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As an IT professional I am often asked computer related questions by friends and family.  I am the technical support staff for most of them.  It is not limited to computers either; phones, cameras, TVs, all home electronics really are fair game.  I don’t say that to complain; I enjoy what I do.

This blog is a way of capturing some types of the questions I’ve been asked and documenting my answers because I figure if one person has asked it then others likely have the same question.  Hopefully someone will find it useful.

I will update this blog on the rigorous schedule of “approximately whenever I happen to have a few free minutes”.

Friday Humor

Tales from the helpdesk…

  • Tech Support: “I need you to right-click on the Open Desktop.”
  • Customer: “Ok.”
  • Tech Support: “Did you get a pop-up menu?”
  • Customer: “No.”
  • Tech Support: “Ok. Right click again. Do you see a pop-up menu?”
  • Customer: “No.”
  • Tech Support: “Ok, sir. Can you tell me what you have done up until this point?”
  • Customer: “Sure, you told me to write ‘click’ and I wrote ‘click’.”

(At this point Tech Support puts the caller on hold to tell the rest of the team what had happened and couldn’t stop from giggling when they got back to the call.)

  • Tech Support: “Ok, did you type ‘click’ with the keyboard?”
  • Customer: “I have done something dumb, right?”

Petya Ransomware Attack

The WannaCry ransonware infected over 250,000 computers, Petya is just getting started. Protect yourself now.

A new ransomware attack has started spreading recently (see my previous post for a description of ransomware and tips to protect yourself).  This new software known as Petya or GoldenEye is similar to the WannaCry ransomware that hit about a month ago but security researchers say this one appears to be more sophisticated.  Most importantly it does not have the “kill switch” that was used to stop WannaCry.

Petya spreads in multiple ways.  It uses the same EternalBlue vulnerability used by WannaCry but it also appears to be spread through Microsoft Word documents with malicious macros embedded.

If you haven’t already patched your systems you need to now.  Microsoft has made patches available for Windows XP so even if you have an old system you should be able to get patches.

Lastly, never open any email attachments from suspicious emails; emails from people you don’t know, emails that don’t match what people you know normally send you, or emails you aren’t expecting.  For attachments that you believe are legitimate I suggest saving the attachment to local file and scanning it with your anti-virus software before opening.

Here’s how to do that:

  1. In your email client or web browser select the email message with the attachment
  2. Right click on the attachment and select Save As from the context menu that opens
  3. Save the file where ever you like
  4. Open Windows Explorer and navigate to the file you saved
  5. Right clock on the file and select Scan from the context menu that opens