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scottbrosnan.com http://www.scottbrosnan.com sometimes i fix computers Thu, 31 Mar 2016 03:43:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 21077217 If Your Computer Is Asking You For Money, It’s Infected [PSA] http://www.scottbrosnan.com/2013/11/23/if-your-computer-is-asking-you-for-money-its-infected-psa/ http://www.scottbrosnan.com/2013/11/23/if-your-computer-is-asking-you-for-money-its-infected-psa/#respond Sat, 23 Nov 2013 22:40:37 +0000 http://scottbrosnan.com/?p=1232 There’s a nasty virus going around and it’s called Cryptolocker. If you’ve not heard of it here’s the meat of potatoes of what it does. Once your machine is infected it encrypts your data making it inaccessible to you. Then it asks from money to decrypt it. That price can range from $300 to $3000.

The virus first came to light around August/September and finds its way to you via email. The email may look like a shipment update from Fed Ex, UPS, or a message from a bank. Those who open the attachment get the virus installed and a taunting countdown timer on the screen. It’s can even spread across your network and encrypt network drives.

Don’t be fooled, it really does encrypt your data this isn’t just scareware. Heed this warning. Backup your data, update your anti virus, and be very skeptical of shipping and banking emails. Not getting fooled by the shipping email is especially important as we’re approaching Cyber Monday.

This virus is not to be taken lightly. There was even a police department that was infected and had to pay $750 to get their data decrypted! (true story)
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You need to backup your data. No, I’m not joking. http://www.scottbrosnan.com/2013/02/20/you-need-to-backup-your-data-no-im-not-joking/ http://www.scottbrosnan.com/2013/02/20/you-need-to-backup-your-data-no-im-not-joking/#respond Thu, 21 Feb 2013 05:03:12 +0000 http://scottbrosnan.com/?p=1141 Let’s talk about the B word. No one likes to say the B word but I think it’s time we start. Backup, there I said it.

Say it with me now, Backup, Backup, Backup. Not as bad as you thought, right?

“I’ll backup my photos tomorrow”  “I thought you were  backing up the computer”  “Doesn’t it backup automatically”

This sound familiar to you or have you said any of  these? It’s okay if you have and for some of you it’s not too late to save your photos and documents.

One of the hardest conversations I have as an IT professional is explaining to a user that their data is lost. Years of family photos, company financial data, and original artwork are just some of the losses I’ve seen first hand. While data recovery services do exist I can tell you the starting price is $700 and even had a customer pay over $2000 to get his data back.

Backing up doesn’t need have complicated or expensive. There are many online options today that take headache out of ensuring your data is safe.

BackBlaze is by far my favorite. The interface, price, and ease of use are hard to beat. Their product automatically backs  up your data securely to their data centers. If you’re worried about your data’s security, don’t! You can add your own private encryption key that NEVER gets sent to BackBlaze.

In the event that youe hard drive dies you can restore your data to the repaired computer just by logging and downloading it. Not good enough? There is also a “locate my computer” feature so if yours is lost or stolen you’ll be able to see if it been turned on and connected to the internet. You can get the IP address and map it to turn over to the police.

Not impressed? Maybe this will get you. This service only cost $5 per month. You can even get it cheaper if you pay for the entire year (or two) up front! Have multiple computer? Manage them all from one account.

I’ve used all kinds of different backup products and BackBlaze has the right features, right price, and a really cool logo. How can you top that? If you have photos, documents, or other important documents to save this product can put your mind at ease.



I’ll cover installation and configuration in another post. In the meantime if you have question please contact me via email or give my a call!

*Disclaimer* I am a BackBlaze affiliate. This means if you buy the product through my link I get credit for the  sale. I believe in this product and that is why I choose to endorse them in this fashion. If you have questions or concerns please call or email me.

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Stopping online bullies http://www.scottbrosnan.com/2011/10/21/stopbully/ http://www.scottbrosnan.com/2011/10/21/stopbully/#respond Fri, 21 Oct 2011 20:14:45 +0000 http://scottbrosnan.com/?p=268 Growing up I would guess almost everyone had a run in with a bully. Maybe it was just a one time incident or possibly repeated attacks and harassment. Twenty years ago, even ten years ago the social landscape was very different. If you were bullied at school you came home at the end of the day and were safe from the reach of a bully. Today we are all so interconnected between cellular phones and social networks even at home you are bombarded with harassing comments, statuses, and text messages. As a parent what can you do to help?

Online harassment

If your child is getting harassed online with via chat client or social networks you have options other than disconnecting your internet access.

