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MrBlack Malware

MrBlack Malware

Up to 80 percent of the top-selling home routers on the market are vulnerable to attacks, according to an April 2015 article on Techworld. Because of the lack of basic security practices on the part of Internet service providers (ISPs), there are a number of hacker-controlled routers used to launch distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. Computer repair experts point out that the Linux Spike Trojan malware nicknamed “MrBlack,” which security firm Incapsula discovered in December 2014, is one of the more prevalent, spanning 109 countries and over 40,000 routers in small offices and home offices.

MrBlack’s Misdeeds

MrBlack is malware that infects routers and spreads to other devices. Sometimes, infected routers search for open secure shell (SSH) ports and access them using the device’s default credentials. In other words, the malware infects routers that still have default security credentials so they can access the device remotely. After infecting a router, MrBlack and its variants perform tasks like cookie hijacking, man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks, eavesdropping on communications, and accessing local network devices.

MrBlack Malware

Incapsula found that the hardest hit routers are those made by Ubiquiti, which the company leases on a monthly basis. While most of the command and control centers that launched attacks are in Asia, where Ubiquiti hardware is largely available, 21.7 percent are in the U.S. In regards to computer repair, Portland experts warn that anyone with lenient router credentials may be at risk for a similar type of attack.

How to Protect Routers at Home and Your Business

  • Change the router’s default login and password settings.
  • Disable remote management over the Internet. If you need remote management capabilities, change the password often.
  • Log out of the router’s website after making changes to your account.
  • Turn off Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) support.
  • Turn on Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) encryption and turn off the Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) to connect new devices.
  • Avoid using default IP ranges such as 10.0.0.1, 192.168.0.1, 192.168.1.1 and 192.168.2.1. Instead, use 9.8.7 or something similar to prevent Cross-Sit Request (CSRF) attacks.
  • Install the latest router firmware, if available.

Laptop computer repair specialists have dealt with more home and office router attacks within the last few years. One of the simplest ways to thwart an attack is to change the defaults that come with the device. If you suspect a problem with your router or think you may have a computer virus, call Happy Hamster right away. We’ll also gladly help you change your router credentials and setting so they’re more secure.

How to Decide Whether you Need Computer Repair or Replacement

How to Decide Whether you Need Computer Repair or Replacement

As your computer ages and starts needing repairs, it’s natural to wonder whether you should invest in computer repair or simply purchase a new system. As you ponder this conundrum, consider the cost of the repair, the issue at hand, and the benefits of getting a new computer.

Problem: Data Loss

If your computer won’t turn on or you can’t access your files, first look into computer repair services. If you’re lucky, the problem will be a quick fix such as a simple part replacement. On the other hand, a quick fix may also result in lost data.

Data recovery can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars, so it’s best to have a backup plan before it happens. If the computer repair cost is more than 50 percent of the system’s original value, or the computer is more than 5 years old, a new computer may be best.

Problem: Virus

Viruses give computer repair services the most business. Repair technicians can eradicate most viruses, so this is often a viable option. However, if a virus is particularly malicious and gives your computer chronic problems – despite the computer repair shop’s best efforts to scrub it out – your money may be better spent on a new computer and good antivirus software.

Problem: Physical Damage

Dropping, spilling liquid on, or overheating your computer can cost you $300-500 or more. After you get a repair estimate from a shop, it’s wise to weigh the cost of fixing the computer against its age. If you’ve had the computer for more than five years, or if the cost is 50 percent of the original price, we recommend replacing it.

Having to repair your computer can be frustrating. If you’re having a tough time deciding whether to replace or repair it, a trustworthy computer repair professional can offer valuable advice.

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Happy Hamster Computers’ ‘No Landfill’ Philosophy

Happy Hamster Computers’ ‘No Landfill’ Philosophy

The fossil fuels used to create the average desktop computer and monitor weigh at least 10 times more than the finished electronic devices. Plus, the manufacturing process involves the use of more than 700 chemicals such as mercury, chromium, cadmium, and other heavy metals. The cathode ray tubes in monitors can contain up to 8 pounds of lead, a substance known to cause birth defects, cancer, and neurological disorders. When these chemicals aren’t disposed of properly, they can leach into the soil, from which they pollute the local water supply and ecosystems.

