Thinking Before You Click: Don’t Fall Victim to Email Scams

Posted in Security with tags , , , , on August 29, 2015 by Mobile PC Doctors

Email scams, or “phishing,” are some of the most popular ways that scammers try to steal information from individuals and small businesses alike. Unfortunately for us, these scams are not always obvious and are sometimes not detected by a spam catcher. This means we have to be hyper vigilant about what we actually click on in our email inboxes, even when they appear to be from colleagues, friends, or even our boss. While we may not be able to avoid opening every email that’s malicious, we can certainly avoid doing ourselves any harm the vast majority of the time by following the tips below.

Be Aware of the Warning Signs

Sometimes there aren’t many warning signs, but we should be aware of the ones that are commonplace in the scamming world. These warning signs include, but aren’t limited to:

Unrecognized senders
Misspellings and difficult to read emails
Unpersonalized messages
Coming from someone you don’t often email
Try to upset you with frightening information
Try to give you large sums of money

While some of these are obvious, sometimes we don’t notice one sign because we’re preoccupied with something that intrigues us. However, these are good things to think about when you do get an email.

Personal Information Over Secure Websites and Phone Calls

In addition to the above, don’t ever give out personal information or financial information over an email, even if it’s with someone you trust. Call them instead, especially if they say that it’s “urgent” you send them information that shouldn’t be sent over email anyways. When you’re conducting online transactions, try and make sure they’re over a secure connection, which is represented by an “s” after “http” in a URL. When giving personal information over a phone call, never do so unless you are the one that initiated the call in the first place, and always double-check phone numbers you call from emails against the one on a website or other public place.

Protect Your Computer Appropriately

Sometimes we fall for new email scams we haven’t seen before, and that is when it’s critical to have a properly secured and updated browser and also any sort of spam filter, firewall, and anti-virus software you can manage. All of these protect from different things, and an email scam can trigger any of them. Make sure everything is updated regularly to help fight new threats as they come out.

In general, you should be careful where you give out personal information on the Internet, as even seemingly legitimate websites can be compromised. However, it’s especially important to think before you click when it comes to emails and to try and read the warning signs so that you don’t have to depend on your computer’s protections to keep you safe.

For all your computer and network security questions call Mobile PC Doctors, 713-526-3999, or at

Used with permission from Article Aggregator

Google: Your bridge from Outlook to any smartphone’s calendar

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on May 29, 2012 by Mobile PC Doctors

Want to take your Outlook calendar events on the road? You don’t need Microsoft Exchange to do it. Take to the cloud, Google’s cloud.

by May 23, 2012 1:52 PM PDT

I love Outlook. Don’t judge; I’m not alone. It’s an outstanding tool for handling e-mail and my calendar. But what if you want to view your Outlook calendar when away from your desktop? I’ve found Google Calendar Sync is an awesome solution.

I know there’s Microsoft Exchange that many companies use for syncing Outlook to other devices. I’ve never been in an organization that used it. Instead, my life of syncing Outlook to a phone started years ago when I’d use Microsoft ActiveSync to have Outlook talk to my Windows Mobile phone.

Oh, those were the days. Then along came the iPhone, and iTunes took over, allowing me to sync my Outlook calendar to my iPhone. But, I had to remember to plug-in my phone to do this. Meanwhile, what about syncing to the Web? And syncing to Android? And these days, syncing to Windows Phone?

Google Calendar Sync is the solution to all of these issues, at least if you use Windows. I dearly wish Google would support the Mac with this, and I’ll revisit that wish at the end.

Google Calendar Sync is a lightweight program you install that automatically syncs whatever is on your Outlook calendar to your  Google Calendar account (you’ll need to create a Google Calendar account, if you don’t already have one). You can sync one-way, to send only stuff on your Outlook calendar to Google or vice-versa. Sync two-way if you want calendar entries made in either place to flow back-and-forth.

Outlook to iPhone
Once Outlook is talking to Google Calendar, life is beautiful for the smartphone user. Let’s start with the iPhone (and this works for the iPad, as well). Go to “Settings,” then “Mail, Contacts, Calendar,” then choose “Add Account.” You’ll see Gmail as one of the options listed.

Select Gmail, providing your Google information as required. After the account is set up, you’ll see it listed within “Mail, Contacts, Calendars.” Select it, then be sure you’ve toggled the “Calendars” link to “On.” Once that’s done, voila! Now you’ve channeled your Outlook calendar through the cloud to Google and back down to your iPhone.

