IOBIT Advanced SystemCare 10 PRO

Keep your computer running quickly with this must have Windows utility.

If there’s one thing that I know and know well, its Windows PC’s. I’ve been reviewing hardware and software since 1995. While that’s all nice and good, despite anyone’s best intentions when you work with a Windows PC – installing software, surfing the web, using different and new peripherals (and installing their drivers…) can often cause a number of different performance problems. This is why I like applications like IOBIT Advanced SystemCare 10 Pro. It’s a utility that can make your PC function like new or better than new, with just a few clicks.

IOBIT Advanced SystemCare 10 Pro can help you optimize your computer and keep it clean from issues and problems that will degrade its performance. The application has a number of different modules that can help you Speed Up, Protect, as well as Clean and Optimize your PC. It also includes a Tool Box that can help you find different IOBIT based tools to help you fix, tweak and care for your PC. It also includes an Action Center that provides you with a way to license and update other IOBIT products as well as key Windows components.

IOBIT Advanced SystemCare 10 Pro can help you speed up your PC, keep it clean and optimize your Windows 10, Windows 8 and Windows 7 PC. You can get rid of junk files, remove privacy information and accelerate your internet surfing speed so you can enjoy a faster and cleaner online experience. With its Startup Optimization module, IOBIT Advanced SystemCare 10 Pro can scan your startup items and help you decide which ones to keep and which ones to remove, speeding up your PC.

IOBIT Advanced SystemCare 10 Pro’s Performance Monitor is one of its most popular features. In its latest incarnation, it’s been expanded . Its new Resource Manager can keep track of your system components – CPU load, disk use, RAM allocations, etc., and it allows you to end tasks as well, reducing resource use, improving your PC’s performance.

App Pro’s: One year subscription is only $29.99 USD, Real time protection

App Con’s: Subscription based consumer service

Conclusion: IOBIT Advanced SystemCare 10 Pro is an all in one solution that provides PC optimization, system cleansing and resource management in an all in one package designed to keep your PC running at its gest. It also has an anti-malware scanner to help keep your PC clean of viruses, worms and other types of malware. It can block malicious attacks, protects your browser home age, removes ads and alerts you when you accidentally surf to malicious web sites. It supports IE, Chrome and Firefox with all of these features.

I’ve noticed that my PC’s performance is often negatively impacted by junk system files, a bloated browser cache and slow startup. Installing IOBIT Advanced SystemCare 10 Pro resolved all of these issues. While I’ve never been a huge fan of subscription based software licenses, this one definitely makes sense. You get a great deal of value for only $30 per year; and you always get the latest malware definitions, optimization techniques, constant monitoring of junk on your system. You also get the ability to capture the face of the person that steals your laptop/ PC if it turns up stolen, all without the thief knowing that his picture is being taken.

While I’m also not a huge fan of non-standard user interfaces, the UI on IOBIT Advanced SystemCare 10 Pro is optimized for Windows 10; and is so logically organized and laid out that it more than makes up for it.

Simply put, this is a GREAT application, and it is something that everyone really needs to have on their Windows PC.

URL: https://advanced-systemcare-professional.soft32.com

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Top 10 Tips to Avoid Malware

In light of the latest bit of ransomware – Petya – here are tips to prevent getting hacked

The latest bit of ransomware – dubbed Petya – is currently running through banks, financial institutions and healthcare facilities in both Asia and Europe. The bug, like most ransomware, encrypts corporate data by encrypting hard drives, preventing access to needed data and computer systems. It also seems to have crossed the pond and entered the US.

Pharmaceutical manufacturer Merck reported that it had become infected with the malware as did multinational law firm DLA Piper, which counts over 20 different offices in the United States. Heritage Valley Health Systems, a health care network that runs two hospitals in Western Pennsylvania, also confirmed in a statement to Recode on Tuesday to be the victim of the same ransomware attack that has spread around the globe.

Petya in and of itself is a bit problematic in that this particular bug has the ability to adapt and mutate quickly, often working around patches that have been released by operating system and anti-malware vendors alike. With Petya, it’s difficult to insure your computing systems stay malware free. Anti-malware and OS vendors are having a great deal of trouble staying ahead of the game.

So, what’s the best way to stay Petya (as well as other phishing and ransomware infections) free? The best advice I can give ANYONE is to follow these top 10 computer security tips.

