Vector white computer icon set. Part 4. Computer parts

Ever wondered how to choose a new computer?

When you are looking to buy a new computer, there are many different options to choose from.

HOW DO YOU DECIDE?

Below is a general guide to navigate through all the computer jargon when choosing a new computer.

 

The first question is:  What is the primary purpose of the computer?

 

Reasons to choose a desktop:

– Easier to upgrade

– They have a designated space

– Ability to have multiple monitors attached

– Cheaper than a laptop for comparable level

– Less likely to get damaged due to negligence

 

Reasons to choose a laptop:

– Portability – built in battery

– Flexibility – able to take it on the go

– Takes up less space then a desktop

– Built in battery backup

 

The next big question is:

Are you going to be transferring programs or documents from another computer?

The operating system:

Most computers sold today come with Windows 7. Therefore, if your old computer has Windows XP, be sure to confirm your programs are compatible with Windows 7.

 

Programs on the computer:

It’s a good idea to make sure you have the cd’s and license keys to any programs which you have installed on your old computer.
It is also important to make sure you are able to install the program onto multiple computers, using the same license.

Files:

Generally speaking, newer versions of programs allow for the older versions to be read.

 

Other devices:

Confirm that all external devices, such as printers, scanners and smartphones are compatible with the new operating system.
Be sure to install the correct drivers onto the new computer.

Just a side note:

We have every version of Microsoft’s operating systems and Office package – so as long as you have the license key, we can easily install it on your new computer.

Can’t find your license key on your computer?
We can find the Microsoft keys!

What type of processor to get?

There are two main companies, Intel and AMD, and within each company there are many types.

 

Most users find the low to medium end processors to be adequate for their needs, however, power users might require the higher end models.

What’s the difference between memory and the hard drive?

Memory, aka “RAM”, holds the information for what the computer is currently doing.

 

The hard drive is where the stuff is actually stored, like a file cabinet!

 

The amount of memory and the size of your hard drive all depends on what the computer is being used for and what is on the computer. 

 

We recommend a minimum of 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive for Windows 7 computers

If getting a laptop – what else do you need to consider?

– Actual size and weight of the laptop

– The size of the screen

– Battery life

– Webcam

– Type of mouse

– A protective case

 

 

If getting a desktop – what else do you need to consider?

 

– Type of monitor (glossy or matte)

– Size of monitor

– If would be interested in 2 screens, to make sure graphic card has 2 inputs

– Do you need a wireless card?

 

 

 

Password

Sum up from last week:

Last week we wrote about how someone was able to break into a bank account in just 7 steps.

This week we will give some practical advice on how to avoid this happening to you!
Step 1
No personal information. Any novice hacker can easily find out your full name, the names of your spouse or children, your pets, or your favorite sports teams. Never choose a password that has anything to do with you personally.
Step 2
No real words. Let’s take that a step farther. Not only should you not use your name or your pet’s name, you shouldn’t use any actual word that can be found in a dictionary. Passwords like that can be easily cracked by password software.
Step 3
Mix Character Types. Passwords are almost always case-sensitive, so use both upper and lower case letters to make it more difficult. To really make it complex, be more creative than just capitalizing the first letter. For example, do “paSswoRd” instead of just “Password”. Better yet, throw in some numbers and special characters to substitute for letters, and do “p@Ssw0Rd”.

Step 4
Use a Passphrase. Even better would be to use a passphase. Some password cracking utilities are smart enough to use common character substitutions for common words. Cracking “p@ssw0rd” may take longer than cracking “password”, but it will still be relatively trivial to crack because, special characters or not, the password is still “password”. Instead, we recommend setting up a passphase
(see side bar for details).

Step 5

Use a Tool. The main reason users choose passwords that are easy to crack is that they want to choose passwords that are easy to remember. It is obviously much easier to remember your dog’s name, or type characters in the order they appear on the keyboard, like “123456”, than it is to recall “a5$jgFD118@Kle45@”. But, guess which one is more secure?

 

7 Steps to hack a bank account

silver-keyboard2

The experiment:

Herbert Thompson* in 2008 wanted to show the public how easy it was to access someone’s personal information and bank account.

He did the experiment on someone who he barely knew, a girl named Kim. Using the knowledge he knew about her, her name, where she was from, where she worked and roughly her age, he was able to access her bank account in ONLY 7 STEPS!!!

Read below to see how he did it – in the days before Facebook!

Step 1

Google search. He googles her. Finds a blog and a resume. (Thompson called her blog a “goldmine.”) He gets information about grandparents, pets, and hometown. Most importantly he gets her college email address and current Gmail address.

Step 2
Next stop: Password recovery feature on her bank’s web site. He attempts to reset her bank password. The bank sends a reset link to her email, which he does not have access to. He needs to get access to her Gmail.

