8 tips for extending the life of your smartphone’s battery

Article on Eight tips for extending the life of your smartphone’s battery for Android’s and iPhone’s:

Eight tips for extending the life of your smartphone’s battery

Lee Garvin
LG Computers & Consulting Services
PO Box 413
Amherst, NY 14226-0413
(716) 563-7367
~We are an A+ Better Business Bureau Accredited Company~

Computer Security & Data Protection: Important Information & Ways to Protect it

LG Computers: Computer Security & Data Protection

With the great increase in malicious Spyware and Viruses, it is more important than ever to make sure your computer and data are protected from these unwanted threats.  A couple of key factors to protecting your computer are making sure that your critical Windows security updates are installed, you have Antivirus software which automatically updates itself on a regular basis, and that your personal data on your computer is backed up.(General software updates are very important as well, for example Adobe Reader, Flash Player, Sun Java, and other critical software.)

Windows updates and Antivirus protection can be viewed as simple matters to address, but how to backup your critical data is a crucial issue.  One can use USB jump drives, USB external hard drives, Optical media, such as CD’s or DVD’s for backup, or subscribe to an online backup service.  I recommend that you use a mix of these options for backup.  If you backup to an external device, be sure to keep it in a safe place.  If you are carrying it with your laptop or leaving it next to your desktop, and your business or residence gets broken into or damaged by flooding or a fire, your valuable data is gone.  How valuable are your irreplaceable photographs, word documents, tax files, music, and other files you have stored?

I can help with excellent recommendations for a backup plan tailored to your personal or business needs!  For example, if you have many photographs on your computer, burn them to DVD’s and make a few copies.  Store a copy in a safe place and give a copy to a friend or relative who would keep this copy for you and also may enjoy having a copy of the photograph’s as well. This way if your computer hard drive fails, your computer is lost or stolen, or other catastrophe strikes, your pictures are not lost and you have means to recover them. The cost of replacing a failed hard drive is nominal compared to the loss of data if you are not backing up your data.

Lee Garvin
LG Computers & Consulting Services
PO Box 413
Amherst, NY 14226-0413
(716) 563-7367
~We are an A+ Better Business Bureau Accredited Company~

System Security 101


Keep your software up to date

Your computer and mobile device have an Operating System and applications. Software is complex and often has minor bugs. Hackers exploit these bugs to install malicious software. Malware, short for malicious software, can capture everything that you type including account names and passwords and send it to scammers. The scammers then use the information to access your accounts.

Fortunately, device makers and application developers are very diligent about providing updates to the Operating System and Applications. You should keep your system and applications updated to the latest releases. The best way to do this is to select automatic updates for your system and applications where they are available. This can normally be managed through the control panel on Windows and under Preferences on MacOs.

In addition to the Operating System updates, it is important to keep applications up to date too because these are just as vulnerable. The most popular applications are often targets for hackers. These include:

  • Web browsers including Internet Explorer, FireFox, Safari
  • Sun Java
  • Microsoft Office
  • Adobe Reader
  • Adobe Shockwave
  • Adobe Flash Player

When security updates are published, the vendor usually indicates the problem that was fixed. So, even if the hackers did not know before the fix was published, they will know where to look after it is published. It is important to stay current because the hackers will exploit systems that do not have current security patches.

Use a Password on your PC

In most cases, if a thief can access your PC or mobile device they can immediately access your email too. This makes it easier to attack your online accounts and steal personal information.

You should use a password on your personal computer. If someone has access to your system for even a few minutes they can install malware. If your computer is stolen, it will make it harder for the thief to access information on your system. Even if the thief eventually does access your system, you will have more time to change your online passwords including your email and other passwords.

Creating a strong password is very important.   Simple ways to create a strong password is using a 3 instead of an E, the @ instead of an A, the $ instead of an S, the ! instead of an I, a 1 instead of an L, or a Zero instead of an O.  Make sure your passwords are at least 8 characters, using upper and lower case, numbers, and symbols.  Refrain from using dictionary words unless you are using a symbol in place of one or more letters.

Use a PIN on your device

You should use a PIN to lock your mobile device. If a scammer temporarily accesses your device, they could access your email or personal information. Don’t select a trivial PIN like 1234 or 1111 since these are the most common and most easily guessed. Don’t use your birth month and day like 0317 since people that might casually know you easily guess this. Instead, think of a word that you can remember and spell the word with the numeric pad. For example, imagine a Blue Cow and enter 2583, which is B-L-U-E on the numeric pad.

You should have the screen auto-lock on your device after a few minutes of inactivity. Use a short time out like 3 minutes so that there is a smaller chance of someone accessing your information.

Unfortunately, only 50% of mobile phone users have a PIN on their device. Don’t be one of these people. Imagine that someone found or stole your phone, then started calling everyone in your address book at 2 AM. You would feel very foolish when it is such easy protection to enable the PIN.

Malware Defense: Install Anti-Virus Software

Viruses or Malware are Malicious Software that can be installed on your system through security holes or user actions. Someone may send you an infected file, or you may download something that seemed safe. Just like a human virus, malware can be spread in many ways and it is usually unclear how it got onto your system. Anti-Virus software can help prevent the installation of new malware and will detect most malware if it does get installed.