1. What’s in a Name?
Just because you see an email in your inbox from a name you recognize doesn’t mean they sent it to you. Be wary of all email in your inbox. Inspect the email address. If it looks suspicious or if you don’t recognize the domain (the wording after the “at sign” – for example @microsoft.com), don’t open it. Delete it immediately.
2. Look but don’t Click
Hover your mouse over any embedded links in any of the emails you receive. Don’t click before you do. A tool tip should appear showing the actual email address, or in the case of browser based clients, the address should display in the status bar at the bottom of your browser window. If the address isn’t one you recognize or if it looks strange, again, don’t click it.
3. Check for Spelling or Grammar Mistakes
Legitimate messages don’t have major spelling errors or clumsily structured sentences. If the message reads strangely and strikes you as unprofessional, its likely a fake. Delete it.
4. Analyze the Salutation
Messages from financial institutions will always address you by your name. They’re never going to call you, “Valued Customer.” If you get something like this from one of your financial institutions, I’d delete it and ignore it.
5. Don’t Give out Your Personal Information
Legitimate companies will never ask you to provide identity information or credentials via email. EVER.
6. Beware of Urgent or Threatening Language in the Subject Line of any eMail
Invoking fear via threatening or urgent language is a common phishing tactic. Be wary of any email indicating that your “account has been suspended,” or your account has had an “unauthorized login attempt.” There’s an excellent chance the emails are bogus.
7. Review the Signature Line
Lack of details about the signer or the absence of their contact information at the end of the message strongly suggests a phishing attempt
8. Don’t Click on Attachments
Malware payloads are often embedded in email attachments. Don’t open any you weren’t expecting, even from someone you know. Contact them offline, if possible, and confirm they sent you the attachment.
9. Don’t Trust the Information in an eMail Header
Hackers are smart enough now a days to spoof not only the display name, but the mail header as well. Even if you know how to check this information, you may not be able to validate it as genuine, so don’t bother. Assume this information is fraudulent in any suspect email.
10. Don’t Believe Anything you see
This is NOT your father’s internet any more. The world is hell bent on stealing everything you own and could own in the future (your identity, your credit, etc.), so the best defense is a strong offense – don’t trust anyone or anything you suspect is illegitimate. It may look valid, but it’s better to err on the side of caution that to spend the next 8 to 14 months straightening out your credit because you were the victim of a phishing attack. If you have even the slightest doubt or it even remotely looks suspicious, don’t open the message.

The point of all of this is that THIS particular piece of malware REQUIRES diligence.

Petya is rapidly changing. Its mutating and adapting to patches and detection engines in popular and well known, professional grade malware prevention products. You HAVE to be careful here, or you may end up losing everything on your PC.

Aside from the above, you should also do the following proactive steps on a regular basis. (start NOW if you haven’t done these yet, and insure that you do it malware free):

1. Install and Run an Anti-Malware Package
I have used a number of different packages over the years. Right now, one of my favorites is IOBIT Advanced SystemCare 10 Pro. Regardless of what you use, get one, install it, and use it… often.
2. Get your data on a cloud service
Whether we’re talking productivity files (Word, Excel, etc.) or pictures and home movies, it doesn’t matter. Get your data synchronizing with a cloud service so that you have an easy way to get your data back if it gets taken hostage.
3. Start a Local Backup Regimen
Macs have Time Machine. Windows users have Windows Backup; or you can use AOMEI Backuper and AOMEI Image Deploy. However, any way you cut it, you need to start and execute a local backup plan.
4. Start an Off-Site Backup Regimen
In order to do this, you need an off-site back up service like Carbonite or Backblaze. These low cost, subscription based services allow you to back up your computer over the internet and allow you to do a simple restore as well via the internet or via a hard drive that you can order and have delivered to you.

So, in summary:

1. Trust your Gut. Don’t open goofy looking email. Just delete them
2. Backup your data
3. Install and run an antimalware app

Have you gotten hit by ransomware? Have you paid the ransom, or have you just blown or replaced the drive and started over? I’d love to hear from you if you have gotten bitten. If you have, hit me up in the Discussion area, below, and tell me all about it.

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What you Should Do if You (Still) Run Windows XP

Just an FYI – Microsoft is officially ending support on 2014-04-08…

gravestoneI’ve skirted around this issue a couple different times.  However, if you’re a consumer and you’re still using Windows XP, you have just a little bit of time to figure out what you want to do. Around Tax Time next year, the 15 year party comes to a close.

So, what should you do?  Great question. My good friend, and former Editorial Director of BYTE, Larry Seltzer wrote an interesting article on this today. It’s funny, because I had the same questions poised to me by an aunt who isn’t very computer savvy. She asked pretty much the same question Larry’s relative asked –

Why should I upgrade a computer that’s working just fine?

Let’s look at that quickly, and then look at what you can do.

Why You Should Upgrade from Windows XP

The simple and short answer is for security purposes.

Windows XP has been around since 1999. That’s almost 15 years by the time Microsoft officially stops supporting it via Windows Update.  As an operating system, it’s an extremely well known quantity and most of its flaws and problems are very well known.

