Keep your neighbors from hijacking your Wi-Fi

Keep your neighbours from hijacking your Wi-Fi

By Jeandre de Beer / Pc World

Question : ROSE SAYS that her Internet service intermittently  slows to a crawl, and that she wants to take steps to make sure that her neighbors haven’t hacked into her Wi-Fi network for free connectivity.

Answer : A NUMBER OF issues can produce intermittently slow Internet access, and most of them don’t involve foul play. You could have faulty cables, a bad modem or router, or outdated firmware on either of those devices.

The problem may be with your ISP, and therefore out of your hands. 

As much as we would like to think otherwise, however, your problem very well could be with a dishonest neighbour.

 

 

And in these days of data caps, such sneaky neighbors could be running up your Internet service bill as they’re slowing down your network’s connection.

I’m assuming that you've password-protected your Wi-Fi network already. If you haven’t, check your router’s documentation and do so immediately.

Even with a password, nothing is ever completely secure, and Wi-Fi networks can be cracked. You need to take extra precautions.

So how can you keep your neighbours from hijacking your Wi-Fi?

 

Start with a strong password

Read more

Rescue your PC from ransomware

Rescue your PC from Ransomware

By Jeandre de Beer / Pc World

With the nasty CryptoLocker malware making the rounds lately— encrypting victims’ files, and refusing to unlock them unless victims pay $300 via Bitcoin or a prepaid cash voucher—ransomware is in the spotlight.

You can remove many kinds of ransomware without losing your files, but the process differs depending on the type of invader. 

The simplest type, sometimes called scareware, consists of bogus antivirus or clean-up tools that claim they’ve detected umpteen issues, and demand that you pay to fix them.

Some specimens may bombard you with alerts and pop-ups, while others might prevent you from running programs.

In contrast, lock-screen viruses don’t allow you to use your computer, and display a full-size window—usually with an FBI or Department of Justice logo—saying that you violated the law and that you must pay a fine.

Finally, encrypting malware, such as CryptoLocker, is the worst variant, because it encrypts and locks your personal files until you pay up. But even if you haven’t backed up your files, you may still have a chance to recover your data.

How can you rescue your PC from Ransomware?

1.  Removing ransomware

 

If you have a fake antivirus program or a bogus clean-up tool, you can usually remove it by following my general malware removal guide. The procedure includes entering Windows’ Safe Mode and running an on-demand virus scanner such as Malwarebytes. 

If the ransomware prevents you from entering Windows or running programs, try to use System Restore to roll Windows’ system files and your applications back in time.

Doing so doesn’t affect your personal files. (System Restore must be enabled beforehand; Windows enables the feature by default.) To try System Restore, first shut down your PC.

Turn the computer on, and as soon as you see anything on the screen, press the <F8> key repeatedly. This action should bring up the Advanced Boot Options menu; select Repair Your Computer and press <Enter>. You’ll likely have to log on as a user. You’ll then find shortcuts to a few tools; click System Restore

If you don’t see Repair Your Computer, use your Windows disc (if you have that) to access the recovery tools. Click Repair your computer on the main menu before proceeding with installation.

Alternatively, create a Windows System Repair Disc on another PC running the same Windows version, and then boot to that disc on the infected PC to reach the recovery tools. 

If you still can’t get into Windows, try an “offline virus scan,” in which you run a virus scanner from a bootable disc or USB drive. 

My favorite bootable scanner is from Bitdefender, but other major vendors also offer antivirus boot-disk software. Your last resort, if the above methods fail, is to perform a factory restore. Most ransomware isn’t that tenacious, however.

 

2.  Recovering hidden files and encrypted data

 

Read more

How to live large on every battery charge

How to live large on every battery charge

By Jeandre de Beer / Pc World

IT’S easier these days than it was in the past to find outlets for charging your mobile device in vehicles and public places.

Even so, you’re bound to run into situations where you’ll need to nurse the battery in your laptop, smartphone, or tablet because you can’t charge it.

Whether you forgot to bring your charger, you’re stuck in the woods, or you just want to revel in the untetheredness of it all, here are some techniques for achieving a longer run time.

1.  Increase the run time on any device

 

Fact: Your battery has a set amount of juice in it, and there’s not a darn thing you can do to increase it (not safely, anyway).  So if your device’s electrical capacity is finite, the way to make it last longer is to reduce its consumption.

