What is CryptoWall?

CryptoWall is a file-encrypting ransomware program that was released around the end of April 2014 that targets all versions of Windows including Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8. The media is commonly confusing CryptoWall with the CryptoLocker infection, when it is much more similar to the CryptoDefense ransomware. The most apparent similarity being that CryptoWall’s Decryption Service is almost identical to the one for CryptoDefense. In October 2014, the malware developers released a new version of CryptoWall called CryptoWall 2.0. This new version included some additional changes that are described in the next section.

Cryptowall is spread via drive by downloads or attachments on phony emails.

When you are first infected with CryptoWall it will scan your computer for data files and “encrypt” them using RSA encryption so they are no longer able to be opened. Once the infection has encrypted the files on your computer drives it will open a Notepad window that contains instructions on how to access the CryptoWall Decryption Service where you can pay a ransom to purchase a decryption program. The ransom cost starts at $500 USD and after 7days goes up to $1,000. This ransom must be paid in Bitcoins and sent to a Bitcoin address that changes per infected user.

Cryptowall is really problematic because all your data on your computer as well as your office server can become unavailable for all the users in the entire office.  Your two remedies are to pay the ransom or restore data from back ups.

In real world experience I have restored data via back up.  It is generally possible to decrypt the data with the key if you pay the ransom.  In either case it is a lot of effort to recover from the infection because you have to then make sure all the affected pcs and server are cleaned up properly.

Prevention is worth a pound of cure.  Having your pcs set up to avoid cryptowall is possible.  Having your data backed up is for sure the best approach.  If you need help with your office technology needs feel free to call Computer Guy Consulting for a quick consultation on the phone.



Don’t make the data mistake!

usb data lossHere at Computer Guy Consulting a lot of data recovery is done. Why because hard disk, flash drives, and SD cards sometimes fail. Sometimes people cause their own problems by accidentally deleting important files. Malware and ransomeware can also render your data unusable or deleted.

Make sure that you have at least 3 copies of important files. First copy should be in your documents folder. Second copy should be on a usb drive that isn’t always connected to your pc. Have a third copy off premises by using a cloud based back up product like Mozy or Carbonite. It’s difficult to lose all three copies of your data using this method.

If you have a small business this 3-2-1 back up strategy becomes even more import. You will have multiple people working on multiple important files. You will have multiple chances for things to go wrong. Having a consultant make sure that your data is secure provides a lot of peace of mind.

Computer Guy Consulting offers all things data related. If you are unsure of your home or business data status contact the Computer Guy for a consultation. Don’t wait until it happens to you, prevention is a lot easier than disaster remediation!

10 Security Steps for a safer pc and online experience

safepcStep 1. Have a 3-2-1 backup solution.
Step 2. Test your backup solution by restoring some test files.
Step 3. Use strong passwords with a password manager.
Step 4. Have a router firewall in addition to the Windows firewall.
Step 5. Run and keep updated anti-malware software.
Step 6. Have updated alternative browsers and search engines.
Step 7. Applications: Should be patched and updated.
Step 8. Don’t run in administrator mode, use a standard account.
Step 9. Consider using a tablet for nonessential websurfing.
Step 10. Use common sense when something unexpected pops up.

If you don’t know how to deal with some of these steps feel free to call Computer Guy Consulting for a consultation.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to computer disasters.  The time to implement these steps is while everything is still pure and not corrupted.  Protect your business and home computers by using these 10 security steps.

How old is your router?

Circa 2004?
SONY DSCIs this what your router looks like?  If it is this old you probably need a new one.  Router technology has improved dramatically in the last few years.  Now that most homes and offices are relying on internet services and wifi to get things done having a router that is up to the task is essential.  Replacing an old inadequate router in an office will yield noticeable results when searching web pages and uploading and downloading content.  As more pcs and wireless devices are added to a network having a more powerful router will improve everyone’s experience.  Newer business routers also offer improved security, spam filtering, web filtering, firewall and other add on features.  If you are paying for good internet service don’t skimp by choking your bandwidth through an old under powered router.

Computer Guy Consulting can advise you about your current network and router.  A network assessment can be conducted to see if you would be better served with newer hardware and maybe wiring.  Give a call and schedule your network analysis today. 325-4656


Is your email hacked?

