Computers

CISA Issues Warning About Malware Phishing Attack
Computers, Internet

CISA Issues Warning About Malware Phishing Attack

On Friday, August 14, 2020, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), a part of the Department of Homeland Security, issued a warning about a new phishing attack. Attackers are sending emails containing a Microsoft Word document with a malicious Visual Basic Application (VBA) macro code to deploy KONNI malware. KONNI is a remote administration tool (RAT) used by malicious cyber actors to steal files, capture keystrokes, take screenshots, and execute arbitrary code on infected hosts. Phishing attacks are typically designed to collect user data (such as usernames and passwords) and transmit that information back to the attacker. However, in this situation, the attacker is also sending malware to your inbox. CISA is recommending that all users maintain "situ...
Tech Headlines for Tuesday, August 11, 2020
Computers, Internet, Tech News, Tech Talk

Tech Headlines for Tuesday, August 11, 2020

You can listen to Tech Talk on WTCA AM 1050 and FM 106.1 in Plymouth, Indiana, every Tuesday morning at 8:30 am. Join Bob and Rusty and they discuss the latest technology news and whatever else comes to mind. Toshiba Leaves Laptop Business Toshiba had been in the laptop business for over 30 years, but they sold the majority of their business to Sharp in 2018. In an announcement on August 4th, Toshiba said that the remaining shares of their personal computer business have been transferred to Sharp and the deal brings an end to their PC business. The renamed division is called Dynabook. Questions Surround Trump's TikTok Ban Trump gave Chinese company ByteDance 45 days to sell off their TikTok app and U.S. business or face an internet blockade from the federal government. Cit...
Tech Headlines for Tuesday, August 4, 2020
Computers, Internet, Tech News, Tech Talk

Tech Headlines for Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Tech Talk show notes for Tuesday, August 4, 2020. Listen live Tuesday mornings on WTCA FM 106.1 and AM 1050 in Plymouth, Indiana. This is a new technology news feature we hope to continue on every Tech Talk show starting on August 4, 2020. It will be a quick overview of the latest technology headlines in the week leading up to the show. Trump Warns that He will Ban TikTok President Trump said last Friday night that he will ban the popular app TikTok because it poses a national security risk. The app is owned by a Chinese software company. Some claim that the app is piping personal information directly to the leaders of the Communist Party in Beijing. Microsoft Tries to Buy TikTok Microsoft is apparently reopening negotiations with the Chinese owners of TikTok...
Ransomware is Still a Threat and Even the Big Guys Can Get Hit
Computers, Internet, Tech Talk

Ransomware is Still a Threat and Even the Big Guys Can Get Hit

Tech Talk show notes for Tuesday, July 28, 2020. Listen live Tuesday mornings on WTCA FM 106.1 and AM 1050 in Plymouth, Indiana. Sorry for the late post, but this past week has been a busy one! Usually, I try to get my Tech Talk info on the blog information posted the same day, but sometimes work gets in the way. Go figure! But I digress. On the show this week I talked about how Garmin got hit with a ransomware attack. Garmin is well-known for its GPS devices, but they also make a broad assortment of other tech items, particularly wearables. Last weekend, the ransomware attack took down some of Garmin's services and impacted an unknown number of customers. Thankfully, Garmin says that they don't believe any of their customer data was compromised. So when a multi-million doll...
Microsoft Outlook is Crashing and Won’t Even Load when Asked to Launch into Safe Mode
Computers, Internet

Microsoft Outlook is Crashing and Won’t Even Load when Asked to Launch into Safe Mode

Microsoft is actively investigating this problem and will hopefully have a fix for this problem in the very near future. This afternoon on July 15, 2020, Apheus became aware of a problem some users were experiencing when trying to open Outlook. The problem seems to come from a faulty update in Microsoft Office 365. Utilizing the Microsoft forums, we were quickly able to determine that there was indeed an active problem with Microsoft Outlook. From what we have seen, when trying to load Outlook, the app immediately crashes with no recourse. When trying to reopen the app, it prompts the user to start in safe mode, which immediately crashes. Again, there is no recourse or remediation available. We attempted to perform a fix by reinstalling the Office software, which DID NOT fix the...
Should You Buy One of Those Cheap, High-Capacity USB Flash Drives? Probably Not
Computers, Internet

