Understanding IT

30 September 2023

For all those things you really need to know about IT – Information Technology!
Do those technical abbreviations and crazy inITials make IT all sound like a foreign language? Does IT make your eyes glaze over? Maybe IT makes you run screaming from the room in a fIT of frenzy? I can make IT easier to follow.
  • Trust Your Instincts
    You know what your computer feels like when it's working properly - trust yourself when you get a feeling that something isn't right.

    A change in your browser - from a mysterious home page shift, to an extra toolbar or a search engine that doesn't look the same as it did before... these are all indicators that something malicious has gotten into your computer.  Malware - as we call it - can wreak havoc in small ways that can seriously compromise the security of your computer and everything you do on it.

    At the first sign or symptom of a problem, trust your instinct and run a scan (or ask for help).  Some of my favourite tools are available for free and are pretty easy to use.

    If you find your computer is prone to problems - perhaps you experiment with random free programs from the Internet or you are a fearless browser who is happy to click on links and ads no matter their source - you might benefit from purchasing an active scanner subscription which targets malware like MalwareBytes.
  • Java Updating
    There are some sneaky things lurking on the Internet - a lot of them will try to take advantage of security flaws in older versions of Java so it is important to run the updates when they pop up.  

    Lately, however, there have been some "fakers".  You might be surfing a website, maybe even one you have been at before, but - for whatever reason - that site was compromised and is now infected with a "malware dropper" which tries to fool people by popping up a very legitimate-looking warning - letting you know that you need to update your Java and kindly inviting you to "click here" to proceed.  

    If you happen to fall victim to this ruse - you will be inundated with pop-ups and junk as you have agreed, albeit unwittingly, to install a whole lot of junk onto your computer.  This junk or malware will interfere with the operation of your web browsers (Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox) - changing your home pages and your default search engines among other things.  

    Malware infections can lead to more problems the longer you leave it on your system - as it invites more and more junk to join the party.  It is important to get the mess cleaned up as soon as you realize there is a problem!  And be sure you have up-to-date Antivirus Software as well as Windows Updates.  If you are unsure about the legitimacy of an update notification for Java - the best option is to say "no" then go to www.java.com directly and install the latest version from there.  Be sure to follow through with the verification process which will assist in removing old versions from your computer as even with the newest version, you will still be at risk if you also have older versions.

    If you are unsure about pop-ups and notifications - it is better to ask and be confident that your system is clean and safe, than to ignore it and risk escalating problems that could compromise your privacy and data.

    Tamara is an I.T. consultant with itGurl computer services inc. - specializing in work with non-profit organizations and assisting users (at home and at work) to get the most from their technology.