Monday, April 17, 2017

Stung by Ransomware? These free tools may help you recover

Ransomware has become one of the most prolific strains of malware circulating today. These infections enable attackers to disable your computer or device, and encrypt your files and data, until you pay. 

We have discussed ransomware and methods of prevention before, but the only "foolproof" method is to have a backup of all of your valuable files, photos, music, etc. In addition, this backup must be separated from your computer. A USB or network drive that is connected at the time of infection, will also be encrypted during the attack.


Let's assume you have been compromised and the ransom has been demanded. What now?

Antivirus provider, Avast, has provided a set of free tools that may help you recover from some of the most prominent threats. You can download these decryption tools from Avast Ransomware Decryption Tools

If your particular strain is not found among the list above, you can always check with some of the other major Anti-malware providers like Symantec, Trend Micro, Bitdefender, Kaspersky, Eset, etc. These tools are frequently updated.

Best advice - Backup, Backup, Backup!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Make an Emergency Call on a locked Iphone - It can be done

Hopefully you will never find yourself in an emergency situation. But, if you do, you could be faced with trying to call a first responder from a locked iPhone. 

This feature is available on the lock screen of all iPhones. When you press the Home button and the passcode screen pops up you can make an emergency call or access the owner's Medical ID information, if it has been previously entered.


Here's how:

1. Press the Home Button to trigger the passcode screen.
2. Click on Emergency in the lower left corner of the screen
3. Call you local Emergency Services.

You can use the same steps above to access the owner's Medical ID information, if available. Just Click on Medical ID in the lower left corner of the screen, in Step 3 above. 

The Medical ID section will also allow you to call the owner's Medical emergency contacts.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Don't Let Windows 10 "Creators Update" Bite You

Many computer enthusiasts, using Windows 10, may be eagerly anticipating the "Creators Update", which is currently (April 11, 2017) being released. "Normal" users, however, may want to be cautious. 

You may recall that the last major update - Anniversary Edition, caused a plethora of issues and many users were crippled while Microsoft attempted to fix the problems.

 As you know, Windows 10 Home Edition, the version used by most folks, requires updates. You cannot stop or delay your computer from receiving version 1703 - Creators Update. When using a wireless connection, there is an option to defer when network bandwidth is restricted, but this may not be helpful for most users. So, Home Edition users will have to keep their fingers crossed and hope the Microsoft fixes any bugs, before it is downloaded and installed.


The rollout will be slow, and this large update will probably be spread over several months. 

Fortunately, Windows 10 Professional users have a better option. You can, and probably should, defer the Anniversary Update for a month, or so. You will still get all of the important security updates, without the aggravation of patching bugs, that will most likely be fixed, in a few weeks.

To defer updates on Windows 10 Pro:

1. Open Settings (WINDOWSKEY + I) and go to Update & Security > Windows Update and then select “Advanced options.” 

2. Select the option “Defer feature updates.”

The Creators Update is considered a Feature Update by Microsoft. It is, however, a Major Update and it will make significant OS changes to your computer. 

So, unless you are a computer enthusiast, who enjoys tinkering with the "latest and greatest", you may want to postpone the inevitable.