Ask CyberGuru: What is the difference between Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Home?

Ask CyberGuru: What is the difference between Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Home?

Ask CyberGuru

CyberGuru is asked, “I am looking a new computer and the different options. I was wondering what the difference is between Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Home?”

Generally, Windows 10 Pro devices are designed for business use whereas Windows 10 Home is for personal use. This means that Pro devices often have higher specifications than Home devices.

Oftentimes, Windows 10 Pro devices are used for PC-based servers or advanced needs as they allow for. Windows 10 Pro allows for you to set up Remote Desktop to connect to your computer remotely BitLocker disk encryption, the ability to connect to a domain and Client Hyper-V, allowing you to run “virtual machines” on your computer.

Depending on your set up and requirements, you may not require these functions, or you may already have alternatives in place, so you can use Windows 10 Home. If you already have or decide to buy a device with Windows 10 Home, you can generally upgrade to Windows 10 Pro should your needs change in the future.

For more details on the features and differences, please visit the Compare Windows 10 editions page.

If you have any questions we can answer for you, please contact us.

Ask CyberGuru: Have I been hacked?

Ask CyberGuru: Have I been hacked?

Ask CyberGuru

In this month’s Ask CyberGuru, we are asked: “I received an email advising that my email account has been hacked and a RAT installed on my computer. Further, it says I have been filmed using my webcam and personal information has been downloaded and will be shared on my social networks if I don’t pay the ransom in crypto-currency. Is this true?”.

There has been a series of emails doing the rounds recently advising that “RAT” (remote access technology) software has been installed onto your computer, threats of a personal nature are made and advised that this software will be made available to your social media if you don’t pay via crypto currency. Along with this, in some cases, the information include may include a password that you may have used.

This type of scam is the current flavour of the month and we have heard of several forms of this scam. One of the reasons these emails have particularly spooked clients is that the emails often contain threats of character assassination such as releasing “video” of the recipient watching adult content to their friends and family on social media, irrespective of whether they have done so or not.

Whilst this email seems threatening and intimidating, generally this email is an attempt to blackmail the recipient into paying money to the scammer. Oftentimes, the password may have been made public through a previously compromised website, and these passwords are often what makes this email more concerning.

If you suspect you may have been compromised in any way, protect yourself by:

  1. Changing all passwords on accounts with the password if displayed or not. Please check the “Have I been Pwned?” website (link opens in new window) to identify if your email account has been listed as being compromised in a data breach. If so, make sure you change any passwords immediately. As the email address and password is known, leaving these changes may cause issues in the future.
  2. Performing a full antivirus scan of your computer using a reputable internet security program. Further, please ensure you use secure (HTTPS) websites only to ensure your information is encrypted and remains safe. Always use internet security software on your computers and devices when online.
  3. Deleting the email and do not respond in any way to the hacker, and most certainly do not pay the ransom. Be wary of emails requesting you click to open a website or to access an important file. Do not take any action on the email.

If you are concerned you may have been or are compromised in any way, please contact CyberGuru for further advice. If you believe you have been the victim of identity theft or any information has been leaked, we strongly recommend that you seek immediate assistance.

Who’s reading your email?

Who’s reading your email?

Google Gmail

Recently in the news there has been concern over whether Google is doing enough to keep your email secure. Concern has arisen over the access third-party developers and apps have to your Google account. There are many apps which link to your Google account. During the installation process you set the level of access you’re prepared to give the app. If during the installation of any of these apps you’ve been asked for access to your email, and you’ve agreed to this your email may have been read.

So what does it mean to read an email? In giving an app access to your email it is highly unlikely that people envisage another human physically reading through the contents of their emails and viewing their private email conversations. But this is exactly what you are agreeing to. This is not to say all apps will do so, but they have permission to and may do so at some point. The people with permission to read your email are not Google employees, but third parties such as developers entrusted by Google (and yourself).

