Gulf South Technology Solutions

Recent Posts

Microsoft is finally rolling out its MAJOR Windows 10 update

Posted by Gulf South Technology Solutions on May 2, 2018 12:08:55 PM

After a few hiccups along the way, including a pullback due to Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) issues, the next major Windows 10 update is finally starting to roll out.

The major update, now officially known as the "Windows 10 April 2018 Update" is bringing a number of new features including Timeline and more Fluent Design tweaks plus Edge and Cortana enhancements.

Internally codenamed "Redstone 4," it was supposed to have been released on April 10 but was pulled back due to reliability issues. Since it's now rolling out, it appears that Microsoft has ironed out any serious bugs that were leading to a high percentage of BSOD errors.

Similar to earlier major Windows 10 updates, such as the Creators Update and the Fall Creators Update, the "April 2018 Update" will likewise remove a number of older features.

Read on and we'll break down the most noteworthy features of the new "Windows 10 April 2018 Update."


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5 Security Mistakes You’re Probably Making

Posted by Gulf South Technology Solutions on Apr 30, 2018 11:20:20 AM

You don’t think about your car until you get a flat. You don’t appreciate your phone until the screen cracks. Cybersecurity is something you take for granted, until someone hacks your account, steals your bank info, and spreads compromising pictures of you all over the internet.

Most people know about virus protection. They avoid weird websites and spammy messages from mysterious people. But some things we just don’t think about: Are you sure no one has access to your webcam? If you live in a high tech home, are you aware that strangers can hack your smart appliances?

Here are five ways you may still be vulnerable, along with tips on how to safeguard your family, your finances, and your personal data.

1. Letting anyone see what you are doing
Your daughter is spending a semester in Italy. No problem! You can still chat with her, see her face, and be a part of her life, all in real time, thanks to the magic of the webcam. These little cameras have been standard desktop equipment since the 1990s, but their global immediacy still feels miraculous.

That is, until a hacker commandeers your camera and captures video of you in your bedroom. Losing your social security number is a pain, but nothing is quite as terrifying as intimate images of your family distributed infinitely through the internet. Remember, your camera may not give any indication that it’s been hacked.

The easiest defense is also incredibly simple. Just put a piece of masking tape over your webcam. You won’t damage the lens, and you can always remove it when you want to use Skype or FaceTime.

There’s also the high-tech solution. You can install free software that alerts you when someone tries to access your webcam remotely. If you’re an Apple user, you can download OverSight. Click here to learn more about OverSight.

Windows users can turn to the aptly named Who Stalks My Cam. Both of these programs are free to download and easy to set up.

2. Letting Alexa run freely
People love Alexa. More specifically, they love telling Alexa what to do. Amazon Echo has single-handedly invented the virtual assistant, and other companies are racing to catch up with the company's versatile little tower.

A favorite feature is called "Voice Purchasing," which enables you to order products orally. You can say, "Alexa, I need more paper towels," and the device will place the order with, say, Amazon Pantry. This feature is available to anyone with Amazon Prime and, of course, an Echo.

Just make sure that you don't keep Voice Purchasing open when you're not using it. Here's how to turn off Voice Purchasing from your Alexa app. Go to Settings >> Voice Purchasing >> turn off Voice Purchasing. You can require a confirmation code, too, that you'll say out loud to Alexa when you're shopping on Amazon.

You can also turn off Alexa’s mic. In June, Amazon introduced the "Drop In" feature. Once enabled, other Echos automatically connect to another Echo to start a conversation. The other party doesn't even have to pick the call, the line is automatically open, and it works similarly to an intercom system.

3. Staying signed in all over, all the time
If you're like most people, you check your Facebook account many times each day. The same goes for Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, YouTube, Google+, plus so many other apps and social media accounts. Most of the time, you don't log into your accounts because they're already open. This convenience, of course, leaves you vulnerable to hacks.

Just make sure that you're the only one accessing your account. You can actually check recent activity on your account to make sure no one else is logging in.

Each social media platform is different; same for your apps. But on Facebook, click on the down arrow in the upper-right corner >> Activity Log >> Filters.

On Twitter: If you're using a laptop or PC, go to >> Tweets. If you're using the Twitter app on an iPhone or Android smartphone >> click on the analytics icon from your tweets.

On the topic of signing into your accounts, there is one essential security setting you must enable. I have the steps for the major sites including Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and others on my website.

4. Just agreeing to whatever, whenever
Do you read all those little alerts when you're installing a new app? If you're like most people, you probably just click through all those questions.

Well, you might want to review the fine print. You may be giving apps access to track your location and putting yourself at risk in other ways, too. Fortunately, you can check apps to see what permissions you’ve granted.

You can see permissions on your iPhone or Android.

5. Saying it's not important right now
No matter what operating system you use, you’ll want to always have the latest version. Hackers work around the clock to find chinks in your computer’s armor, and they’re often successful. Your operating system will remind you to install security updates, but remember to follow through and download them because they are designed to protect you from the latest threats.

To check to see if you have the latest updates on Windows 10: Click on Start (window icon in the lower-left corner of your screen) >> Settings >> Update & Security >> Check for Updates.

