Archive for December 2019

The Trouble with Trusting Your Online Friends

Can You Trust Your Online Friends?

Trust is the foundation of a good relationship – you trust friends to be loyal, sincere, and honest. But when you blindly trust online friends, you could be opening yourself up to cyberattack.

When you hear about a big data breach on the news, you may think you don’t need to worry. You may think, “I don’t do business with that company, so the crooks can’t steal my identity.” Or “my email address and password weren’t involved, so it’s not my problem.” Yet it could be.

One of your friends or family members’ personally identifying information may be hacked. Then, cybercriminals could use that as a stepping stone to get to you.

Reused passwords are a problem

Think you’re safe when you interact with friends and family on Facebook or Instagram? Those aren’t the sites breached?Again, think twice. Many people reuse their username and password on more than one site.

Imagine the bad guys get hold of an individual’s credentials from a malware attack on a major retailer, or they buy that person’s credentials for a banking site on the Dark Web after a breach. The crooks might try the credentials on those sites to see if they can gain access, but they are also likely to try those same credentials on other sites, too. If they can get into the account of one of your friends or family, they caneasily impersonate them.

What to Watch Out for Among Friends/Family

Hackers prey on our impulse to trust others – they have greater odds of success impersonating a Facebook friend asking for help. If a Nigerian prince emails out of the blue and asks for money, most of us know by now to delete the message immediately. But if Aunt Peggy does the same thing via Facebook, you’re more likely to fall for it.

The same thing happens with malicious content. We all know not to click on attachments from people we don’t know and trust. After hacking a social media account, cybercriminals email all that person’s friends. They might say something appealing such as, “you’ve got to check out this latest hilarious video of my son!” We want to see our friend’s son being funny, so we click, and the trouble starts.

One more note: be wary of whom you accept into your “friends” circle online. Adding your niece’s best friend or your work colleague’s husband may seem like a good idea, but, that’s one more possible vulnerability.

Impersonation is not just on Social Media

Impersonations of people you trust aren’t only happening on social media. You might get emails that appear to be from companies you trust, vendors you know, or work colleagues. For instance, you might get an invoice from a company you use. It looks like usual, with the same services listed, but the banking details are different. If you don’t catch on, you’ll be paying the crooks instead of your window cleaners.

Or you might get an email from a “co-worker” asking you to remind them of a password or account number. It seems like a simple request from someone who can afford to be casual about security with you. But don’t fall for a “hey, what was that password again?” request.

Ultimately, don’t rely on that browser lock suggesting a site is secure or the fact that you already know so and so. You may not be actually dealing with that individual. Always confirm, using another method of communication, before sending sensitive info or money.

Remember, if you post something, bear in mind who can read it

We are so used to posting personal things on social media but the obvious needs to be repeated – be wary about how much information you post. Can it be used by someone who wants to know if you are away from home? Can anyone pick up enough information to enable them to impersonate you?

If you want help to secure online interactions and home computing networks, contact us on 01455 209505.

 

CSH Computer Services is a local business providing PC and Laptop repair and I.T. support services to Homes and Businesses. We are based near Lutterworth, Hinckley and Broughton Astley in Leicestershire and provide a full range of services, from PC and Laptop repairs, PC and Laptop upgrades, sales of new computers and workstations plus business network support. We also provide Virus and Malware disinfection, Broadband installation and troubleshooting, data recovery, Wireless networking and troubleshooting, plus much more. We work in and around the whole Leicestershire area and can be seen daily in Lutterworth, Hinckley, Broughton Astley, Market Harborough, Nuneaton, Rugby, Leicester and surrounding areas too.

Why Is This Computer Running Slow?

“Why is this computer running so slow?” is a common complaint. The question is whether it’s your computer or your internet connection.

You may feel your computer is moving at a snail’s pace, but it used to be fast – so you’re going to want to identify and address the issue to get back up to speed. Yet it’s hard to know whether to blame your computer or the internet, especially now that so many computer applications rely on internet connectivity.

So, how do you determine whether it’s your computer or connectivity that’s the problem? If you are having the problem only on one device in a network, you can guess it’s the computer not the connectivity. Otherwise, think about when you are having slow woes.

Program Start-ups Can Slow You Down

If you notice programs are taking longer to load up, your computer may not be up to the task. Running large applications such as Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Office, or some accounting packages can cause slowdowns. The hardware may be overwhelmed. You may not have enough available storage space. Sometimes your computer’s parts are simply too old and not fast enough.

Even a new computer could be the problem if it’s an inexpensive one. Or perhaps you didn’t get enough random access memory (RAM) – your computer needs RAM to run applications or games; it’s the short-term memory of the computer. This is where the computer loads all the things it thinks it might need soon so that it can process them quickly. Without enough available RAM, the computer has to work harder (and slower) to get the results you want.

No wonder common advice for people dealing with slow computers is to invest in more RAM. If your device is less than five years old, you can often upgrade the RAM inexpensively, or switch to a solid-state drive (SSD). An SSD reads and writes differently than a traditional hard drive, which allows it to access information significantly faster – see our previous Blog article here.

Meanwhile, buying a replacement computer may be the answer if your device is more than five years old.

Then Again, Maybe It’s the Internet Connection

On the other hand, you might notice computer slowness when online. Web pages might be slow to load, or you might be waiting ages to access YouTube videos.

If the lag is happening on only one website, it could be that site’s problem. Otherwise, internet slowness could be a provider problem or you might have a poor connection.

One way to confirm a connection issue is to check your internet speed. A site such as fast.com or speedtest.net can measure your speed, then you can compare it against the connection speed you’re paying for. Don’t know that? Check your service bill as you may have a slow internet speed plan. Maybe you haven’t changed it in years but have added many more devices. In that case, you’ll want to call your service provider about an upgrade?

When testing, you are looking for a speed of at least 10Mbps. Anything below that, and you’ll start seeing slowdowns and start hearing the complaints from all corners of the house. To put that in perspective, Netflix needs at least 5mbps to stream in HD.

If the speed seems okay and more than one website is having slowdowns, make sure that the internet browser you are using is up to date.

Other Things to Tackle Slowness

You might also try rebooting your computer or your modem and router. If you leave these running all the time, never actually turning them off, they can get stuck in a slow rut.

If you’re on Wi-Fi, that could also be the root of your problem. Maybe you’re on a network with too many users making demands. For instance, if everyone in your family is streaming on their devices, expect a slowdown unless you have a fast broadband package. You might be in a signal dead zone – in that case, you could look into a Wi-Fi mesh network.

Ultimately, there are many reasons for a slow computer or internet connection. Don’t get stuck with a tortoise of technology.

If you would like some help in speeding up your computer, contact us on 01455 209505.

CSH Computer Services is a local business providing PC and Laptop repair and I.T. support services to Homes and Businesses. We are based near Lutterworth, Hinckley and Broughton Astley in Leicestershire and provide a full range of services, from PC and Laptop repairs, PC and Laptop upgrades, sales of new computers and workstations plus business network support. We also provide Virus and Malware disinfection, Broadband installation and troubleshooting, data recovery, Wireless networking and troubleshooting, plus much more. We work in and around the whole Leicestershire area and can be seen daily in Lutterworth, Hinckley, Broughton Astley, Market Harborough, Nuneaton, Rugby, Leicester and surrounding areas too.