Blog: Tech News & Tips

WiFi Calling

Did you know that you can use WiFi calling to make phone calls with your SmartPhone even when there is no cellular service available?

Like many of us, I have one friend who lives in the mountains where there is really spotty cell coverage, at best. When I arrive, I quickly connect to her WiFi so that I can receive phone calls and text messages from our customers. (Hey, just because I’m having lunch, doesn’t mean your computer will continue to work perfectly.  If you need us, I like to be available!)

Why you should use WiFI Calling:

But even if you don’t have friends with sparse or non-existent cell service, you still want to know about WiFi calling.  We’ve all gone to that coffee shop with lots of brick and metal and maybe one bar of cell service.  Or that place in the shopping center whose entrance faces north, AWAY from all the cell towers. Or, true story, the wind blows down the primary cell tower at your house and it WiFi Calling - setting up on your iphonetakes them three months to put it back up.  Where ever you have WiFi, you can continue to make phone calls.

How do I turn on WiFi Calling?

  • On your iPhone, head over to Settings -> Cellular -> WiFi Calling -> then toggle the button to “on”.
  • On an Android, tap on Settings, then “Networks”, and then “Call”. You can turn on WiFi calling from there.

Anything else I should do?

I wouldn’t recommend updating your Emergency Address unless you ONLY use WiFi at home.

If you found this helpful, please forward it to your friends!

 

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 days for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)

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NoScript – Another Key to Staying Safe

My NoScript stopped working yesterday so I had the chance to peek over Chris’ shoulder as he was reinstalling it.  I almost felt naked without it.  I know that NoScript protects me and ensures that I’m not sharing private data with entities that shouldn’t have it.

What is NoScript?

NoScript is a free extension that works with Firefox, Chris’ browser of choice. It blocks all web content that requires Javascript, Flash, and Silverlight in order to fully display content.  In order to display that content, you must specifically allow it by adding the website to your “white list.”

Why would I want to block Javascript?

Many of the bad actors out there use Flash and Javascript to install malware onto your machine.  There have been times when I have clicked on a website without realizing what it was.  Once the site opened, I realized I REALLY DID NOT WANT TO BE THERE.  If I did not have NoScript installed, it would have run all of the scripts on that site without asking permission ahead of time.  Once the scripts start running, they can install all sorts of stuff on my machine.

How do I get NoScript?

Start by opening your Firefox browser and then follow these easy steps:

  1. On the top menu bar, click on “Tools”, and then “Add-ons”
  2. A new tab will open. Then click on “Extensions”
  3. In the search box, enter “NoScript”
  4. Click on “NoScript Security Suite”
  5. Then click on “Add to Firefox”

My websites look all weird now!

Once you’ve installed NoScript, you’ll notice right away that pages won’t load as you expect them too.  You’ll need to spend some time training NoScript about which web sites you trust.  Notice that at the top right of your Firefox window, you’ll see a red “S” that looks like this:

NoScript

Now What Do I Do?

Click on that button and you’ll see a list of websites that NoScript is not allowing to fully load. Then click on “Temp TRUSTED” or “TRUSTED” for each site that you want to load.  You’ll be surprised at the number of scripts that want to load for each web page!  Sometimes, you’ll need to do this another time or two until the page loads to your satisfaction.  Here’s an example for Facebook:

NoScript

Note that if you select “Temp TRUST”, you’ll need to redo this step each time you load that page.  Once you’ve selected which sites you’ll trust, click on the green circle to “reload”.  Once you reload, there may be additional pages that the website wants to load.  I’ve noticed that these are generally for tracking and ads.

I hope this keeps you safer on the Internet!

If you found this helpful, please forward it to your friends!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 days for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)

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Secure Texting with the Signal App

I know I’m a little behind the times, but I just found out about Signal, a secure texting app that provides a higher level of data encryption than any of the other texting apps out there.  I’ve been looking for something different ever since I found out that Facebook acquired WhatsApp.  (And, again, a little behind the times since Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014!) But, then again, even the founder of WhatsApp thinks that it is time to dump Facebook as this tweet reflects from earlier in the year.

Secure Texting with Signal

What’s wrong with WhatsApp? I thought it had secure texting:

And, while WhattsApp says it provides secure texting, it is still owned by Facebook.  From the WhatsApp website:

“WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption is available when you and the people you message use our app. Many messaging apps only encrypt messages between you and them, but WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption ensures only you and the person you’re communicating with can read what is sent, and nobody in between, not even WhatsApp.”

And, in my view, a for-profit company known to sell private data to the highest bidder is not on my “to be trusted” list.

