NEPA Geeks Blog

6 Quick Security Tips To Keep Your Business Safe

securityEvery employee shares one inescapable flaw that is putting your business at risk.

They’re human.

59% of data breaches can be traced back to something an employee did (or didn’t do), which invited a cyber-attack.

The scam goes like this:

To lock hackers out, build security awareness and respect into your company culture, so that maintaining digital security becomes as routine as making coffee.

Use complex passwords: Every employee, including management, needs to use an alphanumeric password that they haven’t used before. Password managers can assist with making sure they’re never forgotten.

Verify unknown identities: Not familiar with ‘Jenny from Accounting’ who has called to ask for sensitive information? Double check caller identity and access permissions before releasing any information. Hackers love to play on our desire to be helpful.

Encrypt by default: People regularly transfer data to a laptop or smartphone so they can work more efficiently. Unfortunately, this equipment can be easily stolen. Set operating systems to encrypt data by default, so that it becomes useless in the wrong hands.

Protect portable devices: Laptops and mobile phones should always require a password and be set to auto-lock after a short period of time. Never leave them unattended in cars, buses, restrooms etc, and take them as carry-on luggage.

Set personal usage rules: While you may have blocked productivity-vacuums such as Facebook, what are the rules regarding games, video streaming or shopping? Can they install their own software? When business computers are used for personal usage, security vigilance tends to slide, resulting in unintentional malware installation.

Educate often: Digital security threats change regularly, and people become comfortable with a certain level of danger, thinking ‘it will never happen to me’. A 5-minute discussion once a month may be the barrier that keeps hackers out.

Starter topics:

  • Links in emails – Hackers often send emails that look like they are from your bank or similar. Be sure to check the link by hovering over it with your mouse. This is known as ‘phishing’.
  • Tech scam popups – Be on the lookout for popups advising that your computer is infected and you need to call a phone number or download software.
  • Email attachments – Never open an unknown attachment, and even from people you know and trust, always scan for malware before opening.

If you need help implementing better security practices in your business, give us a call.

Quickly Become A Google Fu Master… Here’s How

There’s one thing all teens can do better than adults – and it’s not Snapchat. They’ve become experts at quickly locating information on the internet.googlefu2

That’s Google Fu, the ability to use search engines to whip up answers and research faster than a contestant on a radio quiz.

Level 1 Mastery: Tell It What You Need

Google is smart and can understand “conversational searches”. Let’s say you came across a great recipe online, but the measurements were imperial. Google has you covered.

Simply tell it what you want to convert, and what into.

[number] [unit] into [unit]

Enter “6 ounces into cups”…and hit enter. Google presents the answer, already calculated – AND it includes a handy drop down to change those measurements for your next ingredient.

  • Release dates: [movie/game] release date
  • Fast facts: [name of person] deathDurable – No moving parts to wear out
  • Stats: [city] population

Level 2 Mastery: Limiting Result Type

With one additional click, you can tell Google that you only want images. Or videos. Or News, maps, shopping, books or apps. Your initial results are presented as a combination of all types – you can see the ALL tab highlighted up the top. Just click the tab to indicate which result type you’re looking for.

Level 3 Mastery: Using Drop Downs.

One of the most popular Google Fu moves is to limit results to sites from a particular country. This is great for locating bargains or local businesses. Click SEARCH TOOLS to drop down a second menu. You’ll see the option to limit Country and even Time. 2 extra clicks and my search is now limited to my home country and items from the past 7 days only.

Level 3 Mastery: Mastery: Using Operators.

Your final level of mastery, often used as a last resort when you’re just beginning to doubt whether the internet has the answer you’re seeking.

Finally, enclosing your search terms in “quotation marks” binds the term together so Google can’t break it up. E.G. “Project Management”

Your Google Fu will soon be very strong.

How To Spot A Tech Scam Before You Get Stung

If your computer had a virus, you’d want to know about it ASAP, right?

Before your important files become corrupted, you lose your photos and your digital life is essentially destroyed. Even thinking about it is terrifying.

Tech scammers know we’d be lost without our computers, and that we don’t always know wtechscamhat’s going on behind the screen – which is why they’ve been able to swindle millions from every day people across the world.

