In the lap of the gods

zeusWhen it comes to internet security or computer viruses, many of us just keep our fingers crossed and assume that it’s in the lap of the gods. But there is alot you can do to protect your technology and save yourself the headache that would result if your computer were infected by a virus such as GameOver Zeus or CryptoLocker.

As I mentioned previously in the Phishing blog, there are all sorts of people who may try to infect your computer with a virus, so it’s important to install some software to prevent this. There are lots of different options for anti-virus software, some paid for, some free. Most of them are pretty good and work in much the same way, but I just want to recommend one that we’ve used on a number of computers, that’s easy to use and it’s free.

avast logoYou may not have heard of Avast, but they have been making software for over 25 years and claim to have protected over 200 million devices worldwide. Their anti-virus software is free to use (although you can pay to upgrade to have more features) and you can install it on either a Mac or a PC. Here’s how:

Click on this link  http://www.avast.com/en-gb/index  (or just type ‘Avast’ into Google) and you’ll get a page like this:

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 16.39.35Choose whether you want to download the version for Mac or PC and click on the relevant blue button.

Choose to download the free version and follow the instructions on the screen to install it on your computer.

As soon as it has downloaded it does a full scan and you’ll hopefully get a message like this:Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 17.10.49

The Avast interface (that’s the part that allows you to communicate with the software) is simple to find your way around, and most of the activity happens automatically. Avast will even tell you if one of your other computer programs needs to be updated, and lets you do it quickly and easily. To make sure you continue to have access to this free software, you need to register your details – just an email address and password – using the ‘Registration’ button under ‘Maintenance’ on the left hand side.

photo 1 If you you want some anti-virus protection for your mobile devices, a good solution is Lookout Security. Again, there are lots of options, but we like Lookout because it can be used for iOS (Apple) and Android devices, it’s free and you don’t need to change any of your settings for it to perform a regular scan of the apps on your device. Unlike many other mobile anti-virus software that send you little pop-up messages almost constantly, Lookout only sends you notification of what it’s doing while you are installing a new app, or once a week when your device is scanned. It can also help you find your phone if you are unlucky enough to lose it – be sure to switch on ‘enable signal flare’ in your settings to activate this.  Lookout can be found in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

 

 

A sneak preview…

Yosemite2

Yosemite National Park

If you’re anything like me, you probably thought Mavericks was a character from Top Gun and Yosemite is that park in the States with big rocks and waterfalls. But it turns out they are infact the names of Apple operating systems – the software that runs your computer – and ‘Yosemite’ is going to be launched this autumn, bringing lots of exciting new features to Macs everywhere.

 

This was one of the keWWDCy announcements at Apple’s developer conference this week – their annual event to tell the world of app developers what’s up their sleeve to launch later in the year. This gives the IT geeks a chance to work their magic with their games and other apps to take full advantage of all the new things Apple are doing. For the rest of us mere mortals, it just gives us a sneak peek into some quite exciting developments that will be coming to a device near you this autumn.

Here are some highlights:

  1. Apple announced they will be launching iOS 8 (a new operating system for mobile devices) and Yosemite, or OS X 10.10 – the new operating system for Macs – both in the autumn.
  2. One of our favourite developments is that these 2 new operating systems will be able to interact with each other – amazingly this hasn’t been the case until now. For example, you’ll be able to make phone calls directly from your Mac, or start writing an email on your iPad and finish it on your Mac.
  3. You’ll be able to send text messages from your iPad or Mac, and you’ll be able to include voice or other sound recordings as part of the message.
  4. family_sharing_iconFamily Sharing – lots of our customers get in a muddle with the various iThings in their homes and tangled Apple IDs; this new development will make it easy for family members to share purchased apps or tunes across devices, and to have access to shared photo libraries without the need to plug in to a computer.
  5. iCloud Drive – this is going to be an amalgam of Google Drive and iCloud, meaning that you’ll be able to do all the things iCloud currently allows you to, as well as sharing documents between your devices. You’ll even be able to share on Windows PCs too.

There are going to be lots of other, really useful new development with these new operating systems – if you want more of a preview you could go to the Apple site to find out:

https://www.apple.com/osx/preview/apps/

https://www.apple.com/ios/ios8/

BackupA final word of warning – if you are going to upgrade your operating system on your devices at any time, it’s very wise to make a backup of your content before you do…just incase anything should go wrong during the process. Check back to our earlier blog if you need help with backing up. You’ll also need to check the Apple website to see if your device is capable of upgrading – some older models won’t be.