What Do You Do When Your Laptop’s Touchpad Stops Working?

A non-working laptop touchpad is a real pain.

If it’s only just stopped working, try switching your machine off and back on again. That sounds like a cop out, but it could be all your laptop needs.

If that doesn’t work, try this.

  1. Has it been accidentally disabled?

It is possible you have disabled it accidentally. This usually happens when the Fn key is depressed along with another key. This would probably have been one of the function keys. As to which one, that will be different for different laptops.

Start by looking out for a symbol that could represent your touchpad on one of the function keys. Or you could Google your model and “disable touchpad” to see if that helps.

If that doesn’t work, check your touchpad settings.

  1. It could be the driver

If none of the above help, it may mean you need a new driver. Go to your laptop’s manufacturers website and search “touchpad driver” to see if there is one you can download and install.

  1. Still not working

If all else fails, you could be looking at a hardware problem. That means either sending your laptop off for repair or buying an external mouse to get around the problem.

Hopefully, one of those suggestions has helped you get over your unresponsive touchpad problem.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages. 

 

 

 

 

The Marriott Hotel Chain Falls Foul To Hackers

A big company experiencing a data hack is becoming commonplace. This time around it’s the turn of the Marriott Hotel chain.

Back in 2014, details of 500 million hotel guests were stolen although it only came to light at the end of 2018.

The hackers copied and encrypted information and then removed it from a guest reservation database.

How big a data hack was it?

According to investigators, the data hack affected 327 million guests who had stayed at the Marriot owned Starwood chain of hotels. The following information was stolen:

  • Names, mailing address, phone number, email address
  • Passport number date of birth and gender
  • Arrival and departure information, reservation date, and communication preferences
  • Starwood Preferred Guest account information,

Basically, if you stayed at any of these hotels, you may have been affected: W Hotels, St. Regis, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts; Westin Hotels & Resorts, Element Hotels, Aloft Hotels; The Luxury Collection, Tribute Portfolio, Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts; Four Points by Sheraton and Design Hotels.

For some of these guests (Marriott didn’t say how many), payment card data was also stolen. However, according to the hotel, payment data was encrypted but it couldn’t confirm that the data had been completely protected.

What about the remaining 173 million guests? Their stolen data only included a name, and sometimes other information such as mailing address, email address, or other data.

Personal identity protection

Once again, this brings the importance of protecting your data to the forefront. Even if you do take steps to ensure the security of your data on a daily basis, third parties may not be so vigilant.

All companies, to whom we entrust our valuable data, must take steps to ensure that our data is safe. Corporates must understand this can’t continue.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages. 

Source: BullGuard

How To Stop Your Phone Tracking You

Google is getting nosy. It’s tracking your every move through your Android phone.

You might think that turning off the Location history function in the settings will spoil its fun. It won’t because Google will still track you through other services such as Maps, search, and weather.

The reason behind its fascination with your location is that it uses that data for personalised services, local search and, of course, advertising.

How to shut down tracking on your Android phone

To stop Google’s fun once and for all, all you have to do is:

  • Go to settings.
  • Tap on Google then Google Account
  • Tap on the data & personalisation tab and then Web & App Activity
  • Toggle Web & App Activity off

And here’s how to turn off location history:

  • Go to settings.
  • Tap on Google then Google Account
  • Click on the Data & Personalisation tab
  • Press location history and toggle the setting off for each phone or device connected to your Google account

Shutting down Apple smartphone tracking

Things are a bit different if you have an iPhone. Apple’s Significant Locations Tracking tracks and records places that you visit most often to provide location-based data and relevant suggestions.

You can turn this feature off by:

  • Launching the Settings app from the Home screen.
  • Tapping on Privacy > Location Services > System Services > Tap Significant Locations.
  • Entering your passcode, use Touch ID, or Face ID, to authenticate access.
  • Tapping the Significant Locations On/Off Switch, which will become grey when off

How to turn off location tracking on Windows 10 devices

If you don’t want Windows 10 to track your location:

  • Launch the Settings app
  • Go to Privacy > Location.
  • Click Change and, on the screen that appears, move the slider from On to Off.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages. 

Source: BullGuard

BullGuard Does It Again

If you take a look at our Internet Security and Anti Virus page, you will discover that we are great advocates of BullGuard.

We’re delighted to tell you that BullGuard has once again been awarded top honours in an AV-Test of anti-virus software for home users.

This is an independent test, which assesses security software from 11 different vendors (on computers running Windows 10).

BullGuard wiped the board, scoring the highest in every category.

