Archive for the ‘Data’ Category
So you splurged over the holidays and bought a brand-spanking-new laptop. Or you decided to pool all those gift cards and upgrade your home computing hardware. Let’s face it – you needed to put that old desktop that was still running Windows XP out to pasture. Feels better, doesn’t it?
Now that you’ve gotten all our browser favorites and music moved over to the new machine, it’s time to think about clearing it off your desk. But before you bring it in to Best Buy for recycling or donate it to a worthy non-profit, don’t forget to wipe your hard drive.
It’t hard to keep track of all the important personal information you end up storing on your computer, so it’s a good idea to scrub all the memory on the machine before letting it leave your possession. Selecting all the files and deleting them is not enough. Some data recovery tools can recover deleted files. To make sure you none of your personal information goes out with your computer when you let it go, there are some extra steps you should take to make sure your hard drive is really blank.
Fortunately, Geek Squad is here to help. A while back, we put together a ” Two Minute Miracle” video to help people understand how to securely wipe their hard drive before handing it to someone else for reuse or disposal. Check it out here:
We also have a Tech Tip on our website outlining how to wipe a hard drive. Find it here.
If you have any questions about this, we have Agents available 24/7 at 1-800 Geek Squad or chat with an agent here.
Security experts have issued several warnings about security holes in recent versions of the Java software from Oracle. Java is used in web browsers across operating systems like Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X, and is primarily used by websites to display dynamic content on your browser and some downloadable applications.
According to an alert issued by the US Department of Homeland Security, Java 7 (Update 10 and earlier) have a vulnerability in its code that can allow a hacker to run malicious software on a Java-enabled computer if that PC accesses a hacked website, or downloads malicious programs.
Oracle has released an update for the program (Java 7 Update 11) that is available as a free download at http://www.java.com.
Some security experts are still concerned about the vulnerability of Java, as this is not the first time hackers have used security holes in the code to exploit systems. Their recommendation? Disable Java on your computer, which can be done a) through the Control Panel, or b) by uninstalling the Java software from your computer.
Whether you remove Java completely comes down to the basic question of “security v. functionality” all computers face. Removing programs that have security vulnerabilities may help reduce vulnerabilities on your computer, but at the cost of losing some features and functionality of websites and downloaded programs on your machine.
Regardless, Geek Squad recommends practicing safe browsing habits whenever you are on the Internet, as well protecting your computer by keeping the Operating System updated and having updated antivirus software, as well as keeping your important files (documents, photos, etc) backed up on a routine basis.
If you need assistance in making sure that your computer is up-to-date and protected, connect to our Geek Squad Tech Support team online, stop by a Geek Squad Precinct in a Best Buy store near you, or call 1-800 GEEK SQUAD today.
Agent Derek has helped remove techno-stress from the lives of his Geek Squad clients since 2005. When not providing remote help as an Online Support Agent, he likes to take to the road on a vintage motorcycle for adventures through Ohio country highways.
The holiday season is fast approaching and more people than ever are purchasing gifts for friends and family online. Unfortunately, ’tis also the season for online crime, and cybercriminals are on the lookout for ways to interfere with your online shopping. Whether it’s your smartphone, tablet, or computer, you need to protect your personal information in order to shop safely and securely online.
Fret not – we’ve got a few helpful tips to help you shop safely.
Secure Your Computer and Network: Help prevent unauthorized access to your PC or laptop from the Internet by installing proper firewall software. Firewalls can help secure your PC while you surf the Web. They help protect your personal information and can help block that information from being openly transmitted over the Web. Be careful though…configuring a firewall can be tricky, and improperly doing so can mess up your Web access. Be sure to configure your wireless network to use a password to help make sure your personal and financial information is safe on your home network.
Avoid Spam: With the increasing popularity of online shopping, spam has become more and more of a problem. Spammers can masquerade as legitimate businesses as a way to trick you into giving them valuable personal or financial information. Here are some steps you can take to keep from becoming a victim of spam:
Update Passwords: If the sites you’re shopping on require you to register, create a strong password. (For more on creating secure passwords, read this article in the Self-Help section of our website.)
Keep your credit card information in your wallet: NEVER store your credit card or other personal information on websites. As convenient as it might seem, allowing someone else to store this vital information could make it vulnerable to hackers and scam artists. If you’re addicted to the time saving advantage that storing your card information provides, use cards with a low credit limit, and make sure your account has online fraud protection for increase security.
Guard Your Gear: Beware of wandering eyes! If you’re browsing in any public place, keep an eye out for people seated nearby who might try to read your screen. You may want to consider investing in a privacy screen or filter, which fits easily over your computer’s screen, and can be found in all shapes and sizes. Never leave your laptop unattended in a public place.
