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Michael Scholtz Computer Software Support cc or MSCOMP was started in 1998 by Michael Scholtz. Since then we have striven to be the best at what we do. We are your answer to your small business computer support issues.

Office and Support Number: Office 011 791 4662  
Office Hours: Monday to Friday 8:30 to 17:00
Please contact us on the support line or our cellular numbers. Michael 082 771 4535
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What is Ransomware?
Ransomware is the generic term for any malicious software that, as its name suggests, demands a ransom be paid by the computerís user. Generally ransomware has done something unpleasant to your computer, and potentially to your data.
For instance, it might have encrypted your documents and demanded that you pay a ransom to unlock access to them. This type of ransomware is known as a filecoder. The most notorious filecoder is Cryptolocker.
How would my computer get infected by ransomware like Cryptolocker? A typical method of infection would be to open an unsolicited email attachment or click on a link claiming to come from a trusted source.
What can you do about it?
1. Backup Backup Backup! The single biggest thing that will defeat ransomware is having a regular backup regimen, to an external drive or off-site backup service.
2. Do not open attachments you were not expecting, or that are from unknown sources. This should be a given, but sometimes the emails look legitimate, or may be coming from someone you know. If you donít know, then ask before moving forward.
3. Make sure your software is patched & updated. Malware authors frequently rely on people running outdated software with known vulnerabilities, which they can exploit to silently get onto your system. For additional tips to protect you & your data click here.
Does antivirus software protect me from Ransomware? Majority of antivirus software products will NOT prevent the attack itself, and are generally the last line of defense. Cryptolocker is detected by ESET, however it would only detect the virus after it has encrypted your files; the reason for this is that encryption is an allowed functionality of Windows. i.e. You receive a file attached in an email which appears a a PDF, ZIP etc. and once you've opened the file and allowed the program to run, it creates a process within Windows to start encrypting the files.
The virus signature then gets attached to the files/OS, which is identified by ESET and then removed, but at this point it would be too late to stop the encryption from happening. We urge you to take precautions when opening suspicious attachments. Antivirus software's function is to stop a virus NOT encryption - the way encryption has been used in this attack is to mimic the behaviour of a virus.
Further information
If you are an ESET customer and are concerned about ransomware protection or think you have been targeted by ransomware, call our customer care. They will have the latest details on how to prevent and remediate ransomware attacks.
Best practice to protect yourself against data loss is with regular backups. That way, no matter what happens, you will be able to restart your digital life quickly.

How things have changed
30 years ago if you were not advertising in the yellow pages you were being left behind.
20 years ago if you were not in the yellow pages you were not getting calls anywhere.
Now if you advertise in the yellow pages the biggest problem is finding a copy of the thing to see your ad.

I think websites are going a similar way as they used to be a brochure of your products when business related the way Google rates them means you have to have new content on there all the time or your ratings fall. It plays nicely into the hands of big business as constant updates costs lots to maintain and it gets to where you either need to pay a company lost of money to maintain or hire a SEO savant to keep up there.
I think people are becoming more demanding of feedback, it started with cell phones when you no longer had to call a place but a person. That made people always accessible and customers learnt that they could start demanding you are available to them any-time. The best/worst example is people answering their phones in a movie theatre, and then feeling that its ok to have the conversation telling the person what they are watching and how irate the person two isles over is getting.
This need to instant attention peaked on a personal level with Facebook and I donít for one second say itís a bad thing as such but people need to moderate and there is a time for everything I donít think Facebook is the best tool for business I feel it should be what it was meant to be a social tool. However business is not about what you want to sell or how you want to sell it but rather about what people want and how they want to buy it, so if people hang out on Facebook itís a way to sell them your product.
It seems however that Facebook is also getting to the level where itís too much trouble for people to use and they need something more instant and thatís twitter. What I like about twitter is that you choose what information you want to receive and from who, Itís totally permission based and if you donít like what someone is saying you donít have to. Likewise if you have something to say or ask you can ask all your friends and followers at once.
But more importantly and this is what affects most businesses is that if you have a bad experience you are going to let everyone know in one go. This means in an instant anywhere from 20 Ė 200000 people can see how someone they associate with feels about your product. The flip side is that itís also the first tool that successfully passes positive comments to as many people and as twitter is a very emotional tool it means an overwhelmingly good experience makes you want to talk about it as well.

