Tag Archives: Computer Repair

information technology, cyber-criminals, ransomware, malware

Never call cyber-criminals to fix your computer!

Being a retired police officer, I beg you to never pay cybercriminals.  Three times in the past 2 weeks, I have had someone tell me “I had a screen pop-up saying my computer was infected with a virus, and I needed to call a 1-800 number.”  And all 3 of them called the number. Two of the three then provided remote access to their computer.  1 of them gave his credit card information to pay a stranger who he never met to do “work” on his computer that he didn’t understand.  Each time, my facial twitch betrayed my disappointment.  (I should really work on that!)  They responded defensively, “Well, I’m not good with computers!”

Please, please, please don’t do this. First, you have no idea who is on the other end of the line when you call. In most cases, it is not a company with your best interests in mind. By giving them access to your computer, they can download other viruses and malware, steal your data, shut down your network, change your passwords, and all sorts of other nefarious behavior.

Second, this type of scam is one of many that helps fund the cyber-criminals and enemies of our nation. At the risk of repeating myself to people who have read previous blogs and articles that I have authored, cybercrime is occurring at rates never before witnessed. It is the perfect crime because it’s most often committed by people outside of the US in places that the FBI can’t reach. These are not crimes being committed by a couple of teenagers in mom’s basement “for kicks.” As a retired cop, I never want to put money in the hands of criminals.

Reputable IT companies and computer repairmen, however, do NOT do business like this. Take a moment to search for a local managed services provider, IT provider, or computer repair company.

What does a reputable company look like?

First, check out the website for their company. Is it aesthetically pleasing?  Does it clearly identify what services the company offers?  Is the material presented in a clear, concise manner that you can understand?  Finally, does the website identify the company as being licensed and insured?

Then, call your local Chamber of Commerce. They will be happy to point you in the direction of one of their members that is a good quality company.

Finally, always follow your gut instinct. If it doesn’t feel right, then it probably isn’t! End the call and move on. There are plenty of companies doing IT out there and not all of them are shady.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for updates and news on cyber-security and technology. Additionally, click here to read more about A Better Choice Network Solutions.

David Thornton is a retired police officer and current owner of A Better Choice Network Solutions in Brandon, FL.  He can be contacted via email at info@abcnetfl.com.

3 Fixes for a Slow Computer

One of the most common complaints that we receive is a slow computer.  Have you noticed that your computer is running slower than normal lately?  Here are 3 quick things that you should do before paying to have the computer diagnosed by an IT professional. 

1. Check Internet Speed

If Type “speed test” into Google or any other search engine. Be cautious here, as some websites will have suspicious ads flashing in hopes that you click on them. A simple speed test from Google looks like this:

Slow Computer Speed Test Anti-Malware

Compare the results to what your internet service provider (ISP) says you are paying for. On your monthly bill, you should see the numbers of upload and download that you are purchasing. These are minimum numbers that the ISP is guaranteeing. If you aren’t receiving the minimum, call your internet provider as they have the responsibility to deliver those speeds consistently.

2. How is your CPU Running?

Check your CPU performance.  In Windows 10, you would go to Cortana in the bottom left of your screen and type in “task manager.” Open the task manager app, and then click on the tab that says “Performance.” You will likely see a graph that looks like this:

Computer CPU Performance Graph - Fixing Slow Computers

Don’t worry about the spike in the beginning. What you are looking for is how your CPU is running normally. This computer is in good running condition. Conversely, when the line is consistently running at maximum, the CPU is not able to process all the data that it is getting bombarded with. The CPU will continue to attempt to process all the commands and data, but it will take them in the order they are received, and everything will slow down until the processor catches up. If your computer is relatively young and has enough memory to run the Operating System you have installed, you are likely looking at a malware infection.

3. Run an Anti-Malware Program

Have a good quality anti-malware program.  An anti-malware program, such as Malwarebytes, will clean the malware from your computer. Malware can best be described as tiny little chunks of program code attached to your downloads that often run silently in the background. Malware can infect your computer to give hackers access to your data, and log your keystrokes. It can even turn on your camera and other equipment attached to your computer. In addition, it can encrypt your files and hold them for ransom, track your browsing and search history, and other nefarious things that invade your privacy. Cleaning your computer regularly is necessary to prevent major problems from occurring. At minimum, your home computers should be scanned daily. Business computers should receive a quick scan every 4-6 hours with a full scan daily. 

Take a few moments to do this routine maintenance. It could save you costly repairs and/or recovery of your data in the future. 

If you are still having problems, call A Better Choice Network Solutions at (813) 605-7251 to protect your data, your company and your income.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for updates and news on cyber-security and technology.