Outlook to Android
With Android, it’s a similar process. From the “Settings” menu (which most Android phones should have), look for something like “Accounts & Sync.” Click “Add an account,” then select “Google” and enter your details. 

When done, go back to “Accounts & Sync” and select the Google account that’s associated with your Google Calendar. Click on it, then make sure you’ve ticked the “Sync Calendar” option. That’s it. Now Outlook is talking to Android, via Google.

Of course, with Android, you’ll almost certainly already have a Google account listed in “Accounts & Sync.” You need one to use most Android devices. If so, just make sure that you’ve created a Google Calendar account that’s linked to that account, and you’re set. This also works for Android tablets, too.

Outlook to Windows Phone

With Windows Phone, it’s the same familiar process. Go to “Settings.” Select “Email+Accounts.” Select “Add An Account,” and then choose “Google.” Enter your Google account details. After it has been added, go back to “Email+Accounts” and select the Google account. Then be sure you’ve ticked the “Calendar” box.

Outlook to the Web
That covers getting your Outlook calendar from your desktop to your devices. A byproduct of this is that you also have a Web-based version of your calendar. Just log into Google Calendar, and all your details are there.

If you’re using Google Calendar Sync set to two-way, you can even make changes to your web-based calendar and have them flow back to your desktop.

Outlook to the Mac’s iCal
The fun’s not over. My desktop computer runs Outlook 2010 for Windows 7, but on the road, I travel with a MacBook Air. Can I flow my Outlook calendar to that? You bet!

Open “System Preferences,” then “Mail, Contacts & Calendars.” Add your Google account. When that’s done, be sure to have selected the “Calendars” tick box for your account. Now your Outlook calendar will flow through Google into iCal.

Left out, Outlook for the Mac
Unfortunately, I don’t like iCal. I prefer — surprise — Outlook 2011 for the Mac. Sadly, Google doesn’t make Google Calendar Sync for the Mac. That really sucks. I’ll be following up with Google about whether we’ll ever see this happen.

As for Microsoft, nothing seems to have changed from late 2010, when Microsoft warned that for anyone looking to sync with Web-based calendars, “Outlook for Mac may not be ideal.” The support page on syncing Outlook For Mac still offers no help. The “Sync Services” option in Outlook For Mac, despite saying it can sync Outlook data with iCal, doesn’t seem to do with the calendar.

As with Google, I’ll be following up with Microsoft about this. In the meantime, my solution is to run Windows 7 using VMware Fusion on my MacBook Air, then run Outlook For Windows within that. Then if I’m on a long trip, and I really need to interact with my Outlook calendar a lot, I’ve got a solution.

Last Alert Pro Lets You Find Your iPhone Even If The Battery Has Died Out

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on April 18, 2012 by Mobile PC Doctors

Last Alert Pro Lets You Find Your iPhone Even If The Battery Has Died Out

By | April 17th, 2012

As we all know, the loss of a smartphone can feel like the loss of a limb at times. One minute, we’re connected with the entire world, the next, we can’t update our status on Facebook, Tweet, call our friends or family, download games or apps, listen to music, watch video, browse the web, read books, or tell the time.

Ok, let’s catch our breath. We can still read, and we can still tell the time; but in this digital age, most of us aren’t carrying paperbacks or wearing wristwatches. The point I’m making is, once we lose our iPhone or Android, we feel a tidbit lost, and are overcome by this feeling of helplessness that only goes away once the device is found.

Last Alert

There are various apps which supposedly help locate lost devices by means of GPS, but often, said smartphones simply disappear into the abyss because, as devices have improved in terms of hardware, battery retention has somewhat depleted.

Last Alert Pro is arguably the best app on the market for keeping your device safe and sound. Marketed mainly towards parents whose children own an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, it allows you to set three custom alert intervals for when a battery’s device is low. Unlike iOS notifications, which are silent, the alerts are audible, meaning once the sound is initiated, that iDevice must get to a charger before going flat.



The most intriguing, useful feature has to be the email alerts which, in the event of a dying battery, will send a notification via email of the device’s last known GPS coordinates. Again, you can base your email notifications at up to three different “low battery” intervals, and, if Last Alert Pro is installed on another iOS device, the location can be tracked through the app itself.


