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Malware 101

What is malware?

Malware is any kind of program running on your computer that you do not want.  This includes programs that create unwanted ads and pop-ups (adware); that can monitor your activity and steal your data (spyware); or that can lock you out of your machine (ransomware).  Malware of any kind can cause damage to your computer and the data stored on it.

What happens to me if I am infected with malware?

Malware can simply be annoying, creating unwanted pop-up windows and redirecting your web browsing to advertising sites.  However, it can also do damage to your computer. Malware can prevent your computer from receiving important security updates, or can make it impossible to use certain applications you may need at your workplace.  In the worst cases, it can even lock you out of your computer entirely, or steal important personal or business information like credit cards, social security numbers, passwords, or other information you enter into your computer.

How do I get rid of all my malware? An antivirus program is only able to scan for some malware. To ensure you can get rid of most of your malware, users should install and use Malwarebytes to scan for malware. If you use the free version, you scan and run updates yourself. If you purchase Malwarebytes premium, the program will run updates and scans automatically.

Tech Lab can help you look at the security of your computer so you know you are safe online. Call us today (414-208-4682) to run scans for you, help you purchase Malwarebytes premium, or check your security levels.

Don’t Fall for the Scam!

Scams are not always easy to spot so anyone can fall easily into one. Scams happen through phone calls, emails, text messages, and even through contact forms. The first thing every consumer needs to do is view everything through a critical lens. If you receive a phone call that is not expected and tells you that something will shut down in a time frame, this is typically a sign of a scam. Instead of acting quickly and doing what the person on the line says, don’t give them additional information. Take a step back and investigate the phone number or company name they are referring to. Often when this step is taken you will be able to see that you are being scammed. Signs of a scam in an email is using poor grammar or unusual formatting like all CAPS. Emails may include unfounded direct legal threats, ask for money orders, or recently they will threaten that your account will be closed if you don’t pay immediately. They may also ask for passwords or banking information. This information should never be given in an email. When viewing an email, look at the email address which sent the email. If it is unusual or has a misspelling that can be a red flag of a scam. If you receive an email from a friend that contains only a link, do not click on the link. The link is an indication your friend has been hacked and clicking on the link may infect you as well. Many email programs will allow you to “mouse over” the link without clicking to see if it will send you to a reputable website. It will show you the actual www address, which you will go to if you click. In order to make sure you are safe, NEVER give out personal information. When you are entering your credit card on a site, make sure the site is secure and uses a lock icon and the website starts with https. Make sure the address bar up on top shows the actual website name you expect. Some scams will use spellings that are close to the website you expect. A mis-spelling, even by a single character, is NOT the same website. In general, don’t act quickly, but rather use a methodical reaction. If you are not sure if something is a scam, consult with an expert. Tech Lab is happy to help you avoid headaches associated with being scammed. Call Tech Lab at 414-208-4682 or email us at contact@techlabhq.com.

The Format Painter in Microsoft Office

Leo's Tech Tip - The format painter You’re working in either Microsoft Word or Excel and have deviated from the default font style. You’ve changed the heading of the document to a different font and color and would like to make another heading have the same styles. Now you’d have to change the font family and the color of each heading you want to change. That’s a few extra steps. What if there was a way to do this in a more efficient way… introducing the Format Painter

What is the format painter and where do I find it?

The format painter is the style copier tool that comes with Microsoft Office products. The tool icon is in the form of a paint brush. It is usually in the top left-hand corner under the Home tab, to the right of the Paste (clipboard) Icon and under the Cut/Copy icons. Depending on your settings, it may or may not have the ‘Format’ label next to it.

Using the format painter in Excel (with a visual example).

This example will demonstrate how to use the format painter in Excel. Watch the short tutorial below to see it in action.

  The video shows a simple form in Excel, the first label ‘First Name’ line is styled with a nice cursive font and colored in blue. Next to the label are styled cells (to create an input field) where there is a green background with a thick bottom border (for presentational purposes).

The steps in the video tutorial:

  1. Click on the cell with the styled text/cell that you want to copy.
  2. Using your mouse, move to the top right-hand corner of the Excel program.
  3. Under the home tab, there are a few icons:
    • A Clipboard Icon (Paste)
    • Scissors Icon (Cut)
    • 2 Papers on top of one another (Copy)
    • Paintbrush (Format Painter)
  4. Select the Paintbrush icon, which is the Format Painter tool, and click on it. When it is clicked, it will look pressed with a slightly darker background color. Once this is clicked, the cell that was selected before will have an active dashed border around it. This active line indicates that you are copying the style of that cell.
  5. Now, click on the element you want to paint the style on. If you want to paint the style on multiple fields, then click and drag across those elements. (See video).
  6. Repeat as needed.

Conclusion

The format painter is useful when you want to create different styles in your document to use with multiple elements in your document. It makes it more efficient to reuse and copy styles to text in a word document and/or excel cells. Do you use the format painter while using Microsoft Word or Excel? Let us know if you’d like to see other similar tips. Happy painting!

