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By Sandia Computers 09 Feb, 2017
When we say we provide the best products in the market, we mean it. It comes a long way in the end; not only will our customers be satisfied with the product, but will guarantee that our job was well done. For us it is a commitment to bring reliability and durability to our customers; a reason why we are proud to use Vipre Anti-Virus. Vipre for the year 2016 received Top Product Award from AV-Comparatives, the world's independent authority on antivirus performance.

AV-Comparatives also awarded Vipre the 2016 Whole-Product  Dynamic "Real-World" Protection. Not only did judges rule Vipre excellent in terms of protecting your system from attacks, but also easy to install, clean, modern, and with simple help instructions, giving the peace of mind that your system is in good hands. 

If you have Vipre installed let us know how you're enjoying it by visting our Facebook page. If you would like to install Vipre on your system, stop by and see us, our team will be more than happy to upgrade your antivirus. 

For more information about Vipre you can visit them here: www.vipreantivirus.com
For more information about AV-Comparatives visit them at: www.av-comparatives.org

By Sandia Computers 30 Jan, 2017
Its true, Windows Vista will be part of the past, along with Windows XP and previous operating systems. Microsoft will be ending their "Mainstream Support" by April 2017. What does this mean? It means users won't be receiving security updates, reliability updates, or receive any technical support for their Vista systems; which also means you may be at risk of getting information compromised by using your system. 

So what are your options?
In the end it narrows down to transition to a new system, with either Windows 7, 8.1 or Windows 10. Although Microsoft has already forcefully upgraded many users into Windows 10 this past year; some are in a huge dilemma whether or not to love Windows 10. But for most it has been a nightmare and gladly there is a solution for that.

The solutions would vary on your preference, whether you want a system that will be similar to Vista and purchase a system with Windows 7 or if you indefinitely want to be innovative and willing to learn a new operating system, and buy a system with Windows 10. As you can see there aren't many options. Sandia Computers carries Windows 7 machines for those who love the Vista interface. Windows 7 will still be supported for another three years (2020), giving users time to still have an operating system with support and security updates. Not only that, but Windows 7 will be more stable in terms of program and software compatibility; especially if you are transitioning programs or files from Windows Vista or previous operating systems. In the end, Microsoft may extend the support dates or even help users transition to Windows 10 with ease and make it more user friendly.

Unfortunately you cannot install Windows 7 on a system with a previous operating system or higher. Unless of course you own a Windows 7 license that allows you to, which can be very unlikely. However, if you own a system licensed for Windows 7 but upgraded to Windows 10, there is a possibility of reloading the operating system and getting you back to Windows 7. Now the downside of Windows 7 is that it will only be supported for three years. After 2020, you are more than likely going to be looking at transitioning to a new operating system or even a new system once again. Which then brings us to the good side of Windows 10: Yes it is a big learning hassle, but it will give your system a little more life span in terms of support. Time will determine everything in this case. 

So what will you choose? Go with a familiar operating system or set yourself to learn a new interface? Whichever you choose, Sandia Computers is here to help. 

By Sandia Computers 24 Jan, 2017
This year a new phishing scam that takes place through your gmail account may not be as easy to spot. This phishing scam is so well designed that even someone with computer knowledge could fall for it. A simple fake email allures users to type in their Google account login information, giving the attacker the opportunity to compromise and retrieve email data.

The fake email containing a malicious attachment, comes in from the recipient's address book. Keeping it innocent and genuine to create the perfect disguise. 

The malicious attachment received in the victim's inbox, uses a PDF image look alike, that when clicked it will redirect you to a phishing page made to appear exactly like a Google sign-in page. After entering your information, your Google account gets compromised and accessed by the attacker. 

Mark Maunder, CEO of Wordfence was the one who found the phishing scam and said that the scam was so convincing that even fooled 'experienced technical users'.

How do I protect myself against this scam?

Mark Maunder gives us this advice:

You have always been told: "Check the location bar in your browser to make sure you are on the correct website before signing in. That will avoid phishing attacks that steal your username and password." 

To protect yourself against this (attack), you need to change what you are checking in the location bar.  

The particular phishing page instead of having 'https://accounts.google.com' it will  instead contain  "data:text/html,' and of course if you aren't paying close attention you will assume the page is safe and continue on to entering your information. 

