Here we will discuss the questions we get the most on why, how or what we do. If you have a question, please feel free to call and ask it or any a clarification of one on this page. Some questions need pages on pages to fully explain, but we will try to explain as briefly as possible.
- Why am I getting infected when I own an anti-virus program?
First off I ask, when was the last time you opened up your anti-virus program? It is a tool, does your shovel dig the holes for you by itself? Tools are made to be used, not watched. Anti Malware and Anti-Virus programs will update and run in the background, if you have it on when it needs to run. They usually run late at night, so as to not be in the way. We are so programmed to 'shut it off' when not in use that we forget that it is then that these programs are scheduled to run or update. So we have the tools, but never use them. These programs will only remove or change the program to keep your files safe, but that doesn't mean it was removed. Some still continue to "suggest" nad results from unknown search engines or throw ads at your browser even when the bad stuff is gone.
Secondly, most of these "problems" out there today are software exploits (usually Java and Flash) that constantly are getting updated, yet we hear no one want to trust an update. This is exactly what the bad guys want you to feel. Most anti-virus programs are not designed to handle this type of threat. Although, more and more security companies are turning that way. What is preventable is understanding that your system needs to be updated then ran (FULL System scans) regularly, we know some updates come in several times a day. And also NOT to click on anything you don't understand, if you get small "warning" window pop-up, close the window if you can, or simply push the off button and the system will shut down. Then when you restart your system, go straight to your security programs and update, then scan whole systems. Both anti-malware and anti-virus programs need to be ran, if that warning was either of your security programs, you'll find it. If it was a "pop-up" that claimed that you had a system issue, then you stopped it from entering your system. DO NOT click on anything IN THE WINDOW of the ad (use red X at top right hand of window). The more and more times you see this, the easier it gets. Updates, Updates, Updates.... then check updates again. Windows, anti-virus, anti-malware, Java, Adobe, etc.. then scan once a week. Last but not least... if you go and download a product and you gave them information and it was FREE, then YOU ARE THE PRODUCT!! Wrap your head around that one. Welcome to the NEW and IMPROVED INTERNET!!!!
- What is spyware
This is a VERY good question and it isn't as simple as one simple answer. Just about every program has a back door built in by it's creator, why you ask? So he can get into a system fast and easy to see what is going on or how a system is doing with his program on it. Just about EVERY manufacturer has some kind of spyware programs built into their systems, HP is famous for this. They do it for an easy way into your system so that if you ever call them they can either take it over see what the issue is or to fix what your calling about. But every manufacturer also adds programs like Wild Tangent (Games) so they can add tons of games that most people don't play to say "Hey, look at all the programs we give you!" and Wild Tangent pays them to do it. Wild Tangent will show up on every GOOD spyware scanner when the system is scanned. Smiley Central is another one that adds spyware into their programs, free tools have them too. All to help pay the programmers for your free program. What do these do? Again, they want to control how you do certain things. They can tailor the ads on web pages to your likes and interests. They keep track of where you go, for instance if you're a Sear or JC Penny's fan and they get wind of it, you'll get lots of those ads. Most of these are not really bad, but all in all, I don't want stuff on my system that I didn't put there directly, Do You?
- How do I protect myself from identity thief on the internet?
First thing you must never do is click on a link in your email! There are very simple ways of spoofing an address "under or behind" a link. Meaning you see one address and the link will take you somewhere else. If your bank (or anywhere that has financial information) is sending you an email stating you must do something on your account then go there, but don't use the link. Log onto your account and change it from within your browser, NOT from the provided link in the email. NEVER USE a provided link in an email if it takes you to ANY page that has sensitive account information. (See Phishing Below)
- What is a virus?
Without going into the history of viruses, this is a really complicated question also, but we'll give a very simple answer. In today's world, they are used for only a couple reason anymore. Like the type that are in our own bodies, in the computer field, a virus is a file or program that uses another file or program as a host to stay alive and hide, it is a program/file that plants other programs or changes setting/configuration files on your system to do what the virus writer wanted done. To create a email spam bot, to make a key logger on a system (used to steal user names / passwords, etc..), or as in the old ways, just to cause havoc on your system. Most spyware is gotten through FREE programs and toolbars to help pay the bills it incurs. Most bad files (we call them all "viruses") come from exploits from Java, Flash, Acrobat Reader, etc.., so having an anti-virus program can help, but usually these types of files can be rendered harmless by just doing windows, java, reader and flash updates. Run your scanners once a week in fast mode and at least twice a month as a full scan.
- What is Phishing?
