Preventing Hacked Emails

Have you ever received an email from a trusted friend where the content of the email was simply a website link which upon clicking sent you to a Viagra website?

These strange emails indicate your email address has been hacked by hackers accessing your contacts and sending off spam garbage and other potential viruses.

How do you deal with this?  The first thing is to answer the following questions in order to narrow down the ways the hacker was able to access your computer in the first place:

  1. Do you have an anti-virus program? In a previous article I indicate the importance of picking a proper anti-virus program.  With the competition of today, most programs offer a 30 to 90 day trial period.  After expiration you can continue to use a slim down version of the program if you choose or just buy the full version.
  2. Is your current anti-virus program set for automatic scans? This is a feature for those who are too busy to do manual scans, especially if you are constantly using the computer.  Automatic scans run behind the scenes so you can continue to do your work.  The computer will operate at a slower pace during this time, but with frequent scans the process can take less than 30 minutes.  This can also be configured to scan your email application and can quarantine suspicious items.
  3. When was the last time you received updates from Windows and actually installed them? If you are on your PC, Windows will automatically notify you of updates.  This is usually an official notification and should not be ignored.  If you are not a PC geek, I recommended that you set your Windows Update to automatic installation.  Hackers love to attack the PC operating systems, and the experts at Microsoft are continually fighting them with new updates.  Installing the updates can take some time.  I recommend it be done before going to sleep or when you will not be using the computer for a few hours.
  4. How often is your computer hacked into? This is something you will have to monitor and take action if you suspect your computer is being controlled by someone else.   Pay particular attention to changes on your desktop, or odd programs that are installed.  If you are pretty competent with PC’s then remove these programs, but only after making sure it isn’t essential for the normal function of your computer.

If you use a good anti-virus program and keep your Windows updates current, but  are still having problems then your computer needs the assistance of a computer professional.  I am available for any questions on Skype: patient.computer.tutor or email: [email protected]

David Goes has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services and computer industry.  He holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Information Systems with cum laude designation.  His expertise is in providing computer solutions that deliver business value and personal efficiency through database management, computer optimization, and online marketing.

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Surfing the Net with Hyperlinks

Hyperlinks (links) are usually used within websites to give the reader more in-depth information on a particular topic.  However, links can also take you to another page on the current website or to an entirely new website, a different company, other article, or a promotional advert.

Let’s say you are on the internet reading an article.  As your scrolling down through the article you come across a link, which is a method of taking you to another location on the internet.  A link may look like text that is underlined, in bold, in a different color, or has a different font.  Here is an example: Patient Computer Tutor.  If you hover over this text with the mouse you will notice the mouse pointer turn into a hand to indicate that clicking on it will take you somewhere else.   Some browsers will show you, usually on the bottom left corner, the address where this link will take you.

Links can open up a new tab on the internet browser, or they can merely open up in the same tab that you are on.  Sometimes this is can be confusing, and you can lose track of a site you were reading.  It is important to keep track and see if the link that you clicked on takes you to a new tab or keeps you on the same tab.  If it keeps you on the same tab, then chances are you can get back to where you were before by merely clicking on your browser’s back button.

If it opened up in a new tab then all you have to do is click on the previous tab to get back to where you were.  This can be very frustrating to those getting started on surfing the world wide web, where an interesting article seemingly just disappears on them.

To insure that the link that you are pressing on opens up in a new window or tab just do the following steps.  You can practice by using the Patient Computer Tutor link above.  Here are the steps:

  1. Using the mouse, hover over the link.  The mouse pointer will turn into a hand.
  2. Once the hand appears, right click with the mouse.
  3. A small pop-up window will appear with several options.
  4. Choose “Open link in new tab.”
  5. The article will remain and a new tab will open with the new location.

Opening links individually with its own proper tab is like laying out different pages on a desk.  The tabs at the top represent where the pages are on the computer.

We hope this computer tip was helpful.  I am available for any questions on Skype: patient.computer.tutor or email: [email protected]

David Goes founded Patient Computer.  He has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services and computer industry.  David holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Information Systems with cum laude designation.  His expertise is in providing computer solutions that deliver business value and personal efficiency through database management, computer optimization, and online marketing.

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A Computer Fairy Tale – A Strategy for PC Maintenance

Is my computer completely protected and clean once I have an anti-virus program?

The answer is No.  There are simply too many malicious schemes out there; it is hard to cover them all with one program.

