McAfee PHISHING SCAM ALERT

YOU GET AN Email from a legitimate looking person who reports an invoice paid for a subscription to McAfee.

You do not own or use McAfee software, or you have it and your subscription is already current.

WHAT IS HAPPENING! You ask yourself, I don’t remember paying that? Or, I used to have McAfee, I thought I cancelled that long time ago???

DO NOT RESPOND! DO NOT CALL THE TOLL-FREE NUMBER PROVIDED! IT IS A SCAM!

Here is how the scam works. The email alleges they made a payment for you. However, the sender of the mail does not work for McAfee at all. Certain details of the email tip off that the email is a phishing attempt.

“Phishing” is the deceptive art of attempting to get financial information out of you so they can then actually charge your card for a service you never requested.

Tips to Detect the Phishing Attempt

  • Look at FROM: line. Most legitimate businesses have a unique domain that corresponds to their business name. For example, email from B. A. Computer Services comes from @bacomputer.net. When the FROM line comes from a generic or free account such as @hotmail.com, @live.com, @yahoo.com, or @gmail.com, and yet alleges to represent a well known company such as McAfee, that is highly suspicious.
  • Look at the TO: line. Is it blank? Is it to you? Then look at the BCC: line. Is it to you? If the sender of the email is using the BCC line to send you the email, the chances are he used the Blind Carbon Copy line to send it to hundreds of other innocent victims too. The email really isn’t about you at all. It is merely a generic phishing attempt. The list of addresses on the BCC line do not get revealed to the recipients of the email, thus it appears only you received the email when in fact possibly thousands of others did as well.
  • Look at the Email content. Does the email use your name in the text or the attachment? If it doesn’t, then probably the sender does not know your real name at all because you do not have an account with them.
  • Does the email use poor grammar or make spelling errors? A sure sign that it is (a rather poor) scam attempt.
  • Attachment? DO NOT DOWNLOAD IT if the any of the above items held true. The attachment is very likely a virus!

What To Do With The Unwanted Email

It is always safest simply to delete it outright. Don’t play with it. Delete it, Delete it, Delete it! If you are in doubt whether or not something really did get paid or needs to be paid, refer to the your bank or card company directly at the official phone numbers on your card or at your local bank. NEVER rely on the information in the email.

However, if you wish to be more proactive, some email platforms such as Gmail.com have options that allow you to report the phishing attempt. Gmail allows you to do this by clicking the 3 vertical dots menu and selecting “Report Phishing”. The effect of reporting it may alert the administrative team of your email provider that their platform is being used to scam people. Information Managers generally have a very keen eye for these scams and a proprietary interest in blocking the source of the email so you and no one else gets them from that source again.

Recommendation: Do not randomly report emails as phishing if they are not truly phishing because they will bog down the administrators who are trying to stop the real phishing attempts. The difference between a phishing scam and an unsolicited spam email is that the phishing scam alleges a financial transaction has already or needs to be confirmed in such a way that it fools you into calling the number in which the scammer can then pump you for information so they can actually scam you out of money. Until you make the call, you have averted the scam. The moment you make the call, you make yourself a direct target for this and future scams. The call you make identifies your phone number to the scammers and they will thereafter re-attempt to scam you again and again from other random phone numbers, most likely. So once again, DO NOT CALL THE NUMBER IN THE EMAIL.

Other Resources

Your first-line responders to the possibility that an email is a scam may be a family member, your neighbor, or a local tech person. Other resources include the official government channels. B. A. Computer Services cannot endorse any one website as a single source that will solve the world’s phishing problems. Instead, we recommend that you first contact your email or internet provider and let them know about the attempt. Secondly, we recommend you search in your browser for “Report Phishing Attempt” and follow any of the many links that will be listed and choose the most relevant result that fits your particular situation. You may also contact the FBI at https://www.ic3.gov/ or the Federal Trade Commission https://www.ftc.gov/.

Recycling Assistance Provided

Do you maintain your lawn? Do you clean your house? Trash is picked up at curb? But what about those old electronics?

B. A. Computer Services will assist you in recycling most electronic equipment free of charge with your paid service agreement2. You may bring your equipment to our service center or you may set the equipment in an accessible entry way for loading with paid repair of your current computer system. Limitations apply1.


1Recycling pickup is a courtesy service for paid customers. Limitations include the right to refuse any type or quantity of equipment. Items known to be non-recyclable are:

  • Televisions
  • Kitchen electronics, toasters, makers, appliances
  • Large commercial speakers
  • Kitchen or Laundry Appliances
  • Floor-model (self-standing) copiers or printers
  • Large servers
  • Ordinary Alkaline and non-rechargeable lithium batteries
  • Smoke detectors
  • Lamps or bulbsCommercial quantities (more than 10 per pickup)

2You may pay our minimum $35 service fee if you want equipment pickup without computer repair.

