5 advices to avoid losing files because of malware

malware

There are a lot of threats that can put our PC at risk. There also are many options to protect our systems. Maybe the biggest issue users face is the amount of threats that put files at risk. By this we mean every file in every drive of the PC. In this article, we will give you some advices to handle the problem of getting a malware that can delete all of our files. We told you about StalinLocker a few months ago. This is a malware that can wipe out a drive in minutes.

Avoid losing files because of malware

There are many more malware like StalinLocker, which can delete everything in the PC. There are also ransomware that ask for a ransom, which was actually one of the worst cybersecurity problems in 2017.

Users can do some things to protect their PCs and address the issue. Therefore, we will give you some advices. Besides, these advices help us avoid data loss in case of some kind of malware, hardware-related issues or in case we lose the device.

There is nothing worse than a malware infection that makes it impossible to use a PC, forcing us to format it. All of our files are in danger.

Create backups

First and foremost, create backups, as it is the best way to protect our files. In case of an attack, we would have backups of every single file in another device. There are a lot of options. Basically, we have to choose between a physical backup and a cloud-based one.

This is the first protection against ransomware, although it cannot possibly prevent the threat itself. Having backups is important because our files would be stored somewhere else in case a virus wipes out the PC, therefore the damage is less serious.

Security programs and tools

Additionally, having security programs and tools is essential because they can protect us against malware. It is important to have a good antivirus that detects possible threats that can put our files at risk.

Additionally, these programs must be kept up to date so we can face the most recent issues.

malware

Be careful when browsing the web.

Malware threats frequently infect our PCs via the web. We have to be especially careful when downloading content, and we have to always download programs from official sites and sources. Modified apps can be usually found in third-party sites and can compromise our systems.

Among these harmful programs, there are a lot of malware threats that can compromise our files. Therefore, being careful while browsing the web and downloading content is essential to avoid harmful files that can wipe out our drives and compromise our own files.

Keeping our PC up to date

As we mentioned above, we should keep our antivirus up to date. The same goes for the system. Sometimes there are vulnerabilities that may cause data loss if they are exploited. There are also malware variants that take advantage of these vulnerabilities to infect a PC.

We can avoid these problems by updating the PC and installing security patches as they are released, therefore highly preventing malware from wiping out our drives.

Common sense

Maybe this is the most important thing to bear in mind. We have to use our common sense when we get fraudulent emails, open harmful sites or install programs. We have to pay attention to the source and every single one of its elements.

Most of the time, malware threats require the user’s input, so this is why common sense is essential for preventing them.

Protect yourself against the new Fox ransomware and avoid getting your files hijacked and encrypted

ransomware

There are a lot of threats that can put our devices at risk. One of the most dangerous and widespread threats is known as ransomware. This is what cybercriminals use to hijack the victims’ files to ask for a ransom so they can be recovered. This is a really serious problem. Today we will talk about a new ransomware variant that uses the .FOX extension. Additionally, this variant goes through a complex process to make sure it infects and encrypts every file successfully.

FOX, a new ransomware variant

The fact that this variant is focused on infecting every file is a good thing for users because the entire PC takes longer to get infected. This means there is more time to act in case the FOX ransomware infects our PC.

This new ransomware variant was discovered by security researcher MalwareHunterTeam and is installed through computers that run Remote Desktop Services and are openly connected to the Internet.

The attackers scan ranges of IP addresses to find open RDP services and then brute-force the password.

This ransomware is a variant of the Matrix ransomware. It uses a server to communicate. Once it is executed, it will connect to the server and start logging various stages of the encryption process.

Two console windows will display the current progress of the encryption. One window shows network addresses that were scanned and the other window displays the status of the encryption process.