Should You Buy One of Those Cheap, High-Capacity USB Flash Drives? Probably Not

One of my good friends recently purchased a pair of thumb drives he saw advertised in a Facebook ad. The deal was for two 2 TB USB 3.0 flash drives for an amazingly low price of just $15. That's right, a whopping 4TB of storage for just $15. Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? Keep reading... The first clue that something was wrong was the packaging. The package the flash drives came in said: "USB Cable" not "USB Thumb Drive" or "USB Flash Drive" or anything remotely similar. This made my friend suspicious enough that he brought them to me one Sunday afternoon for a closer inspection. Another big clue was the price. If you take a look at reputable brands, not one offers a drive at that low price point. In fact, PNY offers a 1 TB flash drive for $200. The largest SanDisk flas...
Computer Supply Chain Problems in a Pandemic World
Computers

Computer Supply Chain Problems in a Pandemic World

Back in January, I began noticing a problem. I was trying to order computers from my regular suppliers and I noticed that there were none available. According to the inventory system, they would be back in stock in a week or so, so I didn't think it was a big deal. Then the arrival date got pushed back to mid-January, then the end of January. By the end of January, they had pushed back the arrival dates into February. By the end of February, I still couldn't order the computers I needed. My customers were getting frustrated and so was I. They kept pushing the dates back further and further. Of course, by March, most everyone had already heard about the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the globe. But the problem for Apheus began back in January. There were rumors circulating in the ...
Computers, Tech Talk

The May 2020 Update for Windows 10 is Causing All Sorts of Problems, At Least for Some People

Tech Talk show notes for Tuesday, June 23, 2020. Listen live Tuesday mornings on WTCA FM 106.1 and AM 1050 in Plymouth, Indiana. The latest major update for Windows 10 came out on May 27, 2020, and a number of issues have been reported since then. While I have heard rumors and seen the after-effects, I have yet to see any of these problems as described first-hand. Here's a run-down of some the problems people are experiencing: Unable to fully install the update. The update loads to around 90% and simply stops. It appears that there's no real reason for this, although some users are eluding that the Windows registry could be the culprit.The user gets logged out of apps. For some reason, user credentials are lost after a reboot in Chrome and One Drive. Which is odd, s...
Computers, Tech Talk

Troubleshooting a Computer Problem Isn’t Always Successful

Tech Talk show notes for Tuesday, June 2, 2020. Listen live Tuesday mornings on WTCA FM 106.1 and AM 1050 in Plymouth, Indiana. One of the sad truths about computer repair is that we can't fix every problem. Sometimes we fail to even identify the problem. It can be frustrating for the end user, but can be even more frustrating for the IT guy. We're not infallible and we are quite human. Most experienced computer gurus have a set of tools and procedures that we utilize to troubleshoot a computer hardware problem. Some arsenals are quite extravagant, while others (like myself) utilize a pretty basic set of tools. The procedures we use for diagnosing a problem change depending upon the situation (or at least they should). I'm going to highlight a few of the common things ...
Computers, Tech Talk

Protect Yourself from Data Loss with the 3-2-1 Backup Strategy

Tech Talk show notes for Tuesday, May 26, 2020. Listen live Tuesday mornings on WTCA FM 106.1 and AM 1050 in Plymouth, Indiana. The 3-2-1 backup strategy has been around forever. It's a simple and effective method to keep your data safe. It works to protect data loss from fire, flood, tornado, ransomware, hard drive failure, or a multitude of other problems. So let's break down what the 3-2-1 strategy actually is and how it can be applied to home users and small businesses. By the way, this strategy is endorsed by the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security. Three copies of your data. So in a typical home or small business environment, you're going to have one copy of your data on your computer. Follow this up with two ba...