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The Right Malware Protection Software Matters – Here’s Why

Watch out. The bad guys are plotting to gain access to your computer, steal your personal information and sell it on the dark web. They typically use malware to sneak in and do damage.  So, a good defense against these attacks is absolutely critical. That’s where malware protection software comes in.

What Is Malware?

Malware is a term that applies to several categories of software. These software programs creep into your computer to send information back to the bad guys using them. The types of malware attacks vary from computer viruses to invasive worms. Fortunately, the good guys build malware protection software for your defense. 

5 Things to Look for in Malware Protection Software

1.     Automated Scans

The best malware protection software conducts regular and owner-initiated scans, which tell about the dangers and what the program did to dispose of it. The program takes charge of:

  • How often your computer will be checked, 
  • How in-depth these routine scans are, and 
  • What the software does with the threats. 

The best programs also scan your emails and anything you download, which are the most common ways to get malware infections. Proactive scanning helps you stop infections before they start.

2.    Privacy Policy

Next, examine the privacy policy. Malware protection software analyzes every file on your computer. While you may have nothing to hide, it’s good to know the software isn’t sharing your information, such as your banking information and kids’ photos.

3.    Speed

Speed is another critical consideration. As the saying goes, if the cure is worse than the disease, no one will take it. If your selected malware protection software slows down your computer, you will be less inclined to let it do its job. You may even disable the software in frustration. Therefore, look for software that is designed for your situation and runs in the background smoothly.

4.    Price

The price varies, from free open source options to expensive international network options. For your personal use, you’ll need one that fits in your budget while still doing a stellar job. Many popular products have gone to a subscription model, so make sure to factor that ongoing cost into your decision. 

5.    Control

While you may want to set up your malware protection software and forget it, sometimes that’s not an option. Being able to start scans when you feel something is wrong with the computer, for example, is invaluable. You should also be able to schedule deep scans, adjust scan frequency, and decide when the protection software updates. Otherwise, your computer may slow down considerably during the time you usually use it. 

Would You Like Help?

If you want technical help to match the right malware protection software to your situation, contact a computer repair technician. Be sure to check their credentials and certifications. For example, GrohTech, in Fox River Grove, IL, has technicians experienced in working with all computer systems, including Mac, Microsoft, and Linux and can help you choose and setup of malware protection software. They can even help without being in the room, so you stay safe during COVID-19.

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Keep Your Computer Safe by Removing Your Email from Spam Lists

Email spammers have become relentless as people stay home during the pandemic. Spammers send multiple emails with hyperlinks, hoping you will click on one of the links to make them money. However, clicking these links can result in becoming a victim of fraud or more spam. 

Fortunately, you have options for removing your email from spam lists.

Option 1: Unsubscribe

By law in the U.S. and many other parts of the world, email marketers are required to include an unsubscribe option in their emails, usually in the footer. Clicking this link should remove you from the spam list, either immediately or after you hit a confirmation button.

Caution: This works for reputable companies. Slimy companies, however, may use their unsubscribe button to confirm you are reading their email and spam you more. Additionally, clicking the link could send you to a malicious website that puts malware on your computer. 

Option 2: Report as Spam

Most email services recognize that people do not want spam. These companies have features for reporting spam. But results vary by service provider. Typically, your service provider blocks the sender, so you never see them again. 

Caution: This differs from removing your email from spam lists. Your email is still out there, and the spammer could simply move to another service provider to get back in your inbox.

Option 3: Blacklist the Sender

Blacklisting controls who can send you emails. Once an email is blacklisted, that particular sender cannot reach you anymore. This method is a particularly useful for stopping emails, but it doesn’t remove your email from spam lists. 

Caution: The spammer still has your email, at which point they may sell it, add it to a different email list, or even turn to ransomware. 

Option 4: Blanket Opt-Out

Place your email address on a blanket opt-out site that blocks senders. Typically, these sites collect your name and some personal identifying information. Then they place it on a list that emailers can check and are required to comply with your wish to not receive their emails. 

Caution: These opt-outs vary in effectiveness, so you may still end up on some lists. 

Getting Spam-Prevention Help

Computer repair services often have experts that can advise and help you take action. GrohTech, in Fox River Grove, IL, is one such repair service with free consultation locally. 

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Computer Safety for Seniors – a checklist

Seniors are most vulnerable to computer scams and viruses, making their computer safety critical. Generally, seniors did not grow up with computer technology or use it every day during their careers. If you are a senior or concerned about someone who may be vulnerable to computer crime, use this checklist to manage computer security.  

