Malwarebytes

antimalware, malware, spyware, ransomeware,

Are your Computers protected from todays attacks?

I have used Malwarebytes for Windows for many, many years.  It is a name synonymous with excellent spyware & malware protection.  I always used the free version as it provided most all functionality needed.  The main problem with the free version was that you have to manually download updates and run scans periodically, which was hard to remember, so it didn’t happen as routinely as it should have.

When ransomware came to the forefront a couple of years ago I decided that forgetting to do the manual download and scans could be a game changer and that I did not want to gamble anymore.

Today’s Malwarebytes employs four independent technology modules—anti-malware, anti-ransomware, anti-exploit, and malicious website protection— It blocks and removes both known and unknown threats, detects and removes malware in real-time with advanced anti-malware, anti-spyware, and anti-rootkit technology, and scans for threats automatically so you’re protected without having to even think about it.

Malwarebytes wraps your browser and software programs in four layers of defense, stopping attacks that use vulnerabilities in those programs to infect your computer.

Fake websites and malicious links are a constant problem today….. All you have to do is transpose or drop a letter in an address and you could be in for lots of trouble!

It scans faster and smarter.  The lightning-fast Hyper Scan mode targets only the threats that are currently active.  Faster analysis, still gets results. Run a scan in the background while you boot up your favorite game. It’s done by the time you’re ready to play.

Smarter technology
Traditional antivirus relies on outdated signature-based technology that addresses threats at the execution stage of the attack chain. It’s reactive, one-dimensional, and apparently isn’t effective. Malwarebytes employs several proprietary technologies that work together to break the attack chain, from pre-delivery to post-execution.

FEATURES…

  • Real-time protection PREMIUM
    Detects malware automatically, before it can infect.
  • Anti-exploit PREMIUM
    Shields vulnerable systems and software from exploit attacks.
  • Anti-ransomware PREMIUM
    Stops ransomware attacks before your data is held hostage.
  • Malicious website protection PREMIUM
    Prevents access to and from known malicious webpages.
  • Anti-malware/Anti-spyware FREE & PREMIUM
    Detects and removes malware and advanced threats.
  • Anti-rootkit FREE & PREMIUM
    Removes rootkits and repairs the files they damage.
Web Hosting

Linksys Max-Stream AC2200 MU-MIMO Tri-band Wireless Router

Linksys Max-Stream AC2200 MU-MIMO Tri-band Wireless Router EA8300

This  Linksys Max-stream AC2200 MU-MIMO Wi-Fi Tri-Band Router (EA8300) router features MU-MIMO technology, so your whole family can stream, game, and perform other high-bandwidth tasks at the same time and same speed.

I upgraded from a Netgear AC1200, which was (and still is), a very good router but my home network has grown substantially in the last couple of years and as technology has evolved, I decided it was time.

Fast and Capable

I am currently up to 30 devices on my network…  this includes, 3 Nest cameras that are  connected and streaming video 24/7, 2 Echos, an Echo Show, & a Google Home.  I also have several tablets/Ipads, 2 laptops, an Ethernet connected 4K HD TV, and Direct TV with Genie and 4 receivers.   Download speeds and movie streaming from Hulu & Amazon with this Linksys Max-stream AC2200 router have been lag-free with no buffering. I consistently get 144Mbps on the 2.4Ghz and 680-765Mbps on the 5Ghz bands. This would be dependent on the wireless speeds that your hardware is capable of.  Intelligent Tri-Band technology means that you can double the performance of a dual-band router and you can experience exceptional wireless speeds because it transmits data to compatible clients simultaneously, not sequentially.

 Easy Setup

The EA8300 was pretty much plug and play. Just connect it to the internet and follow the onscreen prompts to set the name of your network, give it a password, update the firmware, and you’re good to go. The Linksys Smart Wi-Fi App for tablets and mobile phones is great.  I would like it if the mobile app had the “Network Map” option available like through the URL as I much prefer images to a list, but lists are better than nothing.  Remotely verifying the network is very easy and a big bonus.  There is an auto update feature with the EA8300 and it will automatically receive firmware updates from Linksys as they are released, so your router is always secure and up-to-date and you won’t have to remember to check on this yourself.