We have to mention that at this time this ransomware variant cannot be decrypted for free. This is why we have to be really careful and take measures to avoid getting infected by FOX or any other ransomware variant.

ransomware

How to protect ourselves against the new ransomware variant

The first thing to do to protect ourselves against ransomware in general is to create backups. This is really important. As we know, this type of malware encrypts all of our files. It forces us to pay a ransom if we want to get out files back. If we have backups, this problem is less serious because our most important files are safe.

Additionally, having security programs and tools is essential. This is how we can protect our files against possible malware threats. There are a lot of options regardless of the OS or platform we are using.

Also, these programs must be kept up to date. Sometimes there are vulnerabilities that are fixed with security patches. Therefore, it is important for our PC to always be up to date. It is also important to update every app we have installed.

Lastly, common sense. In most cases, malware require users to do something. We can get malware via email or by downloading something from an unsafe webpage. We have to pay attention to possible fraudulent emails and the sites we download content from.

Windjammers 2 has been officially announced: coming to PC and Nintendo Switch in 2019

Windjammers 2

Windjammers 2 is officially under development. The team at DotEmu surely makes us jump for joy. This is a direct successor to the original Windjammers that came out in the 90s for the SNK arcade system (Neo Geo MVS) and its consoles (Neo Geo AES and the Neo Geo CD variant). The video below suggests that the game will keep the 2D finish of Data East’s classic title, although we still lack official information about tech specs.

I personally think that keeping a 2D style for characters and stages is a good decision, as it would allow DotEmu to keep the original’s essence and charm. Both 2D elements will be hand-drawn, with special attention on animations. Our regular readers know this is important because Windjammers was a game where the characters’ mobility, therefore the animation, played a key role in terms of playability.

We will have to wait to see what the guys at DotEmu come up with, but they will find it easy to create a worthy successor: they just have to use the basis of the original in terms of playability but using up-to-date graphics. Watching the video again, we got a very interesting yet enlightening glimpse about it: the character holds the disc to charge it for a special movement, a classic movement featured on the original game.

Those who were able to play the original might remember that each character had their weaknesses and strengths: the stronger characters were slower but had more powerful throws and could block special throws more easily. In contrast, faster characters moved seamlessly and were more fluid but were vulnerable to special throws and could even be pushed into the goal.

We will keep an eye on Windjammers 2, a game coming to PC and Nintendo Switch in 2019. We still do not know the game’s requirements, but they should be easily met because it is a 2D game.

What should Steam TV, Twitch and YouTube’s competition, have in order to be successful

If we play games on PC, we surely know Steam, a gaming platform created by Valve. With Steam, we can buy virtually any game for a lower price in comparison to those for consoles, for example. Besides, the platform has a big user community that takes part in the community pages and forums to offer help or the possibility to create groups to play online. Now Valve seems to want to go further and improve its community even more. According to reports, the company is ready to compete against YouTube and Twitch with its own game streaming platform: Steam TV.

As reported by the team at ADSLZone, we found out about Steam TV by mistake the past weekend. Steam TV is Valve’s new game streaming platform that intends to find a spot in the streaming market and face YouTube and Twitch directly.

We got an early look of the platform by mistake the past weekend, although the website was rapidly taken down because it is still being tested and it is too soon to be available for every user. Despite being shut down, it is clear that the platform is real. Also, a Valve representative confirmed that the company is working on updating Steam Broadcasting for Dota 2’s annual tournament.

What Steam TV should have to be successful

Evidently, the first thing Valve has to do is to provide a simple way to broadcast games so gamers choose its platform. Maybe this is the easiest thing to do, as Steam itself has features and protocols to broadcast audio and video live to other people. Therefore, this can be done easily with just minor tweaks (probably what Valve is doing with Steam Broadcasting).

Additionally, it is really important for this platform to offer gamers a better reward system than the one YouTube offers (which users are increasingly criticizing, prompting a lot of them to leave the platform because it is no longer profitable), like with Twitch, where revenue is obtained via patronage (Patreon) and donations. A friendlier and more profitable way that the one these two services have will surely gain the trust of a lot of streamers in a short time.