Google claims to vet developers and their apps via a stringent, multi-step process. But as Facebook can attest to, once a third party has access to your data it’s difficult to control how they use it. This is not the first time concerns have been raised over Google’s commitment to privacy, with the discovery last year that the Google Home Mini was inadvertently spying on users due to a hardware flaw.

As a safety precaution we advise against giving third-party apps permission to read your email. If you’re concerned you may have given a third-party app access to read your email, you can check using Google Security Checkup (link opens in new window) and make adjustments if necessary.

If CyberGuru can assist in any way, please let us know.

Windows 10 April 2018 Update released

Windows 10 April 2018 Update released

Last week, the Windows 10 April 2018 Update was released by Microsoft. Originally known as the Windows 10 Spring Creators Update, the latest release has brought a number of new features to benefit both seasoned Windows users and those starting with Windows.

Microsoft release feature updates twice a year which provide new functionality and a range of improvements to their flagship operating system. In the past, new versions of Windows arrived bearing a year or number but as Microsoft has been said Windows 10 was to be the “last version of Windows”, it is now more often consists of a name, and the version being the year and date (in this case 1803).

The Windows 10 April 2018 Update has provided a range of new features and improvements. A key change is the introduction of Timeline, which adds to the existing Task View feature by providing the ability of going back in time to previous apps and Windows you had running in the past month. You can go back to your desktop in the past using the scroll bar to review and work with the file or website you were using at that time. At this stage, only Microsoft apps are supported.

Microsoft has also improved on the “Quiet hours” feature and renamed this to “Focus assist”. This is effectively a do not disturb feature which allows you to turn off certain notifications except for those you choose (such as for a particular application or people who contact you). You can also set your priority list as to who can contact you, and automatic rules that apply at a certain time.

Another new feature is being able share files via Bluetooth with what is known as “Nearby sharing”. For Apple users familiar with Airdrop, this provides you to share files in File Explorer, Photos and Edge with a click of a button.

There are many other improvements and we suggest you browse the new changes further by accessing the “Tips” section from within Windows 10 to find out more of what has changed.

However, it is important to note that Microsoft removes features that it believes are no longer in use or required. One of these is Homegroup, which was introduced in Windows 7 to improve the ease of which you share files, folders and printers with others on a home network. For a full list of features removed or planned for replacement, please visit Microsoft’s website.

The Windows 10 April 2018 Update is available for download via the Windows 10 Download Assistant, will soon be automatically downloaded and installed on your computer via Windows Update. We suggest ensuring your backups are up to date before installing this onto your computer. If you are not ready to install this yet, we suggest you change your Windows Update settings to delay the installation of this. We can pause this to up to 35 days to provide you with time to evaluate and ensure as many issues are resolved prior to installing on your computer.

If we can help you in any way in transitioning to this new version, please contact us.

Ask CyberGuru: Do I need to update my modem router’s firmware?

Ask CyberGuru: Do I need to update my modem router’s firmware?

Ask CyberGuru

CyberGuru was recently asked, “I saw in magazine recently that it suggested that you should ‘update your [modem] router’s firmware to fix security defects as well as provide optimum speed and performance’. Is this the case and how do you do this?”

Yes, it is important to be looking to update your modem router, along with your computer’s operating system, hardware and software on a regular basis. As you have noted, it is important for security updates and ensuring your devices are running at the most optimal level.

Generally, if you have bought the modem router yourself, you can do this by accessing your modem router’s firmware or settings and choosing the appropriate link to update, which can take between 5-10 minutes to do. If you are unsure how to access the settings, details can be found by reviewing your modem router’s user guide. If you can’t find this, please consult your modem router manufacturers’ website.

However, in the case that your the modem router that has been provided by your internet service provider as part of your plan, you may not be able to install updates are these are likely to be managed by them. They will often release the updates on their own schedule to ensure support and compatibility with the devices on their end. Again, if you are unsure, please consult your internet service provider who can advise you accordingly.

Depending on the device, we also suggest that you perform backup of any contents, and settings prior to installing any updates. Should the updates cause any issues, the settings and contents can be restored easily.

If you have any questions you would like to ask CyberGuru, please contact us.