On your Mac, click the Apple logo at the top left of your screen >> About this Mac >> Software Update.

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7 signs you’ve been hacked that you need to know now

Posted by Gulf South Technology Solutions on Apr 25, 2018 11:00:00 AM

In this digital age where everyone everywhere is interconnected via the magic of the internet, there will always be groups of cybercriminals looking to take advantage of us. We hear of data breaches, malware attacks, ransomware and phishing scams constantly - it seems like we are under attack around the clock.

And it's true, online threats never stop. They are lurking in every corner of the web, waiting for that inadvertent click, that hasty install, or that vulnerable gadget that can be exploited.

Don't be shocked, but an unpatched and unprotected PC can get hacked in less than five minutes when connected to the internet!

This means knowing the signs that your gadget is hacked or compromised is critical. Why?

Time is of the essence when you're dealing with malware and data breaches and detecting them early enough is key.

Here are the top seven signs that you've been hacked:

1. Your gadget suddenly slows down

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5 Quick Fixes For A Finicky Computer

Posted by Gulf South Technology Solutions on Apr 23, 2018 3:04:11 PM

Computers live by Murphy’s Law: “Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.” Which is why, at some point, your computer will freeze, or flicker, or even shut down. Most of us are comfortable using computers as long as everything is going smoothly.

Maybe your old computer is just running slowly. 

Below are five common computer problems that you can usually solve yourself. Computers have many moving parts, and you may eventually decide to call in reinforcements. But with a little direction, you may be able to fix minor issues all on your own.

1. Unexpected reboots

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Five Common Computer Problems Solved

Posted by Gulf South Technology Solutions on Apr 16, 2018 11:06:36 AM

It happens to everyone at some point. You're doing something on your computer, whether it's an important project, some aimless browsing, or trying to beat your high score on Solitaire, and without warning, something goes wrong. Your computer shuts down, or the screen flickers or freezes.

Sometimes it's just a glitch that goes away quickly. But sometimes you wiggle the mouse, click the buttons a few times, tap some keys on your keyboard and get nothing. Your 21st-century piece of technology is useless. So, what do you do next?

Most of us are comfortable using computers as long as everything is going smoothly. But, when something goes wrong, we don't know where to begin. That's why we've put together five common computer issues that you can usually solve yourself. You just need to know how to troubleshoot the problem. Take a look at these tips so that you're ready the next time your computer acts out.

1. Unexpected reboots
If your computer has ever unexpectedly rebooted and turned blue or shut down without warning, you know how nerve-wracking that can be. Or, has your computer ever shut down as it's opening up, or suggested you work in "safe mode"?

Those "safe mode" messages often pop up after you accidentally turn off your computer without shutting it down. But when that happens for seemingly no reason, you may have an expensive problem on your hands.

However, you can troubleshoot this issue with a program called WhoCrashed. It scans through your computer to identify the problem, and it may suggest a solution.

If you're staring at a blue screen, you may be thinking, "There's a problem with my computer." But, according to WhoCrashed, the problem probably doesn't have anything to do with your hardware.

It may be related to your device drivers. Or it may be a problem with pieces of coding called kernel modules.

WhoCrashed will analyze your computer to find what's causing it to crash. It's easy to use and it does a thorough analysis of your computer. Note: WhoCrashed states that "the software is not guaranteed to identify the culprit in every scenario."

If it helps you, great. If not, you should make sure your device drivers are up to date. If that doesn't help, you may need to contact a professional computer repair person.

2. Basic software troubleshooting
An occasional or consistent computer freeze could be the result of a program acting up. Use the keyboard shortcut CTRL + SHIFT + ESC to open Windows' Task Manager and then select the "Performance" tab. In Windows 8.1 and 10, you might need to click the "More details" link at the bottom of the Task Manager to see it. Click here for more Task Manager tricks that you should know.

Start using your computer as normal, but keep an eye on the CPU, memory and disk categories. If the computer freezes, and one of these is really high, then that could be your answer. Make a note of which area was really high then restart the computer and open Task Manager again.

This time, however, choose the "Processes" tab. Sort the list by CPU, memory or disk, whichever was really high last time the computer froze, and see what process pops up to the top of the list as the computer freezes. This should tell you what software is acting up so you can uninstall or update it. Learn how to unravel what processes tell you about your programs.

You might also have hidden software, such as a virus, causing problems. Be sure to run a scan with your security software to uncover something that shouldn't be there.

In cases where your computer freezes during startup in normal mode, but boots OK in Safe Mode, the problem could be a program that's loading during the boot sequence. Use a program like Autoruns to selectively disable the programs that begin at startup and see which one is causing the problem.

If your computer is freezing during startup no matter what, and it's at the same point, then the problem could be corruption in Windows or a hardware problem. A quick way to tell is to grab a Live CD for another operating system, such as Linux Mint or Tails, and boot with that.

