TRI Newsletter May 2019
Hello everyone! In this quarter’s newsletter we’re going to cover scareware, general maintenance tasks that can be done to keep your computer working well, and some discussion on what mesh wireless networks are, and how they work. So, let’s dig in!
What is Scareware? Scareware is a pop up that show up while on the internet telling you, you’re infected. You are not infected, it is not until you take action with the popup that you get infected (by clicking or calling).
The first thing you should do is Shut Down your computer. Many of them tell you not to, but that is because the scareware is loaded into your RAM (temporary working space). Once the computer shuts down that is cleared. The first thing I will ask when called is did you shut down your computer.
(Example of browser “scareware”)
If you get a page that tells you that you are infected with XXX many viruses and to call their tech support number right away. There are even ones that talk to you urging you to call right away. DON’T! What’s happening is your browser has been hijacked by the people claiming to have identified your infection. If you were to call, they will appear to be legitimate as they request your access to your computer and payment information. Because this is attempting to ‘get a reaction’ from you both PC and MAC computers are at risk. HP, Dell, Microsoft and all other legitimate tech will only call you when you have initiated a call to their support. Additionally, and unfortunately, due to these scareware tactics, if you attempt to Google or execute a web search for one of these legitimate company resources, it is even possible that the page you find is a fake landing page published by these malicious persons. (Look in your computer software or printed documentation for a customer support number.)
What can you do now? If shutting down didn’t solve the problem, we can usually walk you through resetting your browser over the phone. If you clicked on/called the number, Shut Down your computer and call us. Most spyware can be cleaned off your computer in about an hour ($125).
General Maintenance for your Computer
- Keep it clean
- Wipe your monitor, inspect your vents and remove dust/buildup, and keep peripherals tidy.
- Perform basic software maintenance. (Do the updates when prompted)
- Keep Windows up to date (stop postponing those Windows Update boxes!)
- Do a disk cleanup – This can be found under programs\accessories\System tools\Disk Cleanup.
- Check for memory problems. Windows 10 comes with its own memory diagnostic tool.
- Keep that airflow unobstructed and make sure the computer doesn’t get too hot or too cold. The Goldilocks zone is between 68°F and 77°F. If you plan to store your PC for more than a month, discharge the battery at 70% power and remove it.
How Wireless Mesh Networks Work
By Dave Roos
Wireless mesh networks, an emerging technology, may bring the dream of a seamlessly connected world into reality. Wireless mesh networks can easily, effectively and wirelessly connect entire cities using inexpensive, existing technology. Traditional networks rely on a small number of wired access points or wireless hotspots to connect users. In a wireless mesh network, the network connection is spread out among dozens or even hundreds of wireless mesh nodes that “talk” to each other to share the network connection across a large area.
Mesh nodes are small radio transmitters that function in the same way as a wireless router. Nodes use the common WiFi standards known as 802.11 to communicate wirelessly with users, and, more importantly, with each other.
The biggest advantage of wireless mesh networks — as opposed to wired or fixed wireless networks — is that they are truly wireless. Most traditional “wireless” access points still need to be wired to the Internet to broadcast their signal. For large wireless networks, Ethernet cables need to be buried in ceilings and walls and throughout public areas.
In a wireless mesh network, only one node needs to be physically wired to a network connection like a DSL Internet modem. That one wired node then shares its Internet connection wirelessly with all other nodes in its vicinity. Those nodes then share the connection wirelessly with the nodes closest to them. The more nodes, the further the connection spreads, creating a wireless “cloud of connectivity” that can serve a small office or a city of millions.
Wireless mesh networks advantages include:
Using fewer wires means it costs less to set up a network, particularly for large areas of coverage.
The more nodes you install, the bigger and faster your wireless network becomes.
They rely on the same WiFi standards already in place for most wireless networks.
They are convenient where Ethernet wall connections are lacking — for instance, in outdoor concert venues, warehouses or transportation settings.
They are useful for Non-Line-of-Sight (NLoS) network configurations where wireless signals are intermittently blocked. For example, in an amusement park a Ferris wheel occasionally blocks the signal from a wireless access point. If there are dozens or hundreds of other nodes around, the mesh network will adjust to find a clear signal.
Mesh networks are “self configuring;” the network automatically incorporates a new node into the existing structure without needing any adjustments by a network administrator.
Mesh networks are “self healing,” since the network automatically finds the fastest and most reliable paths to send data, even if nodes are blocked or lose their signal.
Wireless mesh configurations allow local networks to run faster, because local packets don’t have to travel back to a central server.
Wireless mesh nodes are easy to install and uninstall, making the network extremely adaptable and expandable as more or less coverage is needed.
James, Chris, Clint, Brett, Adam & Suzi