When your Digital Life is Held to Ransom

crim_with_gunRansomware 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, with recent infections more devastating than any malware or virus we have seen in years.  The infection rate increased throughout 2015 with a range of new variants attacking customers across PC and other platforms. Read more

The Blog

CA_entrance_angleOver the years, we receive the same questions from customers, and sometimes its difficult to communicate a complete answer in shop.  We decided to start this blog to help provide in depth answers to those questions.

What sort of computer do I need?

How should I backup?  

Should I upgrade to Windows 10?

How can I protect myself against viruses? 

Do we really need a $1000 video card so Little Johnny can do his homework? (err, good one Little Johnny.  No.) 

We will add new articles answering these questions, and more.  If there are any particular guides or questions you would like us to address, please leave us a note on Facebook or as comments in this post and I’ll see what we can do!

Exploring Windows 10

I am pleased to report Windows 10 feedback has been overwhelmingly positive!

Windows10_boxedCustomers tell us that Windows 10 feels natural and intuitive on desktops, notebooks, and tablets.  Many new features and updates have been mentioned as “Quality of Life” improvements, making it easier to get things done and reducing frustration.  Ideas implemented in Windows 8 that didn’t work have been transformed or reverted.  The core stability, speed, and compatibility of the operating system is exceptional.  Given the relatively few issues reported, and substantial improvements, Windows 10 is the most compelling OS upgrade since XP. Read more

GST to be Charged on Overseas Purchases from 2017

GSTAn agreement between all state and federal governments to remove a GST exclusion will see GST apply to all overseas purchases by mid 2017.

Today, purchases of up to $1000 from overseas retailers do not incur GST, meaning the same item can be discounted by up to $100 if sold through an overseas store, an unfair advantage that benefits overseas business relative to local stores.

Rather than open every box moving through customs, the proposal is based around charging GST at sale time with agreement from major international retailers to collect the tax.  It will be interesting to see how this will be enforced with smaller retailers.

I personally have no problem with international competition where that competition forces down local prices kept artificially high by international manufacturers (the “Australia Tax”).  In terms of most computer hardware, that issue is uncommon, with local prices quite competitive when adjusted for exchange rates and tax.

IT retail tends to be very competitive with markups often under 10%, so the lack of GST can artificially result in overseas purchases coming in cheaper than the same item from local stores.  This change will help keep local IT retail companies viable.

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.

Read more

Fake Windows 10 Upgrade Email Installs Ransomware


We have noted a particularly nasty piece of Malware making the rounds.

An email, apparently from Microsoft, asks the user to open an attached executable, which will promptly encrypt your files.  The malware then tries to ransom the files.

For anyone without current and offline backups, take this warning as a reminder to review you backups, and ensure one set of backups offline. Malware like this can potentially see any attached backups such as on a external HDD, and encrypt those as well!

If you are not familiar with Ransomware, you may want to check out our article:

When your Digital Life is Held to Ransom

CTB-Locker

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

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