Why is Signal better:

When I found out about Signal a few weeks ago I downloaded it right away.  I was surprised to see who of my contacts are already using Signal.  Even some of my family are in that list!  Signal is a secure texting messaging app.  It is free for the download from iTunes (you’ll need iOS 9.0 or later), or the Google Play Store (you’ll need Android 4.0 and up). Because it provides end-to-end encryption no one can view the messages you send except you and the recipient.

From the Signal website:

“Signal messages and calls are always end-to-end encrypted and painstakingly engineered to keep your communication safe. We can’t read your messages or see your calls, and no one else can either.”

“Signal has never taken VC funding or sought investment, because we felt that putting profit first would be incompatible with building a sustainable project that put users first.”

In addition to secure texting, you can also use Signal for phone calls and video chat.

Here’s what Mashable has to say:

“By allowing you to have truly private conversations, Signal changes that equation. Why is this so important? This year, perhaps more than ever, we’ve seen just how asleep at the wheel tech giants are when it comes to nefarious actors using their platforms to sow discord and incite violence. Taking your conversations, and, by extension, valuable data about your so-called social graph off those platforms is one way to fight this.”

And more from Wired about secure texting:

“There’s one messaging app we should all be using: Signal. It has strong encryption, it’s free, it works on every mobile platform, and the developers are committed to keeping it simple and fast by not mucking up the experience with ads, web-tracking, stickers, or animated poop emoji.”

If you found this helpful, please forward it to your friends!

 

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 days for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)

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Secure WiFi on Vacation

secure wifi on vacationGrowing up with a Dad who was a psychiatrist, August was always the month for vacations.  (As I got older I used to worry about his patients who were left alone for an entire month!)  There are some things you can do to make sure you have secure WiFi wherever you are in the world.  The most important is keeping your WiFi use safe and secure.

Here are some steps to take before and during your vacation:

  • Set up a throwaway email before you leave.  While you are gone, you will be asked numerous times for your email address.  Lots of times, they just won’t take “no” for an answer.  Head over to Google’s Gmail sign up page for a new (free) account. Remember the password, and be sure you set up auto-forwarding to your main email address.  You’ll want your smartphone to be able to receive any access codes that may be sent.
  • When you’re going for free WiFi, try to use well-known companies.  For example, Starbucks or the Hilton are well known for their secure WiFi and aren’t likely to steal your info for a nefarious use.
  • Whatever you do, don’t try to connect to WiFi with names like “TellMy WiFi LuvHer”, or “FBI Surveillance Van” or  “Hacker 547”.  (Yes, I’ve seen all of those.)  Remember the old adage – “If it’s free, YOU are the product”.  Think about what they might be getting out of the transaction to provide you with free WiFi.
  • Sometimes the rest stops on the Interstate highways will have free secure WiFi, but only if you provide them with your email address and zip code.  This is where that new throw-away email comes in handy.  If they do ask for your name and zip, remember that you don’t have to give them your real info.

If you found this helpful, please forward it to your friends!

Chris Ed

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 days for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)

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5 Easy Steps To Delete Browsing History On Your iPhone

You know how we always tell you to delete the history on your web browser on your computer?  Well, you need to delete browsing history on your smartphone too.  It helps speed up your interactions with the servers.  But it also helps keep your data more secure too, since it deletes any installed cookies as well as your entire history.

If anyone is able to hack into your phone they may be able to gain access to your login information for any number of websites.  It may also help to make you look like a new user to websites that track the number of times you’ve visited.  You’ve gotten that message – “You’ve logged on ten times for free.  Subscribe now!”  I don’t know about you, but I would prefer not to provide my email address to another sales organization and an easy way around that error message is to delete browsing history.

It is really very easy to delete your history.  Just follow these 5 steps.

5 Easy Steps to Delete Browsing History on your iPhone

  1. Open up your SettingsHow to Delete Browsing History On Your iPhone
  2. Click on “Safari”
  3. Scroll almost all the way to the bottom of the page
  4. Click on “Clear History and Website Data”
  5. Confirm that you truly want to delete browsing history.  It really will delete all of the open web pages on your iPhone. This means that every page you’ve opened in your iPhone’s browser will be gone!  This was a surprise to me because I tend to save my open tabs so I can reference them again.  If there are tabs that you have open on your phone that you would like to keep, it’s best to save them first, then wipe the history!