We’ll let BullGuard tell you more.

BullGuard wins!

Protection

BullGuard Internet Security gained top marks in the protection category which tested for how well it stopped viruses. Including zero-day threats which often cause the most damage. One example is last year’s WannaCry ransomware, which rampaged around the world in a matter of hours taking out the systems of many high profile organisations.

BullGuard’s multi-layered detection engine is specifically designed to stop all threats from getting through. Including all types of ransomware and crypto-mining malware.

Performance

BullGuard Internet Security also gained top marks for performance. This category assesses how well antivirus software operates on a computer.

Does it slow a computer down; does it interrupt other processes on a computer? No; this is why BullGuard ranked highest.

BullGuard Internet Security boosts performance for gamers. Its Game Booster feature ensures players don’t have to turn off their protection to enjoy blisteringly fast gaming.

Usability

Usability was the third and final category that AV-Test assessed across all the antivirus software suites.

Again, BullGuard achieved full marks. This wasn’t surprising given that one of BullGuard’s guiding design principles is to ensure the software is uncompromisingly easy-to-use.

Too often security software can appear complex for home users. As a dedicated supplier of security software for home users, BullGuard takes the position that the user must be at the centre. As a result, the user control panel is simple-to-use, well-designed and aesthetically pleasing, as AV-Test will testify too.

Everyone at MPM IT wants to extend our congratulations to BullGuard and thank them for providing excellent protection.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages. 

Source: BullGuard

Should You Buy A PC, Tablet, Or Hybrid?

There is a bewildering array of PCs and tablets available today. Finding the right one for you can be headache-inducing. Although prices are dropping, it’s still a sizable investment, so it’s essential to get the right one for you.

But how on earth are you meant to decide?

There’s a lot to consider, including screen quality, battery life, and responsiveness. Of course, top of your list will also be how cool it looks.

But don’t be swayed by cosmetic appeal alone.

How will you use it?

Before you consider anything else, think about how you’ll be using it.

Is it purely for home surfing, are you a gamer, will it be a workhorse, or is it going to be your primary study aid?

If you’re mainly looking at surfing, email, and listening to music, you won’t need to splash out on one of the high-end models. Perhaps even a tablet is more suitable than a PC or hybrid.

For a workhorse, you’ll want one with the right software suite and a big enough screen to be able to work from. A fast processor will also be handy, so you may need a bigger budget. You’ll also be looking at PCs.

For movie lovers, you’ll want a good display resolution and high-quality speakers.

You see the way you use it will have a significant impact on what you should be looking for.

Which processor?

The processor is what drives your PC or tablet.

  • Windows tablets mainly use Intel processors such as Core m3, i5 and i7 processors. Tablets with Intel Core processors are high-end devices and cost more. Lower-priced Windows often use Intel Atom processors
  • Android tablets use processors from different manufacturers such as Samsung’s Exynos chips, and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors are the most common. That said some Android devices use Rockchip CPUs
  • Apple uses its custom A-series chips inside its iPads such as A9X processors. The higher the processor number, the newer a processor is the better performance it offers

What else should you think about?

Here are a few other things you should consider before splashing your cash:

  • Battery life – many tables offer an all-day battery life, but should at least get 7 hours on a single charge
  • RAM –the more you spend, the more RAM you’ll get, and the more RAM you have, the faster the performance will be
  • Storage –tablets will typically have less storage than a hybrid or PC (although some allow this to be extended through an SD card). If you use it a lot, it’s best to go for a higher storage capacity
  • Screen size– this will come down to preference and potential use

As you can see, there is a lot to think about when considering buying a tablet, hybrid or PC. Our best advice is to work out what you want to use it for (specifically for the next three to four years) and make your decision accordingly.

 

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages. 

 

 

The World Loses One Of The Internet’s Founding Fathers

On 26th December 2018, the world lost Dr Larry Roberts aged 81.

The American scientist helped design and build the forerunner of the internet along with Bob Kahn, Vint Cerf, and Len Kleinrock.

The report from the BBC went on to say:

The son of two chemists, Dr Roberts reportedly chose electronics as a field of study because it was more forward-looking.

“I wanted something new, not old like chemistry,” he told Katie Hafner in an interview with the New York Times.

Two key developments credited to Dr Roberts include the layout of the original network and the way it shuffled data between its nodes.

Dr Roberts decided on a distributed layout for the elements of the network, rather than a centralised system, and decreed that data should be split into small chunks or packets as it travelled to its destination.

