Posts Tagged ‘virginia beach’

Remote Support – Is It Worth It?

Monday, May 24th, 2010

In today’s world of computer repair, a relatively new concept is remote computer support. A quick search on the internet will yield millions of hits on various programs which promise to allow “24 hour access to your pc from anywhere”, or provide “low cost computer support”. What many people do not consider are the multiple issues related to this new feature.

  1. Security
  2. Cost-Savings
  3. Adverse Effects
  4. Compatibility

First on anyone’s list should be security. Regardless of some company claims of “100% secure”, or “no-risk”, one must research what actual security is present before handing over the keys of your business network to a remote support program. Many different types of programs exist. Some free programs used by other companies, such as VNC, natively operate based on a local setup. A ‘server’ program is installed on one of your computers, and the client connects to it remotely. Security issues can exist, depending on how well the software is written, what ports are open, etc. Internet based solutions usually require the user to visit a webpage to start a remote session. This can be useful but also easy to attack. If the user is sent to a fake webpage, the page is not well-written, or if the program is not encrypted correctly, problems could result. Others use a little of both of the previous categories. In addition, most of the well-known remote access solutions install some kind of software onto your computer, which is usually left there, even after the remote support is over. A customer in Virginia Beach brought his desktop in to us for repair. While processing it, we noticed numerous files in his profile left from a recent “GotoMyPc” session, which did not resolve his issue, so he brought it to us after that failed. Aside from being a nuisance, this could leave the system vulnerable to attack, especially if the user continued to use the pc for banking and other private activities after he believed the computer was ‘clean’. In addition, in this case, the customer was trying to have an infection removed, which the previous company ‘attempted’ to do over a remote support session. Once they failed (since the infection was in control of the computer’s network connection), they unknowingly left behind these remote support files. So in this case, remote support cost the user more than if he had simply brought it in from the start. Put simply, remote support can be a time saver, or a time waster, depending on the application. Anyone claiming to do remote virus removal should be suspect. In the rare event they are successful, 90% of the time the infection comes right back, since they cannot physically ensure the infection is gone. Adverse effects can be anything from crashing your computer completely, like a customer in Virginia Beach who had another company try to  ‘remotely remove a virus’, to serving advertisements that do not go away, to leaving files on your computer after the remote session ends. Also, not all programs work with certain versions Windows.

The point is, remote support, if done correctly, can save time, but if used improperly it can cost you more in the long run.

  1. Our custom software removes itself after the session ends, leaving your computer exactly as it was before
  2. It will not crash your system
  3. It does not use popups or advertisements
  4. We use encrypted connections end-to-end
  5. You know who is working on your computer (US), not India!
  6. We Speak English!


Remote Support

Are All Antivirus Programs the Same?

Monday, May 24th, 2010

In today’s world of computer repair we deal with numerous threats from malware, spyware, ransomware, viruses and others that require most of us to run antivirus / antispyware programs. While most other companies only sell the programs that bring the highest profit, we recommend you take a deeper look at what each program does and how it affects your system. Contrary to popular belief, the most well-known names do not necessarily mean the best performance. On the contrary, some of the least-known ones work the same, if not better. Many factors should determine which antivirus program you choose,  some of which are:

  1. Protection
  2. Compatibility
  3. Speed (Does it slow your system down?)
  4. Price

Some big names such as Symantec Endpoint Protection have the most media exposure, but our experiences have shown it can bring an entire network to it’s knees, including servers. We had one network in Virginia Beach that called after another company installed SEP and they were completely down. Removing the Endpoint Protection was the solution! Symantec’s home product, Norton 360, can be compared to a virus, in that it slows the system down to an unusable state. One user in Chesapeake had this program on her desktop machine. Removing and replacing the program with another antivirus program was comparable to a memory upgrade! Mcafee and other big names may work in some applications, but for the majority of users, it is not the best choice. Virus creators are always targeting the well-known protection programs as well, and we have seen many current malware programs that instantly disable both Symantec and Mcafee, then proceed to infect the computer, unrestrained. What can be done to avoid this? We believe using a lower-profile antivirus solution, combined with a layered approach helps. Still, in some cases, we recommend others based on specific needs. Watch out for antivirus programs that say they are free as well. There are many ‘fake’ programs out there that infect your computer instead of protecting it, or generate popups on your screen every few minutes. The moral of the story: Don’t be sold on a brand name. Dig a little deeper to see which solution is best for you. This requires research and taking many factors into account. What works on TV does not work for everyone. One size does not fit all!

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Transformation from Virus to Malware

Monday, May 10th, 2010

The most familiar type of infection known as a virus has now changed into an even more dangerous form of infection, Malware. ‘Mal’, as the name suggests, describes a program with malicious intent. These programs are from the dark side. What are they called? Some of the most popular names include: Spy Sherriff, Winantivirus, Antivirus 2008 Pro, Antivirus 2009, Internet Security 2010, Advanced Virus Remover, etc. Aside from just being annoying, these programs can bring in and install even more malicious programs that can steal passwords, private documents, and even allow the bad guys to control your computer. One customer in Virginia Beach even had funds withdrawn from a bank account to a Russian criminal due to an advanced computer infection. Fortunately, it was caught in time to stop the transaction. Most programs of this type we see can be traced to either Chinese or Russian origins. Are you protected? Most antivirus programs cannot protect against this new threat, because it appears to be a legitimate program. If / when it is detected, the infection has already installed itself into your computer.

Our approach is threefold:

  1. Determine the type of infection and trace it’s origin (most come from facebook, myspace, email, banners, etc). We can usually tell when the infection occurred, to the minute.
  2. Carefully remove the malware to ensure it is clean. Current infections will reload themselves if just one piece is left intact.
  3. Prevent re-infection

In practice, many of these ‘bad’ programs appear to be ‘free’ antivirus or security programs, which always cause more problems than they solve.  Some are even so bold as to ask the user for credit card information to ‘pay’ for the fake software. Never provide any financial information to any program you are not familiar with, even if it is on your computer. The best suggestion is to shut the power off and call your computer tech. Unlike some other problems, this cannot be safely resolved over the phone or remotely. Attempting this may lead to privacy issues and more. Once infected, the machine must be thoroughly processed in- shop to ensure a complete disinfection. To make things worse, most antivirus programs scan right over these newest infections, not even detecting them! The only way to resolve some of these latest infections is to know what you’re looking for and remove it yourself. That’s where we come in. Our combination of filesystem tools in addition to our years of disinfection experience gives us an advantage in successfully identifying and removing infections from your desktop laptop or server. While surfing the world wide web, be careful where you go and what you click on!

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