Author: Mark Cargill

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New Apple iMac Pro is on the way!

Apple has finally announced, after a good few years of selling the infamous ‘black bin’ Mac Pro, that a new one is on the way.

iMac Pro BlogComing our way December 2017, it will be called the Apple iMac Pro.

Apple are touting this with the strapline ‘The Most Powerful Mac Ever” – and the specs seems to back that up.  This 27-inch space grey workstation class computer will feature (for around $4999 / £3845)

  • A retina 5K display
  • A Xeon-Pro CPU with up to 18 cores(!)
  • AMD’s Radeon Vega GPU
  • Up to 128GB RAM
  • Up to 4TB of SSD HD
  • 4 x Thunderbolt 3 Ports which can support up to two 5K displays
  • 1080p FaceTime Camera
  • 10GB Ethernet

iMac Pro Blog

Having the Xeon V4 class CPU, this is definitely aimed at the Pro user – those interested in graphic modelling or video production work.

The $4999 price tag is for the ‘base’ model with an 8 core Xeon CPU (E5-2620 V4 @ 2.1GHz possibly, but Apple is yet to confirm), an 8GB Radeon Vega GPU, 32GB of 2666Mhz DDR4 ECC RAM and 1TB of SSD storage.

The maxed-out version can have an 18 core Xeon Pro CPU, 16GB Radeon Vega GPU, 128GB 2666Mhz DDR4 ECC RAM and a 4TB SSD HD.  Looking at this maxed-out spec, you can expect to spend…wait for it!  Around $17k!!

This will put this version of the new iMac Pro out of the reach of the average user, but it’s enough to turn even the most modest geek into a quivering wreck.

To sum up, Fully-equipped, the machine Apple will be selling will unquestionably be very expensive — at least for a traditional desktop. But if you consider this to be a professional production workstation, it’s not overly expensive. But if you’re a film company, and it’s time to make another big movie, a $17k workstation (or 4!) is not overly expensive.

EDIT: Apple has a page up on their website for the new iMac Pro, but don’t expect any extra information until the big reveal!

https://www.apple.com/uk/imac-pro/

Hey, I’m from Microsoft and you have a virus on your computer!

Here we go again.. it’s that time of the year

I’m sure you’ve heard that before when you pick up the phone and answer a call from a withheld number.  I think it’s worth talking about this scam that hits our homes – and wallets – time and time again, and especially at this time of the year when Santa is due to do his rounds..

It generally goes like this (in a hard to understand accent)…

Microsoft-virus-scam-blog

Them: “Hi, can I speak to Mr. James”?

You: “I’m sorry, there’s no-one here called Mr. James”

Them: “Ahh, that’s okay, I’m from Microsoft and we have detected a virus / malware on your computer spreading it out onto the Internet and infecting others machines”

You: “Oh!, Really?  What do you want me to do”…

It then generally descends into ‘Them’ pointing you to a website that you can download their software that will let them remove the virus from your computer.  Once you download and follow their instruction to install this ‘miracle’ software, you have inadvertently given them remote access to your computer where they will quickly install the virus / malware they told you was already on your computer.

One of two scenarios will generally now play out…

  • Your computer will become part of a botnet (a great collection of computers on the internet that can then be commanded to do all sorts of nefarious deeds like hack other computers, infect other computers or mine bitcoin etc.
  • Your computer will be infected and then the rep on the phone will tell you this and offer to help you remove it for £££’s, wait until you pay up with your favourite debit or credit card (which they will generally keep the details of, allowing them to use your card some more later on), put the phone down on you and leave your computer in an unusable state.

ParadigmIT’s Tips for dealing with these scammers

Microsoft-virus-scam-blogA few things to remember when you get a call like this…

  • There are millions of PC’s out there running Microsoft Windows – and Microsoft have no access to your computer, ever.
  • How do Microsoft even have your number?
  • Would Microsoft have time to call you? And even if they did, and there was a virus on your computer, see the first bullet point…

Knowing these three things, you can see that Microsoft wouldn’t call you. Ever.  This must be a scammer.

Best thing to do when you get a call like this, hang up the telephone, and if you have a facility on your phone to block the number that’s calling you, do that.

Never do anything to your computer with instructions provided over the telephone – unless you know the person and trust them!