Protecting passwords

The bad guys want your passwords, which protect accounts from unauthorized access. Create different passwords for each account, using strong passwords of at least eight characters. Store passwords safely to keep them secure.

Use Links Carefully

Be careful if you receive a hyperlink. Scammers use links to target seniors with ransomware and spyware for identity theft and to gain access to bank accounts. To be safe, do not click links to anything unless you requested it. If unsure, ask a family member. 

Danger when Sharing Personal Information

Be careful sharing personal information. Just because someone knows something about you doesn’t mean they are trustworthy.

Be Skeptical

One significant danger on the internet is misinformation. Some very convincing misinformation is presented as fact, which means you should be skeptical. Find a fact-checking website that you are comfortable using to check facts, or ask someone you trust before sharing. You don’t want to contribute to misinformation.

Share Views Respectfully

The internet is a forum, and it’s reasonable to want to share views. However, social media manners are essential. Be respectful when sharing opinions and keep a level head. It’s in everyone’s best interest to be respectful of all the different opinions.

Beware Scams

Scams are common – by phone, email, and social media. No one will contact you out of the blue to fix your computer. Your bank and the IRS will never request that you verify personal information. Never send money to someone you don’t know or to a relative requesting funds without verifying the situation. That includes someone who sounds like a grandchild or their best friend. 

Protect Privacy

Computer safety also means protecting privacy by not sharing where you live, contact information, or banking details. Be wary of anyone requesting these details.

Update Software

One big issue with computer security is keeping security and malware-protection software up to date. Many software updates are automatic but require a computer reboot to refresh.  

Getting Help for Computer Safety

It happens. If you fall victim to a scammer or download something malicious, it’s best to trust a local computer repair shop like GrohTech to fix it for you. GrohTech offer virus cleanup, new security software installation, computer checkups, and data recovery to ensure everything runs smoothly. The diagnosis is free. Many services can be handled remotely to help you stay safe during COVID-19. 

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What is Malware Protection Software, and Why Does It Matter?

Many people would like access to your computer so they can sell the information. These people often use what’s referred to as malware to carry out their wishes. Setting up a good defense against these attacks is paramount. That’s where malware protection software comes in.

What Is Malware?

Malware is a general term for several categories of software. These pieces of software infiltrate your computer, often so they can send information back to the person using them. These come in the form of everything from viruses to worms. Fortunately, good people build malware protection software so that your computer is harder to break into.

Things to Look for in Malware Protection Software

Automated Scans

The number one feature you should look at in malware protection software is the automated scans. This category includes how often your computer will be checked, how in-depth these routine scans are, and what the software does with the threats. Scanning does no good if it doesn’t tell you about the dangers.

Additionally, you’ll want software that scans anything you download and your emails. These are the most common ways to get malware infections. Proactive scanning helps you stop infections before they start.

Privacy Policy

The next consideration brings you to examining the company’s privacy policy. Malware protection software analyzes every file on your computer. While you may have nothing to hide, it’s good to know the software you pick isn’t sharing your information. Things like your banking information and kids’ photos are best kept private regardless.

Speed

Speed is another critical consideration when it comes to choosing malware protection software. As the saying goes, if the cure is worse than the disease, no one will take it. If your selected malware protection software slows down your computer, you will be less inclined to let it do its job. You may even disable the software in frustration. Therefore, look for software that is designed for your situation and runs in the background smoothly.

Price

Price is always a consideration with software. Malware protection software varies, from free open source options to expensive international network options. For your personal use, you’ll need one that fits in your budget while still doing a stellar job. Many popular products have gone to a subscription model, so make sure to factor that ongoing cost into your decision. S

Control

While you may want to set up your malware protection software and forget it, sometimes that’s not an option. Being able to start scans when you feel something is wrong with the computer, for example, is invaluable. You should also be able to schedule deep scans, adjust scan frequency, and decide when the protection software updates. Otherwise, your computer may slow down considerably during the time you usually use it. 

Would You Like Some Help?

Picking the right malware protection software for you can be an overwhelming process. GrohTech is pleased to offer help for the selection and setup of malware protection software to our neighbors. We can even help without being in the room, so you stay safe during COVID-19.

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5 Steps to Avoid Computer Repair Scams

Seems like computer repair scammers are everywhere. They want your money and your personal information for their own gain. Unfortunately, they can get it in moments using your computer if you give them access. That’s where vigilance about computer repair scams can save your financial and personal future.

Step 1: No One Contacts You Out of the Blue

One of the hallmarks of computer repair scams is contacting you out of the blue. This contact can be in the form of phone calls, emails, and even social media messaging. They then claim your computer needs some kind of urgent repair and they need to do it right now, or something disastrous will happen. The scammers typically present themselves as computer repair techs working for a large company, like Microsoft, Apple, or Geek Squad. 

