Frequently Asked Questions (Part 7)
Q) How do I get rid of spam emails?
A) Unfortunately, spam has become part of being a member of the digital community, much like junk mail is a part of having a pulse! Spammers get our email addresses in a few different ways. If you sign up for a “free” email account at sites like juno.com, in return for them providing you the service, vendors pay them to be able to send you spam that you can’t block using the usual means (flagging emails as spam.) Other spammers will buy large lists of email addresses on the black market that were acquired through mass hacking activities that you may have heard about on the news. Still others are constantly searching the Internet for any websites that have email addresses listed on them, like your school’s “Staff” webpage that lists each of the teachers’ email addresses so parents can email them directly. And of course, you may have just entered your email somewhere in order to get some free download, which they then sod to spammers. Regardless of how they get it, there are a few things you can do to minimize how much spam you have to deal with on a daily basis. First, you can create a “honeypot” email that you use when signing up for new services or to download software (like a Juno.com email.) Then you can use a totally different email to actually communicate with people (like Gmail.com email.) That way you can still get activation emails and password reset emails should the need arise, but you won’t see all the spam in the inbox you use every day. Second, we always recommend using Gmail.com or Outlook.com for your personal email instead of your Internet provider’s (like CableOne or CenturyLink.) They have better spam filtering and you won’t have to switch your email if you move and your preferred Internet provider doesn’t provide service at the nerw location. Third, you can use the built-in junk mail filtering in GMail. Just flag spam as junk and you won’t see it anymore. Next, solicitation emails must have an unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email to remain legal. Make sure to use that whenever you see it! If you still get a lot of spam and you have control over the email server (like it’s your company email) you can pay for spam filtering services for usually around $2/month/mailbox. This only works if you own the email domain, so keep that in mind. If all else fails and you absolutely can’t seem to get rid of spam, the last resort would be to change your email address to something else. If this is something you are struggling with and you aren’t comfortable handling it without some help, this is something we deal with quite often and we would be happy to give you a hand. Just contact us today for a free consult!
Q) My computer is infected with something. what should I do?
A) This answer could really vary depending on what your machine is infected with. As a general rule, most malware can be removed by booting the computer into safe mode first (by rebooting and hitting the F8 key during boot until you see a menu, then selecting “Safe mode with networking”.) Once in safe mode, we would install some anti-malware software (our favorite is Malwarebytes Antimalware, but others use Spybot or SuperAntispyware) and run a full scan and let it remove what it finds and reboot. Anything that it doesn’t remove may require some manual removal, or in a worst-case scenario, a reload of the entire operating system (Windows.) Before making that jump, though, it may be a good idea to reach out to an IT professional for assistance!
Q) How can I control how my kids use the Internet?
A) There are a few different ways to accomplish this. To filter your entire network, you might consider a piece of hardware called a “content filter” that plugs into your network in between your modem and the rest of the network. This is what schools do to protect our kids while they are at school using the Internet. Our preferred device for this is a Meraki MX64, which can be pretty spendy, though. There are a couple free software solutions that will allow you to manage the Internet usage on individual computers, however. A company called Blue Coat makes a free software filter called K9 Web Protection that you can download and install on your kids’ computers and does a great (if not a little too strict) job of filtering Internet access. Microsoft actually makes a nice cloud managed-solution for parents called Microsoft Family Features as well. It’s built in to Windows 10 and allows a parent to manage quite a bit, including Internet usage. If you have the latest operating system from Microsoft, that’s the direction we would recommend, otherwise K9 may be a better fit. feel free to contact us if you have any questions and we will be happy to point you in the right direction!