Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Please take a few moments to read the important information below that every computer user should know. Use the “Print This Page” link at the bottom to print it out for future reference.
• Do you suggest a regular computer check-up? Yes! We have a Computer Maintenance Plan which is scheduled at regular intervals to check the security and hard drive health of your computer, install any updates, check back-up settings, etc. Please click here for more information.
• What is malware? How does it get on the computer? Malware is short for malicious software and includes viruses, spyware, scareware, ransomware and similar programs installed on your computer that is installed without your consent or knowledge. Most malware mimics legitimate software in an attempt to get you to purchase something and/or divulge your credit card information. Malware usually comes from 3 main sources:
- Malware can come as an email attachment such as a file with an .exe or .zip attachment that you are not expecting to receive – even if it looks like it’s from someone or a company that you know.
- You can be tricked into installing malware that looks like legitimate software if you go to an infected web site that you go to via a link in an email or other web site.
- Malware can be installed automatically or via prompt if you go to an infected website. Such web sites are usually unfamiliar, lesser-known web sites that you may find by doing a web search.
• What is adware? How does it get on the computer? Adware is advertisement-supported software that is usually is bundled with other programs that are downloaded from the internet. For example you may download a free program from the internet, but in order for the publisher to make money they typically bundle the program with adware, browser toolbars and/or browser hijackers. These Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs) will display advertisements, re-direct your internet search results and even change your browser home/start page. Adware should be removed as soon as possible because the ads often contain popups that report false computer error and update messages that lead to the installation of malware and other more severe computer problems. Adware is sometimes avoidable if you carefully read each page as you are installing a program, and uncheck any optional adware boxes.
• How do I avoid getting malware, adware and viruses? No security software is going to protect you from all malware, adware and viruses. Practicing safe computing behavior is your best defense:
- Be aware of fake software update prompts and security software: While browsing the internet, if you get a pop-up window from an unknown program or website telling you that there are multiple problems with your computer or that you need to update a program, immediately turn off or restart your computer and see if the program returns after your computer is back on. Other buttons that say “No” or “Cancel” and even the red “X” in the upper right corner of the box are often are used to trick you into downloading or installing a malicious program without your consent. Never install a program from a website that you didn’t initially seek out.
- Only download or purchase programs from trustworthy websites or retailers – they are generally safe and don’t distribute programs containing spyware or viruses.
- Avoid unfamiliar free downloads such as music and file-sharing programs, screen savers, smileys and even fake Spyware detection programs. The program may be free, but in order to make money the programs often include other malware programs to sell information and get paid by advertisers. These malware programs track information about the internet sites you visit, launch pop-up ads, add search toolbars, change your browser homepage and spy on the things you do on your computer – causing a slowdown in computer performance and a security risk.
- When installing programs, don’t click “next” on each prompt without thoroughly reading and understanding each stage of the installation. Uncheck any optional search toolbars that are often bundled with legitimate software.
- Install Windows Critical Updates and Internet Browser updates when prompted as soon as possible. Many of these patches fix security vulnerabilities that allow malicious programs onto your computer without your consent. Also install updates for other programs that are used by your web browser such as Java, Adobe Reader and Flash Player. For more information see Which updates are safe to install – and which aren’t.
- If in doubt about a particular program, you can do a search on any major internet search site for “[the name of the program]” and “spyware” together in a search phrase and see if you get results that show of other people who have had problems with that program installing spyware.
- Consider using an alternative internet browser such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, which aren’t as susceptible as Internet Explorer is to getting viruses or spyware through malicious websites.
- Don’t click on links in email messages unless you are sure the link will take you to a non-malicious website. For example, forwarded jokes and other non-commercial messages may contain links to malicious websites.
- Don’t open “executable” email attachments that you are not expecting, or e-mails that are uncharacteristic of the person sending it. Executable attachments include, but are not limited to, the following file extensions: .exe, .pif, .scr, .zip, .vbs, .cpl, etc. If in doubt, call the person who sent you the e-mail attachment and make sure they sent you the message. Some viruses spoof the e-mail address of the sender – so an e-mail may not really be from whom it says.
- If you see something on the internet that sounds fishy or too good to be true – it probably is. Lots of scammers are using the internet to get into people’s homes and wallets to make money.
• If I have an anti-virus program installed, how can I still get a virus and malware? New viruses are unleashed daily. If you currently have an Anti-Virus program installed, it needs to check for virus updates daily by downloading new virus database files from the internet. Many commercial Anti-Virus programs need to be registered and require an annual subscription to keep your virus database files up-to-date. If your Anti-Virus program has an old virus database, it won’t detect any of the newer viruses. Additionally, as part of the destruction of a virus, some viruses attempt to turn off or disable Anti-Virus programs. Unfortunately, no Anti-Virus program detects all viruses. The best Anti-Virus is practicing safe internet and computing habits.
• I received an email from my ____ asking for information. Is this legit? Phishing is an attempt to get personal information, passwords or credit card information via an official-looking e-mail and/or web site. Never reply to an e-mail or enter information on a web site form in which you did not initiate the communications. For example, UPS, the IRS, your bank or Internet Service Provider will NEVER ask you for personal or financial information via an e-mail. When in doubt, call the business or agency from a number published in the phone book, a paper statement you receive or on the back of a credit card. Also see How to recognize emails that phish for your information.
• I received a call from “Microsoft” and they claimed I have multiple errors/viruses on my computer. They want to remotely access my computer… This is a scam by fraudulent companies in attempt to scare computer users into believing that there are serious problems with their computer – which they can “fix” for several hundreds of dollars. Fraudulent companies also advertise on Google, Bing and other search sites. While it may look like you are calling or visiting a support website for a reputable company, it could really be a fraudulent company trying to scare you into paying lots of money for non-existent problems. For more information see the Top 5 scams to watch out for.
• I’ve got too many passwords to remember – what can I do to make it easier? Use our guide on How to safely manage your passwords.
• Why do I get so much junk email – and how do I prevent it? Follow the up-to-date advice on our website and click on the link SPAM Prevention.
• What are some basic things I can try to fix my computer? If your computer is not starting, freezing up, not connecting to the internet, or can’t access email – check out How to fix common computer problems.
• What other services does Computer Techs provide?
- Upgrades (additional RAM memory, hard drive, CD/DVD drive, printer, digital camera, All-in-one printer, etc.)
- iOS and Android phone and tablet help
- Wireless Network Setup
- New computer set-up & transferring data, settings and programs from an old computer
- Data Recovery & Back-Up Solutions
- Tutoring & much more…
- See our complete list at our website.
If you cannot get on the internet, please call the number on your technician’s business card.
Or you may call and leave a message with our answering service (775) 624-6888.Print This Page