For more tips on how to shop safely and securely, call 1.800.GEEK SQUAD to set up an onsite consultation. Need more help? Consider contacting a Geek Squad Agent at 1-800 GEEK SQUAD, on our website at geeksquad.com, or stop by a Precinct at a Best Buy store near you. (With Geek Squad’s Tech Support for AARP Members, you are even eligible for a discount on in-home technology services.)
Geek Squad is there for you: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year for help with all your technology needs.
Have you ever had that sick feeling in your gut when you think you deleted a really important file and aren’t sure if you can get it back? Trust me – I’ve been there, and it is the worst. Since that fateful day, I learned to back up duplicates of all my data on external drives.
My backup drives run the gamut from small flash drives to full-sized external hard drives. My data didn’t seem to care where it was stored as long as it had a home. However, as I started to accumulate more than just a few flash and hard drives, maintaining my backup library started to bug me. I hate clutter!
Enter “THE CLOUD”
Cloud-based backups allow users to securely save important files to an online data backup server. These systems allow users to store their data on professionally maintained servers while providing secure access to it anytime from any computer – and many mobile devices – with an Internet connection. Clearly just the thing for a data security maniac and neat freak like me.
Sound too good to be true? Well, depending upon how things play out in the next few months, it may just be.
Though cloud-based storage solutions like Norton, Sugar Sync and Carbonite are great options to backup your important data off-site, what happens if the company managing the storage system is shut down or closes for some reason? What happens to your data?
What happens to my data?
Users of the MegaUpload service are finding out the hard way at this moment. The target of legal action by the U.S. Justice Department, MegaUpload recently had their assets frozen. While some users of MegaUpload may have used it to illegally share movies and TV shows, over 50 million users who used it for legitimate purposes have had their data swept up in this legal dispute. Attorneys for MegaUpload and the companies it used to host client data say the U. S. Attorney in charge of the case sent them a letter giving them permission to start deleting data from its servers as early as Feb. 2nd.
What does this mean for users? Pictures, spreadsheets and documents for private citizens and small businesses could be deleted without advance warning. For small business owners who don’t have a local backup, the loss of client data could be devastating to their livelihood. While users have had limited-to-no access to their data since January 19, MegaUpload is continuing its fight to keep user data from being deleted.
This situation reinforces the advice of data security and privacy professionals when it comes to choosing a cloud storage provider. They emphasize users should focus on well-known, established companies as service providers. Publicly-traded companies are very good options because they will be more risk averse than start-ups. Using a company you already have a relationship with –your ISP for instance – and one based in the United States is also a good idea.
For more on the risks of cloud storage see this article from National Public Radio’s business show, Marketplace. For more on choosing a cloud storage company, see this article from PC World Magazine. Can you imagine if this had happened to you?
Cloud storage is a great part of a backup solution, but this underscores why it should not be the only option. Storing your data is too important to trust to a single method. I think cloud storage is pretty awesome, but I will not give up on the clutter and safety of the old fashion external hard drive – and neither should you.
Keep your data safe! Back up today – locally, and online. You’ll be glad that you did.
-Agent Timothy E.
To learn more about how to ensure your data is backed up safely and securely, visit your local Best Buy and talk to a Geek Squad Agent about all the different ways to back up data — or visit us at support.geeksquad.com (24/7) and we can help back your data up for you!
We all have things that matter to us. Cars, bikes, and houses are all examples of things in the physical world with value. Family, friends, and pets are examples of living relationships we hold dear.
But what about things like tax records, photographs, and music? Used to be, we kept those things in drawers, books, and file cabinets. Not anymore. These days, a lot of what’s important to us are strings of zeros and ones, as more and more of our priceless documents and memories are stored on computers.
Computers aren’t foolproof, and accidents happen that can cause data loss. It’s important to be prepared. Why take chances with things that are important? Make a New Year’s resolution to back up your data, and we Geek Squad Agents can help make it a reality. Let me break it down – here are a few different solutions for a few different people.
We all have things that are important to us. Don’t let the intangibility of your most important documents and memories stop you from taking steps to protect it. As you can see, there’s a solution out there for everyone, and as always, your friendly neighborhood Geek Squad Agent is just a phone call away. Chat with an Agent today at Http://www.geeksquad.com, at 1-800-GeekSquad, or stop by for a visit at your local Geek Squad Precinct in Best Buy.
-Agent Laura M.
Every day, Counter Intelligence Agent Laura M, of Precinct 329, heroically removes malware and saves the personal lives of computer users in Maple Grove, MN. She has a vitamin D deficiency from playing too many video games. She likes animals and books.
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