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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Tips To Avoid Malware And Viruses

Contributed to, in part, by MS A+ Certified Technician Kendall Sinn

In addition to providing computer maintenance to many local businesses, our Microsoft A+ certified computer tech, Kendall, provides first class personal computer maintenance as well as PC cleaning services.  Often times, Kendall is asked, "How exactly did my computer get infected?  I have an anti-virus program, doesn't it work?"  The answer is often times fairly simple and problems easy to avoid. 

A large percentage of computer malware and/or viruses are packaged with otherwise safe or trusted programs.  This can even be the case when downloading programs from well known download sites.  Kendall recommends that you always pay attention to the auto-installers that are common when downloading and installing software.  Look for check boxes that may be pre-checked so that by default you are giving permission to install other programs and software that you had no intention of downloading.  It's also a good idea to perform a custom or advanced install because oftentimes the download provider has "other" software bundled in and you'd never know until you start seeing strange new icons or your computer begins to behave differently.  By going through the custom or advanced installation, you can weed out the unwanted programs, if they're there.

Another trap, that Kendall says can be easy to avoid is offers through email.  Often times referred to as spam but when done well by the perpetrator is well disguised as a legitimate offer.  Watch out for misspelled names, zeros being used in place of the letter "o", extra letters in a name, any offer that says your computer is infected follow this link to clean it, etc.  In general, avoid opening unsolicited emails.

Lastly, it's always a good idea to back up your important files.  If worst comes to worst and your computer does get a virus, if you don't have your files backed up, they could be lost...forever.  For a simple solution to back up your files, check out KCTC's service to do just that.  

We hope that by following these simple tips you can avoid having computer problems in the future but if you do find your computer is running slow or you're always having to fight unwanted pop-ups give Kendall a call at (319) 656-8324.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

What to do with old electronics?

If you've ever wondered what you should do with old electronics that you're no longer using, we have the answer.  First, let's see why disposing of electronics properly or why recycling them is so important.

There is a lot that goes into making consumer electronics and much of that material is harmful to our environment.  It's important that we don't just throw away old equipment with regular household waste because of the many harmful effects they can have over time.  Some of the harmful materials that are commonly found in today's electronics are:  chlorinated solvents, flame retardents, heavy metals (lead & mercury), plastics, and more.  In fact, it's estimated that approximately 40% of the heavy metals found in landfills today, come from electronics disposal.  That's a lot of lead and mercury.

What you can do to help.

  1. Don't throw electronics in with household trash.
  2. Donate for reuse, if possible.
  3. Find an e-cycler near you.
  4. Bring it in to iTech-Kalona.
If you are not able to find a way to safely get rid of your old electronics, iTech in Kalona will gladly make sure they don't just end up in our landfills.  Through iTech's e-cycling program, we accept all old electronics, whether small or large, for a nominal fee depending on the size and quantity.  Stop by or call us today, (319) 656-1234, if you have any questions or want to dispose of your old electronics.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Phishing/Scam Alert

Our friends at the Washington Chamber passed along some information that we want to also share with you.

WATCH: There are a couple other scam/phishing alerts to take note of. 

1) If you receive a friend request on Facebook from someone that you are already friends with, chances are that their account had been phished and the hacker is pushing the invites out to people on their friends list. A clue could be that their names are spelled a little differently (an extra 'n' or something). Delete the friend request and any private messages they send. Then change your Facebook password. 

2) Calls are being made claiming to be with Microsoft, if you are unsure, hang up and call Microsoft at  1-800-426-9400 and for more information click here.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

We're Open Today & We're Staying Open

A couple weeks ago we addressed the rumors and news speculating that RadioShack, the national corporation, isn't doing well.  Those rumors remain today and have been gaining momentum so we would like to speak to you again regarding this subject.

Technology Services of Iowa (TSI), is a local company that is affiliated with KCTC (Kalona Cooperative Telephone Company), and TSI been in business since 2007.  As TSI, we've operated in the past and continue to operate today, not only as a RadioShack dealer but also as iTech, your local technology experts.  In a nutshell, this means that we buy some of our inventory from corporate RadioShack to resell locally.  Since our inception, we have never had an exclusive partnership with RadioShack.  This has allowed us the freedom to partner with many other companies and vendors to bring top quality merchandise and electronics to the Kalona area and to you, our valued customers.  As such, if any of the rumors regarding corporate RadioShack come true, then we will continue to operate locally with zero interruptions and we'll continue to serve our community just like we have since 2007.

We want to be very clear on these subjects.  As of today, everything you're seeing and reading regarding RadioShack, is rumor and/or speculation.  There have been no official announcements from RadioShack and they are continuing operations today as they have for the last 94 years.  Secondly, if these rumors do come true, Technology Services of IA, our local company, will continue to operate as usual and we are looking forward to continued growth of our business and in serving our community.

As is always the case, if you have any questions, feel free to give us a call at (319) 656-1234.

iTech Staff

Friday, January 30, 2015

Don't Get Fooled Again

Don't get fooled again, is a great song by The Who.  What does that have to do with technology?  Well nothing really, but every so often we receive calls from people in our community about potential scams being perpetrated against them.  Don't get fooled by them!

If you ever receive a call, a pop up message on your computer, or possibly an email stating that your computer is infected or at risk, I urge you to use extreme caution.  In many cases, the perpetrators of these scams may be trying to gain access to your computer where they'll either create a problem and then charge you to fix it, or they'll simply tell you there are major problems when in fact there are no problems whatsoever.  Either way their main objective is to make money at your expense.  The only thing certain when dealing with these types of people is they do not have your best interests in mind.

If you think you've fallen victim to one of these scams or if you think your pc or laptop is not running the way it should be, our CompTia A+ certified tech, Kendall, would be more than happy to get your pc or laptop cleaned up and secured.  Don't hesitate to get in touch with Kendall at (319) 656-3668.