Good-bye Yahoo (And long gone Hotmail)

For some, Yahoo has a been a beloved site with everything from free email, to free advertising, and free chat, dating, stock quotes, just about everything under the sun. Sadly, Yahoo hasn’t had a very robust financial backing for some time.

Yahoo email is now owned by Verizon and Verizon has announced it will slowly but surely discontinue the Yahoo brand in favor of its own brand. While we have no definitive details about when or how Verizon intends to accomplish this, here at B. A. Computer Services we must warn and strongly suggest that users of Yahoo Mail find an alternative as soon as possible.

As for Hotmail, it was officially discontinued decades ago, but is incorporated into Microsoft’s other email websites. An attempt to access Hotmail.com will redirect you immediately to https://outlook.live.com. If you are still using an email ending in @hotmail.com it may still work for the moment because Microsoft has forwarded the email internally through its primary email servers, but that is no guarantee at any given day they decide to turn that forwarding off. You should take action and move to another email address as soon as possible.

B. A. Computer Services offers services that can move your existing mail, folders, and data from Yahoo or Hotmail over to another email and data provider of your choice.

Additional References regarding Yahoo

https://proprivacy.com/email/comparison/least-secure-email-providers

USA TODAY (2017): Yahoo Is No More

Stay on 10 or Move to Windows 11?

Microsoft Corp. is pushing the new Windows 11. Owner/Buyer Beware. Microsoft has spent the past decade refining Windows 10 into a stable product. Unfortunately, it may be another 10 years before Windows 11 has the same credentials.

To-date we can see no reason to upgrade to Windows 11 if you have a perfectly good running copy of Windows 10 already installed. Windows 10 provides support for migration from previous operating system and drivers to support legacy 32-bit hardware. Variants of the older hardware have been sold and installed since Windows 10 was first revealed, for over a decade. It is very likely that your existing physical device–laptop or desktop–has some legacy 32-bit hardware components that are not compatible with Windows 11.

Even if your hardware manufacturer documentation insists your device is a 64-bit computer, Windows 10 may still report that it cannot be upgraded to Windows 11. It is a sure sign that some components are not as advanced as they say they are, or that memory requirements have not been met for Windows 11. The message, which Microsoft has begun displaying under Settings->Windows Updates, should be taken as a positive affirmation to stay safely on Windows 10 for as long as your hardware will run. Further, the Microsoft evaluation that your device is indeed eligible for Windows 11 may be extremely misleading. Certain new component drivers may not yet have been included with the weakened hardware device support Windows 11 now minimally includes.

Windows 11 will only run on newer 64 bit hardware. Not all hardware that says it is 64 bit is truly 64 bit throughout.

Windows 11 will only run on 64-bit hardware. Windows 10, in contrast, will run on 32-bit and 64-bit hardware, and retains a full suite of component device support. The beauty of Windows 10 is its ability to automatically detect hardware and reconfigure itself automatically. However, as quickly as I write this, it is likely Microsoft will re-engineer their Windows 10 updates in such a way as to begin removing legacy hardware support. In other words, a day may soon arrive that Windows 7 machines and Windows 10 machines on older 32-bit hardware cannot be upgraded to Windows 10 any longer. Support for Windows 10 will wane in the next few years, and consumers will be forced into purchasing newer computers.

Especially when it involves our pocketbook, most consumers loathe being told what to do or when to do it. B.A. Computer Services is here to help navigate through options with as little affiliation to any particular operating system as possible. Our philosophy promotes helping ensure technology suits the individual for whom it is designed. Simply stated, does it work, and, does it work well for you in your station of life?

LG will no longer manufacture mobile phones

LG announces it will no longer manufacture mobile phones according to Joe Pinkstone For Mailonline.com 4/5/2021

LG devices won’t immediately disappear from store shelves; instead, the company plans to let current supplies dwindle without replacing any inventory. Existing LG phones will continue to receive support, with the exact length of that support to vary based on region according to Tom’s Guide 4/5/2021.

Here is the official LG announcement page.

Google Crashes Linux Amazon, Netflix, Spotify, Roku, others…

Google has quietly ended support for 32bit versions of Linux DRM Widevine support in Firefox browsers. Prior to May 31, 2021 individuals running a 32 bit version of Linux could watch Amazon Prime, Roku, and Netflix videos just fine through the Firefox web browser natively installed with most Linux distributions.

Videos stopped working on several laptops we had deployed and after diligent research we discovered the problem was not particular to Firefox, but was caused by the Widevine DRM plugin not functioning. There is no known workaround at this time. It is noted that one of our computers has 64bit processors running a 32bit version of Linux. It experiences the same problem as the 32bit processor machines.

