Be on guard against latest computer virus

Have you heard of Crypto Locker? Does it sound like a bad ’80s horror movie starring Anthony Michael Hall and Richard Grieco?
Fortunately, that film was not made, but Crypto Locker in reality is a computer virus and is one of the most ruthless to come around.
The virus appeared in 2013 and is in a family of threats called ransom-ware, defined as a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid.
In the case of the Crypto Virus, once infected you are asked for $300 to be paid to a secure site and if you do not before the deadline expires (an actual clock counts down on your computer) all your files are encrypted and you cannot access them.
To make things even worse, the virus spreads rapidly so you could expose your entire network to the threat. I have heard accounts of people paying the fee and they were actually sent the codes to unencrypt their PC.
Online source Zdnet shows that more than $27 million has been transferred to the creators of this threat worldwide. This was tracked by looking at Bitcoin addresses (if you are not familiar with Bitcoins, see my next column).
You might be wondering where this virus comes from. It usually arrives in an attachment sent via email. A best practice for all email correspondence is to only open emails from people you know, and even then it pays to look closely.
If the subject reads “See this picture from last night” and you were not with that person the night before, delete immediately. Also, the best business level anti-virus should be deployed and it will pick up most threats.
That said, the best anti-virus in the world cannot stop someone from clicking a link, or opening an email that might get through your digital security. I am sure you all have that one person in your office who just “happens” to get viruses all the time but “never” visits questionable sites, opens all emails, etc. We will call that person Dr. Click-a-Lot for today’s purposes.
One of the best ways to avoid a catastrophe in a virus situation is to have a backup of your data and to keep a spare computer available for your organization. This way, downtime is minimized and productivity stays up.
Also, if you are infected, unplug immediately and call your IT professional. The world of technology is full of threats, new ones each day, and most of them certainly are scarier than a Richard Grieco film.
Original Post: http://www.tallahassee.com/article/20140325/BUSINESS02/140325006/Biz-Tech-guard-against-latest-computer-virus

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The Importance Of Quality Computer Repair

There is no question that computers have become an important part of our everyday lives in business and on a personal level. When the network is down within a professional business environment work completely stops which means money is not being made. This can be a huge problem. From the router malfunctioning to the server failing all computer problems need to be addressed promptly by experienced IT professionals. When it comes to your home computer or business network it is vital that computer help is only a phone call away.

Finding and retaining computer help has never been easier than it is now days. Professional PC support is around every corner. The problem exists in that not all computer help is created equally. There are a variety of options to choose from when it comes to computer services. Do you prefer working with a large company that employs hundreds of technicians or a small company that has available two or three computer technicians?

There are benefits and drawbacks to both options. A large big name computer repair service will most likely always have a technician available to help your with your computer issue no matter what time of day or what issue has arose. The problem is that with hundreds of technicians available there is no guarantee on the level of service that you will receive being a dime a dozen client. The other issue is that there is no way to guarantee that the technician that has previously worked on your network will be the one addressing the issue you are currently having.

With a smaller IT company you can almost always guarantee that the two or three technicians that work with your company are all familiar with your computers and the issues you are having. With only a few people to communicate between you can rest assured that your company is a priority and making sure you are up and running a top speed is their most important priority. The one drawback is that with only a few professionals available that you could call and all three could be tied up elsewhere, leaving you waiting on one of them to have a moment to open up to address your issue. The great thing that happens when working with a small company is that when they do show up on sight they already know your system and history and can get it on the issue right away. A larger company with lots of technicians will always need the history of the problem and what has already been done to try and correct the problem.

With any decision there will always be pros and cons. When choosing between a large IT company or a smaller IT company to provide care for your business computers and networking needs here are some other things to consider: ease of access, accessibility, expertise, experience, credentials and your budget. Check with several companies and check to see how they figure out their charges. Check to see if there is an initial service fee, if drive time is charged and how they charge. If you are working within a budget try to maximize your money by finding a company that doesn’t charge service call fees or drive time. This way you will only be paying for the time that they are onsite actually working on repairing your computers, servers and networks.