The thing is you need to stay up-to-date and in touch with the ways that people prefer to communicate. Some companies have tried to take a proactive approach to tools such as twitter and monitor for their names being mentioned and responding to complaints and compliments. Iíve tested this with #Vodacom111 that initially started by responding and then they seem to have lost interest, and now they donít seem to respond at all, but and this is a big one. If they choose not to respond it does not mean what you say about them is not being heard, It simply means they donít care. The only thing worse than not responding in the first place is responding and then ceasing to respond to someone that would be worse as it says we do care and know what you are saying we just donít care enough about you.

So yes the way we communicate online is changing all the time and while there are new products all the time sometimes they just get renamed to pick up sales as Microsoft have done with Exchange, their mail server that is the be all and end all of communication in their mind. Itís no longer sold as what it is, a mail server but rather as a cloud service. This means they are saying itís a virtual service and always available on the internet, pretty much the same as it always has been.

So does that mean Google will eventually go the way of the Yellow Pages? Who knows it currently does what the yellow pages did but much better itís the place everyone on the internet goes to find anything. At some point someone will find another way to find what people are looking for and then it depends on if they are quick enough to catch on. The problem is that as companies grow it becomes harder for them to change how they do things and thatís what gives smaller industries the edge. It took us 1 day to test and implement a new type of firewall. If I look at a slightly larger company we supply with hardware to build their firewalls with about 1000 employees it now takes them 6 months to roll out a new firewall solution. What does that do to Google well who knows they are launching a Facebook competitor and once it goes live we will see how it goes.

Either way I just noticed my neighbour is cutting down a tree with a very large hand saw and its undoubtedly going to be something worth watching

Avoid scams that use the Microsoft name fraudulently

Cybercriminals often use the names of well-known companies, like Microsoft, in their scams. They think it will convince you to give them money or your personal information. While they usually use email to trick you, they sometimes use the telephone, instead.

Common scams that use the Microsoft name

  • "You have won the Microsoft Lottery"
  • Microsoft "requires credit card information to validate your copy of Windows"
  • "Microsoft" sends unsolicited email messages with attached security updates
  • Someone from "Microsoft Tech Support" calls to fix your computer

Avoid these dangerous hoaxes

We do not send unsolicited email messages or make unsolicited phone calls to request personal or financial information or fix your computer.
If you receive an unsolicited email message or phone call that purports to be from Microsoft and requests that you send personal information or click links, delete the message or hang up the phone..

You have not won the "Microsoft Lottery"

Microsoft customers are often targets of a scam that uses email messages to falsely promise money. Victims receive messages claiming "You have won the Microsoft Lottery!"There is no Microsoft Lottery. Delete the message.
If you have lost money to this scam, report it. You can also send the police report to Microsoft and we will use it to help law enforcement catch the criminals who send out these e-mail messages.
To help protect yourself from these e-mail hoaxes, you can use the same general guidance that you use to protect yourself from phishing scams.

Microsoft does not request credit card information to validate your copy of Windows

We require that your copy of Windows is legitimate before you can obtain programs from the Microsoft Download Center or receive software updates from Microsoft Update. Our online process that performs this validation is called the Genuine Advantage Program. At no time during the validation process do we request your credit card information.
In fact, we do not collect information that can be used to identify you such as your name, email address, or other personal details.
To learn more, read the Genuine Microsoft software program privacy statement.
To learn more about the program in general, see Genuine Windows: frequently asked questions.

Microsoft does not send unsolicited communication about security updates

When we release information about a security software update or a security incident, we send email messages only to subscribers of our security communications program.
Unfortunately, cybercriminals have exploited this program by sending fake security communications that appear to be from Microsoft. Some messages lure recipients to websites to download spyware or other malicious software. Others include a file attachment that contains a virus. Delete the message. Do not open the attachment.

