(713) 682-4000 sales@westecservices.net

6 Things Every Computer User Should Know How to Do

Easy Ways to Protect the Health of Your Computer

What Are Deepfakes?

Outsourcing Your Technical Support with IT Consulting

Misleading password meters could increase risk of data breach

Why Should I Outsource My IT Needs

How to Spot Phishing Attempts

How to Prevent Malware

When Should I Update My Passwords?

How to Improve Your Computer’s Speed

Posts Tagged ‘it’

6 Things Every Computer User Should Know How to Do - WesTec Services

6 Things Every Computer User Should Know How to Do

With emerging technology, comes a major learning curve. For many, it’s difficult to even keep up! No worries — WesTec has got you covered and our IT support professionals are keeping it simple. Here are 6 things every computer user should know how to do in 2021:

IT support

Setup Your Wireless Network

If computer users must know one thing, it should be how to setup a wireless network and resolve wifi issues. A wireless connection is supported by a router; this router must be plugged in for users to access the internet. Most routers have several lights on the front that indicate the strength of the connection. If these lights are not on, the user should unplug and reset the router. Your computer will also indicate whether you are connected to the wireless network. On PC, the status of your connection can be found in the bottom right corner. On Mac, it can be found in the upper right corner.

 

Perform a Data Backup

System failure and natural disaster often strike with little to no warning. Therefore, it is crucial you know how to perform regular data backups. You can backup important data and files on flash drives and external hard drives. PC and Mac also offer software and servers that you can use to backup your data.

 

Install Antivirus Software

According to InfoWorld, 30% of computers in the United States are infected by some type of virus. Therefore, antivirus software is a must! Any IT professional would be happy to install your anti-virus software, but this process is actually pretty beginner-friendly. Antivirus software, like McAfee and Norton, can be downloaded directly from the internet and installed with ease. Dialogue boxes will walk you through the installation process.

IT support

Basic Troubleshooting

IT support professionals troubleshoot computer issues all the time, but it doesn’t hurt for a computer user to know basic troubleshooting skills. If your programs are failing or you are encountering an issue you cannot resolve, you must troubleshoot. Troubleshooting will identify what the problem is. To troubleshoot on PC, open your Start menu, then select “Settings” > “Update & Security” > “Troubleshoot.” On Mac, open your Apple menu and select “Restart.” Then, press and hold the “D” key while your Mac restarts. A screen with a list of languages will appear. Select your language of choice and your computer will begin running diagnostics.

 

Change Basic Settings

If you own a computer, you must know how to change your settings. Whether it’s adjusting sound levels or connecting a printer, knowing how to change basic settings comes in handy. On PC, open your Start menu and select “Settings” or “Control Panel” to make these necessary adjustments. On Mac, simply select the Preferences application, which can be found on your Dock.

 

Access Task Manager

If your computer is slow or unresponsive, you may have too many active programs open or a specific program has failed. Before calling your IT support team, try accessing your computer’s Task Manager. The Task Manager allows you to view active programs and force quit specific programs if necessary. On PC, you can access the Task Manager by holding Ctrl + Alt + Delete. On Mac, hold Command + Option + Esc. 

 

It’s helpful to know how to perform a few basic computer tasks, but if you’re just not tech-savvy, WesTec Services can help! We offer a variety of IT support services that can be tailored to your needs. Interested in learning more? Contact us today!

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Easy Ways to Protect the Health of Your Computer - WesTec Services

Easy Ways to Protect the Health of Your Computer

man using access control systemMaintaining your computer’s health requires regular care and maintenance. Here are a few things you can do to protect the health of your computer on a daily basis:

 

Routine deep cleans

You would be surprised by the number of files that collect on a computer over time. Too many files and programs can actually affect a computer’s load speed and overall performance. Therefore, it is crucial that you perform routine deep cleans on your system. Delete any files that you no longer need and are simply taking up space. If there are files you would like to keep, store these on an external hard drive (and back this drive up) before removing the files from your system.  

 

Download security updates

You’ve likely received notifications to download new security updates and declined for the sake of time and convenience. If you do not regularly download security updates, your computer may be vulnerable to hacking. These updates work to “patch” any holes in your computer’s security. Without these updates, hackers can intercept your security and access your information, files, programs, etc.

 

Install and update antivirus software

Viruses and malware can affect your computer’s overall performance, which can disrupt productivity. Therefore, it is important that you install an antivirus software and update this software regularly. Antivirus software will scan your computer for existing viruses, resolve these issues, and block more viruses from infecting your computer. 

 

When you fail to perform routine deep cleans and maintain your antivirus and security software, your computer is at risk of system failure. At WesTec Services, we understand it can be easy to forget to do these things. Don’t neglect your computer any longer — outsource IT support with WesTec Services! From IT consulting services and network installation to backup & disaster recovery, we’ve got you covered. Protect your computer’s health with WesTec Services. Contact us today!