Another key element Valve has to pay attention to is content. The company has to make sure that everything that is broadcasted through the platform follows a set of rules, therefore banning insults, slurs, racist comments and other inappropriate content. Besides, if Valve wants a game streaming platform, then it should focus on game streaming, barring users from broadcasting how they sleep or waste a beer, for example. We cannot forget that both YouTube and Twitch have very strict rules for different things like clothing, for example. In this sense, Valve should also include that in Steam TV. If it does not do so, the platform might end up turning into an erotic video chat in no time instead of being a game streaming platform.

Besides live streaming, it also would be a good idea for Valve to go for “game video guides,” a place where we could find recorded games that might help us during our own game sessions when we get stuck. And it would be great if these guides forgo childish comments and bawling that sounds like it comes from a farm animal.

Lastly, we have to point out that there is no official date for the platform’s launch as of now. It could be today or it could be in a few weeks. What is clear is that once it is here, the platform will gain the trust of every user in a really short time.

Redstone 5 is officially Windows 10 version 1809

Redstone 5

Microsoft released a new preview build of the OS through the Insider program. There are no new features besides the ones we already talked about. However, the one thing that changed is the official version number: Windows 10 version 1809.

Windows 10’s version numbers are based on the final version’s release date. The first two numbers are for the year and the last two for the month. 1809 translates into Sept. 2018, although it could be the date on which Insiders get the update.

Everybody seems to think the final version will be released to users in October as Windows 10 October 2018 Update. Microsoft is giving up Redstone codenames in favor of those based on dates, similar to the version numbers but a little more ambiguous. Following the same pattern, version 1903 would arrive in the spring of 2019.

Should Microsoft modify the update calendar?

Leaving aside the version numbers, this is the million dollar question. In contrast with the “service Packs” of previous systems, the Windows-as-a-service concept adopted for Windows 10 development has brought a series of changes in the way the system updates are delivered.

The two major yearly versions that are released in the spring and fall, besides the monthly security patches, keep the PC up to date in terms of drivers, hardware support and new features.

The problem with this is that those changes impact the system’s stability, as we saw with Windows 10’s current version. Windows 10 April 2018 Update came with lots of issues, freezing problems and bugs.

Releasing two major updates yearly is still happening. Windows 10 version 1809 will be delivered to Insiders next month, and Windows 10 October 2018 Update will be the final version released to the public in October. If you want to start testing the version (only in machines you are not actively using), you have to join the Windows Insider Program. If you want to know about the new features, you should take a look at our special covering Redstone 5.

Microsoft partners with Razer to provide mouse and keyboard support on the Xbox

The idea of providing mouse and keyboard support on the Xbox is not new. Microsoft has been toying with the idea for a couple of years but has failed to come up with something concrete beyond a beta. As of today, the Xbox still lacks official mouse and keyboard support.

Thanks to a series of leaked slides from Razer’s presentation, we were able to confirm that said company has partnered with Microsoft to bring mouse and keyboard support to the Xbox One and Xbox One X. We think this is a great decision although it also brings major downsides that could impact the user community.

Using keyboard and mouse on certain games, like fist-person shooter ones, gives the user a huge advantage due to the setup’s greater precision when aiming. The downside is clear: it would put players using controllers in a position of inferiority.

In order to solve this issue, Microsoft will give developers total freedom on the measures they will ultimately adopt. In this regard, there could be the possibility of taking different yet highly effective measures, like introducing a crosshair system for players using the controller and splitting players into two different groups. By doing so, players using the keyboard and mouse would only face players using the same devices.

As for the support, the first reports confirm that it would only be possible to use a single keyboard and mouse connection at a time on the Xbox One and Xbox One X and that Microsoft is trying to make every Windows 10-compatible keyboard and mouse work seamlessly with both consoles.

