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Update Adobe Flash Player

Adobe Flash Player Update

Adobe Flash Player is one of those items of software that many people are unsure about updating. A window will appear on the desktop offering an update and it will be closed because people are not sure what Adobe Flash Player is or what it does.

Adobe Flash Player is software used to stream and view video, audio and multimedia and rich internet applications on your computer. Without it some websites you visit may not function as intended. Like all software on your computer it needs to be kept up-to-date to keep it secure.

Adobe delivers updates on the second Tuesday of every month. When critical vulnerabilities in the software are discovered though, further updates are released. These subsequent updates are often ignored as people think they have already updated and sometimes are annoyed at repeated updates. These updates are an essential part of helping to keep your machine secure.

Adobe has released security updates for Adobe Flash Player for Windows, Macintosh and Linux. These updates address a critical vulnerability (CVE-2015-3113) that could potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system.

Adobe is aware of reports that CVE-2015-3113 is being actively exploited in the wild via limited, targeted attacks. Systems running Internet Explorer for Windows 7 and below, as well as Firefox on Windows XP, are known targets.

Adobe recommends users update their product installations to the latest versions

How can I check Adobe Flash Player is up-to-date?

Adobe Flash Player installed with Google Chrome and Adobe Flash Player installed with Internet Explorer on Windows 8.x will automatically update to version 18.0.0.194 (the latest version as of 01 July 2015). If in any doubt, visit Adobe Flash Player help and click the “Check Now” button.

Hacked: TalkTalk customer data breached

TalkTalk data breach Towards the end of 2014 TalkTalk customer details were accessed following a data breach against a third party contractor that had legitimate access to the customer accounts. The data that was accessed was names, home addresses, phone numbers and TalkTalk account numbers. No financial data such as bank or credit card details, or dates of birth were taken.

Scammers may be using the information they have illegally obtained to trick people into thinking they are genuine TalkTalk callers, and encouraging them to hand over more detailed information, such as their bank details.

With scams of all kinds on the rise, it is so important for us all to remain aware and alert, especially when asked for personal banking details or to remote access your computer.
If you are in any doubt about the legitimacy of a caller, HANG UP and call the company on a trusted number.

  • Never reveal personal or financial data including usernames, passwords, PINs, or ID numbers.
  • Be very careful that people or organisations you are supplying payment card information are genuine, and then never reveal passwords. Remember that a bank or other reputable organisation will never ask you for your password via email or phone call.
  • When calling any company, ensure you get the number from a trusted source – such as the official website or your latest bill or statement.
  • If you get a call that feels suspicious, hang up and call back on the official number.
  • You should always ensure the fraudster has hung up before you dial as sometimes they keep the line open to try to trick you. If you are in any doubt you should phone a friend or a trusted number first to make sure it goes through correctly.

Related content:

http://www.sig-ma.co.uk/phone-scam/
http://www.sig-ma.co.uk/social-engineering/

Social Engineering

Social Engineering is the act of manipulating people into certain actions. Criminals use social engineering tactics because it is easier to exploit your natural inclination to trust than exploit your computers security.

The technical support phone call is a very common way criminals use this tactic to persuade you to pay for a service you didn’t actually need. I posted on this subject back in April 2013 and you can read the article at http://www.sig-ma.co.uk/phone-scam/

The reason I am posting about the subject again is, the criminals have not stopped using this form of social engineering and unfortunately people are still falling for their very persuasive tactics.

I receive a number of calls throughout the year from people wanting advice after being phoned by ‘Tech Support’ or ‘Windows’, ‘Microsoft’ etc. Last week a customer phoned me after receiving a phone call from someone claiming to be from ‘TalkTalk’. They managed to persuade her to allow them remote access to her computer and whilst she was unwilling to part with any payment details the damage was already done. The caller had applied a password to her Security Account Manager (known as SAM). This is a database that stores user account and security information and runs automatically when you start your computer. Without access to this your computer is not going to boot beyond asking for a password.

social engineering

If you receive a phone call from anyone claiming to be aware of problems on your computer

HANG UP

Even if they ask for you by name or can give other information that might relate to you.

HANG UP

If you are having problems with your computer or have given remote access to someone who phoned up then I suggest you contact a local computer repair company to have your computer checked.

Windows XP support ending

Windows XP, like every Windows product, has a lifecycle. This lifecycle ends when it’s no longer supported or sold. Windows XP will no longer be supported from April 08, 2014. The countdown in the right-hand column tells you how long you have until this point, but what happens then?

