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!  

Still want Windows 10 for free?

Windows 10 Blog - October 2017So the free upgrade for Windows expired on 29th July 2016.  Apparently not!

What happened after the free upgrade deadline passed?

The annoying tool to try and get you to upgrade to Windows 10 stopped popping up.

Prices for Windows 10 range from £15 to just under £200 on the web.

However, it turns out you can still upgrade for free using a number of methods.

Windows 10 Blog - October 2017How?

Limitations?

The upgrade provides you with a digital license.  That license is tied to that device so, even if you have to reformat the disk and perform a clean installation of the same edition of Windows 10 you won’t need a product key, activation is automatic.

Microsoft Media Creation Tool

To use the tool you need to run it from a Window 7, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 machine.  Although you can download the ISO file and load it onto a USB stick yourself.

Assistive Technologies

People who USE assistive technologies still quality for the free upgrade, though Microsoft doesn’t ask for any evidence that you actually use such tools.

“You qualify for the free upgrade if you use assistive technologies, which include such features as a magnifier to better see the screen, a narrator to read text aloud, keyboard shortcuts and an on-screen keyboard. Such tech is “designed to provide additional accessibility to individuals who have physical or cognitive difficulties, impairments, and disabilities,” according to Microsoft.”

Source: CNET.com – https://www.cnet.com/uk/how-to/microsoft-windows-10-free-upgrade-offer-assistive-features/

Windows 10 Blog - October 2017The future?

So, when will Microsoft publicly adopt the Apple approach of making the OS upgrades free?

Is this free upgrade option just an oversight on their part?

If it is an oversight and you still want to upgrade to Windows 10 but haven’t because of the cost, then you may now consider upgrading whilst its still free.

 

Check out this article from ZDNet for more information on upgrade options – http://www.zdnet.com/article/heres-how-you-can-still-get-a-free-windows-10-upgrade/

 

If you do a search on the web, you will find quite a few articles about the upgrade, but if you feel that ParadigmIT can be of assistance then please get in touch.

iPhone 8 and iOS 11

iPhone 8 and iOS11 Blog - October 2017Almost three weeks now with iOS 11 and just over two weeks with the new iPhone 8 Plus.

There’s a new article or twitter feed almost every day talking about new features or the changes in the new phone and iOS so I thought I would add a few practical points that I’ve found.

Thoughts so far?

Positives

  • loving the quality of the display,
  • loving the speed,
  • loving the screen size on the iPhone 8 Plus
  • not noticing the increase in weight too much.

The bigger issue is that it doesn’t fit in my back pocket quite as nicely as my old 6 did, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  In fact I ran a 10km at the weekend and didn’t notice any difference having the larger phone strapped to my arm.

What’s making a bigger difference?

iOS 11!

  • Small touches such as the ability to hand draw an image into an email is a great addition.
  • Liking the new control centre.
  • Like the additional features for adding content to iMessages.
  • Files App (though this is long overdue and I think of most benefit to those who also have a Mac laptop or desktop!)
  • Loving the new dock on the iPad for quick access to recently used apps.
  • Liking the new Quicktype keyboard on a iPad, much easier for entering numbers and symbols, though it does take some getting used to.

Going from a 6 to a 8 Plus?

  • I love using ‘Hey Siri”; especially useful when changing the music in the car.
  • I’m struggling with the emergency call feature when I’m putting the larger phone into my current car holder, I keep pressing the side button and a volume button at the same time (learn more about the emergency SOS feature)

As always there are the reports about battery drain but I haven’t noticed it, and as always you can tweak your settings to help, for instance you can adjust the displays brightness.

Other changes I’ve had to make since moving to iOS 11:

  • Moved to Outlook iOS app for Office365 email accounts due to an initial issue that iOS11 had with Office365 accounts.  It’s not a bad thing in that Outlook has a lot of nice features.  One thing that it does not do though is suggest where you want to move an email to.  Each time I want to file away an email I have to scroll through my folder list.  iOS’s native mail app has always been very good at suggesting where you want to move messages to.
  • The move to only 64bit apps has made me tidy up my app list.  Again not a bad thing and there’s only one app that I miss and that is simply because the provider has chosen to produce a new 64bit but it misses one major feature

Disappointments?

Major one is the lack of native support for the Apple Pencil on the iPad Pro.  Finding that OneNote is my best app for using the pencil and fitting in with my current usage, rather than having to start using a new app and working how to integrate it with usage patterns.  Anyone else find it strange that Microsoft have the better writing app on an iOS device?

Accessories

As with every new gadget there’s always the accessories.  So far I’ve also had to buy, or am looking to buy, the following:

  • new case
  • new running arm band
  • new wireless charging mat to make use of the wireless charging
  • new wireless charging mat and phone holder to make use of the wireless charging in the car and still be able to use the phone for Sat Nav
  • new headphones

I’ve now moved to wireless headphones given the larger phone and the lack of headphone jack.  In the end I went for AirPods rather than Beats, but that was a personal choice given the circumstances I use headphones in (generally only one headphone in place for running, and a need to use the microphone).  Read this great article about Beats versus AirPods. What’s taking some getting used to is the interaction between the phone, the watch and the AirPods, but that’s a learning curve which I’m gradually making my way round.

All in all?

Loving my iPhone 8 Plus, yes its costly and there is no cheaper middle ground with a 128Gb version, but it’s a great phone.

Will I regret not waiting for the X?  Time will tell.  But I love the Touch ID, and from what I have seen about the facial recognition it’s not there yet for me.  If I could unlock the phone with facial recognition and then get to the homescreen using Siri then I may have waited, but I still have to have my thumb on the screen to go to the Home screen, and in the summer I like to wear shades so facial recognition just wouldn’t work for me!

Timbuk 3 were right when they said “The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades“, its just in this case Apple weren’t listening 😉