If malware gets on your system, it can capture everything you type like the passwords to your email account and other online accounts. These can be sent back to scammers that will access your accounts causing financial problems and embarrassment. Malware can read all the files on your system including your email, your financial records, and personal information. Malware can also take over your system to send out SPAM emails, or to attack other people’s accounts. If malware takes over your system, you are not just a victim; your system will be part of the problem.

Anti-Virus software can run scheduled checks and checks for incoming email for malware that snuck onto your system. Traditionally, malware has been a problem for PCs but more malware is being seen on mobile operating systems like Android and iOS. So, consider Anti-virus protection for your tablet and smartphone.

Anti-Virus software won’t catch everything so you still need to be wary, but it will catch most things. There are a variety of good Anti-Virus products available and I recommend Free Avast Anti-Virus. Be sure to enable automatic updates because the Anti-Virus vendors are constantly identifying and addressing new threats.

Be Careful What You Click

Some malware targets vulnerabilities like bugs in the software on your computer. Other malware masquerades as games or screen savers, just waiting for you to install them. One common strategy is to display a fake virus test and tell you that you have a problem and need to download some software to be secure again. But the software that you are persuaded to download is actually the malware!

Malware can come from website downloads or attachments in emails. If you receive an unexpected email from someone with an attachment be suspicious. If the email has only a short non-personal message like “Hey! Look at this cute puppy!” or “This is funny!” with an attachment be even more suspicious. Check the sender’s email address, if you are in doubt. If you are still in doubt and think you need to see the attachment, call the sender and ask. You may find out that the sender’s email account was hacked (perhaps from a bad attachment) and is now being used to send out malicious SPAM.

Anti-virus software will help protect you against bad attachments and bad downloads, but it won’t protect you from everything and is not a substitute for common sense. Remember that even the best anti-virus software is vulnerable if you don’t keep it up to date.

Mobile Security

Don’t forget about your smartphone and tablet. Most people don’t secure these as well as they should, and that by following a few simple tips, you can have greater security and better peace of mind:

  • Always activate a PIN or lock function for your mobile device: A PIN is the simplest and most important thing you can do to ensure security on your mobile device especially if it is lost or stolen.
  • Automate software updates: Many software programs automatically connect and update to defend against known risks. Turn on automatic updates on your mobile device if that’s an available option.
  • Use common sense when downloading apps: Unknown or repackaged apps can contain malware designed to steal financial information from a mobile device, so always purchase or download apps from companies that you trust and check reviews. When installing new applications, review permissions and decide whether you’re comfortable granting the access that an application asks for.
  • Enable “Find My Device”: If your phone, carrier, or antivirus software supports the “find my device” feature, it’s a good idea to activate it. This functionality will help you find your device if it’s lost or stolen, and lock it or wipe it clean remotely if you need to.
  • Backup your device: It is critical to backup your device on a regular basis. Some operating systems offer this option as an automated service. If you ever need to exercise the remote wipe feature mentioned above, you will be glad you have a current backup that you can recover to a new device.

Lee Garvin
LG Computers & Consulting Services
PO Box 413
Amherst, NY 14226-0413
(716) 563-7367
~We are an A+ Better Business Bureau Accredited Company~

Beware of Windows 10 – Stay with Windows 7

Beware of Windows 10 – Stay with Windows 7

“Why NOT to upgrade to Windows 10”

As of this post, Windows 7 is still the recommended operating  system.  This YouTube video is excellent and explains why I would NOT upgrade to Windows 10.

Katherine Albrecht: Windows 10 Is Full Blown Electronic Tyranny

LG Computers has new and off-lease computers for sale with Windows 7.  Also, you can still order computers from Dell and HP with Windows 7 installed.

Avoid Windows 10

Windows Internet Explorer 11

Microsoft Internet Explorer 11 can cause many users problems while surfing the Internet.  Internet Explorer 11, the latest web browser available from Microsoft, has many new features, but some web sites are not compatible with this latest version of the browser.  So what can you do?   LG Computers has always supported and recommended Internet Explorer, but with the release of Internet Explorer 11, we are recommending installing a secondary web browser on your computer.  Mozilla Firefox makes an excellent alternate browser for those web sites that do not function correctly with Internet Explorer 11.  Mozilla Firefox is a free web browser, which can be downloaded from here: http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/all/  Contact us if you have any questions or require our Professional Services.

Windows XP End-Of-Life

On April 8th, 2014 Windows XP will no longer be supported by Microsoft.  (Windows XP End-Of-Life: So you won’t even be able to get security patches, and your computer will be open to newly-discovered threats with no way to protect you.)  Windows 7 64-Bit Professional is what is being recommended and deployed in business environments.  Windows 8 is drastically different, has a huge learning curve, and does not work with some hardware and software; and is not recommended for business use.  Unlike the retail stores that are only selling computers with Windows 8, LG Computers has new and off-lease computers with Windows 7 Professional.   Our new computers come standard with a 3 year warranty, and can be upgraded to a 5 year warranty for a nominal cost.

If you are a home user with Windows XP using your computer for basic web surfing and word processing, it is not imperative to upgrade to a newer operating system.  It is important to make sure that you have up to date Anti Virus software installed and are using a router / firewall between your computer and modem.  LG Computers has router / firewalls available.