Overheating PC tips

Overheating PC - Hot LaptopIn this hot weather we know to keep ourselves, our children and our pets cool, but its also a good time to check on your PC’s health – perhaps its an overheating pc

 

Computers will shutdown when they are too hot, in an attempt to protect themselves from excessive heat damage, but permanent damage can still occur.

 

How do you check the PC’s temperatures ?

The majority of PC’s show their temperatures in the BIOS screen, but this requires a reboot to access it.  It’s much easier to view the PC’s temperatures by downloading and installing SpeedFan v4.49, a FREE tool available from the Tailormade IT Solutions website:

http://www.tailormadeitsolutions.com.au/tools/SpeedFan-v449-Installer.exe

“SpeedFan is a program that monitors voltages, fan speeds and temperatures in computers with hardware monitor chips.”  Source: http://www.almico.com/speedfan.php

 

If you do notice high temperatures, or are experiencing strange shutdowns and outages, this can result in permanent damage to your PC, and reduce its life span.

Overheating PC - Adding Thermal Paste to the CPU

Thermal Paste being applied to a CPU

 

Tailormade IT Solutions recommends and provides PC maintenance services that investigate and resolve overheating PC issues, including:

Dust Removal Dust is a great insulator, and cleaning out that build up of dust inside the PC will help it breathe better and run cooler.

Fan ChecksEnsuring your internal PC fans are not damaged, and are working correctly and effectively removing heat from the PC.

CPU Thermal PasteThe PC’s brain, or CPU, generates a lot of heat.  Checking and reapplying the Thermal Paste on the CPU can assist heat removal from this important component.

Additional CoolingInstalling upgraded or additional heatsinks and fans, including water cooling for extreme desktop PCs.  Laptop owners can also purchase laptop cooler pads.

 

 

Please note that the following method of cooling your PC is NOT recommended.

Overheating PC - How NOT to cool your PC

 

Overheating PC - Tailormade IT Solutions

Surfing Safe on the Road

Surfing Safe on the Road

Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

TPB AFK

TPB AFK logo

 

On 8th February 2013, a new documentary was released directed by Simon Klose.  The documentary “TPB AFK – The Pirate Bay Away From Keyboard” is based on the lives of the three founders of The Pirate Bay – Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij and Gottfrid Svartholm.

Of course, The Pirate Bay is one of the best known file-sharing brands and the site has a well-earned place in Internet history.  Swedish filmmaker Simon Klose has documented part of their struggle as they are targeted by several court cases over the years.

What not many people know is that the three founders of The Pirate Bay often pretended to get along in public, but had some big fallouts in private. This becomes quite apparent in the documentary.

TPB-AFK is the first film to premiere both online and at a major film festival, and can be downloaded and shared for free.  The full film is released under a Creative Commons license onto The Pirate Bay and other BitTorrent sites.  3 versions of this documentary are legally available for download from the Pirate Bay website.

The film runs for 122 mins.

YouTube Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTOKXCEwo_8

Torrent Link: https://oldpiratebay.org/torrent/6243351/TPB-AFK-2013-720p-h264-SimonKlose

Here is the trailer for the documentary, called TPB AFK.

TIS Logo

Cheaper Printing

Canon MX410

Canon Pixma MX410

New inkjet printers are very affordable, and include scanners and fax machines – but the cost of replacement ink cartridges soon ads up.

Canon Ink Combo

The Canon Pixma MX410 printer shown above normally uses Canon PG510 (Black) and CL511 (Colour) ink cartridges, available in a combo pack for $51.99 at OfficeWorks.

These cartridges contain just 9ml of precious ink, and have a page yield of 200-250 pages (approx), which is why they run out so often.

 

Looking for a cheaper option ?? 

I purchased a Rihac Constant Ink Supply Solution (CISS) for $115 which includes a 100ml refillable ink tank (pre-filled with High Grade UV Dye ink) which allows for countless refills.

Rihac CISS

Although a little fiddly to install initially, the system is mess free and the tank can be eventually be topped up using 100ml bottles of ink.

The savings speak for themselves.

According to Rihac, this system saves up to 90-95% on your printing costs!  “*Equivalent to approximately 60 standard cartridges. Epson cartridges have approximately 10 mls of usable ink inside. Our CISS allows you to print continuously. Epson cartridges are approximately $23.52 each (officeworks). Our CISS is pre-filled with 100mls of each coloured ink, so in dollar terms that is approximately $1,400.00 worth of cartridges if bought separately.”

 

Rihac CISS - OutsideRihac CISS - Inside

Click on the pictures above to see the Rihac CISS installed.

 

The Rihac CISS works with a range of Brother, Canon, Epson & HP printers.  If you are looking for cheaper printing, I recommend using a Rihac Continuous Ink Supply Solution.

