Hey! Covid-19! We’re Not Going Anywhere!

That’s right, Science Translations, PC410.com, Startupware, even Graphcat, aren’t shutting down for Covid-19. And also, it’s remote work only for the duration of the emergency. Literally not going anywhere. All remote computer repairs, Windows tuneups, malware cleanups, and Windows upgrades are still possible and routine as long as the problem isn’t the internet connection itself. As for hardware, drop shipments are still working, and remote configuration is also available.

Working from home? FREE OFFER to new and existing customers, LOCAL ONLY: Free half hour of remote setup time for Splashtop Remote Access, plus a coupon for an extra free month on the Splashtop annual subscription. Local here means within my usual service range for onsite work once normality resumes its traditional limits, so that’s Carroll County and the north and west sides of Baltimore County. Daytime hours only, 9 to 5.

For more on the non-medical side of Coronavirus/Covid-19, read my March 10th newsletter, also free, available here: https://www.startupware.com/newsletter/

And for those who aren’t local, the discount coupon for Splashtop is also in the March newsletter.

Cryptowall 2.0 and Assorted Ransomware; Prevention

CryptoWall 2.0 Ransom Note

There’s some nasty malware showing up in inboxes right now, disguised as fake receipts and documents, or delivered on web sites from a very fake ‘You must update your… ‘ message. While these have always been a major source of computer attacks, the current batch deserves special prevention and backups. CryptoWall 2.0, CryptoLocker, and other ransomware arrive quietly, encrypt all your documents in the background, and then place a ransom notice on your screen, asking for payment in Bitcoins or an untraceable money order. The encryption is not breakable on most variations of this ransomware; the best defenses are to never work with an administrator account (use ‘standard’ or ‘limited’), and to backup your entire computer on a schedule, and unplug the backup device between backups–these programs encrypt every document they can see, even on backup drives and networks.

We have more information on prevention, either do-it-yourself or as a service, here. And we can help with the cleanup, in central Maryland.

Phone Call from Microsoft… NOT

You would think that the malware pushers would know better than to place a phone call to a company that specializes in cleaning up malware and try to lie to us. Nope. So here’s what’s happening:

The phone rings, I answer, and manage to start recording right after. The standard LIES are that they’re from Microsoft, and are in the US, and can see viruses in your computer, and can clean them up, and can be trusted, and, on and on–all wrong. The skill level of whoever wrote the script is high enough that they do point to screens that do show information that is sufficiently technical that it looks scary. They take you to the ‘event log’–that’s a list of routine stuff. Not scary unless the computer is already spitting sparks out the front.

Don’t try this at home. The result of letting these guys actually play in your PC are not pretty for your computer or your credit card. When you get this phone call, just hang up.

Zoom IN, Zoom OUT, Zoom to Where You Started

With all the work that webmasters put into responsive designs, for web sites that stay readable at every size, there are just so many that aren’t readable–they’re scrolling off the sides, or the bottom, or the text is too small. The fix for that is the ZOOM feature in all the major browsers, including Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Google Chrome. Here’s a reminder guide of how to zoom in (make everything bigger), zoom out (smaller), or just put browser magnification back the way the webmaster intended it to be (reset).
Here are the zoom settings again:

  • Control Plus (hold down Control, tap +) to zoom IN.
  • Control Minus to zoom OUT.
  • Control Zero to reset zoom.

And while using Control with the top row of keys is easy to remember, these keyboard shortcuts also work on the numeric keypad, as long as you include the ‘Control’.

HP Recall Notice, Will your power cord go up in smoke?

Hewlett-Packard announced yesterday that 6 million computer power cords distributed across the globe are a fire and burn hazard to customers. HP Power Cord
The power cords affected are coupled with HP and Compaq notebook, and mini notebook computers, as well as AC adapters provided with accessories such as docking stations, sold from September 2010 through June 2012.
Not all HP and Compaq power cords sold are at risk however. HP states, “The potentially affected power cords can be identified by a molded mark on the adapter end of the power cord. The molded mark will be “LS-15”.”
Molded Mark LS-15
Not all power cords with this molded mark are at risk, however there are serious cases developing and it is recommended that customers verify whether their power cord is at risk. According to Money.cnn.com, “Of the 29 reported cases, two involved burns and there were 13 claims of property damage.”
HP has provided an online tool to help customers to determine if their power cord is a potential hazard: http://h30652.www3.hp.com/
Witch successful verification, each customer affected by this program is eligible to receive a replacement power cord at no cost.