Happy Hamster’s Green Approach

With the cost of new computers going down, more than 10 million old systems are getting dumped into landfills every year. Before throwing away a broken computer, Happy Hamster encourages consumers to take a greener approach by first seeing whether the issue can be fixed with a simple computer repair.

If computer repair services aren’t a cost-effective option for you, or your system is old, the next best option is to recycle it. Several manufacturers will recycle your old system free of charge, and some local dumps offer a recycling program for electronics. Alternatively, you can donate your old computer to a nonprofit like FreeGeek.org, which will refurbish and donate it to a school or community organization in need.

Tips for Green Computer Use

To prolong the life of your computer, follow simple energy-saving practices. Turn your computer (and monitor) off when you’re not using it. If you plan to use it again within a couple of hours, at least put it in “sleep” mode and turn off the monitor.

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Project Spotlight: Mad Fish SEO of Portland

Project Spotlight: Mad Fish SEO of Portland

Since 2005, Mad Fish SEO has been providing online marketing services for local and national companies interested in expanding the reach of their website.  The Portland-based company develops online marketing strategies that incorporate SEO, SEM, social media, press, and other services to help businesses attract new customers and establish their brand online.

In October 2012, Mad Fish SEO approached Happy Hamster Computers with some questions. Happy Hamster then connected Mad Fish SEO with their sister company, IT Assurance, to assist with upgrading their existing technology infrastructure. Up to this point, workstations and phone systems had been purchased and networked as demand dictated but without much thought to growth and expansion on a holistic level. As the company approached its 8th year in business, it decided it was time to get the needed equipment in the hands of each employee to help continue the company’s growth.

To start, IT Assurance analyzed the existing office equipment along with the company’s short and long-term needs. The daily tasks of Mad Fish SEO’s online marketing managers and programmers require large monitors, moderate processor speeds, fast and reliable internet connections, and robust networking capability. Mad Fish SEO also needed an upgraded phone system that could better handle their call volume and help them provide the next level of customer service.  With the analysis completed, IT Assurance put together recommendations for new equipment and how best to tackle its installation.

“The IT Assurance team was thorough in their analysis of our office and needs. They gave us their best suggestions for improving our infrastructure and worked with us to find ways to improve our productivity,” said Mad Fish SEO president Ben Herman.

As equipment was ordered and arrived, IT Assurance was able to quickly schedule days to begin the installation process. The IT support staff at IT Assurance installed both office-wide and workstation-specific equipment with a minimal amount of disruption or downtime. “Installing new equipment can be incredibly stressful as a business owner. You want to improve productivity with better computers, monitors, and phones but you don’t want employees to spend days idle waiting for its installation and inevitable bug fixes. IT Assurance worked quickly to get things up and running and stuck around to answer our questions and help us get up to speed,” said Herman.

Now that the majority of the IT equipment has been implemented, Mad Fish SEO is relying on IT Assurance for their ongoing computer and IT support. “As a small business owner, I can’t tell you how awesome it is to have a team of professionals at our disposal for basic and advanced computer support. It leaves me and my staff free to do the work of Mad Fish SEO,” said Herman.

Happy Hamster is excited to be working with Mad Fish SEO and to have connected them with IT Assurance who will be providing the small business computer support for Mad Fish SEO!

For more information about Mad Fish SEO, visit www.madfishseo.com.

Happy Hamster Computers Now Offering Customer Financing

Happy Hamster Computers Now Offering Customer Financing

The up-front cost of buying new computers for your home or office doesn’t have to be a barrier. By financing a computer, you can get the technology you need now and pay it off throughout the year.

Here at Happy Hamster, we offer computer financing through GE Capital and Wells Fargo. When you’re approved for financing through our store, you’ll receive a Happy Hamster credit card you can use to purchase any of our products – just like when you apply for a store credit card at Macy’s or JC Penney. We’re the only privately owned computer store to offer this service to our customers.

Benefits of financing a computer with a Happy Hamster credit card include:

  • 12 months deferred interest
  • Fixed-rate with low monthly payments
  • No interest / equal payments for up to 24 months

In addition to offering consumer credit cards through our store, we also finance businesses via our sister company, IT Assurance, for any of the hardware, software, and IT support services we provide. Not only does computer financing allow companies to update their technology without a large up-front investment, but it also comes with tax benefits.

Contact Happy Hamster to learn more about financing your next computer!