Legitimate security communications from Microsoft

  • Legitimate communications do not include software updates as attachments. We never attach software updates to our security communications. Rather, we refer customers to our website for complete information about the software update or security incident.
  • Legitimate communications are also on our websites. If we provide any information about a security update, you can also find that information on our websites.

Microsoft does not make unsolicited phone calls to help you fix your computer

In this scam cybercriminals call you and claim to be from Microsoft Tech Support. They offer to help solve your computer problems. Once the crooks have gained your trust, they attempt to steal from you and damage your computer with malicious software including viruses and spyware.
Although law enforcement can trace phone numbers, perpetrators often use pay phones, disposable cellular phones, or stolen cellular phone numbers. It's better to avoid being conned rather than try to repair the damage afterwards.
Treat all unsolicited phone calls with skepticism. Do not provide any personal information
If you receive an unsolicited call from someone claiming to be from Microsoft Tech Support, hang up. We do not make these kinds of calls.
If you think you might be a victim of fraud, you can report it. For more information, see: What to do if you think you have been a victim of a scam.

Google got its hand caught in the cookie jar
Googleís unhealthy cookie habit
By John C Abell FEBRUARY 22, 2012

Google got its hand caught in the cookie jar last week ó and this time it really does have some explaining to do.

The search giant, which derives some 97 percent of its revenues from advertising, thought it would be all right to circumvent some protections incorporated into Appleís Safari browser so that it could better target its ads. By intentionally bypassing the default privacy settings of Appleís Safari browser ó and, as Microsoft has now asserted, Internet Explorer ó Google has decided for all of us that our Web activity will be more closely tracked. They opted us in, without asking. And without a way for us to opt out. (We didnít even know about it until the Wall Street Journal blew the lid off this last Thursday.)
How is the Face of IT changing us.
Mike's BlogThe world is a changing place.

Most of us are doing things very different today than we did even a year ago. In this instance I'm talking about how we interact with the world and how computers and technology has changed.

From the advent of iPads where I admit I thought Steve Jobs had rocks in his head, and I humbly apologise for not seeing the vision he had to the mainstream acceptance of the BlackBerry as the first place you check your email.

This however leaves a lot of unsaid things about all the alternatives and what could possibly be the dark horse we have not thought about. These are the Android devices, iPhones and shudder even Windows Mobile are in the mix. Nokia the largest brand for cell phones are reeling from the loses due to the ever increasing demand for better performance they simply failed to deliver. I wont discount Nokia yet as they are bound to come up with something and I would not be surprised to see them make a comeback.

But more importantly I would like to talk about the way we do our work on a daily basis. When we type a document we use WORD when we need to calculate something we use EXCEL we don't refer to the task as word processing or spreadsheets and that is a testament to how ingrained Microsoft is in our daily life. The extent of this is shown when you look at the recent popularity of Apple Computers. Apple has always been a mainstay of graphic design but in the last few years they have taken a healthy percentage of the PC market. Apple don't have customers, they have raving fans that will defend their decision to purchase with more enthusiasm than a six year old on a pink pony. The reason for this is simply that Microsoft released a version of their office suite for Apple.

The release of a mainstream tool required on a daily basis for your platform is the key to the independence of a free market. The dark horse here is Linux, the 'free' option that seems to be quietly getting there. I don't however for one second think I can survive without my Windows based machine to do my work. Sure there have been ways to do what you had to for a while now but the truth is if you want to use something made for windows, use it on windows.

So when time came to upgrade and move from a desktop machine to a laptop I was filled with trepidation and felt I would be missing out as the CPU in the Notebook was a similar in performance to my older but still decent Desktop PC. So why upgrade you say? I wanted to move form a fixed machine to a portable device that can come with when I go away. At the same time the pain I go through when changing or reinstalling a computer coupled with a usability rather than performance upgrade was more than I was prepared to face.