This packet-switching system, as it came to be known, drew on work done in the UK by Donald Davies at the National Physical Laboratory.

Dr Larry Roberts and Arpnet

In the late 1960s, Dr Roberts ran the part of the US Advanced Research Projects Agency given the job of creating a computer network called Arpnet. The BBC’s article goes on to say that:

The first four computers were connected to Arpanet in 1969 and it grew rapidly as universities and other research institutions joined it.

Dr Roberts was also keen for Arpanet to be put to practical use and he encouraged early users to adopt email to improve communication and collaboration.

Arpanet persisted until 1983 when it was folded into the larger internet and became one part of that network.

After leaving Arpa, Dr Roberts had a distinguished career founding and then running a series of networking start-ups.

A true pioneer, Dr Roberts will be greatly missed.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages.

Source: BBC

UK Police Are Cutting Back on Cyber Crime Investigations

Fraud, especially cybercrime, is always hitting the headlines. However, five UK police forces are cutting back their investigations in this area.

This story first broke in The Times. Here’s what BullGuard had to say about it:

Police forces in the UK are cutting the number of fraud and cybercrime investigators as they face a £37 million black hole in law enforcement budgets, according to The Times.

Five police forces, West Yorkshire, West Midlands, Sussex, South Yorkshire and Cheshire, have cut the number of specialist investigators over the past two years, according to data obtained via a freedom of information request.

Apparently a secret presentation to police and crime commissioners by the National Crime Agency (NCA), also warns of glaring “operational gaps” in budgets for inquiries into serious and organised crime, including no specialist funding at all for cybercrime after March 2019.

  • A record £500 million in the UJ was lost to fraud in the first six months of this year as criminals find ever more sophisticated ways to outsmart an already overstretched police force.
  • About £145 million of the loss was a result of so-called “authorised” scams, where the victim sends funds to a criminal’s account believing they are following instructions from a bank, police or some other trustworthy source.
  • Most cyber fraud crimes referred to Action Fraud, the central fraud reporting agency, are not investigated as they are dismissed by a computer algorithm, usually, because they are under £10,000 and are not linked to known hacker groups.

Cybercrime investigators cut

It’s been apparent for some time that the police rarely investigate what they consider to be ‘small amount’ frauds because they are overstretched.

However, the fact that some forces are now cutting the number of cyber-crime investigators sends out a signal to victims that they may as well not bother reporting losses and to fraudsters that it’s open season.

  • Victims of “authorised” banking fraud are typically denied a refund unless the fraud is detected in time for the recipient bank to freeze funds before they are transferred elsewhere.
  • However, Vocalink, a payments services firm that is part of Mastercard, said fraudulent funds are typically moved into 10 different accounts within 10 minutes of a transfer.

Lloyds bank said some scammer’s accounts it has detected were opened with valid identification and address documents.

However, there are already technologies available that can quickly identify whether documents are suspicious by tying them to other forms of ID. Why aren’t the banks using them?

If there’s a moral to this tale it’s that we all need to be extremely wary of requests to send money, even if they appear to be legitimate, for instance, from your bank, solicitor or other trusted source.

If the request for a money transfer includes new bank details the first thing to be done is contact the organisation in question, either by phone or even better in person, and verify whether the account details are indeed accurate or part of an elaborate scam.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages.

 

Choosing The Right Smartphone For You

Smartphones come in all shapes and sizes. They can be affordable or ridiculously expensive. The trick is, working out what you need, so you don’t end up paying over the odds.

Our lives have become dependent on our smartphones. With the advent of mobile banking, video calling, social media, browsing the internet and sending emails on the go, we can’t function without them.

Apple, android or windows?

You could almost be forgiven for thinking that smartphone is synonymous with Apple. After all, they have certainly mastered the art of powerful marketing.

They all have their pros and cons (so many we’re not going to go into them here), so it’s important to think about how you’re going to use your phone and then work out which is the best fit.

We wouldn’t worry too much about how you’re going to be using it in the future. Smartphones evolve at such a rate that you’ll be replacing yours before you find your current model doesn’t offer the functionality you need.

What should you think about?

Most models of smartphone offer a still and video camera, GPS, and storage space. Some will be better than others, so it’s important to look at the specifics of each.

Size is the next consideration. This comes down to personal preference. The larger phones tend to cost more, but if you find them easier to use, it might be worth the investment.

When it comes to storage, you have to consider not only photos and music but also apps. It’s quite common for the smaller storage capacity phones to fill quickly with apps. The best advice is to go for as much as you can afford.

