It's amazing how much home computers have become such a major part of our lives. Most of us use at least a mobile phone, laptop, desktop or tablet every day. We want to give 5 top tips for things to look our for, best practices and freebies you can get to make your home IT easier.
1. Always have anti-virus software installed
Anti-virus keeps your computer free from malicious software. It scans new files in real time as they are downloaded onto your computer, as well as running regular scans on existing files on your computer. If you would like help and advice finding the right anti-virus software, contact us.
2. Automatic cloud backups
There are plenty of companies which offer free cloud storage applications including Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive and Google Drive. You can change your 'Documents' and 'Pictures' folders location to be in one of these applications, meaning that all of your 'Documents' or 'Pictures' are all automatically backed up and easy to restore for disaster recovery.
3. Install all of your updates
Whether a mobile phone, laptop, desktop, Mac computer or tablet, always install any update you are presented with. Why? Because updates mean that problems have been found and fixed by the people who wrote the software. Normally they mean that your device will run faster once installed. Microsoft release their updates every 2nd Tuesday of the month. We recommend setting your updates to install automatically.
4. Don't click on links in unexpected emails
When an unexpected email arrives and you don't know the sender, delete it. They may be a virus or scam and are always best to be avoided.
5. Passwords. Keep them safe!
Keeping your passwords safe is Security Rule no. 1. You need to keep them safe from anyone you don't trust and not choose any obvious ones like addresses, birthdays, family members names, etc. Take a moment to think what either a hacker or stranger could do with your banking or email password. It's scary, isn't it?
A prototype Apple 1, a holy-grail item in electronics memorabilia, has been sold for $815,000 (£618,000).
Apple co-founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak built just 200 of the computers in 1976.
The model auctioned this week contains tell-tale signs that it is a prototype, probably made prior to its manufacturing run.
One computer historian says it is "one of the first, if not the first ever" Apple computer.
This "celebration edition" Apple 1 was expected to make $1m, but auctioneer Charitybuzz told the BBC that the final bid was $815,000.
That means it is not the highest-grossing Apple 1 computer - that distinction belongs to a rare working version that sold for $905,000 at a Bonhams auction in New York in October 2014.
A spokeswoman for Charitybuzz said that "about 80 bidders" had been watching the item. She denied reports that there had been a last-minute $1.2m bid, apparently made too late to be accepted.
Ten percent of the proceeds will go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, based in New York, Charitybuzz said.
The winning bidders, Glenn and Shannon Dellimore, said they want to take the computer into schools and universities to help inspire young people.
Mr Dellimore told the BBC: "It is incredible to think that this was most likely the very first Apple 1, the unicorn or holy grail of computers, the original very first prototype."
No more than 70 Apple 1 computers are believed to still be in existence. The machine - initially named "Apple Computer 1" - first went on sale in July 1976, and was discontinued in October of the following year when the company turned its attention to building the Apple 2.
The "celebration edition" is different from the other Apple 1s because it was manually soldered on to a blank PC board, meaning it was not part of the only two production runs of the device.
Mr Wozniak was quoted by Charitybuzz as saying: "Only a few Apple 1s, on blank (not green) PC boards, may have been manually soldered, although I'm not sure of it.
"We arranged the wave soldering with the company that made the PC boards. But we may not have wanted to wave solder a run (of maybe 10 or more board) until we manually soldered one or two to debug them."
Apple historian Corey Cohen, who assessed the machine, said in a promotional video that the celebration edition is "one of the first, if not the first, Apple computers because this appears to be one of the sample boards".
According to a timestamp on the PC board, it was made in the summer of 1976.
Jobs, Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne founded Apple on 1 April 1976 in California in the garage of Paul and Clara Jobs.
The trio's first major project was the Apple 1 computer, which was first unveiled at the Homebrew Computer Club - a hobbyist group in Silicon Valley.
To help finance the machine's production, Jobs sold his VW Microbus, while Wozniak sold his HP-65 calculator for $500.
The Apple 1 went on sale in July 1976 at a price of $666.66.
About 175 of the 200 units were sold, while the remaining units were destroyed.
Two weeks after Apple's formation, Mr Wayne sold his 10% stake for $800.
The company's annual revenue last year was $234bn.
All photos by CHARITYBUZZ
What is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a computer malware that an attacker installs on a victim’s computer undetected and executes an attack that will lock certain files or lock the entire hard drive so that the victim is unable to access (encryption is normally used to lock out the victim from his/her data). The attacker then demands payment from the victim to unlock the files or hard drive or else the information within the locked files or hard drive will be destroyed. In most cases, attackers will demand payment in some form of digital currency (e.g. Bitcoin) as those transactions are easy and have a degree of anonymity that makes it hard to trace.
How Ransonware Works
As is the case with most malware, Ransomware is normally delivered either through a malicious file attached to an email, a malicious website that prompts a target to download a program or sometimes will come in the form of a pop-up ad that again, prompts to download a program. These programs are called Trojan Horses, which is a malicious program used to hack into a computer by misleading the victim of its true intent. For example, a target may get a pop-up saying “Your hard drive is fragmented and slowing your computer speed; click on this link to download a program to speed up your computer”. While the program may seem beneficial, the odds of it doing something malicious are fairly great. Once the Ransomware is downloaded to the target’s computer, the virus will either encrypt certain files or in some cases, the entire hard drive. The target is then directed to make some type of payment to receive the decryption key that will then allow them to access their files again.
Protecting Against Ransomware
Backup important files. HITS Computing recommends backing up personal files/data on a regular basis (every 30-60 days) to an external hard drive. A cloud-based service is a good choice for backing up data as well. Ensure copies of the personal computer Operating System (OS) are kept in case the OS needs to be reinstalled due to the effects of an attack.
Save your money (and your sanity!) by preventing the download of Ransomware to your computer. Be wary of any email/attachment/download especially if it doesn’t come from a trusted source.
Due to popular demand we are delighted to introduce the HITS Computing VIP club for home customers.
The HITS Computing VIP club is a new support plan which will provide you with complete peace of mind and confidence every time you go to use your computer.
Some of the key features of the VIP Club:
Fast and friendly ongoing support
A dedicated support engineer/account manager assigned to you
Priority service - fast response & turnaround
Unlimited telephone and remote support
Quarterly health checks
Up to 5 home visits per year
All this peace of mind for just £15 per month, or £160 per year!
Additional computers are charged at just £2.50 per month, or £25 per year.
To find out more, please contact us.
The simple answer is "yes you can!"
HITS Computing offers multiple cloud file and email solutions in order to keep your business mobile. Cloud backups also offer a disaster recovery option.
To find out how we can help you move to the cloud, contact us.