 

FEATURES…

  • TRI-BAND TECHNOLOGY
    Three bands that deliver the fastest combined Wi-Fi speeds to more devices.
  • MU-MIMO
    Latest Wireless-AC technology for simultaneously streaming and gaming on multiple devices.
  • QUAD-CORE PROCESSOR
    716MHz Quad-Core CPU with 3 offload Processors.
  • ADVANCED BAND STEERING
    Devices are automatically routed to the clearest Wi-Fi band to speed up gaming and streaming.
  • DFS CHANNEL
    Router can operate in the clearest Wi-Fi airspace possible, where other routers aren’t allowed.
  • USB 3.0 PORT
    Share files and add external storage across your network with the USB 3.0 port. USB 3.0 offers enhanced speeds over 2.0.

Airtime Fairness Improves Wi-Fi Distribution
This gigabit Wi-Fi router’s Airtime Fairness feature helps ensure an equitable distribution of Wi-Fi to different devices. This improves the overall efficiency of your home Wi-Fi and helps reduce the lag introduced by slower Wi-Fi devices.

Wi-Fi Traffic Organizer
The Smart Connect feature balances your 5 GHz Wi-Fi connections and intelligently chooses the best radio band for your devices for the best Wi-Fi performance of your network.

Supports Multiple Wi-Fi Connections Simultaneously
Using MU-MIMO (Multi-User Multiple-Input Multiple-Output) technology, the EA8300 can deliver a high-speed Wi-Fi connection to multiple devices simultaneously. You’ll be able to stream 4K media, browse the Internet, and play games online as if each of your devices had its own, dedicated Wi-Fi router.

Seamless Roaming
when paired with a compatible range extender, the EA8300 delivers a strong, seamless Wi-Fi signal in every room of your home. Unlike traditional routers and range extenders–which force you to manually connect to the closest Wi-Fi network as you move from room to room–the EA8300 allows your devices to automatically connect to the strongest Wi-Fi signal available

Netgear AC750 – EX3700

netgear ac750 EX3700

Boost Your WiFi Range

You can connect anywhere in your house with this simple-to-use WiFi Range Extender. Increase your range and reduce interference. Best of all, no dead zones to stop you from having fun on your mobile devices, smart TVs, or game consoles.

This Netgear AC750 – EX3700 Wi-Fi Range Extender is very capable and setup is pretty straight forward with the directions. This is an “Extender or “AP(Access Point)” which means it will provide a ‘new’ SSID that allows you to bridge to your primary SSID and extend your signal to other rooms where it is not very good.

Netgear AC750 WiFi ExtenderSpecifications: 

  • Dual band WiFi up to 750 Mbps
  • Supports new 802.11ac & b/g/n WiFi devices
  • External antennas for better performance
  • Convenient wall-plug design
  • Works with any WiFi router

For extender mode, this device gets the SSID from your main router and acts as a ‘bridge’ to that router.  It re-broadcasts the signal with it’s own hardware over it’s own SSID that it names by adding an ”_Ext” to your current SSID. If your cureent SSID is “Home” then the extender SSID would be “Home_Ext”.  It’s like a relay race for wireless.

So, your traffic goes like this: Device over extender SSID to Extender. The Extender processes it as a bridge mode router then sends it through wireless to the existing SSID from your primary router.

Once this is done you connect your wireless devices to the extender and it will ‘hop’ your data from the extender to the router.

A Second mode that this Netgear AC750 – EX3700 WiFi extender can do is AP Mode. Essentially it will act as an AccessPoint  off your existing network. Connect an ethernet cable to it and set it up per the instructions and you will have a second AP In your home utilizing the same network but with a different SSID.

