Newsletters

November 2013 Newsletter

Can You Get a Virus From Playing an Application Game on Facebook?

Unlike Apple’s App Store, Facebook does not regulate the process of posting apps to Facebook. Anyone can write a game app and throw it up for users to start playing immediately. However, this anyone can include hackers and malware writers. This makes it possible to compromise your business computer, and even your business’ network, by simply playing an application game on Facebook.

How Apps Infect

The Facebook platform itself does not have the ability to place files directly onto your computer without your permission. Consequently, simply opening an app on Facebook’s platform cannot lead to your computer being automatically infected with an app’s malware payload. Rather, the app has to take you away from the Facebook platform and trick you into taking some action that gives the malware permission to infect your computer.

False Software Updates

One way that apps will trick you into installing malware on your computer is by presenting you with realistic-looking, yet still fake, software update windows. For example, the app will say that you need to update your Adobe Flash Player before you can play the game. It will give you a link that it says downloads an update for Adobe, but is actually a link that downloads a malware package onto your computer. When you open the package to update your software, you will actually be initiating the process of installing a virus on your computer.

Site Redirection

While Facebook’s platform cannot download files directly to your computer without your permission, hackers can set up websites that can. If a website is loaded with malware that can slip through vulnerabilities in your browser or other software you are running, the website could automatically install viruses onto your computer. A hacker could then create a Facebook app pretending to be a game, then have that app try to redirect you to that malware-laden website.

Why Use an External Hard Drive?

While cloud storage continues to grow in popularity, portable external hard drives remain a solid alternative for simple, local backups. They allow you to easily store large multimedia files, increase your computer’s storage capacity and share files between computers. Additionally, external hard drives are typically a cheaper and more secure backup option than cloud storage.

External hard drives come in all sizes and storage capacities, but those on our lineup are compact, portable drives with storage capacities that range from 500GB to 4TB.

External Hard Drives: What to Look For.

External USB hard drives are less expensive, more reliable and easier to use than ever, which means the market is saturated with dozens of drives to choose from. With a focus on performance, design and functionality, the following criteria can help you choose the best portable hard drive for your needs.

Performance

Performance entails the specifications that determine the overall operation of an external hard drive, including its storage capacity and transfer speed. The best portable hard drives come in different storage capacities ranging from 500GB to 4TB, offering plenty of space for all your photos, media and documents.

Transfer speed refers to the rate at which files are transferred between the external drive and a computer’s internal drive. Transfer speed is measured in megabits per second (Mb/s) or gigabits per second (Gb/s). Look for a drive that boasts a high maximum transfer speed (up to 5120Mb/s), but be aware that actual transfer speeds can fluctuate depending on the size of the files you are transferring.

Another important performance factor is the interface connectivity of each USB external hard drive. Interface connectivity is defined as the method or specification used to establish communication between peripheral devices and a computer. The external hard drives on our lineup have either a 2.0 or 3.0 USB interface and connect to a computer via a USB cable. USB 3.0 supersedes the 2.0 interface, boasting faster transfer speeds and backwards compatibility with USB 2.0 ports.

Design

For some people, the physical design of an external hard drive is just as important as its performance. Built for portability and convenience, external hard drives should be durable yet compact and lightweight. Assess the weight, dimensions and casing material of each drive you are considering. Portable hard drives should also be bus-powered, which means they are powered through the same USB cable that provides data transfer and do not require a supplementary power supply.

Features

While performance and design may be top priorities, available features are still something to consider. Perhaps most important are any security features the drive boasts; mobile drives are inherently more susceptible to theft and loss than desktop drives are. Therefore, if the security of your stored files is paramount, look for portable drives with data encryption and password protection. Additional features can enhance the usability of a drive, including backup software and plug-and-play operation.

Help & Support

The best external hard drives come with beneficial, comprehensive help and support options through the manufacturer. Most important is the warranty on each drive; a lengthy warranty (two years or more) that protects against manufacturing defects is ideal. Additionally, each drive manufacturer should offer online product resources such as user guides and multiple methods to contact customer service.

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