Due to a new project that will require daytime hours to complete, we will be working with limited and reduced hours for the foreseeable future.   Store hours starting January 9th, 2017 will be Monday-Thursday 6PM-9PM, and every other Saturday starting January 21st 10am-1PM.  Onsite appointments and remote sessions are an option in the evenings and every other weekend.  We apologize for any inconvenience to our customers, but business is slow enough that we cannot use supplemental employees to cover Panther Computers while this project is underway.

Panther Computers now offers the Panther Pounce Tuneup.  In response to  customer requests, we are now offering this alternative to the full Panther Tuneup (regularly $150) with this faster turn around time to quickly get you back up an running.  This is a quick hit tuneup that simply removes the most obvious virus and malware infections for $75 that allows you to continue using your existing protections and antivirus software.

I'm here today to make you aware of a scam that I believe is happening with nearly all international call centers, but especially those in India. Based on dozens of conversations with my customers over the last three years, it is my belief that call center employees that answer calls for US based businesses like AT&T, Amazon, and other high profile companies are transferring calls out of the legitimate call center to illegitimate businesses that try to scam money from you.

Panther Computers now sells items on Amazon.  We have over one hundred items available locally at our Milton location or you can order online and have it shipped.  Eventually we will have all of our new inventory online at Amazon so you can see what we have in stock.  Used items and parts will not be listed, so come by or call if you need these or special order items.

CoinBase is a virtual currency exchange for BitCoin that has become licensed in the US to exchange BitCoin for Dollars.  Here is an article from PCWorld with the details:

Coinbase to launch first licensed U.S. Bitcoin exchange

Do to the increased number of ransomeware viruses being seen on computers being brought into Panther Computers, we are adding a new utility called Crypto Prevent to the software installed on computers during our Panther Tuneup.  You can read the article below on CryptoWall for more details on ransomeware viruses and their effects. We will install the free edition, free to homeowners and businesses alike, but you may consider the paid premium version for automatic updates.

Over the last several years there have been several ransomeware viruses that will encrypt your data in a fashion that will cause you to loose the data or have to pay to get your files back.  CryptoLocker, CryptoDefense, CTB Locker, and now CryptoWall.  It is now more important than ever to ensure you have backups of all your important personal and business files as you could be infected from any number of sources.

Panther Computers has invested in an enhanced system to provide better tracking and histories of our clients, their computers, and the work performed.  We now have the ability to provide you email and SMS (aka texting) updates as we begin and proceed with the work on your computer.  You can also click on the Status link under services to log into your tickets online for a current status.  We are continually looking for ways to improve the service we provide our clients.

Panther Computers now offers our remote access service, Panther Rescue Remote, to our customers. Panther Rescue Remote can allow a Panther Computers technician provide you local support from our offices saving you travel time and expense.  All you need is a working high speed internet access for the computer and we can provide instruction, configuration, and technical support. 

The support is by appointment and first come first serve, but we will expand availabilty and offerings as demand increases.  Stay tuned for pricing and other details as we fully deploy Panther Rescue Remote.  Whether in the store or by remote we'll make your computer PuRR like a kitten.

 

 

We are bumping this article back to the top as there has been a recent increase of these calls in the NW Florida area. We have one computer in the shop now that has been completely locked and is in danger of having had tax documents tampered with or "stolen. We've had a second customer relate that they have had no less than five phone calls trying to coerce them into letting the Indian sounding caller take control of their computer.  Watch videos and more on our Facebook page on this an other computer scams.

You may have noticed one or more commercials on TV that claims that they can remotely connect to your computer and make it "work", however be sure they don't charge you if they can't.  Most problems today are spyware and virus related and there is absolutely no way this can be cleaned remotely, even if your Internet is working.  If your system is just bogged down from normal use, be sure you pay no more than you could at a local shop for a service that is hyped late night alongside the vacuum cleaners, kitchen gizmos, and colon cleansers.

There is a company out there, God knows who they truly are, that produces a virus that acts like an antivirus program that falsely tells you you have dozens of infections and that you need to pay them to activate their program to clean the infections.  Technically they are right, you are infected...by them.  Do not provide them any identifying information or credit card details, they are (in my opinion) crooks and the FTC should have long since found a way to close them down nd seize their assets.

