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October 2015

Stopping Malware Before It Starts

hacker3Malware is a huge concern for computer users, especially those that browse the internet frequently, download software, open emails – basically the average computer user!  However there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to preventing malware.  Here are a few tips and tricks to keep your computer safe and sound.

How does malware get on in the first place?  There are a number of different distribution avenues.  Malware can piggyback with legitimate software (often what happens when you download software from free software sites and file sharing networks).  It can get on your computer through opening email attatchments that are infected.  It can even hop onto your computer from a website without any interaction from you!  This is what is known as a drive by installation and it usually takes advantage of security holes in your browser.

What can you do to prevent these things?  The first step is to install antivirus software and anti-malware software.  These programs will hopefully stop malware before it gets on your PC, or it can remove it quickly if it does get past your defenses.  I recommend Norton software as well as Spyhunter 4 from Enigma software.

Keep up to date on security blogs such as Krebs on Security, CNet, and Martinus Tech.  These blogs will alert you to security holes, patches, risks, and more.  Knowledge is power when it comes to preventing computer catastrophe.  If you know what the threats are you can more easily avoid them.  For example, after reading about a new security threat on Krebs On Security, I updated my browser software.  That’s something I might have slacked on if I hadn’t read that there was a big direct threat to versions of Firefox.

Another thing to do is to always update your software when updates are available.  These updates often patch security holes and will protect you against threats.  I suggest that you always enable auto-updates so you don’t forget to update them.  When you add more and more programs it can be difficult to remember to update them all the time.

Always have a backup of your data as well.  We highly recommend using cloud backup services such as Backblaze and MyPCBackup.  The advantage to these programs is that you don’t have to remember to back up your computer – these programs do it for you.  Also, it’s an offsite backup which can be incredibly valuable in certain situations.  For example, even if you have an external hard drive attached to your computer doing backups all the time, a malware such as a ransomware program can STILL get on those drives if they are continuously connected.

Another thing to do is to avoid bad internet areas such as adult sites, gambling sites, hacking forums, and other shady areas of the internet.  These are more likely to have infections and malware.  Even though any site is liable to get hacked, those areas of the internet (especially adult sites) are well known to be more risky in terms of malware.

Whatever you do, ensure that you’re always prepared to deal with malware intrusions.  Stay up to date and keep informed!



New Surface Pro 4 And Surface Book

surfaceproandsurfacebookAs a lifetime user of Microsoft products (yep, never drank the Apple kool-aid except for my iPhone and iPad) for general work, photo, and video use, I’m super excited to see that Microsoft is making some very cool things lately.  I almost bought a Surface Pro 3 last month, but after doing some research I was convinced to wait for the latest update with the Surface Pro 4.  I’m glad I did, because the new version just came out.

However, I also saw that there is now a Surface Book option.  The Surface Book is more of a laptop type device, and stands to be a bit more powerful.  The attractive factor with the Surface Book is that it is actually much more suited for lap-use than the Surface Pro, which is more of a tablet than a laptop.

So now I am in quite a quandry.  I’m horrible at making decisions, so needless to say that although I was excited about the Surface Book I was also annoyed that now I have to choose!  (Okay, maybe that’s not really a problem).

The thing is, right now I use a standalone computer for video editing, and a laptop for general business use and coffee shop-ing.  I’ve been doing this because I didn’t want to run Premiere on a laptop as it seems it would be handicapped.  But the advancement of hardware has been so great lately that it almost seems possible to run Premiere Pro on a laptop.  The Surface Book’s specs are rather tempting in this regard.

However I also don’t want to feel constrained on ONE workstation.  Of course I would use external hard drives, but having everything on one single machine scares me a little bit.

It would be kind of nice to edit video on the road, although I am not sure how often I would need to do that.

The portability of the Surface Pro 4 is quite attractive – it’s slim and quite light.  And it’s powerful enough to edit photos and maybe do a smidgen of video editing if I had to.  But the thing I would get it for is business work. I hate dragging my laptop around with me when I go on trips – even at 4 pounds it’s still kind of heavy and annoying.

At this point I’m inclined to just get the Surface Pro 4 and save some money and just get a dedicated video editing rig like I usually do.  It would be really fun to have a super light and portable tablet / laptop that has an actual OS on it.

Have you used the Surface Pro?  Are you going to get one?  Are you interested in the Surface Book?  Let us know in the comments!