If the other operating system boots OK, then you're probably looking at a problem with Windows and might need to reinstall. For those using Windows 10 (and 8), it has a Refresh/Reset feature that's supposed to return Windows to a factory state. It's under Settings >> Update and recovery >> Recovery. If Windows is having trouble starting, it should pop up a Recovery option during boot that includes this, or you might have to use a disc.

If the non-Windows operating system has trouble too, then it's time to look at your hardware.

3. Basic hardware troubleshooting
A computer that freezes both in normal mode and Safe Mode or with another operating system, can often indicate a problem with your computer's hardware. It could be your hard drive, an overheating CPU, bad memory or a failing power supply. In some cases, it might also be your motherboard, although that's a rare occurrence.

Usually, with a hardware problem, the freezing will start out sporadically, but increase in frequency as time goes on. Or it will trigger when the computer is working hard, but not when you're doing more basic things. Fortunately, you can run some checks and see if that's the case.

Use a program like CrystalDiskInfo to check your hard drive's S.M.A.R.T. data for signs of impending failure. A program like SpeedFan can tell you if your computer processor is overheating, or if the voltages are fluctuating, which might be a problematic power supply.

If you want to go more in-depth, you can grab a diagnostic CD like FalconFour's Ultimate Boot CD. It has plenty of other tools for checking out your computer, including MemTest for putting a strain on your computer's RAM to see if it's working OK.

If your computer is newer, it might still be under warranty, in which case you'll want to contact the manufacturer or seller.

For an older computer, you need to decide if it's less expensive to repair or replace it. Find out at what point you should just cut your losses.

4. Pop-up ads and odd messages
Running into a pop-up ad while you're surfing used to be a serious annoyance, but modern browsers include pop-up protection to keep these annoyances away on most sites. If you're still seeing regular pop-ups on more than one site, it could just be a badly-configured browser.

However, if pop-ups are coming at you when your browser isn't even open, it's likely you have a virus. This is especially true if the pop-ups advertise some magic cure-all to your "virus woes."

If you are bombarded with pop-up ads, first run a scan with anti-spyware software to double-check. I like SpyBot Search & Destroy because it digs deep into your settings to find any problems spyware has left behind.

Most viruses have one goal in mind once they infect your computer: to spread the virus as far as possible. An easy way to do that is to send messages to as many of your friends as possible in hopes they'll get infected, too.

These messages can show up anywhere. The virus might try to send out spam through your email account. It could take control of your Facebook or Twitter and send out spam, too. In almost all cases, it will include a link or attachment to the virus somewhere in the post.

Keep an eye on your email's "sent" folder and on your social network posts. If you notice emails and posts that you don't remember sending or posting, it's likely that you have a virus. Here is what you need to know to take your account back.

5. Getting things going again
OK, this might sound obvious, but one of the easiest things you can do to get your computer working better is to restart it.

How many times have you spent hours trying to figure out what was causing a computer problem, only to have the IT guy fix it by rebooting? No, your IT guy does not have the "magic touch". What's really happening is that sometimes computer problems are temporary. When you restart your computer it clears its memory and reruns program startups.

Something important to note here is that sometimes the problem you're having won't allow you to restart your computer properly. For example, if your computer freezes, you won't be able to restart without pressing the Power button down and holding it until your computer shuts off.

This is sometimes referred to as a "Hard Reboot," and although it's not ideal, it is essentially the same thing as restarting.

Another thing you can do that's really easy is clearing out your browser's cache. This won't fix every problem, but it does help by giving you a blank canvas to work with.

The process is very easy. Every browser has a different method, but here's how you can do it in Chrome. Go into your browsing history, then click the button at the top that says,"Clear browsing data".

Of course, if these simple fixes don't help, then you might have a bigger problem to worry about. It could also be caused because your computer needs a cleanup. 

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Speed up your tablet & smartphone: Clear cache, search history, call logs & more

Posted by Gulf South Technology Solutions on Apr 9, 2018 11:00:00 AM

Have you noticed the performance of your smartphone or tablet slowing down or getting sluggish? Or perhaps it is running out of space for new apps, movies or music? Chances are, your gadget has been filling up with data that you simply don't need anymore.

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5 incredibly useful tools for your digital spring cleaning

Posted by Gulf South Technology Solutions on Apr 2, 2018 11:00:00 AM

Spring has traditionally meant cleaning, organizing, and mops. But in our increasingly high-tech households, your hard drive, phone, or tablet may need as much attention as your broom closet and stove.

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Check whether your email account has been hacked.

Posted by Gulf South Technology Solutions on Mar 28, 2018 10:52:30 AM

It's a sad reality that's been coming to a head for years now. Thousands of websites are hacked each and every day.

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Pitch Tech Solution to Upper Management-and Succeed!

Posted by Gulf South Technology Solutions on Mar 19, 2018 11:00:00 AM

Explain the financial benefits

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Topics: Office Culture, News Topics, Hardware, #smartcomputers, ITsolutions

5-Step Security Compliance for Small and Medim Buisnesses

Posted by Gulf South Technology Solutions on Mar 12, 2018 11:00:00 AM

What is security compliance?

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Topics: network security, Cyber Security, cyberthreats, #protectyourself