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OWT Technical Support       https://support.owt.com
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Macs and Anti-Virus

Mac users have largely been immune from virus issues since their inception in 1984.  Other than some Word macro viruses and a few specific malware strapped to legitimate installers Macs have really not had to deal with security issues -- until now.  

Apple continues to do a great job of updating Macs either in the background or through security updates to protect them from most malware but no it seems to be more prevalent and we must be more vigilant.  Disabling Flash and Java prevents mitigates much of this risk but malware authors are becoming increasingly interested in the Mac and ransomware is now a real threat. 

There are a number of anti-virus products for the Mac as many players got in early with free offerings until this inevitable day arrived.  At this point the two that we have had good luck with are Webroot and Bitdefender but others are available and some are even in the Mac App Store although we feel the more complete packages are not App Store compatible.

Anti-Virus/Malware Recommendations

Should you upgrade to iOS 11?

The annual iOS upgrade for iPhones and iPads has been release and by now every device that supports the latest upgrade has promted their owners to upgrade.  

For the most part this is a stable and useful update despite some annoying bugs early on.  iOS 11.2 fixed most of the issues and seems worthy of our endorsement.

As with many iOS updates some users have experienced some mail setting changes so feel free to call us if anything isn't working after your upgrade.  

Should you upgrade to MacOS High Sierra

Fall 2017 is much like most every fall in that Apple has released another version of MacOS.  Each year a few of the oldest systems become obsolete and are not supported in the latest version but if your Mac is supported you might be tempted to upgrade when prompted by the App Store to do so.  

With each passing year it seems that the first release of the annual MacOS upgrade is a litte more buggy and this year seems to be the worst.  MacOS 10.13 has suffered from a surprising number of bugs considering that Apple offers public beta testing these days.  Most of these bugs are fairly minor but a few security related issue have prevented OWT from encouraging users to upgrade just yet. 

However, with the release of 10.13.2 we can finally recommend that those with 8GB of RAM or more go ahead and upgrade. Those with 4GB that were already running 10.12 (Sierra) it won't be much worse.  Really with 10.12 and newer we feel you need at least 8GB or RAM.  

Don't expect a lot of new features with High Sierra but it is a solid upgrade and seems stable and most of the annoying issues were resolved in 10.13.2.  

In 10.13 Apple is now offering a new file system: APFS.  This file system seems fully backed for SSD drves but for fusion and traditional hard drives it is not yet ready for widespread use.  Disk Utility WILL let you format your drive with APFS but if you don't have an SSD we really don't recomment it at all.  During the installation of 10.13 if you have an SSD the installer will prompt you to convert your drive to APFS and we suggest that you do as the performance improvement is noticeable.  Fusion and traditional hard drive users will need to wait for future support from Apple. 

Be sure to intall ALL updates labelled as "Security" anytime you see them.  A nasty root password bug really exposed Apple's lack of software testing and the fix is very critical.  

As always, if you need help ugrading or would like to see about putting more memory in your Mac OWT is here to help. 

Virus Woes

Exclamation Triangle RedDespite advances in anti-virus and anti-malware software virus and malware issues are as significant as ever.  What's changed the most is the severity that these infections can damage your system.  In the past even the most infected systems could be cleaned in no more than a few hours work but today we are seeing systems that are just too badly damaged to be properly cleaned.For this reason we are encouraging Windows users take certain steps to help minimize the impact of these infections:

  • First and foremost make sure you have a backup solution.  One that KEEPS you updated. There are a variety of solutions and will add some articles to this site to help with that soon.

  • Make sure you have a quality, updated anti-virus/anti-malware system that uses active scanning on your computer.  We have some recommendations but none of the free products will protect you completely.  We have a couple of solutions that we link in our recommendations section here. Understand that we are no longer recommending any of the free anti-virus solutions. If at all possible a commercial product will save you time and money in the long run!

Ransomware is a real threat these days. Security software may only partially protect you from the worst of this but when it doesn't it is in those instances where the malware tries to trick the user into clicking on something or approving something as an authorized addition that will ultimately encrypt your hard drive until you pay a ransom.  The key here is to not be tricked.  While you are casually browsing the web there is just no reason to do what a popup tells you to.  Close them or your web browser if you have to but BE CAREFUL. 

Phishing Scams

We continue to get queries from customers about this. Please remember OWT sends out billing via Email to many of our customers but otherwise almost never Email our customers. We will NEVER EVER ask you for any of your account information via Email. EVER!!! Do not fall for these phishing scams!

Online scams to lure customers into providing account, personal or other sensitive information are on the rise. OWT takes several steps to help prevent this sort of thing but there is only so much we can do. Most phishing scams look very legitimate. Our MailScanner will alert you to any Email where a web link points to a different web address than the address it shows you in the Email. This bright red message might be annoying in harmless Emails where the marketer put a different link in just for tracking purposes but this feature has save many from clicking on harmful links that lead to malware installation.

We would like to remind our customers that OWT, and really almost everyone that runs a legitimate business, will NEVER ask you for sensitive information via Email. If they do require additional information they will ask you to login to your existing account and THEN request that information. Even very legitimate looking requests should be intensely scrutinized and we ask that everyone think long and hard before clicking on a web link from any Email that you are not sure about.

 

Our Hours

We monitor our services 24/7 but can actually be found in the office for technical support, billing questions or new accounts etc. Monday - Friday from 9AM to 6PM. Our technical support line is answered from 8AM to 6PM however. 

We are closed weekends and most holidays.

Department Phone Hours Email
Billing, Sales or Account Questions 509-735-0408 9AM to 6PM M-F admin@owt.com
Technical Support 509-783-3454 8AM to 6PM M-F help@owt.com

If you have an after hours emergency our technical support voicemail will provide you with number to page an on-call technician. 

Holiday Hours

Happy HolidaysHoliday hours for OWT offices and technical support:

  • November 23, 2017: Closed
  • November 24, 2017: Closed
  • December 25, 2017: Closed
  • December 26, 2017: Closed
  • January 2, 2018: Closed

All services will be monitored 24/7 as always. 

 

Did you know that OWT repairs computers too?

We don't just provide great tech support - we can fix your ailing PC or Mac as well. From virus issues and blown up Windows to replacing drives and other components let OWT get the job done right and save you money in the process. OWT has very competitive service rates and a lot of experience with both PCs and Macs. We do quite a bit of hardware repair and just about any kind of software related repair including data recovery. We can save you or your business money!

VIRUS/SPYWARE REMOVAL * UPGRADES * DATA RECOVERY * SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS MACINTOSH AND PC

Nervous about that upgrade? Let OWT take the hassles away for you. Call 783-3454 to make an appointment - we have openings just about every day!

Cost-Effective Computer Repair

Cost Effective

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