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Data is the new oil? How to block your webcam from hackers. Net Neutrality and what this means for y

Net Neutrality: What this FCC change means for you!

You've probably heard by now, Net Neutrality is over. The FCC has voted to repeal the rules over how internet service providers grant online access to us. This change could have a significant impact on your internet use and even worse, what it costs you. What does this mean for internet use? When Net Neutrality was in place, all internet service providers had to treat all digital content equally. In layman's terms, one website cannot have privileges of loading faster than another website. With the new repeal, internet service providers can now charge websites for faster load times, so smaller websites that can't afford the charge will be slower, possibly to the point of being unusable for some of us. We also mentioned costs of the internet can be affected. This has already started happening. At the moment, an upswing in internet costs is mostly affecting streaming services. If you're a Netflix user, you may have noticed the recent price increase. If you're a Cox Internet subscriber, there is now a cap on how much internet data you can use each month... No more unlimited data! If you go over your allotted amount, there's a pretty steep charge. You can prepay for more data through Cox if you're likely to go over each month. This will avoid overage charges. If you want to help fight the FCC ruling, sign a petition asking the FCC to re-instate Net Neutrality. Every voice helps! If enough people speak up, maybe we'll get our internet freedom back!

How to see if your webcam is hacked... And what to do to prevent it!

It happens every day, someone clicks on a compromised website link or opens an infected email and BAM! You've got a virus! Hackers use the same method of taking control of your webcam, either through a sophisticated Trojan virus or with a RAT-remote administration tool. Once in, the hacker not only has control of your webcam, but also has access to your personal data, internet browsing activities, your emails, and they can even make administrative changes (such as installing software) or restarting your machine. How can you tell if you've been hacked? Most webcams have an LED light next to it. If it starts blinking while you're not using it, it can mean you're being watched. In some cases, a browser add-on can also cause this. If you see the blinking light on your webcam active while it's not in use, it's best to scan your computer with Malwarebytes. (Click here for the free PC version, click here for the free Mac version) and Super Anti Spyware (click here for free PC version, no Mac version available yet - just run Malwarebytes). Anything these programs find while scanning are considered to be malicious and should be removed or quarantined. If your webcam doesn't have this light, you can scan with the programs we mentioned above. How to protect yourself before you get hacked:

  1. Install antivirus software - whether you're on a PC or a Mac, you need an antivirus. You can get infected on both platforms these days.

  2. Turn on your firewall - a hardware and software firewall are both great protection against malware and hackers. All networks should have a hardware firewall (your router has a hardware firewall built in, but you can upgrade to a more sophisticated firewall. We can install the more sophisticated firewall for you - see the column on the right in this newsletter). Your computer should always have a software firewall turned on as well.

  3. Secure your WiFi - if you have an open WiFi network or a weak password, you can be infiltrated by a hacker sitting on your street in a car, or by a bad neighbor.

  4. Think before clicking - hackers lure people into downloading malicious software by hiding it in pictures, attachments and links within emails. When browsing the internet, hover over a URL (or a link) before clicking on it with your mouse. The URL will display bottom left on your browser when you hover over it. Verify the link is correct and not taking you somewhere different than the selection you're making.

  5. While browsing the Internet, avoid tech support offers - ever see a popup saying you have an infection and to call the number on your screen for help? Never click the popup or call the number they list. More than likely, you don't have an issue and this is an attempt made by a hacker to infiltrate your computer. Some of these are so malicious, you can't close out of them. Hold down the power button on your computer until the machine shuts off (usually 5-7 seconds). Then start your machine again and don't restore browser pages.

  6. Tape or cover your webcam - use a piece of tape (like Mark Zuckerberg) or purchase a webcam cover for your webcam when its not in use. Here's a link to a great webcam cover: Webcam Cover on Amazon - Don't forget to cover your tablet and smart phone cameras too!

User data is the new oil, WHAT!?!?