  • Monitoring Software: You can gain insight on what they are doing and at the same time block access to social media site. Qustodio is a free tool you can download and install. It monitors and reports on internet activity and block specific site or categories of sites. You can get reports daily or weekly about their surfing habits. In addition to reporting and blocking you can set time limits by time of day or allot so many hour per day total. Best part is that its free!
  • Have a tech savvy kid that might find and uninstall software? Use OpenDNS. This service has many benefits like less malware and less ads on sites but it also allows blocking of sites and categories. One of the perks it that you can set this to work on your router. You’ll experience faster (in most cases) surfing and be exposed to less online garbage
  • Be the parent. Internet is a privilege at our house, not a right. Remove the computer from a child room, have it in a open area that you can see what they are doing. Make them delete social network accounts. Demand their passwords for everything. Use leverage if you have to, like “sit down and give me the passwords or hand over your car keys”. At our house if you don’t comply to rules you lose your cell-phone.

Cellular devices

Does you child have cellular phone they are receiving harassing messages on? There are some simple solutions for that too with completely disconnecting it!

  • Depending on your carrier, you might be able to restrict who they can contact and who can contact them on their phone AT&T has SmartLimits (charge applies), you pick the number for incoming and outgoing and that’s it.
  • If the message are of a violent nature, contact your local authorities. According to privacyrights.org “Forty-four states now have laws that explicitly include electronic forms of communication within stalking or harassment laws. For specifics please see www.ncsl.org/programs/lis/cip/stalk99.htm.” Filing a police is the first step, documenting the harassment is essential. If there is real chance of physical harm or repeated verbal abuse this will assist authorities pursue subpoenas from cellular carriers if things escalate.
  • Inform yourself about cyberbullying and what it is. Internetsaftey101.org has a section describing what is and what the statics are surrounding it.

If none of the above seems to help then pull the plug. Suspend your internet account, suspend their cell phone. Above all get professional help, educate yourself on how to help your child. If you’re not familiar with technology and how to monitor or disconnect your service ask for help.No one should have to suffer bullying alone, not children and not the parents of bullied children.

If your child is being bullied by computer or cell phone I will offer my services for free. I can help you get monitoring setup on computers and help you contact your cellular carrier.

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Tomorrow is patch Tuesday! http://www.scottbrosnan.com/2011/04/11/tomorrow-is-patch-tuesday/ http://www.scottbrosnan.com/2011/04/11/tomorrow-is-patch-tuesday/#respond Mon, 11 Apr 2011 20:23:41 +0000 http://scottbrosnan.com/?p=92 Tomorrow is patch Tuesday!

Tomorrow is patch Tuesday and it’s going to be a big one! 17 security bulletins will address 64 vulnerabilities. Most of the fixes address remote code execution exploits.

As I said mentioned back in February, patch Tuesday is a good time to update your computer with the latest Microsoft fixes but it’s also a great time to to review other software that might need updating and run a little maintenance.

  • remove your temp files
  • update antivirus definitions
  • run a virus scan
  • update your malware packages
  • run a malware scan
  • defragment your hard drive
  • wipe off case exterior, remove dust from outer vents
  • open case and remove interior dust bunnies

Just a couple extra minutes can help keep your last longer and run better. As always if you’re not comfortable doing this yourself I am always willing to assist.

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Why you should be using cloud based backup on your laptop http://www.scottbrosnan.com/2011/03/28/why-you-should-be-using-cloud-based-backup-on-your-laptop/ http://www.scottbrosnan.com/2011/03/28/why-you-should-be-using-cloud-based-backup-on-your-laptop/#respond Tue, 29 Mar 2011 03:51:57 +0000 http://scottbrosnan.com/?p=87  

Need some encouragement to help you get over the cost of purchasing online backup service for your notebook computer? Here it comes… 

Twice in the last couple of weeks people have been able to garner where their stolen laptops are by logging into the web interface of their online backup software. One was even able to get enough data on the thief to find him on Facebook and post an embarrassing video of him on YouTube. After posting the video his laptop was returned and the thief is asking for the embarrassing dance video to be removed. The laptop owner is refusing to remove the video.

In addition to saving your data it could possibly help recover your stolen laptop.

Click the red Backblaze icon on the right to start your free trial.



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Spring has sprung let’s get some cleanup done! http://www.scottbrosnan.com/2011/03/21/spring-has-sprung-lets-get-some-cleanup-done/ http://www.scottbrosnan.com/2011/03/21/spring-has-sprung-lets-get-some-cleanup-done/#respond Tue, 22 Mar 2011 03:44:17 +0000 http://scottbrosnan.com/?p=82 Spring is a great time to take that pent-up winter energy and get a jump on cleaning and getting the yard ready. It’s also a great time to get your computer cleaned up!

This week only I am offering a full cleanup for $60, compared to retail chain prices that’s pretty cheap!

Service includes virus/malware removal, disk maintenance and health check, dust removal from interior, and I’ll even wash the exterior.

Pick up and drop off available, most jobs are completed within 24 hours.

Just have general computer questions? Email me, advice is always free.