To see if your printer can use a Rihac CISS, visit: http://www.rihac.com.au/inklink8482-ciss-units-c-26.html

Avoiding password stress with Sticky Password

There are so many websites and communities out there that require unique credentials for logging in. Over time, if you’re like me, you’ll end up with a whole pile of different usernames and passwords for every which place.

Sticky Password Pro 6 steps in to solve those problems. The program acts as a master database of all of your usernames and passwords, taking care of the memorization and letting you relax your brain just a bit.

Sticky Password is your personal password and form filling manager. It makes browsing, website and application login fast and secure. It protects your passwords, personal notes and bookmarks on your computer and on the road.

With Sticky Password, you can:

  • login automatically to your favorite websites
  • fill in online forms with one click
  • generate, encrypt, and store strong passwords
  • protection against identity theft, phishing and key-loggers
  • easily manage your application and website passwords
  • USB portable version: take all your passwords with you

Click the video below to see Sticky Password in action

Checking remote control batteries

Quick Tip: If you need to check the batteries on your remote control, you can do it easily with a smar phone camera.

Many households have 5 or 6 remote controls lying around the house. Sometimes, they stop working and you don’t know what happened.

Most remote controls use infrared light to transmit the signal. The human eye cannot see this light, however a camera can.

 

Remote Control Check

 

Simply open your smartphone camera and point it at the business end of the remote control.  Press a few buttons on the remote and you should see a light emitting from the remote control.

If you fail to see a light emitting from the remote, then swap the batteries and repeat the test.

 

Remote Control Checker

Human eyes can’t see infra-red colour, but our phone cameras can.

Disabling Browser Autocomplete

Browser Autocomplete is a feature in most modern web browsers.  It’s a handy feature which saves time by storing passwords for later use.

 

Firefox Browser Autocomplete

 Firefox Browser Autocomplete

In this short example, I’ll use Internet Explorer to log into a Google account.  As you can see, Internet Explorer asks if I want it to remember this password.

Should I remember this password ?

Internet Explorer Browser Autocomplete

 

While this feature can be handy, it does present a security issue as a freely available hackers tool will mine these stored passwords and display them.

 

Hacker tool mines stored passwords

Hacker tool displays stored passwords

 

Disabling Browser Autocomplete is a simple process, which is shown below.

 

Turning off the Auto-Complete feature:

The Internet Explorer Auto-Complete feature can be disabled by following these steps.

  1. Open Microsoft Internet Explorer.
  2. Click Tools and then Internet Options.
  3. In the Internet Options window click the Content tab.
  4. Click the Auto-Complete Settings button.
  5. Uncheck the option User names and passwords on forms.

The Firefox Auto-Complete feature can be disabled by following these steps.

  1. Open Mozilla Firefox.
  2.  Click Firefox/Tools and then Options.
  3.  In the Firefox Options window click the Security tab.
  4. Click Saved passwords to view and clear history.
  5.  Uncheck the Remember passwords for sites option.

 

 

Avoiding dodgy emails

Avoiding dodgy emails

Phishing is an attack used by hackers to gain access to private information such as credit card numbers and user passwords.

Phishing is a social engineering attack where targets are typically duped into providing this information directly to false versions of legitimate websites run by the hackers. Personal information can then be used for fraudulent purchases, resale to third parties and even identity theft.

 

Pictured is a screenshot from a phishing email I recently received from a client who was suspicious.



 

What would the natural reaction from an account holder be?

“I never sent Nickolas Sims $498 – I’d better click the link and put a stop to this” Of course that sense of emergency may mean you get flustered and click the link and fall for the fake PayPal site. Enter your details and the bad guys have it.

 

So let’s have a look at the warning signs:

Incorrect recipient address information

The email is addressed to multiple recipients, as if this payment was made by you AND all your friends (I’ve obscured the email addresses for privacy)

Impersonal greeting

The email says “Dear PayPal Customer” – Phishing scams rarely know the real names of its targets and tend to rely on general greetings like Dear user. PayPal know your name and use it when emailing you.

Convoluted hyperlink

Hyperlinks in email messages should be distrusted in general, but long and convoluted hyperlinks like the one below should cause heightened suspicion.

Normally PayPal resides at the URL PayPal.com. If you hover over one of the links (as shown below) you will notice the link actually goes to a website in .com.ar – that’s Argentina.

No offer of additional information

There is a “Help Centre” link but that link goes to the same website address based in Argentina. In fact ALL links go to exactly the same address!

Warnings from email client

A well-designed email client may detect many of the irregularities listed as well as check for suspicious points of origin (e.g. spoofed emails) and links to insecure servers.

Warnings from web browser

If for some reason you actually clicked on the URL, your web browser might give another warning, alerting you that the URL has already been reported as a forgery, or is not secure.