The scam goes like this:

You receive a random phone call from someone with a heavy accent (usually Indian) saying they’re from Microsoft, or an alarming pop-up appears on the screen, saying it looks like your system has been infected with a virus.

To fix the problem, they need to you to download some support software, which they’ll give you a special link for.

A technician then uses that software to gain access to your system and make it appear your system is riddled with viruses. Flashing screens, mysterious diagnostics whizzing by, fabricated errors…they’ll do or say anything to make you panic. They’ll even go as far as claiming your system has been infected with illegal content and if not corrected, you’ll face criminal charges.

Demands for credit card information follow immediately after. Once paid, they simply stop fiddling with your system to make it seem the problem is fixed. To continue the scam, they’ll soon access your system to recreate the problem, this time offering a subscription for ongoing protection.

What To Do If You’re Targeted By A Tech Scam

1. Don’t taunt them. Just hang up. Right now you’re only a phone number in their system and they’ll move onto the next – if you give them cause to target you personally, you may find yourself in a dangerous situation.

The real Microsoft will never randomly call people like this. Ever.

2. If a pop-up appears, immediately run an anti-virus scan. Don’t click the pop-up or call the number.

What To Do If You’ve Already Been Scammed

It’s okay. It feels horrible, but you’re not alone and the situation can be corrected.

Call your financial institution and have the charges reversed and your card reissued. It’s easier than you might think and helps the authorities locate the scammers.

Then give us a call and we’ll make sure they no longer have access to your computer.

Could Your Backups Survive A Ransomware Attack?

ransomwareMore and more businesses and organizations are getting stung by ransomware demands. Hospitals, schools, social networks…some days it seems like an epidemic that leaps around arbitrarily, and hackers are raking in millions.

Tallied across the word…billions.

Ransomware attacks are devious in their simplicity. A user in the target business is tricked into opening a file, usually through a phishing email or download. The file contains malware which instantly encrypts your data and demands money in exchange for the password.

No payment = no password = no data.

All of the target businesses should have backups, which they could simply revert to without paying any money, but the FBI reports more than $209 million was sent to hackers in the first quarter of this year alone. Keep in mind, this was just payments within the US, and only counts those who came forward.

Last year it was only $25million.

Aren’t backups helping?

Sometimes the backup solution fails and the data can’t be retrieved. This is particularly true in cases where the solution has been in use for years and something failed along the way. In other instances, the target business has a backup that can be restored, but it doesn’t include everything they need for full recovery.

Finally, and the most common reason so many businesses are forced to pay the ransom: the ransomware attack affects the entire system – including attached and synchronized backups. If the backup is also caught in the ransomware encryption, it becomes useless as a recovery method and the only options are to pay or lose the data forever.

Each day spent trying to recover the data is a drain on valuable business resources and in many cases, results in massive revenue loss.

The only defense is to block the malware before it can infect the first workstation, and then continue the protection with a comprehensive backup strategy for all workstations and servers. Give us a call to discuss how we can help secure your business against ransomware today.

On-Site Computer Repair Appointments Available Now. Book online!

Schedule Your On-Site Computer Repair Appointments Today!

Remember the days when doctors made house calls and milk was delivered to your doorstep? (Actually, I don’t… that was way before my time… but…) When it comes to computer repair, NEPA Geeks is bringing those days back with on-site computer repair appointments — and you can book them online!

We all know that businesses change and evolve over time. As a client base grows, being in more than one place at a time becomes more difficult — but not impossible! NEPA Geeks is finding new ways to be in more places, helping more people. By using remote services, scheduled drop-offs and on-site computer repair appointments, NEPA Geeks can be wherever and whenever you need them!

On-site computer repair appointments let us be right where you need us, right when you need us.

Right now, you can schedule an on-site appointment to have a tech make a housecall for whatever computer issue you might be having. Scheduling is easy to do online, and you can even chat with a tech online in real time! This will allow us to focus on quality, giving you — our clients — the best, personalized, one-on-one service you can get. Book an appointment right now.

Who should schedule an on-site computer repair appointment?