This app is great, particularly for those regularly losing their devices in their home. Sure, you can give yourself a call via the landline, but as you well know, 99.9% of the time, when you misplace your device, it will be on Silent (not vibrate, dead silent), mocking you profusely until you finally locate it in the last place you decide to look.


For $1.99, it’s good value for money, and if you’re prone to misplacing your iPhone, this could be your savior one day.

Download Last Alert Pro for iOS [iTunes link]


Why Your Business Needs a Mobile Website Right Now

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 16, 2011 by Mobile PC Doctors
Todd Wasserman 7 minutes ago by

The Digital Marketing Series is supported by HubSpot, an inbound marketing software company based in Cambridge, MA, that makes a full platform of marketing software, including lead generation tools.

First, the good news: If you have a website, then you have a site that can be accessed by any mobile device with a browser. Now, the bad: Chances are, that site looks pretty crappy on said mobile device.

If you’re worried about this, you’re not alone. Just as companies realized, circa 1996, that they needed to create a website to remain relevant to consumers, history is repeating itself in mobile. By 2013, more people will use mobile phones than PCs to get online, according to Gartner. In mid-2011, we also reached the point at which consumers were spending more time on their mobile devices than on their PCs.

In such an environment, a site designed to be viewed on a desktop PC comes across as woefully lacking. Say you’re accessing such a site from the Safari browser on your iPhone. The first thing you’re likely to notice is that it takes a relatively long time to load. The second thing is that the type on the page is pretty small. It might take a lot of zooming and pinching to navigate the site as well. If you have Flash on your site, it’s not going to come across at all on an iPhone.

At that point, your potential customer may start looking around. According to a recent survey from Compuware, 40% of users have turned to a competitor’s site after a bad mobile experience.

Yet currently, most businesses haven’t optimized their sites for mobile. Jesse Haines, head of marketing for Google Mobile Ads, says the company canvassed its large advertisers early in 2011 and found only 21% have launched a mobile site.

If you’re among the other 79% or so, take heart. Optimizing your site for mobile or creating a mobile site from scratch isn’t a big deal.

In part, that’s because Google has stepped in. The company is eager to expand its online advertising empire further into mobile. With an eye towards “growing the mobile ecosystem” as Haines puts it, Google last month launched GoMo, an initiative that aims to help businesses go mobile.

Google’s is a clearinghouse of information on the topic and even includes a feature that lets you see how your site looks on a mobile device.

For those looking for a quick fix, Google provides a list of companies that will build your mobile site for you, and you can specify what you want to spend. Haines says that you can get up and running for as little as $100 a year.

Dennis Mink, VP of marketing at DudaMobile, one of the vendors Google lists on GoMo, says he thinks the average price for a decent mobile site is more like $200 to $500. If you’re comfortable with website design, though, DudaMobile offers DIY tools as well, which are just $9 a month. While the company’s web-based software is free, the fee goes toward hosting and site analytics. (Yes, if you’re running a mobile site, you have to pay two hosting fees — one for your traditional website and one for mobile.)

One recent DudaMobile customer is TriStar Automotive, a Santa Rosa, Calif., repair shop. Jim Dadaos, the owner of the shop, says his web developer told him a few months back that he needed to get a mobile site “because that’s where everything is going.” Dadaos’s developer contacted DudaMobile, which created the site “within a very short time” and it’s been up and running for six months. During that time Dadaos says he’s seen a 20% spike in business. “During these times, the auto repair business is sucking, so that’s significant,” he says.

Mink and Haines offer a few tips for building a good mobile website. One thing to consider is whether your site is what Haines calls “thumb-friendly.” What that means in practice is lots of big, fat buttons. Another thing to keep in mind is font size and navigation. The first should be fairly large, and the second should be fairly intuitive.

Haines says one site that renders especially well on mobile is 1-800 Flowers, which, as you see below, is both thumb-friendly and intuitive.

Another site Haines singles out is from PacSun, the teen-focused clothing brand:

Incidentally, if you’re considering a mobile app rather than a mobile website, Haines says to go for the website. “It really depends on the brand,” she says. “We think a mobile website is a must-have.” Haines says that for some brands, like news sites for instance, a mobile app makes sense, but otherwise, most users are going to look for you via their browser.

