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Is Your Computer Infected?

Is your computer running slow? Are there unfamiliar icons on your desktop? Is there no end to the pop-ups plaguing your computer? If you could answer yes to all, or even on of these questions, there’s a chance your computer might be infected. There are a few tell-tale signs that you can look for when determining if your computer is really just that slow, or if an infection is the root of your problems\

The most noticeable, and most common sign of an infection is pop-ups. Now when you get a few pop-ups while browsing the internet, that doesn’t necessarily mean an infection, as a fair number of websites come equip with pop-up ads. But when they start appearing when you’re not on the internet, or start appearing way too frequently, you might be infected.

You may also be able to spot an infection by checking out your internet browser. Whether it be Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, or Firefox there are some obvious signs to look for. Perhaps the most obvious sign you would notice right away is a different homepage. Some infections will hijack your internet browser and change your homepage to something else. Another sign closely related to this one is random redirects, you may click on a link you find in Google and be redirected to a completely different link by the malware that’s infected your system. Some other notable signs include, abundance of toolbars, browser extensions you don’t remember adding, or your web browser freezing or becoming unresponsive.  

If you’ve noticed any of these signs on your computer, there’s a good chance that it’s infected with some kind of malware. Lucky for you, Computers on the Run is here to help you. Just bring you computer to use and we can clean those nasty infections and set you up with the latest and greatest anti virus. Call us or stop in today!

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Dangers of Public WiFi

While it may seem convenient and essential to some to be constantly connected to the internet, you should really think twice before connection to open, public WiFi connections. Using public WiFi to use social media, or send and read emails, or even check bank accounts, can leave you open to a whole hosts of issues. Whether intentional or not, the problem with most public WiFi connections is that they aren’t secured in any way. This means that anyone and everyone can seamlessly connect to the network with any number of devices, and while most will simply use it for it’s intended purpose, there are those who would exploit the network and every device connected to it.

The most common of these attacks on open WiFi connections is a Man in the Middle attack. This enables the attacker, the “man in the middle”, to eavesdrop on your connection to the internet, essentially reading all the data that you exchange with the internet. This attack is made easier by the fact that most open connections lack any sort of encryption. Encryption is an important factor in any network, as it translates the data being sent between your computer and the network into something unreadable by an outsider. Without encryption your data is plainly readable to anyone who knows how to get access to it.

Not all public networks are plagued by these issues, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Because you never know who might be eavesdropping on your connection.

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Benefits of an MSP

According to research done by CompTIA,a global IT trade association, More and more organizations are turning to managed service providers to handle aspects of their businesses such as email hosting, network and application monitoring, cloud backup/recovery, and cloud computing solutions. MSPs are becoming a more popular solution to a company’s constant need for technology support.

There are a few driving forces behind this switch to Managed Service Providers for providing IT support. The main one being the improvement in efficiency and reliability of IT operations that comes with switching to a MSP. This factor was the main reason for 47% of companies with less than 100 employees to switch to a Managed Service Provider over a traditional IT staff. Another important factor that is driving 38% of companies to turn to an MSP, is the enhanced security and compliance. Statements released by CompTIA reports that nearly ⅔ of companies surveyed by CompTIA has used at least some form of MSP within the past 12 months.

Bringing in a Managed Service Provider to handle all of your IT needs can help to provide peace of mind to any business. C.O.R is proud to be a local Managed Service Provider. If you’re interested in learning about the services we provide please read some of our other articles detailing the managed services we provide, call us today at (308) 381-0561.

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HoloLens Holoportation

Microsoft recently unveiled it’s take on teleportation, coined “holoportation” instead of physically sending you anywhere in the world, it transmits a 3D model of you. Using a large array of cameras, your likeness is scanned, compressed, and transmitted to an augmented reality head-mounted display, like Microsoft’s HoloLens. Allowing the wearer of the HoloLens to see and interact with remote users as if they were in the same space.

While this technology is promising and shows a huge leap in the way technology helps us interact with each other. This groundbreaking technology is still in its early stages, Microsoft has only stated that the HoloLens will see a commercial release during Windows 10’s lifetime, which could mean that it’s still a few years off. Microsoft has also released that the headset’s development kit will drop with a whopping price tag of $3,000. Meaning that this technology is even further from a consumer release, but it is still a promising technology that could revolutionize the way we interact with our world.

Below is a short video released by Microsoft showing off the capabilities of the HoloLens Holoportation

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Grayware

Chances are, you most likely know what computer malware is and that it’s something you want to avoid at all costs. But you likely aren’t aware of the many different categories of malware that exist today. Two major categories of malware out to get you and your computer are Grayware and Adware/Spyware.

Grayware is the seemingly most innocuous, appearing in the form of potentially unwanted programs or PUPs. While at first they don’t appear to do anymore than slow your computer down and cause minor annoyances,  like pop-ups. However, these malicious programs are only the tip of the iceberg and can open the door to much worse malware and security issues.

Adware is similar to Grayware. Only, its purpose is to collect information about you and use this information to generate fraudulent advertisements tailored to you or sell your information to third-party companies. Adware comes in many forms, the most popular of these being an unwanted toolbar or browser extension. Commonly working in tangent with Adware, is Spyware. Which, much like adware, lives to record everything you do on your computer. However, Spyware usually has much more nefarious intent.
If you suspect your computer might be infected with any of the previously mentioned Grayware, bring your computer to Computers On The Run and we’ll make sure that no one is getting access to your information.