Here at NEPA Geeks, we recognize that we have certain clientele who have mobility issues. For some folks, picking up a heavy desktop might be extremely difficult. For others, they worry that, once they take everything apart, they won’t be able to put it back together again. For these, and a variety of other reasons, it’s best to schedule a house call for your computer repair and have our tech come in for an on-site appointment.

We also understand that there are certain conditions which can cause a computer to fail. For example, you might have a problem that can only be replicated at your home or office. By going to the environment where the computer is, we can get a better picture of what’s happening, and how to fix it. Printers, for example, can be very finicky. You shouldn’t have to take your entire system apart just to have new drivers installed — let us come out and do that, for you.

Remote Services, and More!

For some computer repairs, a remote service might be more practical. Why have someone come into your home when they can fix the problem over the internet? No need for the inconvenience of tearing down and setting up a system or waiting for the tech to arrive — we’ll just fix it for you, online. And best of all, if you need a remote service call, you can schedule that online, as well.

However, for those times when a single house call won’t be enough, use the online form to schedule a drop-off. For repairs that can only be done in-shop, we recommend dropping the computer off, as well. Simply set up a time and a technician will be available to secure the equipment from you.

So, why wait? Schedule an on-site computer repair appointment, right now. The good ol’ days are back. It’s that easy!

Winner, winner! We won the NEPA BlogCon Tech Blog of the Year!

boty2015

It’s been several weeks since we closed up our computer repair shop in Mountain Top, making the Dolphin Plaza on Route 315 our permanent home. (Located on 237 Old River Road Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702, in the rear of the Dolphin Plaza. Come on down and see our new place!)

We’re about as moved-in as we’re going to get, and the dust is still settling, but we are completely open for business. Fixing iPhones and iPads, desktop and laptop computers, etc., etc. And don’t forget, if you’re having trouble upgrading to Windows 10, we are here to help. The bugs are still being ironed out, but quite a few people have reported that they like it much more than Windows 8.

Yep… It’s business as usual, for us, with lot’s of fun to be had! But in that time, we were VERY pleased to learn that we won the NEPA BlogCon Tech Blog of the Year award! Woo!

I (Dee) had a great time at BlogCon, this year. I was also one of the presenters and really enjoyed having the opportunity to share my story and my passion for blogging with the community. I got a lot of positive feedback and even managed to reach a few people on an emotional level. That felt special, to me, and I will cherish that memory for always. Can’t wait to attend next year!

In the meantime, if you haven’t liked our page on Facebook, why don’t you get on that, right away? We had to change a few things around to accommodate the new location and get the information all up to date, so if you notice a few things that seem out of place, or old, outdated information, just let us know so we can get it sorted out.

As always, we are your friendly, neighborhood computer repair shop, but now with more room to serve everyone!

Windows 10 is Coming, and NEPA Geeks are Here to Help You Upgrade

Windows 10 is coming, and as the latest edition of the powerful operating system, it promises to be better than ever.

Windows 10

Microsoft has set the release for Windows 10 to be July 29, 2015 — only a few weeks away. But the really big news is that this version of Windows will be free to current users of Windows 7 and Windows 8. In fact, you may have noticed the new icon sitting in your task bar, asing if you want to upgrade. All you have to do is claim your copy, and it will waiting for you. But what then?

That’s when you call us — NEPA Geeks. We’ll ensure that the upgrade process is smooth and trouble-free.

For a low price of only $99.99, NEPA Geeks will backup your existing data and upgrade your operating system to Windows 10. Your data will then be put on a DVD and returned to you with the computer. (Again, this only applies to current Windows 7 and 8 users who have registered for their free copy of Windows 10.

Curious about upgrading, but not really sure if it’s for you? You will be able to find a TON of information on the new operating system over at Microsoft’s blog, detailing almost anything you could want to know about it.

Still unsure? Feel free to give us a call. We’ll be more than happy to answer any questions you might have on what you need to do between now and July 29th to get ready for the upgrade, as well as what you can probably expect from the operating system itself.

And don’t forget, the price of $99.99 comes with a free backup, ensuring that your data will be safe and secure in the event that you find incompatibilities with your software or hardware, or simply don’t like Windows 10 and wish to revert back to your original operating system. Just let us know, and we’ll discuss details about downgrading.