Tech Lab on Local First Podcast

At Tech Lab we recognize that each person and each company is unique. We also recognize that technology can be very confusing. However, we have a passion for making technology easier to understand and make it work the way that want you want using our consulting services. Tech Lab can help you with your computer, website, or networking needs and provides local service to the surrounding Milwaukee area. Roger and Amanda were interviewed by Rob Kochanski for an episode of Local First Podcast. Listen and learn more about each of them and how Tech Lab was started.

Treat Yourself!

Summer is finally here. Treat yourself to some coffee, food, or a brand new look! We appreciate your business at Tech Lab. As a gift for doing business with us, we are distributing gift cards for new and existing customers! Customers who spend a monthly minimum amount* at Tech Lab receive one of the following cards**: Featured Local Business Gift Cards for August:

  • Stone Creek Coffee
  • 29Ten Salon
  • Walt’s Sandwich Place

New local businesses are featured each month.

Want to do business with Tech Lab?

We provide many services including:

  • Computer Service and Repair
  • Website Design and Development (including WordPress)
  • Web Hosting
  • Networking

If you are experience a problem in any of these areas, or know someone who is — please Contact Us. See what some of our recent customers are saying about us on our Google Reviews. Follow us on Facebook and sign-up for our newsletter for more promotions, events, and technology tips-and-tricks.  


*must spend a minimum amount of $100 for new customers and $250 for existing customers **not combined with other offers, one per client per calendar quarter

Moving? Let Tech Lab set up your network!

Moving Day!

Do those words fill you with dread or elation? Threat or menace? Moving involves so many parts. Packing up your belongings, transporting them, and then unpacking once you arrive at your new location. All of this needs to be done usually while you are still tending to the rest of your daily commitments. It is usually very stressful and you want it to go well.

Having your network set up properly in your new home or business is vital to you continuing your daily life at work or at home

So many of those daily commitments rely on the internet. Having your network set up properly in your new home or business is vital to you continuing your daily life at work or at home. Even if all your furniture is in place and your appliances are installed, you can’t really relax until your network is back online. You’re not completely moved in until your network is unpacked!

We’re here for you.

Tech Lab is here to help you take some of the stress out of moving. We can help you set up your network so everything connects seamlessly. We can set up your computers, printers, WiFi, routers, and other smart devices so they all talk to each other. You can get everything back online immediately! Your network can move with you. Tech Lab follows the Five P’s: Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance — Call us up before you tear everything down and before you get to the new place so we can help set it up the way it worked initially and save you time and money.

We’re not the cable company.

We will be there (within 15mins) of when we say so instead of the hours long blocks of time they give you. We will help you figure out what all of the cables mean and make this part of your move headache free. If you have already moved, but are experiencing network issues, we would be happy to work with you as well. We are often able to solve problems others are not. Let us take this “To Do” task off your list and we will mark it “Done” for you! Call us at 414-208-4682 to schedule your moving appointment or to get help with your network problems. Contact us!

Let us Help with your Spring Cleaning!

Spring is in the air. Warmer temperatures are here, birds are back and busy, and the days are getting longer. This burst of seasonal vitality may have you thinking about fresh starts and cleaning things up around your home. Don’t forget, your computer can use a tidying up as well! Remove clutter and speed it up Cleaning up your computer can happen a number of ways. First, you can take out the trash. You can remove any programs which you no longer use, or delete old emails taking up space in your email account. Sometimes computers start working slower than they used to, which may mean your computer has unwanted or unneeded things on it. These can be programs you no longer need, but they can also include viruses or malware. If your computer is running slow, Tech Lab can perform a tune up on your machine. We can audit your computer’s startup and running programs and work with you to determine what you need and what can go. We can also run full virus and malware scans for you and help remove unwanted programs that slow your computer down. Give it a little spring Sometimes a tune up isn’t enough to increase performance so upgrades of hardware can be helpful. These upgrades may not be very expensive and can breathe new life into a computer which you love. If you feel like your computer needs a little more spring in its step, call us today at (414) 208-4682 to make an appointment.

Increase Traffic to Your Website

Does your website work as hard for you as it possibly can?

Over 45% of websites are visited via smartphones and mobile devices. If your website is not “responsive”, then you’re missing out on the number of visitors and revenue which a responsive website can bring you.

What is a responsive website?

Users on traditional computers and on mobile devices like tablets and smartphones have screens of different sizes and shapes. A responsive website will “respond” or fluidly move content on a webpage to fit that screen. This makes it easy for a user on any device to read your page and find information. If a website is not responsive, then important information may be hidden from the visitor because it doesn’t fit on their screen. This makes websites less user friendly, and visitors typically leave websites on a mobile device if they do not find them useful.

Increase your website views and create more customers

Due to the rapid advancement of technology, more people are viewing websites on smartphones and mobile phones. Internet usage via mobile devices accounts for 40% of website traffic in the U.S., and over 50% of website traffic worldwide. Responsive websites are built to cater to their target users. One goal of a responsive website is to make sure that it is easy to use so visitors don’t leave your website for another competitor. When a business invests in their website by making it inclusive to all users, visitors are more likely to trust the business. When a visitor trusts the business, they are more likely to work with the business, and buy from the business.

Contact Us for more information or for a quote

If you’d like more information or to discuss on how we can build a responsive site for you to increase your site traffic, call us at 414-208-4682 or get in touch with us via our contact form.