Dell and Alienware reveal their projects ahead of E3

Dell

Dell and its gaming subsidiary Alienware are getting ready for E3 2018 with some announcements. First of all, Dell has updated its Inspiron Gaming desktop while Alienware has showcased new peripherals, including the first Alienware Wireless Gaming Headset and a new customizable mouse.

The new Inspiron Gaming 5676 (also available with other configurations) features new 2nd-gen AMD Ryzen processors (up to 8 cores), up to 32 GB of DDR4 memory and a MSI RX 500 series GPU. Dell has guaranteed compatibility with up to the RX 580, so maybe we will be able to customize, therefore reducing the price by using other GPUs like the RX 560.

Dell

All within a nice redesigned silver chassis with Polar Blue LED lighting, a USB Type-C 3.1 port and up to six USB 3.0 ports. Its dimensions are 45.8 × 21.6 × 43.7 cm. The most basic configuration of the Inspiron Gaming is available for €699, whereas the most complete configuration costs €1,600.

Alienware has showcased its Wireless Gaming Headset, the brand’s first, which will be launched on June 11 around the globe for $229. This is a remarkable news because headsets have been quite forgotten about in general, as the brand’s last headset, the TactX, was launched in 2009.

The headset features a 7.1 virtual surround system, an option to create customizable sound profiles, built-in presets and hi-fidelity 40 mm neodymium drivers that offer a great sound quality and deep bass.

Dell

As for the mic, the Alienware Wireless Gaming Headset is focused on providing the best clear, natural voice quality while also letting players position the mic nearer their mouth (usually to try reducing background noise) with a game/chat volume mixer. Additionally, it has a built-in voice notification system that will let us know about the connection status and battery levels.

The headset’s 1,200 mAh battery is capable of providing a 15-hour battery life with a full charge. However, the battery life will be much less if we use the AlienFX lighting features. The headset is charged via micro USB either by plugging it directly into the PC or by using a 2.4 GHz wireless dongle, or via a 3.5 mm cable.

Dell

Lastly, the new Alienware Elite Gaming Mouse was also unveiled. This is a mouse rocking every standard feature seen on gaming mice besides the AlienFX lighting system. It also has configurable chassis and weights.

However, the mouse’s most remarkable feature is the possibility of swapping out its side panels (with 2 or 4 buttons), giving us the opportunity to adapt the mouse to any game. The Elite Gaming Mouse will ship to the US on July 31 for $89.99. We still will have to wait for the launch in Europe.

Logitech reinvents the mouse with the new MX Vertical

Logitech

If you spend hours using a mouse for professional reasons or leisure, then it is likely that you have felt discomfort in the wrist. The root cause of said discomfort is the repetitive unnatural movement required to use a PC. Logitech intends to solve that problem by changing perspectives: this is what the brand’s vertical mouse looks like.

Logitech has been creating some of the best mice of the market for years The company has an array of gaming and business-related peripherals, always keeping quality as the main element. The MX series, one of the brand’s most innovative yet, features a new mouse that is strikingly different from anything on the market so far.

With the new Logitech MX Vertical, the brand changes the way we usually use the mouse due to a 57º vertical angle. Therefore, the hand rests more comfortably, reducing muscular activity by up to 10% and preventing users from making movements that may cause carpal tunnel syndrome, which is one of the most common conditions affecting PC users.

To show that the MX Vertical does work, Logitech asked an ergonomics consulting firm to test it. In a survey of 52 users, all of them, especially those who spend several hours using the peripheral, said they felt less discomfort in their wrists and forearms.

Of course, this mouse is not ideal for gaming, but it does present itself as an amazing option for working and web browsing.

On a technical level, we now have a mouse that has a 4,000 DPI sensor (customizable), the brand’s excellent quality build and a 240 mAh rechargeable battery that guarantees around four months of battery life. The Logitech MX Vertical can now be pre-ordered in the US for $99 with shipping expected in September. As of now, there is no information regarding a launch in Europe.