Data in the 21st Century is like Oil in the 18th Century: an immensely, untapped valuable asset. Like oil, for those who see data’s fundamental value and learn to extract and use it, there will be huge rewards. Companies are now collecting data on their users to "provide better marketing and improve their service or product." Let's face it, user data can tell us a lot about what's working and what's not working for companies. Unfortunately, for the individual, this means privacy goes out the window. Recently, Samsung got into trouble for recording audio in the room in some of their TV's. This audio was collected and sent back to Samsung for marketing purposes. Your smart home devices such as Amazon's Alexa and Apple's Homepod record when you say the trigger word. Google Home has been reported to record everything in the room even if the trigger word is not used. All 3 companies claim it's for marketing also. Recently a new app came to the market called Movie Pass. This offers 1 movie per user per day at $10 per month. Seems pretty good right? How can they afford to do this? Movie Pass tracks your precise location from the second you access the app and until you close it. They've said they do this to collect data on what people like to do to offer us other apps similar to Movie Pass in the future. They're toying with a Restaurant Pass app and a Transportation Pass app at the moment. I myself use Alexa and Movie Pass. I've found both of these make my day-to-day life easier and more enjoyable! I do make sure never to speak any personal information to Alexa such as "Alexa, take note of my social security number." Just in case.

Personal or Business Website Design

Do you have a hobby that needs to be showcased online? Or have a business that needs to reach new customers? Maybe your current website just needs a complete overhaul? No matter how big or small the job is, we've got you covered! Let us showcase your passion online with a beautiful website. If your business doesn't have a website, you're missing out on potential customers! A website can tell new or current customers about your service or product/s, collect reviews, make you more accessible, build relationships, increase sales, or simply share your ideas with the world. User Friendly can design, build, and market your website. We offer our services at a competitive rate. Many websites can be built in as little as 5-10 hours. Another important part of our website build process is search engine optimization (or SEO). SEO can get you on the front page of major search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo. It's important to do SEO if you want to be found on the internet. We have all sorts of tricks and ideas that can boost you up to the top! To see examples of our recent work and pricing information, please visit:

Want more Internet Security for your home or business?

Did you know you can block any infiltration that comes through your internet connection before it even has a chance to infect your device? Did you know you can spoof your location while using the internet to throw off hackers? The most secure home or business will be set up with a hardware firewall in-between the modem and a VPN router. If a hardware firewall is installed after the modem, but before the rest of the network, you can actually block malware and hackers before they can see your computer, tablet or smartphone. This is done with security settings and even having an antivirus in the firewall. Technically, when this is set up properly, you don't need an antivirus on your computer (but we recommend one just in case). With a VPN (virtual private network) router, people such as hackers can't tell where you are in the world. For example, you could be in California, but the hacker will think you're in France. It spoofs your location for privacy. It allows users to securely access a private network and share data remotely through public networks. Much like a firewall protects your data on your computer, VPN's protect it online. We should mention there are also software VPN's, but these are not as effective as a VPN router. User Friendly can set up a secure network that far outstrips standard security.

Ask us if you have any questions about this service,

or if you'd like an estimate to secure your home or business!

(949) 485-1767.

Looking for a new computer, tablet or smartphone? We'll pick it out for you and set it up!

Having a hard time deciding on your new technology purchase? User Friendly will pick out your perfect computer, tablet, or smartphone and we'll even set it up! We hate to see someone over or under spend on technology! Let us pick out the perfect product for you or your business and customize it's features to your specific needs. We'll make sure you get the perfect product.

Are your computer files backed up? Let us get you backed up or on the cloud!

We like to say, the key to a happy life is eat well, exercise, get good rest, and back up your computer! If you only have one copy of your computer files, your data is not safe! You need to have 2 copies of each file in case one fails. We even suggest having 3 to be extra safe. Bottom line, if you're worried about losing your files, you need to be backing up. There are a few ways to do backup. Either automatic disk backup or automatic cloud backup are what we recommend. The best is to do both, but you should at least have one system in place if you don't want to risk losing files. Disk backups generally happen hourly to weekly, cloud backups generally happen hourly, keeping your files safe and secure in case of a disaster such as a hard drive crash or a ransomware attack. We can set your system to backup automatically. Less stress and worries if anything goes wrong.

Call us or book us via our website at

Are your computer files out of control? Let Us help get you organized!

Are your computer files a mess? Do you have duplicates? Outlook clutter issues? We've got you covered. User friendly can work with you to organize your current files and data and can help implement a system for the future that will stay managed and clutter free! Call us for more information at (949) 485-1767 or for an estimate.

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