Consider this:  Let’s pretend your computer is a castle.  To get inside your castle everyone needs to pass through the armed anti-virus guard at the entrance.  You are the King or Queen of your castle and you let anyone you choose into your castle.  Let us suppose that you love to have a lot of parties and you invite all types of website guests to your computer party.  Most of these guests will leave your castle when the party is over, but some will get lost in such a big place and never leave.  Some will have made a mess like little monkeys that love to swing from one point to the next, while others may have given you gifts of appreciation that are really more like innate little creatures.

As you can guess, you will need more than just a guard at the front door to keep your castle secure and clean.  You might need a PC cleaning lady to keep the place tidy and sort out those gifts.  A PC handyman will be needed to restore, repair, or replace all those little bits that may have been torn, broken, or misplaced during the party by those little monkeys.

You many not see the need for this extra help after one small website party, but if you have one every day with all types of guests, eventually it will become obvious that you need to add to the castle staff.

On my next post I will give you some recommendations so you can be the King or Queen of your PC Castle and live happily ever after.

David Goes has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services and computer industry.  He holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Information Systems with cum laude designation.  His expertise is in providing computer solutions that deliver business value and personal efficiency through database management, computer optimization, and online marketing.

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File Converter for MS Office Documents

Are you having problems opening documents in Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint that someone gave you or sent to you through email? These strange documents come from the latest versions of MS Office 2007/2010 and end with a file extension of .docx (for Word), .xlsx (for Excel), and .ppsx (for PowerPoint). This is a different file extension than the 2000/2003 version of MS Office, which does not have the “x” (i.e., .doc, .xls, and .pps).

So what do you do now with these documents? Will you have to buy a new version of MS Office to open these files and keep up with the times?

There is no need to worry. The people at Microsoft aren’t quite that sinister. There is a free file converter that changes the file format of the previous version of MS Office. Once downloaded and installed, it will allow you to read, modify, and save the files in a format that you can use. Here is the link to the Free File Format Converter so that you can stretch the use of your current MS Office software for a few more years. Simply download and follow the step by step instructions. This is a savings of approximately €130/$150.

If you have difficulty with the file converter, I am available for any questions on Skype: patient.computer.tutor or email: [email protected]

David Goes has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services and computer industry. He holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Information Systems with cum laude designation. His expertise is in providing computer solutions that deliver business value and personal efficiency through database management, computer optimization, and online marketing.

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Computer Tip – Website Viewing

Do you have difficulty sometimes reading or viewing a website because the print is too small (or too large)?  If so, try the following:

To enlarge:

  1. Go to the website you want to enlarge
  2. Press and hold the <Ctrl> key
  3. Next, start pressing the <+> key (the plus sign is usually found on the number keypad)
  4. The view of the website will start to enlarge with each press of the <+> key
  5. Continue pressing the <+> key until you reach the desired size of text

To reduce:

Follow the same steps as above except instead of pressing the <+> key, press the <-> key (the minus sign key is also easily found on the number keypad).

There is no need to squint your eyes or bring your head closer to the screen.  These two simple strokes will do the job nicely and provide you with a bit more control of the internet.

I am available for any questions on Skype: patient.computer.tutor or email: [email protected]

David Goes has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services and computer industry.  He holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Information Systems with cum laude designation.  His expertise is in providing computer solutions that deliver business value and personal efficiency through database management, computer optimization, and online marketing.

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Picking Proper PC Protection for Anti-virus

When buying a brand new computer you will find that it comes with a pre-installed anti-virus program, which often has a trial period lasting anywhere from 30 to 90 days before a pop-up alerts you to shell out some more cash.

I have found that most clients do not know what to do when that pop-up window appears.  They usually are thinking “Should I purchase this anti-virus program?”, “Is there something better out there?”, or “Can I just do without it and save the money?”.

First of all, you can’t do without it.  There are so many malicious programs out there that it would be similar to going for a cruise without a life vest or life boat.  You might make it, but it’s not worth the risk.

Next, you can probably do better than what they gave you.  Norton and McAfee are the most common pre-installed anti-virus programs, but they are too expensive and they are too unruly.  In other words, they have a tendency to slow down the speed of your computer and they are not the easiest to use.

So what do you look for in a program?  You will need to find out if it can do the job without slowing down your computer and if it is easy to use.  My two recommendations are AVG Free Anti-virus and Avast! Free Anti-virus.  They are free to use and easily accessible via download.  Yes, they have a 30 – 60 day trial, but upon that period you have a choice of buying the full version or using a slim down version of the program for as long as you want.  You will still receive the necessary updates, and the occasional promotional pop-up, but it will do a fine job.  When you get accustomed to it and you think you need the other bells and whistles, then you can buy it at that point as well.

I am available for any questions on Skype: patient.computer.tutor or email: [email protected]

David Goes has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services and computer industry.  He holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Information Systems with cum laude designation.  His expertise is in providing computer solutions that deliver business value and personal efficiency through database management, computer optimization, and online marketing.

