Archive for the ‘Antivirus’ Category

The Battle for Your Computer’s Safety

Friday, June 28th, 2013

More is always better, right? Well, in most cases it is. However in terms of using anti-virus protection for your computer, one is enough. While certain programs may have better or different catch rates (How often the program detects issues), or less “false positives” (When a file is incorrectly marked as malicious) and so forth, you do not want to mix these programs together!

If you find a better antivirus program than the one you are currently using, whether it is your personal computer or on a set of computers you administrate – you want to remove the existing program first. On the outside, it sounds ideal to combine products to maximize your protection but what this actually does is increase the strain on your computer greatly.

Think of it in this way – an antivirus program would be similar to an army of medieval knights and your computer is comparable to being your castle. Your army will tirelessly and vigilantly protect the entrances to your castle, while also searching the premises for unwanted things that have snuck by occasionally. Introducing a second antivirus program to your computer would be identical to hiring a new and completely different army while simultaneously employing both to do the same job.

These armies will constantly bicker with each other and try to gain each other’s ground. One army has an entirely separate approach to deal with threats than the other while both defend your data differently. An antivirus program sets up its own system and methods of computer protection. They generally do not like interacting with each other, and your computer’s safety becomes an issue once again. There are further side effects of using multiple programs to achieve protection from viruses, but the main trouble would be programs trying to dominate one another.

Other programs cause fewer issues – something along the lines of anti-malware, or anti-spyware programs. These are suitable to use in conjunction, and are lighter supplements to your total defense plan. It is just the heavy defenders like Norton, AVG, Kaspersky, Avast, Avira, and so forth that do not play nice with each other. Ideally, the ultimate goal for protection is to find one you like with reliable results, and let it operate only with complementary programs.

If you are currently unprotected, we highly recommend getting some form of security, and there are some great free programs. For an antivirus, try using AVG (http://free.avg.com) or Avast! (http://www.avast.com) These are safe and free to download. We also recommend a few additional programs like Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (http://www.malwarebytes.org) and SUPERAntiSpyware (http://superantispyware.com). These tertiary programs specifically target other sources of malicious files.

How To Tell When Your Hard Drive Is Failing

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

There are many different symptoms of a failing hard drive, such as awkward noises, or even blue screening, or your computer might not even run the operating system. All hard drives are destined to fail eventually, so it’s best to be prepared.

How do hard drives fail?

Hard drives fail in many different ways, such as logical failures, media failures, head failures, and mechanical failures. Symptoms that tell you if and when your hard drive could be failing are strange noises, disappearing data and disk errors, your computer stops recognizing your drive, your computer crashes, or just really slow access times. The circuits built into the hard drive that direct traffic of data between the hard drive and the rest of the computer is called the hard drive’s firmware. When problems with the firmware make a hard drive stop working, that is called logical failure. Failure caused by a hard drive getting jarred while the heads are engaged or overheated enough so that the platters get warped may lead to media/head failure. The most common type of hard drive failure is mechanical failure, which happens when the motor burns out, or the bearings get stuck.

Here are some basic diagnostics you can use to make sure it is indeed the hard drive failing:

  1. Check to ensure the power cable is properly connected to the drive.
  2. Ensure the IDE ribbon cable, or SATA data firmly attached and aligned properly.
  3. Master/Slave assignment jumpers are positioned correctly, if the drive has jumpers.
  4. Make sure the BIOS settings for your computer are appropriate for your hard drive.

What can we do to protect your data

Many people don’t use backups; therefore if and when their hard drive fails, all data would be lost, with little chance of recovery. You should plan ahead and employ a backup solution that fits your needs.

Be sure to prepare yourself against a hard drive failure by purchasing a CST Cloud subscription today so you don’t have to risk losing all your data. Other options are on CD Media, flash drives, or external hard drives; however, with those devices you risk the theft, loss, or damage of the device and loss of your data. CST Cloud keeps your backups safely off site, so even in the case of a disaster, you will still have your data.

Why You Don’t Need To Panic Over The Flame Virus

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Why You Don't Need To Panic Over The Flame VirusIt seems like once a year, a computer virus, hacker group, or glitch starts making headlines. Ever since we came out of the digital revolution in one piece, there’s been a percentage of the population that exaggerates every electronic menace to unrealistic proportions.

First it was Y2K, then it was identity theft, and this year it’s the Flame Virus.

Now, obviously, it’s a good idea to take precautions, install and update your antivirus software, and protect your network connection, but the Flame Virus is really not worthy of the panic that it’s instilled in some people. Here’s why:

We’re on Top of it

Antivirus developers are already on top of this malware property. Though the virus has the potential to do a lot of harm very quickly, it can’t seem to act any faster than antivirus coders can. This is why the virus hasn’t really spread in the west after ravaging hundreds of networks in Iran, Pakistan, and India. Firewall security is pretty tight in North America and the UK.

See Also: Cold Snap Technology Services

The Suicide Command

Not only will the Flame Virus be put to rest by any decent antivirus program, the developers of the virus have actually put out a suicide command for the virus, killing it in its tracks the second it activates. Virus developers often code these things for experimental purposes, and while the intentions and end goal of the programmers may be a matter of opinion in some ways, the fact is that the developers have decided to put it to rest.

The Web is Self Correcting to an Extent

The modern framework for the internet is resilient. Viruses spread by the very same channels and principles that the cure for these viruses will spread.

It’s impossible to fully censor and control the web and what people can do. And it’s definitely impossible to try and take the web offline. This is how people are able to so freely distribute viruses, it’s why people can get away with file sharing, and it’s how people learn about viruses and other problems and deal with them so quickly.

You Were Probably Protected to Begin With

As long as you have a good firewall in place and you’re careful about what you download, chances are that you were already safe from the Flame virus to begin with. What a lot of people don’t realize when something like Flame starts to make headlines is that the private companies and users who work at them tend to do pretty well at keeping those types of viruses at bay.

For whatever organized efforts the government might have put into effect, we already had a security framework that more than protected us from the virus. With WPA security settings and the right antivirus software, chances of being infected with the virus were pretty slim from the start.

Caution should always be practiced on the web, but the fact is that most of these online-panics are just that – panics.