It’s very simple to deal with these scammers – now here’s some of the organisations that these scammers claim to be from…

  • Windows Helpdesk
  • Windows Service Center
  • Microsoft Tech Support
  • Microsoft Support
  • Windows Technical Department Support Group
  • Microsoft Research and Development Team (Microsoft R & D Team)

What do I do if I’ve already done what they ask?

  • Change your computer’s password, change the password on your main email account, and change the password for any financial accounts, especially your bank and credit card.
  • Scan your computer with the Microsoft Safety Scanner to find out if you have malware installed on your computer.
  • Install Microsoft Security Essentials. (Microsoft Security Essentials is a free program. If someone calls you to install this product and then charge you for it, this is also a scam.)
  • Call your bank or building society to check that everything is in order.

How can I report these scammers?

Keep safe out there!  

UK Hit by Ransomware Attack – What does this mean for me?

I guess we’ve all heard about this malware attack that’s hitting us now – very scary stuff – and I hear you ask yourselves:

  • Will this affect me?
  • What do I do if I get infected?
  • How do I stop myself getting infected?

Three very important questions I’m sure are on everyone’s tongue today – and where there are very definite answers:

It could affect everyone, but thankfully there are things that you can do that will reduce your risk, if not remove it all together.

So, what do I do if I get infected?

The answer to this isn’t all straightforward.  You will need someone who is experienced with reinstalling your data and Windows back to a state before the infection (a process called restoring) or someone who can do a complete re-install of Windows from scratch.  You will of course need a recent backup of your data (documents, pictures, music and videos etc.)  If you don’t have a backup, the question that pops up is why not?

One thing that you must not do is pay the ransom – this just funds the criminal(s) that perpetrated this hack in the first place and allows them to continue with further attacks in the future.  Most of these people are tied to organised criminal gangs.

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ParadigmIT can help you with some of these issues – get in touch with us!

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How do I stop myself getting infected?

This is easier than you think.  Here’s my list of top tips

Install Virus protection

This is a must.  ParadigmIT have seen many computers—especially home computers—that don’t have anti-virus/malware protection. This protection is a must-have first step in keeping your computer virus free – and this includes Apple Mac computers!  You also need to keep the virus protection you have installed up to date.  This is usually automatic whenever you connect to the internet.  There are many free virus checkers out there to download and you can look here for a review of some of the best from the Techradar blog.

Run Regular Anti-Virus Scans

Set up your software of choice to run at regular intervals. Once a week is good, but don’t wait much longer between scans. Your computer will run a bit slower while your anti-virus software is running. One thing to do is to run the software at night when you aren’t using your computer, but as we often turn off our computers at night, and so the scan never runs, set your anti-virus software to run on a specific night, and always leave your computer running on that day. Make sure it doesn’t shut off automatically or go to sleep.

Keep up with Windows Updates

Microsoft and Apple both supply updates to your operating system (Windows or MacOS) and you should make sure that when you get notified, you install any updates promptly – this will keep the security of your operating system current.

Secure Your Network (WiFi)

Make sure that when you get your broadband router that you follow instructions supplied with it to change your default WiFi password to something more secure.  Also make sure that you change the wireless encryption to at least WPA2 – this will make sure that all your data flying over your network in the house is encrypted and cannot be seen by hackers.  Also make sure that you change the administrator login to your router to a more secure password – don’t leave the default password in place!

Think Before Clicking!

Avoid websites that provide pirated material like bittorrent sites. Do not open an email attachment from somebody, or a company that you do not know. Do not click on a link in an unsolicited email. Always hover over a link (especially one with a URL shortener) before you click to see where the link is really taking you. If you must download a file from the Internet, an email, an FTP site, a file-sharing service, etc., scan it before you run it. A good anti-virus software will do that automatically, but make sure it is being done.

Backup your files (and… BACKUP YOUR FILES!)

This is the most important tip we can give you.  If you have a backup of your data (documents, pictures, music and videos etc.) then you can do a re-install of Windows or MacOS and copy your backed-up data into the correct place again.  This means that you can recover from a virus or malware disaster more quickly.  There are a lot of cloud based backup services available (Microsoft OneDrive, DropBox, Box and Google Drive to name a few) and most of these will give you a free account and free storage that you can use to copy your data to.

For more information about backing up your data, there’s some good information from the QuickandDirtyTips blog.