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But, I Have An Anti-Virus!

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There is a huge number of anti-virus software out there for consumers and businesses alike. Of course, some are better than others. But, I won’t get into that arguement now. The biggest misconception is that an anti-virus is the silver bullet for all viruses, which is completely wrong. Anti-viruses are like a bullet-proof vest. You can still get hurt wearing a bullet-proof vest. Just the same, you can still get a virus with an anti-virus.

Anti-viruses rely on things called definitions. These definitions basically tell the anti-virus software what programs or files are viruses and what aren’t. If a virus reaches your computer before the new definitions are downloaded by your anti-virus, your computer will be infected. This is why keeping your anti-virus up to date is so important.

Also, the different anti-viruses have different definitions. Some anti-viruses have larger definitions, some are updated more frequently, and some have even more variations. As a company, we recommend Norton Anti-Virus to our customers. In our professional oppinion, it is the best value. Daily definition updates, competitive price, and ease of use all contribute to the amazing customer satisfaction we recieve with Norton Anti-Virus. To top it all off, we see less computers with Norton in the shop because of viruses than any other anti-virus.

As a word of advice, always make sure your anti-virus is updated. Most anti-viruses nowadays have auto updates included. Be sure to set it to update daily, preferably at a time when you aren’t using it so it doesn’t slow down the computer while you are using it.

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Home Theater, Not Home Theater

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People usually have the wrong idea about home theater systems. People believe it automatically means your own theater in your basement. It can mean that, but for the most part it just means a computer hooked up to your television and used for watching television, movies, and recording your shows you missed. You don’t need the fancy chairs to enjoy it. I have a system I built myself and I use it almost every night.

Home theater systems can be as small or as large as you want. Usually you need an LCD television, usually with HDMI if you want high definition video. The computer doesn’t need to be a big powerhouse. As long as it can handle HDMI, it will be fine. But, it needs a lot of storage space to hold all your HD shows and movies.

Most home theater systems also have a TV tuner in the back so you can record shows, sports games, the new, and anything else you deem necessary. So you can even cancel the monthly payment for a DVR through your cable company!

All in all, a home theater system can be a great addition to your home. They are great for parties, family nights, or a great way to spend an evening. Call Courika today to get a quote for your own home theater system.

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Are Online Backups Right For Me?

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All the time we are bombarded with advertisements teasing about the supposed need for online backups because of possible fires, hard drive failures, alien invasions, you name it. But, we at Courika are constantly asked if online backups are necessary, and in a short answer, they are.

Fires, hard drive failures, and the occasional alien invasion aren’t necessarily common, but you always have that “What if?” factor. What would happen if your house caught on fire? You may have your pictures backed up on a flash drive, but the drive would die in the extreme heat. CDs and DVDs fail at about 200 degrees Fahrenheit, which isn’t that hot for a house fire at all. Old family pictures could be lost, documents for school, tax papers, everything.

This is where online backups come in. With a daily or weekly backup online, everything you want to be saved is saved. The files are backed up onto a server with redundant hard drives (if one fails, the data isn’t lost). It’s always a good idea to have multiple redundancies. Have an online backup, a couple flash drives, and maybe a DVD. That way if one fails, there are always at least two to fail back to.

We are in the information age. Almost everything we do at some point has to go through computers. Whether it is a Point-of-Sales system, a work computer, or a home computer, we use digital files everyday. The only way to ensure complete safety is to have online backups. It’s not a matter of if you will lose data, it is when.

Who-can-fight-Android-malware

Malware or What-Ware?

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All too often I hear people say, “I think I just have a lot of viruses on my computer.” Most people really don’t know what a virus is, or what the symptoms even are. In actuality, there are many types of “baddies” floating all around on the Internet just waiting to attack your computer. Malware is short for the term “malicious software.” Malware is a broad term to encompass everything that is out to cause damage to your computer.

Real computer viruses are pieces of software that are out to cause damage to your files. The term is all too often used interchangeably with malware even though the two are not the same. Viruses are malware, but malware is not always a virus (A rectangle is a square, but a square is not a rectangle). A virus is just made to wreak havoc as much as it can. It will infect a Master Boot Record, delete files and folders, corrupt data, wipe portions of hard drives, etc.

Spyware is another term that is used in place of malware regularly. Spyware is any piece of software that steals information. Any type of information is game for these programs: credit card information, passwords, social security numbers, etc. Spyware is usually trying to steal information for monetary gain. They get the data, and then sell it for a profit. Because of this, the program usually runs without you knowing it. Spyware usually will not slow a computer down or cause data corruption/deletion because then you will get suspicious. Instead it just sits in the corner and watches everything you type, search, download, install, etc.

There is also scareware, which is what I see quite frequently. Scareware comes in many shapes and sizes, but the one people most likely know it as is a fake anti-virus program. The user most likely will do a “Google search” for something along the lines of “free anti-virus” and download the first one that shows up. The fake anti-virus will say that the computer has an absurd amount of viruses, malware, and errors and hold the computer ransom. Usually the anti-virus will not allow the opening of an internet browser, other anti-virus, or other programs because of “potential security risks.” Instead it asks you to pay for the full version of the program to remove the malware and the blocks.

Trojan horses are seemingly harmless files or programs that open a backdoor in the computer to allow more malware or to allow a hacker to gain remote access to your computer. Trojan horses do not replicate themselves, which separates them from viruses.

Lastly, there are worms. Worms infect throughout a network utilizing several security holes. It replicates usually without any user interaction. Therefore, often, the user is unaware that the worm is even present. Because they jump throughout a network using security holes, they can usually be prevented by using your firewall.

There are many types of malware. It’s rather easy to distinguish between them one you know the difference. Or, you could just bring your computer to us at Courika Solutions and let us figure out the difference for you.