The sun-soaked bank holiday weekend surely marks the end of the flu and cold season, but its always virus season where computers are concerned.
Does my computer have a virus?
If your PC has been taking longer to start up, feels slower generally or the disk access light flashes constantly, there's a chance you may have a virus or malware infection.
Another tell-tale sign is frequent pop-up messages or ads, which suggest your PC may be plagued with adware or spyware. Don't click on these pop-ups and be careful when closing them as some display mock 'close' buttons.
This sort of adware/spyware ranges from frustrating but fairly innocuous, to attempts to deceive you to reveal personal information such as bank account details and passwords.
I think my PC is infected, now what?
There are a plethora of legitimate applications designed to rid your PC of infections and keep it clear, but there is also software designed to look legitimate that is actually a form of malware itself.
Alternatively you could get in touch with PC Repair Pendle and we will do a comprehensive audit of your PC, starting at £20.
If we find active virus or malware infections we will remove them and protect you from future infection. If your PC is clear of viruses and malware there are other potential issues that may cause performance issues, such as disk fragmentation, lack of disk space, memory allocation issues or driver conflict, all of which we would resolve by carrying out a PC Cleanup service.
If you're unsure about how to proceed just get in touch, we're happy to offer advice for free and won't encourage you to spend money with us when it isn't necessary.
So you spilled liquid on your MacBook? Water damaged laptops sit just below screen replacements in the league table of problems we see most often.
Electricity and liquid don't mix!
This seems like a no-brainer: turn your laptop off and leave it turned off.
Sadly we often see water damaged laptops that have been turned back on following the spill, long before it's safe to do so. Putting power through a freshly bathed laptop dramatically increases the chance that you will do serious damage to components.
Let gravity do the work
The inside of laptops are somewhat sealed from the environment, so if you turn your MacBook upside down gravity will encourage the liquid to move away from components and lessen the risk of lasting damage.
Remove the battery and any other attached peripherals. If you know your way around laptop hardware you may also be comfortable removing any hard disk drives and memory, carefully drying those components if necessary.
Now position your laptop on its side with the lid open, leaving it for several hours to ensure any liquid inside the case has worked its way out.
Only use rice as a last resort
There are people who swear by rice as a means of absorbing residual moisture inside drowned phones and laptops, but many tests have suggested placing your laptop in a sealed container with silica gel or cat litter are better options (if available).
It's at this point that we recommend you get in touch with us.
Professional laptop water damage repair
Drop your laptop off at our workshop where we can disassemble it and use a stereo microscope to examine the components for evidence of moisture. We will then remove any residual moisture or corrosion using an ultrasonic cleaner, swapping any irreparably damaged hardware with high-quality replacements.
If components don't need replacing and depending on the volume of liquid involved, this could cost as little as £45. A small price to pay when the alternative is a £1000+ fee from the Apple Store!
Following on from our post last week about the common TalkTalk scam calls that many people are receiving, a brief post today about a similar scam where callers are claiming to be representatives of BT Internet/Broadband or other ISPs.
In some cases the callers will have in-depth account information and may call you regarding a problem you reported with your broadband connection. This is worrying because it suggests that account details are being shared with scammers by BT employees. More commonly the caller has very little information and indeed may claim that you have a BT Internet account when in fact you have an account with a different ISP.
If you encounter the latter scenario you may clarify with the caller that you don't have a BT Internet account, at which point they're likely to tell you that because you have a BT phone line they're still responsible for your connection to the internet. This isn't the case - just end the call at this point as the caller is certainly attempting to defraud. The most common scare tactic they employ is to tell people they have multiple unauthorised devices using their internet connections.
