Islamic State hack targets blind PC users

We received a call from a client where we support his home PC software earlier in the week. This client is visually impaired, and uses screen-reading software to speak out emails and webpages. He reported a rather disturbing message when he turned his PC on – his PC kept saying “Greetings on behalf of the Islamic state. The time of repentance is here”.

He turned his PC off straight away and gave us a call, as he found it quite disturbing to be receiving spoken messages from the Islamic State in his home!

On investigation, it turned out the provider of his screen-reading software, GW Micro, had been the subject of a hack attack in the name of Islamic State, and thousands of other blind users had also receive the same message whilst using their computers.

After a software update and malware check, all was good again, but it’s a somewhat chilling reminder that the world is now more connected than ever, and it’s important to take precautions with our PC, and personal, security.

 

If you need help reviewing your virus protection, make sure to give us a call.

Your Christmas games list 2014 – XBox 360, PS3 and Wii

Here’s article 3 of 3 of our recommendations for the best games for people to buy this Christmas. This time we cover XBox 360, PS3 and Wii.

 

XBox 360

Warning – It’s time to look at getting a new console. The 360 will stop getting good new games soon.

Younger children What is it? Teenagers and adults What is it?
Lego: The Hobbit Fun lego action Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Wacky sci-fi first-person shooter
Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare Fun first person shooter Titanfall First-person shooter with mechs
The LEGO Movie VIdeogame Fun lego action Assassin’s Creed Rogue Historical action adventure

 

PS3

Warning – It’s time to look at getting a new console. The PS3 will stop getting good new games soon.

Younger children What is it? Teenagers and adults  What is it?
Kingdom Hearts 2.5 Remix Cartoony role-playing game Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Wacky sci-fi first-person shooter
Lego: The Hobbit Fun lego action Assassin’s Creed Rogue Historical action adventure
Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare Fun first person shooter Counterspy Stylish stealthy action

 

Wii

Some bad news for you folks – there are no more new games for Wii. It’s time to get a new console 🙁

If you and your kids are still loving the Wii, we recommend upgrading to a Wii U – you can keep playing your old games and use your old controllers.

 

In a later article, I’ll cover my recommendations for “What new console should I buy”?

Your Christmas games list 2014 – Wii U and 3DS

I’ve been getting quite a few questions about the best games for people to buy for their friends and family this Christmas. Here’s article 2 of 3 – my recommendations for Wii U and 3DS consoles.

 

Wii U

Younger children What is it? Teenagers and adults What is it?
Super Smash Bros Wii U Awesome cartoony fighting game Super Smash Bros Wii U Awesome cartoony fighting game
Captain Toad Treasure Tracker Cute platformer Bayonetta 2 Over the top fighting game
Skylanders Trap Team Platformer with action figures Captain Toad Treasure Tracker Cute platformer
Mario Kart 8 Awesome racing game Watch Dogs Open-world action game with hacking

 

3DS

Younger children What is it? Teenagers and adults  What is it?
Super Smash Bros 3DS Awesome cartoony fighting game Super Smash Bros 3DS Awesome cartoony fighting game
Pokemon Omega Ruby Cute monster training and fighting game The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds Action role playing game (RPG)
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds Action role playing game (RPG) Professor Layton VS Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney Detective puzzle game with style
Kirby: Triple Deluxe Cute platformer Shovel Knight Retro platformer

 

 

Part 3 will cover the old-school Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii owners (who need to upgrade their consoles soon).

Your Christmas games list 2014 – PS4 and Xbox One

I’ve been getting quite a few questions about the best games for people to buy for their friends and family this Christmas. So here’s article 1 of 3 – my recommendations for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles.

 

PlayStation 4

Younger children What is it? Teenagers and adults What is it?
Minecraft PS4 edition Minecraft! Far Cry 4 Open-world first person shooter (FPS) with style
LittleBigPlanet 3 Cute platformer and game creator Dragon Age Inquisition Open-world action role playing game (RPG)
FIFA 15 The best soccer game Grand Theft Auto V Open-world do-everything gameplay
Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham The latest cool Lego game Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare The latest military-based FPS
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor Open-world action RPG with orcs
The Last of Us Remastered Story-based action adventure
Metro Redux bundle Atmospheric story-based FPS

 

Xbox One

Younger children What is it? Teenagers and adults  What is it?
Minecraft Xbox One edition Minecraft! Far Cry 4 Open-world FPS with style
Forza Horizon 2 Open-world driving game Halo: Master Chief Collection Remastered versions of the best console FPS
FIFA 15 The best soccer game Grand Theft Auto V Open-world do-everything gameplay
Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham The latest cool Lego game Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare The latest military-based FPS
Forza Horizon 2 Open-world driving game
Sunset Overdrive Over the top shooting fun
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor Open-world action RPG with orcs

 

 

In part 2 of 3, I’ll cover the best games for Wii U and 3DS fans.