In all honesty, nothing. Your Windows XP computer will still boot up and you can continue to use it as you would normally, but your computer will no longer receive security updates that can help protect your computer from harmful viruses, spyware and other malicious software that can steal your personal information. Any exploits found in newer versions of Windows are likely to be tested to see whether they can also be adapted to attack Windows XP, and, if they’re successful, there will be no help from Microsoft in fixing the problem.

Windows XP users options?

You have a number of options and cost will play a part in your decisions.

You could buy a new computer with Windows 7 or Windows 8 installed. Many people do not like the idea of Microsoft’s latest operating system Windows 8 as it is a big change from what people have been used to. The onus is on a more ‘touch screen’ environment with a need to still swap between the new look desktop and the old familiar desktop environment to carry out certain tasks. Windows 7 computers are still available to buy though they are harder to find from the large retailers as sales are concentrated on Windows 8 based computers.

Replace Windows XPWe can provide both Windows 7 and Windows 8 computers at very reasonable prices. Our ‘economy’ computer is priced at £305 and can have Windows 7 or Windows 8 installed, the price includes setting up the computer in your home, free antivirus and an hour of free tuition on your new computer, if you should need it. The price does not include a monitor, keyboard or mouse. You could upgrade your current computer but this may not be the most cost effective option especially if your computer is relatively old as hardware will need upgrading or replacing and may work out more expensive than a new computer.

Better still, why not replace Windows XP with Ubuntu.

What’s Ubuntu?

It is the world’s most popular free Operating System used by over 20 million people worldwide. Buy an economy computer from Sig-ma with Ubuntu installed for £235 – and that still includes the setup and hours tuition. You can read about Ubuntu on their website which is www.ubuntu.com and you can always book a free session with Sig-ma so you can experience it for yourself and ask any questions.

For an idea of the computers we sell visit http://www.sig-ma.co.uk/custom.html

Computer Tune Up

It is a simple fact that over time computers slow down. You might think this is inevitable and that only a new computer will give you back the speed you once had.

Whilst in some cases the hardware might well be the cause of the problem; for instance, some computers with only the minimum ram installed are bound to struggle as soon as you have a number of programmes open. In most cases though, your computer is probably just crying out for a tune up.

We recommend you have a tune up carried out on your computer at least once a year.

We’ll carry out the following and you’ll have your computer back working as efficiently as possible.

keep-calm-and-tune-up

  • Remove temporary and unnecessary files
  • Clean the registry of obsolete entries
  • Remove unnecessary startup programmes
  • Remove all Spyware, Malware and Viruses
  • Install all windows updates and drivers
  • Update software to patch vulnerabilities
  • Install FREE anti virus software if required
  • Defrag your hard drive
  • Clean the dust fans and components


  • So, if you are putting up with a slow, unresponsive computer, don’t delay. Book your computer in for a tune up today.

    Our tune ups are usually completed within 24 hours, if you need more information contact us

    Internet Connection Speeds

    With news just out that rural high speed internet connections have been delayed and won’t be expected to be completed for at least a couple of years, it would be interesting to see what kind of speeds you are getting.

    I have just been to www.speedtest.net and completed the test there by clicking on begin test then share this result when it had completed. This is my result:-

    internet_connection_speed

    Nice to know I am in the bottom 9% of internet connection speeds.

    How do you compare? Go to the website and complete the test. If you have a facebook account it would be great if you could share your result and mention Sig-ma in your status, so that I can see the results. To link to my business page on facebook just type @Sig-ma anywhere in the status and a link will be created. You can also post the link in the comments box of this blog post if you want or if you do not have a facebook account.

    Let’s see who has the best and the worst of connections.

    Amazon Autorip

    Amazon’s Autorip service is now live in the UK

    As of today when you buy an AutoRip-eligible CD or vinyl record from www.amazon.co.uk you will get a digital copy for free.

    Amazon will even put all your previous eligible purchases into your Cloud Player next time you log in, so you can stream or download all the albums you forgot you owned on your web browser, iPhone, Android device or Kindle Fire.

    Amazon

    So what are the benefits of AutoRip?

  • You can enjoy your music before the CD or vinyl arrives in the post
  • No need to manually copy your CD or vinyl to the computer
  • Get free MP3 versions of all past AutoRip-eligible purchases
  • Access your music on the move with Cloud Player
  • Keep your music safe in Cloud Player
  • How It Works

  • Buy any AutoRip CD. They’re easy to spot; just look for the AutoRip logo on the artwork or in the product description.
  • Once you’ve completed your purchase, log in to your Cloud Player (every UK customer has one – it’s free!) and your album will be waiting for you to stream or download. If you’ve pre-ordered the album, you’ll have to wait until release date.
  • You can now access your music wherever you are; on PC or Mac, Android or iPhone and Kindle Fire devices.