A real computer repair outfit will never contact you unless you’ve contacted them and will never make a repair out to be excessively time-sensitive. Reputable outfits like GrohTech always have time to explain repairs.

Step 2: Watch for Spoofed Phone Numbers or Email Addresses

One of the more common practices in scams is spoofing legitimate-looking phone numbers and email addresses. Spoofing is the practice of fooling caller ID, email inboxes, and more with false header information.  For example, a scammer in Bangladesh might show up as a phone number from Seattle on your caller ID, so you think it’s Microsoft calling. 

If you want to be sure, call the company the potential scammer says they’re from on their legitimate helpline. These numbers are in your device instruction manuals and on the internet. On the off chance the issue is genuine, there should be a note in your device’s file. 

Never use a callback number from a potential scammer.

Step 3: Check for Registered Software

Often the scariest part of computer repair scams is when a scammer has your computer under their control. At that point, they will typically demand money. One way to avoid that is to check remote software they intend to use yourself. Find reviews of that software, its feature descriptions, and more.

Additionally, you should always be in control of any remote access technology. 

Be sure the tech who works on your computer points out the “stop session” feature, so you can end the session if you become suspicious. If this is not the case, turn off the computer and call a repair technician.

Step 4: Never Give Out Personal Information

At no point should a reputable repair technician request passwords from you. A computer repair scam artist, however, will. This request is because passwords make it easier for them to come back, even if you never allow them to do their repair. 

A legitimate computer repair operation will never ask for your password.

Step 5: Go Local to Avoid Computer Repair Scams

One of the best things you can do, even in flu and COVID-19 season, is contacting a local repair shop. 

Use local, reputable computer repair shops, like GrohTech, that offer  trusted computer repairs at a fraction of the cost. 

GrohTech employees live and work in Fox River Grove and are happy to support you without gimmicky sales and speeches.

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5 Steps Before Calling a Computer Repair Shop

Few things are more frustrating than a balky computer, especially during COVID-19 isolation. Your computer has been slowing down or randomly closing programs, computer repair would seem likely. But, before you call a computer repair shop, here are some steps you can take.

1.    Reboot

Sometimes, computers just need a reset like humans do. If possible, you should not perform this reboot using the power button. Using the power button, sometimes referred to as a forced shutdown, does not allow your computer to close programs or save data. If your computer is unresponsive though, this is the only choice.

When you reboot a computer, the machine must start over again on opening programs. This fresh start is sometimes enough to solve the problem, so you don’t have to call a computer repair shop like GrohTech.

2.    Software Updates

One of the most frequent causes of computer troubles is not doing updates. Most computers have automatic options for their OS, driver, and software updates. However, many people delay restarting their computers for one reason or another. Computers can slow drastically until this restart happens. 

Additionally, not installing updates leaves your computer vulnerable to hackers and glitches alike. Consider checking for manual updates and then setting up automatic update options.

3.    Virus Scan

Sometimes, there are nasty bugs hidden in programs or even email. These slow down computers and may also send your personal information to a faceless scammer. Fortunately, you have options. Your computer came with virus and malware software, or it was installed when you set the machine up. These programs are designed to catch the nasty bugs and remove them once you run them.

Some malicious programs can hide from your virus software and require special care. Your local computer repair shop can help with more in-depth scans and more complex removals.

4.    Clean the Registry

Your computer’s registry allows your computer to find data, like your holiday photos or that work presentation. Unfortunately, sometimes the registry points to the wrong data for one reason or another. This mix-up slows your computer down significantly and may even crash applications since they don’t have the data they need to run. 

Most computers have a built-in registry cleaning function. You can check the specifics for your computer model on how to access the cleaning feature. All the cleaning feature does is check that what’s in the registry points to data.

5.    Backup Files

As the last step before calling a computer repair shop, backup all your data. There are many options to store your data online, and most provide detailed setup instructions. You can also backup your data to an external hard drive. Either way, you want to ensure your data is not lost if your computer requires drastic repairs.

If you’re comfortable with computers, at this point you can try to use a restore point or even reinstall the operating system. If not, leave it to your local computer repair shop.

Call the Computer Repair Shop

If none of these steps fix your computer’s problem, it’s time to call the professional. Your local computer repair shop can solve complex problems, and they can do it without breaking your COVID-19 isolation. 

GrohTech is proud to support our Fox River Grove neighbors. We offer computer, mobile, and tablet repair services using remote repair software.