This company's "product" has had many names and used to change names only once every six months to a year. These days they are changing almost weekly.  How do I know its the same "product".  They use the same modus operandi behind the scenes as well as the general approach of being a fake antivirus program.  The registry settings and files they use to infect and control your computer have been the same since they last changed about a year ago.

The many faces of fraud have included:

  • Antimalware Doctor

  • AntiSpyware Pro

  • AntiSpyware Soft

  • Anti-Virus Number-1

  • AntiVir

  • Antivirus 7

  • AntiVirus AntiSpyware 2011

  • AntivirusGT

  • Antivirus Software Platinum

  • Desktop Security 2010

  • General Antivirus

  • Internet Protection

  • Internet Security 20XX

  • Live Security Suite

  • Microsoft Antivirus 20XX

  • My Security Shield

  • MS Tool

  • Palladium for Windows

  • PC Speed Boot

  • Personal Security

  • Security Tool 20XX with or without a date

  • System Tool 2011

  • ThinkPoint Security

  • Total Vista Security

  • Total Security

  • User Protection

  • Virus Protect

  • Windows Antivirus 20XX

  • Windows Protection

  • Windows XP Recovery

  • Windows Vista Restore

  • Wireshark Antivirus

  • XP Antivirus 20XX (use any numbers in the XX)

  • XP Deluxe Protector

  • XP Police Antivirus

 

...and growing.  As I recall or run across their newest fraudulent face, I\'ll update this list  If you have their "product on your PC, you\'re going to need help removing it. Even the latest greatest updated versions of any of the legitimate free and professional antivirus products don\'t get all the files installed and created by these antivirus rogues.  It takes a trained eye and skill to find them and remove them.

Update:  I ran across this alert at the FBI website.  At the end is a link to report your experience with this type of scam so the goverments investigation can put a dent into their profits.

POP-UP ADVERTISEMENTS OFFERING ANTI-VIRUS SOFTWARE POSE THREAT TO INTERNET USERS

12/11/09—An ongoing threat exists for computer users who, while browsing the Internet, began receiving pop-up security warnings that state their computers are infected with numerous viruses.

These pop-ups known as scareware, fake, or rogue anti-virus software look authentic and may even display what appears to be real-time anti-virus scanning of the user’s hard drive. The scareware will show a list of reputable software icons; however, the user cannot click a link to go to the actual site to review or see recommendations.

The scareware is intimidating to most users and extremely aggressive in its attempt to lure the user into purchasing the rogue software that will allegedly remove the viruses from their computer. It is possible that these threats are received as a result of clicking on advertisements contained on a website. Cyber criminals use botnets to push the software and use advertisements on websites to deliver it. This is known as malicious advertising or malvertising.

Once the pop-up appears it cannot be easily closed by clicking “close” or the “X” button. If the user clicks on the pop-up to purchase the software, a form is provided that collects payment information and the user is charged for the bogus product. In some instances, whether the user clicks on the pop-up or not, the scareware can install malicious code onto the computer. By running your computer with an account that has rights to install software, this issue is more likely to occur.

Downloading the software could result in viruses, Trojans, and/or keyloggers being installed on the user’s computer. The repercussions of downloading the malicious software could prove further financial loss to the victim due to computer repair, as well as, cost to the user and/or financial institutions due to identity theft.

The assertive tactics of the scareware has caused significant losses to users. The FBI is aware of an estimated loss to victims in excess of $150 million.

Be cautious—Cyber criminals use easy to remember names and associate them with known applications. Beware of pop-ups that are offer a variation of recognized security software. It is recommended that the user research the exact name of the software being offered.

Take precautions to ensure operating systems are updated and security software is current.

If a user receives these anti-virus pop-ups, it is recommended to close the browser or shut the system down. It is suggested that the user run a full, anti-virus scan whenever the computer is turned back on.

If you have experienced the anti-virus pop-ups or a similar scam, please notify the IC3 by filing a complaint at www.ic3.gov.