Step 3
Gmail access. He attempts to reset her Gmail password but Gmail sends this to her college email address. Gmail tells you this address’ domain (at least it did in 2008 when Thompson conducted the experiments) so he knew he had to get access to that specific address.
Step 4
College email account page. Thompson clicks the “forgot password” link on this page and winds up facing a few questions. Home address, home zip code and home country? No problem, Thompson has it all from the same resume. The same resume found from the simple Google search done earlier. Then came a stumbling block: the college wanted her birthday. But he only had a rough idea of her age, no actual birth date.

Step 5
State traffic court web site. Apparently, you can search for violations and court appearances by name! And such records include a birth date. (Facebook also makes this piece of data very easy to get even if people do not note their birth year… Remember Thompson knew roughly how old Kim was.) But he had no luck with the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Step 6
Thompson goes back to the blog and does a search for “birthday.” He gets a date but no year.

Step 7
Finally, Thompson attempts the college reset password again. He fills in her birth date, and simply guesses the year. He gets it wrong. But the site gives him five chances, and tells him which field has the error. So he continues to guess. He gets access in under five guesses. He changes her college password. This gives him access to her Gmail password reset email. Google requires some personal information which he is able to get easily from her blog (e.g., father’s middle name.) Thompson changes the Gmail password and that gives him access to the bank account reset password email. Here again he is asked for personal information, but nothing that he could not glean from Kim’s blog (e.g., pet name and phone number.) He resets the bank password and bingo, has immediate access to all her records and money.

 

 

 

Wi-Fi network diagram with glossy hi-tech devices

What are our thoughts on a wireless network?

Not needing to wire up an office or home is a major convenience, however it comes with the task of securing your wireless network. You don’t want your neighbors or strangers to have access to your personal files, but not securing your network is like opening your front door to all.

What do you need to know when you are setting up a wireless network?

  • For security options, we suggest using WPA (not WEP, since WEP is hackable).
  • The passphase should be a random mix of letters and numbers.

 

Ever wondered what the difference is between the PASSWORD and the PASSPHASE?

The password is used to log into the router settings.

The passphase is used when you are attaching a new device to your wireless network.

What do you need to set up wireless network?

To set up a network you need:

  • Internet connection
  • Router

Please note: Sometimes the modem and router are combined into one device.

What does it mean to “lock” your wireless network?

Locking your wireless network is essential to network security.

Locking your network simply means making sure it is secure so that no one can enter into your network.

Each router has it slightly different, but you are looking for:

(a) Select “wireless settings”

(b) Select “security options”

(c) Select “WPA”

Which router do we recommend?

We recommend: Linksys and Cisco routers.

When updating to a wireless network, what should you consider?

  • Confirm the router(s) will reach all the computers in your home or office.
  • The effect on the network infrastructure
  • Reconsider the necessary security measures
  • Clamp down on unauthorized access (employees logging in from home…)
  • Future upgrades

 

The experiment:

Herbert Thompson* in 2008 wanted to show the public how easy it was to access someone’s personal information and bank account.

He did the experiment on someone who he barely knew, a girl named Kim. Using the knowledge he knew about her, her name, where she was from, where she worked and roughly her age, he was able to access her bank account in ONLY 7 STEPS!!!

 

Read below to see how he did it – in the days before Facebook!

Step 1

Google search. He googles her. Finds a blog and a resume. (Thompson called her blog a “goldmine.”) He gets information about grandparents, pets, and hometown. Most importantly he gets her college email address and current Gmail address.

Step 2

Next stop: Password recovery feature on her bank’s web site. He attempts to reset her bank password. The bank sends a reset link to her email, which he does not have access to. He needs to get access to her Gmail.

Step 3

Gmail access. He attempts to reset her Gmail password but Gmail sends this to her college email address. Gmail tells you this address’ domain (at least it did in 2008 when Thompson conducted the experiments) so he knew he had to get access to that specific address.

Step 4

College email account page. Thompson clicks the “forgot password” link on this page and winds up facing a few questions. Home address, home zip code and home country? No problem, Thompson has it all from the same resume. The same resume found from the simple Google search done earlier. Then came a stumbling block: the college wanted her birthday. But he only had a rough idea of her age, no actual birth date.

Step 5

State traffic court web site. Apparently, you can search for violations and court appearances by name! And such records include a birth date. (Facebook also makes this piece of data very easy to get even if people do not note their birth year… Remember Thompson knew roughly how old Kim was.) But he had no luck with the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Step 6

Thompson goes back to the blog and does a search for “birthday.” He gets a date but no year.

Step 7

Finally, Thompson attempts the college reset password again. He fills in her birth date, and simply guesses the year. He gets it wrong. But the site gives him five chances, and tells him which field has the error. So he continues to guess. He gets access in under five guesses. He changes her college password. This gives him access to her Gmail password reset email. Google requires some personal information which he is able to get easily from her blog (e.g., father’s middle name.) Thompson changes the Gmail password and that gives him access to the bank account reset password email. Here again he is asked for personal information, but nothing that he could not glean from Kim’s blog (e.g., pet name and phone number.) He resets the bank password and bingo, has immediate access to all her records and money.

