4 January 2016: Intel Processor Security Issues

As you may have seen in the news there is currently a security issue affecting most Intel proccesors release since 1995, although most articles are only mentioning Intel, it does also affect some AMD and ARM processors which are also commonly found in desktops, laptops, tablets and phones, it is also affecting all Apple iPads, iPhones and Macs

Microsoft have already released a security update for Windows 10 which fixes the problem, and a fix for Windows 7 is scheduled to be released next Tuesday - in both cases these will automatically install via Windows Update

Apple has also already released update 11.2 for iPhone and iPad devices, and 10.13.2 for Macs - it doesn't affect Apple Watch devices
15 December 2017: Newsletter

The Winter 2017 edition of the PC Assist Newsletter is now available - click here to view
26 September 2017: Windows 10: Fall Creators Update

The next major update to Windows 10 called "Fall Creators Update" is due to be released on 17th October

This update will be free for all Windows 10 users and will automatically download and install – it is being released in waves so not everyone will receive it immediately but you will eventually get it in the days/weeks/months after release

An overview of the changes in this version can be found on my website here
7 July 2017: Social Media and Identity Fraud

Fraudsters need just three pieces of personal information to steal your identity, most of which can be found on your Facebook profile

All it takes is your name, date of birth and address for fraudsters to be able to steal your identity and access your bank accounts, take out loans or take out mobile phones in your name

A high proportion of social media users risk identity theft by giving fraudsters easy access to this type of personal information, as they include their full name and date of birth on their profile pages

Even if you don’t publicly show your age on your Facebook profile, fraudsters can still work out your age from people wishing you well on your timeline. Once they have your date of birth, they can find out where you live too

Also remember that photos you post online also contain sensitive information, photos taken using a modern smartphone (and many digital cameras) embed GPS location information in them and using this information it is easy to work out where the photo was taken - so an innocent photo of you in your back garden can easily be used to work out your exact location

Fraudsters that get hold of this type of information can impersonate an individual, either by setting up accounts in their name or accessing existing accounts and stealing from them. The extent of damage can run to thousands of pounds worth of debt being racked up in your name

My advice is to be social savvy - avoid unnecessarily sharing personal details and risking your identity on platforms that can so easily be exploited
10 April 2017: Windows Vista

As from 11 April Windows Vista will no longer receive any security updates from Microsoft and has reached the end of its life - in all honesty it has been obsolete and insecure for quite a while now with the latest secure versions of Internet Explorer and Google Chrome not supporting Windows Vista

If you still have an old computer running Windows Vista then now is the time to replace it especially if you use your computer for shopping, banking etc as you are no longer safe

Advice and recommendations on the best new devices to purchase can be found in my buyers guide here
12 February 2017: Pop-Up Message Scam


This is very similar to the telephone scam mentioned below - but this time instead of a phone call it starts with a pop-up message appearing on a webpage you are visiting

These fake pop-up message often appear to look like some sort of warning or alert message indicating you have a problem with your computer

The pop-up message usually asks you to call a phone number to receive free support, once you call this number you are often connected to an expensive premium rate number. They will then use the same tricks as below to make you think you have a problem which they will then offer to fix, once they have fixed an error that never existed they will demand credit card details. If you refuse to pay they then lock your system, or infect it with viruses

12 February 2017: Telephone Scam


You receive a phone call normally from an international or withheld phone number, but occasionally this can appear as if it is from a local number

They use various different names to identify themselves (such as Microsoft Windows Support, Windows Technical Department, Windows Helpdesk, Microsoft Tech Support or Windows Service Centre) and usually say that they are working on behalf of Microsoft or sometimes other companies such as BT or TalkTalk

My customers have encountered several different variations of this scam:-

1) They ask you to open a program on your computer called Event Viewer and then try to tell you that the errors and warnings that appear means your computer is unprotected or has a serious problem that needs fixing. What they tell you is incorrect, even a fully working computer has some errors and warnings shown here and this is quite normal and does NOT indicate you have a problem

2) They state that there is a problem with some software on your computer

3) They tell you that Microsoft will cancel your Windows licence as your computer has been used by other people for illegal activity, they then proceed to give you a very long number which they say is your new Microsoft licence

4) They offer to help you upgrade your computer to Windows 10 or fix problems with Windows 10

With nearly all the variations of the scam they then ask to connect to your computer saying they will fix the problems for you - at this point they can access any personal information you have on your computer such as bank details, infect your system with viruses and lock your system so you cannot gain access - they then demand money to unlock your computer and to fix the problems

They are very persistent and several customers have reported getting multiple calls from them


More information from Microsoft on this scam can be found here

If you get targeted by these criminals you can report it to ActionFraud by clicking here