If you found this helpful, please forward it to your friends!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)

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Trialing VPN – My First Impressions

I have been trialing VPN.  Chris installed NordVPN on my phone and tablet a few weeks ago so I have had a chance to use it and get comfortable with it. I’m still trying to figure out why I really need it.  Why would anyone be interested in what I am doing on the internet?  Chris has reminded me that it’s not just what I search for, but also the information that I transmit.  So, sure, once I log into Facebook, they will know what I click on and the posts that I read, but they won’t know that a half hour ago I bought pink Ugg boots at Marshalls.

Here are my initial impressions from trialing VPN:trialing vpn

  1. On my phone, Chris had to make some changes so that my phone stayed logged into the VPN.  For the first few days whenever I moved from one WiFi location to another, or from WiFi to cellular, the VPN would drop and I would have to reconnect it.  Now the VPN is persistent even as I drive or walk around.
  2. I like that I can connect to a VPN almost anywhere in the world.  Chris has experimented with connecting in the UK.  Then he can see what is on the BBC that is not available in Colorado.
  3. There are times when the VPN seems to slow things down, especially on my phone and tablet. When that happens, I disconnect and then reconnect to my WiFi and that seems to help.
  4. There have been times when I cannot send email from my phone when connected to the VPN. We’re still trying to figure out what that happens.  In the meantime, I turn off the VPN, send the email, and then reconnect.

We like NordVPN:

Are you trialing VPN? What are your impressions?  Please let me know in the comments below!

 

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $119/year ($59 for students!), but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Any links to products or services in this post may be affiliate links. If they are, we may receive a small commission when you click on it. Rest assured, your price will be the same!)  If you’d like to receive our newsletters in your email, please click here.

Screen Time – Managing time on your Mobil Devices

Recently I was out to dinner with a couple of friends.  During almost the entire evening at least one of them had their nose in their phone.  They were responding to texts/private messages, or answering a phone call, or listening to voice mails, or responding to emails.  I was appalled by their lack of manners, not just to me, but to each other! Several of these friends are also obsessed with the news.  When I pressed them on it, they didn’t seem to think they had spent that much screen time and that it wasn’t disruptive. I wondered to myself just how much time they were actually spending on their phone.

And then I started wondering how much time /I/ actually spend on my phone!

What is Screen Time?

Well, lucky me, because the next iOS for my iPhone and iPad will be available in September and includes a new app called “Screen Time”. I’ve signed up for the beta version of iOS 12 to try it out. Of course I’m installing it on my iPad and not my iPhone.  I use my iPhone extensively for business.  If my iPhone were to be suddenly unavailabe, I’d be up a creek without a paddle! So far, here is what I have found:screen time

  1. Although I installed Screen Time on my iPad, it says that it is providing results for “All Devices”.  Since I generally use the same apps on my phone and my tablet, I wasn’t really sure if it was showing results for both.  I did a little test and played a game on my phone that is not on my iPad.  The time I spent playing that game did not show up on the results.  In addition, it said I picked up my “phone”, on average, every 22 minutes.  Again, it is showing results for the iPad.
  2. Since I don’t use my iPad that much, and when I do, it is primarily for entertainment, the results are a little skewed.  Once I install iOS 12 on my iPhone, I’ll have a better idea of how I’m actually using my devices.
  3. I do like that it tells me where I’m spending my time: Productivity, Social Networking, Entertainment, and Games.

Helpful hints:

Are you concerned about how much time you are spending on your mobile devices? Telling yourself to just put it down isn’t really much help. Here are some things I have found helpful on my iPhone:

  1. Putting my phone in another room during meals.  I can still hear it ring, and if it is important, I can easily get up
  2. Turning off all notification sounds.  In Settings, select “Notifications”.   Then you can go through the list of all of your apps one by one.  Which of these apps should be allowed to interupt you with notifications?  Which should not?
  3. If I really don’t want to be disturbed, I turn the ringer off.  My phone still communicates with my Fitbit watch, so when someone is calling I get a notification on my watch.  Again, if it’s important, I can easily get up. If I really, really don’t want to be disturbed, I will take off my Fitbit.
  4. Changing my iPhone to greyscale.  It is a much less attractive distraction when there is no color involved.  In Settings, select General, then select Accessibility.  Scroll to the bottom of that screen and select “Accessibility Shortcut”. Click on “Color Filters”.  Then triple tap the home button to make your iPhone greyscale.  Triple tap again to bring the color back.
  5. Use a timer.  If you do want to check social media but want to make sure you’re not spending two hours catching up with your Facebook friends, set a timer.  It’s best if you set it in a different room.  For example, if I’m in my home office, I can set the microwave timer.  That provides me with a persistent reason to get up and head to the kitchen to turn off the timer!

Screen Time for Kids:

Screen Time will also allow you to restrict your children’s use of their iPhone and iPad.  I would suggest trialing Screen Time for yourself first. Then you’ll know how best to introduce it to your kids.

 

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $119/year ($59 for students!), but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Any links to products or services in this post may be affiliate links. If they are, we may receive a small commission when you click on it. Rest assured, your price will be the same!)  If you’d like to receive our newsletters in your email, please click here.

Tech News – What We’re Watching

There sure has been a lot going on in the technology world.  Here’s some of the tech news I’ve been reading about:

Facial Recognition is back in the news.  Between China and Facebook, it is something we all need to be aware of.Tech News - Year In Review

  • This article in the Sunday New York Times gives an overview of how facial recognition is being used in China.  From catching criminals to just keeping track of people, their system is pretty impressive.  “Beijing is embracing technologies like facial recognition and artificial intelligence to identify and track 1.4 billion people.”
  • This article reminds us to stop taking selfies if we want to stay out of facial recognition databases.  “A 2016 Georgetown University study found that one in two American adults, or 117 million people, are in facial recognition databases with few rules on how these systems may be accessed.”
  • If you want to turn off fingerprint or facial recognition on your smartphone you should read this article.

Next Monday is Amazon Prime Day and all the tech news outlets want you to know what the best deals are.  Remember to still check the internet to see if you can get a better deal on that coveted item from somewhere else – Best Buy, Target, etc.

  • You do need to be a member of Amazon Prime in order to take advantage of these deals.  Check out this link to Try Amazon Prime for a 30-Day Free Trial. If you don’t like the benefits, remember to cancel before the 30 day trial is up!
  • There are some tips in this article to help you take the best advantage of Prime Day.
  • Then there is always eBay which is also offering great deals next week.
  • And these 10 stores will price match Amazon all year long!

July and August are great times to travel.  Here are some Tech Tips to make international travel easier.

  • Remember to check with your phone carrier before making an international trip.  They will probably be able to offer you special plans for the duration of your trip.
  • Here are some tips to unplug from tech while you are on vacation.  My personal favorite is the nuclear email option!
  • Remember to set your Dropbox so that it automatically uploads your photos to the cloud.  That way, if you’re taking the perfect picture at the ocean, and a wave destroys your phone, you’ll still have most of the photos saved.  (Dropbox does need wifi in order to upload any videos.)
  • And, please don’t use all of your data!  Here are some tips to help you conserve your data plan.

Some of our favorite sites for tech news include Wired, Fast Company, arsTechnica, and C|Net.  Check them out!


Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $119/year ($59 for students!), but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Any links to products or services in this post may be affiliate links. If they are, we may receive a small commission when you click on it. Rest assured, your price will be the same!)  If you’d like to receive our newsletters in your email, please click here.

New Tablet Instead of a laptop? Here’s What To Look For

Face it. You’ve been thinking about getting a new tablet.  You’re only using your personal computer for email, social media, and movies. Now, I’m not talking about the machine you use for work.  The one that sits on your desk is probably also used for social media and personal email. When you get home at the end of the day though, your computing needs change. You don’t need to create a database or a white paper or even a simple spreadsheet.  You’re sending photos to your brother, or writing a thank you email to your Aunt or posting an old bookcase for sale in your local Facebook group.   You can do all of that on your phone.  You would hardly ever power up your Mac or PC  if it weren’t for your eyes!

What does this mean for you?  If you’ve been thinking about replacing your older computer, start thinking about getting a tablet instead of another computer.  There are a number of good tablets out there, and you’ll save some money by choosing a tablet over a laptop or desktop.  If you are thinking about replacing your computer, please remember to back up all of your data.  Do it now!  If you’ve stopped using it regularly, you may not remember about all the precious photos you have on that machine until it is too late.

What should you look for when getting a new tablet?New tablet

Operating System:

First, which operating system are you most comfortable with?  Which apps do you like and which OS do those apps work with?  Your choices here are iOS, Windows, and Android.  If you have an iPhone, you may be most comfortable with an iPad.

Battery Life:

If there is one thing that bugs me, it is having to recharge a device after only a short period of time being used. Take a close look at how long each new tablet is expected to last on its battery.

Screen Size:

Screen size and weight go hand in hand.  Do you want something that fits easily into your backpack without being too cumbersome?  The most common screen size is around 10″.  In that size, your new tablet could weigh just under a pound, to over 1 1/2 pounds.

Storage:

If you’ll be storing a lot of photos or music on your tablet, get the biggest size you can afford.  Tablets normally run in sizes from 32gb, 64gb, 128gb, 512gb, and 1 TB. Other than screen size, this is the one thing that will really bump up the price.

Camera:

Will you be taking a lot of photos with your new tablet? Or will you continue to primarily use your phone for photos?  Most of the tablets available now have cameras with 8 to 13 megapixels on the rear camera. The choices come with the front facing camera – the one you would use for selfies.  Choices here range from 1.2mp to 8mp.

Price:

Most tablets are currently selling for $300 to $800.  Make sure you know what is important to you, what you absolutely need, and what you can live without.

What features did I forget that are important to you?  Let me know in the comments below!

 


Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $119/year ($59 for students!), but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Any links to products or services in this post may be affiliate links. If they are, we may receive a small commission when you click on it. Rest assured, your price will be the same!)  If you’d like to receive our newsletters in your email, please click here.

Router Virus aka VPNFilter Malware

The Router Virus

Have you heard in the past few weeks about the router virus that is impacting hundreds of thousands of routers?  The FBI even issued a report recommending that everyone reboot their routers because:

“Foreign cyber actors have compromised hundreds of thousands of home and office routers and other networked devices worldwide.”

Over the past week or so, we’ve been getting calls from our customers who are very concerned about the router virus they keep hearing about.  And they’re right to be concerned.  The malware has been programmed into hundreds of thousands of routers. Big deal, right?  Because I don’t run any programs on my router, I’m protected, right?  I don’t store any of my data on my router.  It’s just that black box that sits in the corner that brings my WiFi signal from my ISP to my tablet. Completely harmless, right?

What can go wrong?

Harmless? Well, no.  This particular router virus can make your router inoperable.  Even worse it can collect any information passing through the router. And then it could possibly collect your ID and password for your bank account.

How do you protect yourself?

The FBI is recommending that you reboot your device and then upgrade to the latest firmware.  You should also change the router password to a super-super secure password.

How do you reboot your router?The Router Virus aka VPNFilter Malware

Rebooting your router is just like rebooting your computer.  Unplug the router (or turn it off if the on/off switch is clearly marked), Wait 30 seconds, then plug it back in.

Will a reboot of the router always work?

Several privacy and security companies are saying that a reboot does a partial job.  Apparently, a router has two kinds of memory: Volatile and non-volatile memory.  Sometimes the router virus will also write data to the non-volatile memory too.  A reboot will clear volatile memory only.  In order to clear non-volatile memory, you’ll need to reset your router.

Should I reset my Router instead?

A router reset is more complicated than just turning the device off and on.  You’ll need to enter certain information and then follow certain steps. ESET (the company we like for antivirus software) has provided instructions for performing the reset.  You can find them in this article.

Which routers have this virus?

ESET has published a list of routers known to be infected with the router virus.  There are probably many others and the best thing would be for you to reboot your router regardless of which model you have.  Here is the list from ESET:

  • “Asus: RT-AC66U, RT-N10, RT-N10E, RT-N10U, RT-N56U, RT-N66U
  • D-Link: DES-1210-08P, DIR-300, DIR-300A, DSR-250N, DSR-500N, DSR-1000, DSR-1000N
  • Huawei: HG8245
  • Linksys: E1200,  E2500, E3000, E3200, E4200, RV082,  WRVS4400N
  • Mikrotik: CCR1009,  CCR1016,  CCR1036,  CCR1072, CRS109, CRS112, CRS125, RB411, RB450, RB750, RB911, RB921, RB941, RB951, RB952, RB960, RB962, RB1100, RB1200, RB2011, RB3011, RB Groove, RB Omnitik, STX5
  • Netgear: DG834, DGN1000,  DGN2200, DGN3500, FVS318N, MBRN3000,  R6400,  R7000,  R8000,  WNR1000,  WNR2000, WNR2200, WNR4000, WNDR3700, WNDR4000, WNDR4300, WNDR4300-TN, UTM50
  • QNAP: TS251, TS439 Pro, Other QNAP NAS devices running QTS software
  • TP-Link: R600VPN, TL-WR741ND, TL-WR841N
  • Ubiquiti: NSM2, PBE M5
  • Upvel: according to Talos, malware targeting Upvel as a vendor has been discovered, but researchers have not yet determined which devices are targeted.”

Will you reboot your router or re-set it?

If you decide you want to “re-set” your router rather than “reboot” it, let us know if you need help.

Information about Geek For Hire, Inc.

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Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past eighteen years.  His company is highly rated by both the BBB and by Angie’s List.  You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!  Prime is normally $119/year, but you can try it for 30 days for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)