And that means turning things  down or off, as you do with the lights and appliances in your house. You already knew that, of course—but maybe you didn’t know how much stuff there is to turn down or off.  The most obvious battery-draining component that you can turn down—or leave off when it’s not in use—is the display.

Reduce the brightness as far as you can, and turn it off when you don’t need it. Reduce the idle period in the automatic shutoff setting.

The more aggressive you are about curtailing your display’s energy use, the more battery life you’ll conserve. If you’re in dire straits, manually shut it off as quickly and as often as possible. The GPS circuitry and the real-time navigation software that uses it are the most notorious power sucks in mobile devices such as smartphones. They stress both the radio and the CPU (with graphics).

If you’re low on juice, memorize the general location and route, and wait until you’re close before you start going crazy with the GPS app. Stick with just the voice cues if you can. Bluetooth, cellular, near-field communication (NFC), and Wi-Fi radios are other major power drains. Turning these off when you don’t need them can double your battery life.

Airplane mode, which turns them all off, protects your battery from draining very quickly as your phone continuously searches for signals that don’t exist at 35,000 feet. Note: if your phone supports Wi-Fi calling, using that feature will increase battery longevity, because Wi-Fi radio uses less current. 

Finally, though multitasking makes switching between apps quicker, it also consumes more power. Even if an application isn’t front and center, it requires the operating system’s attention, and it may be performing tasks in the background.

It’s smart to run only one app at a time when your battery is running low.

2.  Tips for laptop users

Read more

Keep your laptop safe and secure while you travel

Keep your laptop safe and secure while you travel

By Jeandre de Beer / Pc World

Your laptop is your pride and joy. It’s your umbilical cord to the office. It’s your entertainment at the airport and on the plane.

You bring it everywhere you go. But there are all too many ways that it can come to harm.

Follow these tips to keep your laptop safe and secure while you travel, and you won’t have to worry while you and your notebook are on the road.

 

1. Keep it padded

 

Traveling is full of shoving bags into tight spots, jostling them about, and stuffing in just one more thing. Push a little too hard, however, and you may hear an investment-shattering crack. Buy a laptop-specific carrying case with plenty of padding and protection. 

Separate compartments for accessories and power cables are a luxury that can keep your PC scratch- and dent-free. To deter theft, choose a nondescript bag, without logos advertising that valuable merchandise sits inside.

2. Turn it off


For laptop makers, it’s difficult to pack a powerful computer into a slim enclosure while keeping all of its critical components nice and cool. But that’s what the laptop’s vents and fans are for.

Now imagine the heat that can accumulate in the secure, padded, tight quarters of a laptop bag. 

Don’t cram a sleeping computer into the confines of a backpack or messenger bag. Heat is a computer’s number one enemy. Heat can shorten your computer’s useful life, loosen components in the motherboard, or destroy it entirely.

Block a running computer’s vents for extended stretches, and you could find yourself unpacking a fried PC. Power down the laptop before you stow it.

3. Keep an eye on it, but keep it out of sight

Read more

4 Ways to Spring clean your PC

4 Ways to Spring clean your PC

By Jeandre de Beer / Kim Komando

 

clean 1Many people bring themselves and their homes out of the cold winter with a frenzy of spring cleaning and organizing. One area of your house you might neglect, however, is your computer.

Fortunately, cleaning and de-cluttering your PC is easy to do and doesn’t take much time. It’ll prolong the life of your machine and help you get more work done faster.

That means you can spend more time outside, enjoying the longer, warmer days!

1. Clean that hardware


Your PC has collected some dust bunnies since its last cleaning. These trap heat and shorten the life of your system.

There there’s your keyboard, which probably has a fair amount of bread and potato chip crumbs lodged between the keys. Think about all the germs that your keyboard, mouse and touchpad collected over the last couple of months!

Time for some do-it-yourself detailing.

Read more

Have you changed this essential setting for your Anti-Virus Software?

Have you changed this essential setting for your Anti-Virus Software?

By Jeandre de Beer / Kim Komando

av 1

Your anti-virus software is great for blocking serious attacks against your system. However, it doesn’t always catch programs that cause “minor” annoyances.

I’m talking about the “potentially unwanted programs” or PUP that are everywhere online.

They’re built by enterprising programmers who have figured out that there’s more money in staying under the radar of every major security company.

If you’ve ever had to deal with pop-ups, unwanted toolbars, or had your homepage redirected to an unfamiliar website, that’s the work of a PUP (potentially unwanted program).