 

Child with laptop and phone under the bed. Boy playing computer

How does a filter actually filter?

There are different approaches in implementing filtering technology.

One approach is to create a rating of all existing sites and filter out unwanted content based on that.

Another approach is to scan every page of a site and filter it based on the content found on the site The latter significantly slows down your Internet connection, but the filtering is always as up to date as possible.

What happens if a site is not rated?

When a site is not rated, then your filter has 2 options; either allow all, or block all unrated sites.

 

If you  allow “not rated” sites you will allow sites which you don’t really want. However, if you block “not rated” sites, there may be sites which you do want, but will be blocked.

 

Therefore it is a toss up, yet we recommend blocking all “not rated” sites.

Will a specific filter meet my personal needs?
Different filters have different levels of customization. Some filters will block everything, except a few specific sites – which is perfect for people who only need the Internet for a handful of sites.

For those that need more than a predefined list of websites, they run the risk of allowing sites which they do not want to be viewed. Therefore choosing the correct filter levels is important in using the filter properly.

How customizable are the software based filters?

The software based filter which we recommend

is extremely customizable.

It is based on the keywords or categories

which are predefined by the user.

 

The administrator on the account has the ability to:

  1. Filter by category
  2. Filter by site
  3. Filter based on time

 

 

What does it mean to filter by category?

There is a administrative panel in which the administrators can determine which categories they would like to block. The list is broken down into two categories, (a) generally blocked categories and (b) other categories.

Some examples of the optional categories include:

    • Shopping
    • Social sites
    • Streaming video
    • Chat/ IM
    • Software downloads
    • as well as many others!

What does it mean to filter by site?

Sometimes you want to block or allow a specific  site.

An example would be:

You want to block ALL streaming video. However, you want to allow your 8 year old son to watch a clip on You Tube.

You go to youtube.com and the site is blocked (since you blocked all streaming videos).

You have the option, as the administrator, to allow the site temporarily, for 15-45 minutes.

 

This ensures the filter always remains on, yet is completely customizable to your needs.

 

What does it mean to filter by time?

You are able to block the ENTIRE INTERNET for any specific time.

We have seen some block it from 10pm to 7am all weeknights -to ensure that their children are not on the computer at night.

We have also seen people put the filter on for 24/7 – so that the internet is always inaccessible, without the password. This was done since the parent wanted the computer to be accessible, but did not want his children to use the Internet all together!

 

Child with laptop and phone under the bed. Boy playing computer

Do I need a filter on my Internet?

Are users – in your home of office – wasting time on the computer?

Are they going places they shouldn’t?

Do you sometimes wish you could get off of the internet?

Perhaps you should consider getting a filter for your computer!

Are there different types of filters?

Yes. There are 3 different ways to filter a computer:

(1) Server based

(2) Software based

(3) Router based

What is server based filter?

A server based filter is a filter where the individual computer is connecting to a server. Once connected to the server, the server decides which sites should be allowed and which ones should not be allowed.

ADVANTAGE: User cannot make any changes to the settings.

DISADVANTAGE: If a change is needed, it can take several days until the system is updated.

 

What is a software based filter?

A software based filter is a program installed on the individual computer.

ADVANTAGE: Administrator of account can make changes as needed

DISADVANTAGE: Need to install on each compute

 

What is a router based filter?

A router based filter is a hybrid between server and filter based filters. It is similar to a server based filter in that it protects the entire network all at once, yet the administrator can make changes to the settings instantly.

Want to know how the filters

actually filter?

Or how customizable a filter can be?

Stay tuned ’till next week’s newsletter!

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:*

The average 21 one year old has spent:

– 5,000 hours playing video games

– Exchanged 250,000 emails, instant and text messages

-Spent 10,000 hours on the mobile device

 

 

 

Virus Abstract Background

What is a virus?

A virus is a program that is designed to damage or exploit the computer user. A computer program can be defined as a list of instructions that tells the computer what to do. Though computers give an illusion that they can “think” or “decide” for themselves, they contain absolutely no cognitive capacity. Simply put, a computer does exactly what it is told to do.  A virus is no different. It is a computer program that does precisely what its author programmed. That may include stealing data, tracking what you do or instructing your computer to attack other computers.

What does a virus do?

A virus is a program where the author had malicious intent. Viruses tend to slow down your computer due to the usage of resources, i.e. using your memory and CPU.

How does a virus get to my computer?

It can come from many different places. You can get infected from webpages, USB drives, or even cd’s. Free games either online or on cd’s can intentionally or unintentionally be packaged with viruses or spyware. Do not install these games.

How do you protect yourself?

The best form of preventing yourself from getting infected is to have good internet security software. The software should have a real-time scanner and update itself daily. We recommend Avast, since it is free, yet has very good ratings. Some prefer to purchase a version of Avast or get McAfee or Norton, which are excellent choices as well.