A Big benefit to this device is it’s ability to run in AP mode. For example:  If you travel and you are in a motel room with a bad wireless signal but there is also an ethernet connection available. Simply plug this in and will have have your own SSID with a fast wireless connection.

Another important way this can be used is with insecure wireless networks. You can plug this into insecure networks and provide your devices with their own secured SSID’s with AES Passkeys. Anyone attempting to hack you through the insecure WiFi would need to hack your secured device and SSID!  Please keep in mind it’s not a VPN so they still could sniff the data stream going from the extender to the router if the router SSID is unsecured, however they won’t be getting directly into your device so there is additional security in that case.

Some advanced options provide for a ‘Fastlane’ system which is kind of a gimmick that is really pointless and mostly is a marketing feature. What this does is you give the extender a designated frequency from your router (2.4 or 5.0) then the router pushes 5.0 with the 2.4 or 2.4 with the 5.0 channel. This is frequency isolation that allows you to use a designated band for the extender.  It’s really pointless and offers no speed boost at all.  You could use this in a crowded home with a lot of devices by putting everyone on 2.4 then piping 5.0 directly to the extender then 2.4 off of the extender. Again, unless you just like to try out different configurations just to see what they can do, I’d leave it off.

While the performance of this device is good, you won’t get the same performance as your primary router.  Most extenders do not. The reason for this is that you are stepping through what amounts to an additional (low powered) router. There are session and throughput limitations most  likely well below your router. Performance is also lost in that transition, also the case during the SSID hopping. This is to be expected, it’s an extender and performance on an extender will never be as good as a pure router or stand alone AP.

My connection averages 340Mbps-380Mbps over my primary router which is a Linksys EA8300 (AC2200). Through this extender I average 110-140Mbps per device. That’s about 30% loss on average of speed in comparison to the primary router/AP configuration. So remember, the point of this is to get WiFi to areas of your home with bad WiFi coverage but don’t expect this to be a speed demon. Also there is a slight ping-drop between this and the router, expect 18% increase in ping latency. So if your existing router averages 10-20ms to a close hop, this will bump that to 15-25ms average. Not a big deal unless you are a gamer, that could present some issues.

Do I like this device? Absolutely! It’s the best extender I have seen to date.  I do use this at my home as well as when I’m on vacation where signal power is weak. Also to provide myself with a secure SSID’s to use and leave the other SSID’s for anyone else in the area… ISOLATION!!!

Backup Your Data

Backup your data regularly…. Over 140,000 hard drives crash every week!!!

You just never know. Your hard drive could fail at any time  – new or old.  You could get a virus, malware, or worse yet – Ransomware!!!

If you have children that you let use your computer and that could lead to problems. You need to have backup copies of your important business & personal documents, family pictures, videos and possibly even movies.

 Your personal data is irreplaceable!!!

hard drive, usb hard drive

 

Yes, backing up your entire computer or laptop would be great, but let’s face it, it doesn’t get done.  Your data is the “most important” piece of property.  No matter what, your software will have to be installed anyway on either the new or reformatted hard drive, or a new computer should you go that route if your hard drive does fail or get corrupted.

  1. You can backup to a network attached server at work. They are backed up every night but not usually available when you are not onsite unless you can connect through VPN.
  2. You can backup to the cloud, which has become more available & affordable.  There are cost/size considerations, and you do need to be connected to have access.
  3. You can burn your data to a CD or DVD.  This is reliable, but the technology is limited in size per disc.
  4. You can backup to a flash drive (thumb drive)  They are very portable and affordable now with greatly increased capacities.  However their size does allow them to be easily misplaced.
  5. You can backup to an external USB hard drive.  Compared to a few years ago the prices are so low that cost should not be the reason you don’t have one.

External USB hard drives and Flash drives are currently the most popular choice for backup since usb connectivity has become so reliable and easy to connect & disconnect, with little need for worry.