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Tips to Keep Your Computer Safe

Securing information on your computer is very important, as we use our computers for just about everything and much of that information is saved somewhere on your computer. That information could be anything from financial and banking records to treasured family pictures. Which is all information that you definitely wouldn’t want someone else, such as a hacker, to have access to. Below are a few tips and suggestions that will help deter anyone trying to breach your computer and keep your information safe and in your own hands.

Keep your operating system and any other programs you use up to date. This will stop hackers from gaining access through vulnerabilities that may exist in outdated programs.

Download an antivirus program and keep it up-to-date as well. This is integral to keeping your computer secure as an antivirus is usually your first line of defense against intrusion.

Protect your wifi with an encrypted password. If you leave your wifi connection open it’s far too easy for a hacker to hijack your connection and wreak havoc on it.

Password protect your phone and mobile devices. Most mobile devices are very easily secured, especially devices that allow for biometric authentication, like fingerprint readers, so it’s a no-brainer when it comes to securing your device.

Create difficult passwords, and change them frequently. This will make it much harder for a hacker to brute force any of your passwords.Avoid using the same password for multiple services, as if one gets breached then any other services using the same password may be compromised as well.

Be smart when it comes to surfing and emailing. If you receive unsolicited emails from addresses you’re not familiar, it’s best to avoid them, as it may be an attempt to get sensitive information from you.

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Following all of these tips should help make your computer a much safe place, and you’ll be able to sleep easy at night knowing your data is safe and sound, and not in the hands of someone else.

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Other Services with Managed Services

C.O.R is now a Managed Service Provider. We offer a wide variety of managed service plans to fit your IT needs. Aside from cloud backups, 24×7 monitoring, and proactive support, C.O.R Managed services also provides secure remote access, unlimited help desk support, and subscription based pricing.

With Secure Remote Access everything you need is just a click away. This service allows you to finish up an assignment, or prepare for a meeting, all from the comfort of your home, or anywhere you have internet access. This gives you the freedom to choose where to work from, and provides a secure and fast connection to everything you’ll need to do so. COR offers Help Desk Support which means that there is always an expert C.O.R technician ready and willing to help you with any IT questions or issues that you’re having.

All of these services and more are available through C.O.R Managed Services, with pricing options to fit your budget.

Contact us today to get set up with C.O.R Managed Services.

(308) 381-0561

3415 W State St, Grand Island, NE 68803

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Ransomeware Prevention

Ransomware has become an increasingly common and dangerous over the years, and it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down or stopping. You can no longer avoid the fact that your data could be encrypted and potentially lost forever if you don’t take necessary steps to prevent ransomware from taking a hold of your computer. As with most things, the best way to prevent something like this from happening is to educate yourself about it.

First of all, most people don’t realize this, but your PC isn’t the only thing that’s at risk. Ransomware has been known to affect every from Android to Linux servers. Researchers have even found that ransomware could easily target such things as Mac OSX and smart TVs. No device is safe from this pervasive virus.

Prevention is key. Most ransomware programs get distributed through malicious email attachments, web-based exploits, and may be installed by other malware programs. Therefore it’s best to keep your computer & browsers up to date, that means running Windows Updates every now and then, carefully scrutinize emails before opening them, and make sure you have an active, up to date, antivirus. These are the best practices in preventing ransomware.

There is only one true way to mitigate the risk of ransomware, and that is to backup your data regularly. That doesn’t mean attaching an external hard drive your computer and backing up to it occasionally, as ransomware could easily infect an external drive as well. It’s best practice to follow the 3-2-1 rule. Have at least 3 copies of the data, stored in 2 different formats, with at least 1 of the copies stored offline. While this may seem excessive, this will ensure that your data will be safe from harmful ransomware.

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The Future of SSDs

Solid State Drives have become increasingly popular over the years due to their performance advantages over standard Hard Disk Drives. However, this massive increase in speed comes with a few drawbacks, the main one being price. You just don’t seem to get the same bang for your buck when it comes to SDDs. In 2012 a 500GB HDD cost roughly $50, while a 128GB SSD could be upwards of $120.

However, 2016 has closed the gap between these two and ushered in the age of the SSD. Prices have been steadily dropping over the years, and in the last quarter alone have dropped a whopping 10% – 12% in price, closing the large price gap between HDDs and SSDs. Now a 128GB costs anywhere from $38 to $50, dropping over 50% in just 4 years. This is due to massive growth in the acceptance and use of SSDs, and the highest annual growth rate is expected between 2016  and 2022. With an estimated growth of 9.5% a year, the SSD market as whole will grow from $13.29B to $25.3B.

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The Future of 5G

It’s no secret that 5G is in the works, but everyone in the wireless industry agrees that we could see this major advancement in wireless technology by the end of the decade. Which is definitely something to get excited about, because 5G won’t just be twice as fast as 4G, or even three times faster. It will be an impressive 10 – 100 times faster than current 4G wireless technologies. One company even reported speeds of up to 30 gigabits per second, 1,000 times faster than current 4G speeds.

Up until now, you’ve probably only used 3G or 4G on your phone, but with the next generation of 5G we’ll begin to see this technology used as a staple of many other emerging technologies. Most notably of these technologies is it’s integration with self-driving cars, which rely on wireless connections. Current wireless technologies just aren’t fast enough to support the connection between the car’s sensors and the data centers they must communicate with. However, with 5G on the horizon, promising ultra-low latency and high transfer speeds, this dream of self-driving cars becomes a lot more realistic.