Why would anyone want to hack my email account??  Well, lots of reasons but all of them want to steal your digital info.



This diagram is worth 1000 words for sure.  We all use online services and have website accounts that can put you in a compromised situation should one be hacked.  If you need help with a hacked email account or computer give me a call.  Don’t wait until your information, identity, or finances are compromised.

data recovery, data back up systems, computer repair, upgrades, network set up, WiFi installations, small business support for hardware and software, security assessments and solutions, virus and malware removal and prevention

Computer Recycling & Data Sanitization

ImageGetting rid of your old XP machine?  Need to make sure your old computer is properly erased?

Here at Computer Guy Consulting we can help you move off XP, transfer all your information and email, and then properly dispose of your old computer.  I can erase your old hard disk using software that meets the Department Of Defense standard.

Official Mumbo Jumbo:

Definition: DoD 5220.22-M is a software based data sanitization method used in various data destruction programs to overwrite existing information on a hard drive or other storage device.

The DoD 5220.22-M data sanitization method is usually implemented in the following way:

Pass 1: Writes a zero and verifies the write
Pass 2: Writes a one and verifies the write
Pass 3: Writes a random character and verifies the write

Computer recycling and data destruction doesn’t have to be a concern.  Computer Guy Consulting will help you deal with your old technology.  Need this service? give me a call 325-4656.

The Hackers are Coming!


Six Solutions to Protecting Your Information

paraphrased from  an article in AZ CPA Magazine March/April 2014 by Marcus A. Clarke

Marcus made the point in his article that hackers and hacking are no longer a teenager in the basement but instead a large, multinational, organized web of cyber criminals. These cyber criminals operate in an underground economy preying on banks and credit card companies. Credit card fraud will likely continue to increase in the future.

Six Precautions You Can Take Now

  1. Don’t allow personal use of the internet on work computers.  If you must, provide separate computers on a separate network for non work use.
  2. Make sure your computers are free of any malware.
  3. Make sure you have a verified back up of your data.
  4. Don’t allow personal email access on business computers.
  5. If you are still using Windows XP, get rid of it now.
  6. Use encryption on laptops and usb drives.

Good advice from Marcus.  If you need help with any of this call Computer Guy Consulting for a free consultation over the phone.  We can assess your needs and schedule a visit to your office or home.

Computer Clean Up

computer cleaningComputers need cleaning too!  If your pc needs a “cleaning” computer guy consulting can  give you a check up and tune to keep your machine humming along.  We will advise you on your security status as well as your back up strategy.  You do have a back up strategy right?  You can spend your time running your business with peace of mind that your computer is clean, backing up, and optimized.

Computer Guy Consulting also provides sales and services for all your pc needs.  Dell authorized resellers  providing pcs and servers for home and business.  Services include: consulting in shop and onsite, data recovery, virus removal, network set up, wifi for business with multiple access points to cover larger areas, configuration of hardware and software, remote monitoring and management of business pcs and networks, and all types of troubleshooting.

Call for a free phone consultation about your tech issues.

WiFi for home or office

WiFiWiFi is now everywhere. Well almost everywhere. If you need to install WiFi in your office or home Computer Guy Consulting can help. If you have WiFi that is old and slow we can help with an upgrade. We can help you enable both trusted client access as well as guest access. Keep your local network separate from your customers and vendors. We can install multiple antennas to get your office or campus wide coverage as needed. Free a free business network or WiFi evaluation call Harry at 325-4656 to schedule an appointment.

The End of the Line….

ImageWindows XP is nearing the end of support at Microsoft.  As of April 2014 Microsoft will no longer produce any security updates for XP.  Here is an excellent article about securing windows xp computers after updates stop.

The moral of the story for most computer users is that change is inevitable and if you are still using xp most likely a new Windows 7 or 8 computer is probably the best option.  Computer Guy Consulting can help you navigate the murky waters of Microsoft change and figure out what is the best plan for your situation.  Don’t wait until XP becomes a problem.  We can help you devise a strategy to deal with this issue. 

Computer Guy Consulting does IT.  Business and Residential consulting, sales, service, and troubleshooting.