When your Digital Life is Held to Ransom

crim_with_gun

Ransomware is a type of malware that will lock you out of your files, device, or other resources, and demand a payment to regain access.  Even if you choose to pay up, most often the payment will not result in gaining back access, and your files are permanently lost.

The threat posed by Ransomware is serious, and ongoing.  I last updated this article in September 2015, not long after Cryptolocker became the first widely reported Ransomware threat with thousands of infected computers and resulting in the loss of millions of dollars of data and production.  The problem has only increased in frequency and severity with a range of new variants attacking customers across PC and other platforms.

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Picture Perfect – How to Choose a New Monitor

From blinking lights, punch cards and paper tapes, through CRTs, the introduction of colour, and the development of LCD panels; display technology has come a long way.

Today we enjoy a range of inexpensive, high resolution monitors able to display a remarkable amount of information and employing a bewildering range of technologies.  This article will identify and explain technological differences between available monitors, and help you weigh your choices to pick the best option for your needs and budget.  Read more

Enterprise Mobility – Fulfil the Promise, Avoid the Pitfalls

mobile_cartoonWe see the pattern time and again. “Everyone” agrees that a new technology will transform business and you must be part of it or risk being left behind.  Businesses caught up in the hype rush to implement optimistic and poorly thought out projects.  Something goes wrong resulting in massive costs and reputational damage.  Finally, we take a more cautious and realistic approach to building the new technology into our business models and the technology starts to meet its early promise.

Such is Enterprise mobility.   The notebook, smartphone, and broadband wireless are enabling technologies, allowing us to break away from the office and have accelerated a transformation of how we think of the workplace.  Benefits from anywhere access to data and tools include a boost to productivity, improved customer service, and flexibility for employees. The concept appears to be a clear win/win with evangelist’s spruiking the undeniable benefits, but often ignoring the security implications.  We are a long way down the road to mobile maturity, but we are not quite there yet. Read more

Guide to Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS)

Eaton_1500VA_smallThe UPS is a misunderstood beast, so we have written this guide to clear up misconceptions and provide information to help you work out if you need one.

At its core, a UPS is a battery that sits between the mains power supply and your equipment.  When the power drops out, the battery is there to keep your gear running long enough to save your work and shut it down normally. Read more

How to Choose Surge Protection

Lightning2Every year, as Christmas approaches, we see an influx of PCs, modems, and other equipment killed by power surges.  It is that time of year again, so to head off some of the issues, I thought a timely reminder in order.

When a burst of energy is dumped into the grid, a surge results and the voltage at your power point will jump up above the normal 240V.  When the voltage moves above the level that your equipment is designed to handle, damage results.  Read more

Guide to Personal and Small Business Backups – Conceptual Framework

ScreamToo often I see our techs consoling a despondent customer, in tears, having irretrievably lost precious files.  Family photos.  Business records.  Blog articles (!). All gone.  Yet some of those people have been “Backing up”.

A simple definition of “Backing Up” is a process that makes a copy of data onto a second device that can be used to restore that data if your primary copy is deleted or damaged.  A broader definition is any process that reduces your risk of losing data (files) or your system state (windows, settings).  I prefer to use a more global term, Backup System, a collection of backup processes or other elements working together to reduce risk of data loss and related harm. Read more

Why are you logging in as God?

God_ComputerOK, not God, but the computer equivalent, the almighty Administrator.
Home computer users start up their computer and do stuff.  If you want to run a program, you can.  If you want to install a program, you can.  If you want to change some setting, you can.  Because this is how it has always been for most users, we think nothing of it and assume it’s normal.

We want to get things done so why would you restrict what can be done by the all powerful User.

It turns out there are good reasons.

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How to save your wallet (and the world) by reducing electricity use

Shut_it_offNot everyone accepts that man made changes to our environment is a direct cause of global warming.  I blame our education system.

Fortunately, we do tend to agree that paying less in electricity bills is a good thing and for the most part leaving our wallets a little heavier also results in less environmental damage.

Lets consider how our use of computing systems can save us a few dollars, and perhaps also reduce the chance of our grandkids surfing lessons being relocated to Ayres Rock. Read more