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What Are Deepfakes? - WesTec Services

What Are Deepfakes?

With the advancement of technology over time, new types of cybersecurity threats emerge for consumers and businesses to worry about. Lately, deepfake cybersecurity breaches have become more common. According to Tech Beacon, deepfakes are defined as “synthetic media in which a person in a video or audio is replaced with someone else’s likeness or voice.” This type of threat can ruin businesses quickly due to how convincing the synthetic media are.

The Dangers

Due to the advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, cyberhackers and criminals can create false audio and images pretending to be you or another coworker. Hackers are so precise, they can perform flawless impersonations. The frustrating part of the process is that if you don’t know this is a false video call or audio, hackers can easily obtain the information they need. Once financial details or unreleased company information falls into the wrong hands, it can be disastrous. 

Experts found that deepfake hacking methods have increased by 84% between December 2018 and October 2019. Research estimates $250 million in losses, as a result of deepfake hacking for the 2020 fiscal year.

 

Why It’s Popular Among Hackers

Businesses still struggle with high-level email phishing scams, making deepfakes harder to prevent. Due to the lack of knowledge surrounding this threat, deepfakes are becoming a new favorite method for cybercriminals who have the time and patience to implement this method. Deepfake hackers attack businesses in these ways:

  • Impersonating clients or suppliers asking for payments
  • Pretending to be supervisors and business owners, asking for fund transfers or sensitive information
  • Using fake blackmail audio and videos for extortion
  • Presenting fake pictures, videos, and audio files on social media to create slander campaigns

 

The Solution

The first step in preventing deepfake attacks is to be aware it is a method of cybersecurity destruction. Once you are informed, the next question is how you can protect your business. There are a few available solutions, like Deeptrace or Cogito. These software programs can be expensive for small- and medium-sized businesses. For those on a limited budget, here are some things to consider executing immediately:

  • Educate staff members about deepfakes, reporting odd situations before proceeding with any actions asked
  • Add two-step verification to your system for emails, phone calls, and video sessions, ensuring none provided over these communication methods are used over existing ones
  • Strengthen security measures for cybersecurity, adding systems if you currently have none or looking into upgrades for your current system
  • Add additional steps for fund transfer verification — this helps ensure the transfer is supposed to occur and can save your business thousands of dollars, if not.

Taking action now is the best thing you can do for your business. Employees and business owners should also periodically check in on the issue to see if better methods of protection are discovered. 

 

As new threats arise, you must be proactive! At WesTec Services, our IT professionals want to help you safeguard your business and its assets. If you’re unsure how to get started, contact us today.

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Outsourcing Your Technical Support with IT Consulting - WesTec Services

Outsourcing Your Technical Support with IT Consulting

Modern technology is a huge asset for businesses across all industries. However, with implementing new technology comes a major learning curve. So how do businesses properly execute new technology implementation in order to achieve the maximum sustainable results?   As a business owner, outsourcing your technical support is not only cost-efficient, but will allow you to prioritize your business objectives. Here are a few benefits of IT consulting:  

Expertise

With IT consulting, you can rely on the expertise of seasoned IT professionals. When an IT mishap occurs or you simply require guidance, IT professionals can assist you in making decisions and producing solutions that will allow you to optimize your technology in order to support the growth of your company.     

Cost

In an effort to cut costs, many companies are hesitant to invest in quality IT consulting. However, IT consulting can actually save you money! Without proper guidance on how to optimize your new business technology, you will be left to find solutions to problems you may not know how to address – and a simple human error can end up costing you a lot of money! Reduce unnecessary spending and consult with an IT professional.     

Time

With limited knowledge, you will likely encounter issues navigating your new business technology – and searching for solutions can take hours or even days! An IT mishap can put you behind schedule or even cause you to miss major deadlines. IT consulting is convenient, as you can team up with a professional to develop quick solutions that will put you and your business back on track.   WesTec Services offers customized IT consulting for small and large businesses. Our professionals are trained to effectively guide clients in positioning their strengths so they can properly utilize their technology to meet the constantly changing marketplace and the influence of technology. Interested in learning more about IT consulting? Contact us today and schedule a call with one of our professionals!
Misleading password meters could increase risk of data breach - WesTec Services

Misleading password meters could increase risk of data breach

A Password meter is an indicator of the strength of a password entered by a user on a website. In most cases, meters estimate the amount of tries necessary for your password to be guessed by an attacker by factoring in password length and complexity. A University of Plymouth study tested 16 of the most encountered password meters on the internet to test their effectiveness. Based on the results, here are a few tips on how to keep your passwords secure, regardless of an “approval” given by the password meter:  

Do not always trust the password meter

  Just because a password meter says “strong password” does not mean it is. The meters can be helpful but are also extremely flawed, giving you a sense of false security. When deciding on a password, do not base it solely on the rating given by the website.   