 

Summary

Most phishing email messages wont contain all of the above characteristics and probably will contain other defining characteristics not mentioned. Phishing is an evolving practice due to its lucrativeness and increased usage by organized crime.

If you receive an email that contains one of the above characteristics then be extremely cautious. If the email is threatening the termination of a service, simply let it happen. No company worth doing business with is going to maintain its records by firing off thousands of email messages to various Hotmail and Yahoo accounts in hopes of reconciling its financials.

How can I protect myself from a phishing attack?

 

There are several steps you can take to protect your computer from today’s cyber threats. Following the simple guidelines below will help minimise the risk of attack.

 

  • Be very wary of any email messages asking for personal information. It’s highly unlikely that your bank will request such information by email. If in doubt, call them to check!
  • Don’t complete a form in an email message asking for personal information. Only enter such information using a secure website. Check that the URL starts with ‘https://’, rather than just ‘http://’. Look for the lock symbol on the lower right-hand corner of the web browser and double-click it to check the validity of the digital certificate. Or, alternatively, use the telephone to conduct your banking and report anything suspicious to your bank immediately.
  • Don’t use links in an email message to load a web page. Instead, type the URL into your web browser.
  • Check if your anti-virus program blocks phishing sites, or consider installing Kaspersky Internet Security (links below) or other antivirus software that alerts you to known phishing attacks.
  • Check your bank accounts regularly (including debit and credit cards, bank statements, etc.), to make sure that listed transactions are legitimate.
  • Make sure that you use the latest version of your web browser and that any security patches have been applied.

 

Protect your identity from phishing attacks

Prevent cybercriminals from stealing your digital identity thanks to anti-phishing protection technologies inside Kaspersky Lab’s Internet security software which leverage lists of known phishing websites, proactive anti-phishing technologies and the latest information from the cloud.

PC


Kaspersky Internet Security 2012

MAC


Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2011 for Mac

MOBILE


Kaspersky Mobile Security 9

Digital Image data

Users of digital cameras and smartphones should be aware that when they snap a picture, personal data may be embedded inside the picture. It’s referred to as EXIF data, and can include the Camera Make/Model, Date taken, GPS co-ordinates, etc.

 

If that picture is then uploaded to the internet, another person may download the picture and inspect the image data, including your GPS location.

 

Digital Image Security

 

In fact, EXIF Image data was recently used by the FBI and Australian Federal Police to track down a member of the hacker group ”CabinCr3w”.

“According to the FBI, data taken from the picture showed it was taken by an iPhone. GPS co-ordinates taken from the photo also pinpointed the exact Wantirna South street and house where it was taken.”

Source: http://www.theage.com.au/technology/technology-news/hacking-cases-body-of-evidence-20120411-1wsbh.html

 

You can edit/remove this data from your images using EXIF Data Viewer, available on our Downloads page. This allows you to upload pictures to the internet without giving away personal information. Another option is to convert your JPG picture in to PNG format (which does not support embedded EXIF data) and upload the PNG file instead.

 

EXIF Dataviewer

The dangers of password reuse

With so many passwords to remember now days, and increasing security about how long, how complex, and how often they must be changed – it’s no surprise many of us reuse the same password on multiple websites.

Many websites

 

Unfortunately a current trend of hackers is to publicize usernames/passwords obtained from hacking websites, by posting them online for all to see. People have taken the information and logged on to people’s personal sites: taking money from PayPal accounts, replacing dating site profile pictures with pornographic images, and engaging in chats using other people’s Facebook accounts.

 

Time to make technology work for you.

The following video shows two methods used and recommended by Tailormade IT Solutions to overcome this problem.

 

Fingerprint Scanner

By using a fingerprint scanner, you can store a variety of complex passwords and just logon to your PC and/or web sites with a swipe of your finger. A lot of new laptops come with fingerprint scanners, and for other users USB fingerprint scanners are available.

The big benefit of fingerprint scanners are:

 

Password File

Keeping a password file stored safely inside a TrueCrypt encrypted vault ensures that you have a backup/reference of them. TrueCrypt supports AES encryption (which is used by the US military to encrypt data up to the top secret level)

How safe is TrueCrypt: Lets look at a real world story.

The Brazilian National Institute of Criminology tried for five months to obtain access to the encrypted data of a Brazilian banker suspected of financial crimes without success, before turning over the job to code-breakers at the FBI in early 2009. US computer specialists also drew a blank even after 12 months of efforts to crack the code.
 

Source: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/06/28/brazil_banker_crypto_lock_out/

 

The big benefits of using TrueCrypt are:

  • All passwords are stored securely and can be accessed by remembering one password – the TrueCrypt password.
  • As the password file is located on a secure USB stick, it is transportable.

Available for Windows 7 / Vista / XP, Mac OSX, and Linux.