While most anti-virus programs will protect you from PUPs for free, the option isn’t always turned on.

 

Make sure that your anti-virus understands that you don’t want any potentially unwanted programs on your PC. I’ll cover the settings for Avast, AVG and Kaspersky. McAfee has full protection turned on by default.

Note: Norton doesn’t currently find and remove PUPs, but Symantec plans to add that it in the future. When it does, it will be turned on by default.

 

AVAST

 

Read more

Do you want to know which programs are using your internet data?

Do you want to know which programs are using your internet data?

By Jeandre de Beer / Kim Komando

internet 2

Have you ever wondered where your monthly internet bandwidth has gone to? 

Sometimes we are not even halfway through the month and all our data has been depleted.

Do you know what your computer is up to while you’re away, or what it’s doing right under your nose? 

If you have a server or firewall on your network it makes this task much easier – since all internet traffic can be routed through the server / firewall and a detailed report can be generated on who accessed what sites and the amount of data that a specific user consumed during the month.

If you are a home user or if you do not own a server or firewall – internet monitoring and management becomes more difficult.

Home users and small business owners usually do not have the need to spend a large amount of money on internet monitoring, but they still want to have basic controls over what happens with their bandwidth.

 

Is there a way to find out what happened?

 

Read more

3 Ways you could be attacked when using Public Wi-Fi

3 WAYS YOU COULD BE ATTACKED WHEN USING PUBLIC WIFI

By Jeandre de Beer / Kim Komando

wifi 3

 

When you’re out of the office and running out of data on your cellular plan, finding free public Wi-Fi is easier than ever before, but free public Wi-Fi comes with a cost – security risks.

 

You can find free Wi-Fi hotspots everywhere, and you can even search for them before you travel using an app like Free Wi-Fi Finder. Just keep in mind that crooks have several ways to steal your information when you’re using a free Wi-Fi hotspot.

 

Here are three of the most popular methods, and some tips on how to protect yourself.

 

1. Fake Wi-Fi networks

 

Most free Wi-Fi comes courtesy of a coffee shop or hotel, but that free network might actually be a hacker-run router.

 

Hackers have no problem setting up a router in a public area and naming it something like “coffee shop Wi-Fi” or “free hotel Wi-Fi.” It might even use the name of a business in the area. Plenty of people will connect without thinking.

 

A hacker might also set up next to a legitimate Wi-Fi network and give his network the same name. Even if you spot the duplication in the network list, you won’t know which one is safe.

 

Once you connect to the hacker’s network, he can start scanning your gadget for weaknesses and infect your device with viruses or spy on your browsing. He can also redirect your browsing so you end up on malicious websites.

 

How do you stay safe?

 

 

Read more

What is Ransomware? How can you protect yourself?

What is Ransomware? How can you protect yourself?

By Jeandre de Beer

Ransomware-Featured

 

Ransomware is a type of malware that tries to extort money from you. Malware gets installed on your pc that prevents you from working by displaying a message that pops up or by encrypting all the files on your computer. 

They then require your credit card details to unlock your pc or to decrypt your files.

Its not the case anymore of some young teenager creating malware just for fun – much of the malware is now created for profit and it is becoming much more sophisticated.

 

How does it work?

 

There are many diffirent types of ransomware, but they all have one thing in common – they want you to make a payment before they give you control back of your pc and files.

If you get infected you will most probably see messages like these : “Your computer is infected, purchase this product to fix the infection” or “Your computer has been used to download illegal files, pay a fine to continue using your computer.”

Read more

How did Spammers Get my Email Address?

How did Spammers Get my Email Address?

By Jeandre de Beer

spam 4

 

 

 

It seems that everybody receives spam emails – no matter how careful you are. How does spammers get our email addresses and is there anything we can do to hide ourselves from them?

The truth is – there is no fool proof way of preventing spam.

We will discuss a few steps to protect your email address the best we can.

 

But how do they get your address?

 

The easiest way for spammers to collect large lists of good, active email addresses is via leaked account databases. These leaks happen on a regular basis – this is even the case for large corporate companies.

Adobe, Yahoo, Sony and LinkedIn is just a few companies that have been attacked by hackers and had their databases stolen.

Spammers then use these leaked databases and add millions of email addresses to their email lists. They know that the majority of these email addresses should be active, so these databases are an excellent resource for them.

There is really not much you can do to protect yourself from a spammer getting your email address in this way.

 

Must you click on links you receive in Spam mails to unsubscribe?

 

Read more