Microsoft has been issuing security patches for it (and older versions of Internet Explorer – IE 9 and older) for a very long time. If you’re still using Windows XP because its ok, doing what it’s supposed to be doing and you’re just not a person who wants to update your computer’s operating system, I understand.  I understand completely.  However, as my Nana used to say – “the party’s over…”

Malware developers (or hackers) are going to be hoping you just don’t upgrade. They’re banking on you hating the idea of upgrading an existing computer to Windows 7 or Windows 8.x SO much, that you stay on Windows XP.  At that point, after 2013-04-08, they’re going to start hitting websites and perhaps your mail server or your PC directly with Phishing attacks, Zero Day exploits and other malware so they can steal personal and private information that either contains financial information or will lead them to it.

Make no mistake, there are criminals everywhere on the planet who WILL try this, and keeping your computer on Windows XP isn’t just you laughing in the face of danger, it’s you begging to be hacked.  In many cases, people don’t know they’re being infected with a virus or other malware. Its only AFTER the infection has set in – after the damage is done – that they see the problems.

So, get used to the idea.  You have 7 months as of this writing to figure out what you want to do.  Once you make the decision to bite the bullet, you have a couple of options.

What you Should Do

This is a GREAT question and it’s a great question to ask now – at this time of year – because there are a number of options open to consumers.  You have back to school sales as well as the upcoming 2013 Holiday Season sales to look forward to, to help you out.  It also gives you some time to get comfortable with the decision.

So basically, you have 2 choices –

  • Upgrade your Existing PC
  • Purchase a New PC

Let’s take a quick look at both. There are Pros and Cons to both scenarios.

Upgrade Your Existing PC

Pros:

  • (May be More) Cost Effective
  • (Probably) No Additional Hardware Required

Cons:

  • No direct upgrade path from XP to Windows 7
  • Must Wipe and clean install for direct to Windows 7
  • Additional software upgrades may be required
  • Windows XP PC’s may not work well with Windows 8 (a clean install is still required)

In many cases, upgrading is always the cheaper route, but in this case, it may not be. There’s no direct upgrade path from Window XP to Windows 7. In order to keep all of your programs installed and on your computer without reinstalling them, you have to upgrade to Windows Vista first. The bad thing with that is you have to buy a license for Vista (which wasn’t cheap) in order to keep all your apps installed.

Upgrading directly to Windows 7 from Windows XP requires a clean install. That means you have to reinstall all of your software from scratch after the OS install completes. That’s a lot more work and that’s if you can find the install media, download links or registration codes for your apps.  After 15 years, that may be a problem.  You may find you need to contact the software provider and request a replacement code or you may have to purchase a new license.

In short, upgrading to Windows 7 from Windows XP can be a hot mess, and may be more problematic than it’s worth, if you’re not savvy enough to jump through all the hoops.

Purchase a New PC

Pros:

  • Cleaner
  • Easier for non-technical users

Cons:

  • More expensive
  • Windows 7 may not be an available OS option at time of PC purchase
  • Windows 8 is drastically different than Windows 7 & is not optimal for non-touch enabled PC’s

Purchasing a new PC is always more expensive, and learning how to use new hardware can present a number of unknown challenges. However, if you’re not up to switching from XP to Windows 7 (Vista isn’t sold any more), this is the easiest way to go.

The biggest thing you have to consider here is if purchasing a touch enabled PC (either Win8 tablet or touch enabled desktop) is what you want to do. In many cases, depending on the vendor, you may be able to order a PC with Windows 7 on it, or request it from the provider to replace Windows 8.
At the end of the day, if you’re still using XP, it’s time to change. You have a few months to get used to the idea, but you need to make that upgrade or purchase choice, very, very soon.

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Keep your PC free from malware with IObit Malware Fighter

Anti-malware apps want to be free.

It’s true. I really believe that anti-malware apps want to be free. Serious security vendors provide free apps that can hold their own against just about any bug that hits the internet. Their premium version adds, in my opinion, convenience features that make the paid version that much more of a value-add, so the purchase is a natural extension of continuing on with use of the app. However, for that to really work, the free version needs to hold its own. This is the major reason why I like IObit’s Malware Fighter. It’s a free anti-malware app for Windows.

IObit Malware Fighter is an advanced malware removal utility. It detects and removes the deepest malware infections, and protects your PC from potential spyware, adware, Trojans, key loggers, bots, worms, etc. With its improved, unique “Dual-Core” engine and heuristic malware detection, Malware Fighter is tough to beat.

Malware Fighter has IObit’s unique “Dual-Core” engine; and improved program core structure. It now delivers more comprehensive and deeper system scans to find the deepest system infections. It removes or quarantines them, protecting your PC from more security threats and privacy compromises. IObit Malware Fighter can assist your antivirus to defend against tricky and complex threats. However, please note, that no solution, despite vendor or technology used, offers a 100% effectiveness rate for detecting viruses and malware.

Malware Fighter’s enhanced real-time protection provides you with tools to keep your computer secure all the times. It uses the latest Cloud Computing and Heuristic Analyzing technology to analyze the behavior of the malware it detects a fully automated mode. It’s fast, light weight, and easy to use.

Read full review | Download IObit Malware Fighter

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