Part 3 is for the old-school Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii owners (who need to upgrade their consoles soon).

Next posts coming soon so you can get your Christmas shopping done in time!

Choosing the right Antivirus/Antimalware product for you

Choosing the right security products to protect your business and family has become quite hard, with newer, bigger and more complicated solutions being released all the time.

Unfortunately, as security products get bigger, they also can have a negative impact on your system – slowing it down, and making your computing environment more confusing than it needs to be. We recommend keeping it simple – run the minimum software you need to keep yourself safe.

You should consider the following criteria when selecting a product:

  • How effective is the product
  • How much impact does running the solution make on your system
  • How easy is it to use

In our experience, we have found that some of the well-known security suites have grown very large, and although they can be effective at protecting your system, they also slow it down. This is especially true for older machines.
We have cross-checked the major antivirus comparison sites, and read many reports, and thousands of lines of text to develop our recommendations.

 

Here are our top recommended products, and who should use them (because everyone has different needs).


  Careful Users – limited “at-risk behaviour”

#1 Microsoft Security Essentials Free Download link
#1 Windows Defender Free (included)

Comes pre-installed in Windows 8

[Basically the same as Security Essentials]

#2 Panda Cloud Antivirus Free

Free

This is a bit more effective than the above two – but it’s demoted for being more complex, and popping up occasionally to ask you to buy the paid version

Download link
[Click the green “Panda Free Antivirus / Download Free” button]

 

 Bold Users – some “at-risk behaviour”

#1 ESET Nod32 $ Download link
#2 Kaspersky Anti-Virus $ Download link
#3 Panda Cloud Antivirus Free

Free

(only if you can’t afford the above)

Download link
[Click the green “Panda Free Antivirus / Download Free” button]

Each of these three products has different strengths – contact us to discuss which is right for you.

 

What’s “at-risk behaviour”?

  • Being a business – don’t take chances with your valuable data. If you run a small or medium business, we highly recommend giving us a call – there are additional security measures you need to take.
  • Children using the machine.
  • Downloading pirate software, music and videos.
  • Downloading “mods” for games (like Minecraft).
  • Downloading software from banner ads!

 

Are your systems running slower than when you bought them? Do you need help? Are you running a business?

Contact Bayside PC Services (0408 314 814 or email info@baysidepc.com.au) for prompt assistance!

Fat Duck ballot fail leaves a sour taste for some

Flaws in the ballot system for the iconic Fat Duck Melbourne restaurant have allowed scalpers to exploit the competition system and prevent some legitimate customers from getting a reservation.

The restaurant is only open for 6 months from February next year, so tickets were highly prized, with 89,179 entries registered.

Now, press articles about the opening are filled with negative stories about disappointed customers, rather than positive stories of those who won a table.

It looks like the competition system was easily gamed by IT experts, who are now scalping the tickets for high prices.

We should take this as a salient warning for businesses that competitions, although a wonderful marketing opportunity, can also cause issues if not well run.

 

What went wrong? The Fat Duck ballot system wasn’t set up to decline multiple entries from the same IP address, making it relatively easy to script up fake competition entries and submit hundreds (more likely thousands in total) of fake entries.  Simply checking for duplicate names and phone numbers wasn’t enough, and this should have been detected before they went live with the ballot.

 

It’s important to check your terms and conditions, processes and backend IT systems are all set up to minimise the potential risk to your organisation. Consider using an external service provider to run a second set of eyes over everything before you go public.

 

 

Bayside PC Services perform IT and process audits in Melbourne’s Bayside area.

Give us a call on 0408 314 814 or email on info@baysidepc.com.au for a confidential chat to see if we can help.

Adware and Malware alert – and prevention tips

I’m seeing more and more machines infected with adware, malware and unwanted “crapware“.

This software slows down your machine, can take over your search results, and prevent you getting to the sites you trust. It also opens up the potential for your machine to be hijacked and your personal details stolen.

In severe cases, it can prevent you being able to use your machine at all, or prevent web browsing.

 

So, how do you make infection unlikely?

  1. Make sure your machine is running antivirus software and up to date
  2. Make sure your PC firewall is turned on
  3. Apply all the recommended updates from your Operating System manufacturer (Microsoft, Apple, Linux etc)
  4. Don’t click on banner ads to install “free” tuneup or backup software. This is almost always bogus!

 

In future posts, I’ll cover:

  • My current recommendations for the best paid and free antivirus and antimalware software
  • My favourite virus and malware removal tools
  • How to keep your phones and tablets safe
  • How to keep your identity safe online

 

What do I do if I’m infected?

Contact Bayside PC Services (0408 314 814 or email info@baysidepc.com.au) if you need us to clean up your machines, or install antivirus and malware solutions that work!