A search on the Internet for solutions turns up nothing yet. Many sites instruct how to disable or enable the Widevine plugin, but they are useless. Even when properly installed the back-end support from Google simply is non-existent. The best alternative at this time is to use a newer 64bit device. Most 32 bit computers are slowly fading away.

Here is a similar article. https://news.itsfoss.com/netflix-issue-32-bit-linux/

Don’t waste your time trying to fix DRM if you are on an older machine! See note on firefox at https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/enable-drm

TeraGibiMega Jumble

If you think Computer Geeks all speak in tongues, no not all of them. Here is a quick reference guide to help you with the storage size language:

Inside the computer the smallest piece of information is a bit but in real world, no one needs to talk about bits because even a single character is the next smallest unit up, a byte. Counting bits and bytes is like counting kernels of sand on the beach. Typically one would not count the letters in a document, but might count the words or pages. Similarly, typically one wound not measure how many letters a memory stick can hold, but would measure how many megabytes it holds.

Memory sticks, and drives are measured in megabytes (MB) or Gigabytes (GB). Mega- is thousands of, so instead of counting every grain on the beach, take a scoop of sand and call it a megabyte of sand. If one scoop isn’t enough for your castle, then get two scoops, or 64 scoops, or 128 scoops. M could represent Measuring-cup-full.

Disk drives are long term storage devices meant to last for years. Today drives come in Gigabyte capacities. Giga- is a thousand times bigger than a mega-. Instead of thinking measuring-cup full, think of a barrel of sand. You might want 100 barrels of sand to fill in a land depression–100 Gigabytes is enough to install Windows and have minimal space available for your documents, just as 100 barrels of sand may be enough to create a small backyard pool area.

If you have 1000 barrels of sand, you now have a tera- amount of sand. Perhaps you have seen a pile of sand or rocks near a road construction site. That might be a few tera-grains of sand. A terabyte drive is therefore quite a sum of bytes. Typical drive sizes today hold 500GB (= 1/2 Terabyte), 750 GB (=3/4 Terabyte), 1 TB, or 2TB. You can figure with a Tera-grain pile of fertilizer, it will spread out for years. So it is with a Terabyte drive. Usually a half Terabyte, the same as a 500GB drive, is sufficient for the life of the computer for most people.

Incidentally, the difference between a Mega- and Mibi- or a Giga- and a Gibi- is that all the -gas are 1000 times greater while all the -ibis are 1024 times greater. The number closest to 1000 in a power of 2 is 1024 and is often used because computers speak binary: 2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2 = 1024 = 2^10

Upgrade Windows 10 to Windows 10?

Windows 10, version 1809 (Enterprise, Education, IoT Enterprise)
Windows 10, version 1909 (Home and Pro)
Windows Server, version 1909 (Datacenter, Standard)
EXPIRES
May 11, 2021
Windows 10 Versions Expire

The title isn’t a typo–Windows 10 must be upgraded to… Windows 10. In truth Microsoft has elected to not rebrand it’s Windows Operating System yet, but is in fact pouring out major updates. The table above shows which “versions” of Windows 10 will be expired early next year. In addition, these previous “versions” of Windows 10 are already expiring: Windows 10, versions 1507, 1511, 1607, 1703, 1709, 1803, 1809, 1903, and 1909.

The upgrade process from one of these older versions of Windows 10 to the newest 2004 (a version number, not a year!) feature release is daunting over slow or unreliable Internet connections. Some machines have been known to require more than 24 hours and multiple reboots to accomplish the final result. B. A. Computer Services is here to help in East Texas with our very-high-speed Internet to remove the headache from this process.

See Also https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/deployment/update/waas-quick-start

Spammed with Antispam Software?

TrapCall.com is one of many software solutions that claim to reduce your spam calls: www.trapcall.com/blog/how-to-stop-spam-calls. The entire article is geared toward getting you to buy into their software product by giving you a pretense of information about how to stop spoofed robocalls. The software is a TRAP itself!

It is mostly a misnomer to call it random or “cold” calling. In today’s information age, huge lists of phone numbers targeting certain markets are collected. Only the very first call is “cold”, a call you may have dismissed as unknown or innocently answered and hung up.