Mink agrees: “If you’re going to search for any type of business, you’re going to search the mobile web, not an app store,” he says. “People don’t look for apps that will give them information.”

Mac’s not getting Viruses or Malware is a MYTH!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on May 9, 2011 by Mobile PC Doctors

Mac OS X Gets Its Very Own Fake, Malicious Antivirus Program

by Robert Quigley | 1:23 pm, May 3rd, 2011

Need proof that Mac is catching up to Windows in a big way? Security firm Intego reports that it has recently observed in the wild a malicious, fake ‘antivirus’ app appearing on computers running Apple’s Mac OS X operating system. Windows, of course, has been host to such programs for about as long as the Internet has existed. Apple’s fake, malicious antivirus program has a much slicker interface, though.

Called “MAC Defender,” the app functions similarly to comparable PC scam programs: It claims that the user’s computer has been infected with viruses and asks the user to pay for the program via credit card. Protip: Don’t provide your credit card number to MAC Defender.

Intego notes that the application is visually well designed and doesn’t have numerous misspellings or other errors common to such malware on Windows, though it does seem to contain some sketchy grammar. The software will periodically display Growl alerts that various fake malware has been detected, and also periodically opens porn websites in the default browser, perhaps leading a user to believe the detected malware “threats” are real. Users are then directed to an insecure website to pay for a license and “clean” the malware infections. However, buying the license merely stops the fake alerts from popping up, but your money and credit card info is now in the hands of hackers.

Remember: The notion that Macs can’t get viruses or malware is a myth.

AT&T Tracking Users & How to Hide!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on May 9, 2011 by Mobile PC Doctors

How AT&T Tracks Unauthorized Tethering On Your Jailbroken iPhone, And How To Hide It From Them

By Oliver Haslam | May 9th, 2011

If you cast your minds back a couple of months, you’ll remember how we told you that AT&T had begun clamping down on people using tethering on their iPhones without paying for the upgraded tethering plan. Emails and SMS messages were sent informing customers that if they continued to tether they would be charged for it. At the time we weren’t sure how AT&T knew which people were actually tethering, but now we do and more importantly, we know how to get around it.

Today iPhoneDownloadBlog pointed out a snippet from a post over on AndroidPolice that is of particular interest to unauthorized iOS tethering users. Turns out they know how AT&T was able to tell when customers were tethering.

“Jailbroken iPhones typically use the same tethering technique as a standard iPhone, the one that’s already present in iOS. This method exposes tethering activity quite readily, because the iPhone, when in tethering mode, sends traffic through an alternate APN (AT&T access point/router) for the express purpose of identifying the traffic as tethered data. This makes it extremely easy for AT&T to identify whether or not an iOS device is utilizing tethering, and just how much of their data is consumed via tethering.

Some tethering applications for iOS make use of alternative methods and route tethered traffic through the phone’s normal data APN, but by and large, most jailbreakers stick with the stock application because it’s easy to use and doesn’t require any complicated setup. In fact, many iPhone users jailbreak for the sole purpose of avoiding AT&T’s tethering fees (for why, see next section). These are the people AT&T’s is going after.”

So it appears, apps that use the special data APN get noticed by AT&T’s systems, hence the strong-arm tactics. Popular jailbreak app MyWi works just as described by AndroidPolice – using the tethering APN. What we need is an app that uses the same APN as your iPhone does for its own data. According to the iPhoneDownloadBlog, that app is PdaNet.

The latest version of PdaNet comes complete with an option specifically for hiding tethering from AT&T – presumable this option changes the APN the app uses for routing data. TetherMe is another app that appears to be one AT&T can’t track, though PdaNet does seem to be the best bet if you want to avoid your carrier’s tethering charges.

So, if you’re not too keen on paying for your data twice, jailbreak your iPhone and give PdaNet a whirl – it’s available via Cydia right now.

You will, of course, need to have a jailbroken iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to install it. Follow our step by step guide posted here to jailbreak your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch with Redsn0w on iOS 4.2.1 (or untethered with GreenPois0n RC5), or on iOS 4.3.1 with Redsn0w, PwnageTool 4.3 (untethered | tethered), or with Sn0wbreeze on Windows, or on iOS 4.3.2 with Redsn0w, PwnageTool 4.3 (tethered), or with Sn0wbreeze on Windows, or on iOS 4.3.3 using Redsn0w, PwnageTool, Sn0wbreeze on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch if you haven’t already.