In both scenarios the course of action you should take is similar to what we suggested last week:
If you receive a call from someone claiming to be a representative of BT Internet or your ISP, request a call reference number, hang up the telephone, make certain that the call has been terminated and then call your ISP's customer services department. Explain the circumstances surrounding your call and the ISP in question will be able to verify whether they did indeed contact you
DO NOT take a phone number from the caller and then return the call. It's important that you find your ISP's customer services number online and call it directly
DO NOT visit a website and enter a code when prompted. This is an attempt to gain remote access to your computer
DO NOT provide any bank details over the phone unless you have called your ISP directly
Scammers are able to spoof UK landline numbers and perhaps even your ISP's contact number, so an inbound call from a number that looks legitimate may not be what it seems. Always end the call and dial your ISP's contact number as it appears on their website or on your bill
And as before, if in doubt, give us a call - we're more than happy to offer advice over the phone if it means less people fall victim to these kinds of scams.
If you have concerns that you may have malware installed on your PC or Apple Mac, get in touch with us as soon as possible. There's a good chance we'd be able to remove it before any damage is done. You can either bring your hardware to our workshop in Trawden, near Colne, or we can visit you and resolve the issue during an on-site visit. We also offer a collect and return service, free if you live in the local area.
Over the past few months we've helped a number of people who found themselves victims of scam calls and phishing, with some losing significant amounts of money as a result of their PC being compromised by the scammers. With this in mind we're going to write a number of blog posts over the next couple weeks addressing the more common scams, offering tips on how to spot them and explaining how to better protect yourself.
The first scam we'll address is one that we see most often: the TalkTalk scam call.
As many people will be aware, TalkTalk have themselves suffered a number of security breaches that has led to customers' data being accessed by third parties. The scammers use TalkTalk account details to convince victims that the call is genuine, usually gain remote access to their PC and then install a trojan or other types of malware that allow access to bank accounts.
As the scammers develop more sophisticated methods it's becoming more difficult to tell a scam call from a genuine one. If you follow the advice below you should be able to ensure that you don't fall victim to this particular ruse:
TalkTalk customers can enable CallSafe by calling 1472 from their TalkTalk landline or via the TalkTalk website. CallSafe is not infallible and scammers may still be able to reach you, but it should reduce the number of call that you're likely to receive
If you do receive a call from someone claiming to be a TalkTalk representative immediately request a call reference number, hang up the telephone, make absolutely certain that the call has been terminated and then call TalkTalk's customer services department on 0345 172 0088. Explain the circumstances surrounding your call and TalkTalk will be able to verify whether they did indeed contact you
DO NOT take a phone number from the caller and then return the call. It's important to call TalkTalk's customer services department using the number they provide on their website (0345 172 0088)
DO NOT visit a website and enter a code when prompted. This is undoubtedly an attempt to gain remote access to your computer
DO NOT provide any bank details over the phone unless you have called TalkTalk yourself. TalkTalk may in rare circumstances ask for bank details over the phone but will be happy for you to ask for a reference number, hang up and call their customer services department to verify the call
Scammers are able to spoof UK landline numbers and even TalkTalk's contact numbers, so an inbound call from 0345 172 0088 may not be what it seems. Always end the call and dial TalkTalk's number as it appears on their website or on your bill
If you have identified a scammer you can report the number. If they are persistently calling you, dial 14258 from your TalkTalk landline to prevent further calls
At risk of sounding like we're repeating ourselves... hang up, make sure the call is properly terminated and call TalkTalk using their number as it appears on their website. This simple bit of advice will in almost all cases prevent you from becoming a victim of a scam.
A couple other methods scammers occasionally use:
If someone claiming to be a TalkTalk representative calls you to process a 'refund', follow the golden rule: hang up, call TalkTalk
You may receive an automated call asking you to press a number to speak to an engineer or TalkTalk representative. Simply hang up - this is a premium rate number scam. A similar scam involves a voicemail being left encouraging you to call an 0845 or 0843 number
If in doubt, give us a call - we're happy to offer advice over the phone. If you have any concerns that you may have malware installed on your PC or Apple Mac, get in touch as soon as possible. We may be able to remove it before any damage is done. You can either bring your computer to our workshop in Trawden, near Colne, or we can visit you and resolve the issue on-site. We also offer a collect and return service, free if you live in the local area.