Signs of Hard Drive Failure

So what is a hard drive? It’s a mechanical device. A spinning (in some cases up to 15,000 rotations per minute) magnetic disc that deals with long term storage of data. It has an arm that moves across the magnetic disc, wherein the space between the arm and the magnetic disc is smaller than a human hair. (Not a lot of room for error, huh?). The hard drive contains all the information on the PC. From the Operating System, to the installed programs, and that data they produce. It’s all contained on the hard drive.   Failure Is Inevitable   All hard drives fail. All brands, all sizes, and all speeds. They’ll fail. It’s not a question of “if?”, but “when?”. We’ve seen hard drives fail that are literally brand-new fail or be dead-on-arrival. Albeit, that’s rare, but we’ve seen it. And we’ve seen hard drives that are 10+ years old still kicking. Again, rare, but possible. The average lifespan of a hard drive is roughly 3-5 years.   Protect Yourself Against Hard Drive Failures   The best way to protect yourself against hard drive failures is to have a solid backup and disaster recovery plan BEFORE your hard drive...

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Personalized Email Scams With Stolen Passwords

Email and phone scams are as old as time. There’s the classic “Nigerian Prince Scam” that we’re sure we’ve all gotten at some point in time. And believe it or not, that scam still exists must still work sometimes. If it didn’t work, the bad guys wouldn’t try it anymore. Then there’s the “sextortion”/blackmail email scam that goes a little something like this (and we’re paraphrasing): “I’m a hacker, I broke into your computer and caught you browsing pornography (or stole nude photos of you). Pay me X amount of dollars in Bitcoin (or some other untraceable means of payment) within X amount of time or I’m going to reveal your dirty little secret to everyone you know….” Obviously, the bad guys are using fear tactics here, and it’s worked for them at some point in time or again, they wouldn’t try it. However, in the past year we’ve seen an exponential increase in more personalized email scams (and not exclusive to the sextortion/blackmail scam) wherein the bad guys will reference either some current password you use. Or some password you’ve used in the past. Another paraphrased example would be: “I’m a hacker. I broke into your computer, caught you...

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Microsoft Says Don’t Use Internet Explorer As Your Primary Browser

In short, a recent blog post from Microsoft is urging people to stop using Internet Explorer as their primary/default web browser. Why? Chris Jackson, with Microsoft, is quoted as saying, “You see, Internet Explorer is a compatibility solution. We’re not supporting new web standards for it and, while many sites work fine, developers by and large just aren’t testing for Internet Explorer these days”. So what does this mean for you? Well, there are certain situations where one might be forced to use Internet Explorer for specific websites one uses. Namely, because those websites were developed in the backend to be used specifically with Internet Explorer. Often, these are websites with a specific business function in mind. Of course, there isn’t some master list of what websites work best in or only with Internet Explorer out there. So if you’re unsure, check with the makers of the website to find out which browser is best for compatibility purposes. Otherwise, use either Microsoft’s Edge Browser (part of Windows 10),  Chrome, or Firefox for your general Internet browsing purposes. We’re partial to the Chrome browser, but not because it’s perfect or completely free of security issues. No browser is.