Microsoft came to the rescue with RDP. This is a bit of software that allows you to work remotely on a computer. We had been using this and the very similar VNC for some time to repair computers remotely with great success. As I was moving to a Laptop I could not install all my Harddrives into it and had to find a way to access them. I left my Desktop machine connected to power and the network and plugged my monitor keyboard and mouse into the laptop to continue working with a normal mouse as it was comfortable. Using RDP I could connect to my desktop machine as if I was working directly on it, Magnificent.

Upto this point however I had not started doing anything new. I simply found a clever way to use two computers with one mouse and keyboard. Having dual screens also made a difference and Dare I say when I do go away and revert to the single monitor I feel like I am hampered.

It was during this time that I converted to the BlackBerry and realised that I was no longer tied to my computer to check my email. It became a matter of responding to email that required more than basic replies and when I sat down I knew what I would need to look at. Spam was also filtered as soon as it arrived, the time saving was nice. As time went by I realised that the freedom from my Desk was truly a good feeling. Also as the Desktop machine was still connected to my office network. I could connect remotely to it to do accounts printing and see everything on the network.

By the time I bought a iPad earlier this year I was working in a very different way to before. I had purchased a iPhone late last year to try and find out what the Apple fanboys where on about, and found myself loving the device. It does all the BlackBerry does and I still do use the BlackBerry for daily communication. However when I need to go online or read my email I find myself using the iPhone. The iPad was a natural progression, and I soon realised that what I had was not simply a nice toy. The iPad was in my opinion a decent office application away from doing everything 80% of people needs to do on a daily basis.

I was using it more and more to do the things I didnít have to go to my for, but more importantly I wanted to be able to do the things I could only do on my computer.

Enter RDP again.

I found a app that does RDP and it connected to my desktop. Voilŗ I had windows running on my iPad. And not simply windows, My desktop machine on my iPad.

This meant I could do anything I wanted from anywhere using any device. I am now sitting here working on a machine running Ubuntu that connects to my windows machine so I can complete what I need to in a windows environment.

I am truly free to use any device I like with any OS I choose I can do everything I need to. I can do it from anywhere I want to and at any time. Iím doing it on My desktop machine and when I do sit at my desk its all there.

My question at this point is simply this. Why about a month ago did I buy a new KB and Mouse for the desktop machine, I hardly use them.

Michael Scholtz
How South African companies can avoid becoming a spammer under the CPA
June 2011

By Dr Pieter Streicher, MD of

There is no denying that the launch of a ďdo not contact registryĒ to allow South African customers to permanently opt-out of all unsolicited marketing communications is a massive step forward for consumer rights. But customers need to understand the limitations of the mechanism, companies need to be ready to comply with the new law, and especially smaller companies need to consider the implications of having to regularly query the database.

Thanks to the Consumer Protection Act (CPA), consumers will be able to add their contact details to the registry and so block unsolicited direct marketing communications from all companies. But consumers need to realise that the registry is somewhat of a blunt instrument Ė once you have added your details, you might have to sign up again with companies that you do want to hear from.

The other warning for consumers is that, despite the CPA finally coming into effect on 1 April 2011, the development of the registry has only just gone out to tender. Building the registry is no small task, as it needs to allow companies to quickly query it on a regular basis, and a best guess is that it will take several months to be set up.

Despite my comments about it being a blunt instrument, the registry is a vast improvement on the current system from a consumerís point of view:
ēCurrently the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) manages an opt-out list that only its members are obliged to comply with. Under the CPA, anyone marketing to a consumer has to comply.
ēWhile the DMA emails the list to its members Ė which is clearly a massive security risk - the CPA registry will keep the contact details secure. Companies will submit their lists to the registry and then be told who they can legitimately contact.
ēThe DMA list only applies to third party lists, and not to companies that the customer initially gave their contact details to directly. The CPA registry will also apply to direct marketing messages to recent clients, unless these clients have given explicit consent for such messaging.
ēThe CPA could fine companies who spam consumers, whereas the DMA works on an industry regulation basis and merely reprimands members.

From an SMS point of view, the registry will go a long way to cutting down on SMS spam, but only for those on the registry. Recently spammers have been bypassing industry regulations such as the WASPA Code, by using international messaging routes. The CPA will apply to all companies including network operators, regardless of which messaging routes they use.