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Computer Tip – Where are my Bookmarks?

It is important to back-up your bookmarks, especially when doing an upgrade.  This is a step that is often forgotten.

Creating a back-up of your bookmarks is easy to do.  Once your bookmarks are backed up, it will create a JSON file.

Here are the steps:

1. Install Mozilla Firefox and go through the steps.  Read my article on the reasons why it is better than Internet Explorer (IE).

2. Start up Mozilla Firefox.

3. Go to Bookmarks > Organize Bookmarks > Import and Backup > Restore > Choose File…

4.  Select the JSON file you backed up.

5. Click Yes to overwrite backup.

This also works if you are changing your web browser from IE to Mozilla in which Mozilla will find your favorites from IE.  But make sure you back up your bookmarks just in case.

I am available for any questions on Skype: patient.computer.tutor or email: [email protected]

David Goes has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services and computer industry.  He holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Information Systems with cum laude designation.  His expertise is in providing computer solutions that deliver business value and personal efficiency through database management, computer optimization, and online marketing.

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Computer Tip – How to deselect multiple files

To deselect a file from a group once a group of files is selected:

  1. Press and hold the <Ctrl> key and click on the item(s) you want to deselect
  2. The mouse can also be used in place of the <Ctrl> key
  3. Once all items are selected, release the mouse or <Ctrl> key
  4. The items should still be selected, if not, repeat steps above
  5. Right click on any one of the selected items
  6. Choose what you want to do (delete, copy, or move, etc.)

In my next post, I will show you how to “select” multiple files.  I am available for any questions on Skype: patient.computer.tutor or email: [email protected]

David Goes has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services and computer industry.  He holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Information Systems with cum laude designation.  His expertise is in providing computer solutions that deliver business value and personal efficiency through database management, computer optimization, and online marketing.

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Computer Tip – How to select multiple files

To select multiple files in a directory or messages next to each other:

  1. Using the mouse, click once on the first file or message (no double-clicking) to highlight it
  2. Then let go of the mouse once the item is highlighted
  3. With one hand, press the <shift> key down on the keyboard
  4. With the other hand, use the arrows (up, down, left, right) to start the select process
  5. Once all items are selected, release the arrow keys first
  6. Then release the <shift> key
  7. Right click with the mouse on any one of the selected items
  8. Choose what you want to do (delete, copy, move, etc.)

To select files or messages NOT next to each other:

  1. Click on first item
  2. Press and hold the <Ctrl> key down on the keyboard
  3. Using the mouse, click on the rest of the items
  4. Once all items are selected, release the <Ctrl> key
  5. Right click on any one of the selected items
  6. Choose what you want to do (delete, copy, or move, etc.)

In my next post, I will show you how to “deselect” multiple files.

I am available for any questions on Skype: patient.computer.tutor or email: [email protected]

David Goes has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services and computer industry.  He holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Information Systems with cum laude designation.  His expertise is in providing computer solutions that deliver business value and personal efficiency through database management, computer optimization, and online marketing.

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HTTP versus HTTPS

In this world of uncertainty many times we are made to worry about so many things that we don’t know whether to turn right or left.  This is further compounded if we are new or in the process of learning how to use the personal computer and the internet.

Some tips were shared to me on how to keep your personal and financial information safe.  And avoid major problems.

Which websites are safe and which are not?

  1. HTTP stands for Hypertext Transport Protocol, which is just a fancy way of saying it’s a protocol (a language, in a manner of speaking) for information to be passed back and forth between web servers and clients.  The important thing is the letter S which makes the difference between HTTP and HTTPS.  The S (big surprise) stands for “Secure”.
  2. If you visit a site, look at the address in the web browser.  It will likely begin with the following: http://.  This means that the website is talking to your browser using the regular ‘unsecured’ language.  In other words, it is possible for someone to “eavesdrop” on your computer’s conversation with the website.
  3. Without an S at the end, any information you provide when filling out forms online may be seen by someone else. This is why you never, ever enter your credit card number in an http website!
  4. But if the web address begins with https://, that basically means your computer is talking to the website in a secure code that no one can eavesdrop on. This is so important when a website asks to enter your credit card information.
  5. Make it a practice to automatically see if the web address begins with https://.

Feel free to share this with others to help all of us feel a little more at ease.  I am always available on Skype: patient.computer.tutor for any questions.  Or you can email me directly at: [email protected].  

David Goes has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services and computer industry.  He holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Information Systems with cum laude designation.  His expertise is in providing computer solutions that deliver business value and personal efficiency through database management, computer optimization, and online marketing.

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