AT&T starts capping broadband for Residential Clients

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 3, 2011 by Mobile PC Doctors

AT&T starts capping broadband

AT&T joins Comcast in capping broadband data usage for its customers at 250 gigabytes per month. By David Goldman, staff writerMay 3, 2011: 12:40 PM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — The days of all-you-can-surf broadband are vanishing.

AT&T this week began capping its Internet delivery service for broadband and DSL customers. The move comes 11 months after it placed similar caps on its mobile customers.

U-Verse — AT&T’s high-speed broadband, television and telephone network — now limits customers to 250 gigabytes of Internet usage each month. DSL users are capped at 150 GB. Customers who exceed the limits will have to pay $10 for each additional 50 GB.

AT&T moved in June to set pricing tiers for its mobile customers, offering light users a plan that maxes out at 200 megabytes. The company also sells a pricier 2 GB plan. AT&T (T, Fortune 500) remains the outlier among the three major wireless companies, though Sprint (S, Fortune 500) and Verizon (VZ, Fortune 500) Wireless are expected to follow suit with caps soon.

But AT&T isn’t alone in instituting restrictions on residential broadband usage.

Comcast (CMCSA, Fortune 500) — by far the largest broadband provider in the U.S. — also has a 250 GB cap, and Time Warner Cable (TWC, Fortune 500) experimented with a tiered billing service in some markets in 2008. Though broadband caps are a relatively new phenomenon in the United States, variations on Internet cap structures are quite common in Canada, Asia and in European countries.

AT&T’s caps will affect just 2% of its customers, the company said. The restrictions are necessary, AT&T maintained, because those in the top 2% use up 20% of the network’s bandwidth. The highest-traffic users download as much as 19 typical households, on average, which slows speeds for other users, AT&T said.

“Our approach is based on customers’ feedback,” said Mark Siegel, spokesman for AT&T. “They told us that the people who use the most should pay more, and they also told us we should make it easy for them to track their usage. We think our approach addresses these concerns.”

Siegel called the caps “generous,” and said that AT&T’s DSL customers use just 18 GB per month on average. The company didn’t provide similar statistics for its U-Verse high-speed Internet customers. Globally, broadband customers typically use 15 GB per month, according to Cisco (CSCO, Fortune 500).

The caps are fairly forgiving. DSL customers would need to watch 65 hours of high-definition videos on Netflix (NFLX) to reach the limit, and high-speed customers would need to watch 109 hours.

Analysts see the move as a strategic one. AT&T, Comcast and many other broadband providers also sell cable TV service, which a growing number of customers are dropping in favor of video on-demand services like Netflix.

“This probably isn’t absolutely necessary,” said Vince Vittore, broadband analyst at Yankee Group. “It’s mostly a move to prevent customers from cutting off video services.”

Vittore believes Comcast and AT&T’s caps are indicative of what will become a larger trend in broadband services throughout the country.

Cisco recently forecast that video on-demand usage will double every 2 1/2 years. AT&T said its customers are using more broadband as data-intensive video services like Netflix become more popular. Video currently makes up 40% of all Internet traffic and will exceed 91% by 2014, according to Cisco.

Though typical broadband users don’t come close to approaching the caps now, the increase in average video consumption will undoubtedly cause a greater number of users to exceed their limits in the coming years.

That could force broadband providers to raise their caps in the future if customers begin to complain.

To head off a backlash, AT&T is sending customers alerts when they reached 65%, 90% and 100% of their data allotment each month. The company is also giving customers an undefined grace period before it charges them for another 50 GB. AT&T also is allowing customers to check their data usage online.

Still, data caps likely won’t sit well with those who have called for broadband providers to improve their infrastructure and service.

The Obama administration has harshly criticized the state of the country’s broadband infrastructure, noting that most other countries offer broader service with far faster speeds. The president even alluded in last year’s State of the Union address to a study in which the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development ranked the United States 31st in median broadband speed.

As part of its National Broadband Plan, the FCC has set out to bring 100-megabit-per-second speeds to 100 million Americans.

Some Internet companies fed up with the state of American broadband are taking matters into their own hands. Google (GOOG, Fortune 500), for instance, is deploying a 1-gigabit-per-second network in Kansas City, Kan. To top of page