For those consumers not on the registry, the CPA provides no protection against spam or the buying and selling of their personal details. This might change once the Protection of Personal Information Bill (POPI) is enacted. POPI requires that businesses obtain personal details directly from the data subject. Businesses may not obtain personal details elsewhere unless they have explicit consent. Note that this bill has not been finalised, and could still be watered down due to lobbying from the DMA.

Companies should be gearing up to comply with the CPA once the do not contact registry becomes available.

But smaller companies who canít afford the financial and operational overheads of querying the database themselves need to tread carefully. Companies that do not query the registry will be unable to legally send direct marketing communications to their own customers unless they have received explicit consent, because according the law, if a company doesnít check the database, it has to assume that everyone is registered on the do not contact registry.

A solution for these companies is to take advantage of a third party channel that does interrogate the do not contact registry. Businesses should ensure that the WASP they choose to send SMS communications does check the registry once this becomes available, and be sure they are complying with the law.

So smaller companies do have alternatives to the overheads of querying the registry themselves or face a marketing channel being unavailable to them. Of course, at the end of the day, playing by the rules is better for the consumer and the efficacy of companiesí marketing messages.

Woman's BlackBerry stops stray bullet

A Dayton woman escaped injury when a stray bullet hit her BlackBerry and not her.

"The BlackBerry was in the right place at the right time and the bullet hit her in the right spot," explained Butler Twp. Police Capt. Carl Bush.

Bush said Anthony Holtvogt was with his girlfriend at Fricker's restaurant on Miller Lane Feb. 6, 2010 when he accidentally shot her.

Bush said Holtvogt, who has a concealed carry permit, was putting on his jacket when the gun discharged.

"While he was adjusting his jacket, he noticed that the slide was back on the gun and then it fired," Bush said. "The bullet did not penetrate the cell phone. [It] bent the cell phone a little bit and made the cell phone unusable."

Thanks to the bulletproof BlackBerry, the woman walked away with just a hole in her pants and a bruise on her leg.

No one else in the restaurant was injured.

Holtvogt will be charged with possession of a firearm in a liquor permit premise.

Original article and video
SAT-3 cable fault chaos

Downtime on Telkom's SAT-3 undersea cable left customers without international Internet access for several hours yesterday afternoon. -- ITWeb

Smoking near Mac voids warranty

In a rather bizarre situation reported on The Consumerist website, it turns out that smoking near your Apple computer is a bio hazard and voids the warranty.

There is very little doubt as to the repercussions of smoking a pack of ten per day, however one would never think it would affect a laptop's warranty. If you have a Mac, it does. Two readers in different parts of the country claim that their Applecare warranties were voided due to secondhand smoke. Both readers appealed their cases up to the office of Steve Jobs himself, both lost.

Are your backups up to date

What would happen if you lost your computer data?

What would you do if you got back to your office after lunch tomorrow and found your computer had been stolen or had crashed?

Spend 1 minute and assess your risk of losing your data.

Don't need any convincing that your backups are not happening? Get a trial version of SyncBackSE and see what working backups are all about.

Download a trial version or buy SyncBackSE full version online.

HP Support Issues

For some time now we have tried to steer clear of HP products. Not because of their quality but because of backup support.

HP has had their service centre in Midrand for the last few years and a company called ICSS handled their repairs. We had many arguments and very poor service from them in general. About 6 months ago HP realised that their systems had not been working for the last 8 years and decided to replace ICSS with a new company called LetMeRepair. New name same people same bad service. We did provide them with the benefit of the doubt and sent a printer in for repair. At this point it is 2 months R3000.00 later and the printer had been back 3 times with not only the previous problem but a couple of new ones since the repair. The printer is at time of writing this still at LMR and they are unable to tell me if it has been repaired as their systems have been down for the last week.

MSCOMP is as of now unable to have any HP items serviced or repaired under warranty or not. We do not sell any HP items and do not foresee a change in how HP works.

Should you however have an HP item for repair we will gladly help you as far as we can without having to rely on LMR, ICSS or whom ever HP see fit to handle their repairs.