Most all computers now have multiple ports available even after connecting the keyboard, mouse, cellphone adapter, etc.  Many drives also contain a small piece of software that you can use to select the files you want to backup, and some software will contain an automatic backup option as well. There are drives with a one-click option button in the front that you press and it begins an automatic backup.  You may or may not have a choice to select individual files with the automatic backup.  You can also choose to open the users folder and manually “Drag-n-Drop” whatever files and folders you want.  

External hard drives & flash drives can store a lot of information and are very lightweight and portable, but please keep in mind that they are not fireproof, waterproof, or theft proof.

Using file or drive encryption is very good protection of your data in case of loss or theft and definitely recommended.

I have used a Western Digital 500GB, and for the last 2 years I have been using a LaCie 2TB drive which works seamlessly. I do use multiple backup strategies.  I have Cloud, External USB Hard drives and Flash drives. The flash drives usually have duplicate selections of files that I take on trips and store new data to them when I am away, and copy to other backup areas when I return.

Here is a quick search for you to check prices and options…  

Please leave any comments or questions below.  I will be posting “How to” information on our Tips & Tricks page soon…

Dash Cam – Black Box B40-C

This is a great Dash Cam. It is so small & mounts out of the field of vision in both of my vehicles.  I purchased a 2nd micro usb adapter with a 10′ cable and installed it in the second vehicle. I used Command Picture Hanging Strips,and I move the Cam to whichever one I’m driving.

In these days and times we never know what is going to happen, to us or around us.  I have a friend who was involved in a 3 car crash a year ago and the person that caused it – as usual – tried to point the finger at them.  Luckily there were many witnesses and the evidence was there to show who actually was at fault, but as we all know that does not always happen. Having a dash camera has given us some relief to know that information is being recorded should it be needed.

Black Box B40-C + GPS Stealth dashboard camera    

features the most innovative and discreet design of any dash cam on the market, allowing for a multitude of stealthy mounting options.

What differentiates the “C” model from the original B40 is that it uses a capacitor instead of a standard AA or AAA batteries. Capacitor models must be plugged in at all times to continue recording. Using capacitors is a safety feature.  Batteries have been known to spontaneously combust and cause fires when overheated. Because of this The B40-C is extremely reliable and has capability to operate in extreme temperatures of up to 160F.

 It features 1080p HD video, 170 degree ultra wide 6G lens, GPS and unique form factor. The 1.5’’ HD LCD screen is easy to navigate and lets you playback recordings directly on the camera anywhere. The included adhesive mount system allows you to attach it to a variation of surfaces and positions.

For more information and pricing please follow any Black Box B40 links on this page or use the gift guide button provided below to check out other dash cam models.


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Echo Dot

Echo Dot

If you don’t have one of these yet…  OMG Alexa is great.  I bought 6 Echo Dots last year, there was a special price on a 6 PK.  I gave 4 of them to my family as Christmas presents, but I had to have 2 for me 😉 .Echo dot, amazon, alexa

Setup is a breeze.  You don’t need a technical person to install it.  I have one in the bedroom and one in the great room.  It connects to your wireless network pretty much by its self.  If the power goes out it takes care of reconnecting without any interaction.

She can do so much. You can ask her what the weather is. Have her play music from whatever genre you like. Ask for specific albums, singers, groups or just one song and the response is fast.

Alexa can set timers, add meetings or events to your calendar and tell jokes. If you have Dish Network TV she can even change your stations!  There is a smartphone app that allows you  to customize some features and you can search for other “skills” that can be loaded, and there a lot to chose from.

The Echo Dot is very small and unobtrusive to the landscape but the speaker is pretty awesome.  It is not as large as the Echo and really sounds good on it’s own,  but you can easily add a bluetooth speaker.  As I mentioned, I have one in the great room and have no problem with Alexa hearing me in the kitchen, at normal voice levels, when I need a timer set while cooking.  When several people are talking and the TV is on, I was especially surprised that Alexa picks up requests without a problem.

Now there’s even calling & messaging. She is getting more and more capability all the time and you don’t have to run updates like a computer either. Amazon pushes the updates as necessary. I like that!  

check her out here  Echo Dot .

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