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Great Facebook tips from Maximum PC http://www.scottbrosnan.com/2011/03/11/great-facebook-tips-from-maximum-pc/ http://www.scottbrosnan.com/2011/03/11/great-facebook-tips-from-maximum-pc/#respond Fri, 11 Mar 2011 16:05:50 +0000 http://scottbrosnan.com/?p=78 Maximum PC posted a great article outlining some tip on Facebook privacy and even some basic navigation lesson for the noobs. Don’t worry if you’re an seasoned pro, there are some things in there for you too.

Maximum PC Facebook Tips

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A recent report shows electronic devices are interfering with our sleep! http://www.scottbrosnan.com/2011/03/10/a-recent-report-shows-electronic-devices-are-interfering-with-our-sleep/ http://www.scottbrosnan.com/2011/03/10/a-recent-report-shows-electronic-devices-are-interfering-with-our-sleep/#respond Thu, 10 Mar 2011 21:00:29 +0000 http://scottbrosnan.com/?p=73 The NSF (National Sleep Foundation) conducted a study that shows we are getting less sleep then previous years, kids too. The cause? Our televisions, phones, and computers and the use of them in the hour(s) right before we head off to sleep. The bright light of these devices prevents the proper amount of Melatonin, a sleep hormone, from being released. In addition to that it appears our children are getting awoken by texts and emails throughout the night. Teenagers are missing up to 50 hours of sleep each month! This lack of sleep is making us moody, sleepy, and generally unhealthy people. 

Are your devices keeping you up at night?

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Spring is on its way are you prepared for thunderstorms, floods, or worse? http://www.scottbrosnan.com/2011/03/07/spring-is-on-its-way-are-you-prepared-for-thunderstorms-floods-or-worse/ http://www.scottbrosnan.com/2011/03/07/spring-is-on-its-way-are-you-prepared-for-thunderstorms-floods-or-worse/#respond Tue, 08 Mar 2011 03:24:01 +0000 http://scottbrosnan.com/?p=65 That’s right, in just a few short weeks April showers will be upon us. With those shower comes lightening, thunder, floods, and sometimes a tornado two. So what does this have to do with computers? Everything. 

Storms create the perfect condition for data loss. Whether it’s a flood in your home office or a lightening strike to your home or even your neighbors home. All of this can endanger your photos, important documents, school work, and tax or accounting data stored on your computer. Ask yourself some simple questions and determine if your current backup plan is adequate.

  • Are you backing up all your data onto an external device?
  • Do you know what the health status is of that external device?
  • Do you keep a copy off-site in a secure location?
  • Do you have a disaster recovery plan stored off site with your backup?
  • Is your backup process automated?
  • Have you ever forgotten or missed a backup?
  • Have you tested and verified your backup works?

If you’re not sure or answered no to one or more of these questions, you’ve just identified the flaw in your backup and recovery plan. Face it, no one likes to think about disasters happening but we all know that sooner or later they happen.

Backups have gone the way of the cloud. That is to say you no longer need to have external backup drives, (heck some services will back those up too!), no need to schedule or manually run backup jobs. With a few clicks you could be on your way to backed up data that is split between two class 4 data centers (deep underground). Depending on how much data you have to backup prices can range from Free to $249.

Call me today to discuss your back and recovery needs! 815-986-8569

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Today was Patch Tuesday! -Microsoft Windows OS http://www.scottbrosnan.com/2011/02/08/today-was-patch-tuesday-microsoft-windows-os/ http://www.scottbrosnan.com/2011/02/08/today-was-patch-tuesday-microsoft-windows-os/#respond Wed, 09 Feb 2011 04:49:10 +0000 http://scottbrosnan.com/?p=57

It’s patch Tuesday, time to make sure your computer is up to date with the latest and greatest Microsoft security fixes to help keep you safe.

http://www.update.microsoft.com/ -Get it started here!

While you’re at it…

Why not take things a little further and check what other programs might need some updating and run a little maintenance.

  • Run CCleaner – a good house cleaning app that remove cookies and temp files. If you’re brave, it can even be used to reduce start-up items and uninstall programs. (If you’re not a risk taker or are unsure, ask a professional)
  • Antivirus / Anti-malware – check for definition and program updates and run scans (individually of course)
  • Have some old unused programs? Reclaim that hard drive space, get rid of them with Revo Uninstaller.
  • Disk maintenance,  – is your hard drive running all the time, the little light on constantly? Maybe it’s time to defragment your drive. As it sounds, fragmentation is little bits of data all over your drive in no particular order. You can use Defraggler or MyDefrag, both do a great job.
  • Pickup some compressed air – you would be surprised at how fast and how much dust your computer can store. Don’t let dust kill your computer, two minutes of work can extend your computer life by increasing the performance of the cooling system.

Running maintenance is essential to keep your computer running at optimal performance. Making a routine of it can help reduced virus and malware infections and extend the life of your computer.

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