Let’s look at how random calling works:

  1. A number is chosen from a list, and an automated dialer or call-monkey [a person who acts essentially like a robot] makes the call. With each call, the call status is recorded into a database for the next call-monkey or dialer to read. These possible scenarios happen:
    • If the call comes back disconnected, database is updated, and the number is not dialed again for a time. This is not helpful to an individual at all, since it came back disconnected, it is not your active number anyway. Or,
    • If the call is answered, either by you or by a voicemail, then again database updates number to be active, and the game is on. The number will be called again and again attempting to connect with a real person. Or,
    • You personally answer and hear some sort of recording, for which you stay on the line until an actual person picks up and you are then able to ask them what company they represent. You demand to be removed, you go to your favorite spam call website and register the phone number, and then you post a complaint to the federal trade commission website. NONE OF THIS WORKS! KEEP READING TO FIND OUT WHY!
  2. With each call, new information about the called number is collected, and if you happen to be the one that actually answers the call in person, you will continue to get oodles of calls, no matter how many times you say “remove my number from your list.” Why? First of all, these people do not follow the law in the first place. But even if they were to remove your number from THEIR list, there is nothing that has prevented previous sharing of your number, and the newly collected information that your number is “active”, to the next group of call-monkeys.

WHY BLOCKING PHONE NUMBERS DOES NOT WORK

It is futile to block a specific phone number because most spam calls are not coming from fixed phone numbers anyway. There is a large pool of available phone numbers that can be randomly selected by these spam callers to make their phone call. They call, they get a status on your phone–disconnected, voicemail, or answered–and hangup. Then later they proceed to call on a different randomly chosen phone number. Even if you block the first number, and the second number, in as little as a week later, both of those blocked numbers might now be legitimate numbers newly assigned to a your neighbors newly purchased cell phone! Blocking numbers is a BAD IDEA.

SOLUTIONS

First of all, B. A. Computer Services is NOT selling any call block software. This article was written out of sheer hatred of getting the calls on our business lines. Secondly, these solutions are not fully tested, and do not handle every situation. Thirdly, B. A. Computer Services has never been engaged in cold-calling or using automatic dialers. We despise them altogether. Nevertheless, we CAN SAY the following methods have definitely reduced the number of calls that actually disturb us with a ringing telephone.

  1. Do NOT block phone numbers. In fact, we recommend you remove all blocked numbers, especially those in your local calling area code, from your blocked number list. Most numbers themselves are NOT permanently owned by the spam callers and therefore cannot be deemed to be “bad” numbers intrinsically. In a few days or months one or more of those blocked numbers will be a legitimate business or consumer, could even be your own phone number for a newly purchased phone.
  2. Log the number. Most cell phones save the number automatically, but as a human it is difficult to remember which number is which. The simplest method for meaningful logging is to add the number to your contacts with a tag of, “Potential Spam”, or similar descriptive name. Other valuable information can also be added to the contact’s notes so that over time you can identify the actual source of the caller.
  3. If your phone company offers a call spam guard, we suggest you use it. Most of these spam guards are based on probability that a call from a particular number is legitimate or not. Probability is like reporting the weather — 50% chance of rain and 50% probability of unwanted call — are both approximates, and leaves 50% possibility that the call is legitimately your doctor, lawyer, or other important caller using a phone number you didn’t expect them to use. This again is where logging all calls comes in handy. Add ALL calls to your contacts. (If desired, you can label it Z-Potential Spam, so it drops to the bottom of your contact list!)
  4. Put very important callers in your Starred or ICE groups. Most cell phones now have the ability to tag certain contacts with one or more tags, and your phone can be set to ring only if one of the tagged contacts are calling you. This works great for personal phones where you have a very limited number of people with whom you regularly communicate. This does not work at all for business numbers where you want to be able to receive calls from potential customers.
  5. A solution that works for business numbers, is to incorporate your phone number into an automatic answering service that reads off a brief menu or requires the person to press a digit on their phone pad to continue. A great many of the robot callers will instantly hangup when a call menu is encountered. Unfortunately, a small percentage of potential customers may also hangup before you are able to connect with them.

IN SUMMARY

Call blocking by the number alone not only does not work in the long run, it can be a bad idea overall. There are better methods of preventing unwanted calls from ringing your phone. None of the methods are going to block 100% of the time. Some calls are legitimate businesses in your community that you actually may want to receive calls from periodically.

B. A. Computer Services is able to help you establish your In-Case-of-Emergency (ICE) or Starred call list and functionality so that only known contacts ring your phone, and all others will have to leave a message. B.A. C.S. also offers automated call assistant solutions for businesses who need to keep their number available but resistant to unwanted calls.

Appointments Now Available

People vary in how they like to meet up. You may be driving by and see our sign and decide to pull in. It’s a good bet if you see the neon open sign turned on.

Or you may be on a tighter schedule and prefer to pre-plan when you will be able to have your computer with you for drop off, or pickup. Scheduling a time may be your best friend. Click Book An Appointment from the menu. If you are not certain which services you need, you may choose any FREE item to get the schedule made, and we will confirm the charges when we meet!

Click to Book An Appointment now in a new window.