Avoid using keyboard patterns

  On many password meters, passwords such as “querty”,  “abc123”, and “Password” sometimes cannot be detected as problematic. Common letter combinations, such as going down a row of the keyword or commonly used words, are easily guessed and not always flagged on the meters.   Misleading password meters could increase risk of data breach - WesTec Services

Make passwords complicated and personal

  The most secure passwords are those with a combination of uppercase, lowercase, numbers, and symbols. Choose combinations that seem difficult to guess by an outside person or computer. The more complicated and seemingly random the password, the stronger it will be.
  In addition to character variation, do not use the same password for all of your accounts. Change up your passwords so that if one is discovered, not all of your information is at risk. 
  Secure your valuable data with the protection it deserves. Do you part to protect your information with a strong password, WesTec is here to do the rest. WesTec Services is dedicated to providing the highest quality of IT consulting as well as backup disaster and recovery planning. Give WesTecCall a call today to discover more about our available services.   
Why Should I Outsource My IT Needs? - WesTec

Why Should I Outsource My IT Needs

Does your company have its own internal IT department? Do you feel that there is a misuse of time and resources due to inefficient practices within your company? Consider outsourcing your needs to someone with knowledge and focus on how to benefit your organization’s current technology needs. There are four main reasons why you should consider outsourcing your IT needs:

Reduce Costs

Outsourcing to someone who specifically handles and is knowledgeable about technology is cheaper than hiring and training someone to handle it internally.

Avoid RiskWhy Should I Outsource My IT Needs - WesTec Services

Having on-call technicians with training in the technology field will help avoid problems and system failures. The outsourced IT company will usually be knowledgeable in information backups and recovery in the case of a disaster. In addition, outside companies can more easily avoid the bad situations all together by being prepared specifically for them.

Increase Productivity

You decide how involved or not involved the outsourced company is in your day-to-day operations. Your company sets the pace and the outsourced support caters to your needs. You create the plan that best suits your business, allowing for the most optimal levels of business productivity and desired interaction between business and IT.

Remain Focused on Business

When delegating technology services to someone else, you are able to focus time and effort on the business side of things. No need to worry about the technology when you have a more knowledgable third-party source to handle it. Focus on what you know to optimize your time and efforts   and allow for the best use of company time. WesTec Services is skilled in handling all our outsources IT needs. We offer a full range of services and plans to handle your office technology. To learn more, contact WesTec Services today.
How to Spot Phishing Attempts - WesTec Services

How to Spot Phishing Attempts

Are you sure that email came from a real company? Individuals are commonly targeted by cybercriminals claiming to be a large organization, copying the format legitimate companies and phishing for personal information. This poses a real security threat to recipients but thankfully, there are steps you can take to spot phishing attempts:  

Recognize

When it comes to identifying phishing attempts, there are a few important things to learn. Scammers are constantly switching tactics and creating new ways to trick email recipients. Upon receiving a possible phishing email, check the sender for a domain email. If you have received an email from the person before, check to make sure alterations have not been made to the spelling of the name or email domain. Many scammers adjust a number or letter in the email to trick the recipient. Real companies will not ask you for sensitive information over email. Most legitimate companies will call you by your name in the email, redirect you to a secure webpage, and ask you to log in before asking for or updating sensitive information.   How To Spot a Phishing Attempt - WesTec Services

Protect

Install proper security measures on your personal computer. While spam filters attempt to sort legitimate emails in your inbox, cybercriminals try new methods to slip through the cracks and outsmart this system. If your email account or other websites offer a multi-step authentication option to prove your identity before accessing your information, always take advantage of this. Take any extra opportunities to better secure your data and ensure it cannot fall into the wrong hands. In cases where you are unsure about the legitimacy of a message and files or hyperlinks are included, do not click on or open them. These often contain malicious software that attack your computer and gain access to information.  

Report

If you find yourself in a situation with what you believe to be a phishing scam, contact the company using an email or number you know to be real. The company could confirm if that email was truly sent by them or not. If you have received a phishing email, forward it to the Anti-Phishing Working Group at reportphishing@apwg.org. You may also report the phishing attack to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. For your business technology needs, WesTec Services is here to provide the security and support you need. Contact us by phone at (713) 682-4000 or by email at sales@westecservices.net to discuss what we can do for you.
How to Prevent Malware - WesTec Services

How to Prevent Malware

When your computer slows down or begins acting in an unusual way, it may be infected with a virus or malware. While most malwares are annoying, others may be malicious and hijack your computer’s information. Here are some tips to keep your hardware safe and prevent your computer from becoming infected.