Another consideration is whether to buy a phone that’s locked or unlocked. Locked smartphones tend to be cheaper but are on a contract that ties you to one provider for a set period. If you buy unlocked, you’re free to choose your provider and can get a cheaper SIM only contract.

Our advice

This is going to sound like a cop-out, but our advice is to go with the phone that best suits you.

Try not to be taken in by the latest flashy advert for an all singing all dancing handset if you’re not going to use most of its features.

It’s essential you make a list of priorities, and fix a budget. Then all you have to do is compare phones and the one that gets the most ticks is the one that’s right for you.

Don’t forget; the latest, flashiest handset will be old news within a few months. Always go for usability over kudos.

 

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages.

 

Ransomware Is Evolving

Do you remember the WannaCry ransomware?

It ran rife about 18 months ago locking down an estimated 200,000 computers owned by giants such as Boeing, Renault, FedEx, and Telefónica.

The disaster could have been averted if the companies in question had applied patches. The interesting thing about WannaCry and the reason for its rapid spread is that it contained a worm component.

Despite news about it abating, WannaCry is still very much with us. In fact, according to a recent blog on BullGuard, 17% of ransomware attacks in Q3 of 2017 were due to WannaCry, and in Q3 of 2018, that number rose to 29%.

There’s a new malware in town

Many types of ransomware are opportunistic. Their modus operandi is a simple automation, like infected email attachments, sent to a vast number of potential victims.

However, a new kid on the block, SamSam, does things a bit differently.

This ransomware has been around for a while. However, according to BullGuard, a group of cyber fraudsters have used it to successfully extort $6 million over the past two and a half years.

Unlike other attacks, they’ve adopted a manual approach making it hard to detect and difficult to stop.

It’s unlikely to affect home users because the crooks are targeting large corporations in search of massive ransoms.

However, it does show that you can never be complacent when it comes to cyber protection. New ideas are always emerging along with new methods of attack. That’s why it’s essential you make sure a trusted cybersecurity product protects you and your data.

 

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages.

Source: BullGuard

How To Stop Your Mobile Phone Tracking You

Your phone is tracking every move you make. If you think that turning off your phone’s location history function gives you the freedom to move anonymously, you’d be mistaken.

Even with that disabled, Google is still checking your location when you use its services, such as Maps and the weather. When you do a web search, Google is always monitoring your location.

Why is it so invasive?

Because it needs that data to provide the personalised services we all love (or hate). It looks as though you can’t have it both ways.

Those lovely people at BullGuard have provided details about how you can shut down smartphone and location tracking.

Here’s what you need to do:

Turning off Android tracking and location history

To turn off this feature on Android follow the steps below:

  • Go to settings.
  • Tap on Google then Google Account
  • Tap on the data & personalisation tab and then Web & App Activity
  • Toggle Web & App Activity off

And here’s how to turn off location history:

  • Go to settings.
  • Press on Google then Google Account
  • Tap on the Data & Personalisation tab
  • Then location history and toggle the setting off for each phone or device connected to your Google account

Shutting down Apple smartphone tracking

Your iPhone tracks and records places that you visit most often to provide location-based data and relevant suggestions. Apple calls it Significant Locations tracking.

This is applicable across phones and iPads running iOS 11 and up to the more recent iOS 12.1.

If you’re not happy with this, you can turn the feature off.

  • Launch the Settings app from the Home screen.
  • Tap on Privacy.
  • Then Location Services at the top.
  • Press System Services, its right at the bottom of the list.
  • Then Significant Locations.
  • You may be asked to enter your passcode, use Touch ID, or Face ID, to authenticate access.
  • Tap the Significant Locations On/Off Switch.
  • When the switch is grey, the tracking feature has been turned off.

How to turn off location tracking on Windows 10 devices

If you don’t want Windows 10 to track your location, you can tell it to stop.

  • Launch the Settings app
  • Go to Privacy
  • Got to Location.
  • Click Change and, on the screen that appears, move the slider from On to Off.

This turns off all location tracking.

You can also turn off location tracking on an app-by-app basis. If you want your location to be used only for some apps and not others, make sure location tracking is turned on:

  • Scroll to the “Choose apps that can use your precise location” section.
  • You’ll see a list of every app that can use your location.
  • Move the slider to On for the apps you want to allow to use your location

When you turn off location tracking, Windows 10 will still keep a record of your past location history.

To clear your location history:

  • Scroll to Location History
  • Click Clear.

Even if you use location tracking, you might want to clear your history regularly as there’s no automated way to clear it.

 

 

Source: Bullguard

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages.