It's official, we have a blog!

  • By Sandia Computers
  • 28 Oct, 2016

Welcome to our new blog! 

Stay tuned for updates, news, pictures, videos, specials and more on our new blog. We are excited to share more of who we are and what we do! Thank you for choosing Sandia Computers.
By Sandia Computers 04 May, 2017
It doesn't take much to steal your identity. With just a few details such as your name, date of birth and address is enough to access bank accounts, make big purchases, apply for credit cards and more.

Research by YouGov from Equifax in the UK shows that many users risk being victims of identity theft by providing access to personal information through social media.

It was found that approximately 30 percent of adult users with social media provide full name and full date of birth on their profile pages, notes a blog post on ActionFraud

For the younger users the percentage was much higher; about 48 percent of users between the ages of 18 and 24 provide this type information. In comparison to users between the ages of 35 and 44, only 28 percent.

Criminals Can Figure out Information 
Let's say you don't provide this information on Facebook how can criminals find it? It's simple, all they do is trace down birthday wishes posted by friends on your Facebook timeline that have your age. From there the next step is to figure out your phone number and where you live. 

How can you prevent this?
To prevent from becoming a target its important to review your Facebook privacy  settings to ensure your information is not too accessible. If you would like more detailed help, you can click here to get some advice from Trusted Reviews. 

By Sandia Computers 03 Apr, 2017
Sure we all want to relax and escape any type of stress during vacation, but being aware of the world around us and preparing for it is better than lamenting a loss. Here we give you a list to help you be stress free and protected from criminals. 

1. Stay informed. Stay aware.
We all heard the phrase, "knowledge is power" which in this case it really is power. Not only do you have knowledge on the type of threats there are, but how to protect yourself from them. For example a laid-back demeanor becomes an easy target as supposed to someone aware and informed on how and where attacks happen, and how to prevent becoming a victim. Criminals are always on the look out for easy targets, hungry to exploit, looking to steal phones, computers, data, identities, purses, wallets etc. 

2. Beware of locations your computer travels.
It is recommended to maintain the use of your computer for your hotel room, condo or apartment. Avoiding bringing it to the beach, pool, bar or vacation excursions, where the chances of you forgetting it and leaving it behind or getting it stolen are higher. 

3. Stay safe with an antivirus
Keeping a current and effective antivirus on your devices will help keep your vacation stress free. Vipre is a powerful antivirus with anti-spyware that features advanced security for your devices without slowing them down, such as automated patching of vulnerable software programs, a firewall to stop malicious web traffic, an anti-spam filter, a bad website blocker and more. 

4. Install a VPN.
When not at home, access to the Internet is usually through hubs that are not secure. The reason why installing a VPN becomes important. A VPN known as Virtual Private Network allows you to access a public network as if the devices are connected directly and securely.

VPN provides secure communications based on encryption.  A VPN is visualized as a secure tunnel between device(s) and all others on a LAN or the Internet. To create one there are VPN apps available, many of them free offering certain amount of data usage.

5. Don't Trust Your Hotel Room
As much as we would like to believe our hotel rooms are safe, they unfortunately aren't. Breaking into a hotel room is much easier than most people think. On that note, it is crucial to not take bank account numbers or personal information with you. If for some reason it is necessary in your trip, make sure you don't leave it behind in your room. 

6. Keep away mail and newspaper pile up
Don't give away the hint no one is home. When you are planning a long trip away from home you may ask a friend or trustworthy neighbor to pick up your mail or newspaper everyday. By keeping the mail or newspaper intact while you are gone it gives away to criminals that no one has or will be home for a while making it an easy target for burglary. 

7. Keep your wallet or purse small
Yes this can be taken as set a budget for your trips, but in this case the less you take in terms of bank or credit cards the less you are vulnerable to fraudulent attacks. It is also important to never travel with your social security card, confidential or other personal information. 

Look out for credit card skimming.
Cards with magnetic strips are still a big problem when it comes to attacks. Hotels, restaurants, shops, and transportation decks, make it easy for someone to turn away with your card and clone it in a matter of seconds. The best solution to prevent an attack like this is to obtain and take a card with an embedded chip. 

We hope these tips help you and your family stay safe and protected and wish you best of travels. 

For any further questions, concerns or insights like us on Facebook!
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:
For more information about AV-Comparatives visit them at:

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 '' 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!
By Sandia Computers 05 Nov, 2016
It usually starts off by browsing the web or clicking a link on a popular webpage. The page then redirects to what seems to be an alert from Microsoft themselves, or "technicians" impersonating a Microsoft licensed partners; at times locking your screen, and with a loud sound with a voiceover giving you "bad news". This message also asks the user to not shut down or restart their computer, as it may cause "data loss" or "operating system malfunction". Sounds quite scary doesn't it?

Below this scary pop up, a toll free number is then given for users to call in order to get help and remove presumed viruses, malware, and even "upgrade" your network or IP security. In most cases, users call the number, falling for the phishing scam.  What happens after that is just an orchestrated show to make the user believe they are indeed infected, and that, of course, money is needed in order to "remove" and install protection for their computer. At that point most users instantly become aware that something does not sound right. Especially after scammers ask for their credit card number or checking account. 

The U.S. Justice Department charged 61 people and  entities on Thursday with taking part in a scam involving India-based call centers where agents impersonated Internal Revenue Service, immigration and other federal officials demanded nonexistent debts.

The scam, which had operated since 2013, targeted at least 15,000 people who lost more than $300 million. Twenty people were arrested in the United States on Thursday, while 32 individuals and five call centers in India have been charged, the department said in a statement.

The defendants, including 24 people cross nine U.S. states, were indicted by a Grand Jury in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

U.S. Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell said at a news conference that the United States will be seeking the extradition of those based India and warned others engaged in similar schemes.

"It's really important for the scammers in India to know that the United States  is looking at this. is watching them and they could, if they engaged in that activity, be extradited to the United States and could sit in jail for several years," Caldwell said. 

According to the indictment, the operators of the call centers in Ahmedabad, in the Indian state of Gujarat, "threatened potential victims with arrest, imprisonment, fines or deportation if they did not pay taxes or penalties to the government."

Payments by victims were laundered by U.S. network of co-conspirators using prepaid debit cards or wire transfers, often using stolen or fake identities. 

The call centers also ran scams in which victims were offered short-term loans or grants on condition of providing good-faith deposits or payment of a processing fee.

The Justice Deportment said that investigations involved Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Treasury, Homeland Security, U.S. Secret Service and police officials.

What to do if your system gets this scam pop up?
Definitely do not call the number. Shut down your system by holding the power button for about 10 seconds. Turn on your system once again, clear your web browser history and your system should go back to normal. If the problems seem to persist, bring your system in to Sandia Computers; we will diagnose the issues and get your system up and running like brand new. 

What to do if you called the number?
If you already called and gave the scammers access to your system; more than likely you gave them access to infect you with malware and viruses that may affect your system. These scammers may also have access to your data; including passwords, banking information and more. In this situation is best to shut down your system and bring it to Sandia Computers in order to diagnose the issues and remove any type of malware or virus. We will be more than happy to get your system cleaned and safe to use. 
By Sandia Computers 28 Oct, 2016
Stay tuned for updates, news, pictures, videos, specials and more on our new blog. We are excited to share more of who we are and what we do! Thank you for choosing Sandia Computers.
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