Install Anti-Virus Software

Installing an antivirus or anti-malware software is the first step to protecting your computer. Without some type of protection software, your computer is an easy target for hackers. It is important to make sure the software stays up to date as well. For the best protection, install updates regularly as they alert you on your computer.

Run Regularly Scheduled Scans

You should be scanning your computer regularly with the anti-virus software you install. To best protect your computer, schedule your scan one night every week. Make sure your computer does not shut down automatically or go into hibernation mode to ensure the scan completes.How to Prevent Malware - WesTec Services

Use a Secure Network

Always use a secure network for computers to connect to files, printers or internet. Using an open network makes it easier for hackers to access your information. This means you should avoid using your computer at places that offer free WiFi. If your business likes to offer complimentary wifi to customers, consider offering a guest wifi with a different password than your main network for added protection.

Think Before You Click

Good protection software will automatically scan any links or unusual emails on your computer. However, it does not hurt to always be cautious when opening an email from an unknown sender or making sure a link is taking you where it says it is.

Use Multiple Strong Passwords

Finally, never use the same password for all of your important accounts. We often use the same email address or username for all accounts. Knowing this, it becomes crucial to use multiple strong passwords to prevent hacks. Your passwords should be easy to remember, difficult to guess, and always avoids dates or names.

Following these tips can help protect your computers and information from viruses and malware. For more information on how WesTec’s IT experts can help your business keep its information safe from hackers, contact us.
When Should I Update My Passwords? - WesTec Services

When Should I Update My Passwords?

Sometimes, accounts will ask you to update your passwords for security reasons. This often feels like an unnecessary task meant to make your life more complicated. However, in a world full of hackers and online predators, one must regularly update their password to protect valuable information.

Change Your Passwords Regularly…

When Should I Update My Passwords? - WesTec ServicesBy regularly changing your login information and passwords, you make it harder for someone to steal information. This is increasingly important for accounts without two-factor authentication. Communication accounts, like email and chatting apps, should also be updated every so often for increased protection.

…But Don’t Change Them Too Often

Traditionally, experts recommended you change passwords every 30 to 60 days–this is no longer the case. Mandatory password updates lead to money loss and lack of productivity with minimal security payoff. Now, changing your password doesn’t hold near the protection it used to. Because cybercriminals continue to learn more advanced hardware and software, they can typically discover your password if they look hard enough.

As humans, we tend to create patterns. This is no different in password creation. Typically, we use similar letters, numbers and themes when updating a password. Updating your password too often leads to confusion with little added benefit.

Keep Your Data Secure

As a rule of thumb, update your passwords when there is proof of some sort of security breach or online attack. This includes unauthorized use of an account or evidence of malware. By doing so, you’re preventing a hacker from gaining access into your personal accounts and obtaining sensitive, private information or data.

There are other ways to protect your data. Contact the experts at WesTec Services for more information about our cybersecurity services.

If you’re not sure how to create a secure password that will outsmart the online hackers, read our recent article for tips.
How to Improve Your Computer's Speed - WesTec Services

How to Improve Your Computer’s Speed

Doesn’t your computer always seem to lag when you have a rapidly approaching deadline? A slow computer can decrease productivity and increase frustration. To help eliminate frustration, try one of these tips to increase your computer’s speed and performance.

Uninstall Unused Programs

Programs take a lot of space on your computer. Over time, you accumulate programs that might run in the background without your knowledge. Uninstalling the programs you don’t use on a regular basis may increase your computer’s speed and response time.

How to Improve Your Computer's Speed - WesTec ServicesDelete Temporary Files

Every time you download or install a file on your PC, it keeps a temporary file. If your computer is running slow, you can delete these files to free up space. To do this, find the “Temp” folder in your drive. Select older files and press the delete key. Make sure you empty the recycling bin to completely wipe files from the computer.

Invest in Hard Drive Storage

Sometimes you might need to have easy access to many files. However, keeping them all in once place will affect your computer’s speed. To keep your computer tidy, you can purchase an external storage drive to store thousands of files.

Increase RAM

Random Access Memory (RAM) acts as your computer’s short-term memory. It quickly loads items it thinks it will need to access soon. But, if your RAM can’t handle several applications at once, your computer will lag. Increasing the RAM can be an easy and cost-effective way to improve your computer’s speed.

Work with Our IT Professionals

Our trusted IT professionals at WesTec Services can help diagnose why your computer is slow and offer solutions to improve its speed through our managed IT and IT consulting services. Contact us for more information.

Mission: WesTec will be a “turn-key” solution for all of its clients’ business connectivity needs. It will offer efficient and effective solutions, directly and with strategic partners, that create tangible value for its clients at every point of contact. Westec will serve all people and entities with a servant’s heart.

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2916 West TC Jester Blvd., Suite 104

Houston, TX 77018


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