it and voila… they’ve infected the site.

Stay tuned for Part 2.

Spyware & Virus Infections are Back, and Nastier than Ever

Yes folks, they’re back.  Just in time for the holidays!  Virus and spyware/malware activity has been very low over the past three months, but it’s picked back up again.

This new crop of virus and spyware infections looks a lot like their predecessors.  They disguise themselves as a security program or pc utility program, just like the other scareware programs we’ve seen.

Again, these are fake programs where the culprits try to get you to buy their “program”.  Don’t fall for the trick.  However, once these infections get in, they disable many of your computer’s functions, including internet access.

What makes these new infections so nasty is that they often plant files in your hard drive’s boot sector or partition.  This is a part of the hard drive you can’t see, but it controls the most basic startup processes.  In some cases, when you clean these out, it renders the whole boot sector useless and you can no longer boot into Windows.

Your data is not affected, but if this happens, you need to wipe the drive clean and reinstall Windows.  We had one such case this week.  Of course, we were able to save the data before wiping the drive, so the customer was okay in the end.

If you get one of these spyware or virus infections, we can help.  Visit our Saguaro PC Tech Website and Blog to learn more about the subject.

New “Scareware” Virus Fakes “System Recovery Failure” and Critical PC Issues

We just got a machine in with a VERY NASTY new virus.  We’ve never seen anything like it before.  It throws up fake program called “Windows 7 Recovery”, and displays a warning telling you that a system recovery operation has failed.  It hides all your desktop icons making you think you just lost all your programs and data.

If that’s not enough, it then tells you that either your hard drive, your memory, or both have experienced a critical failure.  Geez…. talk about overkill!  Of course, then they tell you that you can buy their “magic” software that will fix all of that.  Wow, must be some program!  Of course, this is all fake and you must not fall for this scam!

Good News!  It’s just another virus and we have just succeeded in removing it using our usual virus repair methods.  So don’t worry if you get this.  Your PC is okay and your data is in tact.  If you get this nasty virus, we can help you and get you back up and running pretty quickly.

For more information, please visit our Saguaro PC Tech website.  We’re always here to help.

Antivirus and Security Software Ratings: Who’s the Best?

As the owner and operator of a computer repair company, I have tried them all.  Over the years, things have changed with Antivirus software, but some have consistently rated very well year after year.

Believe it or not, some of the best Antivirus products out there are free.  Why?  It’s because these are lesser-known companies, usually European, who are trying to break into the US market.  They know that technicians will recommend them because of their superior performance, but customers may not want to change their software because they just purchased or renewed a subscription to their current software.  However if the change is free, they will usually go with the technician’s recommendation.

Eventually they hope the customer will buy the full version of the program, which has more features, better protection, plus no more prompts to upgrade to the full version.  Still, the free versions do a very good job and most of our customers have stayed with the free versions for several years.  If you are an average user, are not very adventurous in the types of websites you go to, and don’t have kids, the free versions are good enough.

Of course, no Antivirus or Security program can give you 100% protection.  The virus and spyware writers change their code so fast, that the Antivirus companies can’t keep up.  Sure, they may update their software several times a day but still, some infections do make it through.  The best you can hope for is that your software will block 97–98 percent of the infections.  This usually translates to years of virus-free computing for most people.  So essentially, the best programs will protect you, but just know that there will always be a slight chance that an infection may get through.

Just so you know, all of today’s Antivirus programs also provide Anti-Spyware and Anti-Malware protection as well, so you covered from these other threats tool.  Actually these days, most of the infections we see are Spyware (or Malware)

So what software products to we recommend?  Our favorite free programs are:

1)      AVG Antivirus

2)      Avast Antivirus

3)      Avira Antivir

Among the paid programs, we recommend getting the full security products, which add firewalls, anti-spam and parental controls to the basic antivirus protection.  If you’re going to pay, you might as well get full protection.  Our favorites are:

1)      Norton (Symantec) Internet Security 2010

2)      ESET NOD32 Smart Security 4.0

3)      Avast Professional

4)      Avira Premium Security Suite 2010

5)      Kaspersky Internet Security 2010

6)      PC Tools Internet Security 2010

Finally, we recommend getting a standalone Anti-Spyware/Anti-Malware program as well, since these types of threats are the most prevalent today.  Standalone Anti-Spyware programs generally do a better job because they are totally focused on these types of infections.

Unlike the free Antivirus products, the free Anti-Spyware programs do not run full-time in the background or automatically update.  You need to manually run them, update them and scan once a week.  Again, for the average user, this is fine.  If not, get the full versions.

The nice thing about these is that you can run them alongside your Antivirus program.  On that note, you should know that you cannot have more than one Antivirus program on your machine.  They will conflict with each other and your protection will be compromised.

Our recommendations are:

1)      MalwareByte’s Anti-Malware

2)      Ad-Aware Anti-Malware

3)      PC Tools Threat Fire

You can find all these programs at the popular website Download.com.  For more information, please visit our website.

Good luck and happy, clean computing.