Phishing (pronounced "fishing") is a term used to describe a method of fishing for info that certain people want that you don't want to give out, i.e. your PayPal account, or your bank account/credit account. It is done in various ways a couple of the more common ways is to send you an email stating that your account is on the verge of being closed or changed and in order to stop it, you MUST sign in and confirm or change something on your account page. One of the easiest ways to make sure your NOT going to fall to this scam is NEVER click on a link in your email. Always copy and paste that address in the email to your address bar in your browser window. Next time you get one of these emails hover your mouse over the address and it will either show a balloon tip window with the REAL address or show it on the status bar at the bottom of your email (if you don't have click on the VIEW at the top of the current window and click on Status Bar) to show the address. What they do is type a FAKE address and then change it through the hyper-link to the one they want you to go to. These web pages they are sending you to look VERY REAL to the casual user and some even to an advanced user. They use all the logos, colors and layouts of the REAL web page you think you're going to but only there to STEAL your information for personal use.
- Why do you recommend a reload when you get viruses?
Well, viruses are a strange thing, first you have to ask what are they and why are they out on the internet. Long story short and simple version, they are a way of doing something on another computer that the virus write wants to be done. Stories are coming out that some people really want your information, and they plant these to gain access to your settings or other configuration files on your system, bank info, PayPal info and other items pertaining to your finances. Most virus writers are very smart programmers that use their skills to do something that isn't easy to do, for example if I want to know what web pages you go to, I can plant a tracker on your system. That is what most of the ones out there now do, these are planted in toolbars, free programs, etc. mainly planted by people who either going sell to the marketing companies or the companies themselves (Google, Yahoo, DoubleClick, Wild Tangent, Lycos, GeoCities, etc.. and places like MySpace, FaceBook, YouTube) are doing it. There are also ways to make your system a spammer's spam bot (a system that sends out thousands and thousands of email off your email server so he doesn't get caught doing it, you do); that sucks your internet bandwidth down to nothing and you can't do anything. BUT.. and this is a very big but, more and more of them are designed to get valuable information like your credit card numbers, or your PayPal accounts info, or even your bank log in, these are the ones we are REALLY worried about. These are getting more and more complicated as time goes on and finding better and the BAD GUYS are finding better ways to hide them (hence the root-kit) Now on to why we recommend a complete wipe out of your drive. We have on several occasions thought we found all the payload (the real reasons for the virus) only have the customer go home and have the same problem come back a week later. Or we've taken off what we though was the virus and found that ports were opened on the system for back doors to allow others to come on your system and replant the virus (usually by a worm) so your right back to where you were before you got your system fixed. If we reload, there is NO WAY that that virus can stay on your system. We save your data files, and then we won't put it on until you have a REAL anti-virus to catch if your files have anything hidden in them.
- What should I do when I get a POP-UP window that says I have a virus or spy-ware on my system?
If that window doesn't have your anti-virus' or spyware programs name on the top right hand side it is ONLY an AD, it's a marketing tool to scare/fool you (basically like the 'You're the One Millionth Person to Visit this site...click here to claim') into clicking on it. Then we are so worried about these things that we get scared and click on it to fix it. What really just happened? You just installed a Trojan Program (a program that makes you think you're getting one thing and your actually getting more, a lot more!), these are usually planted by free programs (Remember, nothing is FREE) to pay for the thing you just installed for "free". That ad will install a "spyware killer" or a "virus killer" that tells you that your systems is infected by spyware (technically a cookie is one) and now it will kill them if you buy the program. But we've found they are more trouble then they're worth. There are so many "free programs" out there that plant Trojan programs it is scary, why would someone give you something for free when that person had to go to school for years to learn to program and then give his stuff away for free? It maybe as simple as something hijacking your search settings, "why are they doing this?, you ask. So they can control how you search or where you go on the web, we've seen these programs COMPLETELY take away the internet on some systems. So, what do you do? You use the RED X on the top right-hand side of that window and close it and IMMEDIATELY run your virus program AND a spyware program like Spy-Bot or Ad-Aware. If you don't know which program to use CALL US, we recommend ONLY industry standard programs
- What is the difference between the Intel Processor & the AMD Processor?
To most users, you'll not see a big difference; but they are made with two completely different instruction sets (the little programs that tell how the processor processes data). In simpler terms Intel essentially is crunches numbers best and the AMD does graphics better. Hence why the gamers use AMD to do their games, and most servers/offices use Intel and on the cost side, Intel is a bit more expensive then AMD. Now remember, this is a very simple explanation, both processors can do both types of processing without a hitch for most people, 99% of all people won't notice any difference.
- Why is the Internet getting so bad in the way of spyware and viruses?
Hmm, where to start. When was the last time you gave money to a website? Everyone needs money to operate, if you keep going to a site and give no money, expect it to be a place where bad thing CAN happen, not necessarily do, but can!! These people go to school for years and you wouldn't go to school for years and have school loans that need to be paid back, why would someone let you use something they worked hard to get and let you use free. We have to get away of thinking ANYTHING is free, nothing is free!! Be prepared to be infected when you go to a free site over and over. See up on pop-up window FAQ.
- Do I need to clean my cookies?
Why do we hate toolbars?
The people who install toolbars do not know how many other toolbars you may have, therefore you may end up with a multitude of unwanted and unused toolbars. (See example below) We also know that most people don't know where they come from or how to remove them after they're installed. That is why we hate them!