So, are you ready for Windows 10? July 29 is just around the corner… Better get on it, today!

It’s Spring Cleaning Time for Your PC!

It’s Spring Cleaning Time for Your PC!

Do you have a “dirty” computer? Chances are, you do. Dust, dirt, hair and other things can get inside your computer, causing anything from minor nuisances to reducing the lifespan of the components inside. But how do you know your computer is dirty if you’ve never looked inside? Here are some symptoms to look out for:

Slow Downs

Slow downs are usually a dead giveaway that not everything is running smoothly on your hard drive. Over time, the constant adding and removal of files leaves gaps on the disc where data is overwritten to make room for new applications and files. This is called “fragmentation,” and causes your hard drive to work a little harder and take a few extra moments to find where everything is located.

As part of a tune-up, NEPA Geeks will make sure the hard drive is “de-fragged,” allowing it to work quicker without putting more wear and tear on its sensitive components.

Excessive Heat

Heat is extremely bad for your computer, and the inside of your computer can be like an oven if vents are blocked and fans aren’t working properly. Irreparable damage to the video card, CPU and memory chips can occur within minutes, leading to costly service and repairs. If your computer is giving you odd errors, not booting properly or sounds like jet engine taking off, there might too much heat inside.

At NEPA Geeks, we will clean out the dust, hair and whatever else might have managed its way into your computer before it’s too late. We’ll make sure the heatsinks are free of dust and that vents are wide open for good airflow.

Weird Noises

You might not realize it, but there are a lot of moving parts inside your computer. Spinning fans can buzz if dust and other debris touch the fins. They also buzz when the ball-bearings begin to wear down. NEPA Geeks can replace fans before they fail altogether, allowing your computer to overheat.

Hard drives might not look like it, but they have moving parts, as well. Inside that little metal box is a spinning disc and a “read/write” head that scans the disc and writes or reads data on the disc – it actually looks a lot like a needle on a record! Over time, any of these parts can wear out, leading to buzzing and other noises you definitely don’t want to hear a hard drive make. If not backed up immediately, all of your data will surely be lost. NEPA Geeks can take care of that, no problem!

Other sounds, such as beeps and clicks, might also indicate problems that aren’t immediately obvious or noticeable, but can lead to data loss or permanent damage to the computer’s components. Generally speaking, if something doesn’t sound right, it might be a good idea to give NEPA Geeks a call ASAP.

Give NEPA Geeks a Call

And there you have it! If it seems like your computer is running slower, hotter and making noises it’s not supposed to, it’s definitely time for a spring cleaning!

NEPA Geeks are open from 9 am to 6 pm Monday through Friday, and Saturday from 9 am to 3 pm.

Our phone number 570.474.5100.

Lastly, be sure to watch for the grand opening of our Wilkes-Barre store, coming soon!

Protect the Data on Your Home or Business Computer with Our Carbonite Online Backup Setup

Protect your home or business computer with NEPA Geeks Geek Care Carbonite Online Backup setup!

NEPA Geeks is now a Carbonite authorized reseller, meaning that you can now purchase Carbonite’s automatic online backup service for your home or work computer through us. We can even bundle it with our Geek Care Managed Services Plan!

Subscribers in more than 100 countries rely on Carbonite to provide easy-to-use, affordable and secure cloud backup solutions with anytime, anywhere data access. Carbonite has backed up more than 300 billion files, restored nearly 20 billion files, and currently backs up more than 350 files each day automatically. You’ll never have to remember to back up again!

Carbonite offers automatic, continual and secure online backup for your home or business computers so you can rest easy knowing your irreplaceable files are protected. Once installed, your files will be backed up automatically to the cloud – no hardware required.

Anytime, anywhere file access means freedom for you.

Not at your computer?  No problem! You can get to your backed up files from any computer connected to the Internet or even from your smartphone or iPad® with Carbonite’s free app. And, with Carbonite’s Anytime, Anywhere Access, you can view your files anytime – whether you’re at home, or on the go!

Protect your files with Carbonite today!

Visit this link or more information on how you can start backing up the files on your home or work computers, contact us today at staff@nepageeks.com or call 570.474.5100.