  • I just logged in and found 348 songs added to my Cloud Player, which included two CD’s that I had forgotten about.

    Visit Amazon now, click on the main Amazon logo then MP3s & Cloud Player. Then click on the link for which device you want to use.

    Browser Security

    Browser security is a very important part of keeping you safe online.  Your browser is one of the main tools you use to access the Internet.  It is a software program that allows you to visit web pages and use web applications.  Unless you have been more adventurous than most you are probably using one of the top five browsers:  Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari or Opera.

    Top 5 browsers

    Top 5 browsers

    Whichever browser you are using though, cyber attackers can be pretty certain you will have at least one on your computer which is why they make browsers one of their primary targets.  They search for, and find, programming errors and other flaws in browsers which are known as vulnerabilities.  These vulnerabilities can be exploited, giving attackers access to, and sometimes even complete control, over your computer.

    The browser developers release patches to fix these vulnerabilities which is why it is essential that you always have the latest version of your browser installed.  Having the latest version will ensure your browser has these known issues fixed.

    Check the browser security of all browsers installed on your computer, even if you do not use them they are still vulnerable to attacks.

    To manually check whether your browser is up to date follow the instructions below:

    Chrome

    Click on the Chrome menu button and then click on the About Google Chrome link.
    Chrome Browser Security

    Firefox

    Click on the Firefox button, click Help then click About Firefox.
    firefox_browser_security

    Internet Explorer

    Updates for Internet Explorer are included when you install Windows updates.

    Safari

    Safari is no longer developed for Windows and the last update was in May 2012. If you have Safari installed on your Windows based computer it is recommended that you remove it.

    Opera

    Click on the Opera button, click Help then click Check for updates.
    opera_browser_security

    Phone scam

    Scams never seem to go away; this particular phone scam has been around since at least 2009 and keeps resurfacing on a regular basis.

    Do NOT follow the advice of these unsolicited phone calls, they are scams.

    The phone scam starts with a member of the household being asked for by name, the scammer will say they are working for Microsoft or will give the name of what sounds to be a legitimate tech company.  They will then tell you that your computer is infected or that it has errors which will cause the computer to fail and you will lose your data etc.

    Most of the phone scammers will get you to open a program called event viewer on your computer and you will see warnings and error messages which the scammer will claim as proof of your computer being infected or its imminent demise.  These errors and warnings are legitimate, harmless errors and do not mean you have an infected computer or that your computer is failing.

    Phone scam event viewer

    Example event viewer window scammer will get you to open

    Next the scammer might ask you for a payment so that they can repair your computer.  You might be asked to visit a website and give remote access to the scammer, who could then access your personal data, or download software that will give them access.

    Do NOT give your card details out to unsolicited callers.  Do NOT give remote access to unsolicited callers.  Do NOT download software or click on links that you are not sure about.

    HANG UP.  They might call back, just hang up every time they do.  They will get bored and give up at some point.  If you pay money to these scammers you probably wont get it back and will end up needing the services of a legitimate computer repair company which will cost you more money.

    Protect yourself and friends by forwarding this on to anyone you think it might help.

    Google Chrome

    Google Chrome has been the most popular browser since May 2012 and 88% of internet users use Google to perform internet searches, but did you know that Google offers so much more.

    google chrome statistics

    Statistics taken from gs.statcounter.com

    Let’s take a look at a few things you might not be so familiar with.

    If you open a Google account you will have access to Google Drive, which is 5GB of free cloud storage and a free web-based office suite that allows you to create and edit documents online. Store and access your files from anywhere, on any device – desktop, laptop, phone or tablet – and share files without the need to email them as attachments, just upload and share your files or folders.

    You will also get a free email account called Gmail which you can also access on any device. 10GB of email storage, video chat, voice chat and the ability to check other email accounts means you will never miss out on those important messages.

    Do you already use Google Chrome?

    I will be posting a number of blogs about various Google applications over the coming months, so it will be useful to know how many of my readers use Google Chrome.

    Leave a comment below if you already use Google Chrome and why you prefer it to other browsers. Maybe you don’t, and you use Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari or Opera, let me know which browser you use and why you prefer it to other browsers. A bad experience with Google Chrome or just never tried it, you can download Google Chrome from this link, it is quick and easy and you can always remove it afterwards.

    Contact Us

    T: 01935 426652
    M: 07799 051770

    E: support@sig-ma.co.uk

    Send Message

    Company Info

    Sig-ma is a computer repair company based in Yeovil, Somerset. 

    We offer professional, affordable services to businesses and home users alike.

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