Believe it or not, this attack has caught off guard many   beginner and experienced users Don't be a victim.
By Sandia Computers 05 Dec, 2016
We as users often overlook the fact that we store sometimes irreplaceable things on our computers. For some people, it's pictures of their children or grandchildren that they don't have anywhere else. For others, it's tax records or important financial documents. If you are someone who works primarily from a computer, than it's possible that all of your projects and work are stored on your computer. 

Now imagine for a second that it's all gone...
This scenario is far from impossibility, and happens much more often than most people care to imagine. If your computer is not equipped with a solid state drive, the hard disk drive technology that is in the machine with all your data stored on it is a design that is now more than 32 years old, and is had to bear the load of reading and writing data at a high speed any time your machine is on. And even if you do have a solid state drive, while they are ten times more reliable, they are still not invincible.

When it comes to digital data storage, redundancy may be your best friend.
Backing up your data to a location that is not the computer itself is the only way to make sure that would still be reachable in the event that the computer itself were to fail catastrophically. Making a copy of your user data on an external hard drive is the most secure and effective way to keep your important files safe. Some users use programs that back up their data to the cloud, but the cloud is easily breached in most cases; just ask anyone affected by the iCloud leak. Some users choose to use a program that makes image files of their machines and backs them up to another location on the machine, but if you can't image back to the now dead machine, what good is that image? Furthermore, if the drive fails, it will take that image file and your data with it.

Some of us at Sandia Computers have learned this the hard way; we implore our customer's to get a drive and keep at least one if not  multiple copies of your data, and stored them in safe places.

Come on in and talk to a Sales Representative about the Backup Special we are running. External backup drives on sale; 5TB HDD's are 50% off while supplies last. 
By Sandia Computers 11 Nov, 2016
Is there any difference in security between Microsoft's Edge, Mozzila's Firefox, Google Chrome and Safari (Apple Users) browser? 

This question was answered on October 26, 2016. Browser security should be on top of everyone's mind these days, as it's one of the most likely ways you'll be compromised.
Cyber-Thieves know we spend most of our time on the internet, so they have shifted their focus from just exploring your
OS (Windows, MacOS, etc.) to exploiting browsers in conjunction with operating systems and utilities.

Blended Attacks
Computer security has definitely improved  over the years, so hackers have had to implement a 'blended attack' approach to compromise users.

Instead of exploiting one program or utility, they use a combination of attacks on various known vulnerabilities in the most commonly used programs to improve their chances of success and to gain deeper access.
Your web browser is often the first item on the list in these blended threats.

Measuring Security in Browsers
There are a number of things to consider when evaluating browser security, but none of them point to the absolute best browser for everyone to use.

Security and usability can often be at odds; the most secure options can be more difficult to use and the easiest to use can often be the least secure.

With browsers, the most secure options are generally the ones that strip features out or employ tactics that results in noticeably slower performance. 

There is no such thing as a 100% secure web browser, so you need to find the balance between security and usability that best suits your needs.

One measure of security you may want to consider is how often the browser is updated, since the update interval represents the amount of time hackers can exploit a known vulnerability before it's patched.

Here are the standard update intervals for the most popular browsers:
Microsoft Internet Explorer and Edge: 30 Days
Google Chrome: 15 Days
Mozilla Firefox: 28 Days
Apple Safari: 54 Days
Opera: 48 Days

Security Through Obscurity
The term 'security through obscurity' is often used to describe how lesser used technology can be more secure only because they're less targeted by hackers.

The most popular browsers have the largest number of known vulnerabilities because cyber-thieves are willing to spend more time trying to exploit a tool they know hundreds of millions of people are using.

One of the reasons that Safari and Opera have longer update intervals is that they have fewer vulnerabilities (and users) than the others, which many would suggest is a great example of 'security through obscurity'.

Vulnerability counts by themselves don't really say much as the severity and complexity required to exploit them mean a lot more.

At a recent hacking contest called Pwn2Own, Google Chrome came out as the most difficult to exploit, while Apple Safari and Microsoft Edge didn't fare as well (Opera and Firefox were not part of this competition).

What's Really Important 
Focusing on browser security is kind of pointless if you aren't keeping everything else in your system updated as well.

Here's the biggest problem we regularly see- risky online behavior can negate most anything you do from a security standpoint, so surfer beware!
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